The First Aldermen on Northamptonshire County Council

Wednesday, 16 December 2015 12:26 AM GMT

Contributed by: Jerry Green

 The Northampton Mercury of 2nd February 1889 reported on the first ever meeting of Northamptonshire County Council, when seventeen Aldermen were elected by the elected members. The paper reported on the qualities of each Alderman, it appears to have had a distinctly Liberal bias but the Council had a Conservative majority.. Samuel Dunkley, my Great Grandfather was a Liberal and the report on him was very favourable.

 Mems About Members - The Aldermen
In continuation of the "Mems about Members" which we gave last week, we give similar "Mems" regarding the seventeen Aldermen selected on Thursday.
Drury Wake, of Pitsford. A painstaking Magistrate, chairman of the Northampton Divisional Bench, presiding with judgment and decision. A Liberal, with supposed "Unionist" proclivities. A true Englishman, who has seen and done conspicuous public service - with the blood and the spirit of the historic Wakes. Yet withal a quiet country gentleman, of retiring habits, and everywhere respected.
The Duke of Grafton, KG A nobleman of two counties - Northamptonshire and Suffolk - who has taken a lively interest in the Government of both. He has served his Queeen well as a soldier abroad, and as a personal friend. His Liberalism is of the old school. A nobleman invariably inspired by good intentions. Has won golden opinions by the generous way in which he has striven to meet the wishes of the labourers on his estates in the matter of allotments.
Spencer Pratt, of Stanwick Hall. The Squire of the village, who was once in the running for a seat on the Council, but did not go to the poll. He is a Conservative magistrate who generally turns up at Quarter Sessions. Has made no particular mark to distinguish him from his brethren on the Bench.
The Marquis of Exeter, of Burghley House, Stamford. A Conservative of the old school, who was selected by the "Pall Mall Gazette" at the Jubilee as a representative of the Tory Peers. He was a member of the House of Commons for 20 years, but never did anything of importance; and during the 22 years he has been in the Lords he has not altered. He is popular among Northamptonshire militiamen, whose colonel he was until last year. He always took a fatherly interest in the welfare of his regiment., and has never lost it. A man whose amiability of character would always prompt him to do the kindest thing. He is a Councillor on the Peterborough County Council.
George Lewis Watson, of Rockingham Castle. A Conservative who favours the Primrose League and every other party device. His beautiful grounds at Rockingham are frequently at the service of Conservative organisations. His family used to be Liberal. A country gentleman of the old school, his fidelity to the party whose cause he has espoused may always be relied upon; but his Toryism is relieved by a genial heart.
Sir Rainald Knightley, of Fawsley. A Conservative of the very old school. He has sat for South Northamptonshire nearly 37 years, and has not progressed in political ideas since his first return. It is said he is likely to be made a Peer of the Realm before the next General Election as a reward for his unswerving fidelity to Conservatism for more than a third of a century. Entrenched in the beautiful wilds of Fawsley, he is as much out of sympathy with the currents of political thought of today as Fawsley itself is out of the world - a charming retreat for people seeking relief from the hubbub of the world.
Sir George Gunning, of Little Horton. A Conservative baronety, whose elevation to the aldermanic bench is a slight recompence for party services. A good party man - a stout adherent of Church and State Toryism.
Henry Herbert Atterbury, of West Haddon, farmer. A man whose sphere is the breeding yard and horse ring, for he is a successful breeder of hunters. He strongly favours the Primrose League, and has his reward.
William Wake Clark, of Wellingborough. A Doctor of Medicine; of strong Conservative instincts. Surgeon Major of the Northamptonshire battalion of Volunteers; and Medical Officer to the Wellingborough Board of Guardians and Wellingborough local Board. He was one of the three candidates Wellingborough rejected at the election on January 17th. Churchman and Conservative, but presided at a Primitive Methodist meeting just before the election.
George John Hooke Pearson, of Market Harborough. Another Primrose Conservative. Chosen, it is presumed, because he is a Conservative.
Charles Edward Roper, of Blisworth, farmer. Yet another Conservative, with no record worth mentioning, except that he is vice chairman of Towcester Board of Guardians.
James John Roughton, of Kettering, surgeon. A moderate Conservative, who came forward at the election last month as an "Independent" and lost by 33 votes. He is one of the best of the Conservative selections.
Christopher Smyth, of Little Houghton. Yet another Conservative magistrate, chairman of Hardingstone Board of Guardians and Rural Sanitary Authority. Is a straight rider across country, and can tell a good tale.
Lord Braye, of Stanford Park. A sound Liberal on all political questions, and may become a useful member. He is a Roman Catholic.
Samuel Dunkley, of Creaton, farmer. - A Liberal whose opinions are always carefully formed, and are, therefore, always worthy the greatest consideration. As Chairman of Brixworth Highway Board, and Vice Chairman of Brixworth Board of Guardians he has done a great deal of useful work for the County. Not one of the seventeen selected has a better claim to the position of Alderman.
Charles Joseph Keep Woolston, of Wellingborough, corn merchant and maltster. A sterling Liberal, who only missed election in the Wollaston Division by a fluke. Plenty of capacity for good work - a right thinking, upright, downright mman of business.

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