Hertford (UK Parliament constituency)

Hertford
Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
CountyHertfordshire
Major settlementsHertford
18851974 (1974)
SeatsOne
Replaced byHertford & Stevenage
1298–1885
Seatstwo (1298-1868), one (1868-1885)
Type of constituencyBorough constituency

Hertford was the name of a parliamentary constituency in Hertfordshire, which elected Members of Parliament (MPs) from 1298 until 1974.

History

The Parliamentary Borough of Hertford was represented by two MPs in the House of Commons of England from 1298 to 1707, then of the House of Commons of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800, and finally in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 onwards. Under the Boundaries Act of 1868, its representation was reduced to 1 MP.

The Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 (which followed on from the Third Reform Act) abolished the Parliamentary Borough and it gave its name to one of four Divisions of the abolished three-member Parliamentary County of Hertfordshire, and was formally named as the Eastern or Hertford Division of Hertfordshire.

As well from the Borough of Hertford, the enlarged constituency included the towns of Ware, Bishop's Stortford and Hoddesdon. It remained largely unchanged until 1955, but was radically altered for the 1955 general election. It was abolished in 1974.

Boundaries and boundary changes

1885–1918: The Borough of Hertford, the Sessional Divisions of Bishop's Stortford and Cheshunt, parts of the Sessional Divisions of Hertford and Ware, and in the Sessional Division of Aldbury the parishes of Great Hadham and Little Hadham.

1918–1950: The Borough of Hertford, the Urban Districts of Bishop's Stortford, Cheshunt, Hoddesdon, Sawbridgeworth, and Ware, the Rural Districts of Hadham and Ware, and in the Rural District of Hertford the parishes of Bayford, Bengeo Rural, Bengeo Urban, Bramfield, Brickendon Liberty, Brickendon Rural, Hertingfordbury, Little Amwell, Little Berkhamsted, St Andrew Rural, St John Rural, Stapleford, and Tewin.

Minor changes.

1950–1955: The Borough of Hertford, the Urban Districts of Bishop's Stortford, Cheshunt, Hoddesdon, Sawbridgeworth, and Ware, the Rural District of Ware, in the Rural District of Braughing the parishes of Albury, Braughing, Brent Pelham, Furneux Pelham, High Wych, Little Hadham, Much Hadham, Stocking Pelham, and Thorley, and in the Rural District of Hertford the parishes of Bayford, Bengeo Rural, Bengeo Urban, Bramfield, Brickendon Liberty, Brickendon Rural, Hertingfordbury, Little Amwell, Little Berkhamsted, St Andrew Rural, St John Rural, Stapleford, and Tewin.

Nominal changes only to reflect changes to rural districts.

1955–1974: The Borough of Hertford, the Urban District of Welwyn Garden City, and the Rural Districts of Hatfield, Hertford, and Welwyn.

Significant changes with only the Municipal Borough and the part of the Rural District of Hertford retained.  The remainder of the constituency formed the basis of the new County Constituency of East Hertfordshire.  The Urban District of Welwyn Garden City and the Rural District of Welwyn were transferred from St Albans; the Rural District of Hatfield from Barnet; and the remainder of the Rural District of Hertford from Hitchin.

The constituency was abolished in the redistribution taking effect for the February 1974 general election. The Municipal Borough and Rural District of Hertford were included in the new County Constituency of Hertford and Stevenage, with remaining areas forming the new County Constituency of Welwyn and Hatfield.

Members of Parliament

Hertford borough (1298-1885)

1298-1640

Parliament First member Second member
1376 Constituency franchise lapsed
1624 Constituency re-enfranchised by Parliament
1624 William Ashton Thomas Fanshawe
1625 William Ashton Thomas Fanshawe
1626 Sir William Harrington Sir Capell Bedell
1628 Sir Edward Howard ennobled
and replaced by Sir Charles Morrison
Sir Thomas Fanshawe
1629 John Carey, Viscount Rochford Sir Thomas Fanshawe
1629–1640 No Parliaments summoned

