The History of Tewkesbury

By James Bennett

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2015



THE privilege of sending representatives to parliament was first granted to Tewkesbury by the charter of King James the first, in 1609, and the right[347] has been uniformly exercised from that time to the present, with the exception of a short period during the usurpation of Cromwell. No borough can with greater propriety be denominated an independent one. In few places is the general body of electors so respectable, and in still fewer open boroughs are they less prone to change their representatives, after their election has been once decided. "The right of election is in the freemen at large,[348] and in all


persons seized of an estate of freehold, in an entire dwelling-house,[349] within the ancient limits of the borough;[350] "who, in the whole, probably amount to about six hundred voters. The bailiffs are the returning officers. The representatives are elected in the town-hall; but in cases of opposition, after the business has been opened in the hall, the polling is adjourned to temporary hustings in front of the building.

Immediately after the granting of the charter, in 1609, a writ was issued, and Sir Dudley Digges, knight,[351] and Edward


Ferrers, esq.[352] were chosen the first representatives for Tewkesbury, and retained their seats during the remaining five years of the first parliament of King James the first.

The following is a list of the representatives, from that period to the present:

1614.Sir Dudley Digges, knight.
 Giles Brydges, esq.[353]
1620-1.Sir Dudley Digges, knight.
 Giles Brydges, esq.
1623-4.Sir Dudley Digges, knight.
 Sir Baptist Hickes, bart.[354]


1625.Sir Dudley Digges, knight,
 Sir Baptist Hickes, bart.
1625-6.Sir Dudley Digges, knight.
 Sir Baptist Hickes, bart.
1627-8.Sir Baptist Hickes, bart.
 Sir Thomas Culpepper, knight;[355]
1640.Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, bart.[356]
 Sir Edward Alford, knight.


1640.Sir Robert Cooke, knight.[357]
 Edward Stephens, esq.[358]

At the election of members for this parliament, by historians called the "long parliament", which met Nov. 3, 1640, four persons were returned for this borough, viz. Sir Edward Alford, knight, and John Craven, esq. (who was created Lord Craven, of Ryton, Salop, Mar. 21, 1622), in one indenture, and Sir Robert Cooke, knight, and Edward Stephens, esq. in another indenture. A committee was immediately afterwards appointed to investigate this double return; upon the


recommendation of this committee, the house of commons resolved, that neither of the members should take their seats until the election was determined; and agreed, that Mr. Thomas Hale, one of the bailiffs of the borough, should be sent for, by the serjeant at arms, as a delinquent, for his conduct respecting such double return. He was in consequence taken to London, and detained in custody for nearly a month. The House subsequently declared the election to be totally void, ordered a new writ for the borough, and recommended the committee to prepare a bill to prevent inconveniences at elections at Tewkesbury in future; it does not appear that this recommendation was carried into effect. At the second election, a double return was again made: the bailiffs under their seal, returned Sir Robert Cooke and Sir Edward Alford, knights, and the inhabitants returned Sir Robert Cooke, knight, and Edward Stephens, esq. Another parliamentary committee was appointed, in 1643, when the election of Sir Edward Alford was declared void, in consequence of his having previously taken his seat as member for Arundel; and the House afterwards "commanded the clerk of the crown to appear at the bar, and there to take off the writ from the indenture returned by the bailiffs, and to fix it to the indenture returned by the inhabitants".[359] In a MS. book, belonging to the Tewkesbury Feoffees, is the following entry, made in 1640. "The 3rd Nov. the parliament began, and we had great difference about our burgesses, two being returned by one bailiff and two by another; and so the election was quashed, because we admitted some that we should not to give voices, and not resolved whether that election should be by freemen only or all that inhabitate, (except almsmen)". At the latter end of the year 1645, John Craven, esq. member for Tewkesbury, was "expelled the House, for deserting the parliament and going to the king".[360] He must have been a son of Lord Craven,


and perhaps elected on the death of Sir Robert Cooke, which happened in the August preceding. John Stephens, esq. at one period of the long parliament, sat as member for Tewkesbury, having been returned in the place of his brother Edward, who died in Dec. 1643.


Cromwell, having rudely broken up the "long parliament" on the 20th of April, 1653, took immediate steps to supply its place with a legislative assembly of his own construction. With the concurrence of his council of officers, he nominated one hundred and forty-four persons - one hundred and twenty-two for the English counties and cities, six for Wales, six for Ireland, and five for Scotland: Lambert, Harrison, Disbrowe, Tomlinson, and Cromwell himself, completing the one hundred and forty-four. In this convention, called by Hume, "Barebone's parliament", but more frequently designated "the little parliament", which assembled on the 5th of July, 1653, and was dissolved by the army on the 12th of December following, no members were returned for Tewkesbury.

1654. - Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, bart.

This convention, which assembled on Sunday, Sept. 3, 1654, was found so unmanageable, that Cromwell suddenly dissolved it on the 22d of January following, and took the government into his own hands. Sir A.A. Cooper was chosen for this borough, but being also returned for Wiltshire, he made his election for that county; in his place, Francis St. John, eldest son of the Lord Chief Justice St. John, was elected for Tewkesbury, but, it is said, never took his seat. Only one member was returned for Tewkesbury in this or the following parliament.

1656.- Francis White, esq [361]

In the third protectorate parliament, which met Sept. 17, 1656, and was dissolved Feb. 4, 1658, Valentine Disbrowe, esq.


(a son of General Disbrowe, brother-in-law of Oliver Cromwell), was first returned for Tewkesbury;[362] but Mr. White represented it during the greater part of this "mock parliament".

1658-9.Edward Cooke, esq.
 Robert Long, esq.[363]

In this convention, called "Richard's parliament",[364] the Right Hon. John Thurloe, principal secretary of state during the protectorates of the Cromwells, who had been chief justice of the common pleas in the latter part of the reign of the unfortunate Charles, was chosen to represent this borough. He was also returned, at the same time, for the university of Cambridge, for the borough of Wisbech, and also for Huntingdon; he made his election for the university. Although the Secretary declined the honour intended for him by the electors


of Tewkesbury, it is not improbable that the two individuals who sat for this borough were nominated by him.[365]

1660.Henry Capel, esq.[366]
 Richard Dowdeswell, esq.

