ID: PH01_GFA / Elaine Barker

TitleThe Great Reform Act of 1832
AbstractParliamentary Elections and The Great Reform Act of 1832

I came across a petition in the 31st December 1831 issue of the County Standard addressed to the King (who would have been William IV) and signed by over 1,200 men from all corners of Essex, from major towns to tiny rural villages such as the one where I live, Peldon.

Those who signed included two earls and a marquess, two MPs, Baronets, Magistrates, clergymen, farmers, mariners, teachers, carpenters, smiths and other trades. An appendix noted that not all signatures had been received in time for the newspaper deadline and it was expected that the grand total would amount to over 2,000.

Those listed in the petition were objecting to what was to be the Great Reform Act of 1832. It was to make changes to Parliamentary elections, make new constituencies for the expanding industrial cities and disenfranchise others where depopulation had caused an exodus of voters. The bill was also to give the vote to more of the male population.

The list of Peldon signatories, thirteen in all, is as follows, which, in the absence of a 1830s census naming inhabitants and giving their occupations, is useful to the local historian.

W Bush Carpenter
J Chignell farmer
N Cutting farmer
J Creek Carpenter
C Creek Carpenter
J Harrison Cordwainer
J Haxell Schoolmaster
J Haxell Junior Schoolmaster
J Harrison [Black]Smith
W Hance Bailiff
J Ives Farmer
J Redd Yeoman
H Webb Gent

All the Peldon men listed are farmers, tradespeople and school teachers and represented themselves as freeholders; being landowners, they probably already had the vote themselves.

The signatories declare their loyalty to King William IV and their dismay at the formation of Political Associations formed recently that they fear may overawe the Government, and take into their own hands that direction of public affairs which can only with safety be vested in Ministers appointed by and responsible to the Crown...

We wish to see a full and fair Representation of the various classes and interests of our fellow-subjects; and shall hail with satisfaction any proposal to extend the elective franchise, without too violent an innovation upon the Established Institutions of the Country.

While they were in favour of some reform they were petitioning against the proposed Reform Bill as being too radical.

In Colchester, the opponents of the bill, led by Colchester Corporation itself, were active and influential. The newspaper which published the petition, the Essex Standard, was, in fact, founded specifically to oppose the bill and tried to cause division between the two Reform candidates.

First issued on 7 January 1831, The Essex Standard was published each Friday at a price of 7d. Conservative in orientation, its first issue proclaimed it was to be "... a Standard around which the loyal, the religious, and the well-affected of our County may rally." The newspaper was at first printed in Chelmsford, but was acquired by John Taylor in September 1831 and thereafter printed in Colchester. British Newspaper Archives

The petitioners were clearly differentiating between reform, which prudently and considerately undertaken, we do not object to on the one hand and those violent changes which are best described by the name of Revolution [Essex Standard] on the other.

[The full text of the petition to the king appears in Appendix 1]

Here in Britain, the French Revolution (1789 - 1799), the French Wars (1792 - 1802) and then the Napoleonic Wars (1803 - 1815) had prompted debate about the way British society was organised. This debate occurred not just amongst the most educated in society but amongst ordinary working people. For the first time grass roots political groups started to organise and call for reforms that would give the vote to more than just the elite of the country and thus enable the people to take a more active part in how the country was run.

Our Peldon petitioners were clearly of the mind that the Reform Bill was a step too far and yet the majority of their neighbours, agricultural labourers living in abject poverty, had no vote and no means with which to influence social change.

In Essex and other rural areas, mainly in the south and east, while politicians were thrashing out the details of the Reform Bill, a huge wave of protest by agricultural workers had been raging for several years. Workers demanded higher wages and better working conditions, destroying machinery to make their point.

