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Beverley (UK Parliament constituency)

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Title: Beverley (UK Parliament constituency)  
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Beverley (UK Parliament constituency)

Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
County East Riding of Yorkshire
Number of members One
Replaced by Beverley and Holderness
Created from Haltemprice
Number of members One
Type of constituency County constituency
Replaced by Haltemprice and Howden
Created from Buckrose, Holderness and Howdenshire
Number of members Two
Type of constituency Borough constituency
Replaced by East Riding of Yorkshire
Created from Yorkshire
Type of constituency Borough constituency
Replaced by Yorkshire

Beverley has been the name of a parliamentary constituency in the East Riding of Yorkshire for three separate periods. From medieval times until 1869, it was a parliamentary borough, consisting solely of the market town of Beverley, which returned two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

The name was revived for a single-member county constituency created in 1950, but abolished in 1955, and again between the 1983 and 1997 general elections, after which the Beverley constituency was largely incorporated into the new Beverley and Holderness constituency.


  • History 1
    • The Parliamentary Borough 1.1
    • 1950 to 1955 1.2
    • 1983 to 1997 1.3
  • Boundaries 2
  • Members of Parliament 3
    • Beverley borough 3.1
      • 1563-1660 3.1.1
      • 1660-1869 3.1.2
    • Beverley County Constituency (1950-1955) 3.2
    • Beverley County Constituency (1983-1997) 3.3
  • Elections 4
    • Elections in the 1990s 4.1
    • Elections in the 1980s 4.2
    • Elections in the 1950s 4.3
    • Elections in the 1860s 4.4
  • See also 5
  • Notes and references 6
  • Sources 7


The Parliamentary Borough

Beverley was first represented in the Model Parliament of 1295, but after 1306 it did not elect members again until 1563. Thereafter it maintained two members continuously until being disfranchised in 1870. The borough consisted of the three parishes of the town of Beverley, and by 1831 had a population of 7,432 and 1,928 houses. The right of election was vested not in the population as a whole, but in the freemen of the borough, whether resident or not; at the contested election of 1826, 2,276 votes were cast. The town was of a sufficient size for the borough to retain its two members in the Great Reform Act of 1832, although its boundaries were slightly extended to include some outlying fringes, increasing the population by roughly 800.

For much of the borough's history, elections in Beverley were notorious for their corruption. In 1727, one of the victorious candidates was unseated on petition, his agents were imprisoned and Parliament passed a new Bribery Act as a result. Between 1857 and 1868 six petitions were lodged against election results, of which three succeeded in voiding the election and unseating one or more of the victors. After the 1868 election, the writ for the borough was suspended and a Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the conduct of elections in Beverley; when it reported that it had found proof of extensive bribery, an Act of Parliament was passed permanently depriving Beverley of the right to return Members of Parliament, abolishing the constituency and incorporating it within the East Riding constituency.

The novelist Anthony Trollope was one of the defeated candidates in the final corrupt election for which Beverley was disfranchised. He drew on his experience directly for his description of the Percycross election in his novel Ralph the Heir, and also told the story in his Autobiography. He found that corruption was taken for granted and that the price of a vote was between 15 shillings and £1. His unsuccessful campaign cost him £400.

1950 to 1955

The Beverley constituency which existed from 1950 to 1955 was a predominantly rural one. Under the boundary revisions introduced by the Representation of the People Act 1948, which came into effect at the 1950 general election, the three existing county constituencies of the East Riding were abolished, and the county was divided into two new constituencies, each named after their biggest towns - Bridlington and Beverley. The new Beverley constituency comprised the western half of the Riding, including in addition to the borough of Beverley itself the town of Norton and the rural districts of Beverley, Derwent, Howden, Norton and Pocklington. This encompassed parts of all three of the county's previously existing constituencies (Buckrose, Holderness and Howdenshire).

The Beverley constituency was abolished in further boundary changes implemented at the 1955 general election, being divided between the new Haltemprice and Howden seats.

1983 to 1997

Beverley again became a constituency name in 1983, this time for a constituency mostly suburban in character. The new constituency replaced, and strongly resembled, the Haltemprice constituency which had been introduced in 1955: its main components apart from Beverley were the prosperous suburbs to the north and west of Hull, such as Cottingham, Anlaby and Kirk Ella.

The Beverley constituency was abolished in 1997 general election, Beverley itself moving to the new Beverley and Holderness constituency.


