Rochester (UK Parliament constituency)

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Former Borough constituency
for the House of Commons
County Kent
Number of members 1295–1885: Two
1885–1918: One
Replaced by Chatham

Rochester was a parliamentary constituency in Kent. It returned two members of parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons of England from 1295 to 1707, then to the House of Commons of Great Britain from 1708 to 1800, and finally to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 until the 1885 general election, when its representation was reduced to one seat.

In 1918, it was split between Chatham, Gillingham and the "old", rural, Medway constituency. The Chatham seat became Rochester and Chatham in 1950, and then Medway in 1983. When the boroughs of Rochester upon Medway and Gillingham merged to form the larger unitary Borough of Medway in 1998, the Parliamentary constituency of Medway only covered part of the new borough, so for the next election it will be renamed Rochester and Strood.

Members of Parliament[edit]

MPs 1295–1640[edit]

Parliament First member Second member
1386 John Fleming Peter Pope[1]
1388 (Feb) William Gillingham I John Marchaunt I[1]
1388 (Sep) Richard Crowborough Thomas White[1]
1390 (Jan) Richard Bolour John Mateshale[1]
1390 (Nov)
1391 Thomas Dudmere William Gillingham II[1]
1393 William Chylynden William Osbourne[1]
1395 Richard Broke Thomas Taverner[1]
1397 (Jan) John Plomer II John Precy[1]
1397 (Sep)
1399 William Frere John Precy[1]
1401 Richard Berde Reynold Shrewsbury[1]
1402 Thomas Dudmere Reynold Shrewsbury[1]
1404 (Jan) Thomas Dunston William Frere[1]
1404 (Oct) Thomas Dudmere Richard Lorkyn[1]
1406 Thomas Chertsey Reynold Shrewsbury[1]
1407 John Everard I John Bosom[1]
1410 John Alcate Thomas Chertsey[1]
1411 John Everard I Roger Landford[1]
1413 (Feb)
1413 (May) John Deeping Roger Landford[1]
1414 (Apr)
1414 (Nov) John Deeping Richard Lorkyn[1]
1416 (Mar) Robert Bury John Potager[1]
1416 (Oct)
1417 Thomas Bolour John Marchaunt III[1]
1419 William Hunt I Robert Kela[1]
1420 John Draper Thomas Turner[1]
1421 (May)
1421 (Dec) John Deeping John Marchaunt III[1]
1510–1523 No names known[2]
1529 Nicholas Hurleston, died
and repl. by 1533 by
Edmund Page
Robert Fisher[2]
1536  ?
1539  ?
1542  ?
1545 Sir Thomas Moyle William Roper[2]
1547 Sir Thomas Moyle William Roper[2]
1553 (Mar) Sir John Norton Christopher Roper[2]
1553 (Oct) Sir Thomas Moyle Robert Darknall[2]
1554 (Apr) Sir Thomas Moyle William Roper[2]
1554 (Nov) William Roper Edward Baeshe[2]
1555 Sir George Howard Sir William Brooke alias Cobham[2]
1558 Hugh Cartwright Thomas Page[2]
1559 Edward Baeshe Thomas Brooke alias Cobham[3]
1562/3 Edward Baeshe Richard Watts[3]
1571 William Holstock George Catlyn[3]
1572 George Catelyn William Partridge, sick
and repl. 1579 by
Samuel Coxe[3]
1584 William Brooke alias Cobham George Byng[3]
1586 William Brooke alias Cobham William Lewin[3]
1588 William Lewin John Stanhope[3]
1593 William Lewin George Chowne[3]
1597 Sir Edward Hoby Sir Thomas Walsingham[3]
1601 Sir Edward Hoby Sir Thomas Walsingham[3]
1604 Sir Edward Hoby Sir Thomas Walsingham
1614 Sir Edward Hoby Sir Anthony Aucher refused to serve
and replaced by
Sir Edwin Sandys
1621–1622 Sir Thomas Walsingham (younger) Henry Clerke
1624 Maximilian Dallison Sir Thomas Walsingham (elder)
1625 Henry Clerke Sir Thomas Walsingham (elder)
1626 Henry Clerke Sir Thomas Walsingham (elder)
1628 Sir Thomas Walsingham (younger) William Brooke
1629–1640 No Parliaments summoned

