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Yorkshire (UK Parliament constituency)

Yorkshire was a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of England from 1290, 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 by two Members of Parliament, traditionally known as Knights of the Shire, until 1826, when the county benefited from the disfranchisement of Grampound by taking an additional two members.

Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
Number of membersTwo until 1826, then Four
Replaced byYorkshire East Riding, Yorkshire North Riding and Yorkshire West Riding

The constituency was split into its three historic ridings, for Parliamentary purposes, under the Reform Act 1832. Each riding returned two MPs. The county was then represented by the Yorkshire East Riding, Yorkshire North Riding and Yorkshire West Riding constituencies.


Yorkshire is the largest of the historic counties of England. The constituency comprised the whole county. Yorkshire contained several boroughs which each independently returned two members to Parliament. These were Aldborough, Beverley, Boroughbridge, Hedon, Kingston-upon-Hull, Knaresborough, Malton, Northallerton, Pontefract, Richmond, Ripon, Scarborough, Thirsk and York.

Members of ParliamentEdit

MPs 1290–1640Edit

  • Constituency created 1290
Parliament First member Second member
1309 Robert de Boynton
1320 Sir Thomas Ughtred
1324 Sir John Tempest of Bracewell
1339 Sir Robert Hilton of Swine & Winestead
1341 John de Siggeston William Bruys
1364 Richard le Scrope, 1st Baron Scrope of Bolton
1376 Sir John Savile of Shelley and Golcar Sir Robert de Boynton
1377–1395 Henry FitzHugh
1378 Sir John Hotham
1380 Ralph Hastings of Kirby and Burton Hastings
1382 John St Quentin of Harpham
1382 Sir John Savile of Shelley and Golcar
1383 Sir James Pickering
1384 Sir John Savile of Shelley and Golcar Sir James Pickering
1385 Sir William Melton of Aston and Kyllon
1386 Sir John Godard Sir John St Quentin of Harpham[1]
1388 (Feb) Sir William Melton of Aston and Kyllon Sir Robert Constable[1]
1388 (Sep) Sir James Pickering Sir Robert Neville of Hornby [1]
1390 (Jan) Sir John Savile of Shelley and Golcar Sir Robert Neville of Hornby[1]
1390 (Nov) Sir William Ellis Sir James Pickering[1]
1391 Sir John Godard Sir Robert Neville of Hornby[1]
1393 Sir Ralph Euer Sir Robert Neville of Hornby[1]
1394 Sir John Routh of Routh Sir Robert Neville of Hornby[1]
1395 Sir Peter Buckton Sir John St Quentin[1]
1397 (Jan) Sir Peter Buckton Sir Ralph Euer[1]
1397 (Sep) Sir James Pickering Sir David Roucliffe[1]
1399 Sir Ralph Euer Sir Robert Neville of Hornby[1]
1401 Sir John Scrope of Hollinhall & Haldenby Sir Gerard Usflete[1]
1402 Thomas Colville Sir Robert Rockley[1]
1404 (Jan) Sir John Routh of Routh Sir Richard Tempest of Bracewell[1]
1404 (Oct) Sir Peter Buckton Sir William Dronsfield[1]
1406 Sir Richard Redman Sir Thomas Rokeby[1]
1407 Sir Edmund Hastings Sir Alexander Lound[1]
1411 Sir John Etton Sir Robert Plumpton[1]
1413 (Feb)
1413 (May) Sir Edmund Hastings Sir Alexander Lound[1]
1414 (Apr) Sir Alexander Lound[1]
1414 (Nov) Sir Richard Redman Sir John Etton [1]
1415 Sir Richard Redman Sir John Etton[1]
1416 (Mar) Sir Brian Stapleton Sir Robert Plumpton 1[1]
1416 (Oct)
1419 Sir Robert Hilton Sir Halnath Mauleverer[1]
1420 Sir Richard Redman Sir John Langton[1]
1421 (May) Sir Edmund Hastings Sir William Gascoigne[1]
1421 (Dec) Sir Richard Redman Sir John Etton[1]
1422 (Nov) Sir William Euer
1423 Sir Thomas Rokeby
1425 Sir Robert Hilton [2] Sir William Ryther de Ryther
1426 Sir Robert Hilton [2]
1427 Sir Robert Hilton [2]
1431 (Jan) Sir William Euer
1439 Sir Thomas Savile
1449 Sir James Strangways William Eure
1450 Sir John Savile
1461 Sir James Strangways
1467 Sir John Savile
1491 Thomas Scrope, 6th Baron Scrope of Masham
1491 Sir Richard Tunstall Sir Henry Wentworth[3]
1510–1515 Not known[4]
1523 Sir William Bulmer ?[4]
1529 Sir John Neville, ennobled and
repl. Feb 1533 by Sir John Neville II
Sir Marmaduke Constable[4]
1539 Sir Henry Savile Robert Bowes[4]
1542 Sir Ralph Ellerker Sir Robert Bowes, disqualified and
repl. Feb 1543 by
Thomas Waterman[4]
1547 Sir Nicholas Fairfax Sir William Babthorpe[4]
1553 (Mar) Sir Thomas Gargrave Sir Robert Constable[4]
1553 (Oct) Sir Robert Constable Sir William Vavasour[4]
1554 (Apr) Sir William Babthorpe Sir Christopher Danby [4]
1554 (Nov) Sir Thomas Wharton II Sir Thomas Gargrave[4]
1555 ?Sir Robert Constable Sir Thomas Gargrave[4]
1558 ?Thomas Wharton, 2nd Baron Wharton Sir Richard Cholmley[4]
1559 Sir Thomas Gargrave Sir Henry Savile[5]
1562 Sir Thomas Gargrave Sir Nicholas Fairfax[5]
1571 Sir Thomas Gargrave Sir Henry Gates[5]
1572 Sir Thomas Gargrave Thomas Waterton died and
repl. Jan 1576 by
Sir Robert Stapleton[5]
1584 Ralph Eure Sir William Mallory[5]
1586 Sir Henry Gates Sir Thomas Fairfax of Denton[5]
1588 Sir Henry Constable Sir Ralph Bourchier[5]
1593 Sir George Savile, Bt John Aske[5]
1597 Sir John Savile Sir William Fairfax [5]
1601 Thomas Fairfax Sir Edward Stanhope[5]
1604 Sir Francis Clifford Sir John Savile
1606 Sir Richard Gargrave
1614 Sir John Savile Sir Thomas Wentworth
1621 Sir Thomas Wentworth Lord George Calvert
1624 Sir Thomas Savile Sir John Savile
1625 Sir Thomas Wentworth Thomas Fairfax
1626 Sir John Savile Sir William Constable, Bt
1628 Henry Belasyse Sir Thomas Wentworth
1629 Sir Henry Savile, Bt
1629–1640 No Parliaments summoned

