|Former County constituency|
for the House of Commons
|Number of members||One|
|Replaced by||Hertford & Stevenage|
|Number of members||two (1298-1868), one (1868-1885)|
|Type of constituency||Borough constituency|
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.
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)
|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|
|1885||Constituency abolished; name transferred to county division|
Hertford county constituency (1885-1974)
Elections in the 1830s
|Whig||Thomas Slingsby Duncombe||Unopposed|
|Registered electors||c. 800|
|Whig||Thomas Slingsby Duncombe||492||37.7|
|Whig||John Currie (MP)||431||33.0|
|Registered electors||c. 800|
|Whig gain from Tory|
|Radical||Thomas Slingsby Duncombe||329||24.8||−12.9|
|Radical||John Eden Spalding||186||14.0||N/A|
|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.
|Whig gain from Conservative||Swing||N/A|
Cowper was appointed as a commissioner of Greenwich Hospital, requiring a by-election.
Elections in the 1840s
Cowper was appointed a Civil Lord of the Admiralty, requiring a by-election.
Elections in the 1850s
|Turnout||466 (est)||68.0 (est)||N/A|
|Radical gain from Conservative|
Cowper was appointed Civil Lord of the Admiralty, requiring a by-election.
Cowper was appointed president of the General Board of Health, requiring a by-election.
Cowper was appointed Vice-President of the Committee of the Council on Education, requiring a by-election.
|Turnout||405 (est)||65.2 (est)||−2.8|
|Conservative gain from Radical||Swing||−6.3|
Cowper was appointed Vice-President of the Board of Trade, requiring a by-election.
Elections in the 1860s
Cowper was appointed First Commissioner of Works and Public Buildings, requiring a by-election.
Townshend-Farquhar's death caused a by-election.
Seat reduced to one member
|Liberal||Frederick Waymouth Gibbs||345||44.3||N/A|
Elections in the 1870s
Elections in the 1880s
|Liberal||Edward Ernest Bowen||400||41.5||New|
Balfour was appointed President of the Local Government Board, requiring a by-election.
Elections in the 1890s
|Liberal||Edwin Robert Speirs||2,818||39.7||N/A|
Smith's death caused a by-election.
Elections in the 1900s
|Conservative||Abel Henry Smith||Unopposed|
|Conservative||Abel Henry Smith||4,836||50.4||N/A|
Elections in the 1910s
|Liberal||Edmund Broughton Barnard||4,455||42.0||−7.6|
|Liberal||George Strachan Pawle||4,226||43.0||+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 the July 1914, the following candidates had been selected;
- Unionist: John Rolleston
- Independent: W. H. Rolfe
|Independent||Noel Pemberton Billing||4,590||56.3||N/A|
|Independent gain from Unionist||Swing||N/A|
|National||*Edmund Broughton Barnard||7,158||38.8||N/A|
|Independent gain from Unionist||Swing||N/A|
* Barnard was also the nominee of the National Farmers' Union
Elections in the 1920s
|Anti-Waste League||*Murray Sueter||12,329||68.9||N/A|
|Coalition Unionist||Hildred Carlile||5,553||31.1||N/A|
|Anti-Waste League gain from Independent||Swing||N/A|
* Sueter was also the nominee of the Independent Parliamentary Group.
|Unionist gain from Independent||Swing||N/A|
|Liberal||Thomas Morris Davies||5,828||24.0||−23.8|
|Independent||Noel Pemberton Billing||10,149||29.6||N/A|
|Liberal||Thomas Evander Evans||6,419||18.7||−5.3|
|Labour||Roger S Edwards||4,193||12.2||−3.8|
Elections in the 1930s
|Labour||Roger S Edwards||7,092||21.6||+9.4|
|Labour||Roger S Edwards||11,492||35.2||+13.6|
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;
|Liberal||Thomas Peter Hughes||7,587||16.6||n/a|
|Independent||A B Swain||1,005||2.2||n/a|
Elections in the 1950s
|Liberal||Thomas Peter Hughes||10,234||18.73||+2.13|
|Labour Co-op||Richard Marsh||23,708||43.72||+8.35|
|Labour||Gerald D Southgate||22,597||41.83||-1.38|
Elections in the 1960s
|Labour||Thomas A Deacon||25,161||39.93||-1.90|
Elections in the 1970s
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