Bodmin (UK Parliament constituency)
Bodmin was the name of a parliamentary constituency in Cornwall from 1295 until 1983. Initially, it was a parliamentary borough, which returned two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons of England and later the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom until the 1868 general election, when its representation was reduced to one member.
|Former borough constituency|
for the House of Commons
|Number of members||1295–1868: two|
|Bodmin division of Cornwall|
|Former county constituency|
for the House of Commons
Bodmin in Cornwall 1974-83
|Number of members||One|
|Replaced by||North Cornwall and South East Cornwall|
|Created from||Bodmin, East Cornwall and Liskeard|
The old borough was abolished with effect from the 1885 general election, but the name was transferred to a county constituency, which elected a single member until the constituency was abolished with effect from the 1983 general election, when the area it then covered was divided between the existing North Cornwall and the new Cornwall South East.
1885–1918: The Boroughs of Bodmin and Liskeard, the Sessional Division of East, South, and West Hundred, part of the Sessional Division of Powder Tywardreath, and the parishes of Bodmin, Helland, and Lanivet.
1918–1950: The Boroughs of Bodmin, Fowey, Liskeard, Lostwithiel, and Saltash, the Urban Districts of Callington, Looe, and Torpoint, the Rural Districts of Liskeard and St Germans, in the Rural District of St Austell the parishes of St Sampson and Tywardreath, and part of the Rural District of Bodmin.
1950–1974: The Boroughs of Bodmin, Fowey, Liskeard, Lostwithiel, and Saltash, the Urban Districts of Looe and Torpoint, the Rural Districts of Liskeard and St Germans, in the Rural District of St Austell the parishes of Lanlivery, Luxulyan, and St Sampson, and in the Rural District of Wadebridge the parishes of Blisland, Cardinham, Helland, Lanhydrock, Lanivet, and Withiel.
1974–1983: The Boroughs of Bodmin, Liskeard, and Saltash, the Urban Districts of Looe and Torpoint, the Rural Districts of Liskeard and St Germans, the Rural Borough of Lostwithiel, in the Rural District of St Austell the parishes of Lanlivery, Luxulyan, and St Sampson, and in the Rural District of Wadebridge and Padstow the parishes of Blisland, Cardinham, Helland, Lanhydrock, Lanivet, and Withiel.
Borough constituency (1295–1885)Edit
The borough which was represented from the time of the Model Parliament consisted of the town of Bodmin though not the whole of the parish. Unlike many of the boroughs in Cornwall which were represented in the Unreformed House of Commons, Bodmin was a town of reasonable size and retained some importance; for most purposes, indeed, it was considered the county town of Cornwall. In 1831, the population of the borough was 3,375, and contained 596 houses.
The right to vote, however, was held not by the residents at large but by the town's corporation, consisting of a Mayor, 11 aldermen and 24 common councilmen. Contested elections were quite unknown before the Reform Act, the choice of the two MPs being left entirely to the "patron". However, this power did not arise, as in many rotten boroughs, from the patron being able to coerce the voters; in Bodmin, the patron was expected to meet the public and private expenses of the corporation and its members in return for their acquiescence at election time.
Early in the 18th century, the Robartes family (Earls of Radnor) were the accepted patrons. Their interest was inherited by George Hunt, whose mother was the Robartes heiress, but he ran into difficulties and could not afford to retain complete control. By the 1760s another local magnate, Sir William Irby, secured enough of the town's goodwill to have a say in the choice of one member, while Hunt continued to select the other. In 1816, the patron was Lord de Dunstanville, nominating both MPs, but he found himself so overburdened with debts that he was forced to give it up, and The Marquess of Hertford was induced to take over the patronage, and the corporation's debts.
While the MP was not expected to assume the same financial obligations as the patron, nor to attend to the needs of his constituents in the manner of a modern MP, they were expected to attend the election ball, a high point in the social calendar for the wives and daughters of the otherwise undistinguished corporation members. John Wilson Croker, elected in 1820, described the Bodmin ball as "tumultuous and merry " but "at once tiresome and foolish".
