1812 election notice from the Enoch Wood scrapbook - "Brother Freeholders..."

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Date:1st of June 1812

Description:In the early 19th century, one factor alone decided whether or not men could vote - while women were denied completely:

  • You had to own or be a tenant of freehold property worth at least 40 shillings.

  • Although this is only £82 in today's money, few people could claim this sort of wealth.

    This notice, signed 'A Freeholder,' dismisses the claims of an aspiring Member of Parliament, Sir John Wrottesley.


    There was a tradition of 'independence' at this time, long before today's party politics had evolved.

    Voters and opinion-formers often rounded on candidates who might abandon local issues.

    "Fettered and shackled..."

    This notice criticises Wrottesley for being "fettered and shackled with all the restrictions of a party."

    The authors continue:

    Brother Freeholders, Sir John Wrottesley is coming, not as a free agent, not a man depending on his own judgment, or on the aggregate judgment of his Constituents, but under the direction of a Junta, he is presuming to dictate to us, their opinions and principles, and you will easily perceive he is acting under their instructions.

    They argue that electors should vote for an untried candidate named Walhouse:

    He has one advantage, at least over his opponent, he has not been found wanting.

    About this document

    This document, printed by John Tregortha of Burslem, was collected by pottery manufacturer Enoch Wood and is now among the collections at Stoke-on-Trent Museums.


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