Lord John Hervey, Baron of Ickworth, painted by J Fayram
Lord John Hervey
Bury MP 1694-1702

Lists from Bury Borough Yearbooks
MP's from 1620 to 1712
MP's from 1713 to 1783
MP's from 1784 to 1846
MP's from 1847 to 1928
MP's from 1929 to 1947

Parliamentary elections since 1924

Local Members of Parliament

From 1614 to the present day

1295 Edward I was faced with wars in France and Scotland and holding down the recently conquered Welsh. He summoned his "model parliament" to grant him the taxes needed to run these campaigns.

This was the first time that boroughs, including Bury, were summoned to send representatives to Parliament, alongside the earls and barons. The sheriff of each county was directed to return two knights of the shire for each county and for such boroughs and cities as he might deem suitable, two burgesses or citizens. Thus the sheriffs were the "Returning Officers", and remain so today, in theory.

For the first time this Parliament started to look like a representative assembly. However, after the time of Edward I, Bury was never asked to send burgesses to parliament again until after the charter of 1606. The abbot continued to attend as a Lord Spiritual, but it is likely that he was offended by having to sit with a town burgess in Parliament.

1302 M D Lobel states that there is evidence that in 1302, the Mayor and six burgesses of Bury were summoned, along with representatives of 276 other boroughs to attend Parliament. Never again does the Sheriff require Bury to send or 'return' any burgesses to attend Parliament. From this date it no longer seems to have been regarded as one of the true Boroughs.

On the other hand, the 1947/48 Yearbook of Bury St Edmunds Borough Council stated ; "No return made for the Parliament of England 1302 (Edward I) for Bury St Edmunds Borough."

1614 In 1614, the town of Bury St Edmunds received a final Charter from James I which gave it the right to send 2 MPs to Parliament.
The two MP's were to be elected solely by the 37 members of the corporation, but for many years those chosen would be effectively the nominees of the Duke of Grafton and the Marquess of Bristol. In monastic days it was the abbot who represented the area in Parliament. In 1614 the first two MP's were Sir Thomas Jermyn and Robert Crane.
1621 Elections were held in 1621 for the new Parliament due to meet in Westminster on 16th January. St Thomas Jermyn, Kt and John Woodford, Esq were elected Burgesses to represent the town of Bury by the 37 members of the corporation eligible to vote. Bury had only been a Parliamentary Borough since the 1614 Charter, and this was their second election. Woodford replaced Robert Crane.
1628 In 1628 Sir Thomas Jermyn was again returned to Parliament as one of Bury's two MP's. Sir William Hervey was now elected as the second MP for Bury. The Herveys had been squires of Ickworth since the 15th Century but from 1628 the family would continue in Parliament and public life until 1906.
1629 In 1629 Charles I dissolved Parliament and determined to govern without it for the next eleven years. This period is called The Personal Rule of Charles I. Charles had been king for only four years and at first he managed well enough without Parliament.
1640 In 1640 the Scots invaded northern England. The king urgently needed money to fight them, so Parliament was recalled in April 1640. Because the King had refused to call it for so long, there was a backlash against him, and a Puritan majority arose in Parliament.
1642 On August 22nd, 1642, the English Civil War officially began when the King raised his standard at Nottingham. He wished to curb the power of Parliament.
1644 In December 1644, a parliamentary ordinance was passed to abolish the celebration of Christmas, the most popular church festival of the year. In 1647 the Puritans tried to enforce this law, resulting in a riot at Bury St Edmunds. Puritans viewed this riot as a "horrid plot and bloody conspiracy." Similar riots took place in Ipswich on Christmas Day as well. Both Bury and Ipswich were basically pro-parliament, and Ipswich had been a strong Puritan town for many years.
1648 By December 1648 most of Parliament and the country wanted the King back in charge to restore peace and order. A few people, led by the leaders of the army wanted to remove him and install a totally new form of government.
In Pride's Purge of Parliament, on 6th December the army arrested 45 Members of Parliament, and ejected 186 more. Sir Simonds D'Ewes of Stowlangtoft was imprisoned, and was the only Suffolk MP thought to be so hostile to the extremists as to be put in jail. He was MP for Sudbury since 1640, and a prominent Puritan in Suffolk.
The ejected or secluded MP's included Sir William Spring of Pakenham, one of Bury's two MP's since 1645.

Colonel Thomas Pride led this purge because he was determined to stop Parliament from discussing terms with the King. In protest two-thirds of the remainder boycotted the House. Among these abstainers were Sir Thomas Barnardiston of Kedington, MP for Bury St Edmunds since 1645, and Sir Nathaniel Barnardiston, one of the Suffolk's County MP's. Brampton Gurdon, one of Sudbury's two MP's, also absented himself.
The remaining hard liners in Parliament now decided to put the King on trial, but probably only about 17% of MPs were involved in the decision. They were called The Rump, and on 28th December issued a declaration to put the King on trial.

