Bridgwater (UK Parliament constituency)

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Bridgwater
Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of Bridgwater in Somerset for the 2005 general election.
Outline map
Location of Somerset within England.
County Somerset
18852010
Number of members One
Replaced by Bridgwater & West Somerset
Created from West Somerset
1295–1870
Number of members Two
Type of constituency Borough constituency
Replaced by West Somerset

Bridgwater was a parliamentary constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, until 2010 when it was replaced by the Bridgwater and West Somerset constituency. It elected one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election.

Boundaries[edit]

The seat is based on the market town of Bridgwater in Somerset and currently incorporates significant portions of the surrounding north Somerset coast.

History[edit]

Bridgwater was one of the original Parliamentary Constituencies in the House of Commons, having elected Members of Parliament since 1295, the Model Parliament.

The original borough constituency was disenfranchised for corruption in 1870. From 4 July 1870 the town was incorporated within the county constituency of West Somerset.

From Parliament's enactment of the major Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 which took effect at the 1885 general election, a new county division of Bridgwater was created, which lasted with modifications until 2010. The constituency expanded considerably beyond Bridgwater town itself from 1885.

Bridgwater frequently compared to other seats had a radical or game-changing representative, though since 1950 this became less noticeable in its candidates elected.

The seat received particular fame in late 1938 when a by-election took place in the aftermath of the signing of the Munich Agreement. Opponents of the agreement persuaded the local Labour and Liberal parties to not field candidates of their own against the Conservative candidate, but to instead jointly back an independent standing on a platform of opposition to the Government's foreign policy, in the hope that this would be the precursor to the formation of a more general Popular Front of opposition to the government of Neville Chamberlain in anticipation of the General Election due in either 1939 or 1940. The noted journalist Vernon Bartlett stood as the independent Popular Front candidate and achieved a sensational victory in what was hitherto a Conservative seat. He represented the constituency for the next twelve years.

In 1970 another by-election in the constituency achieved fame as it was the first occasion when 18, 19 and 20 year olds were able to vote in the UK Parliamentary election. The first under-21 year old to cast a vote was Susan Wallace. The by-election was won by the future Conservative Cabinet Minister Tom King who held the seat for the next thirty-one years, followed by another Conservative until its abolition in 2010.

Members of Parliament[edit]

  • Constituency created (1295)

Bridgwater borough, 1295-1870[edit]

MPs 1295-1640[edit]

Parliament First member Second member
1377 William Tomer[1]
1380 (Jan) William Tomer [1]
1383 (Oct) William Tomer [1]
1385 William Tomer [1]
1386 John Sydenham Richard Mayne [2]
1388 (Feb) John Sydenham Richard Mayne [2]
1388 (Sep) John Palmer John Wynd [2]
1390 (Jan) William Tomer John Palmer [2]
1390 (Nov)
1391 William Tomer John Sydenham [2]
1393 William Tomer Robert Boson [2]
1394 John Cole John Palmer [2]
1395 William Tomer John Kedwelly [2]
1397 (Jan) William Tomer John Kedwelly [2]
1397 (Sep) William Tomer John Sydenham [2]
1399 William Tomer John Kedwelly [2]
1401
1402 William Tomer John Kedwelly [2]
1404 (Jan)
1404 (Oct)
1406 William Tomer William Gascoigne [2]
1407 William Gascoigne Richard Ward [2]
1410 William Gascoigne John Kedwelly [2]
1411
1413 (Feb)
1413 (May) William Gascoigne William Gosse [2]
1414 (Apr) William Gascoigne Thomas Cave [2]
1414 (Nov) William Gascoigne John Kedwelly [2]
1415
1416 (Mar)
1416 (Oct)
1417 William Gascoigne John Kedwelly [2]
1419 William Gascoigne Richard Mayne [2]
1420 William Gascoigne Martin Jacob [2]
1421 (May) James FitzJames William Gascoigne [2]
1421 (Dec) William Gascoigne John Pitt [2]
1442 William Dodesham William Gascoigne
1472 Sir Thomas Tremayle
1483 William Hody
1449 Thomas Driffield John Maunsel
1453 John Maunsel
1467 James FitzJames
1467 John Kendall (4 terms)
1483 John Hymerford
1510–1523 No names known [3]
1529 Henry Thornton Hugh Trotter [3]
1536  ?
1539  ?
1542  ?
1545 Thomas Dyer Alexander Popham [3]
1547 Sir Thomas Dyer Alexander Popham [3]
1553 (Mar) Sir Thomas Dyer Richard Gubby [3]
1553 (Oct) Sir Thomas Dyer Nicholas Halswell
1554 (Apr) John Newport Robert Molyns (or Mullens) [4]
1554 (Nov) John Newport John Chapell
1555 Thomas Dyer Edmund Lyte
1558 John Newport Robert Molyns (or Mullens)
1559 Sir Thomas Dyer Robert Molyns (or Mullens)
1563–1567 John Edwards Nicholas Halswell
1571 Edward Popham
1572–1581
1584–1585 Robert Blake
Parliament of 1586-1587 John Court
Parliament of 1588-1589 Alexander Popham
1593 Robert Bocking William Thomas
1597–1598 Alexander Jones Alexander Popham
1601 Sir Francis Hastings
1604–1611 Sir Nicholas Halswell John Povey
Addled Parliament (1614) Robert Halswell Thomas Warre
1621–1622 Roger Warre Edward Popham
Happy Parliament (1624-1625)
Useless Parliament (1625) Sir Arthur Lake
1625–1626
1628 Thomas Smith Sir Thomas Wroth
1629–1640 No Parliament summoned