1640-1868

Year First member First party Second member Second party
April 1640 Viscount Cranborne Parliamentarian Sir Thomas Fanshawe Royalist
November 1640
November 1643 Fanshawe disabled from sitting - seat vacant
1645 William Leman
December 1648 Cranborne not recorded as sitting after Pride's Purge
1653 Hertford was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament
1654 Isaac Pulter Hertford had only one seat in the First and
Second Parliaments of the Protectorate
1656
January 1659 James Cowper
May 1659 Not represented in the restored Rump
April 1660 Arthur Sparke James Cowper
1661 Sir Edward Turnor Thomas Fanshawe
1673 Sir Thomas Byde
1675 Edmund Feilde
1677 Sir John Gore
February 1679 Sir Charles Caesar
September 1679 Sir William Cowper
1685 Sir Francis Boteler
1689 Sir William Cowper
1690 Sir William Leman
1695 William Cowper
January 1701 Charles Caesar Thomas Filmer
February 1701 Richard Goulston
1705 Sir Thomas Clarke
1708 William Monson
1710 Charles Caesar Richard Goulston
1715 Sir Thomas Clarke John Boteler
1722 Edward Harrison Charles Caesar
1723 Sir Thomas Clarke
1727 George Harrison
1734 Nathaniel Brassey
1741 George Harrison
1759 George Cowper
1761 John Calvert Timothy Caswall
1768 William Cowper
1770 Paul Feilde
1780 Thomas, Baron Dimsdale William Baker
1784 John Calvert
1790 Nathaniel, Baron Dimsdale
1802 Hon. Edward Spencer Cowper Whig Nicolson Calvert Whig
1817 James Gascoyne-Cecil Tory
1823 Thomas Byron Tory
1826 Thomas Slingsby Duncombe Whig
1830 Henry Chetwynd-Talbot Tory
1831 John Currie Whig
1832 Henry Chetwynd-Talbot Tory Philip Stanhope Tory
1832 writ suspended: both seats vacant until 1835
1835 Hon. William Cowper Whig Philip Stanhope Conservative
1852 Thomas Chambers Radical
1857 Sir Walter Townshend-Farquhar Conservative
1859 Liberal
1866 Robert Dimsdale Conservative
1868 Representation reduced to one MP

1868-1885

Election Member Party
1868 Robert Dimsdale Conservative
1874 Arthur Balfour Conservative
1885 Constituency abolished; name transferred to county division

Hertford county constituency (1885-1974)

Election Member Party
1885 Abel Smith Conservative
1898 by-election Evelyn Cecil Conservative
1900 Abel Henry Smith Conservative
Jan. 1910 Sir John Rolleston Conservative
1916 by-election Noel Pemberton Billing Independent
1918 Silver Badge Party
1921 by-election (Sir) Murray Sueter Anti-Waste League/Independent Parliamentary Group
1922 Conservative
1945 Sir Derek Walker-Smith Conservative
1955 Robert Lindsay Conservative
Feb. 1974 Constituency abolished - see Hertford and Stevenage

Elections

Elections in the 1830s

General election 1830: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes %
Whig Thomas Slingsby Duncombe Unopposed
Tory Henry Chetwynd-Talbot Unopposed
Registered electors c. 800
Whig hold
Tory hold
General election 1831: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes %
Whig Thomas Slingsby Duncombe 492 37.7
Whig John Currie (MP) 431 33.0
Tory Henry Chetwynd-Talbot 383 29.3
Majority 48 3.7
Turnout 739 c. 92.4
Registered electors c. 800
Whig hold
Whig gain from Tory
General election 1832: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Tory Henry Chetwynd-Talbot 432 32.5 +17.9
Tory Philip Stanhope 381 28.7 +14.1
Radical Thomas Slingsby Duncombe 329 24.8 −12.9
Radical John Eden Spalding 186 14.0 N/A
Majority 52 3.9 N/A
Turnout 671 95.9 c. +3.5
Registered electors 700
Tory gain from Whig Swing +12.2
Tory gain from Whig Swing +10.3

The 1832 election was later declared void, but a new writ was not issued during the course of the parliament.