1649 In January 1649 the King was tried for his life. Much of England, including many Puritans, were appalled by the King's execution. They had only wanted to get him to govern with Parliament, not to remove him. Even senior activists like Nathaniel Bacon of Ipswich were in despair. From 1649 to 1653 the remainder of MPs ruled as the Rump Parliament.
1650 Sir William Hervey of Ickworth had been a Royalist supporter, but in 1650 he was prepared to serve the new Commonwealth by becoming High Sheriff of Suffolk. He had not been active militarily, and it seems that in many places this post was still being given to ex-Royalists. There was still a feeling that men of a certain class were needed to hold such a post. For their part these men felt that good order under a republic was better than no order.
1653 The Rump were seen as too conservative for the army, so Cromwell dissolved them in April 1653. He could not call free elections because he feared defeat of his ideas, so he called an 'assembly of saints'. In reality he hand-picked 140 men with his own ideological and religious leanings and they became known as the Nominated or Barebones Parliament, and ruled from July 1653.
No boroughs were summoned to this parliament, but some attempt was made to recognise population size, and Suffolk sent 5 MP's
After 5 months the Nominated Parliament collapsed and decided to hand over government to Oliver Cromwell to rule as Lord Protector and Head of State. The Commonwealth had ended. Under the Protectorate Cromwell would rule until September 1658 when he died.
1654 Cromwell summoned his second Parliament in 1654, and now included the boroughs, but adjusted their representation to accord with population. Bury was allowed just one MP. King James I 's charter had allowed it two MP's in 1606, as it had been the practice to give all boroughs the same number. At the Restoration in 1660, this position would be resumed.
1655 In 1655 the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell now introduced the Rule of the Major Generals in August, giving up on Parliament. Each General was given one of the 12 districts to command, as Cromwell had become alarmed by the number of royalist plots being exposed.
1658 In 1658 Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector and Head of State died in September. There was no system for replacing him and his son Richard Cromwell became Head of State.
1659 The Third Protectorate Parliament was called in January 1659, but by April Richard Cromwell was forced to dissolve it by the Generals. The old Rump Parliament was now restored by the Council of Officers. On May 24th 1659 Richard Cromwell resigned as head of state, when the Rump refused to recognise the Protectorate. There was a Royalist revolt in Cheshire in August which was put down by Major General Lambert. The Rump was then dissolved again in October by Lambert.
1660 By 1660 General George Monck had been stationed in Scotland for five years. He had been suspected of Royalist involvement but he refused to clarify his position until he marched for London on 1 January 1660, arriving on 3 February. On the way Lord Fairfax seized York and handed it over to Monck.
During his march in January he received petitions from many counties, including Suffolk, to allow the return of a "free and full Parliament." Monck was called "Your Countrie's Restorer" by those who signed the Suffolk petition at Ipswich dated 19th January 1660.
General Monck's march from Coldstream on the Scottish borders down to London finally brought down the Commonwealth. On February 21st those surviving Members of Parliament who were excluded or "secluded" from the Long Parliament were readmitted.
At Bury St Edmunds "bonfires were lit in every street. Soldiers carrying off the fuel were stoned, and taunted that the citizens would soon be strong enough to declare for King Charles and end the rule of rogues like the soldiers."
The newly reinstated Long Parliament dissolved itself, calling for free elections. On April 25th the newly elected Convention Parliament assembled.

Even then, General Monck's intentions remained unclear until 1 May 1660, when he recommended that Parliament should invite Charles II to return. This they did on May 8th and the Convention Parliament declared Charles II to have been King since 30th January 1649, and ordered the arrest of the regicides. When the restored King landed at Dover on 25 May 1660, Monck was the first to greet him as he came ashore. Charles II was recalled unconditionally and he would rule until 1685. When Charles II was placed on the throne in May 1660 this event became known as The Restoration of the Monarchy. This came as a surprise in many parts of the country.

The boroughs regained their old charters, and thus Bury resumed its right to return two MP's. The counties, like Suffolk, reverted to two MP's, likewise. The newly reconstituted body met as the Convention Parliament.

1661 The so-called Cavalier Parliament was elected in April 1661. They passed a series of laws called the Clarendon Code, starting with the Corporation Act, 1661. They wanted to rid the boroughs of those Puritans who had elected the old Parliament.
1680 In 1680 the free Burgesses of Bury asserted that the election of Sir Thomas Hervey and Thomas Jermyn as MP's for Bury was wrongly conducted. They said that as the major part of the free burgesses wanted Sir Thomas Cullum and John Rotherham, the Alderman was wrong to return Hervey and Jermyn. It was judged that the electorate was the Alderman, 12 capital burgesses and 24 burgesses of the common council. The Freemen of the town had no vote in the matter.

