New Romney (UK Parliament constituency)

New Romney (UK Parliament constituency)
New Romney
Former Cinque Port constituency
for the House of Commons
1371 (1371)1832 (1832)
Number of members Two

New Romney was a parliamentary constituency in Kent, which elected two Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons from 1371 until 1832, when it was abolished by the Great Reform Act.

New Romney was a Cinque Port, which made it technically of different status from a parliamentary borough, but the difference was purely a nominal one. The constituency consisted of the town of New Romney; it had once been a flourishing port but by the 19th century the harbour had been destroyed and there was no maritime trade, the main economic activity being grazing cattle on Romney Marsh. In 1831, the population of the constituency was 978, and the town contained 165 houses.

The right to vote was reserved to the Mayor and Common Council of the town; however, many of these were customs or excise officers, who were disqualified from voting by a change in the law in 1782, so that in the early 19th century there were only 8 voters. The high proportion of voters holding paid government posts before this change in the law meant that New Romney was sometimes considered to be a "treasury borough" (that is, a constituency whose seats were in the gift of the government); but in practice the Dering family, local landowners, were even more influential and could sometimes defy government pressure.

The Dering influence in New Romney seems mainly to have been achieved by letting out property to voters and their relatives at easy rents and without leases. In 1761, for example, the despairing Whig MP, Rose Fuller, explained to Prime Minister Newcastle that he had no chance of re-election since Dering had turned against him, because "several of the governing men are graziers and the Deering and Furnese family have together a very great estate in the neighbouring marsh which is very profitable to and easy for tenants". The reduction in the number of voters naturally made this influence easier, or at least cheaper, to exert.

New Romney was abolished as a constituency by the Reform Act, the town being incorporated into the new Eastern Kent county division.


Members of Parliament


  • 1563: Sir Christopher Alleyne
  • 1571: Edmund Morrante
  • 1586: William Southland
  • 1588: William Southland and Reginald Scot[1]
  • 1604-1611: Sir R Remington and John Plommer
  • 1621-1622: Sir Peter Manwood and Francis Featherstonehaugh
  • 1624-1625: Francis Featherstonehaugh
  • 1629-1640: No Parliament


Year First member First party Second member Second party
November 1640 Thomas Webb [2] Royalist (Sir) Norton Knatchbull [3] Parliamentarian
1641 Richard Browne
December 1648 Browne not recorded as sitting after Pride's Purge Knatchbull excluded in Pride's Purge - seat vacant
1653 New Romney was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament and the First and Second Parliaments of the Protectorate
January 1659 Lambert Godfrey Sir Robert Honeywood
May 1659 Not represented in the restored Rump
April 1660 Sir Norton Knatchbull John Knatchbull
1661 Sir Charles Berkeley [4]
1665 Hon. Henry Brouncker [5]
1668 Sir Charles Sedley
1679 Paul Barret
1685 Sir William Goulston Thomas Chudleigh
1689 John Brewer James Chadwick
1690 Sir Charles Sedley
1695 Sir William Twysden [6]
1696 Sir Charles Sedley
1701 Edward Goulston
1702 Sir Benjamin Bathurst
1704 Walter Whitfield
1710 Robert Furnese [7]
1713 Viscount Sondes
1722 David Papillon
1727 [8] John Essington
April 1728 Sir Robert Austen Sir Robert Furnese [9]
May 1728 David Papillon [10]
1734 Stephen Bisse
1736 Sir Robert Austen
1741 Henry Furnese Sir Francis Dashwood Tory
1756 Rose Fuller Whig
1761 Sir Edward Dering Tory Thomas Knight
1768 Richard Jackson
1770 John Morton Tory
1774 Sir Edward Dering Tory
April 1784 John Smith
June 1784 Richard Atkinson
1785 John Henniker
1787 Richard Joseph Sullivan
1790 Sir Elijah Impey
1796 John Fordyce John Willett Willett
1802 Manasseh Lopes [11]
1806 William Windham Whig John Perring Whig
1807 The Earl of Clonmell Tory Hon. George Ashburnham Tory
1812 Admiral Sir John Duckworth Tory William Mitford Tory
1817 Cholmeley Dering Tory
1818 Andrew Strahan Tory Richard Erle-Drax-Grosvenor
1819 Richard Erle-Drax-Grosvenor Whig
1820 George Hay Dawkins-Pennant Tory
1826 George Tapps Tory
1830 Arthur Hill-Trevor Tory William Miles Tory [12]
March 1831 Sir Roger Gresley Tory
April 1831 Sir Edward Cholmeley Dering Tory
1832 Constituency abolished


  1. ^  "Scott, Reginald". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  2. ^ Expelled for being a monopolist, January 1641
  3. ^ Created a baronet, August 1641
  4. ^ Created Viscount Fitzhardinge (in the Peerage of Ireland), July 1663
  5. ^ Expelled from the House of Commons on 21 April 1668 for his actions at the Battle of Lowestoft in 1665, when he falsified a signal which prevented the English navy pursuing the defeated Dutch fleet and capitalising on their victory
  6. ^ Twysden was also elected for Appleby, which he chose to represent, and never sat for New Romney
  7. ^ Succeeded to a baronetcy as Sir Robert Furnese, November 1712
  8. ^ At the election of 1727, Essington and Papillon were returned as elected, but on petition they were held not to have been duly elected
  9. ^ Furnese was also elected for Kent, which he chose to represent, and did not sit again for New Romney
  10. ^ Papillon was re-elected in 1734 but had also been elected for Dover, which he chose to represent, and did not sit again for New Romney
  11. ^ Created a baronet, November 1805
  12. ^ Created a baronet, 1859


  • Robert Beatson, "A Chronological Register of Both Houses of Parliament" (London: Longman, Hurst, Res & Orme, 1807) [1]
  • D Brunton & D H Pennington, Members of the Long Parliament (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1954)
  • Cobbett's Parliamentary history of England, from the Norman Conquest in 1066 to the year 1803 (London: Thomas Hansard, 1808) [2]
  • Lewis Namier, The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III (2nd edition - London: St Martin's Press, 1961)
  • J E Neale, The Elizabethan House of Commons (London: Jonathan Cape, 1949)
  • T H B Oldfield, The Representative History of Great Britain and Ireland (London: Baldwin, Cradock & Joy, 1816)
  • J Holladay Philbin, Parliamentary Representation 1832 - England and Wales (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965)
  • Henry Stooks Smith, The Parliaments of England from 1715 to 1847 (2nd edition, edited by FWS Craig - Chichester: Parliamentary Reference Publications, 1973)
  • Frederic A Youngs, jr, "Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England, Vol I" (London: Royal Historical Society, 1979)
  • Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "N" (part 2)

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