Perhaps Peldon's petitioners' fears of revolution were justified, for only a year before, on 10th December 1830, the village's labourers had assembled early in the morning to confront their masters with wage demands. This revolt, however, was summarily dealt with by landowners, farmers and constables and resulted in the three ringleaders being jailed in Chelmsford. [See Captain Swing: Mersea Museum ]

These protests became known as the Swing Riots and while they were at their most intense between 1830 and 1832, setting fire to farm buildings became a way of expressing discontent for many years to come. Unionisation reared its head in the 1870s but again was beaten down by the ruling elite and it was to be the beginning of the twentieth century before the Eastern Counties Agricultural Labourers and Smallholders Union formed. [See Peldon and the National Agricultural Labourers' Union: Mersea Museum ]

Despite high hopes for the 1832 Reform Bill, it was to be 1918 before all men over 21 received the vote.

While there was growing acceptance that some parliamentary reform was necessary, many of the Tory party were against it. However, public opinion and the fear within government that, without reform, there might be a revolution, finally brought about the passing of this first act, one of several.

Before 1832, there was an unequal distribution of parliamentary seats, especially in the newly developing industrial towns such as Birmingham and Manchester which had no MPs representing them. There were also what were called 'rotten boroughs' where depopulation had reduced the voters to negligible numbers; the one often quoted was Old Sarum at Salisbury, which had two MPs but only seven voters. Just before the passing of the Reform Act of 1832, more than 140 parliamentary seats of a total of 658 were in rotten boroughs, 50 of which had fewer than 50 voters.

There were also 'pocket boroughs' where major landowners, aristocrats and borough corporations chose their own MP.

In the borough of Harwich the two MPs were elected by the Corporation, a self-perpetuating and corrupt body of thirty two men... ...The Bury St Edmunds electorate was so restricted that the Duke of Grafton and the Earl of Bristol always in effect chose one MP each. Chartism in Essex AFJ Brown

What's more, without secret ballots, voters were easily bribed or threatened and intimidated.

Men who rented their homes, or relied on a local employer for work, had to vote as the property owner or employer wished them to vote. If they didn't, they would risk losing their home and the job that fed their family. Bribery with money and liquor, drunken fights and threats from candidates, were also common.

Prior to the Ballot Act in July 1872, which brought about secret ballots, voters, having made an oath first, would give a show of hands, or mark their voting paper in public. The name and choice would be noted down in a public poll book and this information was published in the newspapers. Within the 1734 poll book displayed on Ancestry there is a copy of the oath made by voters.

I do swear I have not receiv'd, or had by my SELF, or by any Person whatsoever in TRUST for ME or for MY USE and Benefit DIRECTLY or INDIRECTLY, any SUM or SUMS of MONEY, OFFICE, PLACE or EMPLOYMENT, GIFT or REWARD, or any PROMISE or SECURITY for any MONEY, OFFICE, EMPLOYMENT or GIFT to give my Vote at this Election; and that I have not before polled at this Election SO HELP ME GOD [The 1734 poll book for Essex]

The returning officer assisted by his deputies was responsible for tendering this oath, and for putting the oaths of allegiance and supremacy.

Many early poll books still exist. The Essex 1702 poll book lists the names of the men who voted and who they voted for.

A true and exact
of the Names of the
Gentlemen and others Freeholders
That voted for
Knights of the Shire
for the
County of Essex
As the same was taken the Eight and Twentieth Day of July 1702

Peldon's voters in the July General Election of 1702, numbered only four men, including the rector. They were Gilbert Milbanke (listed as living in Great Birch), John Card, Nathaniel Ashwell (clergyman) and Edward Digby. All four men voted for Sir Francis Masham Baronet [2374 votes] who was successfully elected and Edward Bullock Esq. from Faulkbourne in Essex [2120 votes] who was not. Their votes were for the County MPs as opposed to Colchester Borough's MPs.

These voters would have been 'forty shilling freeholders'. This was the name given to those whose ownership of freehold land worth 40 shillings a year rendered them eligible to vote. Women and working class men or lesser landowners were not eligible to vote.

Essex Poll Book 1763 Note the columns on the right of each page recording the votes for either Conyers or Luther

The Tory Prime Minister in 1830, Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington, was resolutely opposed to parliamentary reform although members of his party acknowledged that some changes were necessary.