General election 1835: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Philip Stanhope 359 35.7 +7.0
Whig William Cowper 327 32.5 N/A
Conservative Henry Chetwynd-Talbot 321 31.9 −0.6
Turnout 616 97.3 +1.4
Registered electors 633
Majority 32 3.2 −0.7
Conservative hold Swing N/A
Majority 6 0.6 N/A
Whig gain from Conservative Swing N/A
General election 1837: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Whig William Cowper 378 38.5 +6.0
Conservative Philip Stanhope 306 31.2 −36.4
Radical John Currie (MP) 297 30.3 N/A
Turnout 580 91.9 −5.4
Registered electors 631
Majority 72 7.3 +6.7
Whig hold Swing +21.2
Majority 9 0.9 −2.3
Conservative hold Swing −21.2

Cowper was appointed as a commissioner of Greenwich Hospital, requiring a by-election.

By-election, 20 May 1839: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Whig William Cowper 297 51.7 +13.2
Conservative Walter Townsend-Farquhar 278 48.3 +17.1
Majority 19 3.4 −3.9
Turnout 575 92.9 +1.0
Registered electors 619
Whig hold Swing −2.0

Elections in the 1840s

General election 1841: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Whig William Cowper Unopposed
Conservative Philip Stanhope Unopposed
Registered electors 607
Whig hold
Conservative hold

Cowper was appointed a Civil Lord of the Admiralty, requiring a by-election.

By-election, 11 July 1846: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Whig William Cowper Unopposed
Whig hold
General election 1847: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Whig William Cowper Unopposed
Conservative Philip Stanhope Unopposed
Registered electors 567
Whig hold
Conservative hold

Elections in the 1850s

General election 1852: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Whig William Cowper 301 32.3 N/A
Radical Thomas Chambers 235 25.2 N/A
Conservative Philip Stanhope 213 22.9 N/A
Conservative Charles Dimsdale 182 19.5 N/A
Turnout 466 (est) 68.0 (est) N/A
Registered electors 685
Majority 66 7.1 N/A
Whig hold Swing N/A
Majority 22 2.3 N/A
Radical gain from Conservative

Cowper was appointed Civil Lord of the Admiralty, requiring a by-election.

By-election, 1 January 1853: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Whig William Cowper Unopposed
Whig hold

Cowper was appointed president of the General Board of Health, requiring a by-election.

By-election, 14 August 1855: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Whig William Cowper Unopposed
Whig hold

Cowper was appointed Vice-President of the Committee of the Council on Education, requiring a by-election.

By-election, 9 February 1857: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Whig William Cowper Unopposed
Whig hold
General election 1857: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Whig William Cowper 301 37.2 +4.9
Conservative Walter Townsend-Farquhar 273 33.7 −8.7
Radical Thomas Chambers 235 29.0 +3.8
Turnout 405 (est) 65.2 (est) −2.8
Registered electors 620
Majority 28 3.5 −3.6
Whig hold Swing +4.6
Majority 38 4.7 N/A
Conservative gain from Radical Swing −6.3
General election 1859: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal William Cowper Unopposed
Conservative Walter Townsend-Farquhar Unopposed
Registered electors 530
Liberal hold
Conservative hold

Cowper was appointed Vice-President of the Board of Trade, requiring a by-election.

By-election, 19 August 1859: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal William Cowper 281 57.9 N/A
Conservative Robert Dimsdale 204 42.1 N/A
Majority 77 15.8 N/A
Turnout 485 91.5 N/A
Registered electors 530
Liberal hold Swing N/A

Elections in the 1860s

Cowper was appointed First Commissioner of Works and Public Buildings, requiring a by-election.

By-election, 13 February 1860: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal William Cowper Unopposed
Liberal hold
General election 1865: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal William Cowper Unopposed
Conservative Walter Townshend-Farquhar Unopposed
Registered electors 543
Liberal hold
Conservative hold

Townshend-Farquhar's death caused a by-election.

By-election, 30 June 1866: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Robert Dimsdale Unopposed
Conservative hold

Seat reduced to one member

General election 1868: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Robert Dimsdale 434 55.7 N/A
Liberal Frederick Waymouth Gibbs 345 44.3 N/A
Majority 89 11.4 N/A
Turnout 779 84.5 N/A
Registered electors 922
Conservative hold

Elections in the 1870s

The head and shoulders of a middle-aged man, wearing a brown jacket, white shirt and black bow-tie.
Arthur Balfour was MP for Hertford between 1874 and 1885, and later Prime Minister.
General election 1874: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Arthur Balfour Unopposed
Registered electors 1,041
Conservative hold

Elections in the 1880s

General election 1880: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Arthur Balfour 564 58.5 N/A
Liberal Edward Ernest Bowen 400 41.5 New
Majority 164 17.0 N/A
Turnout 964 89.2 N/A
Registered electors 1,081
Conservative hold Swing N/A

Balfour was appointed President of the Local Government Board, requiring a by-election.

