Wendover (UK Parliament constituency)

For other uses, see Wendover (disambiguation).
Former Borough constituency
for the House of Commons

Wendover was a borough constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of England then of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1832. It was represented by two Members of Parliament, and was considered a classic example of a pocket borough.


Wendover first sent members to Parliament in 1300, but after 1308, elected no burgesses for more than 300 years. However, in the 17th century a solicitor named William Hakewill, of Lincoln's Inn, rediscovered ancient writs confirming that Amersham, Great Marlow, and Wendover had all sent members to Parliament in the past, and succeeded in re-establishing their privileges (despite the opposition of James I), so that they resumed electing members from the Parliament of 1624. Hakewill himself was elected for Amersham in 1624.

The borough consisted of most of the market town of Wendover in Buckinghamshire. It was one of the smallest boroughs in England: in 1831, the population of the borough was approximately 802, and contained 171 houses. (The whole town contained 198 houses.) The right to vote was exercised by all inhabitant householders not receiving alms, which amounted to about 130 voters in 1831. Although this was a relatively large electorate for the time based on apparently democratic franchise, the borough and inhabitants were totally dependent on the Lord of the Manor, who was able to exercise considerable influence and sometimes total control over the choice of MPs. In the 17th century, this patronage lay with the Hampden family, but in 1720 Richard Hampden apparently attempted to sell his interest in the borough to the government after losing £80,000 in the South Sea Bubble; what price he received for it, or whether the sale ever took place, is not recorded. By the 1750s, Wendover had passed to Earl Verney, and Namier lists his power as only being one of influence rather than total control; but by 1832 the Smith family (headed by Lord Carrington) seem to have been able to regard it as an absolutely secure pocket borough.

Wendover was abolished as a constituency by the Great Reform Act in 1832, those of its inhabitants who were qualified to vote under the new franchise doing so in the Buckinghamshire county constituency.

Members of Parliament

YearFirst memberSecond member
1300Thomas NiccollsEgidius Wilson
1300Walter de KentJohn de Sandwell
1300Robert atte HullElias de Broughton
YearFirst memberSecond member
1624 John Hampden Alexander Denton
1625 Richard Hampden
1626 Sampson Darrell
1628 Ralph Hawtree
April 1640 Bennet Hoskyns
November 1640 Robert Croke (Royalist)
Disabled to sit, November 1643
Thomas Fountaine (Parliamentarian),
Died 1646
1645(?) Richard Ingoldsby
1646 Thomas Harrison
Wendover was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament and the First and Second Parliaments of the Protectorate
1659 John Baldwin William Hampden
YearFirst memberFirst partySecond memberSecond party
1660 Richard Hampden Whig John Baldwin
1661 Robert Croke
1673 Edward Backwell
1673 Hon. Thomas Wharton Whig
1679 Edward Backwell
1681 John Hampden
1685 Richard Hampden John Backwell
1689 John Hampden
1690 Richard Beke John Backwell
January 1701 Richard Hampden
November 1701 Richard Crawley
July 1702 Sir Roger Hill
November 1702 Richard Crawley
1705 Sir Roger Hill
1708 Thomas Ellys
1709 Henry Grey Whig
1713 Richard Hampden
1714 James Stanhope Whig
1715 Richard Grenville
1722 Richard Hampden Sir Richard Steele Whig
1727 The Viscount Limerick
1728 John Hamilton
1734 John Boteler[1] John Hampden
1735 The Viscount Limerick
1741 The Earl Verney Tory
1753 The Earl Verney Tory
1754 John Calvert
1761 Richard Chandler-Cavendish Verney Lovett
1765 Edmund Burke Whig
1768 Sir Robert Darling
1770 Joseph Bullock
October 1774 John Adams[2]
December 1774 Henry Drummond
1775 Thomas Dummer
1780 Richard Smith John Mansell Smith
1784 Robert Burton John Ord
1790 John Barker Church Hon. Hugh Seymour-Conway[3]
1796 John Hiley Addington Tory George Canning Tory
1802 Charles Long Tory John Smith Tory
1806 Viscount Mahon[4]Whig George Smith Whig
1807 Francis Horner Whig
1812 Abel Smith Tory
1818 Robert Carrington Whig
1820 Samuel Smith Tory
1830 Abel Smith Tory


  1. Boteler's election was declared void on the grounds that he did not meet the land ownership requirements to be a Member of Parliament, and a by-election was held to replace him.
  2. Adams was also elected for Carmarthen, which he chose to represent, and never sat for Wendover.
  3. Styled Lord Hugh Seymour from June 1793.
  4. Mahon was also elected for Hull, which he chose to represent, and never sat for Wendover.


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