Calne (UK Parliament constituency)

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Former Borough constituency
for the House of Commons
Number of members Two (1295-1832); one (1832-1885)

Calne was a parliamentary borough in Wiltshire, which elected two Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons from 1295 until 1832, and then one member from 1832 until 1885, when the borough was abolished.


Calne was one of the towns represented in the Model Parliament of 1295, but sent members only sporadically for the next century. However, it was continuously represented from the reign of Richard II (1377-99). From medieval times, the borough consisted of the whole of the market town of Calne in the north-west of Wiltshire, and some of the surrounding district which was part of Calne parish. In 1831, the population of the borough was 2,640, and it contained 487 houses.

The right to vote was reserved to the corporation, which consisted of two "guild stewards", appointed annually, and a varying number of ordinary members or "burgesses", who were appointed by being co-opted by the existing members. This meant that once any interested party had secured control of the corporation it was generally easy to maintain, and the owner or "patron" of the borough usually had total power to nominate both the MPs. Indeed before 1830 there had not been a contested election in living memory.

In 1572, the manor of Calne was bought by Lionel Duckett, and his family were influential over elections in the borough for almost 200 years. By the mid 18th century, the patronage was shared between Thomas Duckett and William Northey, who generally used it to return themselves as MPs, although it could also be a source of revenue - in 1757 Duckett was paid a government pension of £500 a year to vacate his seat when Pitt the Elder wanted it for George Hay. Between 1763 and 1765, The Earl of Shelburne (who later became Marquess of Lansdowne) bought out Duckett and Northey, and his family controlled the borough in the Whig interest for about the next 75 years.

Nevertheless, the power of the corporation and the Lansdowne influence was apparently much resented. In 1807 the corporation insisted on re-electing an MP with whom they were satisfied, Joseph Jekyll, even though Lansdowne wanted to replace him. At the general election of 1826, the inhabitants attempted a revolt against Lansdowne's domination, trying to win over some of the corporation members, but the issue had not been taken as far as contesting the election. At the next opportunity, however, the 1830 general election, the townsmen put up their own candidates - one of several such rebellions against local aristocratic domination which took place in boroughs across the country at that election. All 18 members of the corporation voted for the Lansdowne candidates, but 60 of the local householders attempted to vote for their nominees, and when their votes were rejected by the returning officers they petitioned to have the election overturned. However, the Commons upheld the existing franchise and confirmed the result of the election.

In the initial version of the Reform Bill as proposed to Parliament in 1830, Calne would have kept both of its MPs. This was apparently because of a misunderstanding of how the 1821 census returns had been compiled, which made Calne seem much larger than it was. In fact, other boroughs of a similar size to Calne were to lose a seat, and as Lansdowne was a member of the cabinet it was politically impossible to let Calne benefit from any anomalies. Calne became one of the causes celebres round which debate on the Bill revolved, but the government eventually transferred it to Schedule B, the list of boroughs that were to lose a seat.

Under the Great Reform Act as it was eventually passed in 1832, Calne kept one of its two seats, its boundaries being extended to bring in the whole of Calne parish and parts of the neighbouring Calstone Wellington and Blackland parishes. This increased the population to 4,795; the franchise was reformed as elsewhere, and there were 191 residents qualified to vote in the first post-Reform election. This extension of the electorate could not free the borough from the Lansdowne influence, however, and the MP was a member of the Marquess's family for all but 13 of the borough's remaining 53 years of existence.

Calne was eventually abolished as a constituency with effect from the general election of 1885, the area being included from that point in the Chippenham (or Wiltshire North West) county division.

Members of Parliament


Parliament First member Second member
1388 (Feb) William Wichampton Ricard Roude [1]
1399 Robert Salman John Felawe [1]
1413 (May) Robert Salman Robert Roude [1]
1414 (Apr) Robert Salman Robert Roude [1]
1414 (Nov) Robert Salman Robert Roude [1]
1415 William Clerk John Blake [1]
1416 (Mar)
1416 (Oct)
1417 Robert Long Robert Salman [1]
1420 John Bailey Richard Chamberlain [1]
1421 (May) Robert Blake Walter Studley [1]
1421 (Dec) John Justice Robert Green [1]
1472 Roger Townshend
1510-1523 No names known[2]
1529 William Crowche John Turgeys [2]
1536  ?
1539  ?
1542  ?
1545 Robert Long Francis Goodere [2]
1547 Griffin Curteys John Cock
1553 (Mar)  ?
1553 (Oct) Robert Hungerford William Allen [2]
1554 (Apr) William Baseley William Allen [2]
1554 (Nov) Sir John Marvyn Edward Wastfield [2]
1555 William Allen Edward Wastfield [2]
1558 William Allen Richard Nicholas [2]
1559 Andrew Baynton Richard Kingsmill[3]
1562/3 William Clerke William Allen [3]
1571 Edward Chambers Richard Danvers [3]
1572 William Allen,
died and replaced
Nov 1575 by

