Soke of Peterborough
The Soke
Soke (legal)
The term soke ), at the time of the Norman Conquest of England generally denoted "jurisdiction", but due to vague usage probably lacks a single precise definition....

 of Peterborough
is an historic area of England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 that is traditionally associated with the City and Diocese of Peterborough, but considered part of Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire is a landlocked county in the English East Midlands, with a population of 629,676 as at the 2001 census. It has boundaries with the ceremonial counties of Warwickshire to the west, Leicestershire and Rutland to the north, Cambridgeshire to the east, Bedfordshire to the south-east,...

. It was also described as the Liberty
Liberty (division)
Originating in the Middle Ages, a liberty was traditionally defined as an area in which regalian rights were revoked and where land was held by a mesne lord...

 of Peterborough, or Nassaburgh hundred and comprised, besides Peterborough, about 30 parishes.

Today the area forms much of the City of Peterborough unitary authority area, in the ceremonial county of Cambridgeshire
Cambridgeshire is a county in England, bordering Lincolnshire to the north, Norfolk to the northeast, Suffolk to the east, Essex and Hertfordshire to the south, and Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire to the west...

. The Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

, however, still describes the diocese as consisting of Northamptonshire, Rutland
Rutland is a landlocked county in central England, bounded on the west and north by Leicestershire, northeast by Lincolnshire and southeast by Peterborough and Northamptonshire....

 and the Soke of Peterborough (i.e. the part of the city north of the River Nene
River Nene
The River Nene is a river in the east of England that rises from three sources in the county of Northamptonshire. The tidal river forms the border between Cambridgeshire and Norfolk for about . It is the tenth longest river in the United Kingdom, and is navigable for from Northampton to The...



During the Saxon
Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

 period the lord of the hundred had the power, or liberty, of holding a court and administering justice within its boundaries, and this system was subsequently continued by the Abbots of Peterborough, who either enforced in person, as lords, the observance of the ancient socage
Socage was one of the feudal duties and hence land tenure forms in the feudal system. A farmer, for example, held the land in exchange for a clearly defined, fixed payment to be made at specified intervals to his feudal lord, who in turn had his own feudal obligations, to the farmer and to the Crown...

 laws and customs, or appointed a deputy to act for them. On the establishment of Quarter Sessions
Quarter Sessions
The Courts of Quarter Sessions or Quarter Sessions were local courts traditionally held at four set times each year in the United Kingdom and other countries in the former British Empire...

 in 1349, the separate jurisdiction of the Soke was still maintained as distinct from that of the county of Northampton
Northampton is a large market town and local government district in the East Midlands region of England. Situated about north-west of London and around south-east of Birmingham, Northampton lies on the River Nene and is the county town of Northamptonshire. The demonym of Northampton is...

; and, except for parliamentary purposes and matters relating to the militia, it was entirely independent of that county. Quarter Sessions for the liberty were held at the Sessions House in Peterborough, and petty sessions at the same place.
The civil government of the liberty was vested in the Marquess of Exeter
Marquess of Exeter
Marquess of Exeter is a title that has been created twice, once in the Peerage of England and once in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. The first creation came in the Peerage of England in 1525 for Henry Courtenay, 2nd Earl of Devon...

, as Lord Paramount of Peterborough and custos rotulorum
Custos rotulorum
Custos rotulorum is the keeper of an English county's records and, by virtue of that office, the highest civil officer in the county...

; around 40 magistrate
A magistrate is an officer of the state; in modern usage the term usually refers to a judge or prosecutor. This was not always the case; in ancient Rome, a magistratus was one of the highest government officers and possessed both judicial and executive powers. Today, in common law systems, a...

s appointed by the crown; and a high bailiff of the city appointed by the dean
Dean (religion)
A dean, in a church context, is a cleric holding certain positions of authority within a religious hierarchy. The title is used mainly in the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church.-Anglican Communion:...

 and chapter
Chapter (religion)
Chapter designates certain corporate ecclesiastical bodies in the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Nordic Lutheran churches....

 of Peterborough Cathedral
Peterborough Cathedral
Peterborough Cathedral, properly the Cathedral Church of St Peter, St Paul and St Andrew – also known as Saint Peter's Cathedral in the United Kingdom – is the seat of the Bishop of Peterborough, dedicated to Saint Peter, Saint Paul and Saint Andrew, whose statues look down from the...

. The Soke had its own magistrates, who were appointed by the Lord Paramount, acting under a commission of oyer and terminer
Oyer and terminer
In English law, Oyer and terminer was the Law French name, meaning "to hear and determine", for one of the commissions by which a judge of assize sat...