When the Tory government was ousted later that year, Earl Grey, a Whig, became Prime Minister and pledged to carry out parliamentary reform. The King, William IV, told Grey that he would not interfere with Whig plans to introduce parliamentary reform although he was later to resent being forced into giving his assent to the 1832 Reform Bill.

Having had two failed attempts at getting the bill through the House of Lords, Lord Grey made it known he intended to persuade the King to create additional Whig peers in the upper house to guarantee the bill's passage. On hearing of this plan, Tory peers abstained from voting, thus allowing the bill to be passed but avoiding the creation of more Whig peers.

The Representation of the People Act 1832, known as the first Reform Act or Great Reform Act disenfranchised 56 boroughs in England and Wales and reduced another 31 to only one MP. 67 new constituencies were created and it broadened the property qualification in the counties, to include small landowners, tenant farmers, and shopkeepers; here, eligibility to vote extended to adult males who rented land worth more than £50 a year

Within the boroughs, like Colchester and Maldon, it gave the vote to all householders who paid a yearly rental of £10 or more and some lodgers.

The property qualifications meant, however, that the majority of working men were still excluded from the vote.

In effect most middle class men and some skilled craftsmen gained the vote. With the population of Essex being largely agricultural labourers there were very few eligible to vote and in Peldon this is reflected by the very small number of voters listed in the poll books and the later electoral registers.

Another change brought by the 1832 Reform Act was the formal exclusion of women from voting in Parliamentary elections, as a voter was defined in the Act as a male person. The vote for women, and then only for those over 30 years of age, was not to become law until 1918.

The Reform Act also introduced the printing of annual electoral registers from 1832 which have continued to the present day. There were no registers published for 1916, 1917 or between 1940 and 1944. Unlike the poll books which listed who had voted and who they'd voted for, these electoral registers list those who were eligible to vote.

As for standing for election, only men who could afford to pay to stand for election could be MPs. Costs were huge, involving paying for all the staff, printing of leaflets, the hiring of rooms and 'hospitality' involved in running the election. Even very wealthy men ran up huge debts as demonstrated in the case of Peldon's Lord of the Manor, Samuel Reynolds, who died in 1694.

He left a burdened estate to his son Samuel whose negotiations for marriage were complicated by a suspected debt of £3,000 at least part of which was due to Samuel Reynolds Senior having 'spent a great deal in carrying on an election' The House of Commons 1690-1715 Constituencies by David Hayton

In the 1818 election for Colchester Borough's MPs it was estimated two candidates spent between £12,000 and £14,000 each on their election campaigns.

In most cases, a candidate's intention to stand would be announced publicly, well in advance. In the counties this might be done at a 'county meeting', often held at the assizes or quarter sessions (in Chelmsford).

Once the candidates had declared, they would have to organize canvassing. Circular letters would be sent to all the 'gentlemen', and many smaller freeholders, the total number easily running into hundreds.

A Colchester tailor and Quaker, James Hurnard, who wrote his autobiography The Setting Sun in blank verse, published and still available today, describes the scene of an election in about 1860 in Colchester.

