Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
Map of the traditional (historic) county of Lancashire, showing ‘hundreds’.
Number of memberstwo
Replaced byNorth Lancashire and South Lancashire

Lancashire was a county constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of England from 1290, then of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800, and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1832. It was represented by two Members of Parliament, traditionally known as Knights of the Shire until 1832.

The ancient county of Lancashire covers a much larger area than the area now administered by Lancashire County Council. The county town of Lancaster is in the north of the county. The county boundary is further north beyond Carnforth and follows approximately the same boundary as the modern County Council area. The historic county of Lancashire also includes land on the opposite side of Morecambe Bay. Barrow and Furness and the area between Lake Windermere and the River Duddon, and the area west of the River Winster are considered parts of the historic county of Lancashire. Most of the modern district of Ribble Valley is within the boundaries of the historic county of Yorkshire. In the south, the traditional county extends to the River Mersey and Liverpool and follows the Mersey and the River Tame to Ashton-under-Lyne. Most of the southern area of the ancient county now forms the metropolitan counties of Merseyside and Greater Manchester.

The people of the ancient county of Lancashire had been represented in Parliament since at least the 13th Century. It was this period that saw the practice of returning two knights from the shire counties to Parliaments summoned by writ to meet. These were generally regarded as the first assemblies of representatives. At that time Westminster, within the county of Middlesex, had yet to become the permanent home of Parliament. It was the King who decided when and where a Parliament should assemble, and although Westminster was the usual venue, sometimes special circumstances in this period meant Parliaments were summoned to other cities. Early returns have not survived, but the first named representatives of Lancashire, Mattheus de Redman and Johannes de Ewyas are shown in the returns to the Parliament of England summoned to meet at Westminster on 27 November 1295 in the reign of Edward I.

In this early period of Parliamentary history not all Parliaments summoned just shire Knights. Some also required the presence of two representatives of each city and borough. In the 1295 Parliament the two county Members for Lancashire were joined by two Members from each of the four boroughs of Lancaster, Liverpool, Preston and Wigan.

Preston occasionally sent Members to subsequent Parliaments but it was not until the sixteenth century that all four boroughs regularly returned Members to Parliament. At this time Clitheroe and Newton-le-Willows also gained the status of Parliamentary boroughs with each returning two Members. Manchester was granted a town charter in 1301 but had no municipal authority and did not achieve the status of a Parliamentary borough. This was despite the parish of Manchester having a population larger than Liverpool parish by over 100,000 by 1831. Manchester appears in the returns once in the Parliament 1656. This was the second Protectorate Parliament that followed Oliver Cromwell's Instrument of Government that declared Cromwell Lord Protector. The Instrument was an attempt to redistribute seats on a more equitable basis and towns such as Leeds and Manchester gained representation as a result, but this ended following the Restoration.

Lancashire had a total of fourteen Members in the unreformed House of Commons, and this remained the pattern

The constituency was split into two two-member divisions, for Parliamentary purposes, in 1832. The county was then represented by the North Lancashire and South Lancashire constituencies : the latter representing the hundreds of Salford and West Derby, and the former the hundreds of Amounderness, Blackburn, Leyland and Lonsdale.


The constituency comprised the whole historic county of Lancashire, except for the Parliamentary boroughs of Clitheroe, Lancaster, Liverpool, Newton, Preston and Wigan.

Members of Parliament

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (August 2008)


