Launceston (UK Parliament constituency)

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Former Borough constituency
for the House of Commons
Number of members Two (1295–1832); one (1832–1885)
Replaced by Launceston
Cornwall, North-Eastern or Launceston
Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
Number of members One
Replaced by North Cornwall
Created from East Cornwall, Launceston

Launceston, also known at some periods as Dunheved, was a parliamentary constituency in Cornwall which returned two Members of Parliament to the British House of Commons from 1295 until 1832, and one member from 1832 until 1918. It was a parliamentary borough until 1885, and a county constituency thereafter.


Launceston was one of 21 parliamentary boroughs in Cornwall between the 16th and 19th centuries; unlike many of these, which had been little more than villages even when established and were rotten boroughs from the start, Launceston had been a town of reasonable size and importance though much in decline by the 19th century. The borough consisted of only part of the present town, as Newport was a separate borough in itself from 1554, though Newport and Launceston were joined together as Dunheved, collectively returning members, earlier in that century.

The right to vote was vested theoretically in the Mayor, aldermen and those freemen of the borough who were resident at the time they became freemen; but in practice the vote was exercised only by members of the corporation, who were chosen mainly with a view to maintaining the influence of the "patron". Up to 1775, this was generally the head of the Morice family, who also controlled Newport, but in that year Humphry Morice sold his interest in both boroughs to the Duke of Newcastle, whose family retained hold on both until the Reform Act. There were about 17 voters in Launceston in 1831, by which time the borough was as rotten as any of the others in Cornwall.

In 1831 the borough had a population of 2,669 and 429 houses. Under the Great Reform Act of 1832 the boundaries were extended to encompass the whole town (including Newport, which was abolished as a separate borough), bringing the population up to 5,394. This was sufficient for Launceston to retain one of its two seats.

The borough was eventually abolished in 1885, but the name of the town was transferred to the new county constituency in which it was placed, strictly the North-Eastern or Launceston Division of Cornwall, which also elected a single member. This covered a much larger, rural, area including Callington, Calstock and Bude-Stratton. This constituency in its turn was abolished in 1918, being absorbed mostly into the new Cornwall North constituency.

Members of Parliament

Launceston borough

MPs 1295–1629

  • Constituency created (1295)
Parliament First member Second member
1358 John Hamely[1]
1386 John Cokeworthy I Roger Leye[2]
1388 (Feb) John Cokeworthy I William Bodrugan[2]
1388 (Sep) Thomas Trereise Thomas Treuref[2]
1390 (Jan) John Cokeworthy I John Syreston[2]
1390 (Nov)
1391 John Cokeworthy I Richard Lovyn[2]
1393 John Cokeworthy I Richard Lovyn[2]
1395 John Cokeworthy I Richard Lovyn[2]
1397 (Jan) John Cokeworthy I Richard Tolle[2]
1397 (Sep) Roger Menwenick William Holt[2]
1399 John Cokeworthy I John Goly[2]
1402 Thomas Colyn Richard Raddow[2]
1404 (Jan)
1404 (Oct)
1406 Walter Tregarya John Colet[2]
1407 Richard Brackish  ?John Pengersick[2]
1410 Edward Burnebury John Cory[2]
1411 Edward Burnebury Richard Trelawny[2]
1413 (Feb)
1413 (May) Edward Burnebury John Mayhew[2]
1414 (Apr)
1414 (Nov) Edward Burnebury John Cory[2]
1416 (Mar) Oliver Wyse Edward Burnebury[2]
1416 (Oct)
1417 Edward Burnebury John Cory[2]
1419 Edward Burnebury Edward Burnebury[2]
1420 Simon Yurle Edward Burnebury[2]
1421 (May) Simon Yurle John Cory[2]
1421 (Dec) John Treffriowe Edward Burnebury[2]
1510–1523 No names known[3]
1529 Sir Edward Ryngley John Rastell[3]
1536  ?
1539  ?
1542  ?
1545 William Cordell Robert Taverner[3]
1547 William Cordell Nicholas Carminowe[3]
First Parliament of 1553 William Ley alias Kempthorne John Ley alias Kempthorne I[3]
Second Parliament of 1553 Robert Monson
Parliament of 1554 Arthur Welsh
Parliament of 1554–1555 William Bendlow
Parliament of 1555 Robert Grenville John Ley alias Kempthorne II[3]
Parliament of 1558 Thomas Roper[4] Robert Monson John Heydon
Parliament of 1559 George Basset Ayshton Aylworth Wiliiam Gibbes[5]
Parliament of 1563–1567 Richard Grenville Henry Chiverton
Parliament of 1571 George Grenville Sampson Lennard
Parliament of 1572–1581 George Blyth George Grenville
Parliament of 1584–1585 Roland Watson John Glanville
Parliament of 1586–1587 John Spurling
Parliament of 1588–1589
Parliament of 1593 George Grenville
Parliament of 1597–1598 Herbert Croft Sir William Bowyer [6]
Parliament of 1601 John Parker Gregory Downhall
Parliament of 1604–1611 Sir Thomas Lake Ambrose Rous
Addled Parliament (1614) Sir Charles Wilmot William Croft
Parliament of 1621–1622 John Harris Thomas Bond
Happy Parliament (1624–1625) Sir Francis Crane Miles Fleetwood
Useless Parliament (1625) Sir Bevil Grenville Richard Scott
Parliament of 1625–1626
Parliament of 1628–1629
No Parliament summoned 1629–1640