At length arrives the day of nomination
A wasted day of jangling noise and riot:
A motley crowd of men surround the hustings,
Where stand the candidates amidst their friends,
Bowing grimacing, bandying badinage,
And making speeches, or attempting to,
Amid the plaudits of their partisans,
And the fierce hootings of their adversaries.
Sometimes a shower of rotten eggs is thrown,
And sometimes something even harder still,
Or something softer, a dead cat or rat:
Disorder is the order of the day.
At length the uproarious show of hands is taken,
The Mayor proclaims the candidates elected,
The losing candidates demand a poll,
And then the tumult closes till the morning;
But all night long the tug of war goes on.
Watchers of either party prowl the streets,
For foulest influences are brought to bear
To win the election of the coming day.
What eagerness possesses everybody
To ascertain the progress of the poll;
What cheers are raised as every vote is given
By one or other of the opposing parties;
And as the closing hour of four draws on,
What frantic efforts either party makes
To turn the quivering scale of the election!
St. Peter's clock strikes four. The struggle ceases.
All has been done that mortal man could do;
The Wires and Aylets have achieved their best,
And nothing now can alter the result.
Men breathe again, confer upon the contest,
The victors triumph, and the vanquished sulk;
Vengeance is vowed against the renegades,
Family feuds afresh are fed with fuel,
And jealousies and rivalries revive.
Meanwhile the Mayor comes forth upon the hustings,
The golden chain of corporation glory,
Glittering afar, suspended from his neck,
And having counted up the numbers polled
Reads the result and tells the multitude,
Who crowd beneath him thick as swarming bees,
On whom the election of the day has fallen.
Then each successful candidate steps forth
With hat in hand, amidst uproarious cheers,
With cat-calls, groans and hootings intermixed,
Smiling and bowing to return his thanks,
Making the usual speech on such occasions
About the proudest day of all his life,
And duty to his new constituents.
The beaten candidates make parting speeches;
Thanks to the Mayor are then proposed and carried;
The crowds retire to talk and drink and feed,
While bands of music march with colours flying
Throughout the town followed by ragamuffins. The Setting Sun James Hurnard

The two parties which dominated the late 17th century, the 1700s and the first half of the nineteenth centuries were the Tories and the Whigs. Historically, the Tories supported the monarchy and the established Anglican church while the Whigs were associated with reform and Protestant Dissent.

By the 1850s the Whigs merged with the Peelites and Radicals to form the Liberal Party and the term Whig died out. In turn the Liberal Party had an exodus of members in the 1880s who went on to form the Liberal Unionist Party. This later merged with the Conservatives in 1912. It was not to be until 1900 that the Labour party formed, emerging through the Trade Union movement.

It was in the candidates' interests to ensure their voters reached the poll. This was particularly important with the large numbers of 'out-voters', those who owned property in a constituency and were, therefore, eligible to vote without actually being resident. For our Peldon voters there would be no local polling station, the county elections were held at Chelmsford.

The problem of voters reaching the poll was particularly acute in county elections, but could also affect the outcome in boroughs with substantial proportions of 'out-voters', usually non-resident freemen. Londoners were often conveyed to the larger freemen boroughs in the south-east of England, like Colchester, Harwich, or Hertford. Polls often had to be open for a week to allow for out-voters travelling to the ballot whilst accommodation and lavish entertainment were expected for the duration of their stay.

Those staging the poll were augmented by one or two lawyers as it was very common to challenge (or defend from challenge) the credentials of individual freeholders. Some poll books print lengthy explanations as to why a particular person was deemed not eligible to vote.

The series of paintings by artist and satirist, William Hogarth depicts the sort of 'goings-on' at election time to bribe voters and thwart the opposition. County elections were unusually expensive, owing to the large number of forty-shilling freeholders whose favour - and votes - had to be won. The picture below is of a room in a tavern where the Whigs were holding an electioneering party, currying favour with the electorate. Entertainment is provided in the form of a band with bagpipes fiddle and cello. Seated at the table on the left, one of the well-dressed candidates is getting up close and personal with a woman while the other is being regaled by someone who has probably had too much to drink! On the right of the table the chairman is slumped, no doubt overcome by an excess of oysters. In the foreground on the right the election agent reels from his stool at the table having been hit by a brick dropping the register of votes and over-turning a bottle of wine.

Within the room all is heat and confusion and noise. A fiddler scrapes: punch is brewed on the floor: the chairman, his fork still impaling a very large oyster, has succumbed to apoplexy. An 'ignorant and ferocious populace' is guzzling and swilling at their betters' expense; while the gentry join in the fun with various degrees of cynicism or good humour.  

An Election Entertainment from The Humours of an Election series, 1755

Whereas the lowlier sort were feasted with beer and beef - election 'treats' were always numerous and costly - obscure shopkeepers received a sudden influx of aristocratic patronage, and the humble parson a haunch of venison from his Grace's his Lordship's park. These benefits might be short-lived: they were none the less agreeable.

