Bossiney Beach in Cornwall

Bossiney Village

Bossiney Village although never large, became an administrative centre for Tintagel region and was one of a number of small parliamentary boroughs established in Cornwall during the Tudor period. Sir Francis Drake was elected MP for Bossiney in 1584 after giving his election speech from Bossiney Mound. He lived at Borough House just north of Bossiney House and officiated at the Courthouse, now The Pottery. War broke out with the Spanish in 1585 and Drake’s attention turned to their Armada.

The abuse of government patronage was considered a scandal (even in the 18th century!) and in 1782 an Act of Parliament was passed to disqualify the holders of certain posts, including customs officers, from voting. While the new law was not aimed specifically at Bossiney, it had a more dramatic effect there than anywhere else: the borough established an unbeatable record at the general election of 1784, when so many of the burgesses were disqualified that there was only a one qualified voter (the Vicar, Arthur Wade) to return the two MPs.

Not surprisingly, Bossiney was disfranchised by the Great Reform Act of 1832.