This is by some called the "convention parliament", and by others the "healing parliament", because it was sitting at the return of King Charles, and sanctioned his restoration.


1661.Sir Henry Capel, K.B.
 Richard Dowdeswell, esq.

This was called the "pensionary parliament", because it was discovered that many of the members received pensions from the court. Rapin observes, it may be judged how favourable it was to the king, since it continued almost eighteen years, on which account it was more justly called the "long parliament", than that of 1640.- On the death of Mr. Dowdeswell, Sir Francis Russell, bart. was elected in his room, Nov. 1, 1673. From a letter of Mr. Hill, the town-clerk, then in London, addressed to "Mr. Thomas Jeynes, at his house in the Barton-street, Tewkesbury", it appears that Charles Dowdeswell, esq. wished to obtain the vacant seat in the corporation interest; but that the Bishop of Worcester and many others had written to the Lord Chancellor on behalf of Sir Francis Russell. The friends of both parties used every effort to obtain the writ clandestinely from the chancellor; and Sir Francis kept a man and horse ready in London, for the purpose of conveying


it to Tewkesbury the moment it was sealed. His lordship, being apprised of his intention, and being "willing to do right to both parties", sent it unknown to them, by a special messenger, directed to the high sheriff of the county of Gloucester. Mr. Hill, in the epistle before alluded to, points out by what mode some additional freeholders may be made to serve Mr. Dowdeswell; he himself offers to convey some premises for that purpose, observing, "if 'twill do no good, 'twill do no harm": and he finally expresses an ardent hope that, if possible, Mr. Jeynes "may make a good bargain for them all". The return, in 1673, is the first in which "freemen" are mentioned.

1678-9.Sir Henry Capel, K.B.
 Sir Francis Russell, bart.
1680.The Right Hon. Sir Henry Capel, K.B.
 Sir Francis Russell, bart.
1680-1.The Right Hon. Sir Henry Capel, K.B.
 Sir Francis Russell, bart.

A little before this election, the old representatives granted to the electors a release of all demands for wages, &c.[367]


1685.Sir Francis Russell, bart.
 Richard Dowdeswell, esq.

King James the second, who appears never to have neglected an opportunity of abridging the elective franchise, by his charter, granted in 1686, made Tewkesbury a close borough: he not only confined the liberty of choosing representatives to the corporation, but reserved to himself in council the power of removing at pleasure every member of that body.

1688-9.Sir Francis Russell, bart.[368]
 Richard Dowdeswell, esq.

This convention met Jan. 22, 1688-9, agreeably to letters issued by the Prince of Orange, and was "turned into a parliament" at its first meeting after the accession of William and Mary. This election was long and severely contested; the number of voters who polled amounted to about three hundred and fifty.

1689-90.The Right Hon. Sir Henry Capel, K.B.
 Richard Dowdeswell, esq.

Upon Sir H. Capel being raised to the peerage, in 1692, Sir Francis Wilmington, knight,[369] was elected to succeed him in the representation of this borough.


1695.Richard Dowdeswell, esq.
 Sir Francis Wilmington, knight.

Sir Richard Cocks, bart. of Dumbleton, who was high-sheriff of Gloucestershire in 1692, and knight of the shire in three successive parliaments in the reign of King William, presented a petition to the house of commons against the return of Sir Francis Wilmington. Sir Richard complained, that his opponent had threatened to turn those persons out of their houses who had voted for the petitioner, unless they withdrew their votes; that he had detained the town-book, and had been guilty of other undue practices.[370] It is supposed that this petition was withdrawn, as the House appears to have come to no determination on the case.

1698.Richard Dowdeswell, esq.
 Charles Hancock, esq.
1700-1.Richard Dowdeswell, esq.
 Edmund Bray, esq.[371]
1701.Richard Dowdeswell, esq.
 Edmund Bray, esq.
1702.Richard Dowdeswell, esq.
 Edmund Bray, esq.
1705.Richard Dowdeswell, esq.
 Edmund Bray, esq.
1708.Richard Dowdeswell, esq.
 Henry Ireton, esq.[372]

It is said that, until this election, no freeholders were permitted to vote, excepting those who possessed front houses in one of the three principal streets.


1710.Henry Ireton, esq.
 William Bromley, esq.[373]

On the death of Mr. Ireton, in 1711, William Dowdeswell, esq. was elected in his stead.

1713-4.William Dowdeswell, esq.
 Charles Dowdeswell, esq.

On the death of Mr. C. Dowdeswell, in 1714, Anthony Lechmere, esq. was elected. Edward Popham, esq. of Tewkesbury-Lodge, was a candidate, and petitioned against the return.

1714-5.William Dowdeswell, esq.
 Anthony Lechmere, esq.

Mr. A. Lechmere having vacated his seat, his brother, Nicholas Lechmeie, esq.[374] was chosen in his place, on the 25th of June,


1717. Tn March following, the latter gentleman was re-elected, he having accepted a place of profit under his majesty. On Mr. Lechmere being raised to the peerage, the Hon. Thomas Lord Viscount Gage,[375] was elected, Oct. 25, 1721. He was opposed by George Reade, esq. who presented a petition against the return of Lord Gage, alleging that the bailiffs had objected to many legal votes tendered by the petitioner, and permitted great tumults and disorders in the town, which they refused to quell, and thereby prevented many other voters from polling for him; but the petition was afterwards withdrawn.

1722.The Hon. Thomas Lord Viscount Gage.
 George Reade, esq.[376]
1727-8.The Hon. Thomas Lord Viscount Gage.
 George Reade, esq.

In the first session of this parliament, Thomas Reade, esq. petitioned against the return; he renewed his petition in the second sessions; but eventually withdrew it.

1734-5.The Hon. Thomas Lord Viscount Gage.
 Robert Tracy, esq.[377]


At this election, John Martin, esq. of Overbury, opposed the successful candidates: the numbers at the close of the poll were - for Mr. Tracy, 287; Lord Gage, 279; and Mr. Martin, 232.

1741.The Hon. Thomas Lord Viscount Gage.
 John Martin, esq.
1747.The Hon. Thomas Lord Viscount Gage.
 William Dowdeswell, esq.
1754.John Martin, jun. esq.
 Nicholson Calvert, esq.