, and gaol delivery, as well as under the ordinary commission, and the magistrates for the liberty retained the power of hanging a criminal in cases of murder, which in fact they exercised so late as the year 1812. The Local Jurisdictions Act 1820, though giving the liberty bench the power to commit (for murder only) to the county Assizes
Assize or Assizes may refer to:Assize or Assizes may refer to:Assize or Assizes may refer to::;in common law countries :::*assizes , an obsolete judicial inquest...

, did not abridge their full rights of gaol delivery. The Soke had also a separate rate
Rates (tax)
Rates are a type of property tax system in the United Kingdom, and in places with systems deriving from the British one, the proceeds of which are used to fund local government...

, out of which all payments were made, and a separate police force, the Liberty of Peterborough Constabulary, appointed by and under the control of the magistrates of the Soke. In 1874, the City of Peterborough was granted a Charter of Incorporation and the new council was required to appoint a Watch Committee and constabulary.Incorporation of Peterborough: Report of the enquiry held at the New Hall by Major Donnelly J.S. Clarke, Peterborough, 1873 The two were eventually amalgamated in 1946 to form the Peterborough Combined Police Force.

In the provisions of the County and Borough Police Act 1856
County and Borough Police Act 1856
The County and Borough Police Act 1856 was an Act of Parliament passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Act made it compulsory for a police force to be established in any county which had not previously formed a constabulary....

, the Weights and Measures Act 1878 and the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act 1878, the Liberty of Peterborough, like that of the Isle of Ely
Isle of Ely
The Isle of Ely is a historic region around the city of Ely now in Cambridgeshire, England but previously a county in its own right.-Etymology:...

, was in each instance treated as a separate county.

Quarter Sessions

The liberty justices in Quarter Sessions had long held powers in excess of those of most other Quarter Sessions. They could try and decide many serious crimes, including treason and murder, which normally could only be heard and determined in a Court of Assize, and in view of the special powers of the liberty justices, a Judge of Assize had no power to act in the Soke of Peterborough. Until the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries
Dissolution of the Monasteries
The Dissolution of the Monasteries, sometimes referred to as the Suppression of the Monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland; appropriated their...

, the abbot had been empowered to appoint Justices of the Peace for the Hundred, or Liberty, of Nassaburgh. When Peterborough Monastery was dissolved in 1539 Abbot Chambers was made the first Bishop of Peterborough
Bishop of Peterborough
The Bishop of Peterborough is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Peterborough in the Province of Canterbury.The diocese covers the counties of Northamptonshire, Rutland and the Soke of Peterborough in Cambridgeshire...

, and the following year Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 granted three Commissions of the Peace to the coterminous Liberty of Peterborough. They were:
  • The Commission of the Peace for the appointment of Justices to sit in Petty Sessional Courts and exercise the ordinary duties of the magistracy;
  • The Commission for Gaol Delivery, and
  • The Commission of Oyer and Terminer, that is to hear and determine, which empowered the Justices of the Liberty to hear assize offences at Quarter Sessions.

The last commission gave to the justices of the liberty, power to enquire more fully "... by the oath of good and lawful men of the Liberty of Peterborough, by whom the truth of the matter may be better known and by other ways, means and methods by which they shall or better know, of the treasons ... insurrections ... rebellions, counterfeitings, clippings, wastings, false comings ... murders, felonies, manslaughters ... and many other grave offences mentioned therein which in other counties are only triable by a Judge of Assize, and the Justices are commanded at days appointed for this purpose to make diligent enquiries into and to hear and determine the above mentioned offences."

In 1877 Queen Victoria
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

 confirmed these commissions and endorsed the ancient privileges of jurisdiction of the liberty justices and at the same time excluded the High Sheriff of Northamptonshire
High Sheriff of Northamptonshire
This is a list of the High Sheriffs of Northamptonshire.The High Sheriff is the oldest secular office under the Crown. Formerly the High Sheriff was the principal law enforcement officer in the county but over the centuries most of the responsibilities associated with the post have been...

 from exercising his authority in the Soke. The commissions of oyer and terminer and gaol delivery were not renewed by the monarchs immediately succeeding Queen Victoria and in 1920 the Court of Criminal Appeal
Court of Criminal Appeal
The Court of Criminal Appeal is the name of existing courts of Scotland and Ireland, and an historic court in England and Wales.- Ireland :See Court of Criminal Appeal ...