1640-1868[edit]

Year First member[5] First party Second member[5] Second party
April 1640 Robert Blake Edmund Wyndham [6] Royalist
November 1640 Sir Peter Wroth Parliamentarian
February 1641 Thomas Smith Royalist
August 1642 Smith disabled from sitting — seat vacant
May 1644 Wroth died — seat vacant
1645 Admiral Robert Blake [7] Sir Thomas Wroth
1653 Bridgwater was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament
1654 Admiral Robert Blake Bridgwater had only one seat in the First and
Second Parliaments of the Protectorate
1656 Sir Thomas Wroth
January 1659 John Wroth
May 1659 One seat vacant
April 1660 Francis Rolle
1661 Edmund Wyndham John Tynte
November 1669 Sir Francis Rolle
December 1669 Peregrine Palmer
February 1679 Sir Halswell Tynte Sir Francis Rolle
September 1679 Ralph Stawell
1681 Sir John Malet
1685 Sir Francis Warre Tory
1689 Henry Bull Tory
1692 Robert Balch
1695 Nathaniel Palmer Roger Hoar
1698 George Crane
1699 Sir Francis Warre Tory
January 1701 John Gilbert George Balch Tory
November 1701 Sir Thomas Wroth
1708 George Dodington Whig
1710 Nathaniel Palmer Tory
1713 John Rolle
1715 George Dodington Whig Thomas Palmer Tory
1720 William Pitt
1722 George Bubb Dodington
1727 Sir Halswell Tynte Tory
1731 Thomas Palmer Tory
1735 Charles Wyndham Tory
1741 Vere Poulett Tory
1747 Peregrine Poulett Tory
1753 Robert Balch Tory
1754 The Earl of Egmont
1761 Edward Southwell
1762 Viscount Perceval [8]
1763 The Lord Coleraine
1768 Benjamin Allen [9]
1769 Hon. Anne Poulett Tory
1781 John Acland
1784 Rear-Admiral Alexander Hood [10]
1785 Robert Thornton
1790 Major the Hon. Vere Poulett [11] John Langston
1796 George Pocock Jeffreys Allen
1804 John Hudleston
1806 Major-General the Hon. Vere Poulett John Langston
1807 William Thornton Astell George Pocock
1820 Charles Kemeys Kemeys Tynte Whig
1832 William Tayleur Whig
1835 John Temple Leader Whig
May 1837 Henry Broadwood Conservative
August 1837 Philip Courtenay Conservative
1841 Thomas Seaton Forman Conservative
1847 Charles John Kemeys Tynte Whig
1852 Brent Spencer Follett Conservative
1857 Alexander William Kinglake Whig
1859 Liberal Liberal
1865 Henry Westropp [12] Conservative
1866 George Patton Conservative
1866 Philip Vanderbyl Liberal
1869 Writ suspended — both seats vacant [13]
1870 Constituency abolished for corruption and incorporated into the West Somerset county division from 4 July 1870