Bodmin retained both its MPs under the Reform Act, but its boundaries were extended to bring in more of Bodmin parish and the whole of the neighbouring parishes of Lanivet, Lanhydrock and Helland. This increased the population to 5,258, although only 252 were qualified to vote.
By the time of the second Reform Act in 1867, Bodmin's electorate was still below 400, and consequently its representation was halved with effect from the 1868 general election. The extension of the franchise more than doubled the electorate, but Bodmin was still far too small to survive as a borough, and was abolished in 1885.
County constituency (1885–1983)Edit
The Bodmin constituency from 1885 until 1918, strictly called the South-Eastern or Bodmin Division of Cornwall, covered the whole of the south-east corner of the county, including as well as Bodmin itself the towns of Liskeard, Fowey, Lostwithiel and Saltash. Although predominantly rural, the string of small ports along its coast gave it a maritime as well as agricultural character. Through most of this period the constituency was marginal, the Unionists being helped by the popularity of their candidate Leonard Courtney, who had been Liberal MP for Liskeard when it was still a separate borough before joining the Liberal Unionists when the party split in 1886. Looe and the other fishing ports were predominantly Liberal and Fowey a Unionist stronghold, while the areas within the ambit of Plymouth's dockyards tended to vote against whichever was the sitting government. Another factor was the strength of non-conformist religion, as elsewhere in Cornwall, and this was thought to be the explanation for the Liberal gain in 1906, when agricultural seats elsewhere mostly remained with the Tories.
The boundary changes at the 1918 general election, which established what was now called Cornwall, Bodmin Division, and later Bodmin County Constituency, extended the constituency somewhat towards the centre of the county, taking in Callington and the surrounding district. These boundaries remained essentially unchanged for the remainder of the constituency's existence, except that Fowey was moved into the Truro constituency in 1974. As elsewhere in Cornwall, Labour never established a foothold in Bodmin, and the Liberals remained the main challengers to the Conservatives. The Conservatives held it continuously from 1945 to 1964, and at one point might have considered it a safe seat, but by the mid-1960s the Liberal revival had established it as a Liberal-Conservative marginal, which it remained until its abolition.
The Bodmin constituency ceased to exist as a result of the boundary changes implemented in 1983. Although the bulk of the constituency survived, Bodmin itself had been moved, enforcing a change of name: Bodmin joined North Cornwall, while the rest of the constituency was reunited with Fowey to become South East Cornwall. Bodmin's last Member, Robert Hicks, stood and was elected for the latter constituency.
Members of ParliamentEdit
|Parliament||First member||Second member|
|1351/52||Johannes De Tremayn[a 1]|
|Parliament of 1386||John Breton II||Henry Baudyn|
|First Parliament of 1388 (Feb)||Stephen Bant||John Syreston|
|Second Parliament of 1388 (Sep)||John Breton I||Henry Baudyn|
|First Parliament of 1390 (Jan)||John Breton I||Henry Baudyn|
|Second Parliament of 1390 (Nov)||?||?|
|Parliament of 1391||John Breton I||Thomas Bere|
|Parliament of 1393||John Breton I||John Drewe|
|Parliament of 1394||?||?|
|Parliament of 1395||John Tregoose||Thomas Bere|