And of course, artisans and trades people would know that they would most likely lose the custom and patronage of the farmers and wealthier clientele should their vote be for the 'wrong' candidate.

In its final form the Reform Act of 1832 increased the electorate from around 366,000 to 650,000, which was about 18 per cent of the total adult-male population in England and Wales. The vast majority of the working classes, as well as women, were still excluded from voting and the Act failed to introduce a secret ballot.

The working classes felt betrayed by an act which made no real difference to their lives. However, the reform of Parliament had begun, and this paved the way for the popular agitation of the Chartists. Limited change had been achieved but for many it did not go far enough and over the next decades the call for further parliamentary reform continued.

Elaine Barker
Peldon History Project

Postscript. Council elections were not held until the Municipal Corporations Act was passed in 1835. A brand new set of polls were held to create 178 elected town councils. What made these polls in 1835 especially unusual was the need to elect entire councils in one go. Although women over 30 did not get the vote until 1918, from 1869 a few female householders do appear as local government electors. All women over 21 gained the vote in 1928. See Appendix 3 for the voting time-line.

Appendix 1

ADDRESS TO THE KING, May it please your majesty A MEETING of the FREEHOLDERS and INHABITANTS of ESSEX having been summoned for the purpose of addressing the Throne, We, the undersigned Freeholders and Residents in the said County, differing from the general views of the Requisitionists by whom that Meeting has been called, and to avoid a collision of parties in the present excited state of public feeling, adopt this mode of expressing to your Majesty our unabated attachment to your Majesty's Royal Person and Family.

We, your Majesty's loyal subjects, have viewed with much concern the Political Associations that have recently been formed throughout this kingdom, the direct tendency of which is, even if it be not the object of the Members of those Associations to overawe the Government, and take into their own hands that direction of public affairs which can only with safety be vested in Ministers appointed by and responsible to the Crown ; - We therefore humbly tender to your Majesty our most grateful thanks for the expression of your Majesty's disapprobation of those Associations, contained in the royal Proclamation against their continuation, and earnestly hope that the most prompt and efficient measures will be adopted for putting down the dangerous and unconstitutional proceedings of those self-constituted authorities, and thereby restoring to your Majesty's loyal subjects that confidence in their Rulers which can alone ensure safety to the State.

We are aware of many anomalies in the present system of our Representation, which we should rejoice to see safely and effectually removed; but we beseech your Majesty to take into your most gracious consideration, the danger and inexpediency of resorting to extreme Measures, for the purpose of carrying into effect a plan of Reform, which in the opinion of many of the best and wisest of your Majesty's loyal subjects is fraught with danger to every Estate in the Realm.

We wish to see a full and fair Representation of the various classes and interests of our fellow-subjects; and shall hail with satisfaction any proposal to extend the elective franchise, without too violent an innovation upon the Established Institutions of the Country.

We, your Majesty's dutiful subjects, whilst expressing these sentiments, feel deeply impressed with your Majesty's paternal care for the welfare of your people; and rely upon your Majesty's wisdom in acceding to any change that it may be deemed necessary to make in our present Representative System, to adhere to those ancient principles of our Constitution, which have for so many years secured to us a degree of prosperity hitherto unattained by any other nation. 31st December 1831 Essex Standard

Appendix 2: Poll book entries for Peldon

Poll for The Knight of the Shire 1710
This poll was held on 24th October 1710 and the results were

Sir Francis Masham Baronet 2,647 votes
Sir Richard Child Baronet 3,268 votes
Thomas Middleton Esq. 2,678 votes

Sir Richard Child of Wanstead was the successful candidate. He was initially elected as a Tory but switched to supporting the Whigs after 1715.

The copy of the poll book on Ancestry is a later typewritten transcription and how the electors voted is not given.

