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  THE STORY OF SHOREH A M       ELECTIONS'  
                     
so that every freeholder above the age of one-and-twenty, having, within the Rape of Bramber, a freehold of the clear yearly value of 40s., was allowed to give his vote at every Election of a burgess or burgesses to serve in Parliament for the Borough of New Shoreham. The nmnber of voters became about 1,200 residing in 48 parishes comprising the Rape of Bramber, but excepting the Borough of Horsham.   At the close of the poll on the 15th, the numbers were declared to be : Charles Goring, Esq., 372 ; Sir John Shelley, Bart., 320 ; James Butler, Esq., 245 ; John Aldridge, Esq., 199-the result being the return of one member in each interest.
  In 1780, Sir Cecil Bishopp was returned unopposed in conjunction with John Peachey, Esq., for the Borough of New Shoreham. At the next Dissolution in 1784, their return was opposed by the Earl of Surrey and John Aldridge, Esq., in the Liberal interest. Previously, however, to the 7th April-the day of Election-the Earl of Surrey withdrew, but Mr. Aldridge carried the contest to a poll, which lasted three days and resulted in the return of the old Members, thus : John Peachey, Esq. (C) 411 ; Sir Cecil Bishopp, Bart. (C) 313; John Aldridge, Esq. (W) 272.
At every subsequent Parliamentary Election in the town, the Act of Disfranchisement was required to be read before the writ and the laws against bribery and corruption. In former times this duty was performed by an official who had the unpleasant task of naming-with others-himself   as a voter disfranchised for bribery, concluding with the loyal response " God Save the King."  
  During the debate in the House of Commons, March 13th, 1782, on the Bill " for regulating the future Elections at Cricklade, in Wiltshire," a good deal of reference was made to the Shoreham Bill on a like subject (11th. Geo. III., cap. 55) and its consequences variously stated to the House. Mr. F. Montague who closed the debate, referring to this Bill, said : " Lord Camden highly approved of the conduct of Parliament on that occasion, as he said 'by it, Shoreham was taken out of Bengal.'   Indeed, the consequences of the Bill proved his Lordship's opinion to be well-founded, for that Borough which had been for a long time before, the occasional seat of occasional nabobs, now returned two English country gentlemen and thus was Shoreham at last brought back to its original county, that of Sussex."
The Election of 1774, was the first which took place after the right of voting was extended to the Rape of Bramber.  
Sir John Shelley, Bart., of Michelgrove, and James Butler, Esq., of Warminghurst, who had previously represented Arundel, were proposed as candidates in the Tory interest, while Charles Goring, Esq., of Wiston, was proposed in the interest of the Liberals. John Aldridge, Esq., of New Place, also offered himself. There were thus four candidates, all of whom were gentlemen living within the Rape.  
To make a union of interests, Sir John Shelley and Mr. Butler, in the early part of September, coalesced and published an address, being supported by the Government. Upon this, Messrs. Goring and Aldridge also coalesced, and, in their address, stated that " they scorned to be the corruptors of the people and were anxious to be their free-chosen agents."  
  In 1790, the return of Mr. John Peachey and Sir Cecil Bishopp, was again opposed by Mr. Aldridge in conjunction with Sir Harry Goring, Bart., and John Challen Esq., of Shermanbury. On the 20th June, Mr. Peachey finding the opposition too strong for him, retired. The pill commenced on the 24th June and at its close on the evening of Saturday, 26th, the numbers were John Aldridge, Esq., 331 ; Sir Cecil Bishopp, Bart., 319; Sir Harry Goring, Bart., 331 ; John Challen, Esq., 151. In the course of Sunday, the 27th, Sir Cecil Bishopp also retired and the poll continued open on Monday and at its final close the munbers were:   Sir Harry Goring, Bart. (L) 379;   John Aldridge, Esq. (L) 379; Sir Cecil Bishopp. Bart. (C) 320; John Challen, Esq. (C) 153.
The canvass was carried on with great activity on both sides. The Election took place on the 13th October and two following days and was held in the north transept of the church, a practice begun in 1770-the year notorious, as we have seen, for the exposure of the " Christian Society."  
Under date October 14th, 1774, the diary of Mr. John Baker, of Horsham, records a visit of that gentleman to Shoreham while this Election was in progress and informs us that he "went to the `Dolphin Inn' and then walked up to church, where polling candidates, Sir John Shelley, Mr. Goring, Mr. James Butler and Mr. Aldridge. Mr. Goring ahead a good deal. The three others doubtful."  
  Mr. John Aldridge died in l\Iay•, 1795, and the lion. Charles William Wyandham and Sir Cecil Bishopp offered themselves, but
                     
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Revised 27 February 2002