Truro (UK Parliament constituency)

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Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
County Cornwall
Major settlements Truro, St Austell
Number of members One
Replaced by Truro & St Austell
Created from Penryn and Falmouth
Number of members One
Type of constituency County constituency
Replaced by Penryn and Falmouth, St Ives and Camborne
Created from Helston, Truro and West Cornwall
Number of members Two
Type of constituency Borough constituency
Replaced by Truro

Truro was the name of a parliamentary constituency in Cornwall represented in the House of Commons of England and later of Great Britain from 1295 until 1800, then in the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1918 and finally from 1950 to 1997. Until 1885 it was a parliamentary borough, electing two members of parliament (MPs) by the plurality-at-large system of election; the name was then transferred to the surrounding county constituency, which elected a single Member by the first past the post system. In 1997, although there had been no changes to its boundaries, it was renamed as Truro and St Austell, reflecting the fact that St Austell by then had a larger population than Truro.


1295–1885: The parliamentary borough before 1832 consisted of only part of the town (not yet a city) of Truro. It was extended by the Great Reform Act of 1832 to contain the whole town, namely St Mary parish and parts of the parishes of St Kenwyn and St Clement, but nothing beyond that.

The Truro constituency as it existed 1983–1997, shown within Cornwall

1885–1918: The county division took in a considerable area of South-West Cornwall, including (as well as Truro itself) the town of Helston. Also, in the towns of Falmouth and Penryn, which together constituted a borough constituency adjoining Truro, the freeholders could vote in the Truro division. This constituency was abolished in 1918, being divided between the new or revised Penryn and Falmouth, St Ives and Camborne county constituencies.

1950–1997: The new county constituency, different from the previous one, consisted of the borough of Truro, St Austell Urban District and part of Truro and St Austell rural districts. There were minor changes in 1974, and more substantrial ones in 1983 when the area round Fowey was transferred to South East Cornwall. After the local government re-organisation of the 1970s this area was within the new district of Carrick (which contains the city of Truro) and borough of Restormel (which contains St Austell).


The constituency has existed in a number of different forms. The constituency of Truro, up until 1885 elected two members to parliament; this was reduced to one. In 1918 the constituency was abolished but it was recreated again in 1950.

The seat became a safe Lib Dem bet thanks to the popularity and eloquence of its former MP, David Penhaligon. His death in a car crash, aged only 42, robbed the House of Commons of one of its most independent-minded and pragmatic members. His successor, Matthew Taylor, held the seat comfortably from a by-election in 1987, and remained its MP after the name change in 1997.

Members of Parliament[edit]

Truro Parliamentary borough[edit]

MPs 1295–1629[edit]

  • Constituency created (1295)
Parliament First member Second member
1358 John Hamely[1]
1386 John Tregoose Robert Clerk[2]
1388 (Feb) Henry Gourlyn John Tremayne[2]
1388 (Sep) John Tr...uran John Trebernet[2]
1390 (Jan) John Coke Walter Bloyowe[2]
1390 (Nov)
1391 John Urban Roger Juyl[2]
1393 Ralph Trenewith I Walter Bloyowe[2]
1395 Richard Respryn Andrew Borlase[2]
1397 (Jan) John Trereise John Megre[2]
1397 (Sep) Nicholas Trenewith John Lawhire[2]
1399 Richard Carhorta Pascoe Polruddan[2]
1402 Ralph Kayl John Trereise[2]
1404 (Jan)
1404 (Oct)
1406 Ralph Cardrewe Thomas Brunsham[2]
1411 Thomas Paderda William Colyn[2]
1413 (Feb)
1413 (May) John Chinals William Chamberlain[2]
1414 (Apr)
1414 (Nov) John Trereise William Trethake I[2]
1416 (Mar) Peter Hayme William Moun[2]
1416 (Oct)
1417 John Megre Andrew Hirnans[2]
1419 John Trewint John Langedon[2]
1420 William Panter Robert Trenerth[2]
1421 (May) William Trethake II William Richard[2]
1421 (Dec) Robert Treage William Richard[2]
1510–1523 No names known
1529 Roger Corbet John Thomas
1536  ?Roger Corbet  ?
1539  ?
1542  ?
1545 Francis Smith Robert Trencreke
1547 Robert Trencreke Nicholas Randall
First Parliament of 1553 Nicholas Randall Thomas Roydon
Second Parliament of 1553 John Methnes[3]
Parliament of 1554 William Iseham Thomas Duppa
Parliament of 1554–1555 John Melhuish Thomas Roydon
Parliament of 1555 Nicholas Randall Thomas Randall[4]
Parliament of 1558 Thomas Roydon
Parliament of 1563–1567 John Carminow John Mitchell[5]
Parliament of 1571 Henry Killigrew Vincent Skinner
Parliament of 1572–1581 Oliver Carminow
Parliament of 1584–1585 Edward Darcy Michael Hicks
Parliament of 1586–1587 John Stanhope Roland Lytton
Parliament of 1588–1589 Hannibal Vyvyan John Woolton
Parliament of 1593 John Parker Nicholas Smith
Parliament of 1597–1598 Maurice Berkeley Reade Stafford
Parliament of 1601 William Daniel Thomas Harris
Parliament of 1604–1611 Henry Cossen Thomas Burgess
Addled Parliament (1614) Thomas Russell Thomas Burgess, junior
Parliament of 1621–1622 Barnaby Gough, sat for Cambridge Univ.
and replaced by Sir John Catcher[6]
John Trefusis[7]
Happy Parliament (1624) Richard Daniel Thomas Burgess
Useless Parliament (1625) William Rous Henry Rolle
Parliament of 1626 Francis Rous
Parliament of 1628 Richard Daniel
No Parliament summoned 1629–1640