MPs 1640–1885[edit]

Year First member First party Second member Second party
April 1640 Sir Thomas Walsingham John Clerke
November 1640 Sir Thomas Walsingham Parliamentarian Richard Lee Parliamentarian
December 1648 Lee excluded in Pride's Purge – seat vacant
1653 Rochester was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament
1654 John Parker Rochester had only one seat in the First and
Second Parliaments of the Protectorate
January 1659 Peter Pett Richard Hutchinson
May 1659 Sir Thomas Walsingham One seat vacant
1660 Peter Pett John Marsham
1661 Sir Francis Clerke Sir William Batten
1667 Sir Richard Head
February 1679 Sir John Banks
August 1679 Francis Barrell
1681 Sir Francis Clerke
1689 Sir Roger Twisden
1690 Sir Joseph Williamson Francis Clerke
1691 Caleb Banks
1695 Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell
1701 Francis Barrell William Bokenham
1702 Edward Knatchbull William Cage
1705 Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell Admiral Sir Stafford Fairborne
1708 Admiral Sir John Leake
1710 William Cage
1715 Sir Thomas Palmer, Bt Admiral Sir John Jennings
1724 Sir Thomas Colby
1727 David Polhill
1734 Admiral Nicholas Haddock
1741 Admiral Edward Vernon[4]
1743 David Polhill
1746 Admiral Sir Chaloner Ogle
1751 Admiral The Hon. John Byng
1754 Nicholas Haddock
1757 Admiral Isaac Townsend
1761 Viscount Parker
1764 Admiral Sir Charles Hardy
1765 Grey Cooper
1768 John Calcraft William Gordon
1771 Admiral Thomas Pye
1772 George Finch-Hatton
1774 Robert Gregory
1784 Captain Sir Charles Middleton[5] Nathaniel Smith
1790 George Best Admiral Sir Richard Bickerton
1792 Nathaniel Smith
1794 Admiral Sir Richard King
1796 Hon. Henry Tufton
1802 Captain Sir Sidney Smith[6] James Hulkes
1806 John Calcraft Whig James Barnett
1807 Sir Thomas Boulden Thompson
1816 James Barnett
1818 Lord Binning Tory
1820 Ralph Bernal
1826 Captain Henry Dundas
1830 Lord Villiers
1831 John Mills Tory
1835 Thomas Twisden Hodges
1837 Thomas Benjamin Hobhouse
1841 James Douglas Stoddart Douglas William Henry Bodkin
1847 Ralph Bernal Thomas Twisden Hodges
1852 Hon. Francis Child Villiers Sir Thomas Maddock
1856 by-election Philip Wykeham Martin
1857 John Alexander Kinglake
1870 by-election Julian Goldsmid Liberal
1878 by-election Sir Arthur Otway
1880 Roger Leigh
1885 Representation reduced to one-member

MPs 1885–1918[edit]

Election Member Party
1885 Francis Charles Hughes-Hallett Conservative
1889 by-election Edward Knatchbull-Hugessen Liberal
1892 Horatio David Davies Conservative
1893 by-election Viscount Cranborne Conservative
1903 by-election Charles Tuff Conservative
1906 Ernest Lamb Liberal
1910 Samuel Forde Ridley Conservative
1910 Sir Ernest Lamb Liberal, later Labour
1918 constituency abolished: see Chatham and Gillingham


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x "History of Parliament". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "History of Parliament". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "History of Parliament". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  4. ^ Vernon was also elected for Ipswich, which he chose to represent, and did not sit for Rochester
  5. ^ Rear Admiral from 1787
  6. ^ Rear Admiral from 1805

Elections in the 1900s[edit]

Rochester by-election, 1903
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Charles Tuff 2,504 55.8
Liberal Sir Harry Johnston 1,983 44.2
Majority 521 11.6
Turnout 4,487 86.2
Conservative hold Swing


  • 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]
  • Maija Jansson (ed.), Proceedings in Parliament, 1614 (House of Commons) (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1988)
  • J E Neale, The Elizabethan House of Commons (London: Jonathan Cape, 1949)
  • Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "R" (part 2)[self-published source][better source needed]

Coordinates: 51°23′N 0°30′E / 51.383°N 0.500°E / 51.383; 0.500