Bridgwater (UK Parliament constituency)
Bridgwater was a parliamentary constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, until 2010 when it was replaced by the Bridgwater and West Somerset constituency. It elected one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election.
|Former County constituency|
for the House of Commons
Boundary of Bridgwater in Somerset for the 2005 general election.
Location of Somerset within England.
|Number of members||One|
|Replaced by||Bridgwater & West Somerset|
|Created from||West Somerset|
|Number of members||Two|
|Type of constituency||Borough constituency|
|Replaced by||West Somerset|
From Parliament's enactment of the major Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 which took effect at the 1885 general election, a new county division of Bridgwater was created, which lasted with modifications until 2010. The constituency expanded considerably beyond Bridgwater town itself from 1885.
Bridgwater frequently compared to other seats had a radical or game-changing representative, though since 1950 this became less noticeable in its candidates elected.
The seat received particular fame in late 1938 when a by-election took place in the aftermath of the signing of the Munich Agreement. Opponents of the agreement persuaded the local Labour and Liberal parties to not field candidates of their own against the Conservative candidate, but to instead jointly back an independent standing on a platform of opposition to the Government's foreign policy, in the hope that this would be the precursor to the formation of a more general Popular Front of opposition to the government of Neville Chamberlain in anticipation of the General Election due in either 1939 or 1940. The noted journalist Vernon Bartlett stood as the independent Popular Front candidate and achieved a sensational victory in what was hitherto a Conservative seat. He represented the constituency for the next twelve years.
In 1970 another by-election in the constituency achieved fame as it was the first occasion when 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds were able to vote in the UK Parliamentary election. The first teenager to cast a vote was Trudy Sellick, 18 on the day of the poll. The by-election was won by the future Conservative Cabinet Minister Tom King who held the seat for the next thirty-one years, followed by another Conservative until its abolition in 2010.
1885-1918: The Municipal Borough of Bridgwater, the Sessional Division of Bridgwater, and parts of the Sessional Divisions of Taunton and Ilminster.
1918-1950: The Municipal Borough of Bridgwater, the Urban Districts of Burnham-on-Sea, Highbridge, Minehead, and Watchet, and the Rural Districts of Bridgwater and Williton.
1950-1983: The Municipal Borough of Bridgwater, the Urban Districts of Burnham-on-Sea, Minehead, and Watchet, and the Rural Districts of Bridgwater and Williton. Highbridge Urban District had been absorbed by Burnham-on-Sea Urban District in 1933, but the constituency boundaries remained unchanged.
1983-2010: The District of Sedgemoor wards of Cannington and Combwich, Central, Dowsborough, Eastern Quantocks, Eastover, East Poldens, Hamp, Huntspill, Newton Green, North Petherton, Parchey, Pawlett and Puriton, Quantock, Sandford, Sowey, Sydenham, Victoria, Westonzoyland, West Poldens, and Woolavington, and the District of West Somerset wards of Alcombe, Aville Vale, Carhampton and Withycombe, Crowcombe and Stogumber, Dunster, East Brendon, Holnicote, Minehead North, Minehead South, Old Cleeve, Porlock and Oare, Quantock Vale, Watchet, West Quantock, and Williton.
Members of ParliamentEdit
- Constituency created (1295)
Bridgwater borough, 1295–1870Edit
Bridgwater county constituency, 1885–2010Edit
- County division created (1885)
Elections in the 1840sEdit
|Conservative||Thomas Seaton Forman||276||26.4|
|Whig||Edward Simcoe Drewe||247||23.6|
|Turnout||428 (est)||80.9 (est)||−7.3|
|Whig gain from Conservative||Swing||+5.2|
Elections in the 1850sEdit
|Conservative||John Clavell Mansel||177||18.8||+3.3|
|Whig||Alexander William Kinglake||101||10.7||N/A|
|Turnout||471 (est)||68.5 (est)||−12.4|
|Whig||Alexander William Kinglake||301||36.1||+25.4|
|Turnout||519 (est)||88.0 (est)||+11.5|
|Whig gain from Conservative||Swing||+17.8|
|Liberal||Alexander William Kinglake||279||27.7||−8.4|
|Turnout||504 (est)||82.0 (est)||−6.0|
Elections in the 1860sEdit
|Liberal||Alexander William Kinglake||257||31.3||+3.6|
|Turnout||575 (est)||89.3 (est)||+7.3|
|Conservative gain from Liberal||Swing||−3.6|
Westropp's election was declared void on petition on 25 April 1866, causing a by-election.