From 1678 to 1681 was a period known as the Exclusion Crisis. The argument was over the position of the Duke of York, the future King James II. Politics split between those who were against him ever coming to the throne, who were called Whigs, and those in favour, called Tories.

These terms continued in use long after the crisis was over. Tories came to represent the landed interest, were High Church Anglican and supported hereditary divine rights.
Whigs became the monied classes, were Low Church Anglicans, tolerant of Dissenters, and supported a constitutional monarchy.

These groupings were the beginnings of political parties in England.

1681 In the period from 1681 to 1688 King Charles II, and from 1685, King James II really tried to impose an absolute monarchy on the country, on the continental model. Bullying of Parliament was followed by the bullying of local corporations.
1684 In 1684 Charles II became fed up with those boroughs which were misguided enough to fail to send the "right sort" of MP's to Parliament. He wanted to pack the House with Tory voting Protestants, and so invented a new packaged charter which was imposed upon various towns including Bury.
1687 By 1687 King James II had found that the population had not spontaneously returned to Catholicism under his rule. Parliament would never repeal the Test Acts and the penal laws against Catholics of its own volition. So James II followed Charles II's lead and continued to insist upon nominating members of town corporations himself. Because the crown had issued new charters in 1684, the King controlled the Boroughs and hence controlled who the Boroughs elected to Parliament.

However this king wanted the opposite sort of men to Charles II. James wanted Catholic or Dissenting corporations who would send like minded MP's to oppose the Protestant Tory Parliament.

1688 By 1688 King James II was starting to enforce his will on local corporations to force them to adopt Catholic MP's, or at least, anti - Tory MP's. Lord Dover, the King's agent in this matter, sent the St Edmundsbury corporation a royal instrument ordering that 16 named members would be replaced by Crown appointees.

By October 1688, it was clear that the country would not put up with any more of this, and the Crown's direct control of the boroughs lapsed when James II fled the country.

1689 In the New Year of 1689, Sir Robert Davers and Sir Thomas Hervey were finally sent to London as Bury's MP's, and took part in the Parliamentary debate, after which William of Orange and his wife were invited to cross the Channel and rule the Country.They became known as William III and Mary. They became very popular by scrapping the Hearth Tax and ruled until 1702.

Sir Robert Davers (the second) was to be Bury's MP until 1701. He was re-elected in 1703 to 1705, after which he represented Suffolk until 1722. He had estates at Rougham and Rushbrook. Both Sir Robert Davers and Sir Thomas Hervey were Tory MP's.

Parliament passed the Bill of Rights in 1689 to lay down the principles by which they agreed to be ruled by the new Monarchs. It tried to avoid the type of arbitrary rule imposed by James II. Parliament was to be freely elected, and there could be no taxation or standing army without parliamentary approval. Roman Catholics were to be excluded from ever succeeding to the throne.

1694 In 1694 John Hervey took over his father's seat as one of Bury's MP's. Unlike his father and Sir Robert Davers, John was a Whig. It was said that his life revolved around family, Ickworth and the corporation of Bury. He was a local boy, educated at Bury Grammar School and knowing all the local hierarchy, he tried to keep in with everybody.

The other MP, Sir Robert Davers had been brought up to run a sugar plantation in the West Indies, and as a result, he lacked classroom teaching, and he was said to read and write worse than a seven year old.

1701 Sir Thomas Felton replaced Sir Robert Davers as Bury's second MP.
1702 One of Bury's two MP's, John Hervey, was created a Baron on the succession of Queen Ann. Once elevated to the House of Lords, he ceased to be Bury's MP. By now, Suffolk was dominated by the Tory party who controlled both County parliamentary seats. Notable local Tories were Sir Robert Davers of Rushbrooke and Sir Thomas Hanmer of Mildenhall. John Hervey MP was replaced by Sir Robert Davers.
1703 One of the two Bury MP's, Sir Robert Davers, bought the manor of Rushbrooke.The estate included Little Welnetham. He owned sugar plantations in Barbados, planted by the first Robert Davers from 1635 onwards. Despite his wealth, he seems to have been unable to read and write, having been brought up to run the slaves on the plantation. He continued as an MP and died in 1722.
1705 There was a General Election and Suffolk again produced a majority of Tory MP's. In 1705, eleven of the Suffolk MP's out of sixteen were Tory. This seems to be a turn around from the days of 1640 to 1660 when Suffolk was radically puritan and anti-establishment. In 1679 Suffolk returned mostly Whig MP's but by 1705 former parliamentarians were now high Tories such as Thomas Bright of Pakenham. Other former parliamentarians were now Tory MP's in Suffolk like Sir Edmund Bacon MP, Sir Charles Blois MP and John Bence MP.
1708 By this time Suffolk had become a Tory electoral stronghold. One exception was the election of 1708, when a Whig majority won in Suffolk. There had been an abortive Jacobite rising in Scotland, and the resulting wave of anti-Jacobite feeling caused the Whig majority.