1983-1997: The East Yorkshire Borough of Beverley wards of Anlaby, Brough, Castle, Hessle East, Hessle West, Kirk Ella, Leconfield, Leven, Mill Beck and Croxby, Minster North, Minster South, Molescroft, Priory, St Mary's East, St Mary's West, Springfield, Swanland, Tickton, Willerby, and Woodmansey.

Members of Parliament

Beverley borough


Parliament Year First member Second member
Parliament of 1563-1567 Nicholas Bacon Robert Hall
Parliament of 1571 Edward Ellerker Thomas Layton
Parliament of 1572-1583 Richard Topcliffe Thomas Aglionby
Parliament of 1584-1585 Robert Wrote John Stanhope
Parliament of 1586-1587 Michael Wharton George Purefoy
Parliament of 1588-1589 Lancelot Alford John Truslove
Parliament of 1593 John Mansfield Edward Alford
Parliament of 1597-1598 Thomas Crompton Edward Fraunceys
Parliament of 1601 Edward Fraunceys Randolph Ewens
Parliament of 1604-1611 William Gee Allan Percy
Addled Parliament (1614) William Towse Edmund Scott
Parliament of 1621-1622 Sir Christopher Hilliard
Happy Parliament (1624-1625) Sir Henry Vane the elder,
replaced 1624 by Sir Henry Carey
Useless Parliament (1625) Sir John Hotham, Bt Sir William Alford
Parliament of 1625-1626
Parliament of 1628-1629
No Parliament summoned 1629-1640
Short Parliament (1640) Sir John Hotham, Bt Michael Warton
Long Parliament (1640-1653) 1640 Sir John Hotham, Bt (Royalist)
disabled to sit, September 1643
Michael Warton (Royalist)
disabled to sit, January 1644
1645 James Nelthorpe John Nelthorpe
1648 John Nelthorpe excluded in Pride's Purge
Barebones Parliament (1653) Beverley not represented
First Protectorate Parliament (1654-1655) Francis Thorpe (One member only)
Second Protectorate Parliament (1656-1658)
Third Protectorate Parliament (1659) Thomas Strickland John Anlaby
Long Parliament (restored, 1659-1660) James Nelthorpe


Year First member[1] First party Second member[1] Second party
April 1660 Hugh Bethall [2] Sir John Hotham, Bt
June 1660 Michael Warton
1685 Sir Ralph Warton
1689 Sir Michael Warton Tory Sir John Hotham, Bt
1689 Sir John Hotham, Bt
1690 William Gee
1695 Ralph Warton Tory
1701 William Gee Whig
1702 Sir Charles Hotham, Bt Whig
1705 John Moyser
1708 Sir Michael Warton
1722 Michael Newton
1723 Sir Charles Hotham, Bt Whig
1727 Ellerker Bradshaw [3] Whig Charles Pelham Tory
1729 Sir Charles Hotham, Bt Whig
1734 Ellerker Bradshaw Whig
1738 Charles Pelham Tory
1741 William Strickland
1747 Sir William Codrington, Bt
1754 John Tufnell
1761 Michael Newton George Tufnell
1768 Hugh Bethell Charles Anderson-Pelham
1772 Sir Griffith Boynton, Bt
1774 George Tufnell Sir James Pennyman, Bt
1780 Francis Evelyn Anderson
1784 Sir Christopher Sykes, Bt
1790 John Wharton Whig
1796 William Tatton Napier Christie Burton
1799 John Morritt Tory
1802 John Wharton Whig
1806 Richard Vyse
1807 Richard William Howard Vyse
1812 Charles Forbes Tory
1818 Robert Christie Burton Tory
1820 George Lane-Fox Tory
1826 John Stewart Tory Charles Harrison Batley Tory
1830 Daniel Sykes Whig Henry Burton Whig
1831 William Marshall Whig
1832 Hon. Charles Langdale Whig
1835 James Hogg Conservative
1837 George Lane-Fox Conservative
1840 Sackville Lane-Fox Conservative
1841 John Towneley Whig
1847 Sackville Lane-Fox Conservative
1852 Hon. Francis Charles Lawley Liberal William Wells Liberal
1854 Hon. Arthur Hamilton-Gordon Liberal
1857 Edward Auchmuty Glover [4] Liberal Hon. William Denison Liberal
1857 Henry Edwards Conservative
1859 Ralph Walters [5] Liberal
1860 James Walker Conservative
1865 Christopher Sykes Conservative
1868 Edmund Hegan Kennard Conservative

