Castle Rising (UK Parliament constituency)

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Castle Rising
Former Borough constituency
for the House of Commons
Number of members Two

Castle Rising was a parliamentary borough in Norfolk, which elected two Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons from 1558 until 1832, when it was abolished by the Great Reform Act. Its famous members of Parliament included the future Prime Minister Robert Walpole and the diarist Samuel Pepys.


The borough extended over four parishes - Castle Rising, Roydon, North Wootton and South Wootton, in rural Norfolk to the north-east of King's Lynn. Castle Rising had once been a market town and seaport, but long before the Reform Act had declined to little more than a village. In 1831, the population of the borough was 888, and contained 169 houses.

Castle Rising was a burgage borough, meaning that the right to vote was vested in the owners of particular properties ("burgage tenements"), and that consequently the absolute right to nominate both the MPs could be bought and sold. Although it was possible for the landowner to create multiple voters by giving a reliable nominee notional ownership of the tenements - as was done in many other burgage boroughs - in Castle Rising the number of voters was kept as low as possible, and contested elections were almost unknown.

The Lord of the Manor invariably owned a majority of the burgage tenements, though other influential local families were generally allowed to select the second MP. At the start of the 18th century, the borough belonged to the Walpole family, and Sir Robert Walpole (Britain's first Prime Minister) began his parliamentary career here. Later in the century the Walpoles still nominated one MP, and the Earl of Suffolk the other. By 1816 the patronage had passed to the Earl of Cholmondeley and Richard Howard.

Castle Rising was abolished as a constituency by the Reform Act of 1832.

Members of Parliament


Year First member Second member
1558 Sir John Radcliffe Sir Nicholas L'Estrange[1]
1559 Thomas Steyning Sir Nicholas L'Estrange [2]
1562/3 Sir Nicholas L'Estrange Francis Carew [2]
1571 Sir Nicholas L'Estrange George Dacres [2]
1572 Nicholas Mynn Edward Flowerdew, sick and replaced Jan 1581 by Sir William Drury [2]
1584 Michael Stanhope Richard Drake [2]
1586 Philip Woodhouse Thomas Norris [2]
1588 Bartholomew Kemp Richard Stubbe [2]
1593 John Townshend Henry Spelman [2]
1597 Thomas Guybon Henry Spelman [2]
1601 John Peyton Robert Townshend [2]
1604–1611 Thomas Monson Sir Robert Townshend
1614 Sir Robert Wynd Thomas Binge
1621–1622 Robert Spiller John Wilson
1624 Sir Robert Spiller Sir Thomas Bancroft
1625 Sir Hamon le Strange Sir Thomas Bancroft
1626 Sir Hamon le Strange Sir Thomas Bancroft
1628 Sir Robert Cotton Sir Thomas Bancroft
1629–1640 No Parliaments summoned


Year First member First party Second member Second party
April 1640 Nicholas Harman Thomas Talbot
November 1640 Sir Christopher Hatton [3] Royalist Sir John Holland Parliamentarian
1641 Sir Robert Hatton Royalist
September 1642 Hatton disabled from sitting - seat vacant
1645 John Spelman
December 1648 Spelman and Holland excluded in Pride's Purge - both seats vacant
1653 Castle Rising was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament and the First and Second Parliaments of the Protectorate
January 1659 John Fielder Gaybon Goddard
May 1659 Not represented in the restored Rump
April 1660 John Spelman Sir John Holland Parliamentarian
1661 Sir Robert Paston Robert Steward
February 1673 Sir John Trevor Tory
November 1673 Samuel Pepys Tory
1679 Sir Robert Howard Whig James Hoste
1685 Sir Nicholas L'Estrange Thomas Howard
1689 Sir Robert Howard Whig Robert Walpole Whig
1698 Thomas Howard Whig
January 1701 Robert Walpole Whig
April 1701 Robert Cecil
December 1701 The Earl of Ranelagh
February 1702 Marquess of Hartington Whig
July 1702 Sir Thomas Littleton Whig Horatio Walpole, senior Whig
May 1705 Sir Robert Clayton Whig
November 1705 William Feilding
October 1710 Robert Walpole [4] Whig
December 1710 Horatio Walpole, senior Whig
1713 Horatio Walpole, junior Whig
1715 Lieutenant-General Charles Churchill Whig
1724 The Earl of Mountrath
1734 Thomas Hanmer
1737 Viscount Andover
1745 Richard Rigby Whig
1747 Robert Knight, 1st Baron Luxborough Whig Hon. Thomas Howard
1754 Hon. Horace Walpole Whig
1757 Charles Boone
1768 Thomas Whately Whig Jenison Shafto
1771 Crisp Molineux
1772 Lord Guernsey
1774 Alexander Wedderburn [5] Robert Mackreth
1775 Hon. Charles Finch
1777 John Chetwynd Talbot
1782 Major Sir James Erskine
1784 Charles Boone Walter Sneyd
1790 Henry Drummond
1794 Charles Bagot-Chester
1796 Horatio Churchill
1802 Peter Isaac Thellusson
1806 Richard Sharp
1807 Charles Bagot
1808 Fulk Greville Howard Tory
1812 Augustus Cavendish-Bradshaw Tory
1817 Earl of Rocksavage Tory
1822 Lord William Cholmondeley Tory
1832 Constituency abolished


  1. "History of Parliament". Retrieved 2011-10-11.<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 2.8 2.9 "History of Parliament". Retrieved 2011-10-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Hatton was also elected for Higham Ferrers, which he chose to represent, and never sat for Castle Rising
  4. Walpole was also elected for King's Lynn, which he chose to represent, and did not sit again for Castle Rising
  5. Wedderburn was also elected for Okehampton, which he chose to represent, and never sat for Castle Rising


  • 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]
  • Lewis Namier, The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III (2nd edition - London: St Martin's Press, 1961)
  • J E Neale, The Elizabethan House of Commons (London: Jonathan Cape, 1949)
  • 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 "C" (part 3)[self-published source][better source needed]