City of London (elections to the Parliament of England)

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For details of Parliamentary elections in the City of London, to the Parliament of Great Britain (1707-1800) and the Parliament of the United Kingdom (from 1801); see City of London (UK Parliament constituency).
City of London
Former Borough constituency
for the House of Commons
1298–1950

The City of London was a Parliamentary constituency of the Parliament of England until 1707.

Boundaries and history to 1707[edit]

This borough constituency consisted of the City of London, which was the historic core of the modern Greater London. In the twenty-first century, the City forms part of the London Region of England.

The southern boundary of the City is the north bank of the River Thames. The City of Westminster is situated to the west. The districts of Holborn and Finsbury are to the north, Shoreditch to the north-east and Whitechapel to the east.

Before 1298, the area was represented as part of the county constituency of Middlesex. The City formed part of the geographic county, even though from early times it was not administered as part of Middlesex.

London is first known to have been enfranchised and represented in Parliament in 1298. It was the most important city in England and was administered as a county of itself from before boroughs were first represented in Parliament. It received four seats in Parliament instead of the normal two for an English constituency. The extra two seats (whose holders were known as Knights, like the representatives of a county) were supposed to represent the county like status of London. No such extra seats were awarded to other cities or boroughs which received the status of being counties of themselves in later times.

By the sixteenth century it was the practice for the Court of Aldermen to summon a meeting at the Guildhall. The Aldermen met and selected two candidates to sit as the City's Knights in Parliament. One was normally an Alderman (probably a former Lord Mayor of the City of London). The other was normally the Recorder of London, whose legal expertise was essential to the City which had a lot of legislation it wanted drafted and passed by Parliament. On one occasion in the sixteenth century the Recorder was already a burgess representing another borough in Parliament, so two Aldermen were chosen.

The Aldermen also prepared a list of twelve prominent Londoners, who were not themselves Aldermen. The nominees for Knight were then put to the liverymen, who had been waiting whilst the Aldermen met, for approval and an election was held to select two Citizens from the list of twelve nominees to fill the other two seats in the House of Commons. The London election thus took place in a single day.

If the Recorder resigned during a Parliament or a Citizen was elected an Alderman, he was disqualified and the new Recorder or another Citizen (as the case might require) was elected.

At some point after 1603 the City adopted a more normal system for nominations and elections. The two London Sheriffs appointed a day for candidates nominations to be submitted, at a meeting in the Guildhall. If there were more than four candidates a poll was held at a later date which usually extended for several weeks. Although it was no longer a legal requirement, there was a custom that two City seats were filled by Aldermen and two by non-Aldermen.

During the Protectorate the City was allocated six seats in the House of Commons, under the terms of the Instrument of Government adopted on 15 December 1653. However by the time the Third Protectorate Parliament assembled in 1659 the constituency had reverted to its traditional four seats.

The City of London was a densely populated area in the period up to 1707. The composition of the City electorate was not as democratic as that of some other borough constituencies, such as neighbouring Westminster. The right of election was held by members of the Livery Companies. However the size and wealth of the community meant that it had more voters than most other borough constituencies. Only Westminster had a larger borough electorate. Duke Henning estimated the City liverymen at about 4,000 in 1661 and about 6,000 by 1680.

Members of the House of Commons[edit]

Some of the members elected during this period have been identified. The Roman numerals in brackets, following some names, are those used to distinguish different politicians of the same name in 'The House of Commons' 1509-1558 and 1558-1603. As there are considerable gaps between some of the Parliaments in this period, each members career is sub-divided by Parliament in the tables, even if he served in successive Parliaments.

The elected date is for the City constituency. When an exact general election date is unavailable, the year or years between the dates of the Parliament being summoned and assembling, are used.

14th-century[edit]

Parliament First member Second member
1378 John Northampton
1379 William More
1381 Hugh Fastolf
1382 (May) Hugh Fastolf?
1383 Nicholas Brembre
February 1388 William More
January 1390 William More
November 1390 William More [1]
1391 John Prophet[2] William Standon[3]
1394 William Standon[3]
January 1397 William Standon[3]
1397 William Hyde

15th-century[edit]

Parliament First member Second member
1404 William Standon[3] 1406 William Standon[3] 1417 John Welles[4]
1423 John Welles[4]
1425 John Welles[4]
1426 John Welles[4]
1427 John Welles[4]
1433 John Welles[4]
1438 William Burton[5]

Parliaments of King Henry VIII of England[edit]