 quashed a conviction recorded at Peterborough Quarter Sessions. It was held that three of the liberty magistrates adjudicating at the hearing were not in order, as the assize authority of the court then derived from commissions granted during the reign of Queen Victoria. The three justices in question had been appointed to the commission of the peace subsequent to her death and only justices appointed during her reign were in order in adjudicating at such a court. This resulted in a renewal of the commissions in continuation of the ancient assize jurisdiction, and an announcement was made at the Easter Quarter Sessions in 1921 that "whatever may have happened as a result of a recent case in the Court of Criminal Appeal by authority of this Commission now granted, this Court will continue to exercise this ancient jurisdiction in the same manner as it has done under similar commissions since the days of Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

." In fact, the justices of the liberty did not exercise their full powers, although they were always jealous of their special and historic privileges.
In 1949, the Marquess of Exeter
William Cecil, 5th Marquess of Exeter
William Thomas Brownlow Cecil, 5th Marquess of Exeter KG CMG TD , known as Lord Burghley from 1895 to 1898, was a British peer....

 moved an amendment in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 to the Justices of the Peace Bill. This was necessary to safeguard the special position of the liberty jurisdiction as the new Bill provided there should be a separate commission of the peace for every administrative county and county borough
County borough
County borough is a term introduced in 1889 in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland , to refer to a borough or a city independent of county council control. They were abolished by the Local Government Act 1972 in England and Wales, but continue in use for lieutenancy and shrievalty in...

 and not for any other area. Accordingly, an amendment was accepted by the Lord Chancellor
Lord Chancellor
The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

 and the following paragraph was included in the Act:—

In accepting the amendment the Lord Chancellor said that in murder cases this ancient jurisdiction had survived all these years only because it had never been exercised and he added, "if the justices ever appear to act upon the powers they possess, I shall be the first to come and remove those powers for them."

The Courts of Assize and Quarter Sessions were eventually abolished in England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 and Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 by the Courts Act 1971
Courts Act 1971
The Courts Act 1971 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom the purpose of which was to reform and modernise the courts system of England and Wales....

 and replaced by a single permanent Crown Court
Crown Court
The Crown Court of England and Wales is, together with the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal, one of the constituent parts of the Senior Courts of England and Wales...


Administrative county

Under an amendment by Lord Exeter
William Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Exeter
William Alleyne Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Exeter PC , styled Lord Burghley between 1825 and 1867, was a British peer and Conservative politician...

 to the Local Government Act 1888
Local Government Act 1888
The Local Government Act 1888 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which established county councils and county borough councils in England and Wales...

, the Soke became a separate administrative county
Administrative county
An administrative county was an administrative division in England and Wales and Ireland used for the purposes of local government. They are now abolished, although in Northern Ireland their former areas are used as the basis for lieutenancy....

 in its own right, distinct from the remainder of Northamptonshire. An elected county council
County council
A county council is the elected administrative body governing an area known as a county. This term has slightly different meanings in different countries.-United Kingdom:...

, consisting of a chairman, 10 aldermen, and 30 councillors, took over the administrative functions of the Quarter Sessions and had its meetings at the Guildhall; but this formal change hid a great deal of continuity, as Justices of the Peace were often elected councillors, the Clerk of the Peace became the Clerk to the Council and so on. During its life the county council gradually acquired more powers, such as taking over the functions of school boards in 1902, boards of guardians
Board of Guardians
Boards of guardians were ad hoc authorities that administered Poor Law in the United Kingdom from 1835 to 1930.-England and Wales:The boards were created by the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834, replacing the parish Overseers of the Poor established under the old poor law, following the recommendations...

 in 1930 and various town planning and housing responsibilities from 1949. As the fire authority
Fire Authority
In England and Wales a fire authority or fire and rescue authority is a statutory body made up of a committee of local councillors which oversees the policy and service delivery of a fire and rescue service...

, under the Fire Services Act 1947
Fire Services Act 1947
-General Arrangement of the Act:-Scotland:The FRSA 2004 extended only to England and Wales, thus leaving the FSA 1947 in force in Scotland. Most of the 1947 Act was later repealed by the FSA 2005, which left ss...

, the county council also retained Peterborough Volunteer Fire Brigade
Peterborough Volunteer Fire Brigade
In the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, the use of retained firefighters rather than volunteers is standard. The Peterborough Volunteer Fire Brigade, formed in 1884, is the only one of its kind remaining...

, one of few of its kind.