Bridgwater county division, 1885-present[edit]

  • County division created (1885)
Year Member[5] Party
1885 Edward Stanley Conservative
1906 Henry Greville Montgomery Liberal
1910 Rt Hon. Sir Robert Arthur Sanders, Bt, later Baron Bayford Conservative
1918 Coalition Conservative
1922 Conservative
1923 William Ewart Morse Liberal
1924 Brooks Crompton Wood Conservative
1929 Reginald Powell Croom-Johnson [14] Conservative
1938 Charles Vernon Oldfield Bartlett Independent Progressive[15]
1942 Common Wealth
1945 Independent
1950 Sir Gerald Wills Conservative
1970 Rt Hon Tom King, later Baron King of Bridgwater Conservative
2001 Ian Liddell-Grainger Conservative
2010 constituency abolished: see Bridgwater and West Somerset

Elections[edit]

Elections in the 1900s[edit]

General Election 1906: Bridgwater[16]

Electorate 10,180

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Henry Greville Montgomery 4,422 50.1 n/a
Conservative Robert Arthur Sanders 4,405 49.9 n/a
Majority 0.2 n/a
Turnout 86.7 n/a
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing n/a

Elections in the 1910s[edit]

General Election 1914/15: Another General Election was required to take place before the end of 1915. The political parties had been making preparations for an election to take place from 1914 and by the end of this year, the following candidates had been selected;

General Election 1918

Electorate 29,411

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist 12,587
Labour S. J. Plummer 5,771
Majority
Turnout
Unionist hold Swing
  • denotes candidate who was endorsed by the Coalition Government.

Elections in the 1920s[edit]

General Election 1922

Electorate 30,657

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist Sir Robert Arthur Sanders 11,240
Liberal William Ewart Morse 11,121
Labour Thomas Samuel Beauchamp-Williams 1,598
Majority
Turnout
Unionist hold Swing
General Election 1923

Electorate 31,317

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal William Ewart Morse 13,778
Unionist Rt Hon. Sir Robert Arthur Sanders 12,347
Majority 1,431
Turnout
Liberal gain from Unionist Swing
General Election 1924

Electorate 32,111

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist Brooks Crompton Wood 14,283 52.7
Liberal William Ewart Morse 10,842 40.0
Labour James Musgrave Boltz 1,966 7.3
Majority 3,441
Turnout
Unionist gain from Liberal Swing
General Election 1929

Electorate 41,068

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist Reginald Powell Croom-Johnson 15,440 46.8
Liberal Joseph William Molden 11,161 33.8
Labour James Musgrave Boltz 6,423 19.4
Majority 4,279 13.0
Turnout 33,024 80.4
Unionist hold Swing

Elections in the 1930s[edit]

General Election 1931: Bridgwater

Electorate: 42,034

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Reginald Powell Croom-Johnson 24,041 77.51
Labour James Musgrave Boltz 6,974 22.49
Majority 17,067 55.03
Turnout 73.79
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1935: Bridgwater

Electorate: 43,367

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Reginald Powell Croom-Johnson 17,939 56.86
Liberal N D Blake 7,370 23.36
Labour Cllr. Arthur W Loveys 6,240 19.78
Majority 10,569 33.50
Turnout 72.75
Conservative hold Swing
Bridgwater by-election, 1938

Electorate 44,653

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent Progressive Charles Vernon Oldfield Bartlett 19,540 53.2 +53.2
Conservative Patrick Gerald Heathcoat-Amory 17,208 46.8 -10.1
Majority 2,332 6.3
Turnout 36,748 82.3 +9.6
Independent Progressive gain from Conservative Swing

Elections in the 1940s[edit]

General Election 1939/40: Another General Election was required to take place before the end of 1940. The political parties had been making preparations for an election to take place and by the Autumn of 1939, the following candidates had been selected;