No. Summoned Elected Assembled Dissolved
1st 17 October 1509 1509/10 21 January 1510 23 February 1510
2nd 28 November 1511 1511/12 4 February 1512 4 March 1514
3rd 23 November 1514 1514/15 5 February 1515 22 December 1515
4th ...  ?1523 15 April 1523 13 August 1523
5th 9 August 1529 1529 3 November 1529 14 April 1536
6th 27 April 1536 1536 8 June 1536 18 July 1536
7th 1 March 1539 1539 28 April 1539 24 July 1540
8th 23 November 1541 1541/42 16 January 1542 28 March 1544
9th 1 December 1544 19 January 1545 23 November 1545 31 January 1547
No Elected 1st member 2nd member 3rd member 4th member
1st 1509/10 Sir John Tate John Chaloner [I] James Yarford John Brydges
1510 Thomas More [I] (a)
2nd 1511/12 Sir William Capell Richard Broke William Calley John Kyme [I]
3rd 1514/15 Sir William Capell Richard Broke William Calley (b) John Kyme [I]
1515 unknown
4th  ?1523 George Monoux William Shelley John Hewster (c) William Roche
5th 1529 Sir Thomas Seymour (d) John Baker [I] (g) John Petyt (e) Paul Withypoll
18 February 1533 William Bowyer (f)
 ?1534 Sir Roger Cholmley known as Sir Roger Cholmeley
27 October 1534 Robert Pakington
1535 unknown
6th 1536 unknown Sir Roger Cholmley known as Sir Roger Cholmeley (h) unknown unknown
7th 1539 Sir Richard Gresham Sir Roger Cholmley known as Sir Roger Cholmeley  ?Richard Fermor (i) Paul Withypoll
8th 1541/42 Sir William Roche Sir Roger Cholmley known as Sir Roger Cholmeley John Sturgeon Nicholas Wilford
9th 19 January 1545 Sir William Roche Sir Roger Cholmley known as Sir Roger Cholmeley John Sturgeon Paul Withypoll
February 1545 Sir William Forman
February 1545 Sir Richard Gresham (j)
17 November 1545 Robert Broke (k)

Notes:-

  • (a) More was elected at a by-election, held on an unknown date in 1510, before the Parliament assembled. He replaced James Yarford, who was disqualified from serving as a Citizen in Parliament when he was elected an Alderman of the City (see explanation above about who was eligible for which of the seats).
  • (b) Calley ceased to be an MP on 6 September 1515. It is unknown who replaced him.
  • (c) Hewster was also known by the alias of John Brampton.
  • (d) Seymour resigned his seat, because of ill health, in December 1535. It is unknown who replaced him.
  • (e) Petyt died and was replaced by William Bowyer (see note f). The by-election was held by 18 February 1533.
  • (f) Bowyer was disqualified upon election as an Alderman. Robert Pakington was elected to fill the vacancy, at a by-election on 27 October 1534.
  • (g) Baker was disqualified upon his resignation as Recorder of London. Sir Roger Cholmley known as Sir Roger Cholmeley was appointed Recorder on 17 June 1534 and by April 1536 he had been elected to Parliament at a by-election.
  • (h) Cholmley is known to have been a member of this Parliament as he is mentioned in the Parliamentary records. His colleagues are unknown however.
  • (i) Fermor has been inferred to have been the member, but this is not fully confirmed so the relevant volume of the House of Commons prefixed the name with a question mark.
  • (j) Gresham was elected at a by-election. Sir William Roche had originally been re-elected, but in January 1545 the King ordered that he be replaced. Sir William Forman was elected at a by-election in February 1545, but due to ill-health he was replaced by Gresham.
  • (k) Broke was elected at a by-election on 17 November 1545, following Sir Roger Cholmeley (who was originally elected) becoming disqualified when he resigned as Recorder of London on his appointment to the senior judicial office of Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer.

Parliaments of King Edward VI of England[edit]

No. Summoned Elected Assembled Dissolved
1st 2 August 1547 1547 4 November 1547 15 April 1552
2nd 5 January 1553 1553 1 March 1553 31 March 1553
No Elected 1st member 2nd member 3rd member 4th member
1st 1547 Sir Martin Bowes Robert Broke Thomas Curteys (a) Thomas Bacon
4 March 1552 John Blundell
2nd 1553 Sir Martin Bowes Robert Broke John Marshe John Blundell

Note:-

  • (a) Curteys was disqualified from continuing to serve as a Citizen in Parliament, upon his election as an Alderman. John Blundell was elected to fill the vacancy at a by-election on 4 March 1552.

