Double Member Borough

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Right of Election:

in burgage holders

Number of voters:

about 100


18 Apr. 1754Richard Arundell
 Sir Henry Slingsby
14 Feb. 1758Robert Walsingham vice Arundell, deceased
30 Mar. 1761Lord John Cavendish
 Sir Henry Slingsby
3 Feb. 1763Sir Anthony Thomas Abdy vice Slingsby, deceased
30 Dec. 1765Lord John Cavendish re-elected after appointment to office
 Sir Anthony Thomas Abdy re-elected after appointment to office
18 Mar. 1768Robert Walsingham
 Sir Anthony Thomas Abdy
10 Oct. 1774Robert Walsingham
 Sir Anthony Thomas Abdy
19 Apr. 1775Lord George Augustus Henry Cavendish vice Abdy, deceased
11 Sept. 1780Robert Walsingham
 Frederick Ponsonby, Visct. Duncannon
3 July 1781James Hare vice Walsingham, deceased
4 Apr. 1782Duncannon re-elected after appointment to office
15 Apr. 1783Duncannon re-elected after appointment to office
2 Apr. 1784Frederick Ponsonby, Visct. Duncannon
 James Hare
 Sir John Coghill
 Bacon Frank

Main Article

About 1750 Knaresborough was controlled by Lord Burlington and Sir Henry Slingsby. Burlington died on 3 Dec. 1753, and his interest in the borough passed to his widow. Their daughter and heir, Charlotte, had married William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire; who wrote to Lady Burlington on 13 Mar. 1756, soon after succeeding to the title:1

You are so very good to me that I do not know how to express my gratitude sufficiently, especially with regard to Knaresborough, for which I am most infinitely obliged to your Ladyship. As you are so kind as to offer me to recommend to it, I will turn it in my thoughts and will talk to you upon the subject when I have the pleasure of seeing your Ladyship.

Lady Burlington died on 21 Sept. 1758, and the interest passed under Devonshire’s control.

The Slingsbys, who owned a good deal of property in Knaresborough, first represented the borough in 1625. On the death of Sir Henry Slingsby in 1763, his burgages were acquired by the Duke of Devonshire, who henceforth controlled both seats.2

The only challenge to the Devonshire interest came in 1784 from Sir John Coghill, a local landowner, and Bacon Frank of Campsall, near Doncaster, a country gentleman. It was not a political contest, for Frank was a follower of Lord Fitzwilliam, Devonshire’s political ally. Coghill and Frank stood on the right of the resident householders. After their defeat they petitioned, claiming that they had received a majority of qualified votes;3 but the petition was withdrawn without being heard by the House.

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. Devonshire mss.
  • 2. Oldfield, Boroughs, iii. 259-61.
  • 3. CJ, 31 May 1784.