Wareham (UK Parliament constituency)

Former Borough constituency
for the House of Commons
Number of members two (1302–1832); one (1832–1885)

Wareham was a parliamentary borough in Dorset, which elected two Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons from 1302 until 1832, and then one member from 1832 until 1885, when the borough was abolished.


The borough consisted of the town of Wareham on the Isle of Purbeck, a market town close to Poole Harbour. In 1831, the population of the borough was 1,676, and it contained 364 houses.

The right to vote was exercised by the Mayor, magistrates and freemen of the town and all inhabitants paying scot and lot; the number who were qualified to vote under this provision by the time of the Reform Act was unknown, as there had not been a contested election for many years, but there were about 500 in the 1760s. In the early 18th century a number of wealthy local families were influential over the choice of members, but eventually John Calcraft of Kingstone Hall secured total control by buying up all the property in the borough occupied by potential voters.

Wareham retained one of its two MPs under the Reform Act, but its boundaries were extended to include several surrounding areas, including nearby Corfe Castle which had previously been a borough in its own right. The new borough had a population of 5,751.

The borough continued to elect one MP until the third Reform Act, which came into effect at the general election of 1885. This abolished the constituency, Wareham being placed in the new East Dorset county division.

Members of Parliament


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ParliamentFirst memberSecond member
1386 Thomas Walbrond Walter Byle[1]
1388 (Feb) Thomas Walbrond Walter Byle[1]
1388 (Sep) Thomas Walbrond Robert Calche[1]
1390 (Jan) Adam Denys Robert Calche[1]
1390 (Nov)
1391 Nicholas atte Gate Henry Rauf[1]
1393 Walter Byle Robert Calche[1]
1394 Adam Denys Thomas Smithfield[1]
1395 Richard Byle Thomas Barbour[1]
1397 (Jan) Walter Byle Adam Denys[1]
1397 (Sep) Nicholas atte Gate Robert Cokeman[1]
1399 Adam Denys Thomas Barbour[1]
1402 Robert Calche Richard Byle[1]
1404 (Jan)
1404 (Oct)
1406 Robert Craford John Cheverell[1]
1407 John Gramford William Colyns[1]
1410 Robert Craford Thomas Walsingham[1]
1413 (Feb)
1413 (May) Robert Craford Thomas Faringdon[1]
1414 (Apr) Richard Byle John Mayhew[1]
1414 (Nov) William Gerard John Shoyll[1]
1416 (Mar)
1416 (Oct)
1417 William Gerard Robert Craford[1]
1419 William Gerard Robert Craford[1]
1420 William Gerard Walter Reson[1]
1421 (May) William Gerard Walter Reson[1]
1421 (Dec) William Gerard Walter Provost[1]
1510–1523No names known[2]
1529 John Orenge William Grimston[2]
1539 ?
1542 ?
1545 Thomas Phelips Robert Keyle[2]
1547 David Seymour Richard Morison[2]
1553 (Mar) ?Richard Phelips ?
1553 (Nov) Thomas Phelips Leonard Willoughby[2]
1554 Alexander Hughes Thomas Girdler[2]
Parliament of 1554–1555 Hugh Smith Roger Gerard[2]
Parliament of 1555 Thomas Phelips Clement Hyatt[2]
Parliament of 1558 Matthew Smythe Walter Raleigh[2]
Parliament of 1559 Sir John Perrot John Scriven
Parliament of 1563–1567 John Morrice Richard Shaw
Parliament of 1571 John Baker Clement Hyatt died during the 1572–81 Parliament
In his place Henry Ashley
Parliament of 1572–1581 John Gwynne
Parliament of 1584–1585 John Rogers Andrew Rogers
Parliament of 1586–1587 Thomas Lambert
Parliament of 1588–1589 Christopher Gerrard
Parliament of 1593 Thomas Rogers George Strode
Parliament of 1597–1598 John Frankland Sampson Hussey
Parliament of 1601 Sir John Stafford Edmund Scott
Parliament of 1604–1611 Robert Napier Dr Francis James
Addled Parliament (1614) John Freke (Sir) William Pitt
Parliament of 1621–1622 John Trenchard
Happy Parliament (1624–1625)
Useless Parliament (1625)
Parliament of 1625–1626 Sir Nathaniel Napier Edward Lawrence
Parliament of 1628–1629 Gerrard Napier Sir John Meller
No Parliament summoned 1629–1640


