Mitchell (UK Parliament constituency)

Former Borough constituency
for the House of Commons
County Cornwall
Major settlements St Newlyn East and St Enoder
Number of members Two

Mitchell, or St Michael (sometimes also called St Michael's Borough or Michaelborough) was a rotten borough consisting of the town (or village) of Mitchell, Cornwall. From the first Parliament of Edward VI, in 1547, it elected two members to the Unreformed House of Commons.


The borough encompassed parts of two parishes, Newlyn East and St Enoder. Like most of the Cornish boroughs enfranchised or re-enfranchised during the Tudor period, it was a rotten borough from the start.

The franchise in Mitchell was a matter of controversy in the 17th century, but was settled by a House of Commons resolution on 20 March 1700 which stated "That the right of election of members to serve in Parliament for the Borough of St Michael's, in the County of Cornwall, is in the portreeves, and lords of the manor, who are capable of being portreeves, and the inhabitants of the said borough paying scot and lot": this gave the vote to most of the male householders.

The borough was often not in the complete control of a single proprietor, the voters being swayed between those of the lords of the manor from whom they expected to receive most benefit in return. Namier quotes a memorandum on the state of the Cornish boroughs from Lord Edgcumbe to Prime Minister Newcastle in 1760, describing the Mitchell voters as "in general low, indigent people, [who] will join such of the Under Lords from whom they have reason to expect most money and favours. Admiral Boscawen..., by supplying some of the voters with money and conferring favours on others, seems to be adding very considerably to the strength of his interest."

The landowners, however, had other expedients for gaining control. The number of voters, which in 1784 had been at least 39, was reduced by 1831 to just seven, achieved by pulling down a number of houses in the borough and letting those houses that still stood on conditions which prevented the occupiers appearing on the parish rates. The proprietors by the 1820s were the Earl of Falmouth (a Boscawen) and Sir Christopher Hawkins, Hawkins having purchased his interest some years previously from Sir Francis Basset; but Mitchell having thus been reduced to one of the smallest of all the rotten boroughs (in 1831, the borough had a population of approximately 90, and 23 houses), it was naturally disfranchised by the Great Reform Act of 1832.

Mitchell's early MPs included the explorer and statesman Walter Raleigh, who sat briefly for the borough in the 1590s while out of favour at court and so unable to secure a more prestigious seat. A later MP was the future Duke of Wellington, who as Sir Arthur Wellesley represented the borough from January to May 1807, for part of which time he was a junior minister (Chief Secretary for Ireland) in the Duke of Portland's second government.

Members of Parliament


ParliamentFirst memberSecond member
Parliament of 1547–1552 Ralph Cholmley Hugh Cartwright
First Parliament of 1553 Robert Beverley Humphrey Moseley
Second Parliament of 1553 Francis Goldsmith Edward Chamberlain
Parliament of 1554 Clement Tussard Andrew Tussard
Parliament of 1554–1555 Paul Stamford
Parliament of 1555 John Arundell John Thomas
Parliament of 1558 Thomas Gardiner
Parliament of 1559 Drue Drury Robert Colshill
Parliament of 1562 Robert Hopton Thomas Wilson
Parliament of 1571 Edward Stafford Francis Alford
Parliament of 1572–1581 Charles Lister Thomas West
Parliament of 1584–1585 Edward Barker James Erisey
Parliament of 1586–1587 Thomas Cosworth Henry Sumaster
Parliament of 1588–1589 Edward Cosworth James Clarke
Parliament of 1593 Sir Walter Raleigh Richard Reynell
Parliament of 1597–1598 John Arundell (of Trerice) John Carew
Parliament of 1601 George Chudleigh William Cholmley
Parliament of 1604–1611 William Cary[1] (died)
Denzil Holles
William Hakewill
Addled Parliament (1614) Christopher Hodson Walter Hickman
Parliament of 1621–1622 Richard Carew John St Aubyn
Happy Parliament (1624–1625) John Holles[2]
Denzil Holles
John Sawle
Useless Parliament (1625) Henry Sandys Sir John Smith
Parliament of 1625–1626 Francis Crossing
Parliament of 1628–1629 Francis Buller John Sparke
No Parliament summoned 1629–1640
This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.


