West Cornwall (UK Parliament constituency)

West Cornwall is a former county constituency in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elected two Members of Parliament (MPs) by the bloc vote system of election.


In 1832 the county of Cornwall, in south west England, was split for parliamentary purposes into two county divisions. These were the West division (with a place of election at Truro) and East Cornwall (where voting took place at Bodmin). Each division returned two members to Parliament.

The parliamentary boroughs included in the West division, between 1832-1885, (whose non-resident 40 shilling freeholders were eligible to vote in the county constituency) were Helston, Penryn and Falmouth, St Ives and Truro. (Source: Stooks Smith).


During the 53 year history of this division, there was never a contested election. Only once was a Conservative member returned, but he only represented the constituency for a few months before becoming the 2nd Earl of Falmouth.

In 1885 this division was abolished, when the East and West Cornwall county divisions were replaced by six new single-member county constituencies. These were Bodmin (the South-Eastern division), Camborne (North-Western division), Launceston (North-Eastern division), St Austell (Mid division), St Ives (the Western division) and Truro. In addition the last remaining Cornish borough constituency was Penryn and Falmouth.

Members of Parliament

  • Constituency created (1832)

Year First member First party Second member Second party
1832 Sir Charles Lemon, Bt Liberal Edward William Wynne Pendarves Liberal
1841 Lord Boscawen-Rose Conservative
1842 Sir Charles Lemon, Bt Liberal
1853 Michael Williams Liberal
1857 Richard Davey Liberal
1858 Sir John St. Aubyn Liberal
1868 Arthur Vivian Liberal

  • Constituency abolished (1885)

Election results

By-election, 1853

Michael Williams was the only nomination as MP for West Cornwall, at a by-election, following the death of Edward William Wynne Pendarves, on 26 June 1853. Michael Williams was elected as a Liberal on 19 July 1853 according to The Times, Monday, 11 July, 1853; pg. 3; Issue 21477; col D "Election Intelligence":(Election and its expected conclusion announced).

General Election, 1857

There was a General Election in 1857. Michael Williams and Richard Davey were elected without opposition on 2 April, John Tremayne having stood down. Sir Charles Lemon did not seek re-election. .

By-election, 1858

There was a by-election, following the death of Michael Williams on 15 June 1858. Sir John St. Aubyn was the only candidate, George Williams, younger son of Michael, having withdrawn, to avoid "disturbing the County" .

General Election, 1859

In the General Election in May 1859 the sitting MPs, Davey and St. Aubyn, were re-elected without opposition .

General Election, 1868

In the General Election in November 1868 the sitting MP, St. Aubyn was re-elected and the new candidate, Vivian, was elected unopposed. They both held their seats until the Constituency was abolished in 1885.

See also


  • Boundaries of Parliamentary Constituencies 1885-1972, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Parliamentary Reference Publications 1972)
  • British Parliamentary Election Results 1832-1885, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Macmillan Press 1977)
  • The Parliaments of England by Henry Stooks Smith (1st edition published in three volumes 1844-50), second edition edited (in one volume) by F.W.S. Craig (Political Reference Publications 1973)
  • Who's Who of British Members of Parliament: Volume I 1832-1885, edited by M. Stenton (The Harvester Press 1976)
  • Who's Who of British Members of Parliament, Volume II 1886-1918, edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (Harvester Press 1978)

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