YearFirst memberFirst partySecond memberSecond party
April 1640 John TrenchardParliamentarian Dr Gilbert Jones
November 1640 Thomas ErleParliamentarian
December 1648 Erle excluded in Pride's Purge – seat vacant
1653 Wareham was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament and the First and Second Parliaments of the Protectorate
January 1659 Elias Bond James Dewey
May 1659 John Trenchard One seat vacant
April 1660 George Pitt Robert Culliford
1679 Thomas Erle Whig George Savage
1685 George Ryves
May 1689 Thomas Skinner
1690 William Okeden
1695 Thomas Trenchard
1698 George Pitt
January 1701 Thomas Erle Whig
March 1701 Sir Edward Ernle
November 1701 Thomas Erle Whig
1702 Sir Josiah Child
1704 Sir Edward Ernle
1705 George Pitt[3]
1710 Sir Edward Ernle
1713 George Pitt[4]
1715 George Pitt, junior
1718 Henry Drax
1722 Sir Edward Ernle Joseph Gascoigne
12 February 1729 Nathaniel Gould
26 February 1729 Thomas Tower
1734 Henry Drax John Pitt
1747[5] Thomas Erle Drax
1748 Robert Banks Hodgkinson John Pitt
1751 Henry Drax
April 1754 Seats vacant after disputed election[6]
December 1754 William Augustus Pitt Henry Drax
1755 Edward Drax
1761 Thomas Erle Drax John Pitt
March 1768 Ralph Burton Robert Palk
November 1768 Whitshed Keene
January 1774 Thomas de Grey
October 1774 William Gerard Hamilton Christopher D'Oyly
1780 John Boyd Thomas Farrer
1784 Charles Lefebure
1786 John Calcraft
1790 General Richard Smith Lord Robert Spencer
May 1796 Charles Rose Ellis[7]
November 1796 Sir Godfrey Vassall
1799 Joseph Chaplin Hankey
1800 John Calcraft Whig
1802 Andrew Strahan
1806 Jonathan Raine
1807 Sir Granby Calcraft Hon. John William Ward Tory
1808 Sir Samuel Romilly Whig
1812 Robert Gordon Theodore Henry Broadhead
1818 John Calcraft Whig Thomas Denman Whig
1820 John Hales Calcraft Tory
1826 Charles Baring Wall
1828 Tory
1830 James Ewing Whig
1831 Granby Hales Calcraft Whig Charles Wood Whig
1832 Representation reduced to one Member


1832 John Hales Calcraft Conservative
1841 John Erle-Drax Whig
1852 Conservative
1857 John Hales Calcraft Whig
1859 John Erle-Drax Conservative
1865 John Hales Montagu Calcraft Liberal
1868 John Erle-Drax Conservative
1880 Montague Guest Liberal
1885 Constituency abolished


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 "History of Parliament". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "History of Parliament". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  3. Pitt was re-elected in 1710 but had also been elected for Hampshire, which he chose to represent, and did not sit in this Parliament for Wareham
  4. Pitt was re-elected in 1715 but had also been elected for Hampshire, which he chose to represent, and did not sit in this Parliament for Wareham
  5. At the election of 1747, Henry Drax and Thomas Erle Drax were initially returned as elected, but on petition (in a dispute over the franchise) the committee declared their election void and that their opponents Pitt and Hodgkinson had been duly elected
  6. At the election of 1754, there was a double return (two alternative results declared after a disputed election, leaving the House of Commons to resolve the issue), one return naming John Pitt and William Augustus Pitt, the other Henry Drax and Thomas Erle Drax. The House declared the entire election void, and a writ was issued for a new election
  7. Ellis was also been elected for Seaford, which he chose to represent, and never sat for Wareham


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