Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Right of Election:

in burgage holders

Number of voters:



21 Jan. 1715THOMAS VERNON 
 Frederick Tylney 
25 May 1721FREDERICK TYLNEY vice Vernon, expelled the House 
 John Conduitt 
 Thomas Vernon 
 — Craven 
 CONDUITT vice Tylney, on petition, 26 June 1721 
22 Mar. 1722THOMAS VERNON49
 Frederick Tylney25
 Isaac Woollaston23
2 Feb. 1727THOMAS FARRINGTON vice Vernon, deceased52
 Isaac Woollaston7
 — Shrimpton1
7 Apr. 1727CONDUITT re-elected after appointment to office 
18 Aug. 1727JOHN CONDUITT 
29 Apr. 1734JOHN CONDUITT 
19 Apr. 1735JOHN MORDAUNT vice Conduitt, chose to sit for Southampton 
27 June 1737MORDAUNT re-elected after appointment to office 
7 May 1741JOHN WALLOP 
2 Jan. 1742WILLIAM SLOPER vice Wallop, chose to sit for Andover 
31 Jan. 1743CHARLES CLARKE vice Sloper, deceased 
18 Feb. 1743THOMAS WENTWORTH vice Clarke, appointed to office 
29 Dec. 1746SELWYN re-elected after appointment to office 
21 Nov. 1751ROBERT BERTIE vice Selwyn, deceased 

Main Article

In 1715 the chief burgage owners at Whitchurch were Thomas Vernon, a Tory, who returned himself, and John Wallop, a neighbouring Whig landowner, who returned General Carpenter. On Vernon’s expulsion from the House of Commons in 1721, Wallop, now Lord Lymington, put up his friend John Conduitt, on the understanding that Conduitt should make way for Wallop’s son when the boy came of age. Returned on petition, Conduitt was re-elected with Vernon at the general election of 1722. On Vernon’s death in 1726 much of his property at Whitchurch was bought by John Selwyn, who came to an agreement with Conduitt

that for the future all burgage tenures shall be bought between Mr. Selwyn and Mr. Conduitt in such manner that each may have an equal share of houses. That all charges attending the borough after the next election shall be borne equally by both. That the mayor [the returning officer] and the bailiff shall be chosen by the mutual consent of both. That Mr. Conduitt shall make good his engagement to my Lord Lymington.

This agreement had been suggested by Lord Lymington, who had explained to Selwyn (27 Nov. 1726) that by these means

you will be at an equal expense and just upon the same footing as if my son was of age, for then my security will be from Mr. Conduitt for my family hereafter, and all seeds of either interest or jealousy being removed it will remain a sure and uncontested borough between our families for ever: for far is it from my thoughts that there should be any dispute hereafter who was to quit the borough for my son, Mr. Conduitt having been so kind ever since he was in the borough to promise me a resignation of his interest whenever I should desire it.

He also promised Selwyn that

you and yours should always command my interest at Whitchurch and hereafter when I shall be in possession of Mr. Conduitt’s part, the agreement shall stand upon the same terms between you and yours and me and mine, as it now does between Mr. Conduitt and yourself.

At a contested by-election in 1727 Selwyn, with Conduitt’s consent, returned his kinsman, Thomas Farrington, thereafter nominating one Member. Describing their partnership Selwyn wrote, 15 Dec. 1726:

Among the number of votes, which are about eighty five, Mr. Conduitt and I have about forty-four between us, that is twenty-two each, which makes above half the whole number, supposing everyone could vote whereas some being in infants, others in women, there are seldom above seventy-five, so consequently we have a sufficient majority. The town being thus divided it behoves Mr. Conduitt and me always to join, as it will do those who shall succeed to us, because by being separated we should put it to chance and depend upon the good will of the people who shall get the better, and it ... would infallibly be attended with great trouble and expense, whereas now there is neither.

After Conduitt’s death in 1737, followed by his wife’s in 1739, Lymington secured possession of their Whitchurch property by the marriage of his eldest son to Conduitt’s daughter and heir in July 1740. On 26 July 1740 Lymington and Selwyn in a written agreement plighted

their faith and honour always to join each other and in case of the death of Mr. Wallop and Mr. Selwyn the survivor obliges himself to assist with all his interest and influence the heirs of the deceased equally as though the contracting parties were both alive.

And in case either of them part with their estates at Whitchurch out of their own family the other shall have the first refusal.1

On Selwyn’s death in November 1751 his property and electoral interest at Whitchurch passed to his son-in-law, Thomas Townshend, who continued to cooperate with Lymington, now Earl of Portsmouth.

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. Hants RO 4M51/384.