Caithness (UK Parliament constituency)


Caithness was a county constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1708 to 1801 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1918.

Caithness
Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
17081918
Replaced byCaithness and Sutherland
Created fromCaithness

Creation


The British parliamentary constituency was created in 1708 following the Acts of Union, 1707 and replaced the former Parliament of Scotland shire constituency of Caithness-shire.

History


From 1708 to 1832 Caithness and Buteshire were paired as alternating constituencies: one of the constituencies elected a Member of Parliament (MP) to one parliament, the other to the next. The areas which were covered by the two constituencies are quite remote from each other, Caithness in the northeast of Scotland and Buteshire in the southwest.[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] From 1832 to 1918 Caithness was represented continuously by its own MP.

The constituency elected one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system until the seat was abolished in 1918.

Boundaries


From 1708 to 1832, the Caithness constituency covered the county of Caithness minus the parliamentary burgh of Wick, which was a component of the Tain Burghs constituency. In 1832, Wick retained its status as a parliamentary burgh and became a component of the Wick Burghs constituency.

By 1892, Caithness had become a local government county and, throughout Scotland, under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889, county boundaries had been redefined for all purposes except parliamentary representation. 26 years were to elapse before constituency boundaries were redrawn, by the Representation of the People Act 1918, to take account of new local government boundaries.

In 1918, the Caithness and Sutherland county constituency was created. The Caithness and Sutherland constituency was created to cover the county of Caithness and the county of Sutherland. The Wick Burghs constituency was abolished and two of its former components, Wick and Dornoch, were merged into the new Caithness and Sutherland constituency.

Members of Parliament


MPs 1708 to 1832

ElectionMemberParty
1708none
1710Sir James Dunbar, 1st Baronet
1713none
1715Sir Robert Gordon, 4th Baronet
1722none
1727Sir Patrick Dunbar, 3rd Baronet
1734none
1741Alexander Brodie
1747none
1754John Scott
1761none
1768Viscount Fortrose
1774none
1780John SinclairWhig
1784none
1790Sir John Sinclair, BtWhig
1796none
1802Sir John Sinclair, BtWhig
1806none
1807Sir John Sinclair, BtWhig
1811George SinclairWhig
1812none
1818George SinclairWhig
1820none
1826James SinclairNon Partisan
1830none
1831George SinclairWhig[6]

MPs 1832 to 1918

ElectionMemberParty
1832 George Sinclair Whig[6]
1837 Conservative[6][7][8]
1841 George Traill Whig[6][7][8][9]
1859 Liberal
1869 Sir John Sinclair, Bt Independent Liberal
1874 Liberal
1885 Gavin Brown Clark Independent Liberal/Crofters
1886 Liberal/Crofters
1900 Leicester Harmsworth Liberal
1918 constituency abolished

Elections


Elections in the 1840s

As the alternating pair Buteshire returned the MP for the 1830 general election. The 1831 result is compared to the 1830 result at Buteshire.

General election 1831: Caithness-shire[6][10]
Party Candidate Votes %
Whig George Sinclair Unopposed
Registered electors 46
Whig gain from Tory
General election 1832: Caithness-shire[6][11]
Party Candidate Votes %
Whig George Sinclair Unopposed
Registered electors 221
Whig hold
General election 1835: Caithness-shire[6][11]
Party Candidate Votes %
Whig George Sinclair Unopposed
Registered electors 246
Whig hold
General election 1837: Caithness-shire[6][11]
Party Candidate Votes %
Conservative George Sinclair 129 54.9
Whig George Traill 106 45.1
Majority 23 9.8
Turnout 235 70.6
Registered electors 333
Conservative gain from Whig

Elections in the 1840s

General election 1841: Caithness-shire[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Whig George Traill Unopposed
Registered electors 420
Whig gain from Conservative
General election 1847: Caithness-shire[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Whig George Traill Unopposed
Registered electors 571
Whig hold

Elections in the 1850s

General election 1852: Caithness-shire[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Whig George Traill 147 58.1 N/A
Independent Liberal John Sinclair[12] 106 41.9 New
Majority 41 16.2 N/A
Turnout 253 39.4 N/A
Registered electors 642
Whig hold Swing N/A
General election 1857: Caithness-shire[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Whig George Traill Unopposed
Registered electors 779
Whig hold
General election 1859: Caithness-shire[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal George Traill Unopposed
Registered electors 789
Liberal hold

Elections in the 1860s

General election 1865: Caithness-shire[11][13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal George Traill Unopposed
Registered electors 512
Liberal hold
General election 1868: Caithness-shire[11][13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal George Traill 512 68.4 N/A
Conservative James Horne 237 31.6 New
Majority 275 36.8 N/A
Turnout 749 74.5 N/A
Registered electors 1,005
Liberal hold Swing N/A

Traill resigned, causing a by-election.

