Constituencies 1509-1558

Published in 1982

At the accession of Henry VIII 37 shires, 12 urban counties, and 98 towns and boroughs sent representatives to the House of Commons. All were in England (as yet Wales was not represented). Altogether there were 296 Members. Over the period the number of constituencies grew: by 1558, 52 shires, 16 county boroughs and 160 cities, towns and boroughs, were returning a total of 398 members. During the 36-year reign of Henry VIII up to 44 constituencies were added. It is not always possible to be certain when some constituencies were first enfranchised, but in the six years of Edward VI’s reign up to 25 constituencies sent Members for the first time, and in the five years of Mary’s reign up to 14 were added.

There is a summary table provided of the number o