Writ suspended 1869, constituency abolished 1870

Beverley County Constituency (1950-1955)

Election Member[1] Party
1950 George William Odey Conservative
1955 constituency abolished

Beverley County Constituency (1983-1997)

Election Member[1] Party
1983 Sir Patrick Wall Conservative
1987 James Cran Conservative
1997 constituency abolished


Elections in the 1990s

General Election 1992: Beverley[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative James Cran 34,503 53.3 +1.1
Liberal Democrat Andrew Collinge 17,986 27.8 −3.5
Labour Colin Challen 12,026 18.6 +2.1
Natural Law D Hetherington 199 0.3 +0.3
Majority 16,517 25.5 +4.6
Turnout 64,714 79.9 +3.6
Conservative hold Swing +2.3

Elections in the 1980s

General Election 1987: Beverley[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative James Cran 31,459 52.2 -4.1
Liberal John Bryant 18,864 31.3 0.0
Labour Martin Shaw 9,901 16.4 +3.9
Majority 12,595 20.9 -4.1
Turnout 76.3 +3.1
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1983: Beverley[8]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Patrick Wall 31,233 56.3 N/A
Liberal M. Pitts 17,364 31.3 N/A
Labour Elliot Morley 6,921 12.5 N/A
Majority 13,869 25.0 N/A
Turnout 73.2 N/A
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1950s

General Election 1951: Beverley[9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative George Odey 27,937 59.1 +3.4
Labour T. Brennan 12,778 27.1 +1.2
Liberal Harold Stewart Freemantle 6,522 13.8 -1.3
Majority 15,159 32.1 +2.3
Turnout 80.0 -3.0
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1950: Beverley[10]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative George Odey 26,699 55.7 N/A
Labour A. Gray 12,399 25.9 N/A
Liberal Harold Stewart Freemantle 7,719 16.1 N/A
Independent Conservative G. Thorley 1,121 2.3 N/A
Majority 14,300 29.8 N/A
Turnout 83.0 N/A
Conservative hold Swing N/A

Elections in the 1860s

General Election 1868: Beverley[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Henry Edwards 1,132
Conservative Edmund Hegan Kennard 986
Liberal Marmaduke Maxwell 895
Liberal Anthony Trollope 740
Conservative hold Swing N/A

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b c d Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "B" (part 3)
  2. ^ Bethell was also elected for Hedon, which he chose to represent, and never sat for Beverley
  3. ^ Pelham and Bradshaw beat Hotham in the 1727 election, but on petition Hotham was declared elected in Bradshaw's place. Bradshaw's agents at Beverley were imprisoned, and the investigations led directly to the passing of the Bribery Act, 1729
  4. ^ Glover's election was declared void on petition, because he lacked the necessary property qualification to be a candidate, and a by-election held
  5. ^ Walters' election was declared void on petition because of corrupt practices, and a by-election held
  6. ^
  7. ^ UK General Election results: June 1987
  8. ^ UK General Election results: June 1983
  9. ^ UK General Election results: October 1951
  10. ^ UK General Election results: February 1950
  11. ^ "Modern Beverley: Political and Social History, 1835-1918", A History of the County of York East Riding: Volume 6: The borough and liberties of Beverley (1989), pp. 141-148


  • F W S Craig, "British Parliamentary Election Results 1832-1885" (2nd edition, Aldershot: Parliamentary Research Services, 1989)
  • D Brunton & D H Pennington, “Members of the Long Parliament” (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1954)
  • Michael Kinnear, "The British Voter" (London: Batsford, 1968)
  • H G Nicholas, "To The Hustings" (London: Cassell & Co., 1956)
  • J Holladay Philbin, "Parliamentary Representation 1832 - England and Wales" (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965)
  • Henry Stooks Smith, "The Parliaments of England from 1715 to 1847" (2nd edition, edited by FWS Craig - Chichester: Parliamentary Reference Publications, 1973)
  • Robert Waller, "The Almanac of British Politics" (3rd edition, London: Croom Helm, 1987)
  • Frederic A Youngs, jr, "Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England, Vol II" (London: Royal Historical Society, 1991)
  • Victoria County History of the East Riding of Yorkshire
  • "Beverley, 1700-1835 - Parliamentary Elections" from the Victoria County History
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