Frome (UK Parliament constituency)

Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
County Somerset
Major settlements Frome
18851950
Number of members One
Replaced by North Somerset and Wells
18321885
Number of members One
Type of constituency Borough constituency

Frome was a constituency centred on the town of Frome in Somerset. It returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1832, until it was abolished for the 1950 general election. Between 1832 and 1885, it was a parliamentary borough; after 1885 it was a county constituency, a division of Somerset.

History

Frome was one of the boroughs created by the Great Reform Act of 1832,[1] as the town was at that point one of the bigger towns in England which was not already represented, and its then-flourishing woollen manufacturing industry made it seem likely to grow further. The new borough consisted only of the town of Frome, and had a population (according to the 1831 census) of approximately 11,240. The registered electorate at the 1832 election was 322. Frome was near to Longleat, and the Marquess of Bath was influential in election outcomes throughout its life as a borough.

However, the town did not increase dramatically in size in the next few years, and the electorate was still only just over 400 by 1865, although the extension of the franchise at the 1868 election trebled this. By the time of the Third Reform Act, Frome was too small to continue as a constituency in itself and the borough was abolished with effect from the 1885 election.

The new county division into which the town was placed consisted of the whole north-eastern corner of Somerset, except for Bath, and was named after the town, as The Frome Division of Somerset. Nevertheless, Frome contributed only a minority of the voters in the constituency, which also included Weston, Radstock, Bathampton and Batheaston, to say nothing of the freeholders of Bath, who voted in this division under the arrangements that gave property owners in boroughs a vote in the adjoining county constituency; by the time of the First World War, the population was around 60,000. This constituency was a mixed one, with suburban voters at Weston and in the Bath suburbs, agricultural villages between Bath and Frome, growing mining interests round Radstock and some industry at Twerton. This made the constituency marginal between the Conservatives and Liberals, and the victor's majority was rarely more than a few hundred votes.

There were further boundary changes in 1918, when the number of constituencies in Somerset was reduced from nine to seven. Frome's boundaries were extended westwards to the fringes of Bristol, bringing in Midsomer Norton and the areas round Clutton, Chew Magna and Keynsham (previously in the Northern division): the revised constituency consisted of the urban districts of Frome, Midsomer Norton and Radstock, the Bath, Clutton and Keynsham rural districts and all but six parishes of Frome Rural District. This, too, was a marginal constituency, and except in 1923 was always won at general elections by the party which was successful nationally.

The Frome constituency was abolished in the boundary changes which came into effect at the 1950 election, Frome itself being transferred to the Wells division but most of the remainder of the constituency forming the bulk of the new Somerset North.

Members of Parliament

Frome parliamentary borough

ElectionMemberPartyNotes
1832 Thomas Sheppard[2] Whig
1835 Conservative
1847 Hon. Robert Boyle[2] Whig[3][4] 4th son of Edmund Boyle, 8th Earl of Cork
1854 by-election Richard Boyle, Viscount Dungarvan[2] Whig[5][6] later 9th Earl of Cork
1856 by-election Hon. William Boyle[2] Whig[7][8] younger brother of Richard Boyle, Viscount Dungarvan
1857 Donald Nicoll[2] Radical[7][8][9][10]
1859 Lord Edward Thynne[2] Conservative previously MP for Weobley 1826–32
1865 Sir Henry Rawlinson, Bt.[2] Liberal noted orientalist, previously MP for Reigate
1868 Thomas Hughes[2] Liberal author of Tom Brown's Schooldays
1874 Henry Lopes[2] Conservative previously MP for Launceston, later a Lord Justice of Appeal
1876 by-election Henry Samuelson[2] Liberal previously MP for Cheltenham
1885 parliamentary borough constituency abolished, name transferred to a new county division

