Bucks County Council elections, 1888-89

County Councils were established by the Local Government Act of 1888, a pet project of Joseph Chamberlain and the Liberal Unionists. They were intended mainly to take over the administrative functions of the Quarter Sessions concerning county infrastructure. They did not replace the Poor Law Guardians or, initially, have power over education. The franchise was the same as for parliamentary elections (household vote), but female householders could vote although not stand as candidates. Political parties started making arrangements in November, and nominations were submitted in December for elections on 24 January, but the new councils did not come into operation until April 1889. Most of the North Bucks divisions were hotly contested between Conservatives and Liberals, but candidates did not usually stand on an openly party ticket. The disunity of the Winslow Liberals since the 1886 General Election had significant consequences.

Statements of the candidates


Buckingham Advertiser, 17 Nov
                        In compliance with an invitation from some of your number, and having received many kind assurances of support, I venture to offer myself as a Candidate to represent your Division at the forthcoming County Council Election.
  I have had the advantage of taking part in the business both of the Court of Quarter Sessions and the Board of Guardians; and should you do me the honour to elect me, I will use my best endeavours to secure the economical and efficient administration of County business.
                                                I am, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
                                                Yours faithfully,
                        THOMAS F. FREMANTLE (Jun.)
Swanbourne, Winslow, November 8th, 1888.


Buckingham Advertiser, 1 Dec
                        I find it will be impossible for me to visit you personally, and ask for your vote at this very busy season now coming on; but one thing I do hope - that all Electors will vote.  I do not often trouble about rumours, still, for the credit that attaches itself to this business, I am bound in all truthfulness to listen to you, my well-wishers and supporters, who are 5 out of every 6 of the electorate - yea, even more unless promises are more fragile than they were wont to be at Christmas-time.  No, I will not think this- you do not say one thing and mean another, I am sure.  But should I in any way have presumed too much on your kindness, pardon me.  You are all free to vote for whom you please, but as the Franchise is the very best ever offered for your acceptance, do vote- I lay great stress on this.  Some of my warmest and most active friends and supporters think they cannot do wrong if they abstain from voting.  Well, it is not for me to dictate to you.  I do not ask you (any of you, hundreds of you that have already promised me your vote) to treat that promise in the strict letter of the matter.  Circumstances do arise, and have arisen, which cause me to simply caution all my supporters of what the consequence will be if they do not vote- well, you very justly reply, there will be no election.  Now, let me again appeal to you, once and for all, for I cannot ask any elector (ladies always excepted) after this time for his vote, nor do I intend to thrust my epistles under your door, but do vote (even if for my sake) straightforward.  Once again, please everyone do vote.
                                                Yours faithfully,
                                                            SILVANUS JONES.

Buckingham Express, 17 Nov
  Mr. Silvanus Jones is one of the candidates for the parishes of Winslow, North Marston, Grandborough, Swanbourne, East Claydon, Hogston, and Hogshaw.  In his address, Mr. Jones does not touch upon politics, but describes himself as being in favour of the redressing of the “vexations, inefficient, and needless restrictions on markets and sales for the disposal of cattle; the consideration of the inequalities of the cost of public roads and highways; the re-adjustment of educational measures; attention to Sanitary and Contagious Diseases Acts and to the Licensing Acts.”  We are requested to state that his candidature is progressing most favourably.  His experience as a Guardian, and as a large ratepayer in several of the parishes, besides a long and thorough acquaintance with every detail pertaining to agriculture, in securing for him the support of a large part of the farming interest of the district.

Independent Liberal

Buckingham Advertiser, 1 Dec
                        Having received sufficient promise of support, I beg to offer myself as a Candidate for the representation of your Division.  Let me respectfully request each of you, after reading the circular handed to you in statement of my opinions, to simply ask yourselves, “Does this man represent my views?”  I would urge you to vote on that question alone.  Do not be led to promise your vote by interested persons acting for their own advantage, or that of any political party.
  Neither Whig nor Tory, Gladstonian or Unionist, should influence the election of your local parliament,
  It is your own function, and I readily leave it in your hands.  Should you do me the honor to elect me, I shall with gratitude for your confidence give myself to the earnest discharge of my duties.
                                                Yours faithfully,
                                                            W. H. FRENCH.
Winslow, Nov 26, 1888.