YearFirst memberFirst partySecond memberSecond party
April 1640 Double return [3]
November 1640 William Chadwell Royalist John Arundell[4]Royalist
1640 Robert HolborneRoyalist
August 1642 Holborne disabled from sitting – seat vacant [5]
January 1644 Chadwell disabled from sitting – seat vacant
1647 Lord Kerr
December 1648 Kerr excluded in Pride's Purge – seat vacant
1653 Mitchell was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament and the First and Second Parliaments of the Protectorate
January 1659 James Launce Richard Lobb
May 1659 Not represented in the restored Rump
April 1660 Thomas Carew Heneage Finch[6]
May 1660 John Alleyn
1661 Matthew Wren Sir Edward Mosley
1665 The Lord Hawley
1673 Humphrey Borlase
1679 Sir John St Aubyn Walter Vincent
1681 Sir William Russell Henry Vincent
1685 Thomas Price John Vivian
January 1689 The Viscount Fanshawe[7] Tory Francis Vyvyan (MP for Mitchell)
September 1689 William Coryton
December 1689 Humphrey Courtney
March 1690 Anthony Rowe Francis Scobell
November 1690 Humphrey Courtney
1695 Thomas Vyvyan
1697 John Tregagle John Povey
1698 Sir John Hawles Whig
January 1701 William Beaw Anthony Rowe
March 1701 Sir Richard Vyvyan
December 1701 William Courtney
1702 Renatus Bellott Francis Basset
1705 Sir William Hodges Hugh Fortescue
1710 Abraham Blackmore Richard Belasyse
1713 Sir Henry Belasyse John Statham
1715 Nathaniel Blakiston Robert Molesworth[8] Whig
1722 Charles Selwyn John Hedges
1727 Henry Kelsall Thomas Farrington
1734 Thomas Watts Robert Ord
1741 Edward Clive John Ord
May 1745 Richard Lloyd
November 1745 Sir Edward Pickering
1747 Thomas Clarke Albert Nesbitt
1753 Arnold Nesbitt
1754 John Stephenson Robert Clive
1755[9] Simon Luttrell Richard Hussey
1761 John Stephenson James Scawen[10]
1774 Hon. Thomas Howard
1779 Francis Hale
1780 Hon. William Hanger
1784 David Howell Sir Christopher Hawkins [11] Tory
1796 Sir Stephen Lushington Whig
1799 John Simpson
1802 Robert Dallas Tory Robert Sharpe Ainslie
1805 Earl of Dalkeith
1806 Sir Christopher Hawkins[12] Tory Frederick Trench Tory
January 1807 Hon. Sir Arthur Wellesley Tory Henry Conyngham Montgomery
May 1807 Edward Leveson-Gower Tory George Galway Mills
July 1807 Sir James Hall, Bt
1808 Charles Trelawny-Brereton
1809 John Bruce
1812 George Hobart
1813 Hon. Edward Law Tory
August 1814 Charles Trelawny-Brereton
December 1814 Lord Binning Tory
1818 Sir George Staunton, Bt William Leake
1820 William Taylor Money
April 1826 Henry Labouchere Whig
June 1826 William Leake Whig
1830 Hon. Lloyd Kenyon Tory John Heywood Hawkins Whig
1831 Hon. William Samuel Best Tory
1832 Constituency abolished


  1. Cobbett spells the name as "Carpe"
  2. Holles was also elected for East Retford, which he chose to represent, and never sat for Mitchell
  3. Peter Courtney, William Chadwell, Francis Basset and Samuel Cosworth were all named in the return, though Cosworth's name was later taken off. The Parliament was dissolved before the dispute could be resolved or any of the four could take their seat
  4. Arundell was also elected for Bodmin, which he chose to represent, and never sat for Mitchell
  5. Thomas Temple was apparently elected after the Civil War to fill the vacancy, but there is no evidence that he ever took his seat
  6. Finch was also elected for Canterbury, which he chose to represent, and did not sit for Mitchell
  7. Expelled from the House for refusing to take the oath of loyalty to William and Mary
  8. Created Viscount Molesworth (in the Peerage of Ireland), July 1716
  9. At the election of 1754, Clive and Stephenson were initially declared to have defeated their opponents Luttrell and Hussey, but the result was reversed on petition
  10. Scawen was re-elected in 1774 but had also been elected for Surrey, which he chose to represent, and did not sit again for Mitchell
  11. At the election of 1784 there was double return, one naming Howell and Hawkins as elected, the other naming Howell and Roger Wilbraham, they having tied with 21 votes each. (Howell had 27 votes and the fourth candidate, William Boscawen, 15.) On scrutiny of the votes the Committee struck off four votes that had been credited to Wilbraham, and added one to Hawkins that had been disallowed by the Returning Officer, and declared Hawkins duly elected.
  12. Hawkins was also elected for Grampound and Penryn; he chose to represent Grampound, and did not sit for Mitchell in this Parliament


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