Frome division of Somerset

ElectionMemberParty
1885 Lawrence James Baker Liberal
1886 Thomas Thynne, Viscount Weymouth Conservative
1892 John Barlow Liberal
1895 Thomas Thynne, Viscount Weymouth Conservative
1896 Sir John Barlow Liberal
1918 Percy Hurd Unionist
1923 Frederick Gould Labour
1924 Geoffrey Peto Unionist
1929 Frederick Gould Labour
1931 Henry Thynne, Viscount Weymouth Conservative
1935 Mavis Tate Conservative
1945 Walter Farthing Labour
1950 constituency abolished

Elections

Elections in the 1850s

General Election 1852: Frome [11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Whig Robert Edward Boyle Unopposed
Registered electors 383
Whig hold

The election was declared void on petition after Boyle was declared ineligible due to his holding of the office of Secretary to the Order of St Patrick. Ahead of the ensuing by-election, Boyle resigned this position.[12]

By-election, 7 March 1853: Frome [11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Whig Robert Edward Boyle Unopposed
Whig hold

Boyle's death caused a by-election.

By-election, 24 October 1854: Frome [11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Whig Richard Boyle 181 58.4 N/A
Radical Donald Nicoll 129 41.6 N/A
Majority 52 16.8 N/A
Turnout 310 84.9 N/A
Registered electors 365
Whig hold Swing N/A

Boyle succeeded to the peerage, becoming 9th Earl of Cork and Orrery, causing a by-election.

By-election, 23 July 1856: Frome [11][7][8]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Whig William George Boyle 158 50.2 N/A
Radical Donald Nicoll 157 49.8 N/A
Majority 1 0.3 N/A
Turnout 315 86.1 N/A
Registered electors 366
Whig hold Swing N/A
General Election 1857: Frome [11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Radical Donald Nicoll 162 49.7 N/A
Whig William George Boyle 92 28.2 N/A
Conservative Edward Thynne 72 22.1 N/A
Majority 70 21.5 N/A
Turnout 326 89.8 N/A
Registered electors 363
Radical gain from Whig Swing N/A
General Election 1859: Frome [11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Edward Thynne 194 56.9 +34.8
Liberal Donald Nicoll 147 43.1 34.8
Majority 47 13.8 N/A
Turnout 341 88.6 1.2
Registered electors 385
Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +34.8

Elections in the 1860s

General Election 1865: Frome [11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Henry Rawlinson 206 53.0 +9.9
Conservative James Whalley Dawe Thomas Wickham[13] 183 47.0 9.9
Majority 23 5.9 N/A
Turnout 389 94.0 +5.4
Registered electors 414
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing +9.9
General Election 1868: Frome [11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Thomas Hughes 571 54.5 +1.5
Conservative William Campbell Sleigh 476 45.5 1.5
Majority 95 9.1 +3.2
Turnout 1,047 82.6 11.4
Registered electors 1,267
Liberal hold Swing +1.5

Elections in the 1870s

General Election 1874: Frome [11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Henry Lopes 642 53.5 +8.0
Liberal William Henry Willans[14] 557 46.5 8.0
Majority 85 7.1 N/A
Turnout 1,199 90.4 +7.8
Registered electors 1,327
Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +8.0

Lopes resigned after being appointed a judge of the Common Pleas Division of the High Court of Justice.

By-electin, 24 Nov 1876: Frome [11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Henry Samuelson 661 53.8 +7.3
Conservative James Fergusson 568 46.2 7.3
Majority 93 7.6 N/A
Turnout 1,229 91.0 +0.6
Registered electors 1,351
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing +7.3

Elections in the 1880s

General Election 1880: Frome [11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Henry Samuelson Unopposed
Registered electors 1,383
Liberal gain from Conservative
General Election 1885: Frome [15][16]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Lawrence James Baker 4,735 54.4 N/A
Conservative Thomas Thynne 3,972 45.6 N/A
Majority 763 8.8 N/A
Turnout 8,707 82.9 N/A
Registered electors 10,498
Liberal hold Swing N/A
General Election 1886: Frome [15][16]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Thomas Thynne 4,348 54.4 +8.8
Liberal Godfrey Samuelson 3,645 45.6 -8.8
Majority 703 8.8 N/A
Turnout 7,993 76.1 -6.8
Registered electors 10,498
Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +8.8

