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Newtown (UK Parliament constituency)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Former Borough constituency
for the House of Commons
CountyIsle of Wight
Major settlementsNewtown
Number of membersTwo
Replaced byIsle of Wight
Created fromHampshire

Newtown was a parliamentary borough located in Newtown on the Isle of Wight, which was represented in the House of Commons of England until 1707, then in the House of Commons of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800, and finally in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1832. It was represented by two members of parliament (MPs), elected by the bloc vote system.

The borough was abolished in the Great Reform Act of 1832, and from the 1832 general election its territory was included in the new county constituency of Isle of Wight.


Newtown, located on the large natural harbour on the north-western coast of the Isle of Wight, was the first borough established in the county. A French raid in 1377, which destroyed much of the town as well as other settlements on the island, sealed its permanent decline. By the mid-16th century it was a small settlement long eclipsed by the more easily defended town of Newport. To try to stimulate economic development, Elizabeth I awarded the town two parliamentary seats.

Newtown was a burgage borough, meaning that the right to vote was vested solely in the owners of a specified number of properties or "burgage tenements". At the time of the Great Reform Act of 1832 there were 39 burgage tenements, held by 23 burgesses; however, most of these held only life grants. It was common practice for life grants to be made to friends of the proprietors so as to ensure that the full voting power could be exercised; if these nominees failed to vote as expected, they could be ejected and replaced by somebody more reliable before the next election. These voters were often non-resident – and indeed, it could hardly be otherwise, for although there were 39 burgage tenements, there were only 14 houses. Unlike many rotten boroughs, no single landowner controlled a majority of the burgages: the reversionary rights in them belonged to three families (Barrington, Holmes and Anderson-Pelham), with none having an overall majority. Elections in the borough consequently required careful management and sometimes considerable expenditure to achieve the desired result. In the 1750s and 1760s, the arrangement was that one of the two seats was considered to be in the gift of the Barrington family, while Thomas Holmes negotiated the election of the government's nominee for the other, unless he wanted it for a member of the Holmes family.

By 1831, the borough had a population of just 68, and it was disestablished the following year by the Reform Act.

Members of Parliament


Parliament First member Second member
1584 William Meux Robert Redge[1]
1586 Richard Huyshe Richard Dillington[1]
1588 Richard Huyshe Richard Sutton[1]
1593 Thomas Dudley Richard Browne[1]
1597 Silvanus Scory Thomas Crompton[1]
1601 Robert Wroth Robert Cotton[1]
1604 Sir John Stanhope ennobled
and replaced 1605 by
Thomas Wilson
William Meux
1614 (Mar) George Stoughton (sat for Guildford)
and replaced 1614 by
William Higford
Sir Henry Berkeley
1621 (Jan) John Ferrar (sat for Tamworth)
and replaced 1621 by
Sir William Harington
Sir Thomas Barrington
1624 (Jan) George Garrard Sir Gilbert Gerard, Bt (sat for Middlesex)
1624 (Mar) Sir Thomas Barrington
1625 Sir Thomas Barrington Thomas Malet
1626 Sir Thomas Barrington Thomas Malet
1628–1629 Sir Thomas Barrington, 2nd Baronet Robert Barrington
1629–1640 No Parliaments summoned


Year 1st Member 1st Party 2nd Member 2nd Party
April 1640 John Meux[2] Royalist Hon. Nicholas Weston
November 1640 Hon. Nicholas Weston Royalist
August 1642 Weston disabled from sitting – seat vacant
February 1644 Meux disabled from sitting – seat vacant
1645 Sir John Barrington John Bulkeley
December 1648 Barrington and Bulkeley excluded in Pride's Purge – seat vacant
1653 Newtown was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament and the First and Second Parliaments of the Protectorate
January 1659 Serjeant John Maynard William Laurence
May 1659 Not represented in the restored Rump
April 1660 Sir John Barrington Sir Henry Worsley
1666 Sir Robert Worsley
1677 Admiral Sir John Holmes
February 1679 John Churchill
August 1679 Lemuel Kingdon
1681 Daniel Finch
1685 Thomas Done William Blathwayt Whig
1689 The Earl of Ranelagh
1695 James Worsley
1698 Thomas Hopsonn
1701 Joseph Dudley
1702 John Leigh
1705 James Worsley Henry Worsley
1715 Sir Robert Worsley
1722 William Stephens Charles Worsley
1727[3] James Worsley Thomas Holmes Whig
1729 Charles Armand Powlett Sir John Barrington
1734 James Worsley Thomas Holmes Whig
1741 Sir John Barrington Henry Holmes
1747 Maurice Bocland
1754 Harcourt Powell
April 1775 Charles Ambler
December 1775 Edward Meux Worsley
1780 John Barrington[4]
1782 Henry Dundas Tory
1783 Richard Pepper Arden
April 1784 James Worsley
August 1784 Mark Gregory
1790 Sir Richard Worsley Whig
1793 George Canning Tory
1796 Sir Richard Worsley Whig Charles Shaw-Lefevre Whig
1801 Sir Edward Law Whig
May 1802 Ewan Law
July 1802 Sir Robert Barclay Whig Charles Chapman Whig
1803 James Paull Whig
1806 George Canning Tory
1807 Barrington Pope Blachford Tory Dudley Long North Whig
1808 Hon. George Anderson-Pelham Whig
1816 Hudson Gurney Whig
1820 Dudley Long North Whig
1821 Charles Cavendish Whig
1830 Hon. Charles Anderson-Pelham Whig
1831 Sir William Horne Whig
1832 Constituency abolished


  1. ^ a b c d e f "History of Parliament". History of Parliament. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  2. ^ Created a baronet, December 1641
  3. ^ At the election of 1727 Worsley and Holmes beat Barrington and Powlett, but on petition the result was reversed as a result of a dispute over the franchise
  4. ^ Succeeded to a baronetcy as Sir John Barrington in 1792


  • D Brunton & D H Pennington, "Members of the Long Parliament" (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1954)
  • Cobbett's Parliamentary history of England, from the Norman Conquest in 1066 to the year 1803 (London: Thomas Hansard, 1808) [1]
  • D Englefield, J Seaton & I White, Facts About the British Prime Ministers (London: Mansell, 1995)
  • Lewis Namier, The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III (2nd edition, London: Macmillan, 1961)
  • J Holladay Philbin, Parliamentary Representation 1832 – England and Wales (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965)
  • Henry Stooks Smith, "The Parliaments of England from 1715 to 1847" (2nd edition, edited by FWS Craig – Chichester: Parliamentary Reference Publications, 1973)
  • Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "N" (part 2)

See also

This page was last edited on 17 August 2019, at 18:01
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