Sir Edward Baynton
William Weare
alias Browne
1584 Stephen Duckett John Lever [3]
1586 Stephen Duckett John Lever[3]
1588 Henry Jackman John Lever [3]
1593 Henry Jackman Thomas Edwards [3]
1597 Thomas Edwards Richard Lowe [3]
1601 Lionel Duckett Richard Lowe [3]
1604 William Swaddon John Noyes
1606-1611 Sir Edmund Carey
1614-? Richard Lowe
1621-1622 John Duckett John Pym
1624 John Duckett Sir Edward Howard
1625 George Lowe Sir Edward Howard
1626 George Lowe Sir John Eyres
1628-1629 George Lowe Sir John Maynard
1629–1640 No Parliaments summoned


Year First member First party Second member Second party
April 1640 William Maynard Walter Norborne
November 1640 George Lowe Royalist Hugh Rogers Parliamentarian
February 1644 Lowe disabled from sitting - seat vacant
1645 Rowland Wilson
February 1650 Wilson died - seat vacant
1653 Calne was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament and the First and Second Parliaments of the Protectorate
January 1659 Edward Bayntun William Duckett
May 1659 Not represented in the restored Rump
April 1660 Edward Bayntun William Duckett
1661 George Lowe
February 1679 Sir George Hungerford Walter Norborne
August 1679 Lionel Duckett
1681 Walter Norborne
1685 Sir John Ernle Thomas Richmond Webb
1689 Henry Chivers Lionel Duckett
1690 Henry Bayntun
1691 William Wyndham
1695 Henry Blaake George Hungerford
1698 Henry Chivers
January 1701 Walter Long Walter Hungerford
November 1701 Henry Blaake Edward Bayntun
March 1702 Henry Chivers
July 1702 Sir Charles Hedges
1705 Edward Bayntun George Duckett Whig
1710 James Johnston William Hedges
1713 William Northey
1715 Sir Orlando Bridgeman, Bt Richard Chiswell
1722 Benjamin Haskins Stiles[4] George Duckett Whig
February 1723 Edmund Pike Heath
February 1723 Matthew Ducie Moreton
1727 William Duckett William Wardour
1734 Walter Hungerford
1741 William Elliot Whig
1747 William Northey
1754 Thomas Duckett
1757 George Hay
1761 Thomas Duckett Daniel Bull
1762 Hon. Thomas FitzMaurice
1766 John Calcraft
1768 John Dunning Whig
1774 Isaac Barré Whig
1782 James Townsend Whig
1787 Joseph Jekyll
1790 John Morris
1792 Benjamin Vaughan
1796 Sir Francis Baring, Bt Whig
1802 Lord Henry Petty Whig
1806 Osborne Markham
1807 Henry Smith
1812 Hon. James Abercromby Whig
1816 Sir James Macdonald, Bt
1830 Thomas Babington Macaulay Whig
1831 Charles Richard Fox Whig
1832 Representation reduced to one member


Election Member Party
1832 Earl of Kerry Whig
1836 by-election Hon. John Fox-Strangways Whig
1837 Earl of Shelburne Whig
1856 by-election Sir William Williams, Bt Liberal
1859 Robert Lowe Liberal
1868 Lord Edmond FitzMaurice Liberal
1885 Constituency abolished


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 "History of Parliament". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 2011-10-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 "History of Parliament". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 2011-10-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 "History of Parliament". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 2011-10-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Styles was also elected for Devizes, which he chose to represent, and never sat for Calne

Election results


  • Michael Brock, "The Great Reform Act" (London: Hutchinson, 1973)
  • 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) [1]
  • F W S Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1832-1885 (2nd edition, Aldershot: Parliamentary Research Services, 1989)
  • Lewis Namier, The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III (2nd edition - London: St Martin's Press, 1961)
  • T. H. B. Oldfield, The Representative History of Great Britain and Ireland (London: Baldwin, Cradock & Joy, 1816)
  • J Holladay Philbin, Parliamentary Representation 1832 - England and Wales (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965)
  • Frederic A Youngs, jr, "Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England, Vol I" (London: Royal Historical Society, 1979)
  • Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "C" (part 1)[self-published source][better source needed]ar:كان (إنجلترا)