Parliament First member Second member
1294 Mathew de Redman
1295 Mathew de ?Sechnan John de ?Evyas[1]
1297 Henry de Keighley Henry de Boteler[1]
1298 Henry de Keighley John Denyas[1]
1300 Gilbert de Singleton Egbert de Haydock[1]
1301 Henry de Keighley Thomas Travers[1]
1302 William de Clifton Gilbert de Singleton[1]
1305 William de Clifton William Banastre[1]
1307 (Jan) Gilbert de Singleton John Travers[1]
1307 (Oct) Mathew de Redman William le Gentil[1]
1311 William le Gentil Thomas de Betham[1]
1312 Henry de Trafford Sir Richard le Molyneux[1]
1313 (Mar) William de Bradshaigh Edmund de Daere[1]
1313 (Jul) Ralph de Bickerstaff William de Slene[1]
1313 (Sep) Henry de ?Vegherby Thomas de Thornton[1]
1314 Thomas Banastre William de Slene[1]
1316 (Jan) William de Bradshaigh Adam de Hoghton[1]
1316 (Jun) John de Lancaster William de Walton[1]
1316 (Jul) Sir Roger de Pilkington Sir John de Pilkington[1]
1318 (Oct) Edmund de Neville John de Hornby[1]
1319 William de Walton William de Slene[1]
1320 Gilbert de Haydock Thomas de Thornton[1]
1321 John de Hornby Gilbert de Haydock[1]
1322 Richard de Hoghton John de Lancaster[1]
1324 (Jan) Edmund de Nevill Gilbert de Haydock
repl. by Thomas de Lathom[1]
1324 (Oct) William de Slene Nicholas de Norreys[1]
1325 William de Bradshaigh John de Hornby[1]
1326 Edmund de Neville Richard de Hoghton[1]
1327 (Sep) Michael de Haverington William Lawrence[1]
1328 (Feb) William de Bradshaigh Edmund de Neville[1]
1328 (Apr) Thomas de Thornton John de Hornby[1]
1328 (Jul) William Lawrence Thomas de Thornton[1]
1328 (Oct) Nicholas de Norreys Henry de Haydock[1]
1329 (Feb) Nicholas de Norreys Henry de Haydock[1]
1329/30 (Mar) William de Saperton Henry de Haydock[1]
1330 William de Bradshaigh John de Lancaster[1]
1331 William de Bradshaigh Oliver de Stansmeld[1]
1332 Robert de Dalton Adam de Banastre[1]
1332 (Sep) John de Hornby, jnr Robert de Dalton[1]
1332/3 (Jan) Edmund de Neville John de Hornby, jnr[1]
1333/4 (Feb) Edmund de Nevill Robert de Dalton[1]
1334 Robert de Radcliffe Henry de Haydock[1]
1335 (May) Robert de Sherburne Edmund de Neville[1]
1336 (Mar) John de Sherburne Henry de Haydock[1]
1336 (Sep) John de Hornby, jnr Henry de Haydock[1]
1336/7 (Mar) Robert de Ireland Sir Henry de Haydock[1]
1337 (Sep) Richard de Hoghton Edmund de Neville[1]
1337/8 (Feb) Robert de Billisthorpe Robert de Radcliffe[1]
1338 (Jul) John de Hornby John de Clyderhow[1]
1339 Robert de Clyderhowe Henry de Bickerstaff[1]
1339 (Oct) Nicholas de Hulme Robert de Prescot[1]
1339/40 (Jan) John de Radcliffe Robert de Radcliffe[1]
1340 (Mar) John de Dalton Robert de Dalton[1]
1343 (Apr) John de Haverington John Ungoun[1]
1344 Nicholas le Boteler William de Radcliffe[1]
1346 John de Clyderhow Adam de Bradkirk[1]
1347/8 (Jan) Adam de Hoghton John Cockayne[1]
1348 (Apr) Robert de Plesington Robert de Prescot[1]
1351 Otho de Halsall William de Radcliffe[1]
1351/2 (Jan) ?
1352 (Aug) John de Haverington One knight only summoned [1]
1353 William Cables One knight only summoned [1]
1354 (Apr) William Cables Richard Nowell [1]
1355 Robert de Hornby Roger de Farington [1]
1357 (Apr) John de Haverington Robert de Singleton [1]
1357/8 (Feb) Robert de Farington Robert de Hornby [1]
1360 William de Hesketh Roger de Farington [1]
1360/1 (Jan) William de Radcliffe Richard de Towneley [1]
1362 (Oct) Edmund Lawrence Matthew de Rixton of Rixton Hall [1]
Result set aside as unlawful
1363 (Oct) Adam de Hoghton Roger de Pilkington [1]
1364/5 (Jan) Sir Adam de Houghton Sir Roger de Pilkington [1]
1366 (May) Sir John le Boteler William de Radcliffe [1]
1368 Sir Roger de Pilkington Roger de Ratcliffe [1]
1369 (Jun) Sir John de Dalton John de Ipres [1]
1371 John de Ipres Richard de Towneley [1]
1372 (Nov) Sir Nicholas Haryngton Sir John le Boteler[1]
1373 (Nov) William de Atherton John de Holcroft[1]
1376 (Apr) Sir John le Boteler Roger de Brockholes[1]
1376/7 (Jan) Sir John le Boteler Roger de Pilkington[1]
1377 (Oct) Sir John le Boteler Sir Nicholas Haryngton[1]
1378 Ralph de Ypres Sir John le Boteler[1]
1379 Sir Nicholas Haryngton Robert Urswyk[1]
1380 (Jan) Sir John le Boteler Thomas Southworth [1]
1380 (Nov) Sir John le Boteler Thomas Southworth[1]
1381 (Sep) Sir William de Atherton Robert Urswyk[1]
1382 (May) Sir Roger de Pilkington Robert de Clifton[1]
1382 (Oct) Sir John de Assheton Robert Urswyck[1]
