257 voters



In the general election of July 1802, 257 people voted. There were 6 candidates, with John Fownes Luttrell I & John Patteson elected.

Poll book data from:
Holding: Somerset Heritage Centre
Citation: DD/L/1/60/14/17
Source: Edmund Green

Timeline & Key Statistics

Contexts & Remarks

  • Dates: Tuesday 13 July 1802.
  • Poll book reference: Somerset Heritage Centre, DD/L/1/60/14/17.
  • Following the general election of 1796, both the Luttrells and John Langston attempted to consolidate their electoral interest in Minehead. John Fownes Luttrell consulted the leading townsmen, who advised him to reward his loyal supporters, evict any tenants who had voted against him, and fund some improvements to the town (Somerset Heritage Centre, DD/L/1/59/13/18).
  • In 1802, there were four candidates at the beginning of polling: John Fownes Luttrell and John Patteson (a paying incomer in Luttrell's interest) emerged victorious against John Langston and James Woodbridge. On the final day of polling, another two candidates were nominated ? Peter Cazalet and David Walters ? which was probably arranged by Langston in order to assist with any future petition proceedings (since they could not be accused of bribery or any other misconduct).
  • Ahead of the election, Luttrell's agent William Leigh ordered some ribbons 'ready to hoist' in case the other side appeared in the town, and a flag emblazoned with the phrase 'Old True Blue' from Bristol (DD/L/1/60/15/1j).
  • Langston and Woodbridge petitioned the result, accusing the returning officers of partiality and Luttrell of treating voters after the teste of the writ (which Luttrell had attempted to avoid by treating in the name of his friend John Lethbridge). However, they were uncertain of success and ultimately, after a long negotiation, Langston sold his property in Minehead to Luttrell in 1803 for £7,000.
  • The poll book, which forms part of the Luttrell family papers, includes 'Observations' about rejected or absent voters. It is endorsed 'A List of the Voters belonging to the Borough of Minehead and for whom they voted at the Election in July 1802'. Including those marked as absent, the poll book lists a potential 304 voters, of which 282 cast their votes (equating to a 93% turnout). A canvass books survives for this election in which townsmen are listed alongside both 'Proofs to Support' and 'Proofs to Disqualify' their votes. In some cases, where the voter's intentions were unclear, notes have been added to both columns (DD/L/1/60/14/13).

Cultural Artefacts

Poll Book

Below is a digitised version of the poll book for this election:

Features related to this Election