General Election 1945: Bridgwater

Electorate: 53,896

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent Progressive Charles Vernon Oldfield Bartlett 17,937 45.79
Conservative Gerald Wills 15,625 39.89
Labour N Corkhill 5,613 14.33
Majority 2,312 5.90
Turnout 72.69
Independent Progressive hold Swing

Elections in the 1950s[edit]

General Election 1950

Electorate 51,884

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Gerald Wills 21,732 48.84
Labour Norman E Carr 16,053 36.08
Independent Stephen King-Hall 6,708 15.08
Majority 5,679 12.76
Turnout 85.75
Conservative gain from Independent Progressive Swing
General Election 1951

Electorate 53,198

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Gerald Wills 25,365 56.34
Labour Norman E Carr 19,656 43.66
Majority 5,709 12.68
Turnout 84.63
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1955

Electorate : 53,920

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Gerald Wills 24,887 59.17
Labour Albert E Sumbler 17,170 40.83
Majority 7,717 18.35
Turnout 78.00
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1959

Electorate 55,770

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Sir Gerald Wills 23,002 50.44
Labour James Finnigan 14,706 32.25
Liberal Philip George Watkins 7,893 17.31
Majority 8,296 18.19
Turnout 81.77
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1960s[edit]

General Election 1964

Electorate 57,941

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Sir Gerald Wills 20,822 44.8
Labour Norman J Hart 14,645 31.5
Liberal Philip George Watkins 9,009 19.4
Independent Michael L de V Hart 2,038 4.4
Majority 6,177 13.3
Turnout 80.3
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1966

Electorate 58,515

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Sir Gerald Wills 20,850 44.4
Labour Richard Mayer 17,864 38.1
Liberal Philip George Watkins 8,205 17.5
Majority 2,986 6.3
Turnout 46,919 80.2 -0.1
Conservative hold Swing +3.5

Elections in the 1970s[edit]

Bridgwater by-election, 1970

Electorate 66,140

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Tom King 25,687 55.5 +11.1
Labour Richard Mayer 14,772 31.9 -6.2
Liberal Patrick M O'Loughlin 5,832 12.6 +4.9
Majority 10,915 14.8
Turnout 46,291 70.3 -9.9
Conservative hold Swing 8.6
General Election 1970

Electorate 66,140

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Tom King 26,685 52.3
Labour Raymond J Billington 18,224 35.8
Liberal Patrick M O'Loughlin 6,066 11.9
Majority 8,461 16.6
Turnout 50,975 77.0
Conservative hold Swing +5.3
General Election February 1974: Bridgwater
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Tom King 24,830 43.65
Labour R Undy 16,786 29.5
Liberal JHG Wyatt 15,269 26.8
Majority 8,044 14.1
Turnout 82.25
Conservative hold Swing
General Election October 1974: Bridgwater
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Tom King 23,850 44.3
Labour A Mitchell 17,663 32.78
Liberal JHG Wyatt 12,077 22.4
United Democratic SR Harrad 288 0.5
Majority 6,187 11.5
Turnout 77.2
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1979: Bridgwater
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Tom King 31,259 54.0
Labour J Beasant 16,809 29.05
Liberal Christina Baron 9,793 16.9
Majority 14,450 25.0
Turnout 79.2
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1980s[edit]

General Election 1983: Bridgwater
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Tom King 25,107 52.26
Social Democratic R Farley 14,410 30.00
Labour AJ May 8,524 17.74
Majority 10,697 22.27
Turnout 74.80
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1987: Bridgwater
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Tom King 27,177 51.52
Social Democratic C Clarke 15,982 30.30
Labour J Turner 9,594 18.19
Majority 11,195 21.22
Turnout 78.18
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1990s[edit]

General Election 1992: Bridgwater
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Tom King 26,610 46.76
Liberal Democrat WJ Revans 16,894 29.69
Labour PE James 12,365 21.73
Green G Dummett 746 1.31
Independent A Body 183 0.32
Natural Law G Sanson 112 0.20
Majority 9,716 17.07
Turnout 79.52
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1997: Bridgwater
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Tom King 20,174 36.93
Liberal Democrat Michael Hoban 18,378 33.65
Labour Roger Lavers 13,519 24.75
Referendum Party Fran Evens 2,551 4.67
Majority 1,796 3.29
Turnout 74.41
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 2000s[edit]