Election meetings

Buckingham Advertiser, 8 Dec
  It having become known that friends of Mr. Jones belonging to the local Registration Association [Liberal organisation] had negotiated a modus vivendi for Mr. French’s withdrawal from the candidature for the purpose of supporting an allotment policy upon Mr. Jones’s platform, a large attendance met to seal the compact last Saturday evening under the auspices of Mr. Jones candidature.  The secretary of the local Association accompanied Mr. Jones to the meeting to ratify the compact.  After Mr. Jones's show of hands had been taken, a supporter of Mr. French said he believed Mr. French had something to say to them which they would all like to hear.  Mr. Tom Grace having been made acquainted with the object of Mr. French’s presence as the pro tem Chairman of the local [Liberal] Brotherhood, when the following dialogue took place - Mr. Jones stepping before his Chairman, and pointing to Mr. Grace: “Now, are you a voter in this division? [He was from Steeple Claydon, where French sponsored the Brotherhood Farm] But - then you sit down.  I don’t think it’s right for one candidate to attend another candidate’s meetings- but Mr. French shall speak”- Mr. French said it was only by the courtesy of the Chairman and the forbearance of the meeting that he had their ear.  He was not there as an opposing candidate, but for another purpose altogether.- Mr. Jones, then said: You are a candidate; if you are not a candidate what are you here for?  I do not want your support, and I will not have your help.  Don’t bring your lies here.- Several voices: Shame; let the man speak; you said he should speak.- The meeting then terminated in disorder.

Bicester Herald, 14 Dec
  THE LIBERAL BROTHERHOOD AND THE BUCKS COUNTY COUNCIL.- At Botolph Claydon Schoolroom, on Tuesday evening, November 27, was held a meeting of the Claydon United Brotherhood… Mr. French congratulated them on having taken as rational a step [seceding from the main Brotherhood], and stated that, previous to last Thursday evening, he had not the remotest idea of standing for the representation of any division on the Bucks County Council.  Mr. Jones’s reply to his question on the subject of allotments was so unsatisfactory that he had found it his duty to do so.  He considered Mr. Jones in no position to ask the support of Conservatives upon non-political grounds, his candidature being under the direct auspices, and almost nomination, of a body virtually a parliamentary election committee.  He did not consider a vote of confidence in Mr. Jones so obtained to be binding upon them.- Mr. F. Sear, Winslow, speaking as a Gladstonian Liberal and on that point differing from Mr. French said he considered the men opposed to allotments for Liberals not to be a Liberal at all.  For his own part he wished to help others and do all the good he could.  The question of a man’s Gladstonianism or Unionism had nothing to do with the election before them, and he should strongly support Mr. French’s candidature.- Mr. J. Jennings said that he had heard nothing till that evening of the meeting Mr. French had referred to, and he did not think that it was a proper way to go on.  He proposed Mr. French as a fit and proper person to represent this division on the Bucks County Council.- The resolution was carried with cordiality.  Four hands were held up against it, one avowedly from Gladstonian reasons, the other three regretting that consistency forced them undoing what they did at the little meeting, and what they should not have done had they not been misled.  The usual vote of thanks terminated the proceedings.

Buckingham Advertiser, 15 Dec
  COUNTY COUNCIL.- ADDRESS BY MR. FREMANTLE.- On Thursday last a public meeting was held at the Centenary Hall, to hear an address from Mr. T. F. Fremantle, one of the candidates for the Winslow Division.  Mr. Rolf Creasy presided, and there was a good attendance particularly of working men.  The Chairman in opening the meeting said he was there to afford a fair hearing to Mr. Fremantle while he spoke on the duties of the County Council.  It was a matter in no way political, but a purely local matter, and the candidate should be judged on local subjects and not on any position he might occupy, or political views he might hold.  Mr. T. F. Fremantle then gave a long and exhaustive address on County Councils ...

Buckingham Advertiser, 19 Jan
We hear that Mr. French, of Winslow, has visited the whole of the parishes of that electoral division, and that he has met with encouraging prospects of success.