This was an aberration as the other four elections under Queen Ann were Tory wins in Suffolk.

1715 Since 1688, most electorates had grown in size. Suffolk County had 4,500 voters in 1673, which had grown to 6,500 by 1715. The qualification to vote for the two County MP's was to own a Freehold worth 40 shillings or more. These were called the 40 shilling freeholders.

In addition certain boroughs could also send MP's to Westminster. In most of the Boroughs in Suffolk, like Ipswich, Eye and Sudbury, voters had to be Freemen of the Borough. Ipswich had 600 freemen, Eye had 200 and Sudbury had 800, all voters.

In Bury the position was different. Only the members of the Corporation could vote for the two Borough MP's, so the parliamentary electorate in 1715 was 37, the same as in 1690, and the same as in 1614.

However, there were at least 282 40 shilling freeholders in Bury who voted in the county elections for parliament in 1710, irrespective of their rights in the borough election. These included small tradesmen as well as the more wealthy.

There were ten general elections between 1694 and 1715. The seven Suffolk Boroughs returned 14 Mp's and the County had another 2, making 16 Suffolk MP's in all.

1736 Bury St Edmunds received some fame through its MP, Lord Hervy. He was asked by the Whig Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, to pilot the Quakers Bill through Parliament. This bill aimed to relieve the Quakers from some of their legal burdens, for which many had suffered heavy fines and long prison sentences over the years.

Unfortunately the established church were strongly opposed to it, led by the Bishop of Salisbury, who wrote a pamphlet called "The Country Parson's Plea against the Quakers Bill for Tythes." Lord Hervey wrote a reply, called "The Quakers reply to the Country Parson's Plea". He stoutly defended Quakerism, although it was not his own calling, and praised their piety, their thrift and industry, and their support of their own poor.

Lord Hervey had done his job well, and got the Bill through the House of Commons only to be defeated in the House of Lords. Bury Quakers as well as those in the rest of the country, got no relief from tithes until the late 19th century.

1747 Until 1747 Bury's two MP's were usually nominated by the Earl of Bristol and the corporation were happy to agree with him. After this date the Duke of Grafton also shared this patronage. Sudbury's two MP's seats were available more or less to the highest bidder.
1774 In 1766 Sir Charles Davers, the fourth generation of the Barbados sugar family, had returned to Rushbrook from his army career. He had 8 children by a Mrs Treice who lived with him. He was well liked, and although he was a Whig, although a rather independent one, he was elected as an MP in 1774, and would be consistently returned to Parliament by the corporation of Bury for the next 28 years.
1787 The Duke of Grafton's candidate was, as usual, successfully returned to Parliament for St Edmundsbury. Within a few days, his agent got his reward. James Oakes was the Duke of Grafton's political agent in Bury, and through the Duke's influence now became Receiver General of the Land Tax for the Western Division of Suffolk.

The corporation of Bury St Edmunds had the right to return two MP's to Parliament, and only the 37 members of the corporation could vote. A complex web of patronage and family ties had left these seats controlled by three local families. These were the FitzRoys of Euston, the Hervey's of Ickworth and the Davers' of Rushbrooke. One seat had been held by Sir Charles Davers since 1774, and this would continue up to his retirement in 1802.