|First Parliament of 1397 (Jan)||Stephen Trenewith||Thomas Bere|
|Second Parliament of 1397 (Sep)||John Trelawny I||John Breton I|
|Parliament of 1399||John Burgh I||James Halappe|
|Parliament of 1401||?||?|
|Parliament of 1402||John Nicoll||William Slingsby|
|First Parliament of 1404 (Jan)|
|Second Parliament of 1404 (Oct)|
|Parliament of 1406||Richard Allet||Benedict Burgess|
|Parliament of 1407||Michael Froden||Michael Hoge|
|Parliament of 1410||Otto Tregonan||William Moyle|
|Parliament of 1411||Otto Tregonan||John Wyse|
|First Parliament of 1413 (Feb)|
|Second Parliament of 1413 (May)||John But||Robert Treage|
|First Parliament of 1414 (Apr)||John But||Otto Tregonan|
|Second Parliament of 1414 (Nov)||John Clink||John But|
|Parliament of 1415 or 1416 (Mar)||Nicholas Jop||Otto Tregonan|
|Parliament of 1416 (Oct)|
|Parliament of 1417||Otto Tregonan||John Trewoofe|
|Parliament of 1419||Nicholas Bouy||John Trewoofe|
|Parliament of 1420||John Lawhire||Robert Treage|
|First Parliament of 1421 (May)||Otto Tregonan||David Urban|
|Second Parliament of 1421 (Dec)||William Chentleyn||Philip Motty|
|Parliament of 1437||James Flamank||Thomas Lanhergy|
|Parliament of 1515||John Flamank||Thomas Trott|
|Parliament of 1529||Thomas Treffry I||Gilbert Flamank|
|Parliament of 1545||Thomas Treffry II||Henry Chiverton|
|Parliament of 1547||Henry Chiverton||John Caplyn|
|First Parliament of 1553 (Mar)||John Caplyn||Ralph Cholmley|
|Second Parliament of 1553||Henry Chiverton||Thomas Mildmay|
|First Parliament of 1554 (Apr)||John Sulyard|
|Second Parliament of 1554 (Nov)||John Courtney||Ralph Michell|
|Parliament of 1555||Thomas Williams||Humphrey Cavill|
|Parliament of 1558||Walter Hungerford||John Norreys|
|Parliament of 1558/9||Nicholas Carminowe||Digory Chamond|
|Parliament of 1562||John Mallett||Francis Browne|
|Parliament of 1563–1567|
|Parliament of 1571||Humphrey Smith||John Kestall|
|Parliament of 1572–1581||Thomas Cromwell||Edmund Pooley|
|Parliament of 1584–1585||John Audley||Gilbert Mitchell|
|Parliament of 1586–1587||Emmanuel Chamond||Brutus Browne|
|Parliament of 1588–1589||Hugh Beeston|
|Parliament of 1593||Anthony Bennet||Richard Cannock|
|Parliament of 1597–1598||Sir Bernard Grenville||John Herbert|
|Parliament of 1601||William Lower||John Pigot|
|Parliament of 1604–1611||John Stone||Richard Spray|
|Addled Parliament (1614)||Christopher Spray||Richard Edgecumbe|
|Parliament of 1621–1622||Sir John Trevor||James Bagge, junior|
|Happy Parliament (1624–1625)||Sir Thomas Stafford||Charles Berkeley|
|Useless Parliament (1625)||Henry Jermyn||Robert Caesar|
|Parliament of 1625–1626||Sir Richard Weston|
|Parliament of 1628–1629||Sir Robert Killigrew||Humphrey Nicholls|
|No Parliament summoned 1629–1640|
|1868||Representation reduced to one member|
|1868||Hon. Frederick Leveson-Gower||Liberal|
|1885||Leonard Courtney||Liberal Unionist|
|1900||Sir Lewis Molesworth||Liberal Unionist|
|1906 by-election||Freeman Freeman-Thomas||Liberal|
|1910||Sir Reginald Pole-Carew||Liberal Unionist|
|1916 by-election||Charles Hanson||Coalition Conservative|
|1922 by-election||Isaac Foot||Liberal|
|1941 by-election||Beatrice Rathbone (later Wright)||Conservative|
|1945||Sir Douglas Marshall||Conservative|
|Feb 1974||Paul Tyler||Liberal|
|Oct 1974||Robert Hicks||Conservative|
Elections in the 1840sEdit
|Conservative||John Dunn Gardner||142||28.3|
|Conservative||Samuel Thomas Spry||135||26.9|
Vivian succeeded to the peerage, becoming 2nd Baron Vivian and causing a by-election.