MPs 1640–1885[edit]

Election 1st Member[8] 1st Party 2nd Member[8] 2nd Party
April 1640 Francis Rous Parliamentarian John Rolle Parliamentarian
November 1640
November 1648 Rolle died – seat left vacant
1653 Truro was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament
1654 Francis Rous Truro had only one seat in the First and
Second Parliaments of the Protectorate
1656 Walter Vincent
January 1659 Charles Boscawen
May 1659 Not represented in the restored Rump
April 1660 Walter Vincent Edward Boscawen
1661 Nicholas Arundell
1666 John Arundell
1679 William Boscawen
1681 Henry Ashurst
1685 John Arundell Henry Vincent
1689 Sir Henry Ashurst, Bt
1690 John Cloberry
1695 Hugh Fortescue
March 1701 Sir John Hawles Whig
December 1701 Sir William Scawen sat for Grampound
February 1702 Sir Robert Cotton Tory
July 1702 Thomas Powys
November 1702 Sir Philip Meadowes
May 1705 Hugh Boscawen Whig
November 1705 Peregrine Bertie Whig
May 1708 James Brydges[9]
December 1708 Robert Furnese
1710 Hugh Boscawen Whig
1713 Thomas Hare William Collier
1715 John Selwyn Spencer Cowper Whig
1721 Thomas Wyndham
1727 Hugh Boscawen Sidney Meadows
1734 Kelland Courtenay Robert Trefusis
1741 Charles Hamilton James Hammond
1742 Admiral the Hon. Edward Boscawen Tory
1747 Hon. John Boscawen[10] Tory
1761 Lt General the Hon. George Boscawen Tory
1767 Edward Hugh Boscawen Tory
1774 George Boscawen Tory Bamber Gascoyne Whig
1780 Henry Rosewarne Whig
1783 John Pollexfen Bastard Tory
February 1784 Sir John St Aubyn, Bt Whig
April 1784 William Macarmick Tory William Augustus Spencer Boscawen Tory
1787 John Hiley Addington Tory
1790 James Gordon Tory
1792 Charles Ingoldsby Paulet[11] Tory
1796 Lt Colonel John Leveson-Gower Tory John Lemon Whig
1802 Captain Edward Leveson-Gower Tory
1807 Edward Boscawen Tory
1808 Charles Powlett Townshend Tory
1810 William John Bankes Tory
1812 Sir George Warrender, Bt Tory
1814 George Dashwood Tory
1818 Lord FitzRoy Somerset Tory William Edward Tomline Tory
1820 Sir Hussey Vivian Whig William Gossett Whig
1826 Lord FitzRoy Somerset Tory William Edward Tomline Tory
1829 Viscount Encombe Tory Nathaniel William Peach Tory
1832 Sir Hussey Vivian Whig William Tooke Whig
1835 John Ennis Vivian Conservative
1837 Edmund Turner Whig
1849 Humphrey Willyams Whig
1852 Sir Henry Vivian Whig
1857 Augustus Smith Whig Edward Brydges Willyams Whig
1859 Liberal Montague Edward Smith Conservative
February 1865 Sir Frederick Williams, Bt Conservative
July 1865 Hon. John Vivian Liberal
1871 Sir James McGarel-Hogg, Bt Conservative
1878 Arthur Tremayne Conservative
1880 Edward Brydges Willyams Liberal
1885 Borough constituency abolished – name transferred to single-member county constituency

Truro County constituency[edit]

MPs 1885–1918[edit]

Election Member[8] Party
1885 William Bickford-Smith Liberal later Liberal Unionist
1892 John Charles Williams Liberal Unionist
1895 Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence Liberal Unionist
1906 George Hay Morgan Liberal
1918 constituency abolished

MPs 1950–1997[edit]