Parliaments of Queen Mary I of England[edit]

No. Summoned Elected Assembled Dissolved
1st 14 August 1553 1553 5 October 1553 5 December 1553
2nd 17 February 1554 1554 2 April 1554 3 May 1554
3rd 3 October 1554 1554 12 November 1554 16 January 1555
4th 3 September 1555 1555 21 October 1555 9 December 1555
5th 6 December 1557 1557/58 20 January 1558 17 November 1558
No Elected 1st member 2nd member 3rd member 4th member
1st 1553 Sir Rowland Hill Robert Broke John Marshe John Blundell
2nd 1554 Sir Martin Bowes Robert Broke John Marshe John Blundell
3rd 1554 Sir Martin Bowes Ralph Cholmley Richard Grafton Richard Burnell
4th 1555 Sir Martin Bowes Ralph Cholmley Philip Bold Nicholas Chowne
5th 1558 Sir William Garrard Ralph Cholmley John Marshe Richard Grafton

Parliaments of Queen Elizabeth I of England[edit]

No. Summoned Elected Assembled Dissolved
1st 5 December 1558 9 January 1559 23 January 1559 8 May 1559
2nd 10 November 1562 December 1562 11 January 1563 2 January 1567
3rd ... March 1571 2 April 1571 29 May 1571
4th 28 March 1572 April 1572 8 May 1572 19 April 1583
5th 12 October 1584 22 October 1584 23 November 1584 14 September 1585
6th 15 September 1586 3 October 1586 15 October 1586 23 March 1587
7th 18 September 1588 1 October 1588 4 February 1589 29 March 1589
8th 4 January 1593 27 November 1592 18 February 1593 10 April 1593
9th 23 August 1597 3 or 4 October 1597 24 October 1597 9 February 1598
10th 11 September 1601 6 October 1601 27 October 1601 19 December 1601
No Elected 1st member 2nd member 3rd member 4th member
1st 9 January 1559 Sir Martin Bowes Ralph Cholmley John Marshe Richard Hills
2nd December 1562 Sir Martin Bowes Ralph Cholmley (a) Lawrence Withers John Marshe
October 1566 Sir John White
3rd March 1571 Sir John White Thomas Wilbraham John Marshe Thomas Norton
4th April 1572 Sir Rowland Hayward William Fleetwood [I] John Marshe (b) Thomas Norton
7 October 1579 Thomas Aldersey
5th 22 October 1584 Sir Nicholas Woodrofe William Fleetwood [I] Thomas Aldersey Walter Fish (c)
September 1585 Henry Billingsley
6th 3 October 1586 Sir Edward Osborne William Fleetwood [I] Thomas Aldersey Richard Saltonstall
7th 1 October 1588 Sir George Barne William Fleetwood [I] Thomas Aldersey Andrew Palmer
8th 27 November 1592 Sir John Hart Edward Drew Andrew Palmer George Southerton
9th 3 or 4 October 1597 Sir John Hart John Croke [III] George Southerton Thomas Fettiplace
10th 6 October 1601 Sir Stephen Soame John Croke [III] Thomas Fettiplace John Pynder

Notes:-

  • (a) Cholmley died on 25 April 1563. Sir John White was elected to fill the vacancy at a by-election in October 1566.
  • (b) Marshe died and Thomas Aldersey was elected to fill the vacancy at a by-election on 7 October 1579.
  • (c) Fish died and Henry Billingsley was elected to fill the vacancy at a by-election in September 1585.

Parliaments of King James I of England[edit]

No. Summoned Elected Assembled Dissolved
1st 31 January 1604 1604 19 March 1604 9 February 1611
2nd ...  ?1614 5 April 1614 7 June 1614
3rd 13 November 1620 1620/21 16 January 1621 8 February 1622
4th 20 December 1623 1623/24 12 February 1624 27 March 1625
No. Elected 1st member 2nd member 3rd member 4th member
1st 1604 Nicholas Fuller Sir Henry Montague Sir Henry Billingsley Richard Gore
2nd 1614 Nicholas Fuller Sir Henry Montague Robert Middleton Sir Thomas Lowe
3rd 1621 William Towerson Robert Heath Robert Bateman Sir Thomas Lowe
4th 1624 Sir Thomas Middleton Heneage Finch Robert Bateman Martin Bond

Parliaments of King Charles I of England[edit]