1382/3 (Feb) Sir Richard de Hoghton Robert Clifton[1]
1383 (Oct) John de Holcroft Sir Walter de Urswyk[1]
1384 (Apr) Sir Roger Pilkington Thomas Gerard[1]
1384 (Nov) Robert Urswyk William de Tunstall[1]
1385 Robert Urswyk Thomas de Radcliffe[1]
1386 (Oct) Sir Nicholas Haryngton Robert Worsley[2]
1388 (Feb) Sir John le Boteler Sir Thomas Gerard[2]
1388 (Sep) Sir John Assheton Sir John Croft[2]
1390 (Jan) Sir John Assheton Sir Ralph de Ypres[2]
1390 (Nov) Sir Robert Urswyk Sir John Croft[2]
1391 Sir Robert Urswyk Robert Worsley[2]
1393 Sir Robert Urswyk Sir Ralph de Ypres[2]
1394 Sir Robert Urswyk Sir Thomas Gerard[2]
1395 Sir Robert Urswyk Thomas Radcliffe[2]
1397 (Jan) Sir Robert Urswyk Richard Molyneux[2]
1397 (Sep) Sir John le Boteler Sir Ralph Radcliffe[2]
1399 Sir Robert Urswyk Sir Henry Hoghton[2]
1401 Sir Robert Urswyk Sir Nicholas Atherton[2]
1402 Sir Richard Houghton Sir Nicholas Haryngton[2]
1404 (Jan) Robert Laurence Sir Ralph Radcliffe[2]
1404 (Oct) Sir James Haryngton Sir Ralph Stavely[2]
1406 Robert Laurence Sir William Boteler[2]
1407 Sir Henry Hoghton Sir Ralph Stavely[2]
1411 John de Ashton John Booth[2]
1413 (Feb)
1413 (May) John de Ashton John Stanley[2][3]
1414 (Apr) Ralph Radcliffe Nicholas Blundell[2]
1414 (Nov) Robert Laurence John Stanley[2][3]
1416 (Mar) John de Ashton John Morley[2]
1416 (Oct)
1419 Nicholas le Boteler John Laurence[2]
1420 Richard Shirburne John Booth[2]
1421 (May) Sir Thomas Radcliffe Thomas Urswick[2]
1421 (Dec) Richard Shirburne Sir John Byron[2]
1422 (Nov) Thomas Urswick John Gerard[1]
1423 (Oct) Sir Thomas de Radcliffe Ralph de Radcliffe[1]
1425 (Apr) Ralph Fitz Nicholas Richard de Radcliffe[1]
1425/6 (Feb) Sir John Boteler Nicholas Boteler[1]
1427 (Oct) Ralph de Radcliffe Thomas Stanley[1]
1429 (Sep) Sir John Byron Sir Robert Lawrence[1]
1430/1 (Jan) John de Morley William Gernet[1]
1432 (May) Sir William de Assheton Thomas de Harrington[1]
1433 (Jul) Sir Thomas Stanley Sir Thomas Radcliffe[1]
1435 (Oct) Henry de Halsall Thomas Lawrence[1]
1436/7 (Jan) Thomas de Harrington Henry de Halsall[1]
1439 (Nov) Thomas Stanley Thomas de Harrington[1]
1442 (Jan) Thomas Stanley Thomas de Harrington[1]
1447 Thomas Stanley Thomas de Harrington[1]
1448 Thomas Stanley Thomas de Harrington[1]
1450 Thomas Stanley Thomas de Harrington[1]
1455 Thomas Stanley Alexander Radcliffe[1]
1459 Sir Richard Harrington Henry Halsall[1]
1460 Sir Richard Harrington Henry Halsall[1]
1463 (Apr) ?
1467 (Jun) Sir James Harrington Sir William Harrington[1]
1472 (Oct) Robert Harrington John Assheton (grandson of MP of 1413)
1477/8 (Jan) Sir George Stanley Sir James Harrington[1]
1482/3 (Jan) ?
1483-1523 Not known [4]
1503 Sir Thomas Butler Sir John Booth [5]
1529 Henry Farington Andrew Barton[4]
1536 ?
1539 ?
1542 ?
1545 Sir Thomas Holcroft John Kitchen[4]
1547 Thurstan Tyldesley John Kitchen[4]
1553 (Mar) Sir Richard Houghton sick 1553
and replaced by
Sir Robert Worsley
Thomas Butler[4]
1553 (Oct) Sir Richard Sherborn John Rigmayden[4]
1554 (Apr) Sir Thomas Stanley Sir Thomas Langton[4]
1554 (Nov) Sir Thomas Stanley Sir John Holcroft[4]
1555 Sir Thomas Stanley Sir William Stanley[4]
1558 Sir Thomas Talbot Sir John Holcroft[4]
1559 (Jan) Sir John Atherton Sir Robert Worsley[6]
1562–1563 Sir Thomas Gerard of Bryn Sir John Southworth[6]
1571 John Ratcliffe Thomas Butler[6]
1572 John Ratcliffe Edmund Trafford[6]
1584 (Nov) Gilbert Gerard made Master of the Rolls
and replaced Jan 1585 by
Richard Bold [7]
Richard Molyneux[6]
1586 John Atherton Richard Holland[6]
1588 (Oct) Thomas Gerard, sat for Staffs
and repl. by
Thomas Walmsley[6]
1593 Sir Richard Molyneux Sir Thomas Gerard[6]
1597 (Nov) Sir Thomas Gerard Robert Hesketh[6]
1601 Sir Richard Hoghton Thomas Hesketh[6]
1604 Sir Richard Molyneux Sir Richard Hoghton
1614 Sir Thomas Gerard, 1st Baronet Sir Cuthbert Halsall
1621-1622 Sir John Ratcliffe Sir Gilbert Hoghton
1624 Sir John Ratcliffe Sir Thomas Walmsley
1625 Sir Richard Molyneux, Bt Sir John Ratcliffe
1626 Robert Stanley Sir Gilbert Hoghton
1628-1629 Sir Richard Molyneux Sir Alexander Radcliffe
1629–1640 No Parliaments summoned
1640 (Apr) Sir Gilbert Hoghton, 2nd Baronet William Farrington
1640 (Nov) Ralph Assheton Roger Kirkby, disabled August 1642
1645 Ralph Assheton Sir Richard Hoghton, 3rd Baronet
1648 Ralph Assheton Sir Richard Hoghton, 3rd Baronet


