How Bedfordshire Voted, 1685-1735: The Evidence of Local Poll Books

October 2006
9 black and white, 1 line illustrations
316 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Publications Bedfordshire Hist Rec Soc
ISBN: 9780851550718
Format: Hardback
Beds Historical Record Society

How Bedfordshire Voted, 1685-1735: The Evidence of Local Poll Books

Volume I: 1685-1715

James Collett-White

Poll books tell the story of local people and their link with national history. This book contains transcripts of the poll books for the County and Borough seats of Bedford and some election accounts showing candidates' expenditure.
The introductory commentary gives an insight to political influences in Bedfordshire during the seminal period of English history from the Glorious Revolution to the accession of George I. It enables comparisons and political trends to be detected, including allegiances of regions of the county and parishes, the survival of the Tory party, the political allegiance of Anglican clergy and the role of Protestant Nonconformists. Major landowners were important in Bedfordshire politics but not dominant and local gentry played a crucial role.
The transcriptions list all those who voted in four county and one borough election. County voters were 40 shilling freeholders; Borough voters were freemen, burgesses and those qualified by 'scot and lot'; and for both seats numerous voters came from London and surrounding counties. The 8,500 names [fully indexed] will help family historians find ancestors between the 1671 Hearth Tax and the 1841 Census and will give unparalleled information on local landholding.
A further volume, 1716-1734, will be published in 2008.
JAMES COLLETT-WHITE is Archivist at Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service, and Archivist to S. C. Whitbread, Southill Park

Table of Contents

1685 Election
1695 Election
1698-1705 Elections
1708-1715 Elections


Give[s] a fascinating insight into the structure of landowning in Bedfordshire and the patterns of local allegiance and loyalty. [...] Social, economic and political historians with interests beyond Bedfordshire will find much to interest them in this well-researched volume. HISTORY IN BEDFORDSHIRE
[A] handsomely produced volume. PARLIAMENTARY HISTORY YEARBOOK
Political historians will be very grateful for [the author's] efforts. LOCAL POPULATION STUDIES
A very useful analysis of the political debates of the times. ANCESTORS

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