By-election, 30 Jun 1885: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Arthur Balfour Unopposed
Conservative hold
Smith
General election 1885: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Abel Smith 4,263 58.1 −0.4
Liberal Henry Cowper 3,072 41.9 +0.4
Majority 1,191 16.2 −0.8
Turnout 7,335 83.0 −6.2
Registered electors 8,840
Conservative hold Swing −0.4
General election 1886: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Abel Smith Unopposed
Conservative hold

Elections in the 1890s

General election 1892: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Abel Smith 4,276 60.3 N/A
Liberal Edwin Robert Speirs 2,818 39.7 New
Majority 1,458 20.6 N/A
Turnout 7,094 75.8 N/A
Registered electors 9,355
Conservative hold Swing N/A
General election 1895: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Abel Smith Unopposed
Conservative hold

Smith's death caused a by-election.

Spencer
1898 Hertford by-election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Evelyn Cecil 4,118 51.7 N/A
Liberal Charles Spencer 3,850 48.3 New
Majority 268 3.4 N/A
Turnout 7,968 77.4 N/A
Registered electors 10,301
Conservative hold Swing N/A

Elections in the 1900s

Smith
General election 1900: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Abel Henry Smith Unopposed
Conservative hold
Buxton
General election 1906: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Abel Henry Smith 4,836 50.4 N/A
Liberal Charles Buxton 4,756 49.6 New
Majority 80 0.8 N/A
Turnout 9,592 86.2 N/A
Registered electors 11,124
Conservative hold Swing N/A

Elections in the 1910s

General election January 1910: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative John Rolleston 6,147 58.0 +7.6
Liberal Edmund Broughton Barnard 4,455 42.0 −7.6
Majority 1,692 16.0 +15.2
Turnout 10,602 89.6 +3.4
Registered electors 11,838
Conservative hold Swing +7.6
General election December 1910: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative John Rolleston 5,594 57.0 −1.0
Liberal George Strachan Pawle 4,226 43.0 +1.0
Majority 1,368 14.0 −2.0
Turnout 9,820 83.0 −6.6
Registered electors 12,684
Conservative hold Swing −1.0

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 July 1914, the following candidates had been selected;

Billing
1916 Hertford by-election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent Noel Pemberton Billing 4,590 56.3 New
Unionist Brodie Henderson 3,559 43.7 −13.3
Majority 1,031 12.6 N/A
Turnout 8,149 64.2 −18.8
Registered electors 12,684
Independent gain from Unionist Swing N/A
General election 1918: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent Noel Pemberton-Billing 9,628 52.1 N/A
National *Edmund Broughton Barnard 7,158 38.8 −18.2
Labour Cyril Harding 1,679 9.1 New
Majority 2,470 13.3 N/A
Turnout 18,465 57.4 −25.6
Registered electors 32,158
Independent hold Swing N/A

* Barnard was also the nominee of the National Farmers' Union

Elections in the 1920s

1921 Hertford by-election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Anti-Waste League *Murray Sueter 12,329 68.9 New
Unionist Hildred Carlile 5,553 31.1 New
Majority 6,776 37.8 N/A
Turnout 17,882 55.1 −2.3
Registered electors 32,426
Anti-Waste League gain from Independent Swing N/A

* Sueter was also the nominee of the Independent Parliamentary Group.