General Election 2001: Bridgwater
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Ian Liddell-Grainger 19,354 40.40
Liberal Democrat Ian Thorn 14,367 30.00
Labour Bill Monteith 12,803 26.80
UKIP Vicky Gardner 1,323 2.80
Majority 4,987 10.40
Turnout 64.40
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 2005: Bridgwater
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Ian Liddell-Grainger 21,240 44.10
Labour Matthew Burchell 12,771 26.50
Liberal Democrat James Main 10,940 22.70
UKIP Raymond Weinstein 1,767 3.70
Green Charlie Graham 1,391 2.90
Majority 8,469 17.60
Turnout 63.50
Conservative hold Swing

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "THOMER (TOMERE), William, of Bridgwater, Som.". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 2012-10-28. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w "History of Parliament". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "History of Parliament". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  4. ^ Browne Willis gives Molyns' name only tentatively for 1555
  5. ^ a b c "Bridgwater". The History of Parliament. The History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  6. ^ Expelled as a monopolist, January 1641
  7. ^ Cobbett lists the second MP elected in 1645 as John Palmer, MD, and gives Blake as MP for Taunton. Brunton & Pennington agree with the Dictionary of National Biography in naming Blake as MP for Bridgwater and Palmer for Taunton.
  8. ^ Perceval was initially declared re-elected in 1768, but on petition he was judged not to have been duly elected and his opponent, Poulett, was seated in his place.
  9. ^ Allen was initially declared re-elected in 1780, but on petition he was judged not to have been duly elected and his opponent, Acland, was seated in his place.
  10. ^ Vice-Admiral from 1787
  11. ^ Lieutenant-Colonel from 1793, Colonel from 1796
  12. ^ The election of Westropp was declared void and a by-election was held
  13. ^ The election of Kinglake and Vanderbyl in 1868 declared void. The writ (of election) was suspended and a Royal Commission was appointed, which reported that it had found proof of extensive bribery.
  14. ^ Croom-Johnson vacated his seat on appointment as a Justice of the High Court.
  15. ^ Bartlett contested the 1938 by-election with the support of the local Labour and Liberal Associations, standing on a Popular Front and anti-appeasement programme.
  16. ^ British parliamentary election results, 1885-1918 (Craig)
  17. ^ Western Daily Press, 13 Jan 1939

Sources[edit]

  • Boundaries of Parliamentary Constituencies 1885-1972, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Parliamentary Reference Publications 1972)
  • British Parliamentary Election Results 1832-1885, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Macmillan Press 1977)
  • British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Macmillan Press 1974)
  • British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Macmillan Press, revised edition 1977)
  • British Parliamentary Election Results 1950-1973, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Parliamentary Research Services 1983)
  • Who's Who of British Members of Parliament: Volume I 1832-1885, edited by M. Stenton (The Harvester Press 1976)
  • Who's Who of British Members of Parliament, Volume II 1886-1918, edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (Harvester Press 1978)
  • Who's Who of British Members of Parliament, Volume III 1919-1945, edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (Harvester Press 1979)
  • Who's Who of British Members of Parliament, Volume IV 1945-1979, edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (Harvester Press 1981)
  • Robert Beatson, A Chronological Register of Both Houses of Parliament (London: Longman, Hurst, Res & Orme, 1807) [1]
  • 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) [2]
  • Esther S Cope and Willson H Coates (eds), Camden Fourth Series, Volume 19: Proceedings of the Short Parliament of 1640 (London: Royal Historical Society, 1977)
  • Maija Jansson (ed.), Proceedings in Parliament, 1614 (House of Commons) (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1988) [3]
  • J E Neale, The Elizabethan House of Commons (London: Jonathan Cape, 1949)
  • 'Bridgwater: Parliamentary representation' in Victoria County History of Somerset: Volume 6 (1992)