Wellington (Somerset) (UK Parliament constituency)

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Wellington (Somerset)
Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
18851918
Number of members one

Wellington (Somerset) is a former county constituency in the United Kingdom, formally known as The Western or Wellington Division of Somerset. It returned one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, elected by the first past the post voting system, from 1885 until 1918.

History[edit]

Creation[edit]

The constituency was created by the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885, and elected its first MP at the 1885 general election. It consisted of part of the previous West Somerset division, a two-member constituency which had existed between 1867 and 1885.

Boundaries[edit]

The constituency consisted of the western end of the county of Somerset, stretching to the suburbs of Taunton, and was predominantly rural and agricultural. Wellington, though the largest town, contributed only about an eighth of the population; other small towns within the division were Minehead, Watchet, Wiveliscombe, Dunster, Dulverton, Williton and Bishop's Lydeard. Although Taunton was a borough electing an MP in its own right, the franchise rules that applied in the 1885–1918 period allowed freeholders in boroughs to qualify for a vote in the adjoining county division as if the borough did not exist, and the Taunton freeholders were a significant presence in the Wellington constituency.

By the time of the First World War, the population of the constituency was about 50,000, rather below the national average.

Political character[edit]

The chief occupation of the population was farming of various types - sheep farming on Exmoor, dairy farming in the Vale of Taunton and arable crops elsewhere - which would have made the constituency naturally Conservative, although the slate quarries around Wellington and Williton would be likely to provide some Liberal voters. But more significant, perhaps, was the influence of the local landowning families, the Luttrells and the Aclands, both of whom were Liberal. This was sufficient to swing the constituency to the Liberals in 1885, but at the next election it was won by the Conservatives, and from 1892 their hold was secured by the choice of Sir Alexander Fuller Acland-Hood as their candidate (he being a relative of the Aclands but a Conservative) - after his initial victory in 1892, the Liberals did not even put up a candidate against him at the next three general elections, and he was returned unopposed. By the time of his elevation to a peerage in 1911, the Wellington division could be regarded as a relatively safe Conservative seat.

Abolition[edit]

The constituency was abolished with effect from the 1918 general election, its voters being divided between the new Taunton and Bridgwater county constituencies.

Members of Parliament[edit]

Year Member Party
1885 Sir Thomas Acland Liberal
1886 Charles Elton Conservative
1892 Sir Alexander Fuller-Acland-Hood Conservative
1911 Dennis Boles Unionist
1918 constituency abolished: see Bridgwater and Taunton

Elections[edit]

Elections in the 1880s[edit]

General Election 1885: Wellington (Somerset) [1][2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Thomas Dyke Acland 4,299 53.3 n/a
Conservative Charles Isaac Elton 3,760 46.7 n/a
Majority 539 6.6 n/a
Turnout 84.5 n/a
Liberal win (new seat)
General Election 1886: Wellington (Somerset) [3][4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Charles Isaac Elton 4,117 56.1 +9.4
Liberal Thomas Dyke Acland 3,220 43.9 -9.4
Majority 897 12.2 18.8
Turnout 76.9 -7.6
Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +9.4

Elections in the 1890s[edit]

General Election 1892: Wellington (Somerset) [5][6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Alexander Fuller-Acland-Hood 4,369 55.6
Liberal William Latham 3,484 44.4
Majority 885 11.2
Turnout 82.9
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1895: Wellington (Somerset) [7][8][9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Alexander Fuller-Acland-Hood unopposed n/a n/a
Conservative hold Swing n/a

Elections in the 1900s[edit]

General Election 1900: Wellington (Somerset) [10][11][12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Alexander Fuller-Acland-Hood unopposed n/a n/a
Conservative hold Swing n/a
General Election 1906: Wellington (Somerset) [13][14]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Alexander Fuller-Acland-Hood 4,558 51.5 n/a
Liberal Charles Humble Dudley Ward 4,286 48.5 n/a
Majority 272 3.0 n/a
Turnout 88.8 n/a
Conservative hold Swing n/a

Elections in the 1910s[edit]

General Election January 1910: Wellington (Somerset) [15][16]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Alexander Fuller-Acland-Hood 5,216 55.7 +4.2
Liberal Walter King 4,150 44.3 -4.2
Majority 1,066 11.4 +8.4
Turnout 90.9 +2.1
Conservative hold Swing +4.2
General Election December 1910: Wellington (Somerset) [17][18]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Alexander Fuller-Acland-Hood unopposed n/a n/a
Conservative hold Swing n/a
Wellington by-election, 1911 [19][20]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Dennis Boles 5,025 53.2 n/a
Liberal Charles Humble Dudley Ward 4,421 46.8 n/a
Majority 604 6.4 n/a
Turnout 88.3 n/a
Conservative hold Swing n/a

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 and by the July 1914, the following candidates had been selected;

  • Unionist: Dennis Boles
  • Liberal: Charles Humble Dudley Ward

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, FWS Craig
  2. ^ The Liberal Year Book, 1907
  3. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, FWS Craig
  4. ^ The Liberal Year Book, 1907
  5. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, FWS Craig
  6. ^ The Liberal Year Book, 1907
  7. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, FWS Craig
  8. ^ The Liberal Year Book, 1907
  9. ^ Debrett's House of Commons & Judicial Bench, 1901
  10. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, FWS Craig
  11. ^ The Liberal Year Book, 1907
  12. ^ Debrett's House of Commons & Judicial Bench, 1901
  13. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, FWS Craig
  14. ^ The Liberal Year Book, 1907
  15. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, FWS Craig
  16. ^ Debrett's House of Commons & Judicial Bench, 1916
  17. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, FWS Craig
  18. ^ Debrett's House of Commons & Judicial Bench, 1916
  19. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, FWS Craig
  20. ^ Debrett's House of Commons & Judicial Bench, 1916
  • The Constitutional Year Book for 1913 (London: National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations, 1913)
  • Michael Kinnear, The British Voter (London: BH Batsford, Ltd, 1968)
  • Henry Pelling, Social Geography of British Elections 1885-1910 (London: Macmillan, 1967)
  • Frederic A Youngs, jr, Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England, Vol I (London: Royal Historical Society, 1979)