MPs 1640–1826Edit

Short Parliament

Long Parliament

(Although writs were issued to fill both these vacancies, no elections seem to have been held and the seats remained vacant to the end of the Parliament)

Barebones Parliament (Nominated members)

First Protectorate Parliament (Fourteen members elected for the three Ridings)

Second Protectorate Parliament (Fourteen members elected for the three Ridings)

Third Protectorate Parliament

Long Parliament (restored) Both seats vacant

Year First member First party Second member Second party
1660 Thomas Fairfax Sir John Dawnay
1661 Conyers Darcy Sir John Goodricke, Bt
1670 Sir Thomas Slingsby, Bt
1679 Charles Boyle Henry Fairfax
1685 Sir John Kaye, Bt
1689 Thomas Fairfax
1698 Henry Dawnay
January 1701 Sir John Kaye, Bt
December 1701 Arthur Ingram
1702 Marquess of Hartington Sir John Kaye, Bt
January 1707 Thomas Fairfax
December 1707 Henry Dawnay Conyers Darcy
1708 Sir William Strickland, Bt
1710 Sir Arthur Kaye, Bt
February 1727 Cholmley Turner
August 1727 Sir Thomas Watson-Wentworth
1728 by-election Sir George Savile, Bt
1734 Sir Miles Stapylton, Bt
1741 Charles Howard
1742 by-election Cholmley Turner
1747 Sir Conyers Darcy
1750 by-election Henry Dawnay[6]
1759 by-election Sir George Savile, Bt Whig
1761 Edwin Lascelles Tory
1780 Henry Duncombe Tory
January 1784 by-election Francis Ferrand Foljambe Whig
April 1784 William Wilberforce Independent
1796 Hon. Henry Lascelles Tory
1806 Walter Fawkes Whig
1807 Charles Wentworth-FitzWilliam Whig
1812 Hon. Henry Lascelles Tory
1818 James Stuart-Wortley Tory
1826 representation increased to 4 members