Lord Gage, and his son, the Hon. Lieut.-Colonel Gage,[378] were candidates at this election, and presented a petition against the return. Lord Gage dying soon afterwards, his son obtained leave of the House to withdraw the petition, Jan. 1755. At the close of the poll, the numbers were - for Mr. Calvert, 252; Mr. Martin, 246; Lord Gage, 117; and Colonel Gage, 94. Immediately after the election, Lord Gage published a pamphlet, entitled "A Letter to the Gentlemen, Clergy, and others, Voters for the Borough of Tewkesbury": this was a remonstrance on an illegal association of the electors to sell their votes to mend their roads.

1761.Nicholson Calvert, esq.
 Sir William Codrington, bart.
1768.Nicholson Calvert, esq.
 Sir William Codrington, bart.
1774.Sir William Codrington, bart.
 Joseph Martin, esq.

James Martin, esq. was elected in 1776, on the death of his brother Joseph. It appears that Nicholas Hyett, esq. of Painswick, was anxious that his son should have been returned for this borough at the general election in 1774.[379]


1780.Sir William Codrington, bart.
 James Martin, esq.
1784.Sir William Codrington, bart.
 James Martin, esq.

John Embury, esq. of Twyning, formerly of Lincoln's Inn, having without effect endeavoured to induce the corporation to nominate Thomas Dowdeswell, esq. or some other fit person, in lieu of Sir William Codrington, at length offered himself as a candidate. The polling continued two days, at the close of which Mr. Embury resigned, and the numbers were - Mr. Martin, 266; Sir Wm. Codrington, 210; and Mr. Embury, 150. Objections having been made, at the commencement of the election, to voters who had recently become possessed of


tenements, it was agreed that no freeholder should be allowed to poll unless the house for which he claimed the right had been conveyed twelve months before the time of tendering his vote. The returning officers, by the advice of Mr. Stratford, their counsel, adopted this resolution, in consequence of its being notoriously known that Sir Wm. Codrington had conveyed nearly one hundred and fifty houses, without any consideration money being paid, for the mere purpose of creating votes; and that Mr. Embury and his friends had by similar means obtained between fifty and sixty supporters. The usage, antecedent to this election, had uniformly been to admit all persons to vote in respect of their freeholds, without reference to the length of time they had possessed them.

1790.Sir William Codrington, bart.
 James Martin, esq.

In consequence of the death of Sir Wm. Codrington, in 1792, a strong contest was threatened. Wm. Dowdeswell, esq. then a captain in the guards, immediately declared himself a candidate; John Embury, esq. again came forwards; and the Rev. William Smith pledged himself for the appearance at the hustings of the late Peter Moore, esq. many years member for Coventry, whom he publicly announced as a "Bengal Nabob", who would be content to expend the sum of £.20,000 or £.30,000, if he could apply it for the benefit of the electors of Tewkesbury. Mr. Moore himself subsequently canvassed the town; the society of Friends also introduced and supported Thomas Lloyd, esq. of Cilgwyn, Glamorganshire, a captain in the navy. The whole of the candidates however soon retreated, with the exception of Captain Dowdeswell, who was elected to succeed his venerable relative.

1796.James Martin, esq.
 William Dowdeswell, esq.

On this occasion, there were three candidates, besides the gentlemen returned, viz. John Embury, esq. who, as in a former instance, declined before the day of election; Peter Moore, esq. who had for some years been courting popularity among the lower classes of freemen and others; and Philip


Francis, esq. (son of Dr. Philip Francis, the translator of Horace and Demosthenes), who had been one of the members in council for the government of Bengal: he was afterwards created a knight of the bath, elected M.P. for Appleby, and distinguished himself in parliament at the impeachment of Governor Hastings. Party feeling and animosity were carried to a very great excess at this election, and the effects were not speedily forgotten. The hustings were erected in front of the town-hall, and the polling commenced on Wednesday the 25th, and ended on Monday the 30th of May; four hundred and thirteen persons voted. The following were the numbers for each candidate: Mr. Martin, 296; Mr. Dowdeswell, 296; Mr. Moore, 168; and Mr. Francis, 100. Messrs. Moore and Francis insisted that no honorary freeman had a right to vote, and that the charter of the borough granted the privilege to the whole of the inhabitants who paid "scot and lot"; and upon the votes of the latter being rejected by the returning officers, the unsuccessful candidates presented a petition to the house of commons against the return. The petitioners contended that the right of election was in the bailiffs, burgesses and commonalty; meaning, by the word burgesses, such persons as were entitled to their freedom by servitude or copy; and, by the word commonalty, the inhabitant householders generally;[380]


and the sitting members stated that the right of election was in the freemen, and in persons seized of an estate of freehold in an entire dwelling-house within the borough. The committee negatived both these statements, and determined that the right of election was in the freemen at large, and in persons seized of an estate of freehold, in an entire dwelling-house, within the ancient limits of the borough. They also declared that the sitting members were duly elected; and that that part of the petition which related to the conduct of the returning officers was frivolous and vexatious.[381] It is said, that the committee were so equally divided in opinion, as to whether the right of election were vested in the freemen and the proprietors of freehold dwelling-houses or in the freemen only, that the casting vote of the chairman decided the question. - In this contest, freeholders were allowed to vote, without reference to the length of time they had been in possession, if they were bona fide purchasers of the houses for which they claimed the right; but in every instance the returning officers, by the advice of Mr. Whitcombe their assessor, required to be satisfied of the reality of the purchase.

