Election decanter and glasses

Contributed by Cornwall Museums

Election decanter and glasses

THIS OBJECT IS PART OF THE PROJECT 'A HISTORY OF CORNWALL IN 100 OBJECTS'.

TINTAGEL OLD POST OFFICE. At one time Cornwall had 44 MPs and the Borough of Bossiney elected two of them. Cornwall had more MPs than any English county.

The decanter and glasses, with borough monogram BB, probably date from the early 1800s. Bossiney was then in the pockets of the Wortley and Edgcumbe families. There were then nine or ten voters and each vote could be bought for £150. The only real contest was in 1818, but the unofficial candidate only got one vote. Elections were held in the old town hall at Tintagel which had stood in the middle of the road near King Arthur's Hall. The results were then read out from the top of the old castle motte at Bossiney and a good 'breakfast' enjoyed at a local inn afterwards.

Bossiney became a parliamentary borough in 1547 and was a pocket (easily controlled) borough, rather than a rotten (corrupt) borough like Grampound. Bossiney lost its MPs in 1832.

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