MPs 1640–1832

Year First member First party Second member Second party
April 1640 Sir Bevil Grenville Royalist Ambrose Manaton Royalist
November 1640 William Coryton[7]
1641 John Harris Parliamentarian
January 1644 Manaton disabled from sitting – seat vacant
1645 Thomas Gewen
December 1648 Harris and Gewen excluded in Pride's Purge – both seats vacant
1653 Launceston was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament
1654 Robert Bennet Launceston had only one seat in the First and
Second Parliaments of the Protectorate
1656 Thomas Gewen
January 1659 Robert Bennet
May 1659 Not represented in the restored Rump
April 1660 Edward Eliot Thomas Gewen
June 1660 John Cloberry
1661 Richard Edgcumbe Sir Charles Harbord
February 1679 Bernard Granville
September 1679 Sir John Coryton Sir Hugh Piper
1680 Lord Lansdowne
1681 William Harbord
1685 John Granville
1689 William Harbord Edward Russell Whig
1690 Bernard Granville
1692 Lord Hyde Tory
1695 William Cary
1710 Francis Scobell
1711 George Clarke
1713 Edward Herle John Anstis
1721 Alexander Pendarves Tory
1722 John Freind[8]
1724 John Willes
1725 John Freind
1726 Henry Vane Whig
1727 Hon. John King Arthur Tremayne
1734 Sir William Morice
1735 Sir William Irby
1747 Sir John St Aubyn
1750 Humphry Morice Whig
1754 Sir George Lee
1758 Sir John St Aubyn
1759 Peter Burrell
1768 William Amherst
1774 John Buller
September 1780 Viscount Cranborne Thomas Bowlby
November 1780 Hon. Charles Perceval[9] Tory
1783 Sir John Jervis Whig
1784 George Rose Tory
1788 Sir John Swinburne, Bt
1790 Hon. John Rodney Tory Sir Henry Clinton Tory
1795 William Garthshore Tory
1796 Hon. John Rawdon James Brogden Tory
1802 Richard Bennet Whig
1806 Earl Percy Tory
1807 Captain Richard Bennet Whig
May 1812 Jonathan Raine
October 1812 Pownoll Bastard Pellew Tory
1830 Sir Willoughby Gordon Tory
1831 Sir John Malcolm Tory
1832 Representation reduced to one member

MPs 1832–1885

Election Member Party
1832 Sir Henry Hardinge Conservative
1844 by-election William Bowles Conservative
1852 Hon. Josceline Percy Conservative
1859 Thomas Chandler Haliburton Conservative
1865 Alexander Henry Campbell Conservative
1868 by-election Henry Charles Lopes Conservative
February 1874 James Henry Deakin (senior)[10] Conservative
July 1874 by-election James Henry Deakin (junior) Conservative
1877 by-election Sir Hardinge Giffard Conservative
July 1885 by-election Richard Everard Webster Conservative
1885 Borough abolished; name transferred to county constituency

North-Eastern or Launceston Division of Cornwall

MPs 1885–1918

Election Member Party
1885 Sir Charles Dyke-Acland Liberal
1892 Thomas Owen Liberal
1898 by-election Sir John Fletcher Moulton Liberal
1906 Sir George Croydon Marks Liberal
1918 constituency abolished