In 1797, Christopher Codrington, esq. (now Sir C.B. Codrington, bart.) was elected in the room of his cousin,


Colonel Dowdeswell, who had been appointed governor of the Bahama islands. He was opposed by Peter Moore, esq. one of the candidates at the prior election; George Tollet, esq. now, of Betley Hall, Staffordshire; and William Dowdeswell, esq. the then recorder of the borough. The latter gentleman relinquished his pretensions before the day of election; and the others, who grounded their hopes of success in a great measure upon the supposed ineligibility of Mr. Codrington, soon gave up the contest. Mr. Codrington polled 134; Mr. Moore, 52; and Mr. Tollet, 11. Mr. Codrington's opponents asserted that he was in reality one of the bailiffs of the borough, and consequently a returning officer, although Mr. Jenkins ostensibly filled the situation; and Mr. Moore, on this ground, presented a petition to the house of commons complaining of an undue return. When the petition came before the select committee, appointed to investigate its merits, it was so evident, even from Mr. Moore's witnesses, that there was no foundation for the complaint, that his own counsel declined to proceed further than the second day; upon which the committee resolved, that Mr. Codrington was duly elected, and that the petition was frivolous and vexatious. Could Mr. Moore, on this occasion, have obtained a majority of freemen in his favour, it was his intention to have petitioned the House to set aside the decision of the committee on the last election, and to have confined the right of voting to freemen only. Previously to the arrival of the day fixed upon for this election, it was discovered that the bailiffs had, contrary to the provisions of the Act of 25 Geo. III. caused the proclamation to be made at too late an hour in the day; in consequence, the election was postponed, and application made to the House for another writ.[382]


1802.James Martin, esq.
 Christopher Codrington, esq.
1806.James Martin, esq.[383]
 Christopher Codrington, esq.


Charles Hanbury Tracy, esq. of Todington, having been invited by a numerous body of electors to offer himself in opposition to Mr. Codrington, the Hon. Henry Augustus Berkeley Craven was induced to signify his intention of becoming a candidate, in case the peace of the borough were disturbed; and Walter Honeywood Yate, esq. proceeded to a canvas. Mr. Tracy declined to come forward, and the other gentlemen severally relinquished their pretensions before the day of election.

1807.Christopher Codrington, esq.[384]
 Charles Hanbury Tracy, esq.[385]

John Martin, esq. was a candidate, at this election, to succeed his worthy father; and great spirit was manifested by all parties during the contest. The polling continued for two days, at the close of which Mr. Martin very honourably retired. The numbers were - for Mr. Codrington, 229; Mr. Tracy, 220; and Mr. Martin, 124.

1812.John Edmund Dowdeswell, esq.[386]
 John Martin, esq.

Previously to this election, Samuel Whitcombe, esq. of Gloucester, (who was shortly afterwards knighted by the Prince Regent), avowed himself a candidate, in opposition to Charles Hanbury Tracy, esq. When the latter gentleman made public his intention of retiring from parliament, Mr. Whitcombe seized that opportunity of abandoning his views, which before this he had discovered could not be realized. He declared that, as he had accomplished his only object, which was the defeat of Mr. Tracy, he should not oppose the two new candidates. The friends of Mr. Tracy lost no time in publicly denying that he had been induced to resign in consequence of the threat of Mr. Whitcombe, though its improbability rendered a refutation thereof altogether unnecessary. When Mr. Codrington announced his determination not to offer


himself again to represent the borough, the body corporate, and a respectable party of the electors, severally voted thanks to him, "for the manly, upright and independent manner in which he discharged the studies of that important station during four successive parliaments". The numerous friends of Mr. Tracy also, on his secession, unanimously agreed, at a public meeting, to present him an address, and a piece of plate of one hundred guineas value, "as a small token of the respect and esteem which the electors of Tewkesbury will ever entertain of his determined and manly exertions to stem the torrent of corruption, and his zealous endeavours to check the wanton and lavish expenditure of the public money". A most elegant cup was accordingly presented, on the 30th of August, 1813, on which was engraven the following inscription: "To Charles Hanbury Tracy, esq. late M.P. for the Borough of Tewkesbury, the undaunted advocate of civil and religious liberty, as a token of respect, from his constituents".

1818.John Edmund Dowdeswell, esq.
 John Martin, esq.
1820.John Edmund Dowdeswell, esq.
 John Martin, esq.
1826.John Edmund Dowdeswell, esq.
 John Martin, esq.