No. Summoned Elected Assembled Dissolved
1st 2 April 1625 1625 17 May 1625 12 August 1625
2nd 20 December 1625 1625/26 6 February 1626 15 June 1626
3rd 31 January 1628 1628 17 March 1628 10 March 1629
4th 20 February 1640 1640 13 April 1640 5 May 1640
5th 24 September 1640 1640 3 November 1640 16 March 1660
No. Elected 1st member 2nd member 3rd member 4th member
1st 1625 Sir Thomas Middleton Heneage Finch Robert Bateman Martin Bond
2nd 1626 Sir Thomas Middleton Heneage Finch Sir Robert Bateman Sir Maurice Abbot
3rd 1628 Thomas Moulson Christopher Clitherow Henry Waller James Bunce
4th 1640 Thomas Soame Isaac Pennington Samuel Vassall Matthew Cradock
5th 1640 Sir Thomas Soame
(excluded 1648)
Isaac Pennington Samuel Vassall
(excluded 1648)
Matthew Cradock (died 1641)
John Venn (died 1650)

Parliaments of the Commonwealth[edit]

The Long Parliament or the selection of members from it known as the Rump Parliament functioned de facto during part of the Commonwealth of England period. It existed (in a sense) de jure 1640-1660, as under a pre-English Civil War law, the Long Parliament could not be lawfully dissolved without its own consent which it did not give until 1660. As it was a Parliament originally summoned by King Charles I, the overall dates of the Long Parliament are given in the previous section.

The Barebones Parliament was an appointed body, so the City was not an electoral constituency represented as such in it. That body was summoned on 20 June 1653, first met on 4 July 1653 and was dissolved on 12 December 1653.

Year 1st member 2nd member 3rd member 4th member 5th member 6th member 7th member
1653 Robert Tichborne John Ireton Samuel Moyer John Stone Henry Barton John Langley Praise-God Barebone

Parliaments of the Protectorate[edit]

During the Protectorate the City was allocated six representatives in the First and the Second Protectorate Parliaments, before reverting to four for the Third Protectorate Parliament.

No. Summoned Elected Assembled Dissolved
1st 1 June 1654 1654 3 September 1654 22 January 1655
2nd 10 July 1656 1656 17 September 1656 4 February 1658
3rd 9 December 1658 1658/59 27 January 1659 22 April 1659
Year 1st member 2nd member 3rd member 4th member 5th member 6th member
1654 Thomas Adams Thomas Foote William Steele John Langham Samuel Avery Andrew Riccard
1656 Thomas Adams Theophilus Biddulph Richard Browne Thomas Foote Sir Christopher Pack John Jones
1659 Theophilus Biddulph Richard Browne William Thompson John Jones

Knights and Citizens serving 1660-1707[edit]

Key to parties: T Tory; W Whig.

From To Name Born Died
1660 1660 William Wilde c. 1611 23 November 1679
1660 1660 Richard Browne c. 1610 24 September 1669
1660 1660 John Robinson 10 January 1615 February 1680
1660 1660 William Vincent c. 1615 1661
1661 1662 John Fowke c. 1596 22 April 1662
1661 1679 Sir William Thompson 10 April 1614 c. April 1681
1661 1681 William Love c. 1620 1 May 1689
1661 1679 John Jones c. 1610 21 May 1692
1663 1679 Sir John Frederick 25 October 1601 19 March 1685
1679 1681 Sir Robert Clayton 29 September 1629 16 July 1707
1679 1681 Sir Thomas Player ... 14 June 1686
1679 1681 Thomas Pilkington 30 March 1628 16 November 1691
1685 1687 Sir John Moore 11 June 1620 2 June 1702
1685 1687 Sir William Prichard c. 1632 18 February 1705
1685 1687 Sir Samuel Dashwood c. 1643 12 August 1705
1685 1687 Sir Peter Rich c. 1630 26 August 1692
1689 1690 Sir Patience Ward 7 December 1629 10 July 1696
1689 1690 Sir Robert Clayton 29 September 1629 16 July 1707
1689 1689 William Love c. 1620 1 May 1689
1689 1690 Thomas Pilkington 30 March 1628 16 November 1691
1689 1690 Sir William Ashhurst 26 April 1647 12 January 1720
1690 1695 Sir William Prichard c. 1632 18 February 1705
1690 1695 Sir Samuel Dashwood c. 1643 12 August 1705
1690 1693 Sir William Turner 12 September 1615 9 February 1693
1690 1695 Sir Thomas Vernon 10 December 1631 10 February 1711
1693 1701 Sir John Fleet 18 March 1648 6 July 1712
1695 1698 Sir Robert Clayton 29 September 1629 16 July 1707
1695 1702 Sir William Ashhurst 26 April 1647 12 January 1720
1695 1701 Thomas Papillon 6 September 1623 5 May 1702
1698 1701 Sir James Houblon 26 July 1629 October 1700
1701 1702 Sir Robert Clayton 29 September 1629 16 July 1707
1701 1701 Sir William Withers (T) c. 1654 31 January 1721
1701 1701 Gilbert Heathcote (a) 2 January 1652 25 January 1733
1701 1701 Sir John Fleet 18 March 1648 6 July 1712
1701 1702 Sir Thomas Abney January 1640 6 February 1722
1701 1707 (b) Sir Gilbert Heathcote 2 January 1652 25 January 1733
1702 1705 Sir William Prichard c. 1632 18 February 1705
1702 1705 Sir John Fleet 18 March 1648 6 July 1712
1702 1705 Sir Francis Child 14 December 1642 4 October 1713
1705 1707 (b) Sir Robert Clayton 29 September 1629 16 July 1707
1705 1707 (b) Samuel Shepheard c. 1648 4 January 1719
1705 1707 (b) Sir William Ashhurst 26 April 1647 12 January 1720
  • Notes:-
  • (a) Expelled
  • (b) Continued in Parliament after the Union took effect on 1 May 1707.