Mr Jones and the stag

Buckingham Advertiser, 8 Dec
  On Thursday last the stag hunted by the Rothschild hounds got impounded at Winslow.  It appears that it took refuge in a cowhouse up the Aylesbury Road, and was fastened in there by the hunters.  On the owner hearing of it, he locked the door, and refused to allow the stag to be taken out until a payment of £5 was made, to be handed over to the poor of Winslow.  This, we understand, was done, the money being held by a third party.

Buckingham Advertiser, 8 Dec
(To the Editor of the Buckingham Advertiser and North Bucks Free Press.)
  Sir,- Would you kindly spare me a little space at a time when your columns are required on more important matters than that on which I am about; yet, still a matter that is causing intense excitement in the hunting field, and among those who like to have the pleasure of riding over our farms and holding to chase the fox and the stag.  I never raised any objection to this.  For the space of 38 years that I have been a tenant farmer I never molested a fox or other animal of sport, nor at the present time have I any intention of doing so.  What I do object to and protest against is the shameful, mean, and disgraceful persecution which is being carried on, not only against myself, but against every Dissenter, by an over-riding priestcraft, strengthened by several hunting men in Winslow.  I think I had a right to let this thing be known, and I think my cause as a candidate for the County Council of Bucks will not suffer at the hands of farmers who know me, and know well I never did interfere with sport of any kind or in any way.  One gentleman writes to me and taunts me that I have not given one farthing to my beloved poor of the £5 so reluctantly and so bitterly given (for the release of lord Rothchild’s stag) by there so sadly mis-named gentlemen.  No, my wilfully-ignorant friend, it won’t wash just now.  Other hunting gentlemen going by this noted spot where my men are draining enquired of them if they would be paid with the proceeds arising from the stag fund.  No, gentlemen, I trust to make it all satisfactory.  It is the intention of,
                                                                                    Yours truly,
                                                                                                SILVANUS JONES.
Wnslow, Dec. 5, 1888.

Leighton Buzzard Observer, 11 Dec
  THE DISSENTER PERSECUTING STAG.- A very pretty little quarrel arising out of a hunting incident is exciting great interest at Winslow.  It appears that during a run of Lord Rothschild’s hounds on Thursday, the 29th ult., the stag took refuge in an outhouse at Winslow belonging to Mr. Silvanus Jones, farmer, guardian for Winslow, and a candidate for the County Council.  Indignant at finding the stag on his land, he took possession of it, placing it under lock and key.  When the stag van arrived, he refused to give it up until he received £5.  This sum Messrs. Chinnery and Greaves, of Winslow, agreed to be responsible for, but Mr. Jones insisted upon having money down.  A £5 note was accordingly procured, and the stag handed over to Lord Rothschild’s servant.  Mr. Jones writing in explanation of his conduct says he has no objection to hunting, but extracted the “fiver” as a kind of protest against what he terms the “persecution” of Dissenters.  As regards the disposition of the money, he remembers that he is a candidate for the County Council, but trusts to “make it all satisfactory.”

The correspondence continued in the Buckingham Advertiser until the editor closed it. Jones had another exchange of letters with the vicar of Granborough over the use of the schoolroom there.

Mr Jones and the cat

Buckingham Advertiser, 22 Dec
Buckingham County Court. FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21. Before Fitzroy-Cowper, Esq., Deputy-Judge.
  Following closely on “The Impounded Stag” case, Winslow is now interested in what is called “The cat case”.  It is said that four dogs belonging to Henry Chinnery, Esq., worried and killed a cat belonging to Frederick and Catherine Bunce.  Mr. Chinnery, with his usual kindness, directed that a couple of rabbits and half a sovereign should be sent to Mrs. Bunce as some compensation for the loss of the cat; but Mr. Silvanus Jones intervened, with the result that the offer was rejected, and he procured a County Court summons against Mr. Chinnery for £1 as the value of the cat.  All the parties were in Court and on the case being called…
  His Honour said he must [because cats were not subject to larceny at common law] find a verdict for the defendant.  He did not suppose Mr. Willis [acting for the defendant] would apply for costs?
  Mr. Willis said Mr. Chinnery would not wish that he should do so.
  His Honour said the case was decided on a technical point, and one which the plaintiff probably had not forseen.
  Mr. Silvanus Jones then asked the Judge if he could take any further steps in the case.
  His Honour replied that the case so far was settled; but if he so desired he could move for a new trial at the next Court.