|Conservative||Samuel Thomas Spry||165||50.6||−4.6|
|Conservative gain from Whig||Swing||−4.7|
|Conservative||Samuel Thomas Spry||117||17.4||−37.8|
|Turnout||337 (est)||83.9 (est)||+22.2|
|Radical gain from Conservative||Swing||N/A|
Elections in the 1850sEdit
|Radical||Edward Capel Whitehurst||82||11.5||−32.6|
|Turnout||358 (est)||97.4 (est)||+13.5|
|Conservative gain from Radical||Swing||+22.9|
|Turnout||317 (est)||81.3 (est)||−16.1|
|Radical gain from Conservative||Swing||+15.0|
|Turnout||290 (est)||74.4 (est)||−6.9|
|Conservative gain from Liberal||Swing||+4.3|
Michell resigned by accepting the office of Steward of the Manor of Northstead, causing a by-election.
|Liberal gain from Conservative|
Elections in the 1860sEdit
|Conservative||Charles Locock Webb||114||18.5||−15.6|
|Turnout||365 (est)||91.8 (est)||+17.4|
|Liberal gain from Conservative||Swing||+8.9|
The seat was reduced to one member for the 1868 election.
Elections in the 1870sEdit
|Liberal||Charles Eldon Sargeant||230||28.5||N/A|
|Conservative||Charles Locock Webb||113||14.0||N/A|
Elections in the 1880sEdit
|Liberal||James Ross Farquharson||375||47.3||+18.8|
|Conservative||Charles Ernest Edgcumbe||3,101||42.2||N/A|
|Liberal Unionist||Leonard Courtney||3,763||64.2||+22.0|
|Liberal Unionist gain from Liberal||Swing||+22.0|
Elections in the 1890sEdit
|Liberal Unionist||Leonard Courtney||3,809||51.6||−12.6|
|Liberal Unionist hold||Swing||−12.6|
|Liberal Unionist||Leonard Courtney||4,035||53.6||+2.0|
|Liberal Unionist hold||Swing||+2.0|
Elections in the 1900sEdit
|Liberal Unionist||Lewis Molesworth||4,280||56.9||+3.3|
|Liberal Unionist hold||Swing||+3.3|
|Liberal Unionist||H. B. Grylls||4,029||43.7||−13.2|
|Liberal gain from Liberal Unionist||Swing||+13.2|
|Liberal Unionist||George Sandys||3,876||43.8||+0.1|
Elections in the 1910sEdit
|Liberal Unionist||Reginald Pole-Carew||5,083||49.8||+6.1|
|Liberal Unionist||Reginald Pole-Carew||5,021||50.2||+0.4|
|Liberal Unionist gain from Liberal||Swing||+0.4|
General election 1914/15:
Another general election was required to take place before the end of 1915. The political parties had been making preparations for an election to take place and by the July 1914, the following candidates had been selected;
|C indicates candidate endorsed by the coalition government.|
Elections in the 1920sEdit
|Liberal gain from Unionist||Swing||+14.8|
|C indicates candidate endorsed by the coalition government.|
|Unionist gain from Liberal||Swing||+4.7|
|Liberal gain from Unionist||Swing||+2.4|
Elections in the 1930sEdit
|Labour||Harold E. J. Falconer||2,496||7.2||n/a|
|Conservative gain from Liberal||Swing||n/a|
General election 1939/40: Another general election was required to take place before the end of 1940. The political parties had been making preparations for an election to take place from 1939 and by the end of this year, the following candidates had been selected;
Elections in the 1940sEdit
|Labour||Jack Hubert Pitts||6,401||18.2|
Elections in the 1950sEdit
|Liberal||T. Stuart Roseveare||10,088||25.6|
|Liberal||T. Stuart Roseveare||10,199||28.0|
|Labour||E. Fraser Wilde||8,304||22.8|
|Labour||Thomas F. Mitchell||5,769||15.7|
Elections in the 1960sEdit
|Labour||Thomas F. Mitchell||4,172||11.2|
|Liberal gain from Conservative||Swing|
Elections in the 1970sEdit
|Labour||Alfred F. Long||5,350||12.8|
|Conservative gain from Liberal||Swing|
|Liberal gain from Conservative||Swing|
|Labour||P. C. Knight||4,814||10.5|
|Conservative gain from Liberal||Swing|
|Mebyon Kernow||Roger Holmes||865||1.7|
|National Front||M. Carter||235||0.5|
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