Parliament First member Second member Third member (1653–1659) Fourth member (1654–1659)
1653 William West John Sawry Robert Cunliffe N/A
1654 Richard Holland Gilbert Ireland Richard Standish William Ashurst
1656 Sir Richard Hoghton, 3rd Baronet
1659 Sir George Booth, Bt Alexander Rigby N/A N/A


Election 1st Member [8] 1st Party 2nd Member [8] 2nd Party
1660 Sir Robert Bindlosse, 1st Baronet Roger Bradshaigh
1661 Hon. Edward Stanley
1665 Thomas Preston
1679 (Feb) Viscount Brandon Peter Bold
1679 (Sep) Sir Charles Hoghton, 4th Baronet
1681 Viscount Brandon Sir Charles Hoghton, 4th Baronet
1685 James Holt Roger Bradshaigh
1689 Viscount Brandon Sir Charles Hoghton, 4th Baronet
1690 Hon. James Stanley
1694 Ralph Assheton
1698 Hon. Fitton Gerard
1701 (Feb) Richard Bold Tory
1703 Richard Assheton
1704 Richard Fleetwood
1705 Hon. Charles Zedenno Stanley Whig Richard Shuttleworth Tory
1713 Sir John Bland
1727 Sir Edward Stanley
1736 Peter Bold Tory
1741 Lord Strange
1750 Peter Bold Tory
1761 James Shuttleworth
1768 Lord Archibald Hamilton
1771 The Earl of Sefton
1772 Sir Thomas Egerton
1774 Lord Stanley
1776 Thomas Stanley
1780 Thomas Stanley
1784 John Blackburne
1812 Lord Stanley
1830 John Wilson-Patten Tory
1831 Benjamin Heywood


The county franchise, from 1430, was held by the adult male owners of freehold land valued at 40 shillings or more. Each elector had as many votes as there were seats to be filled. Votes had to be cast by a spoken declaration, in public, at the hustings, which took place in the county town of Lancaster. The expense and difficulty of voting at only one location in the county, together with the lack of a secret ballot contributed to the corruption and intimidation of electors, which was widespread in the unreformed British political system.

The expense, to candidates, of contested elections encouraged the leading families of the county to agree on the candidates to be returned unopposed whenever possible. Contested county elections were therefore unusual. The Stanleys, led by the Earl of Derby dominated the county. One seat was nearly always held by a Stanley relative, the second, by one of the other leading families.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg "The parliamentary representation of Lancashire". 1889. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa "History of Parliament". Retrieved 30 August 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Stanley, John (d.1437), of Knowsley and Lathom, Lancs., lord of the Isle of Man". History of Parliament. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "History of Parliament". Retrieved 30 August 2011.
  5. ^ Cavill. The English Parliaments of Henry VII 1485-1504.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "History of Parliament". Retrieved 30 August 2011.
  7. ^ "Gerard, Sir Gilbert (d.1593), of Ince, Lancs. and Gerrard's Bromley, Staffs.". History of Parliament. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  8. ^ a b Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "L" (part 1)