Elections in the 1890s

General Election 1892: Frome [15][16]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal John Barlow 4,747 52.7 +7.1
Conservative Thomas Thynne 4,260 47.3 -7.1
Majority 487 5.4 N/A
Turnout 9,007 81.7 +5.6
Registered electors 11,031
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing +7.1
General Election 1895: Frome [15][16][17]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Thomas Thynne 5,043 52.0 +4.7
Liberal John Barlow 4,660 48.0 -4.7
Majority 383 4.0 N/A
Turnout 9,703 83.4 +1.7
Registered electors 11,633
Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +4.7
Frome by-election, 1896 [15][16][17]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal John Barlow 5,062 51.5 +3.5
Conservative Alexander Thynne 4,763 48.5 -3.5
Majority 299 3.0 N/A
Turnout 9,825 83.7 +0.3
Registered electors 11,736
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing +3.5

Elections in the 1900s

General Election 1900: Frome [15][16][17]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal John Barlow 5,066 51.8 +3.8
Conservative Ellis Hume-Williams 4,708 48.2 3.8
Majority 358 3.6 N/A
Turnout 9,774 79.4 4.0
Registered electors 12,317
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing +3.8
General Election 1906: Frome [15][16]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal John Barlow 6,297 58.0 +6.2
Conservative Charles Foxcroft 4,552 42.0 6.2
Majority 1,745 16.0 +12.4
Turnout 10,849 86.0 +6.6
Registered electors 12,612
Liberal hold Swing +6.2

Elections in the 1910s

General Election January 1910: Frome [15][18]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal John Barlow 6,248 53.3 -4.7
Conservative Charles Foxcroft 5,469 46.7 +4.7
Majority 779 6.6 -9.7
Turnout 89.0 +3.0
Liberal hold Swing -4.7
General Election December 1910: Frome [15][18]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal John Barlow 5,944 52.6 -0.7
Conservative Charles Foxcroft 5,366 47.4 +0.7
Majority 578 5.2 -1.4
Turnout 85.9 -3.1
Liberal hold Swing -0.7

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;

General Election December 1918: Frome[19]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
C Unionist Percy Hurd 11,118 46.6 0.8
Labour Edward H C Gill 10,454 43.9 N/A
Liberal John Barlow 2,004 8.4 44.2
National Thomas Kincaid-Smith 258 1.1 N/A
Majority 664 2.7 N/A
Turnout 23,834 67.7 18.2
Registered electors 35,222
Unionist gain from Liberal Swing +21.7
C indicates candidate endorsed by the coalition government.

Elections in the 1920s

General Election 1922: Frome[19]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist Percy Hurd 15,017 51.2 +4.6
Labour Edward H C Gill 14,311 48.8 +4.9
Majority 706 2.4 0.3
Turnout 29,328 82.2 +14.5
Registered electors 35,698
Unionist hold Swing 0.2
General Election 1923: Frome [19]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Frederick Gould 15,902 54.4 +5.6
Unionist Percy Hurd 13,306 45.6 5.6
Majority 2,596 8.8 n/a
Turnout 29,208 79.7 2.5
Registered electors 36,628
Labour gain from Unionist Swing +5.6
General Election 1924: Frome[19]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist Geoffrey Peto 16,397 52.8 +7.2
Labour Frederick Gould 14,652 47.2 7.2
Majority 1,745 5.6 n/a
Turnout 31,049 82.9 +3.2
Registered electors 37,438
Unionist gain from Labour Swing +7.2
General Election 1929: Frome [19]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Frederick Gould 18,524 45.5 1.7
Unionist Geoffrey Peto 16,378 40.3 12.5
Liberal Colin Stratton-Hallett 5,774 14.2 n/a
Majority 2,146 5.2 n/a
Turnout 40,676 86.5 +3.6
Registered electors 47,039
Labour gain from Unionist Swing +5.4