1802 Sir Charles Davers, who had held one of Bury's two parliamentary seats since 1774, stood down with no heir to follow him. James Oakes, who by now was over 60, immediately decided to offer his services as political agent to the Earl of Bristol. He held the same office already for the Duke of Grafton. For the next 25 years the FitzRoys and the Herveys shared the two seats whatever the state of politics in the country as a whole.
1818 James Oakes recorded an account of the Parliamentary election for the Borough of Bury St Edmunds. The candidates, Lord Euston and A P Upton, entertained 150 gentlemen and the corporation at the Guildhall. Later there was a ball in the Ball Room until 1.30 am. Although the two candidates were returned unopposed, the election expenses were 878.
1821 The demand for political reform was growing, and there was an increasing amount of protest at the political control exercised at Bury. The Bury and Norwich Post gave a voice to reformers, and in 1821 the Tory Bury Gazette was set up. As well as opposing parliamentary and other reforms, it opposed the emancipation of Catholics.
1826 Catholic emancipation was one of the major issues in the 1826 General Election. The corporation of Bury opposed emancipation, despite the fact that both the Earl of Euston and Lord Hervey supported the cause. This led to some uncomfortable moments for both sides as the corporation more or less had to return both men as MP's because of their control of patronage in the town. There was pressure from reformers from all sides, and the corporation was no longer leading opinion as it once had. It was extraordinary that 37 mainly Tory men could still elect a Whig in this way.
1827 The newspaper called the Suffolk Herald was started in Bury as an ultra Tory, anti-reform and anti-catholic emancipation paper. It was printed by Duttons of College Street. It lasted 15 months before being bought out by Benjamin Greene, the Brewer.
1828 In June, the Suffolk Herald was bought by Benjamin Greene. He may have had partners in this enterprise as John Benjafield was certainly registered as having an interest in 1831. In July the paper's name was changed to the Bury and Suffolk Herald, and Greene used it to express his own views, often highly critical of local personalities and issues, but with a strongly Tory slant. He would argue that the slaves in the West Indies were better off than English farm labourers, for example. But he attacked the Bury Corporation for being mere pawns of Lord Bristol and the Duke of Grafton. Rivalry with the Bury Post would lead to legal action in the future.
1831 Orbell Oakes continued to run the politics of Bury as his father had done, and at the May, 1831 General Election managed to get the Whig reforming candidate of the Fitzroys elected to one of Bury's two parliamentary seats. Only the 37 members of the Council could vote, and they had two votes available as there were two parliamentary seats. Earl Jermyn (anti-reform), got 23 votes and Colonel Charles Fitzroy (Reform) got 15, so they were both elected. Bennet (anti-reform) got 14 votes and Robert Rolfe, the much less well-connected of the two reform candidates, only got 2 votes.
However the anti-reform candidate, Earl Jermyn, was elected with the most votes, and Philip Bennet of Rougham, also against reform, came a close third to Fitzroy. Bennet was peculiar in that he was supported by Benjamin Greene's Bury and Suffolk Herald newspaper, as a candidate for moderate reform, "approached with great care." Like Greene, he was anti-establishment towards the Bury Corporation, and in favour of helping the farm labourers but opposed catholic emancipation and most of the big issues of the Reform Movement.
Such a closely contested election under the patronage system of the day was called a "most remarkable event" by the Bury and Norwich Post. If it were not for Orbell Oakes, the Tory corporation would never have elected a Whig who supported Catholic emancipation and other reforming ideas, most notably the widening of the right to vote.
1832 In June the popular support for reform of the voting system led to rallies and bonfire gatherings in Bury. The effigy of the Duke of Wellington, once a national hero, but now seen as the leading opponent of reform, was burnt by a crowd of 3,000. A Reform Festival and Dinner also went off peacefully, and the passing of the new laws seemed to promise a new era for many.

The Great Reform Act of 1832 aimed to revolutionise British democracy. A uniform qualification of the 10 householder was introduced and given the vote in the boroughs. Aldburgh, Dunwich and Orford all lost their MP's, as the smaller "rotten" and "pocket" boroughs were swept away. Eye was enlarged to include ten neighbouring parishes, and allowed to keep one MP. The franchise in Suffolk was widened from 6,200 voters in 1830 to 10,394 under the 1832 Act.

At Bury, the old corporation of 37 members had previously selected and elected the two MP's for the town. Under the 1832 Act, the electorate was increased to about 600 men. The 1835 Report of the Commissioners into the Borough of Bury St Edmunds stated that the number of Voters registered in 1832 was 560 householders and 30 Burgesses, or what we would know as members of the Borough Council.

The new constituencies were Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk Western, Suffolk East, Ipswich, Sudbury and Eye. Suffolk's MP's were reduced from 16 to 11, but Bury retained 2 MP's while Suffolk West had 2 and Suffolk East had 2. The boroughs of Ipswich and Sudbury had 2, while Eye had 1.

While the corporation of Bury now remained Tory as before, the majority of the 600 or so new voters in Bury were expected to support reform. The Fitzroy interest was Whig , and the Hervey interest remained Tory. They were challenged by a newcomer to town, Francis King Eagle, who stood as a Radical Reform Whig candidate in the 1832 General Election.

Benjamin Greene's Bury and Suffolk Herald embarked upon a campaign of vilifying King Eagle, a campaign later to result in a law suit.

New Parliamentary elections were held across the country in December of 1832. At Bury the locals were sure that the anti-reform Earl Jermyn would never get elected again, and the reformer, Francis King Eagle, was widely expected to sweep the board. Barristers came to town to make up the Register of those eligible to vote, and when the list was published, observers tried to judge the likely outcome. The Borough Recorder, Mr Rolfe immediately withdrew judging that he had too few votes. Even Eagle's supporters became deeply worried and tried to set up a coalition with Lord Charles Fitzroy, but Fitzroy was indifferent as there was judged to be no advantage to him personally.

