Shoreham sent two burgesses to parliament from
1295 onwards. (fn. 57) In the 15th century either the two
constables or up to fourteen burgesses attested
elections by the burgesses and other inhabitants; as
there was apparently no separate class of burgesses
the franchise appears to have been then, (fn. 58) as later,
in the householders paying scot and lot. (fn. 59) In the
later 15th century and the earlier 16th the duke of
Norfolk controlled the choice of the electors. (fn. 60)
Notable members in the early 17th century included
Inigo Jones in 1621 (fn. 61) elected in place of Sir John
Leeds who was unseated because he had by negligence taken his seat before being sworn, (fn. 62) and
Anthony Stapley, the regicide, in 1624 and 1625. A
shipbuilder and navy commissioner, Sir Anthony
Deane, represented the borough in 1678, (fn. 63) and in
1685, when Samuel Pepys seems to have declined
the nomination, Sir Richard Haddock, one of the
principal commissioners, was returned; on those
two occasions Henry Goring, father and son, were
respectively thought to control or influence the
nomination. (fn. 64) Members in that period included
local landowners. The number of voters in 1681
was c. 70. (fn. 65) Although the returning officer was the
constable appointed in the duke of Norfolk's
manorial court there is no indication that the duke
attempted to manage the borough. Evidence that
the borough was corrupt begins with allegations in
1679 of undue practices by the constable. Sir
Nathaniel Gould, who owned shipbuilding yards in
Shoreham, was unseated in 1701 for treating, but
up to his death in 1728 he continued to be returned
at elections which frequently gave rise to petitions
on grounds of bribery or intimidation. (fn. 66) Gould and
his fellow member paid for the rebuilding of New
Shoreham's market-house. (fn. 67) In 1709 Anthony
Hammond's election was declared to be invalid
because of his office under the Crown as a navy
commissioner, (fn. 68) but the connexion with the navy
was maintained, among the members being Sir
William Peere Williams, Bt. (d. 1761). (fn. 69) Other
early-18th-century members included wealthy London merchants and directors of the East India
Company, who spent money freely and assisted the
town's shipbuilding industry. The government was
able to influence elections because many of the 130
voters had places in the customs at Shoreham or in
the naval yards at Deptford and Woolwich. In 1729
the borough was said to be 'a new whore, that is
anybody's for their money', (fn. 70) and in 1752 it was
said that the townsmen boasted of a franchise by
which 'every seventh year they are much enriched
by what they receive in return for their vote'. (fn. 71)
Before the election of 1754 a potential candidate
who did not in fact stand was thought to have
given each of 100 electors £20 and the promise of a
further £20. Corruption was organized and regulated through a supposed charitable club called the
Christian Society, whose members were exclusively
electors and were sworn and covenanted to secrecy.
At a by-election in 1770 the society declared that it
would support the highest bidder, one possible
candidate offering £3,000, which was not enough,
but differences of opinion within the society
encouraged three candidates to go to the polls; the
returning officer, who had resigned from the
society, refused to allow 76 votes and returned as
elected the candidate with the second largest
number of votes cast. The ensuing petition led to an
inquiry, an amended return, and an Act (fn. 72) disfranchising 68 electors and enlarging the franchise,
so as to avoid future bribery, to the freeholders of
Bramber rape, numbering c. 800. New Shoreham
thereby ceased to be a true borough constituency. It
was thereafter represented mostly by country
gentlemen, (fn. 73) but from 1859 to 1880 one member was
a barrister, Sir Stephen Cave, paymaster general
1874-80. (fn. 74) Double voting by the freeholders of
Bramber rape, for the county in addition to the
borough seats, was ended by the Reform Act of
1832. (fn. 75) New Shoreham lost its two seats under the
Redistribution of Seats Act, 1885. (fn. 76) There was a
tradition that elections had been held at the Stone in
High Street; (fn. 77) they were held in the churchyard in
1708, (fn. 78) in the north transept at some later date, (fn. 79)
and in the church porch in 1826. (fn. 80)
Names of Members Returned, H.C. 69, pp. 6 sqq.
(1878), lxii. The statement in S.A.C. xxvii. 81 that no
returns survive for 1474-1538 is incorrect.
||Wedgwood, Hist. Parl. 1439-1500, Reg. 698.
Hist. Parl., Commons, 1715-54, i. 337.
||G. H. Ryan and L. J. Redstone, Timperley of Hintlesham (1931), 12; L. & P. Hen. VIII, x, p. 344; S.A.C.
Names of Members Returned, 454.
Procs. and Debates of H.C. 1620 and 1621, i. 30-1,
naming him as 'Leech'.
D.N.B. The possibility of a naval connexion 100 years
earlier (D.N.B. Suppl. S.V. Thos. Fenner) has been ruled
out: ex inf. Hist. Parl. Trust.
Cal. S.P. Dom. 1678, 438; 1685, p. 79; D.N.B. S.V.
||Ex inf. Hist. Parl. Trust (Prof. B.D. Henning).
||T. Carew, Rights of Elections, ii. 125-7; W.S.R.O.,
S.A.C. xxvii. 81.
||Carew, Elections, ii. 126.
Hist. Parl., Commons, 1715-54, i. 337-8; on corruption
cf. Defoe, Tour Thro' G.B. ed. Cole, i. 130.
||B.L. Add. MS. 11571, f. 121v.
||11 Geo. III, c. 55.
Hist. Parl., Commons, 1754-90, i. 151, 396-8.
||2 Wm. IV, c. 45, s. 5; 2 Wm. IV, c. 64, s. 35 and
sch. O. 34.
||48 & 49 Vic. c. 23.
S.C.M. xxv. 408.
||Carew, Elections, ii. 127.
||Lower, Hist. Suss. ii. 160.
||Snewin & Smail, Glimpses, 151.