Elections in the 1930s

General Election 1931: Frome[19]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Henry Thynne 24,858 58.3 +18.0
Labour Frederick Gould 17,748 41.7 -3.8
Majority 7,110 16.7 21.8
Turnout 42,606 87.3 +0.8
Conservative gain from Labour Swing +10.9
General Election 1935: Frome [19]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Mavis Tate 19,684 46.3 -12.0
Labour Kim Mackay 18,690 43.9 +2.2
Liberal Philip William Hopkins 4,177 9.8 n/a
Majority 994 2.3 -14.2
Turnout 42,551 82.5 -4.8
Conservative hold Swing -7.1

General Election 1939/40:

Another General Election was required to take place before the end of 1940. The political parties had been making preparations for an election to take place and by the Autumn of 1939, the following candidates had been selected;

Elections in the 1940s

General Election 1945: Frome[19]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Walter Farthing 29,735 55.1 +11.2
Conservative Mavis Tate 24,228 44.9 -1.4
Majority 5,507 10.2 13.6
Turnout 78.4 -4.1
Labour gain from Conservative Swing +6.8

References

  1. "Parliamentary representation". Somerset County Council. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "Frome 1832-1950". Hansard. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
  3. "Election Movements". Berkshire Chronicle. 24 July 1847. p. 1. Retrieved 10 May 2018 via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)).
  4. "The General Election". Morning Post. 2 August 1847. pp. 2–3. Retrieved 10 May 2018 via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)).
  5. "Frome". Wells Journal. 7 October 1854. p. 8. Retrieved 10 May 2018 via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)).
  6. "Latest Intelligence". Devizes and Wiltshire Gazette. 5 October 1854. p. 3. Retrieved 10 May 2018 via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)).
  7. 1 2 3 "Election Intelligence". Eddowes's Journal, and General Advertiser for Shropshire, and the Principality of Wales. 30 July 1856. p. 3. Retrieved 10 May 2018 via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)).
  8. 1 2 3 "Postscript". Royal Cornwall Gazette. 25 July 1856. p. 8. Retrieved 10 May 2018 via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)).
  9. "Elections". Catholic Telegraph. 14 March 1857. p. 3. Retrieved 10 May 2018 via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)).
  10. "Election News". Lancaster Gazette. 14 March 1857. p. 3. Retrieved 10 May 2018 via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)).
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Craig, F. W. S., ed. (1977). British Parliamentary Election Results 1832-1885 (e-book) (1st ed.). London: Macmillan Press. ISBN 978-1-349-02349-3.
  12. "Frome Election". Bristol Mercury. 12 March 1853. p. 8. Retrieved 10 May 2018 via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)).
  13. "The Borough Election. The Nomination". Frome Times. 19 July 1865. p. 3. Retrieved 11 February 2018 via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)).
  14. "Frome". Glasgow Herald. 3 November 1876. p. 4. Retrieved 30 December 2017 via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)).
  15. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, FWS Craig
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 The Liberal Year Book, 1907
  17. 1 2 3 Debrett's House of Commons & Judicial Bench, 1901
  18. 1 2 Debrett's House of Commons & Judicial Bench, 1916
  19. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949, FWS Craig
  • The Constitutional Year Book for 1913 (London: National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations, 1913)
  • F. W. S. Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1832-1885 (2nd edition, Aldershot: Parliamentary Research Services, 1989)
  • F. W. S. Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949 (Glasgow: Political Reference Publications, 1969)
  • Henry Pelling, Social Geography of British Elections 1885-1910 (London: Macmillan, 1967)
  • J. Holladay Philbin, Parliamentary Representation 1832 - England and Wales (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965)
  • Frederic A Youngs, jr, Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England, Vol I (London: Royal Historical Society, 1979)
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