Elections[edit]

Election dates 1660-1710[edit]

Dates of general and by-elections from 1660 (excluding some general elections at which no new MP was returned).

  • 27 Mar 1660 GE
  • 19 Mar 1661 GE
  • 10 Feb 1663 BE
  • 17 Feb 1679 GE
  • -7 Oct 1679 GE
  • -4 Feb 1681 GE
  • 15 May 1685 GE
  • -9 Jan 1689 GE
  • 14 May 1689 BE
  • 11 Mar 1690
  • -2 Mar 1693
  • 25 Oct 1695
  • 30 Jul 1698
  • -1 Feb 1701
  • 20 Mar 1701
  • 24 Nov 1701
  • 18 Aug 1702
  • 17 May 1705
  • 16 Dec 1707
  • 14 May 1708
  • 16 Nov 1710

Election results 1660-1690[edit]

General Election 27 March 1660: City of London (4 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Non Partisan William Wilde Unopposed N/A N/A
Non Partisan Richard Browne Unopposed N/A N/A
Non Partisan John Robinson Unopposed N/A N/A
Non Partisan William Vincent Unopposed N/A N/A
General Election 19 March 1661: City of London (4 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Non Partisan John Fowke Elected N/A N/A
Non Partisan Sir William Thompson Elected N/A N/A
Non Partisan William Love Elected N/A N/A
Non Partisan John Jones Elected N/A N/A
Non Partisan Sir Richard Ford Defeated N/A N/A
  • Death of Fowke 22 April 1662
By-Election 10 February 1663: City of London
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Non Partisan Sir John Frederick Unopposed N/A N/A
Non Partisan hold Swing N/A
General Election 17 February 1679: City of London (4 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Non Partisan Sir Robert Clayton Elected N/A N/A
Non Partisan Sir Thomas Player Elected N/A N/A
Non Partisan William Love Elected N/A N/A
Non Partisan Thomas Pilkington Elected N/A N/A
Non Partisan Sir Joseph Sheldon Defeated N/A N/A
General Election 7 October 1679: City of London (4 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Non Partisan Sir Robert Clayton Unopposed N/A N/A
Non Partisan Sir Thomas Player Unopposed N/A N/A
Non Partisan William Love Unopposed N/A N/A
Non Partisan Thomas Pilkington Unopposed N/A N/A
General Election 15 May 1685: City of London (4 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Non Partisan Sir John Moore Unopposed N/A N/A
Non Partisan Sir William Prichard Unopposed N/A N/A
Non Partisan Sir Samuel Dashwood Unopposed N/A N/A
Non Partisan Sir Peter Rich Unopposed N/A N/A
General Election 9 January 1689: City of London (4 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Non Partisan Sir Patience Ward Unopposed N/A N/A
Non Partisan Sir Robert Clayton Unopposed N/A N/A
Non Partisan William Love Unopposed N/A N/A
Non Partisan Thomas Pilkington Unopposed N/A N/A
  • Death of Love 1 May 1689
By-Election 14 May 1689: City of London
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Non Partisan Sir William Ashhurst c. 1,700 c. 60.71 N/A
Non Partisan Sir Samuel Dashwood c. 1,100 c. 39.29 N/A
Majority c. 600 c. 21.43 N/A
Non Partisan hold Swing N/A

See also[edit]

References[edit]