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Callington (UK Parliament constituency)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Former Borough constituency
for the House of Commons
Replaced byEast Cornwall

Callington was a rotten borough in Cornwall which returned two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons in the English and later British Parliament from 1585 to 1832, when it was abolished by the Reform Act 1832.


The borough consisted of most of the town of Callington in the East of Cornwall. Callington was the last of the Cornish rotten boroughs to be enfranchised, returning its first members in 1585; like most of the Cornish boroughs enfranchised or re-enfranchised during the Tudor period, it was a rotten borough from the start, and was never substantial enough to have a mayor and corporation.

The right to vote in Callington was disputed until a decision of the House of Commons in 1821 settled it as resting with "freeholders of the borough and ... life-tenants of freeholders, resident for 40 days before the election and rated to the poor at 40 shillings or more". This considerably enlarged the electorate, for there had been only 42 voters in the borough in 1816, but the Parliamentary return of 1831 reported that 225 were qualified. In the 18th century the power of the "patron" to influence the voters in Callington was considered absolute. In 1831 the borough had a population of 1,082, and 225 houses; the part of the town outside the borough boundaries contained only a further eight houses, leaving no scope to enlarge it. It was disfranchised by the Great Reform Act in 1832.

Patrons of pocket borough[edit]

The two patrons of the pocket borough of Callington were the Rolle family of Heanton Satchville, Petrockstowe, Devon (a junior branch of the Rolle family of Stevenstone and Bicton in Devon) and the Coryton family of the adjacent manor of St. Mellion, Cornwall.[1]

Rolle patronage[edit]

In 1601 Robert Rolle (died 1633) of Heanton Satchville, Petrockstowe, Devon (a grandson of George Rolle (d.1552) of Stevenstone, founder of the Rolle family in Devon), purchased the manor of Callington in Cornwall, thereby gaining the pocket borough seat of Callington in Parliament,[2] which in future served to promote the careers of many Rolles and descendants of that family. He nominated to this seat his first cousin once-removed[3] John Rolle (born 1563)[4] in 1601, his brother William Rolle (died 1652) in 1604 and 1614, his son Sir Henry Rolle (1589–1656), of Shapwick, in 1620 and 1624, his son Samuel's father-in-law Thomas Wise (died March 1641) of Sydenham in Devon, in 1625, and another son John Rolle (1598–1648), in 1626 and 1628.[5] The manor and borough were later inherited by the Rolle heiress Margaret Rolle (1709-1765), suo jure 15th Baroness Clinton, wife of Robert Walpole, 2nd Earl of Orford[6] whose son and heir George Walpole, 3rd Earl of Orford (d.1791) died without progeny. It then passed by inheritance to her cousin George William Trefusis, of Trefusis in Cornwall.[7] Robert George William Trefusis (1764–1797) successfully claimed the title (17th) Baron Clinton in 1794.[8] By 1816 it had passed to Robert Cotton St John Trefusis, 18th Baron Clinton but was no longer as secure as it had been, so that the Coryton family was sufficiently influential to challenge his power on occasion.

Members of Parliament[edit]


Parliament First member Second member
Parliament of 1584–1585 Thomas Lawton Thomas Harris
Parliament of 1586–1587 Edward Aylworth William Herle
Parliament of 1588–1589 Robert Worsley Henry Golding
Parliament of 1593 Robert Carey Carew Reynell
Parliament of 1597–1598 Henry Ferrers John Egerton
Parliament of 1601 Miles Raynesford John Rolle
Parliament of 1604–1611 Sir Roger Wilbraham Sir William Rolle
Addled Parliament (1614) Humphrey Were
Parliament of 1621–1622 Lord Wriothesley Henry Rolle[9]
Happy Parliament (1624–1625) Sir Edward Seymour
Useless Parliament (1625) Sir Richard Weston Thomas Wise
Parliament of 1625–1626 Sir Clipseus Carew John Rolle
Parliament of 1628–1629 Sir William Constable[10]
No Parliament summoned 1629–1640