Election Member[8] Party
1950 Geoffrey Wilson Conservative
1970 Piers Dixon Conservative
Oct 1974 David Penhaligon Liberal
1987 by-election Matthew Taylor Liberal
1988 Liberal Democrats
1997 name changed to Truro & St. Austell


Elections in the 1990s[edit]

General Election 1992: Truro[12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Democrat Matthew Taylor 31,230 50.5 +1.5
Conservative Nick St. Aubyn 23,660 38.3 -2.6
Labour James H. Geach 6,078 9.8 -0.3
Green Liam Michael Keating 569 0.9 +0.9
Liberal Chris M. Tankard 208 0.3 -48.7
Natural Law Ms. Margot Kathryn Frances Hartley 108 0.2 +0.2
Majority 7,570 12.2 +4.0
Turnout 61,853 82.3 +2.5
Liberal Democrat hold Swing +2.0

The Liberal Party and the SDP merged between these elections and became the Liberal Democrats. CM Tankard represented the newly formed Liberal Party.

Elections in the 1980s[edit]

General Election 1987: Truro
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SDP–Liberal Alliance (Liberal) Matthew Taylor 28,368 49.0
Conservative Nick St Aubyn 23,615 40.8
Labour John King 5,882 10.2
Majority 4,753 8.2
Turnout 79.9
SDP–Liberal Alliance hold Swing
By-election 1987: Truro
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SDP–Liberal Alliance (Liberal) Matthew Taylor 30,599 60.4 3.1
Conservative Nick St Aubyn 15,982 31.5 −6.6
Labour John King 3,603 7.1 2.6
Green Howard Hoptrough 403 0.8
Death off Road: Freight on Rail Helen Anscomb 75 0.1
Majority 14,617 28.9
Turnout 50,662 70.2 −9.4
SDP–Liberal Alliance hold Swing
General Election 1983: Truro
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SDP–Liberal Alliance (Liberal) David Penhaligon 31,279 57.3
Conservative Philip D. Buddell 20,799 38.1
Labour Mrs. Janet Mary Beecroft 2,479 4.6
Majority 10,480 19.2
Turnout 54,447 79.6
SDP–Liberal Alliance hold Swing

Elections in the 1950s[edit]

General Election 1959: Truro
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Hugh Geoffrey Birch Wilson 19,544
Labour R.J.R. Blindell 15,057
Liberal Beatrice Nancy Seear 9,637
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1955: Truro
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Hugh Geoffrey Birch Wilson 19,900
Labour John N. Newby 15,183
Liberal Beatrice Nancy Seear 8,056
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1951: Truro
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Hugh Geoffrey Birch Wilson 24,883
Labour John N. Newby 19,752
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1950: Truro
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Hugh Geoffrey Birch Wilson 18,910
Labour Henry A Brinton 15,617
Liberal Gerald Edward L Whitmarsh 10,746
Conservative hold Swing

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "HAMELY (HAMYLYN), Sir John (aft.1324–1399), of Wimborne St. Giles, Dorset.". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "History of Parliament". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  3. ^ Willis 1750, p. 25.
  4. ^ Willis 1750, p. 47.
  5. ^ Willis 1750, p. 71.
  6. ^ Gough sat for Cambridge University ([citation needed]).
  7. ^ "John Trefuses" according to Cobbett: Browne Willis has "Samuel Trefusis (Willis 1750, p. 177)"
  8. ^ a b c d Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "T" (part 2)[self-published source][better source needed]
  9. ^ Brydges was also elected for Hereford, which he chose to represent, and never sat for Truro ([citation needed]).
  10. ^ Lieutenant-Colonel from 1748, Colonel 1758, Major General 1761 ([citation needed]).
  11. ^ Styled Earl of Wiltshire from December 1794 ([citation needed]).
  12. ^ "Politics Resources". Election 1992. Politics Resources. 9 April 1992. Retrieved 6 December 2010. 


Further reading[edit]

  • Robert Beatson, A Chronological Register of Both Houses of Parliament (London: Longman, Hurst, Res & Orme, 1807)
  • 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)
  • F W S Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1832–1885 (2nd edition, Aldershot: Parliamentary Research Services, 1989)
  • Maija Jansson (ed.), Proceedings in Parliament, 1614 (House of Commons) (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1988)
  • Lewis Namier & John Brooke, The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1754–1790 (London: HMSO, 1964)
  • J E Neale, The Elizabethan House of Commons (London: Jonathan Cape, 1949)
  • Henry Stooks Smith, The Parliaments of England from 1715 to 1847 (2nd edition, edited by FWS Craig – Chichester: Parliamentary Reference Publications, 1973)
  • Frederic A Youngs, jr, Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England, Vol II (London: Royal Historical Society, 1991)