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Higham Ferrers Former Borough constituency for the House of Commons 1558 (1558)–1832 (1832) Number of members One Higham Ferrers was a parliamentary borough in Northamptonshire, which was represented in the House of Commons from 1558 until 1832, when it was abolished by the Great Reform Act. It was one of the very small number of English boroughs in that period which was entitled to elect only one rather than two Members of Parliament. Contents 1 History 2 Members of Parliament 2.1 1558-1640 2.2 1640-1832 3 References History The borough consisted of the parish of Higham Ferrers, a small market town in the east of Northamptonshire. In 1831, the population of the borough was 965, and it contained 169 houses; a further two houses were in the town but outside the boundaries of the borough. Higham Ferrers was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1556 and was first summoned to elect a representative to the Parliament of 1557-1558. The right to vote was exercised by the Mayor, aldermen, burgesses (members of the town corporation) and freemen, provided they were householders in the borough and not receiving alms; in 1831 this comprised a total of 33 voters. Since the corporation elected its own successors and had the right to create freemen (which was sparingly used), this ensured that the power was self-perpetuating and usually entirely under the influence of the local landowner or "patron". In the first few years of its existence, during the early Elizabethan period, Higham Ferrers seems to have been entirely under the sway of the Duchy of Lancaster, electing Duchy officers as its MPs, but later in the same reign the influence of the local landed families became more evident, in particular the Hattons and the Montagus of Boughton. From the start of the 18th century, however, the Watson-Wentworth family, later Marquesses of Rockingham, owned the borough and exercised an unchallenged right to nominate its MP; on the death of the 2nd Marquess in 1784, the patronage passed to his nephew and heir, the Earl Fitzwilliam, who still retained it at the time of the Reform Act. Higham Ferrers was abolished as a constituency by the Reform Act, those of its inhabitants who were qualified subsequently voting in the Northern division of the county. Members of Parliament 1558-1640 1559-1567: John Purvey 1571: Christopher Hatton 1591-1593: Henry Montagu 1597-1598: Henry Montagu 1601-1603: Henry Montagu 1604-1611: Sir C Pemberton 1620-1622: Sir Charles Montagu 1628-1629: Sir George Sondes This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it. 1640-1832 Year Member Party November 1640 Sir Christopher Hatton Royalist September 1642 Hatton disabled from sitting - seat vacant 1645 Edward Harby 1653 Higham Ferrers was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament and the First and Second Parliaments of the Protectorate January 1659 James Nutley May 1659 Edward Harby April 1660 Sir Thomas Dacres 1661 Lewis Palmer 1679 Sir Rice Rudd 1685 Sir Lewis Palmer January 1689 Sir Rice Rudd [1] February 1689 Hon. Lewis Watson July 1689 Thomas Andrew 1698 Thomas Ekins 1702 Thomas Pemberton 1703 Thomas Watson Wentworth [2] 1714 Charles Leigh 1722 Thomas Watson Wentworth 1724 John Finch May 1741 Henry Finch[3] December 1741 Henry Seymour Conway Whig 1747 John Hill 1753 Hon. John Yorke 1768 Frederick Montagu June 1790 Viscount Duncannon [4] December 1790 John Lee 1793 Serjeant James Adair Whig 1798 Stephen Thurston Adey Whig 1801 Francis Ferrand Foljambe Whig 1807 William Windham Whig 1810 Viscount Duncannon Whig 1812 William Plumer Whig 1822 Viscount Normanby Whig 1826 Major-General Frederick Cavendish Ponsonby Whig 1830 Viscount Howick Whig April 1831 Viscount Milton Whig July 1831 Charles Christopher Pepys Whig October 1831 John George Brabazon Ponsonby Whig 1832 Constituency abolished Notes ^ Rudd was also elected for Carmarthenshire, which he chose to represent, and did not sit again for Higham Ferrers ^ Wentworth was re-elected in 1714, but had also been elected for Malton, which he chose to represent, and did not sit for Higham Ferrers in this Parliament ^ Finch was also elected for Malton, which he chose to represent, and never sat for Higham Ferrers ^ Duncannon was also elected for Knaresborough, which he chose to represent, and never sat for Higham Ferrers References Robert Beatson, A Chronological Register of Both Houses of Parliament (London: Longman, Hurst, Res & Orme, 1807) [1] 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) [2] J E Neale, The Elizabethan House of Commons (London: Jonathan Cape, 1949)* T H B Oldfield, The Representative History of Great Britain and Ireland (London: Baldwin, Cradock & Joy, 1816) Edward Porritt and Annie G Porritt, The Unreformed House of Commons (Cambridge University Press, 1903) 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) Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "H" (part 3)