Amersham (UK Parliament constituency)


Amersham (UK Parliament constituency)

UK former constituency infobox
Name = Amersham
Type = Borough
Year = 1625
Abolition = 1832
members = two

Amersham, often spelt as Agmondesham, was a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of England then of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1832. It was represented by two Members of Parliament.

Boundaries

The constituency was a Parliamentary borough in Buckinghamshire, covering part of the small town of Amersham. It is located 27 miles north west of London, in the Chiltern Hills of England. Davis describes it as "a thriving little market town".

Before the borough was re-enfranchised in 1625 and after it was disenfranchised in 1832, the area was represented as part of the county constituency of Buckinghamshire.

History

The borough was first enfranchised in 1300, but only seems to have sent burgesses to Parliament for a short time. By 1307 it was no longer included in the list of Parliamentary boroughs.

The privilege of electing two burgesses to Parliament was revived in 1625. The right of election was held by householders paying scot and lot, a local tax. This was one of the most democratic franchises used in elections to the Unreformed House of Commons. However because this was a small borough, from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, it was under the patronage of the Drake family of Shardeloes (an estate about a mile from the town).

In the early eighteenth century there were about 150 electors. Although, at this period, the Drakes did not own most of the houses they were able to nominate candidates for both seats. An anti-Drake element in the electorate supported a candidate in opposition to the Tory candidates promoted by the Drake interest, at elections in 1728, 1734 and 1735. That opposition proved to represent about a third of the electorate.

Thereafter the Drakes enjoyed unchallenged possession of their pocket borough. There was no further sign of the sort of resistance to the dominant interest that broke out from time to time in many similar boroughs.

By the latter half of the eighteenth century the Drakes owned most of the town. The number of voters were reduced to about 70. Elections were all uncontested.

The borough was treated with respect by its patrons. Uncontested elections were accompanied by generous expenditure, estimated by Davis as £350 in the eighteenth century and £600 in the 1820s.

Amersham was one of the boroughs totally disenfranchised by the Reform Act 1832. The 1831 census had shown that the population of the borough was 1,347, and there were 247 houses (although the whole town of Amersham had 360 houses).

Members of Parliament

ee also

* List of former United Kingdom Parliamentary constituencies
* Chesham and Amersham (UK Parliament constituency) "constituency created in 1974"

References

* "Political Change and Continuity 1760-1885: A Buckinghamshire Study", by Richard W. Davis (David and Charles 1972)
* "The House of Commons 1715-1754", by Romney Sedgwick (HMSO 1970)
* "The House of Commons 1754-1790", by Sir Lewis Namier and John Brooke (HMSO 1964)
* "The Parliaments of England" by Henry Stooks Smith (1st edition published in three volumes 1844-50), second edition edited (in one volume) by F.W.S. Craig (Political Reference Publications 1973)
* "Members of the Long Parliament" by D Brunton & D H Pennington (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1954)
* "Parliamentary Representation 1832 — England and Wales" by J Holladay Philbin (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965)


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