Year First member First party Second member Second party
April 1640 Sir Samuel Rolle Parliamentarian Thomas Gardiner Royalist
November 1640 Sir Arthur Ingram Parliamentarian Hon. George Fane Royalist
August 1642 Ingram died August 1642 - seat vacant
January 1643 Fane disabled from sitting - seat vacant
1646 Lord Clinton Thomas Dacres
December 1648 Clinton and Dacres excluded in Pride's Purge - both seats vacant
1653 Callington was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament and the First and Second Parliaments of the Protectorate
January 1659 Thomas Carew Anthony Buller
May 1659 Not represented in the restored Rump
April 1660 Robert Rolle Edward Herle
June 1660 John Coryton
July 1660 Sir Hugh Pollard
May 1661 Allen Brodrick Sir Cyril Wyche
June 1661 Sir Henry Bennet
1665 Samuel Rolle
February 1679 John Coryton
October 1679 Richard Carew William Trevisa
1681 William Coryton
1685 Sir John Coryton
1689 Jonathan Prideaux
February 1690 Francis Fulford
October 1690 Jonathan Prideaux
1695 Sir William Coryton Francis Gwyn
1698 Francis Fulford
January 1701 Robert Rolle
December 1701 Samuel Rolle
1702 John Acland
1703 Sir William Coryton
1712 Henry Manaton
1713 Sir John Coryton
1719 Thomas Coplestone Whig
1722 Thomas Lutwyche
1727 Sir John Coryton
1734 Isaac le Heup
1741 Hon. Horatio Walpole Whig
1748 Edward Bacon
1754 Hon. Sewallis Shirley John Sharpe
1756 Fane William Sharpe
1761 Richard Stevens
1768 Thomas Worsley
1771 William Skrine
1774 John Dyke Acland
1778 George Stratton[11]
1780 John Morshead
1784 Sir John Call Paul Orchard
1801 John Inglett-Fortescue
1803 Ambrose St John[12]
1806 William Wickham William Garrow Whig
1807 Lord Binning[13] Tory Thomas Carter
1810 William Stephen Poyntz Whig
1812 Sir John Leman Rogers
1813 Hon. Charles Trefusis Tory
1818 Hon. Edward Pyndar Lygon Tory Sir Christopher Robinson Tory
1820[14] Matthias Attwood Whig William Thompson Whig
1826 Alexander Baring Whig
1830 Bingham Baring Whig
1831 Henry Bingham Baring Tory Hon. Edward Herbert[15] Tory
1832 Constituency abolished


  1. ^ Hunneyball, Paul, "Callington Borough", published in History of Parliament: House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010 [1]
  2. ^ Hunneyball, Paul, "Callington Borough", published in History of Parliament: House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010 [2]
  3. ^ He was a younger son of John I Rolle of Stevenstone (d.1570), eldest son of the patriarch George Rolle (d.1552), per Vivian, pp.652-3
  4. ^ listed in WP article Callington (UK Parliament constituency), and (without date of birth) in History of Parliament overview of constituency [3]
  5. ^ Hunneyball, Paul, "Callington Borough", with his relationship to Thomas Wise corrected, per Vivian, 1895, pp.654,791
  6. ^ Page 145 Note 2, Lewis Namier, The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III (2nd edition - London: St Martin's Press, 1957)
  7. ^ Lysons, Daniel & Lysons, Samuel, Magna Britannia, Vol.6, Devonshire, London, 1822, p.387
  8. ^ P. W. Montague-Smith, Debrett's Peerage (1968), p.265 & see Baron Clinton
  9. ^ Maija Jansson in Proceedings in Parliament, 1614 (House of Commons)
  10. ^ Constable was also elected for Scarborough, and probably never sat for Callington
  11. ^ Stratton's election in 1778 was declared void, but he won the 1779 by-election that resulted
  12. ^ This Ambrose St John was clearly NOT Ambrose St John (1815-1875)
  13. ^ The Earls of Haddington were referred to as "Lord Binning", before succeeding their fathers. Thomas Hamilton became the 9th Earl in 1828.
  14. ^ Robinson and Lygon were initially declared re-elected in 1820, defeating Attwood and Thompson, but the result was reversed on petition
  15. ^ "Herbert, Hon. Edward Charles Hugh (1802-1852), of Tetton, Som". historyofparliamentonline.org. Retrieved 26 October 2017.