Election Day was Tuesday 12th December, and a hustings and poll-booths were set up on the south side of the Concert Room, on the Market Hill. Today, this location is outside the art gallery entrance, on the site of Laura Ashley's shop. The candidates were proposed and on a show of hands it was declared that Lord Charles Fitzroy and Mr Eagle were elected. Earl Jermyn demanded a full poll, and under the provisions in the Act, this was adjourned to Thursday 14th December. The polling continued into Friday 15th December, but it was quickly clear that this arrangement was showing that Earl Jermyn was actually going to do better than Mr Eagle. The system was that each vote was recorded in a poll book, which was open to view. The poll was then published after the election. Many people deliberately held back their votes to see how the poll was going. They might then only vote for one candidate if he seemed to need as much help as possible.

In Bury there were 521 men who voted, and 42 others on the register did not vote. They could cast up to two votes as there were two seats available. Lord Charles Fitzroy gained 344 votes, Earl Jermyn gained 272 and Francis Eagle got 238. Eagle had narrowly lost to the usual Fitzroy and Jermyn combination when the poll was closed.

For all the fuss made, and all the hopes raised for change, the outcome of this reformed Bury election remained exactly as it had been under the old system. The result caused an uproar. Eagle accused Jermyn of electoral bribery by treating voters to gain goodwill. Disappointed crowds of Eagle supporters took to the streets in protest. Windows were broken and in Whiting Street, Mr Case fired his fowling piece from an upstairs window to disperse the crowds, but in the subsequent confrontations and fracas, he opened fire again and this time a few people were hit by shot. Philip James Case was a local attorney who was the Registrar of the Archdeaconry of Sudbury, and all the wills and records were kept in his house. As a member of the town corporation he was well known, and this may have attracted crowds to his house, as many others of the establishment had hidden themselves away to avoid trouble. Case, however felt he should defend the safety of his official records, and this may have led to the trouble. Eventually, Case and his family had to run out of the back way and give themselves up to arrest to prevent further violence, but even so, all their windows were broken, and the front door battered.

The official results were not declared until Saturday the 15th December, when the usual system was to chair the successful MP's around the town. However this idea was dropped for fear of provoking a further outburst from the disappointed backers of Francis Eagle.

The following Monday, Mr Case was up before the Magistrates, defended by Mr Wayman, the solicitor. The hearing lasted all week but resulted in Case being committed to the Assizes on 2,000 bail.

The new Suffolk West elected Colonel Robert Rushbrooke of Rushbrooke Hall.

1833 The controversy about the results of the 1832 election continued into 1833 at Bury. An account of the election together with copies of the electoral addresses and the speeches made, was printed and published by Walter Frost of Churchgate Street, in 1833. There was also a full account of the court case against Mr Case, which describes the disturbances after the election. The summary ended with the hope "that when the system gets into general operation, it may work more quietly".

Francis King Eagle threatened to petition against the election in which he had lost. By now Benjamin Greene disliked King Eagle more than he disliked the Bury Corporation, and he now defended the winning side against King Eagle.

1844 Sudbury had its right to two MP's abolished because of gross electoral corruption. The Borough was lampooned as Eatanswill in "Pickwick Papers" by Charles Dickens. Suffolk was thus reduced from having 11 MP's, as it had enjoyed since 1832, to 9 MP's. This number would stay the same until 1885.
1857 Following recent elections at Bury, allegations were made that some voters were paid to vote for a candidate by way of "treating" at local inns. This was nothing new and had gone on for many years with various degrees of blatentness. A committee was set up to hear evidence from several innkeepers. At the Fox, for example, it was heard that 28 people were given a breakfast, and then taken to the poll in a state of intoxication. As bribery was very hard to prove, this practice carried on for some time.
1865 Elections were held in 1865. They were carried out by the system of the recorded vote. Although this method was open and transparent, it contained obvious opportunities for malpractice. There would be only one further open voting election before the secret ballot was introduced in 1872.

Bury St Edmunds had two parliamentary seats, held by Lord Alfred Hervey, Conservative, and J A Hardcastle, a Liberal, and a brewer from Essex, who lived at Nether Hall Estate at Pakenham.
Lord Alfred had managed to upset the local Conservatives because he had voted to abolish church rates, and often sided with the Whig party of Lord Palmerston. The local Tory party therefore put up Edward Greene the Bury brewer as their candidate. Despite the Herveys having had nearly 200 years representing the Borough, this time, Lord Alfred lost. Hardcastle got 331 votes, Greene got 300, and Hervey got only 266.

One of Edward's platforms was a crusade to improve the housing conditions of the working classes. He even advocated a law to make it a requirement that any new housing should include at least three bedrooms. His straightforward homely approach contrasted with the lofty aloofness of Lord Alfred, and the Tory voters were split between his Progressive Conservative ticket and Hervey's traditional aristocratic approach. Edward Greene would be returned to Parliament representing Bury St Edmunds until he chose not to stand again in the 1885 election.