Elections in the 1880s

General Election 1885: Launceston [11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Charles Thomas Dyke Acland 4,690 64.4 n/a
Conservative T N Lawrence 2,587 35.6 n/a
Majority 2,103 28.8 n/a
Turnout 78.3 n/a
Liberal win (new seat)
General Election 1886: Launceston [12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Charles Thomas Dyke Acland unopposed n/a n/a
Liberal hold Swing n/a

Elections in the 1890s

General Election 1892: Launceston [13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Thomas Owen 3,897 57.2 n/a
Liberal Unionist Sir Lewis William Molesworth 2,913 42.8 n/a
Majority 984 14.4 n/a
Turnout 74.2 n/a
Liberal hold Swing n/a
General Election 1895: Launceston [14]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Thomas Owen 3,633 55.0
Liberal Unionist Frederick Wills 2,975 45.0
Majority 658 10.0
Turnout 70.1
Liberal hold Swing
Launceston by-election, 1898 [15]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal John Fletcher Moulton 3,951 58.0 +3.0
Liberal Unionist Sir Frederick Wills 2,863 42.0 -3.0
Majority 1,088 16.0 +6.0
Turnout 71.7 +1.6
Liberal hold Swing +3.0

Elections in the 1900s

John Moulton
General Election 1900: Launceston [16]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal John Fletcher Moulton 3,831 58.3 +0.3
Liberal Unionist Foster Hugh Egerton Cunliffe 2,737 41.7 -0.3
Majority 1,094 16.6 +0.6
Turnout 68.3 -
Liberal hold Swing +0.3
General Election 1906: Launceston [17]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal George Croydon Marks 4,658 63.0
Conservative George John Sandys 2,736 37.0
Majority 1,922 26.0
Turnout 75.0
Liberal hold Swing

Elections in the 1910s

General Election January 1910: Launceston [18]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal George Croydon Marks 4,703 56.9 -6.1
Liberal Unionist Horace Bere Grylls 3,564 43.1 +6.1
Majority 1,139 13.8 -12.2
Turnout 83.9
Liberal hold Swing -6.1
General Election December 1910: Launceston [19]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal George Croydon Marks 4,373 57.4 +0.5
Liberal Unionist Edward Treffry 3,249 42.6 -0.5
Majority 1,124 14.8 +1.0
Turnout 77.3 -6.6
Liberal hold Swing +0.5

General Election 1914/15:

Another General Election was required to take place before the end of 1915. The political parties had been making preparations for an election to take place and by the July 1914, the following candidates had been selected;


  1. "HAMELY (HAMYLYN), Sir John (aft.1324-1399), of Wimborne St. Giles, Dorset". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 30 May 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 "History of Parliament". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 3 November 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 "History of Parliament". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 27 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "BOWYER, Sir William I (1558-1616), of Denham Court, Bucks. and Westminster". History of Parliament. Retrieved 26 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Expelled from the House, August 1641. Coryton was Vice-Warden of the Stannaries and as such had the responsibility for making the return of members (officially notifying the House of Commons who had been elected) for some of the Cornish boroughs. He himself was returned as Member for both Launceston and Grampound, and initially sat for Launceston, but having been found guilty of falsifying the return for Bossiney the House resolved "That Mr. Coryton shall not be admitted to sit as a Member in this Parliament" on 18 August 1641
  8. On petition concerning a dispute over who had the right to vote, Freind was found not to have been duly elected, and Willes was declared elected in his place
  9. The Lord Arden (in the peerage of Ireland) from 1784
  10. This election was held void on petition, and a by-election was held
  11. British parliamentary election results, 1885-1918 (Craig)
  12. British parliamentary election results, 1885-1918 (Craig)
  13. British parliamentary election results, 1885-1918 (Craig)
  14. British parliamentary election results, 1885-1918 (Craig)
  15. British parliamentary election results, 1885-1918 (Craig)
  16. British parliamentary election results, 1885-1918 (Craig)
  17. British parliamentary election results, 1885-1918 (Craig)
  18. British parliamentary election results, 1885-1918 (Craig)
  19. British parliamentary election results, 1885-1918 (Craig)
  20. Western Times, 23 Jan 1914