Electoral Lists & Registers

Scope and Content

By the Representation of the People Act, 2 and 3 Wm, c.45 (1832) overseers of the poor were to deliver annually the list of voters for each parish to the high constable; the latter forwarded them to the clerk of the peace to be passed to the revising barrister.

He ruled on claims for inclusion on the register and objections to names already included, revised the lists and returned them for preservation among the quarter session records, often via the Denbighshire Constabulary. The clerk of the peace was then to copy the revised lists into a book,to assign a serial number to each name and deliver the book to the sheriff or undersheriff to be the register of electors for the ensuing year and to have it printed. The Act of 1832 enlarged the county franchise to include men aged 21 or over possessing copyhold property to the value of £10 per annum, leaseholders of £50, and long leaseholders of £10, in addition to freeholders of 40s.Od. Further extensions to the franchise were made by the Reform Acts of 1867 and 1884.

The lists of claims and objections are arranged according to the year and within each year by hundreds until 1844 and by polling district from 1846.

The lists and registers provide the name of the voter, his abode, the nature of his property, qualification and the place where the property is situated.

In the list below, the word 'lists' can refer to a number of types of documents:

1. Manuscript parish returns (1833-60). These are the lists of claimants sent in by the parish overseer to the clerk of the peace for the attention of the revising barrister.

These sometimes contain additional information: occupations, alterations in residence and whether the voter died or left the parish.

2. Drafts of the printed registers, usually based on the previous year's register with amendments.

3. Unbound copies of the printed register.

Lists can be incomplete in two ways: (1) where details for certain parishes have not survived, (2) where electors lists 'B' and 'C' only have survived, containing names of newly qualified electors and electors no longer qualified.

From 1832, Denbighshire returned 2 members of parliament, one for the county constituency and a second for the Denbigh Boroughs constituency. The Redistribution of Seats Act, 48 and 49 Vict., c.23 (1885) divided Denbighshire into 3 constituencies: Western (also known as Denbigh); Eastern (also known as Wrexham); and the Denbigh Boroughs constituency (the boroughs of Denbigh, Holt, Ruthin and Wrexham). The Denbigh Boroughs constituency was amalgamated with the two county constituencies in 1918. Since 1974 the registers have been prepared by the district councils; copies are available in the office.

The registers and lists described here contain until 1889 only the names of those who were entitled to vote in elections for the county constituency; for registers of voters for the Denbigh Boroughs constituency 1832-54 see DD/DM/234/1 and BD/A/219-236; for Holt 1867 see DD/DM/234/2; and for Holt 1898 see DD/DM/311/15.

Related Material

UDD/A/1/229-233, BD/D/1/133-134