General election 1922: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist Murray Sueter 11,406 63.6 N/A
Liberal Thomas Greenwood 6,534 36.4 New
Majority 4,872 27.2 N/A
Turnout 17,940 54.1 −3.3
Registered electors 33,184
Unionist gain from Anti-Waste League Swing N/A
General election 1923: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist Murray Sueter 10,660 52.2 −11.4
Liberal Thomas Greenwood 9,763 47.8 +11.4
Majority 897 4.4 −22.8
Turnout 20,423 60.6 +6.5
Registered electors 33,704
Unionist hold Swing −11.4
General election 1924: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist Murray Sueter 14,582 60.0 +7.8
Liberal Thomas Morris Davies 5,828 24.0 −23.8
Labour Ernest Selley 3,885 16.0 New
Majority 8,754 36.0 +31.6
Turnout 24,295 70.8 +10.2
Registered electors 34,315
Unionist hold Swing +15.8
General election 1929: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist Murray Sueter 13,525 39.5 −20.5
Independent Noel Pemberton Billing 10,149 29.6 New
Liberal Thomas Evander Evans 6,419 18.7 −5.3
Labour Roger S Edwards 4,193 12.2 −3.8
Majority 3,376 9.9 −26.1
Turnout 34,286 74.7 +3.9
Registered electors 45,893
Unionist hold Swing −7.6

Elections in the 1930s

General election 1931: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Murray Sueter 25,751 78.4 +38.9
Labour Roger S Edwards 7,092 21.6 +9.4
Majority 18,659 56.8 +46.9
Turnout 32,843 69.1 −5.6
Conservative hold Swing +14.7
General election 1935: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Murray Sueter 21,193 64.8 −13.6
Labour Roger S Edwards 11,492 35.2 +13.6
Majority 9,701 29.6 −27.2
Turnout 32,685 62.5 −6.6
Conservative hold Swing −11.7

Elections in the 1940s

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 from 1939 and by the end of this year, the following candidates had been selected;

General election 1945: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Derek Walker-Smith 19,877 43.3 −21.5
Labour Lynton Scutts 17,349 37.9 +2.7
Liberal Thomas Peter Hughes 7,587 16.6 New
Independent A B Swain 1,005 2.2 New
Majority 2,528 5.4 −24.2
Turnout 45,818 70.4 +7.9
Conservative hold Swing −12.1

Elections in the 1950s

General election 1950: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Derek Walker-Smith 25,074 45.90 +2.60
Labour Lynton Scutts 19,324 35.37 −2.53
Liberal Thomas Peter Hughes 10,234 18.73 +2.13
Majority 5,750 10.53 +5.13
Turnout 54,632 83.18 +12.78
Registered electors 65,683
Conservative hold Swing +2.57
General election 1951: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Derek Walker-Smith 30,519 56.28 +10.38
Labour Co-op Richard Marsh 23,708 43.72 +8.35
Majority 6,811 12.56 +2.03
Turnout 54,227 80.80 −2.38
Registered electors 67,110
Conservative hold Swing +1.02
General election 1955: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Robert Lindsay 25,014 56.79 +0.51
Labour John McKnight 19,030 43.21 −0.51
Majority 5,984 13.58 +1.02
Turnout 44,044 82.24 +1.44
Registered electors 53,556
Conservative hold Swing +0.51
General election 1959: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Robert Lindsay 31,418 58.17 +1.38
Labour Gerald D Southgate 22,597 41.83 −1.38
Majority 8,821 16.34 +2.76
Turnout 54,015 84.26 +2.02
Registered electors 64,106
Conservative hold Swing +1.38

Elections in the 1960s

General election 1964: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Robert Lindsay 29,134 46.23 −11.94
Labour Thomas A Deacon 25,161 39.93 −1.90
Liberal Anna Harman 8,722 13.84 New
Majority 3,973 6.30 −10.04
Turnout 63,017 84.64 +0.38
Registered electors 74,450
Conservative hold Swing −5.02
General election 1966: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Robert Lindsay 32,302 50.62 +3.79
Labour Peter Nurse 31,508 49.38 +9.45
Majority 794 1.24 −5.06
Turnout 63,810 83.70 −0.94
Registered electors 76,234
Conservative hold Swing −2.83

Elections in the 1970s

General election 1970: Hertford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Robert Lindsay 36,494 52.58 +1.96
Labour Yvonne Sieve 26,924 38.79 −10.59
Liberal John Melling 5,994 8.64 New
Majority 9,570 13.79 +12.55
Turnout 69,412 78.08 −5.62
Registered electors 88,900
Conservative hold Swing +6.28

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