[347] To send burgesses to the king's parliament was not in ancient times counted a privilege, but a burthen, because it was an expense to the burghs; for when they sent burgesses, they were liable to pay them wages to bear their charges. - Maddox's Collections.
[348] The freedom of the borough is acquired by election, birth, and servitude. - The body corporate, assembled in common council, have a right to give the freedom of the borough to an unlimited number, though they usually confine themselves to four in a year - the bailiffs each nominating two. This is not invariably the case, as the honour is sometimes conferred upon such individuals as may, for any public services, appear to merit such a mark of distinction. - The eldest son of a freeman, born subsequently to his father's admission, is entitled to the freedom on his father's decease; but if such son should die before his father, the right does not devolve to any other son. - Persons who serve a seven years' apprenticeship to a freeman, and reside during the whole period within the borough, under an indenture executed in the presence of one of the bailiffs and the town-clerk, and registered in the town-clerk's book of enrolment, are entitled to their freedom on the expiration of their apprenticeship. Those also who are apprenticed to the widow and executrix of a freeman, carrying on her deceased husband's business within the borough, in case the indentures are properly executed and enrolled, are similarly entitled. Nathaniel Hartland, esq. was admitted to his freedom, from his having thus served an apprenticeship to his mother, who was the widow and executrix of a freeman.
[349] The proprietor of a freehold in Tewkesbury has the privilege of voting for representatives of the county of Gloucester, as well as for members for the borough.
[350] The ancient limits of the borough are defined in Queen Elizabeth's charter. The description of them, in that document, is not now very easily understood, in consequence of the changes which have been made in the names of places, and of the removal of some of the objects which served as landmarks at that period. The select committee of the house of commons, when they determined the right of election, in 1797, appear to have had in view the definitions given in this charter. The whole of the Oldbury Field and Meadows, the Grove and Rail's Meadows, Gloucester-Place, the Severn Ham, the Lilly Croft, Allard's Garden, and various other places, were therefore, on that occasion, evidently considered as not being within the ancient limits of the borough. No persons at that time felt aggrieved by the decision, there being then no dwelling-houses built upon any of the commonable lands; but as there are now numerous tenements erected in the Oldbury, it may be a subject for investigation with a future election committee, whether the liberty of voting should or should not be extended to all the proprietors of freehold dwelling-houses within the borough. If such an extension were permitted, the number of electors would be considerably enlarged.
[351] Sir Dudley Digges, (eldest son of Thomas Digges, and grandson of Leonard Digges, both very eminent mathematicians), was born in 1583, and entered a gentleman commoner of University College, Oxford, in 1598. Having taken the degree of B.A. in 1601, he studied for some time at the inns of court, and then made a tour of the continent, having first received the honour of knighthood. In 1618 he was sent by James the first as ambassador to the emperor of Russia; and, two years afterwards, was dispatched on an important mission to Holland. While member for Tewkesbury, in the third parliament of James the first, he was so little compliant with the court measures, as to be ranked among those whom the king denominated "ill-tempered spirits". In the first parliament of Charles the first, he not only joined with those distinguished patriots who endeavoured to bring Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, the king's great favourite, to justice, but was indeed one of the most active managers in that affair, for which he was committed to the tower. In 1636 he was appointed to the honourable office of master of the rolls, and died in 1639. His death, as his epitaph expresses it, was "reckoned by the wisest men among the public calamities of the times". He was buried at Chilham, Kent, in which parish he had a fine estate, and where he built a noble house. Sir Dudley was author of several political and other works; he was a worthy good man, and, as Philipot beautifully observes, "a great assertor of his country's liberty in the worst of times, when the sluices of prerogative were opened, and the banks of the law were almost overwhelmed with the inundations of it". An original picture of Sir Dudley Digges, by Cornelius Jansen, is in the collection of John Edmund Dowdeswell, esq. at Pull Court.
[352] Mr. Ferrers was the eldest son of Roger Ferrers, esq. of Fiddington, near Tewkesbury, and brother of Wm. Ferrers, esq. the benefactor to the free grammar school.
[353] Mr. Brydges is thought to have been the eldest son of Sir Giles Brydges, bart. of Wilton Castle, and brother to Charles Brydges, esq. who for a long period resided at the Mythe, and died there in 1669.
[354] Sir Baptist Hickes, bart. "that mirror of his time", was created Viscount Campden by Charles the first, in 1628. He was a great mercer in London at the accession of James the first, and acquired so large a fortune, principally by supplying the court with silks, that he left his two daughters £.100,000 each. He built a large house in St. John's-street, for the justices of Middlesex to hold their sessions in; this, although it is now demolished, still gives to the sessions-house the name of Hickes's-Hall. In Campden church, Gloucestershire, is a stately altar tomb, on a raised slab of black marble, with the effigies recumbent of Viscount Campden, and his lady, in their robes of state, and coronets; the canopy is supported by twelve pillars of Egyptian marble, and finished with pediments and tablets. The following is part of the inscription on one of the tablets: - "To the memory of her dear deceased husband, Baptist Lord Hickes, Viscount Campden, born of a worthy family in the city of London, who, by the blessing of God on his ingenious endeavours, arose to an ample estate, and to the aforesaid degree of honour; and out of those blessings disposed to charitable uses, in his life time, a large portion, to the value of £.10,000; who lived religiously, virtuously, and generously, to the age of seventy-eight years, and died Oct. 13, 1629". His lordship left, by will, considerable property to charitable purposes, particularly to the poor of Campden and Tewkesbury.
[355] Sir Thomas Culpepper was lord of the manor of Hasleton, near Northleach, where he had a considerable estate. One Thomas Culpepper was knighted at the coronation of James I. July 23, 1603; and another Thomas was similarly honoured, on the 14th of March following: one of these was author of several political tracts.
