- Orford (UK Parliament constituency)
Orford Former Borough constituency for the House of Commons 1529–1832 Number of members Two Replaced by East Suffolk
Orford was a constituency of the House of Commons. Consisting of the town of Orford in Suffolk, it elected two Members of Parliament (MP) by the bloc vote version of the first past the post system of election until it was disenfranchised in 1832.
Orford was first represented in the Parliament of England in 1298, but did not regularly send members until 1529. The right of election was vested in the Mayor, eight portmen, twelve "capital burgesses" and the freemen of the borough. In the early days of its representation, Orford had been a prosperous port and its freemen were numerous, but by the 18th century the number of freemen was deliberately kept low to facilitate controlling the elections, and the town had become a pocket borough where most of the qualified voters consisted of the owner's family and retainers.
At one time Orford was owned by Viscount Hereford, but after his death in 1748 it was bought by the government, and by 1760, Orford was perhaps the most secure of all the "Treasury boroughs" - in other words boroughs where the influence of the Crown was so strong that the government could be sure of securing the election of whichever candidates they chose. As such, it was studied in detail by the historian Lewis Namier.
To secure government control, the Treasury started packing the Corporation with outsiders: Namier quotes a letter from John Roberts (who was managing the borough for the government) to Prime Minister Newcastle, urging an immediate decision on who should be nominated to a vacancy as capital burgess because otherwise "we shall be reduced to the necessity of chusing a townsman, the number of which it would be better not to encrease". Maintaining government control of the borough also involved considerable expenditure - £200 a year for rent of houses,and a further £100 for other expenses such as repairs and taxes, all met out of the secret service fund.
However, much of Viscount Hereford's estate had been bought by the Earl of Hertford, and he together with his brother Henry Seymour Conway, an influential minister, put pressure on successive Prime Ministers for the control of the borough to be given to him. Eventually in 1766, with the formation of Chatham's ministry, this pressure bore fruit, and Orford was transferred to the Earl of Hertford as partial compensation for his having been supplanted as Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. From this point it remained under the control of Hertford and his heirs until it lost its representation 66 years later, and all its MPs were either members of the Seymour-Conway family or their friends.
By the time of the Great Reform Act in 1832, the population of the borough was only 1,302, in 246 houses, with about 22 men entitled to vote, and this was too small to justify its existence being retained.
Members of Parliament
Parliament First member Second member 1510-1515 No names known  1523 John Valentine ?  1529 Erasmus Paston Richard Hunt  1536 ?Richard Poty ?John Harman  1539 ?Richard Poty ?John Harman  1542 John Cook ?Richard Poty  1545 John Harman Francis Sone  1547 George Heneage John Harman  1553 (Mar) William Honing Henry Cornwallis  1553 (Oct) George Jerningham Thomas Harvey  1554 (Apr) ? 1554 (Nov) John Harman Leonard Sandell  1555 Thomas Seckford Thomas Spicer  1558 Francis Sone Thomas Seckford  1558/9 Richard Wingfield Francis Sone 1562/3 Lawrence Meres William Yaxley  1571 (Mar) Anthony Wingfield Anthony Rush  1572 Anthony Wingfield Anthony Rush  1584 (Nov) Henry Wingfield John Cutting  1586 (Oct) Richard Wingfield William Downing  1588 (Oct) Richard Wingfield George Chittinge  1593 Edward Grimston John North  1597 (Sep) Thomas Rivett William Forthe  1601 (Oct) Sir John Townshend Sir Richard Knightley  1621-1622 Sir Lionel Tollemache Sir Roger Townshend 1624 Sir Robert Hitcham William Glover 1625 Sir Robert Hitcham Sir William Whitepole 1626 Sir Robert Hitcham Charles Croft 1628 Sir Charles Legross Sir Lionel Tollemache 1629–1640 No Parliaments summoned 1640 Apr Sir Charles le Grosse Sir Edward Duke 1640 Nov Sir William Playters, 2nd Baronet Sir Charles Legross 1645 Sir William Playters, 2nd Baronet Sir Charles Legross 1648–1659 Not represented in Rump, Barebones and First and Second Protectorate Parliaments 1659 Thomas Edger Jeremy Copping
Year First member First party Second member Second party 1660 Walter Devereux Sir Allen Brodrick 1661 Walter Devereux Sir Allen Brodrick Feb. 1679 Lord Huntingtower Sir John Duke Sept. 1679 Henry Parker 1681 Thomas Glemham 1685 Lord Huntingtower 1689 Sir John Duke 1690 Sir Thomas Felton 1695 Sir Adam Felton 1697 Sir John Duke 1698 Sir Charles Hedges 1700 Sir Edmund Bacon William Johnson 1701 Sir Edward Turnor 1708 Clement Corrance 1709 William Thompson 1710 Sir Edward Turnor 1721 Sir Edward Duke 1722 Dudley North William Acton 1727 Hon. Price Devereux 1729 William Acton 1730 Robert Kemp 1734 Richard Powys Lewis Barlow 1738 John Cope 1741 Viscount Glenorchy Henry Bilson-Legge 1746 Hon. John Bateman 1747 Hon. John Waldegrave 1754 John Offley Whig 1759 Hon. Charles FitzRoy Whig 1761 Thomas Worsley Whig 1768 Viscount Beauchamp Edward Colman 1771 Hon. Robert Seymour-Conway 1784 Hon. George Seymour-Conway 1790 Hon. William Seymour 1794 Lord Robert Seymour Tory 1796 Viscount Castlereagh Tory 1797 Earl of Yarmouth Tory 1802 James Trail Tory 1806 Lord Henry Moore Tory 1807 William Sloane Tory 1812 Charles Arbuthnot Tory Edmund Alexander Macnaghten Tory 1818 John Douglas Tory March 1820 Horace Beauchamp Seymour Tory May 1820 Edmund Alexander Macnaghten Tory 1821 The Marquess of Londonderry Tory 1822 Charles Ross Tory June 1826 Sir Henry Cooke Tory Horace Beauchamp Seymour Tory December 1826 Quintin Dick Tory 1830 Spencer Kilderbee Tory 1832 Constituency abolished
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "History of Parliament". http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1509-1558/constituencies/orford. Retrieved 2011-10-01.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j "History of Parliament". http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1558-1603/constituencies/orford. Retrieved 2011-10-01.
- ^ Succeeded to a baronetcy as Sir Thomas Felton, 1697
- ^ Beauchamp was styled Earl of Yarmouth from June 1793
- ^ Seymour was also elected for Lisburn, which he chose to represent, and did not sit for Orford
- ^ Seymour was also elected for Bodmin, which he chose to represent, and did not sit for Orford
- Lewis Namier, "The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III" (2nd edition - London: St Martin's Press, 1961)
- J Holladay Philbin, "Parliamentary Representation 1832 - England and Wales" (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965)
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "O"
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