MPs 1826–1832Edit

Election First member Party Second member Party Third member Party Fourth Member Party
Representation increased to 4 members
1826 Charles Wentworth-FitzWilliam Whig William Duncombe Tory Richard Fountayne Wilson Tory John Marshall Whig
1830 George Howard Whig Ultra-Tory Richard Bethell Tory Henry Brougham[7] Whig
Dec 1830 by-election Sir John Vanden-Bempde-Johnstone, Bt Whig
1831 George Strickland Whig John Charles Ramsden Whig
1832 Constituency abolished: see North Yorkshire, East Yorkshire and West Yorkshire


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab "History of Parliament". Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  2. ^ a b c "HILTON, Sir Robert (d.c.1431), of Swine and Winestead in Holderness, Yorks". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  3. ^ Cavill. The English Parliaments of Henry VII 1485-1504.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "History of Parliament". Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "History of Parliament". Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  6. ^ Henry Dawnay, 3rd Viscount Downe died December 1760, but a new writ was not issued before the general election in 1761
  7. ^ Brougham was also elected for Knaresborough; he was elevated to the House of Lords before having chosen which constituency he would represent in the Commons


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 York. The expense and difficulty of voting at only one location in the (very large) 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.

Elections in the eighteenth centuryEdit

Only two elections in the 18th century were contested.

General election 1734: Yorkshire (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Tory Miles Stapylton 7,896 N/A
Whig Cholmley Turner 7,879 N/A
Whig Rowland Winn 7,699 N/A
Whig Edward Wortley Montagu 5,898 N/A
Turnout 23,007 N/A N/A
1741 Yorkshire by-election (1 seat)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Whig Cholmley Turner 8,005 53.2 N/A
George Fox 7,049 46.8 N/A
Turnout 15,054 N/A N/A

At the 1784 general election, the seat was initially contested, but the two Whig candidates Francis Ferrand Foljambe and William Weddell conceded without calling for a poll.

Elections in the 1800sEdit

At the 1802 general election, William Wilberforce and Henry Lascelles were elected unopposed.

At the 1806 general election, William Wilberforce and Walter Ramsden Fawkes were elected unopposed.

Yorkshire election 1807
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent William Wilberforce 11,808 34.75% %
Whig Lord Milton 11,177 32.90% %
Tory Henry Lascelles 10,990 32.35% %
Turnout 33,975 N/A

Elections in the 1810s and 1820sEdit

At the 1812 general election, Viscount Milton and Henry Lascelles were elected unopposed.

At the 1818 and 1820 general elections, Viscount Milton and James Stuart Wortley were elected unopposed.

At the 1826 general election, Richard Fountayne Wilson, John Marshall, William Duncombe and Viscount Milton were elected unopposed.

Elections in the 1830sEdit

General election 1830: Yorkshire (4 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Whig George Howard 1,464 N/A
Whig Henry Brougham 1,295 N/A
Ultra-Tory William Duncombe 1,123 N/A
Tory Richard Bethell 1,065 N/A
Whig Martin Stapyllton 94 N/A
Turnout N/A N/A
1830 Yorkshire by-election (1 seat)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Whig John Vanden-Bempde-Johnstone 361 77.6 N/A
Whig George Strickland 104 22.4 N/A
Turnout 465 N/A N/A

At the 1831 general election, George Strickland, John Charles Ramsden, John Vanden-Bempde-Johnstone and George Howard were elected unopposed.

See alsoEdit