[356] Anthony Ashley Cooper, first Earl of Shaftesbury, was son of Sir John Cooper, bart. of Rockborn, in the county of Southampton, where he was born in 1621, and was perhaps the most singular character of the age and country in which he lived. He was sent to Oxford at the age of fifteen, and admitted a gentleman commoner of Exeter College; after close attention to his studies there for about two years, he removed to Lincoln's Inn, where he applied himself with great vigour to the study of that part of the law which related to the constitution of the kingdom. He was elected member for Tewkesbury, when only nineteen years of age, in the short parliament which met April 13, 1610. At the commencement of the civil wars, he was with the king at Oxford; he afterwards deserted his majesty, accepted of a commission from the parliament, and, as Clarendon says, "became an implacable enemy to the royal cause". He was a member of the convention which met after Cromwell had dismissed the long parliament; he was again in the senate in 1654; and was one of the principal persons who signed that famous protestation, which charged the protector with tyranny and arbitrary government. When Richard Cromwell was deposed, and the Rump came again into power, Sir Anthony was appointed one of their council of state, and a commissioner for managing the army; yet he was, at that very time, engaged in a secret correspondence with the friends of Charles the second, and was greatly instrumental in promoting the restoration of that monarch. He was member for Dorsetshire, in what was called the "healing parliament", which sat in April 1660, and was one of the twelve members appointed by the house of commons to carry their invitation to the king. On his majesty's arrival in England, he was sworn a member of the privy council, and was also one of the commissioners for the trial of the regicides. He was soon afterwards made chancellor and under-treasurer of the exchequer, and a commissioner of the treasury. In 1672, he was created Earl of Shaftesbury, and in the same year was raised to the post of lord high chancellor. The seals were taken from him in the following year: and he was sent to the tower in 1677, with the Duke of Buckingham, the Earl of Salisbury, and Lord Wharton, where he remained thirteen months; yet, on a new privy council being formed, in 1679, he was appointed lord president. He held this employment only a few months; having drawn upon himself the hatred of the Duke of York, by steadily promoting, if not originally inventing, the project of the exclusion bill, the duke soon contrived to make him feel the weight of his resentment. His lordship was apprehended for high treason, in 1681; he was again committed to the tower, but after four months confinement, was tried and acquitted. His enemies at that time being in the zenith of their power, he prudently consulted his own safety by retiring into Holland, where he died a few months afterwards, of the gout in the stomach, in his sixty-second year.
[357] Sir Robert Cooke, was a colonel in the service of the parliament, had the command of Tewkesbury in 1643, and resided at Highnam Court, near Gloucester. His eldest son, William, was at first in the king's army, but afterwards sided with the parliamentarians: there is a portrait of the latter, in armour, in the Bibliotheca Gloucestrensis, (engraved from an original drawing in the possession of Sir Berkeley William Guise, bart.) representing him in the act of hewing his cocked or triangular hat into a round one.
[358] Mr. Edward Stephens, and his brother John, were members of the committee appointed by the parliament for sequestrating the estates of the royalists, and also committee-men named in the act for the punishment of scandalous clergymen and others in the county of Gloucester; they were likewise tools of that assembly at the period when money was forcibly raised in the county for administering the covenant and removing all scandalous ministers and schoolmasters, and for carrying into effect the other arbitrary measures of parliament.
[359] Journals of the House of Commons.
[360] Perfect Occurrences. - Mr. Craven was probably a member of the noble family of Craven, who were devoted to Charles the first.
[361] Mr. White, who is described as "of the city of Westminster", was a colonel of foot in the republican army. In a pamphlet, published immediately after Cromwell's sudden dissolution of this convention, entitled, "A Narrative of the late Parliament, so called; with an Account of the Places of Profit, Salaries and Advantages which they hold and receive under the present Power", it is said, that he received £.365 per annum of the public money. Many ludicrous instances of the puritanical austerities of the members of the Commonwealth conventions are narrated in "Burton's Diary". It was enacted, by one of Cromwell's parliaments, "that a woman should not kiss her child on the Sabbath, nor fasting day; and that a man should not walk in his garden, or elsewhere, except reverently to and from meeting". It was also proposed to prevent persons sitting or standing at their doors on the Sabbath-day, and this clause was rejected only by a majority of two votes. Tailors too were forbidden to sit cross-legged, it being deemed symbolic of popery.
[362] In the indenture between the sheriff of Gloucestershire and the bailiffs of Tewkesbury, on Disbrowe's election, dated Aug. 5, 1656, is the following clause: "Provided, and it is hereby declared, that he shall not have power to alter the government as it is now settled in one single person and a parliament".
[363] Mr. Long was nephew to Sir James Long, bart. of Draycot, Wilts, and succeeded to the title and estates in 1673; he was ancestor to the late unfortunate Mrs. Wellesley Pole Tilney Long Wellesley. In the Mercurius Politicus he is said to have been a major in the parliamentarian army; though his uncle, Sir James, commanded a troop of horse in the service of King Charles, and is much eulogised by Aubrey.
[364] This contention assembled Jan. 27, 1658-9, and was dissolved April 22. The long parliament, or "rump", was restored in May 1659; expelled October 13 following; again restored December 26; and finally dissolved March 16, 1660.
[365] The following correspondence, respecting this election, is extracted from Thurloe's State Papers, vol. 7, p.572:-
"A Letter from the Burgesses of Tewkesbury to Secretary Thurloe.
"Noble Sir, - We understand, that you are pleased so much to honour this poor corporation as to accept of our free and unanimous electing you one of our burgesses in the next parliament, and to sit a member for this place. Sir, we are so sensible of the greatness of the obligation, that we know not by what expressions sufficiently to demonstrate our acknowledgements; only at present we beseech you to accept of this for an earnest, that whomsoever you shall think worthy to be your partner, shall have the second election; and our real and hearty affections to serve and honour you whilst we are, as we shall ever strive to be,
"Sir, your most humble and obliged servants,  
"E. Hatch,"Tho. Clarke,Bayliffs.
"Richard Dowdeswell,"Tho. Jeynes,
"Will. Neast,
"William Willson,"John Beach,Justices.
"John Carver."Will. Hatton,
"Tewkesbury, 17th Dec. 1658".  
"Secretary Thurloe's Answer to the Burgesses of Tewkesbury.
"Gentlemen, - I received yours of the 17th instant, and thereby a very great demonstration of your affection to me, havinge expressed your willingness not only to betrust your concernment in the parliament with me, but to have reguard to my recommendation of him, whom you are to choose for your other burgesse. I heartily wish, that my ability to serve your corporation in the parliament, and elsewhere, were answerable to the good opinion you have of me. All that I can say is, that I shall endeavour, as I am obliged, to serve you faithfully, hopeinge you will doe yourselves more right in your choice of my partner, than you have in pitching upon me; knowinge you have many able gentlemen, both in the country and amongst yourselves, very fit for that trust. My Lord Disbrowe tells me, he hath propounded a worthy person, whose recommendation will make it necessary for me to make use of the liberty you have been pleased to give.
"31 Decemb. 1658".
[366] Mr. Capel was made a knight of the Bath at the coronation of Charles the second, and in 1679 was appointed first commissioner of the admiralty and a privy councillor. He was a constant speaker on all important questions, and peculiarly distinguished himself in his opposition to the opinion of the judges, who had unanimously decided "that to print, or publish any news-hooks, or pamphlets of news whatever, is illegal; that it is a manifest intent to the breach of the peace, and the offenders may be proceeded against by law for an illegal intent". His almost unvaried opposition to the views of the Duke of York, and the warmth with which he defended the principles of the bill for his exclusion from the throne, rendered him obnoxious to the court. In 1680, Sir Henry Capel, accompanied by Lord Russell, Lord Cavendish, and Mr. Powle, went to the king, and desired to be dismissed from their employment as privy councillors. Sir Henry then retired for some years from public life. In the first parliament of King William, he was again returned for Tewkesbury, and in 1692 was created a peer, by the title of Lord Capel of Tewkesbury. He was one of the lords justices of Ireland, in 1693, and died at Dublin, May 13, 1696, being then lord lieutenant of that kingdom. This distinguished nobleman was second son of Arthur Lord Capel, who in the civil wars defended Colchester with such bravery for the king, and was afterwards executed by the parliamentarians; he was brother to Arthur Capel, first Earl of Essex, who was first lord of the treasury to Charles the second, and afterwards accused of being concerned in the Rye House Plot, for which he was committed to the tower, where he was found murdered, on the morning of the trial of his friend and colleague, Lord William Russell.