Patton was appointed Lord Advocate, requiring a by-election.
|Liberal gain from Conservative||Swing||−6.9|
|Liberal||Alexander William Kinglake||731||26.2||−5.1|
|Conservative||Charles William Gray||650||23.3||+3.3|
|Turnout||1,394 (est)||93.0 (est)||+3.7|
|Liberal gain from Conservative||Swing||−3.6|
A Royal Commission found extensive bribery in the seat and, from 4 July 1870, the writ was suspended, both MPs were unseated, and the electorate was absorbed into West Somerset.
Elections in the 1880sEdit
|Liberal||Edwin Brook Cely Trevilian||3,835||49.4||N/A|
|Conservative win (new seat)|
Elections in the 1890sEdit
|Liberal||James Douglas Walker||3,362||42.5||N/A|
Elections in the 1900sEdit
|Liberal gain from Conservative||Swing||N/A|
Elections in the 1910sEdit
|Liberal||Harold C. Hicks||3,896||41.1||-9.0|
|Conservative gain from Liberal||Swing||+9.0|
|Liberal||Harold C. Hicks||3,779||42.3||+1.2|
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 from 1914 and by the end of this year, the following candidates had been selected;
Sanders is appointed Treasurer of the Household, requiring him to seek re-election.
|C indicates candidate endorsed by the coalition government.|
Elections in the 1920sEdit
|Liberal gain from Unionist||Swing||+3.0|
|Labour||James Musgrave Boltz||1,966||7.3||N/A|
|Unionist gain from Liberal||Swing||+9.1|
|Liberal||Joseph William Molden||11,161||33.8||−6.2|
|Labour||James Musgrave Boltz||6,423||19.4||+12.1|
Elections in the 1930sEdit
|Labour||James Musgrave Boltz||6,974||22.5|
|Liberal||Norman David Blake||7,370||23.4|
|Labour||Arthur W Loveys||6,240||19.8|
|Independent Progressive||Vernon Bartlett||19,540||53.2||+53.2|
|Conservative||Patrick Gerald Heathcoat-Amory||17,208||46.8||-10.1|
|Independent Progressive gain from Conservative||Swing|
Elections in the 1940sEdit
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 and by the Autumn of 1939, the following candidates had been selected;
|Independent Progressive||Vernon Bartlett||17,937||45.79|
|Independent Progressive hold||Swing|
Elections in the 1950sEdit
|Labour Co-op||Norman E Carr||16,053||36.08|
|Conservative gain from Independent Progressive||Swing|
|Labour Co-op||Norman E Carr||19,656||43.66|
|Labour||Albert E Sumbler||17,170||40.83|
Elections in the 1960sEdit
|Labour||Norman J Hart||14,645||31.5|
|Independent||Michael L de V Hart||2,038||4.4|
Elections in the 1970sEdit
|Liberal||Patrick M O'Loughlin||5,832||12.6||-4.9|
|Labour||Raymond J Billington||18,224||35.8||-2.3|
|Liberal||Patrick M O'Loughlin||6,066||11.9||-5.6|
|United Democratic||SR Harrad||288||0.5|
Elections in the 1980sEdit
|Social Democratic||R Farley||14,410||30.00|
|Social Democratic||Christopher Clarke||15,982||30.30||+0.30|
Elections in the 1990sEdit
|Liberal Democrat||WJ Revans||16,894||29.69||-0.61|
|Natural Law||G Sanson||112||0.20||N/A|
|Liberal Democrat||Michael Hoban||18,378||33.65||+3.96|
Elections in the 2000sEdit
|Liberal Democrat||Ian Thorn||14,367||30.00||-3.65|
|Liberal Democrat||James Main||10,940||22.70||-3.50|
Notes and referencesEdit
- "THOMER (TOMERE), William, of Bridgwater, Som". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 2012-10-28.
- "History of Parliament". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 2011-11-02.
- Baker, J. H. "Hody, Sir William". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/13456.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- "History of Parliament". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 2011-11-02.
- Browne Willis gives Molyns' name only tentatively for 1555
- "Bridgwater". The History of Parliament. The History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
- Expelled as a monopolist, January 1641
- Cobbett lists the second MP elected in 1645 as John Palmer, MD, and gives Blake as MP for Taunton. Brunton & Pennington agree with the Dictionary of National Biography in naming Blake as MP for Bridgwater and Palmer for Taunton.
- Perceval was initially declared re-elected in 1768, but on petition he was judged not to have been duly elected and his opponent, Poulett, was seated in his place.
- Allen was initially declared re-elected in 1780, but on petition he was judged not to have been duly elected and his opponent, Acland, was seated in his place.