The Soke county council was granted a coat of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 by the College of Arms
College of Arms
The College of Arms, or Heralds’ College, is an office regulating heraldry and granting new armorial bearings for England, Wales and Northern Ireland...

 in 1950. The design placed the crossed keys of Saint Peter
Saint Peter
Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian leader, who is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The son of John or of Jonah and from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, his brother Andrew was also an apostle...

 from the arms of the Diocese of Peterborough on the silver and blue barry field of the arms of the Cecil family, Marquesses of Exeter, who held the chairmanship of the council for most of its existence. The crest was an ermine lion from the Cecil arms rising from a mural crown
Mural crown
-Usage in ancient times:In Hellenistic culture, a mural crown identified the goddess Tyche, the embodiment of the fortune of a city, familiar to Romans as Fortuna...

 emblematic of local government. The lion held two wheatears, symbolising agriculture. The Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

A motto is a phrase meant to formally summarize the general motivation or intention of a social group or organization. A motto may be in any language, but Latin is the most used. The local language is usual in the mottoes of governments...

 adopted by the council was Cor Unum, part of the Cecil motto Cor Unum, Via Una or One Heart, One Way.

The Local Government Act 1894
Local Government Act 1894
The Local Government Act 1894 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that reformed local government in England and Wales outside the County of London. The Act followed the reforms carried out at county level under the Local Government Act 1888...

 divided the Soke into three districts; the existent city
City status in the United Kingdom
City status in the United Kingdom is granted by the British monarch to a select group of communities. The holding of city status gives a settlement no special rights other than that of calling itself a "city". Nonetheless, this appellation carries its own prestige and, consequently, competitions...

 (1541) and municipal borough
Municipal borough
Municipal boroughs were a type of local government district which existed in England and Wales between 1835 and 1974, in Northern Ireland from 1840 to 1973 and in the Republic of Ireland from 1840 to 2002...

 (1874) of Peterborough, and the two rural districts of Peterborough
Peterborough Rural District
Peterborough was a rural district adjoining the city and municipal borough of Peterborough from 1894 to 1974. The council offices were at 51 Priestgate, in the city of Peterborough....

 and Barnack
Barnack Rural District
Barnack was a rural district in the Soke of Peterborough and later Huntingdon and Peterborough from 1894 to 1974.It was created in 1894 under the Local Government Act 1894, from that part of the Stamford rural sanitary district which was in the Soke Barnack was a rural district in the Soke of...

. The administrative county had an area of approximately 83 ½ square miles (216.37 km²) with only one, minor, boundary change in its lifetime. The county's population recorded at each census
Census in the United Kingdom
Coincident full censuses have taken place in the different jurisdictions of the United Kingdom every ten years since 1801, with the exceptions of 1941 and in both Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State in 1921; simultaneous censuses were taken in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, with...

 since 1901 was as follows:
Year Population
1901 41,122
1911 44,718
1921 46,959
1931 51,839
1941 58,303
1951 63,791
1961 74,758

In 1961, the last year for which figures are available, the breakdown was as follows:
District Population Area (acres)
Peterborough MB
Peterborough is a cathedral city and unitary authority area in the East of England, with an estimated population of in June 2007. For ceremonial purposes it is in the county of Cambridgeshire. Situated north of London, the city stands on the River Nene which flows into the North Sea...

62,340 10,023
Peterborough RD
Peterborough Rural District
Peterborough was a rural district adjoining the city and municipal borough of Peterborough from 1894 to 1974. The council offices were at 51 Priestgate, in the city of Peterborough....

7,992 28,186
Barnack RD
Barnack Rural District
Barnack was a rural district in the Soke of Peterborough and later Huntingdon and Peterborough from 1894 to 1974.It was created in 1894 under the Local Government Act 1894, from that part of the Stamford rural sanitary district which was in the Soke Barnack was a rural district in the Soke of...

4,426 15,256

The Soke had a very small population for a county and so, in 1965, the administration was merged with that of the neighbouring small county of Huntingdonshire
Huntingdonshire is a local government district of Cambridgeshire, covering the area around Huntingdon. Traditionally it is a county in its own right...

, to form the slightly more viable administrative county of Huntingdon and Peterborough
Huntingdon and Peterborough
Huntingdon and Peterborough was a short-lived administrative county in East Anglia in the United Kingdom. It existed from 1965 to 1974, when it became part of Cambridgeshire.-Formation:...

 (population 202,622 in 1971). Under the Local Government Act 1974, Huntingdon and Peterborough became part of the non-metropolitan county of Cambridgeshire (population 436,441 in 1981), as had first been proposed in 1947 and an area broadly corresponding to the Soke, called the City of Peterborough, became one of its six districts
Non-metropolitan district
Non-metropolitan districts, or colloquially shire districts, are a type of local government district in England. As created, they are sub-divisions of non-metropolitan counties in a so-called "two-tier" arrangement...

