Wisbech: Political activity

Pages 265-266

A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 4, City of Ely; Ely, N. and S. Witchford and Wisbech Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2002.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.



Except in 1659, when John Thurloe was elected to represent Wisbech in the parliament of Richard Cromwell, (fn. 1) the borough has never had separate representation. It was not even a polling station until after 1832, and there is little evidence of marked political activity in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The parliamentary electorate, which was identical with that for local government, numbered 188 in 1780, 141 votes going in that year to Lord Robert Manners, 101 to Sir Sampson Gideon, and 97 to Philip Yorke. In the first election of 1802, however, the town supported the Hardwicke candidate, Sir Henry Peyton, who received 160 votes to Lord Charles Manners's 53. This change of allegiance may have been due to the fact that the then Bishop of Ely (the Hon. James Yorke) was a member of the Hardwicke family. The same sympathies were shown, though less markedly, in the general election of the same year, when, out of an electorate of 224, the Rt. Hon. Charles Yorke, the bishop's nephew, received 82 Wisbech votes to 94 for Manners. (fn. 2) In 1830 the town reproduced the general situation in the county; (fn. 3) of the 248 votes cast in Wisbech 208 were Osborne, 129 for Adeane and 112 for Manners. Wisbech continued to support 'reform' candidates; in 1832 Captain Yorke, nephew of the Earl of Hardwicke, was placed at the bottom of the Wisbech poll, though he was returned by the county at large; he was placed third in the Wisbech poll in 1835. At the elections of 1832 and 1835 365 and 352 votes were respectively cast. (fn. 2)


  • 1. Walker and Craddock, Hist. Wisb. 246. Thurloe was also elected for Cambridge borough, for which he preferred to sit.
  • 2. Poll Books at Wisb. Mus.
  • 3. V.C.H. Cambs. ii, 417-18.