The five Peldon men who voted are as follows

Digbey Edward
Wayledge John
Brown George
Brasier Edward
Thomas Turner

Poll for The Knight of the Shire 1715
This by-election poll was taken on 31st May 1715. The two candidates were William Harvey (Senior) Esquire, a Tory, and Robert Honywood Esquire of Marks Hall, a Whig. The election was held as a result of the death of Thomas Middleton Esq. Middleton had been the successful candidate in the General Election in the same year.

Four of Peldon's voters voted for Honywood (Digby, Tiffen, Shaw Jun and Brasier) and the rest for Harvey. Harvey was the successful candidate and served from 1715 to 1716 and then again 1722 to 1727. Honywood did become MP the following year by petition. One of the voters, Samuel Reynolds, although resident in Colchester, was Lord of The Manor of Peldon Hall.

Peldon's voters were:-

Samuel Reynolds Esq Colchester
John Wayling Peldon
John Brown Peldon
Edward Digby Peldon
Nathaniel Awell Peldon
Samuel Tiffen Belchamp
Thomas Shaw Jun Colchester
Edward Brasier Colchester
William Franklin Hornchurch
John Hurlock Ratcliffe, Middlesex

Poll for The Knight of the Shire 1722
This poll was held on Wednesday 27th March. There were three candidates, Lord Castlemain (Tory), William Harvey (Tory) and Robert Honywood (Whig). Castlemain who had been MP for Maldon 1708 - 1710 and MP for Essex from the General Election in 1715 lost his seat in this election. He was to regain his seat in 1727 and served to 1734.

William Harvey was the successful candidate.

Peldon's voters were:-

Edward Brasier London
James Browning Peldon
Henry Cross Hockley in the Hole
Edward Digby Peldon
Nathaniel Gilson Colchester
Thomas Shaw Jun Colchester

Poll for The Knight of the Shire 1734
The candidates were

The Right Honorable the Lord Castlemain (Tory) 2,146 votes
Sir Robert Abdy Baronet (Tory) 3,378 votes
Thomas Bramston Esq. (Tory) 3,056 votes

whereupon Sir Robert Abdy and Thomas Bramston Esq. were declared duly Elected by Champion Bramfell Esq. Sheriff

Peldon voters were:-

John Wayland Peldon
John Robinson Mersey Island
James Browning Peldon
George Brown Peldon

Poll for The Knight of the Shire 1763
This poll was taken on Tuesday and Wednesday 13th and 14th December 1763. The two candidates were John Luther, a Whig, and John Conyers a Tory. Overall in the county, Luther received 2,667 votes and was elected. John Conyers was unsuccessful, polling 2,458 although he was to be successful later and served as an M.P. between 1772 and 1775. Within the hundreds of Thurstable and Winstree Luther polled 89 and Conyers 65.

Out of the Peldon voters listed below, four, Jacob Brown, William Mendham, Samuel Brown and John Wayland voted for Conyers while the rest voted for Luther.

Jacob Brown Bentley Parva
William Mendham Springfield
Samuel Brown Peldon
John Ward Peldon
Thomas Green Wormingford
Harry Hankey East Bergholt
John Wayland Peldon
John White Peldon
Samuel Bullock Peldon
John Ely jun Feering
Anthony Smith Coggeshall
Samuel Bullock Peldon

Poll for The Knight of the Shire 1774
This poll was held on Monday and Tuesday 17th and 18th October 1774. The candidates were Lord Waltham, John Luther Esq (Whig) and John Conyers Esq (Tory).

Three of Peldon's voters had two votes; votes cast were 5 for Waltham, 3 for Luther and 2 for Conyers.

Out of County, the miller Sadler Whitmore, a miller who lived in Wissington, Suffolk, but had property in Peldon, also voted for Conyers and Luther.

The county's total vote was Waltham 1,013 Luther 2,262 and Conyers 2,155 and John Luther was elected.