- Stooks Smith, Henry (1845). The Parliaments of England, from 1st George I., to the Present Time. Vol II: Oxfordshire to Wales Inclusive. London: Simpkin, Marshall, & Co. pp. 28–31. Retrieved 28 October 2018 – via Google Books.
- Vice-Admiral from 1787
- Lieutenant-Colonel from 1793, Colonel from 1796
- "John Bull". 30 July 1837. pp. 7–9. Retrieved 24 October 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "County Chronicle, Surrey Herald and Weekly Advertiser for Kent". 1 August 1837. pp. 3–4. Retrieved 24 October 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "The Elections". Morning Post. 30 July 1847. p. 4. Retrieved 18 April 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "Bridgwater". Exeter and Plymouth Gazette. 31 July 1847. p. 4. Retrieved 18 April 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- Porter, Mary (1898). "The Lions of London". Annals of a Publishing House: John Blackwood (PDF). Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons. p. 127.
- The election of Westropp was declared void and a by-election was held
- The election of Kinglake and Vanderbyl in 1868 declared void. The writ (of election) was suspended and a Royal Commission was appointed, which reported that it had found proof of extensive bribery.
- Craig, F. W. S., ed. (1977). British Parliamentary Election Results 1832-1885 (1st ed.). London: Macmillan Press. pp. 61–62. ISBN 978-1-349-02349-3.
- "General Election". Western Times. 3 July 1841. p. 3. Retrieved 28 October 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "Local Elections". Exeter and Plymouth Gazette. 3 July 1841. p. 3. Retrieved 28 October 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "The Elections". Dorset County Chronicle. 1 July 1841. p. 4. Retrieved 28 October 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "Bridgwater". Exeter and Plymouth Gazette. 31 July 1847. p. 4. Retrieved 28 October 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "Election Talk". The Spectator. 6 March 1852. p. 6. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
- "The General Election". Bristol Times and Mirror. 10 July 1852. p. 2. Retrieved 18 April 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "Election Intelligence". Exeter and Plymouth Gazette. 10 July 1852. pp. 6–7. Retrieved 18 April 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "Bridgwater Mercury". 20 April 1859. p. 5. Retrieved 18 April 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "Election Intelligence". London Daily News. 11 July 1866. p. 2. Retrieved 29 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "Bridgwater Election". Western Daily Press. 10 October 1868. p. 3. Retrieved 29 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- The Liberal Year Book, 1907
- Craig, FWS, ed. (1974). British Parliamentary Election Results: 1885-1918. London: Macmillan Press. ISBN 9781349022984.
- British parliamentary election results, 1885–1918 (Craig)
- Debrett's House of Commons & Judicial Bench, 1916
- Western Daily Press, 13 Jan 1939
- The Times' Guide to the House of Commons. 1950.
- The Times' Guide to the House of Commons. 1951.
- "Election Data 1983". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- "Election Data 1987". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- "Election Data 1992". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- "Election Data 1997". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- "Election Data 2001". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- "Election Data 2005". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- Boundaries of Parliamentary Constituencies 1885–1972, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Parliamentary Reference Publications 1972)
- British Parliamentary Election Results 1832–1885, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Macmillan Press 1977)
- British Parliamentary Election Results 1885–1918, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Macmillan Press 1974)
- British Parliamentary Election Results 1918–1949, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Macmillan Press, revised edition 1977)
- British Parliamentary Election Results 1950–1973, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Parliamentary Research Services 1983)
- Who's Who of British Members of Parliament: Volume I 1832–1885, edited by M. Stenton (The Harvester Press 1976)
- Who's Who of British Members of Parliament, Volume II 1886–1918, edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (Harvester Press 1978)
- Who's Who of British Members of Parliament, Volume III 1919–1945, edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (Harvester Press 1979)
- Who's Who of British Members of Parliament, Volume IV 1945–1979, edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (Harvester Press 1981)
- Robert Beatson, A Chronological Register of Both Houses of Parliament (London: Longman, Hurst, Res & Orme, 1807) 
- D Brunton & D H Pennington, Members of the Long Parliament (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1954)
- Cobbett's Parliamentary history of England, from the Norman Conquest in 1066 to the year 1803 (London: Thomas Hansard, 1808) 
- Esther S Cope and Willson H Coates (eds), Camden Fourth Series, Volume 19: Proceedings of the Short Parliament of 1640 (London: Royal Historical Society, 1977)
- Maija Jansson (ed.), Proceedings in Parliament, 1614 (House of Commons) (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1988) 
- J E Neale, The Elizabethan House of Commons (London: Jonathan Cape, 1949)
- 'Bridgwater: Parliamentary representation' in Victoria County History of Somerset: Volume 6 (1992)