1867 The second electoral Reform Act expanded the right to vote from 4 1/2 % of Suffolk's population to 7 1/2 %, but only men could vote.
1874 The Conservatives won the General Election of 1874. Once again Edward Greene topped the poll in Bury, but this time the runner up was another Conservative, Lord Francis Hervey. The Hervey's were back in Parliament representing Bury, having been ousted in the 1865 election, effectively by the local Conservative party backing Edward Greene.

J Hardcastle, the defeated Liberal, had lost his seat. He had been living at Nether Hall in Pakenham, but he now sold this house and its estate to Edward Greene.

1880 In the 1880 General Election the Conservative Party suffered for the fact that they had been unable to do much about the economic depression of the late 1870's. Once again in Bury the town returned a Liberal MP, Mr J A Hardcastle, who had been turned out in 1874. He topped the poll, and even the ever popular Edward Greene had a much reduced majority, although he was once again returned as the second MP. Greene had in fact been quite inactive since he had a bad fall at age 63, in November 1878.
1884 A new Electoral Reform Act gave the vote to most working men in rural areas. The national electorate doubled to 5 million. Under the Redistribution Act, Bury was reduced from 2 MP's to 1 MP from 1885.
1885 Under the Redistribution Act of 1884, Bury was reduced from 2 MP's to 1 MP with effect from 1885, and agricultural labourers were given the vote.

Constituencies were reformed to give roughly uniform populations. Since 1832 Suffolk had two divisions, Eastern and Western, and each had two MP's. In addition the Boroughs of Bury, Ipswich and Sudbury also had two MP's each. The enlarged Borough of Eye had one MP. This made 11 Suffolk MP's in all, reducing to 9 after 1844, when Sudbury was disfranchised.
From 1885 there were 8 MP's in Suffolk. Eye was abolished as a constituency, Bury was reduced to one MP, but Ipswich retained two. The rural areas of Suffolk were split into North-Western, South, North-Eastern, Northern, and South-Eastern, each with one MP.

Edward Greene, who had been returned consistently as one of Bury's two MP's since 1865, decided not to stand again in the General Election held in the summer of 1885. He was nearly 70 and had suffered an accident in 1883, when he fell off a new tricycle at Nether Hall, his home in Pakenham.

The new elections were far from trouble free. There was a riot in Long Melford at the 1885 election after the 1884 Act gave the vote to farm workers. Chelmsford men had to walk 3 miles to Melford to vote, and windows were broken and pubs wrecked. Agriculture was in a dire situation with falling farm prices and reductions in the manpower that could be afforded.

The Sudbury division elected William Quilter of Hintlesham Hall, who stood for the Liberal party. Farm workers had used their new votes and voted Liberal in defiance of their Conservative masters.

New Inn, Northgate Street, built in 1863.
The New Inn
blank Disturbances also occurred in Bury St Edmunds. John Hammond, the new Landlord of the New Inn in Northgate Street was a Liberal supporter. The Liberal candidate was a Major Jameson, and the New Inn was a centre for his support. In the run up to the election several windows were broken following disturbances outside the New Inn.

Once the poll was declared, it became clear that Conservatism still reigned in Bury as the Borough again returned Lord Francis Hervey, the brother of the 3rd Marquess of Bristol. The election had been extremely close, but the new electors were not yet ready to change the status quo. From now onward Bury had only one MP.

The triumphant Lord Frances Hervey was dragged around town on an open wagon, as was the fashion in the nineteenth century, but they stopped outside the New Inn and taunted the Liberal occupants of the inn. A fight broke out and at least one man was knocked unconscious.

1886 The 1885 Parliament ended in disarray as neither Conservatives or Liberals could muster a majority over the question of Irish Home Rule. Gladstone resigned and there was a fresh General Election on Irish Home Rule. Edward Greene, who had declined to stand as a candidate in the 1885 election at Bury, was persuaded to stand in the North-West suffolk constituency in 1886.
There was a swing to the Conservatives, and Greene was elected, but his appeal to the agricultural workers for support went largely unanswered, as most appear to have abstained from voting. Greene represented North West Suffolk until he died in 1891.
1891 Edward Greene, MP, who had owned Greene's brewery in Westgate Street since 1836, and had been the first Chairman of Greene King since 1887, now died.

His son, Edward Walter Greene, now took over the Chairmanship of the Company as well as the house at Nether Hall Estate, lying in Thurston and Pakenham. Edward Walter was always known as Walter, and used this as his first name.

Walter was invited to fight the by-election for North West Suffolk, which arose on his father's death. To everybody's surprise, he narrowly lost this election to Viscount Sydney de Stern, another millionaire.