Peldon's voters were:-

Brown Samuel Peldon
Earthy Thomas Wivenhoe
Harrison Robert Peldon
Matthewman John East Mersea
Pooley John Tollesbury
Wayland George East Mersea
White John Peldon

Poll for Two Knights of the Shire 1830
By the time of this election a lot more information was being published in the poll book. The election was for two county MPs and conducted in Chelmsford before Capel Cure, the sheriff on Friday 6th August 1830 and the following 14 days.

The candidates were
Charles Callis Western Esq. of Felix Hall 2,556 votes
John Tyssen Tyrell Esq. of Boreham House 2,638 votes
The Hon. William Pole Tylney Long Wellesley of Myless 2,301

Western and Tyrell were elected.

A note reveals the number of objected Votes at this Election was unprecedented
These disputed votes totalled 900 and each candidate had to appoint a legal assessor.

By the time of this election there were as many out-voters as Peldon residents

Isaac Harrison owner of a house in Peldon occupied by himself
Joseph Harvey of Layer de La Haye owner of a house in Peldon occupied by Green
James Ives owner of a house and land in Peldon occupied by himself [Ives Farm]
James Peacher owner of a house and land in Peldon occupied by himself
John Palmer Clerk occupying the Rectory in Peldon

Those listed as 'Outdwellers' are
Thomas Creek owner of a house occupied by a John Chignall [I believe this to be the house that was to become The Plough].
James Digby (senior) of Birch owned the mill in Peldon occupied by George Cooper
John Ransom of Copford owner of land in Peldon occupied by William Harvey
John Saunders [Sanders] of Purleigh owner of a house in Peldon occupied by Philips
Gregory Haxcell of Nayland owner of house and land in Peldon occupied by Charles E Cooper

Poll for Members to serve in Parliament Eastern Division of Essex 1868
By the time of this election, Essex had been divided into three divisions not two. There were four candidates and the election was for two MPs.

It was held on Thursday 26th November 1868 before W.C. Smith Esq., Sheriff

The candidates were
James Round Esq. (Conservative) 2,861
Samuel Brise Ruggles-Brise Esq. (Conservative) 2,816
Sir Thomas Burch Western Baronet (Liberal) 2,224
Sir Thomas Neville Abdy Baronet (Liberal) 2,134

Both Round and Brise, the two Conservatives, were elected.

The list of Peldon voters includes all those who voted, whether resident or out-dwellers.

Jabez Barnard Oxford St London
Alexander Bean Peldon
Joseph Digby Peldon
Henry Digby Cannock Mill, Colchester
Rev Carter Hall Peldon
Gregory Haxell Great Horkesley
Thomas Nevill Peldon
John Osborne Peldon
Stephen Overall Peldon
Thomas Pilgrim Peldon
Frederic Smith Peldon
Charles Tiffen
Moses Woods East Mersey
New Voters
Henry William Burgess Peldon Lodge
Thomas Nelson Peldon
Edward Nice Peldon
Joseph Smith Little Wigborough
John Wright Peldon

The Essex Record Office has digitised a number of the Essex electoral records (Northern Division) which include Peldon starting with 1845 [Q/RPR 1/3]

There are further digitised listings for every year between 1847 and 1858 then 1861, 1863, 1864, 1866, 1868 and 1869. All these documents list voters, where they live, what is their qualification to vote, e.g. freehold house and land, and also the name(s) of the property. These registers no longer indicate which way each elector voted. Non-digitised registers are available to view at ERO.

There are also digitised lists of voters for 1918 and 1929.
(Many of them transcribed at Mersea Museum - see Family History - Parish Records.)

Appendix 3

Time-line for voting
1832: Male owners and tenants of larger properties
1869: Male owners of property worth £5 a year, and male tenants paying £12 a year 
1885: All male householders, and tenants paying £10 a year
1918: All male residents over 21, and married women over 30
1929: Everyone over 21
1969: Everyone over 18
Essex Record Office website


The Forty-Shilling Freeholder Ashley Cooper & Stephen Cooper
Colchester 1815 to 1914 A.F.J.Brown
Chartism in Essex A.F.J. Brown
The Setting Sun James Hurnard

AuthorElaine Barker
SourceMersea Museum