Worcestershire (UK Parliament constituency)
Worcestershire was a county constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of England then of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1832. It was represented until 1832 by two Members of Parliament traditionally referred to as Knights of the Shire. It was split then into two two-member divisions, for Parliamentary purposes, Worcestershire Eastern and Worcestershire Western constituencies.
|Former County constituency|
for the House of Commons
|Number of members||two|
Members of ParliamentEdit
|Parliament||First member||Second member|
|1529||Sir Gilbert Talbot||John Russell|
|1539 (30 Henry VIII)||Sir John Russell||Sir John Pakington|
|1542 (33 Henry VIII)||Sir Gilbert Talbot, died
and replaced by Thomas Russell
|1547||Thomas Russell||William Sheldon|
Source: TR Nash
|!Year||First Member||Second Member||Third Member||Fourth Member||Fifth Member|
|1653||Richard Salwey||John James|
|1654||Sir Thomas Rouse, 1st Baronet||Edward Pytts||Nicholas Lechmere||John Bridges||Talbot Badger|
|1656||Col. James Berry||Edward Pytts||Nicholas Lechmere||Sir Thomas Rouse, 1st Baronet||John Nanfan|
|1658-9||Nicholas Lechmere||Thomas Foley|
Source: T. R. Nash, Collections for a History of Worcestershire (1783)
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The county franchise, from 1430, was held by the owners of freehold land valued at 40 shillings or more. Each voter had as many votes as there were seats to be filled. Votes had to be cast by a spoken declaration, in public, at the hustings, which took place in the county town of Worcester. The expense and difficulty of voting at only one location in the county, together with the lack of a secret ballot contributed to the corruption and intimidation of voters, which was widespread in the unreformed British political system.
The expense, to candidates, of contested elections encouraged the leading families of the county to agree on the candidates to be returned unopposed whenever possible. Contested county elections were therefore unusual.