. When the new Cambridgeshire county council was granted arms in 1976 it included references to those of the Soke; two keys around the neck of the dexter supporter and the motto, Corde Uno Sapientes Simus, or With One Heart Let Us Be Men of Understanding.

In 1998 the City of Peterborough became a unitary authority
Unitary authority
A unitary authority is a type of local authority that has a single tier and is responsible for all local government functions within its area or performs additional functions which elsewhere in the relevant country are usually performed by national government or a higher level of sub-national...

, but it continues to form part of Cambridgeshire for ceremonial
Ceremonial counties of England
The ceremonial counties are areas of England to which are appointed a Lord Lieutenant, and are defined by the government as counties and areas for the purposes of the Lieutenancies Act 1997 with reference to the metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England and Lieutenancies Act 1997...

 purposes. Because of intervening development and a new town
New town
A new town is a specific type of a planned community, or planned city, that was carefully planned from its inception and is typically constructed in a previously undeveloped area. This contrasts with settlements that evolve in a more ad hoc fashion. Land use conflicts are uncommon in new...

 project in Peterborough, the present district has a much larger population than the Soke had.


For parliamentary
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

 purposes, the city formed a borough
Parliamentary borough
Parliamentary boroughs are a type of administrative division, usually covering urban areas, that are entitled to representation in a Parliament...

 "by prescription," returning two members
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 from 1541, with the rest of the Soke being part of Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire is a landlocked county in the English East Midlands, with a population of 629,676 as at the 2001 census. It has boundaries with the ceremonial counties of Warwickshire to the west, Leicestershire and Rutland to the north, Cambridgeshire to the east, Bedfordshire to the south-east,...

 parliamentary county. The Great Reform Act did not affect the borough, while the rural portion of the Soke was included in the northern division of Northamptonshire. The borough's representation was reduced to one member under the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885
Redistribution of Seats Act 1885
The Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was a piece of electoral reform legislation that redistributed the seats in the House of Commons, introducing the concept of equally populated constituencies, in an attempt to equalise representation across...

. In 1918 a new borough constituency was formed including the whole of the Soke and neighbouring parts of the administrative county of Northamptonshire. In 1948 the boundaries of the constituency
Peterborough (UK Parliament constituency)
Peterborough is a borough constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, formally styled The Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. It elects one Member of Parliament by the first past...

 were adjusted to correspond to those of the Soke and they remained much the same until 1970.

In the unreformed House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

 in order to be either a candidate or an elector for a county seat, a man had to own (not rent) freehold property valued for the land tax at two pounds a year (women could neither vote nor stand for election). This was known as the 40 shilling freehold. The franchise for borough seats varied enormously. Peterborough was one of 37 boroughs in which suffrage
Suffrage, political franchise, or simply the franchise, distinct from mere voting rights, is the civil right to vote gained through the democratic process...

 was restricted to those paying scot and lot
Scot and lot
Scot and lot is a phrase common in the records of English medieval boroughs, applied to householders who were assessed for a tax paid to the borough for local or national purposes.They were usually members of a merchant guild.Before the Reform Act 1832, those who paid scot and bore...

, a form of municipal taxation. In 1800 there were 2,000 registered voters in Northamptonshire and 400 in Peterborough. By 1835 this had risen to 576, or about one per cent of the population. The Fourth Reform Act widened suffrage by abolishing practically all property qualifications for men and by enfranchising women over 30 who met minimum property qualifications. This system, known as universal manhood suffrage
Universal manhood suffrage
Universal manhood suffrage is a form of voting rights in which all adult males within a political system are allowed to vote, regardless of income, property, religion, race, or any other qualification...

, was first used in the 1918 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1918
The United Kingdom general election of 1918 was the first to be held after the Representation of the People Act 1918, which meant it was the first United Kingdom general election in which nearly all adult men and some women could vote. Polling was held on 14 December 1918, although the count did...


See also

  • Anglican Diocese of Peterborough
  • Peterborough (UK Parliament constituency)
    Peterborough (UK Parliament constituency)
    Peterborough is a borough constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, formally styled The Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. It elects one Member of Parliament by the first past...

  • Local government in Peterborough
  • History of Northamptonshire
    History of Northamptonshire
    At some time in the 7th century the district which is now Northamptonshire suffered a simultaneous invasion by the West Saxons from the south and the Anglian tribes from the north...

External links

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