[367] The original document, from which the following is copied, is among the corporation records; it proves that members of parliament considered themselves entitled to wages from their constituents, at a much later period than has generally been supposed:-
"Know all men by these presents, That we, Sir Henry Capell, knight of the bath, and Sir Francis Russell, bart. Do hereby remise, release and for ever quitt claime unto the Bayhffs, Burgesses and Commonalty of the Burrough of Tewkesbury, in the county of Gloucester, and their successors, and to all freemen, inhabitants and landholders within the said burrough, All and all manner of wages, fees and stipends whatsoever to us due or payable, or which we or either of us may or ought of right to have or claime, of or from them or any of them, for or by reason of our sitting and serving in any parliament or parliaments as burgesses of the said burrough, so that neither we nor either of us shall not nor will att any time hereafter have, claime, challenge or demand any such wages, fees or stipends, or any part thereof; but thereof and therefrom and of and from all and all manner of action, suit and demand touching the same, are and shall be utterly excluded and for ever debarred by these presents. In testimony whereof, we have hereto putt our hands and seals, the xxiith day of February, Ao. re. Caroli sec. dei gra. nunc Angl. &c. &c. xxxiiitio. Ao. q. Dm. 1680.
"Sealed and delivered by Sir Francis Russell, in presence of 
"Robert Eaton,"Francis Lankett". 
[368] Sir Francis Russell, bart. who died in 1700, was the last male descendant of the respectable family of that name which had flourished at Strensham for nearly four hundred years. Sir Francis, in the year following that in which he was first elected for Tewkesbury, gave certain property near the church-yard and in Smith's-lane, in trust, for the benefit of poor widows. Sir William Russell, the father of Sir Francis, was a zealous champion for the royal cause, and suffered greatly from the parliament army, who garrisoned Strensham. Sir William alone, of all the distinguished royalists in the county, was exempted from the benefit of the treaty for surrendering Worcester; he was forced to compound with the parliament committee for £.1800, besides £.50 a year out of his estate.
[369] Sir Francis Winnington was only son of Colonel Winningtcn, of Powick, and ancestor of the present baronet. He was born in the city of Worcester, in 1634, and being bred to the law, became so eminent in his profession, that he was made solicitor-general to King Charles the second, in 1664. He was a great sportsman, and would frequently ride on horseback from London to Stanford, in Worcestershire, which was one hundred and twenty five miles, in one day; this he continued to do until he was sixty-four years old. He was a firm defender of the liberties of his country in parliament, while he represented Worcester, Windsor and Tewkesbury. He was the first patron of the great Lord Somers, who lived with him several years as clerk in his chambers.
[370] Journals of the House of Commons.
[371] Mr. Bray resided at Great Barrington, in the county of Gloucester; his family, for many generations, possessed the fine estate which now belongs to Lord Dynevor.
[372] Mr. Ireton obtained the manor of Williamstrip, in the parish of Coln St. Aldwyn's, Gloucestershire, together with a good estate, by marrying the only daughter and heiress of Henry Powle, esq. speaker of the house of commons and master of the rolls, and privy councellor to Charles the second and William the third.
[373] Mr. Bromley was descended from the Chancellor Bromley, and resided at Upton-upon-Severn. He married Judith Hanbury, by whom he had an only daughter Judith, who married John, eldest son of John Martin, esq. of Overbury. Mr. Martin built the present mansion at Upton, restored to it the ancient appellation of Ham Court, and from him the present proprietor, Joseph John Martin, esq. is lineally descended.
[374] Nicholas Lechmere, esq. second son of Edmund Lechmere, esq. of Hanley Castle, was first chosen a representative in parliament for Appleby, in 1708; and for Cockermouth in 1710, 1713 and 1715. On the accession of George the first, in 1714, he was appointed solicitor-general, in the room of Sir Thomas Raymond; in 1717, he was promoted to the chancellorship of the Duchy of Lancaster; and, vacating his seat for Cockermouth, was chosen for Tewkesbury on the resignation of his elder brother. He was soon afterwards appointed attorney-general, and receiver general of his Majesty's customs. In 1721, he was fixated Baron Lechmere of Evesham; and died of apoplexy, while at table, at the age of 52, in 1727. He was one of the managers in the trial against Dr. Sacheverell; moved the impeachment against the Earl of Derwentwater; was chairman of the committee appointed to draw up articles against the seven impeached lords; and prepared a bill for the attainder of several of the rebels. In 1720, a charge was brought against him of corruption, with breach of trust and duty as a privy councillor, &c. which the House declared to be frivolous and vexatious, and he was very honourably acquitted. He was esteemed a good lawyer, a quick and distinguished orator, and an able politician; he was of a proud, violent and unyielding disposition, but was much caressed and flattered by the Whig party, who showered honours upon him more perhaps out of fear than affection. In Swift's Miscellanies, is an admirable ballad, written by Gay, entitled "Duke upon Duke, or a ludicrous account of a quarrel between Lord Lechmere and Sir John Guise". Lord Lechmere is said to have assisted Sir Richard Steele in writing "The Crisis".
[375] The Hon. Thomas Lord Viscount Gage was of Castle Island, in Ireland, and eighth baronet. He was created Viscount Gage and Baron of Castlebar, Sept. 14, 1720; he married first Benedicta Maria Theresa, sole daughter and heiress of Benedict Hall, esq. of High Meadow, Gloucestershire, and by her had two sons and a daughter; he married secondly Jane Godfrey, widow of Henry Jermyn Bond, esq. His lordship was steward of the household to Frederick Prince of Wales; and was, in 1736, appointed governor of Barbadoes, as successor to Lord Howe; but as he did not vacate his seat in parliament, it is presumed that some circumstance occurred to prevent his entering upon that office. He was chairman of the committee appointed to enquire into the conduct of Sir John Eyles, as a trustee for the sale of forfeited estates; having been at great pains and trouble in that affair, and having acted with that honour, integrity and impartiality which becometh a patriot, he received the unanimous thanks of the House. His lordship died in 1754.
[376] George Reade, esq. was of Shipton, Oxfordshire; he was a colonel in the foot guards and brigadier-general of his majesty's forces. He was brother of Sir Thomas Reade, bart, of Tame, Oxfordshire.
[377] Mr. Tracy was eldest son of John Tracy, esq. of Stanway: he was a trustee for Georgia. On his father's death, in 1735, he succeeded to the family estates, and soon afterwards retired from public life.
[378] He was the Viscount's second son, and was a general and commander-in-chief of his majesty's forces in North America. He died in 1788, leaving eleven children, of whom Henry became third Viscount Gage.
