Dorset (UK Parliament constituency)

Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
County Dorset
Number of members 1290–1832: Two
1832–1885: Three
Replaced by North Dorset, South Dorset, East Dorset, West Dorset

Dorset was a county constituency covering Dorset in southern England, which elected two Members of Parliament (MPs), traditionally known as knights of the shire, to the House of Commons of England from 1290 until 1707, to the House of Commons of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800, and to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom until 1832.

The Great Reform Act increased its representation to three MPs with effect from the 1832 general election, and under the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 the constituency was abolished for the 1885 election, and replaced by four single-member divisions: North Dorset, South Dorset, East Dorset and West Dorset.

When elections were contested, the bloc vote system was used, but contests were rare. Even after the 1832 Reforms, only three of the nineteen elections before 1885 were contested; in the others, the nominated candidates were returned without a vote.[1]

Members of Parliament

Before 1640

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
ParliamentFirst memberSecond member
1371Sir John Hamely[2]
1376Sir John Hamely[2] Sir Thomas Blount
1377 (Jan) Sir John Hamely[2]
1386 Sir Stephen Derby John Frome[3]
1388 (Feb) Sir Robert Turberville John Frome[3]
1388 (Sep) Sir Humphrey Stafford Sir John Moigne[3]
1390 (Jan) Sir Humphrey Stafford John Frome[3]
1390 (Nov) Sir Stephen Derby Theobald Wykeham[3]
1391 Sir Humphrey Stafford Sir John Hamely[3]
1393 Sir Humphrey Stafford Sir John Moigne[3]
1394 Sir Stephen Derby John Perle[3]
1395 Sir Humphrey Stafford Theobald Wykeham[3]
1397 (Jan) Sir Humphrey Stafford Sir John Moigne[3]
1397 (Sep) John Bathe William Martin[3]
1399 Sir Humphrey Stafford John Frome[3]
1401 Sir Humphrey Stafford John Frome[3]
1402 Sir William Cheyne John Bathe[3]
1404 (Jan) Sir Humphrey Stafford John Frome[3]
1404 (Oct) Sir John Devereux John Frampton[3]
1406 Sir Humphrey Stafford Sir Ivo Fitzwaryn[3]
1407 Sir Humphrey Stafford Sir Ivo Fitzwaryn[3]
1410 Sir Humphrey Stafford William Stourton[3]
1413 (Feb)
1413 (May) Thomas Brooke William Stourton[3]
1414 (Apr) Sir Humphrey Stafford II William Filoll[3]
1414 (Nov) Sir Humphrey Stafford II John Chideock[3]
1416 (Mar)
1416 (Oct)
1417 Sir Humphrey Stafford II Robert More[3]
1419 Sir Humphrey Stafford II Ralph Bush[3]
1420 Sir Humphrey Stafford II William Carent[3]
1421 (May) Sir Humphrey Stafford II Roberty Lovell[3]
1421 (Dec) Sir John Horsey John Roger[3]
1426William Carent[4]
1427William Carent[4]
1431 John Hody
1510–1523 No names known
1529 Sir Giles Strangways I John Horsey
1536 ?
1539 Sir Giles Strangways I Sir John Horsey
1545 Sir Thomas Arundell Sir John Rogers
1547 Sir Thomas Arundell Sir John Rogers
1553 (Mar) ?
1553 (Oct) Sir John Horsey Sir Giles Strangeways
Parliament of 1554 John Lewson
Parliament of 1554-1555 Sir Henry Ashley Richard Phelips
Parliament of 1555 Sir John Rogers Sir Giles Strangeways
Parliament of 1558 Sir Oliver Laurence
Parliament of 1559 Sir John Rogers
Parliament of 1563-1567 Sir Henry Ashley Thomas Howard
Parliament of 1571 John Horsey Sir William Paulet
Parliament of 1572-1581 Richard Rogers John Strode
Parliament of 1584-1585 George Trenchard John Fitzjames
Parliament of 1586-1587 Ralph Horsey Andrew Rogers
Parliament of 1588-1589 Sir John Wolley
Parliament of 1593 Thomas Hussey Arthur Gorges
Parliament of 1597-1598 Sir Ralph Horsey Sir Walter Raleigh
Parliament of 1601 George Trenchard Sir Edmund Uvedall
Parliament of 1604-1611 Sir Thomas Freke John Williams
Addled Parliament (1614) Sir Mervyn Audley Sir John Strangways
Parliament of 1621-1622 Sir Thomas Trenchard
Happy Parliament (1624-1625) Sir George Horsey
Useless Parliament (1625) Sir Walter Erle Sir Nathaniel Napier
Parliament of 1625-1626 Sir George Morton Sir Thomas Freke
Parliament of 1628-1629 Sir George Hussey Sir John Strangways
No Parliament summoned 1629-1640

MPs 1640–1832

YearFirst memberFirst partySecond memberSecond party
April 1640 Lord DigbyRoyalist Richard RogersRoyalist
November 1640
1641 John BrowneParliamentarian
September 1642 Rogers disabled from sitting - seat vacant
1645 Sir Thomas Trenchard
December 1648 Trenchard did not sit after Pride's Purge - seat vacant
1653 William Sydenham John Bingham
Dorset had six seats in the First and Second Parliaments of the Protectorate
1654 William Sydenham, John Bingham, Sir Walter Earle, John Fitzjames, John Trenchard, Henry Henley
1656 William Sydenham, John Bingham, Robert Coker, John Fitzjames, John Trenchard, James Dewey
Dorset reverted to two seats in the Third Protectorate Parliament
January 1659 Sir Walter Earle John Bingham
May 1659 Not represented in the restored Rump
April 1660 John Fitzjames Robert Coker
Apr 1661 John Strode Giles Strangways
1675 Lord Digby
1677 Thomas Browne
1679 Thomas Strangways I Thomas Freke
1701 Thomas Trenchard
1702 Thomas Chafin
1711 Richard Bingham
1713 George Chafin Thomas Strangways II
Jan 1727 George Pitt
Sep 1727 Edmund Morton Pleydell
1747 George PittTory
later Independent
1754 Humphrey Sturt
1774 Hon. George Pitt
1784 Francis John Browne
1790 William Morton Pitt
1806 Edward Berkeley Portman I
1823 Edward Portman IIWhig
1826 Henry Bankes
1831 John CalcraftWhig
1832 Lord AshleyTory
1832Representation increased to 3 members

MPs 1832–1885

ElectionFirst memberFirst party[1]Second memberSecond party[1]Third memberThird party[1]
1832 Lord Ashley Conservative William John Bankes Conservative Hon. William Ponsonby Whig
1835 Henry Sturt Conservative
1837 Hon. John Fox-Strangways Whig
1841 George Bankes Conservative
1846 by-election Henry Ker Seymer Conservative John Floyer Conservative
1856 by-election Henry Sturt Conservative
1857 Hon. Henry Portman Liberal
1864 by-election John Floyer Conservative
1876 by-election Hon. Edward Digby Conservative
1885 Constituency divided among North, South, East, and West Dorset.

Election results

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1977]. British parliamentary election results 1832–1885 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. pp. 376–377. ISBN 0-900178-26-4.
  2. 1 2 3 "HAMELY (HAMYLYN), Sir John (aft.1324-1399), of Wimborne St. Giles, Dorset.". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 "History of Parliament". Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  4. 1 2 "CARENT, William (d.1476), of Toomer in Henstridge, Som.". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 28 May 2013.


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