1900 Bury still voted Conservative, this time electing the very well known brewer, now Sir E Walter Greene, Bt, who lived his life as a wealthy sporting country gentleman. Walter had been defeated when he tried to become MP for North West Suffolk in 1891, but this time he was unopposed. This was fortunate for him, as he was not to prove much of a politician. By 1905, he had decided not to stand again.
1907 During 1907 it became necessary to hold a by-election. The new Conservative candidate was W E Guinness, of the brewing family. As the Liberal government had refused to make any concessions to the Women's Suffrage Movement, the Suffragettes retaliated by opposing all Liberal candidates en bloc. Thus did Sylvia Pankhurst come to Bury to support Guinness, although she herself professed to support the Labour Party. The Conservative majority was doubled, and Guinness got his seat.

In 1908 the Manor House in Honey Hill was bought by Walter Guinness, the town's new MP. He would later be made the 1st Baron Moyne. He owned the house until 1933, and was to be murdered in Cairo in 1944, where he was a British Government representative.

1918 Women got some rewards for their war work, when, on January 11th 1918, women over 30 were given the vote. The vote was also given to men over 21, who had lived at the same address for six months. In the 1918 elections, W E Guinness was unopposed as MP for Bury, so there was no chance to see any local impact of these changes.
Suffolk as a whole was reduced from 7 to 6 MP's, by a reorganisation of constituencies. Since 1885 the western half of Suffolk had three constituencies. These were the town area of Bury St Edmunds, the North Western division of the county, and the South. The town of Bury now lost its own MP, and became part of a much bigger area, but still called the Bury St Edmunds constituency. In effect West Suffolk became the two constituencies of Bury in the north, and Sudbury in the south.
1929 The General Election of 1929 was the first election in which all men and all women over the age of 21 could vote on an equal footing. In Bury for the first time a Labour candidate was fielded, but W E Guinness retained his seat for the Conservative Party. The Liberal came second and the Labour candidate, P Austin, got only 8% of the votes cast. Nationally, however, the Labour Party defeated the Conservative Party in the General Election, and Winston Churchill lost his job as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
1944 In January, 1944, the Conservative MP for Bury, Colonel Heilgers, was killed in a train crash at Ilford. The by-election was held in the following month, the Conservative Major Edgar Keatinge of Westley Hall, was elected unopposed. The official parties had agreed not to field candidates during the war.
1945 Winston Churchill had headed the war time government, and was a Conservative, but at the General Election on 25th July 1945 there was a Labour landslide, gaining 200 seats. Even Sudbury South went Labour to Colonel Hamilton OBE MP. At Bury, the Conservative B Clifton Brown had a majority of nearly 6,000 over the Labour candidate, Miss C McCall, Britain's first woman qualified as a psychiatric social worker.
1948 During 1948 there was a redistribution of Suffolk's parliamentary seats. Since 1918 the County of West Suffolk had two constituencies, called Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury, dividing West Suffolk in the middle by an east to west boundary. Despite protests, West suffolk was abolished as a parliamentary county, and was replaced by Suffolk as a whole. Bury St Edmunds constituency was enlarged to take in about half of the old Sudbury constituency. While the remainder was merged with the Woodbridge constituency to make "Sudbury and Woodbridge".
Colonel Clifton-Brown continued to represent the enlarged Bury constituency until standing down in 1950.
1964 In May 1964 a by-election followed the demise of W T Aitken, who had been Bury's MP since 1950. Another Conservative was duly elected to represent the town. He was Eldon Griffiths, who was to be the town's MP until his retirement as Sir Eldon, in April 1992.
1992 In April, 1992, the Conservatives won the General Election, against all earlier predictions. Mr Richard Spring was elected MP for Bury St Edmunds, replacing Sir Eldon Griffiths, who retired following 28 years as Bury's MP.
Parliamentary constituencies introduced in 1997 for St Edmundsbury's area.
New Constituencies
1997 For the General Election in May 1997, the constituencies in western Suffolk were reorganised. The area of St Edmundsbury became covered by three seats. Richard Spring, the sitting Conservative MP at Bury stood for, and won, the seat of West Suffolk. The reorganised Bury constituency was won for the Conservatives by Mr David Ruffley, and South Suffolk was won by Mr Tim yeo, also Conservative.

Nationally, the Labour Party won the General Election by a landslide.

2001 In the June elections, Bury St Edmunds was held by David Ruffley with a majority of 2,503. A local Conservative councillor, Mike Brundle, stood against him as an Independent candidate, and received 651 votes. Richard Spring and Tim Yeo were also re-elected in their constituencies.
2005 May 5th 2005 saw elections for Suffolk County Council take place. They were overshadowed by a General Election also called for the same day. The Labour government of Tony Blair was re-elected with a reduced parliamentary majority. In St Edmundsbury the Conservative sitting MP's were all re-elected.

Locally the Conservatives took control of Suffolk County Council from Labour and the Liberal Democrats.


Go to Municipal Topics Homepage Created 26 May 2006 Go to Main Home Page