By-election, 26 Aug 1869: Caithness[11][13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent Liberal John Sinclair[14] 432 54.5 New
Liberal James Christie Traill[15] 360 45.5 22.9
Majority 72 9.0 N/A
Turnout 792 78.8 +4.3
Registered electors 1,005
Independent Liberal gain from Liberal Swing N/A

Elections in the 1870s

General election 1874: Caithness-shire[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal John Sinclair 452 50.7 17.7
Conservative William Kidston[16] 439 49.3 +17.7
Majority 13 1.4 35.4
Turnout 891 79.1 +4.6
Registered electors 1,126
Liberal hold Swing 17.7

Elections in the 1880s

General election 1880: Caithness-shire[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal John Sinclair 696 65.4 +14.7
Conservative Alexander Henderson[17] 369 34.6 14.7
Majority 327 30.8 +29.4
Turnout 1,065 84.3 +5.2
Registered electors 1,263
Liberal hold Swing +14.7
Clark
General election 1885: Caithness-shire[18][19]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent Liberal (Crofters) Gavin Brown Clark 2,110 63.4 New
Liberal Clarence Granville Sinclair 1,218 36.6 28.8
Majority 892 26.8 N/A
Turnout 3,328 77.0 7.3
Registered electors 4,320
Independent Liberal gain from Liberal Swing N/A
General election 1886: Caithness-shire[18][19]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal (Crofters) Gavin Brown Clark 2,034 77.7 +31.1
Liberal Unionist Robert Niven 584 22.3 New
Majority 1,450 55.4 +28.6
Turnout 2,618 60.6 16.4
Registered electors 4,320
Liberal gain from Independent Liberal

Elections in the 1890s

General election 1892: Caithness-shire[19][20]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal (Crofters) Gavin Brown Clark 2,134 75.5 2.2
Liberal Unionist William James Bell 693 24.5 +2.2
Majority 1,441 51.0 4.4
Turnout 2,827 71.8 +11.2
Registered electors 3,936
Liberal hold Swing -2.2
General election 1895: Caithness-shire[19][21]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal (Crofters) Gavin Brown Clark 1,828 77.6 +2.1
Liberal Unionist John Cowper 528 22.4 -2.1
Majority 1,300 55.2 +4.2
Turnout 2,356 59.3 -12.5
Registered electors 3,976
Liberal hold Swing +2.1

Elections in the 1900s

General election 1900: Caithness-shire[19][21]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Leicester Harmsworth 1,189 37.5 40.1
Conservative David Patrick Henderson 1,161 36.7 +14.3
Crofters Gavin Brown Clark 673 21.3 New
Land Law Reform Association of Caithness F.C. Auld 141 4.5 New
Majority 28 0.8 54.4
Turnout 3,164 78.3 +19.0
Registered electors 4,043
Liberal hold Swing 27.2
General election 1906: Caithness-shire[22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Leicester Harmsworth 2,686 84.8 +47.3
Conservative Keith Fraser 483 15.2 21.5
Majority 2,203 69.6 +68.8
Turnout 3,169 77.5 0.8
Registered electors 4,091
Liberal hold Swing +34.4

Elections in the 1910s

General election Jan 1910: Caithness-shire[23]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Leicester Harmsworth 2,643 81.8 -3.0
Conservative Laurence Strain 590 18.2 +3.0
Majority 2,053 63.6 -6.0
Turnout 3,233 82.0 +4.5
Liberal hold Swing -3.0
Harmsworth
General election Dec 1910: Caithness-shire[23]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Leicester Harmsworth 2,718 96.9 +15.1
Ind. Conservative Archibald Macleod 87 3.1 New
Majority 2,631 93.8 +30.2
Turnout 2,805 66.8 -15.2
Liberal hold

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;

References


  1. "Caithness". History of Parliament Online (1690-1715). Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  2. "Caithness". History of Parliament Online (1715-1754). Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  3. "Caithness". History of Parliament Online (1754-1790). Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  4. "Caithness". History of Parliament Online (1790-1820). Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  5. "Caithness". History of Parliament Online (1820-1832). Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  6. Smith, Henry Stooks (1842). The Register of Parliamentary Contested Elections (Second ed.). Simpkin, Marshall & Company. p. 198. Retrieved 11 September 2018 via Google Books.
  7. "Latest State of Polls". Leeds Intelligencer. 12 August 1837. p. 4. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  8. "The County Elections". Newcastle Journal. 12 August 1837. p. 2. Retrieved 11 September 2018 via British Newspaper Archive.
  9. Rigg, James McMullen (1892). "Laing, Samuel" . In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 31. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  10. "Caithness". The History of Parliament. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  11. Craig, F. W. S., ed. (1977). British Parliamentary Election Results 1832-1885 (e-book) (1st ed.). London: Macmillan Press. ISBN 978-1-349-02349-3.
  12. "The County Election". John o'Groat Journal. 23 July 1852. p. 2. Retrieved 11 September 2018 via British Newspaper Archive.
  13. Debrett's House of Commons, 1870
  14. "Caithness-shire". Liverpool Mercury. 25 August 1869. p. 6. Retrieved 31 January 2018 via British Newspaper Archive.
  15. "Caithness". Inverness Courier. 26 August 1869. p. 5. Retrieved 31 January 2018 via British Newspaper Archive.
  16. "The New Parliament". Wrexham Advertiser. 14 February 1874. p. 8. Retrieved 28 December 2017 via British Newspaper Archive.
  17. "Nominations Yesterday". London Daily News. 3 April 1880. p. 6. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  18. Debrett's House of Commons and the Judicial Bench, 1889
  19. Craig, FWS, ed. (1974). British Parliamentary Election Results: 1885-1918. London: Macmillan Press. ISBN 9781349022984.
  20. Whitaker's Almanack, 1893
  21. Debrett's House of Commons and the Judicial Bench, 1901
  22. Whitaker's Almanack, 1907
  23. Debrett's House of Commons and the Judicial Bench, 1916

Sources