[379] A curious letter, on this subject, written to Mr. Barrow, (afterwards Sir Charles Barrow, bart.) of Highgrove, M.P. for the city of Gloucester, is in the possession of George Worrall Counsel, esq. who has, with his accustomed kindness, freely permitted a copy of it to be here inserted. When it is remembered that Mr. Hyett was recorder of the borough at the time he penned this letter, and that Mr. Barrow was then a member of the corporation, and succeeded Mr. Hyett in the recordership, - it appears tolerably evident that at least some of the members of the body corporate, at that period, were unable to withstand the temptation of a bribe; they certainly had feelings respecting the "purity of election" very different from those of some of their successors at the present time.
"To Charles Barrow, esq. Member of Parliament, Howard-street, London.
"Dear Sir,"[Gloucester,] April 24th, 1774.
"The last conversation we had related to Glo'ster elections: excuse the liberty I take and trouble I give you in this. I am very desirous in any reasonable way that my son should get into parliament, as I think it would be the only way to settle him in England, and I believe he would endeavour after reputation if he was in the House. You know best what you design in regard to Glo'ster; but be that what it will, Mr. Guise would be a bar to my son's getting in there quietly. Pray had you and he any discourse on the subject before you left the country? I fancy he wanted to speak to you about it. My intentions in this to you relates not to Glo'ster, but to ask you if you know any thing from Mr. Dowdeswell relative to Tewkesbury; whether Sir Wm. is to come in there, and with whom. If they pursued their old schemes, and a certain sum would do, and that sum did not exceed £.1500, I should be willing to stretch as far as that; and I believe my son would be more likely to join in party matters with Dowdeswell and friends than perhaps I might: but he is not to be biassed by me; sons think themselves much wiser than their parents. As your stay may be short in town, I write; and if you can conveniently give me an answer, shall be glad, and will thank you for the trouble you take. I hope you are not the worse for your journey; and, with due respects, I am,
"Dear Sir, Yours very sincerely,"NICH. HYETT".
[380] The petition of Peter Moore and Philip Francis, esqrs. stated,
"That at the late election of members to serve in this present parliament for the borough of Tewkesbury, in the county of Gloucester, the petitioners being candidates were elected by a great majority of persons qualified by the constitution of the borough to vote, and ought to have been returned as the representatives of the said borough in parliament: but that the Rev. Joseph Robinson, clerk, and William Buckle, esq. the bailiffs of the said borough, presiding at the said election as returning officers, being particular friends of James Martin, esq. and Wm. Dowdeswell, esq. the only other candidates, conducted the poll with such undisguised partiality as to manifest previous combination and predetermination against the petitioners; and that thus, acting and confederating against the petitioners, and aided by Mr. Samuel Whitcombe, the private election agent of Mr. Martin, called in by the said bailiffs as their agent also, under the appellation of assessor, not bound by an oath or any other check whatsoever, they the said bailiffs admitted votes in favour of their said two friends which they ought to have rejected, and rejected votes tendered in favour of the petitioners which they ought to have admitted; and that by such and divers other corrupt and illegal practices of the said returning officers, and of the said James Martin and Wm. Dowdeswell, esqrs. the said James Martin and Wm. Dowdeswell, esqrs. procured themselves to be returned by the said bailiffs, contrary to the truth, in defiance of the laws requiring free and fair election, in manifest violation of the rights of the electors, and to the great injury of the petitioners; and that the petitioners protested against the conduct of the said bailiffs, and declaredly with a view to ascertain the truth, and to avoid the necessity of troubling the House with an appeal, the petitioners solemnly demanded a scrutiny, while all parties were present and the public records at hand, as a certain means of averting much expense and trouble, but the said bailiffs positively refused it; and that the petitioners, thus unwillingly driven to resort to the justice of the House, humbly pray he House to take the premises into consideration, and to grant such relief as they shall appear to merit, and to do further therein as shall be thought meet".
[381] See Appendix, No.34.
[382] The following are the proceedings in the house of commons, Nov. 28, 1797, respecting the bailiffs of Tewkesbury having inadvertently issued the proclamation for an election at too late an hour:-
Mr. Bragge moved, that the precept and the return made by the bailiffs of the borough of Tewkesbury should be read. The latter stated, that the bailiffs, being ignorant of the clause in a late act of parliament, which orders the proclamation to be made between the hours of eight and four o'clock, bad inadvertently caused the proclamation to be made between the hours of five and six in the afternoon. They could not legally issue another proclamation within the fixed period, and had not, in consequence, proceeded to an election. He desired that a precedent from the 1st of William and Mary should be read, which, he said, was so far analogous, that in that case there had been no election; and the House, after examining the returning officer at the bar, had decided that a new writ should be immediately issued. If the House now wished for a viva voce examination, the bailiffs of Tewkesbury were in attendance for that purpose. He was of opinion, however, that the return which they had made was fully sufficient. He then proceeded, in a long argument, to shew that the jurisdiction in this case was not taken out of the House by the 25th of Geo. III. That statute went only to enact the necessary regulation, in case the return was not declared, as in the memorable scrutiny for Westminster, for fifty-two days after an election. But in this case there had been no election. No appeal could be made to an election committee, because no man could come forward to state an undue return. He moved "That the Speaker should immediately issue his warrant for the election of a burgess to serve in parliament for the borough of Tewkesbury". - Mr. Martin seconded the motion. - The Master of the Rolls opposed the motion. He said, this was by no means a clear case. It would, in his opinion, be improper to issue a new writ on the allegations which had been made. It was possible that a claimant might come forward, stating that he had been duly elected; and that these men, who had made the return, were not the proper returning officers. He thought it more safe to leave an interval for this possible claimant, and therefore moved as an amendment, "That those who may question this return, should question the same within fourteen days from the return of the writ into the crown-office". - Mr. Pitt seconded and supported this amendment. - The Speaker doubted whether this amendment could be regarded as consistent with the standing orders of the House. These were read, and, after some further conversation, the motion was negatived, and the House adopted the amended resolution offered by the Master of the Rolls. - The Speaker thought it necessary to say, that though no charge of corruption, or of partiality, lay against the returning officers, yet their inadvertency or ignorance of the laws, was of itself a high breach of duty. It was necessary therefore to state, as a caution to others, that they had escaped from punishment only through the lenity of the House.
[383] Some particulars of the public life of Mr. Martin are inserted in the Appendix, No.35.
[384] For an account of the Codrington family, see Appendix, No.36.
[385] A short pedigree of the ancient family of Tracy is given in the Appendix, No.37.
[386] For a pedigree of the Dowdeswell family, see Appendix, No.38.

OCR/transcript by Rosemary Lockie in October 2015.

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