Buckingham Advertiser, 29 Dec
Winslow Cat Case.
  We have received a long letter from Mr. Silvanus Jones in reference to the above; but though we are at all times willing to allow our columns to be open to the publication of questions of public importance, we cannot insert matters of personal abuse and slander.  Hence we have been compelled to omit certain portions of his letter which are direct libel.  He says:- There is an adage that ‘One side of a tale is good until the other is told.’  Your statement that Mr. Chinnery directed a couple of rabbits and a half-sovereign to be sent to Mrs. Bunce is an entirely untruthful statement.  There has never been one farthing offered to Mrs. Bunce, either directly or indirectly, by solicitor or agent whatever.  That two rabbits were offered to Mrs. Bunce I do not deny.  Two rabbits are the standard value of a cat at Winslow. [He gave two other examples of cats being killed by hounds.] ... My intervention never arose whilst there was the lease chance of settling the case.  My letters to Mr. Chinnery and his replies, which anyone can see that desires to do so, will clearly prove it.  I did all I could to keep such unusually hateful and wretched work from becoming a public scandal …

Bucks Herald, 12 Jan 1889
  On Monday evening, 7th inst., a meeting was held in the Schoolroom at Hoggeston, by Mr. Silvanus Jones, one of the candidates for Division No. XXVI. The proceedings were of rather a dreary character, and the small audience anything but enthusiastic.  The only incident calculated to infuse a little life into the affair was the sudden appearance of a fine cat in the room, bearing a label addressed to Mr. Jones, with the words, “You can have me for ten shillings, and a couple of rabbits.”  This offer was not accepted, and puss was summarily ejected.

Nominations and result

Buckingham Advertiser, 19 Jan 1889
Division XVI - 622 Electors. East Claydon, Grandborough, Hogshaw-with-Fulbrook, Hogston, North Marston, Swanbourne, Winslow.
  FREMANTLE, THOMAS FRANCIS, JUNIOR,  Swanbourne, Esquire.- Proposer: Jonathan Roads; assentor: Benjamin Kimble- Second nomination- Proposer: George Richard Graves [=Greaves]: assentor: William Neal.
  FRENCH, WILLIAM HENRY, Horn Street, Winslow, Gentleman.- Proposer: Charles Rawlings; assentor: William Chapman.
  JONES, SILVANUS, Horn Street, Winslow, Farmer and Trader in Cattle.- Proposer: Robert Williat Jones; assentor: John Corket.- Second nomination- Proposer: John Julian James; assentor: Charles Carter.

Buckingham Advertiser, 26 Jan
XVI.-622 Electors.
East Claydon, Grandborough, Hogshaw-with-Fulbrook, Hogston, North Marston, Swanbourne, Winslow.
  This was a hard contest from the commencement between Mr. Fremantle and Mr. Silvanus Jones, and the close polling testifies to the uncertainty attaching to it.
            FREMANTLE                                    307
            JONES                                            303
            FRENCH                                          32

Bucks Herald, 5 Feb
  So there have been “would you be surprised to hear’s?” in the County Council Elections.  A friend writes me this:- “Here in the Winslow Division Mr. Fremantle is returned by a smaller majority then was expected, and his return is owing to some extent to the parish of Northmarston, in spite of its Radical vicar.  A respected ex-tenant of Lord Cottesloe, now the occupant of Glebe Farm in the parish of Northmarston, is answerable for a good many more than four of Mr. Fremantle’s votes; Mr. Jones’s indiscretions are answerable for some abstentions, and some transfers; Mr. French’s fiasco candidature is answerable for a diminution of probably about twenty of Mr. French’s grotesque 32, in Mr. Jones’s total; and a matter in which Mr. Jones was hardly used, and about which least said is soonest mended, completed that gentleman’s discomfiture; for whom, however Claydon and Hogston largely voted.”

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Copyright 16 May, 2021