During the Middle Ages the Knights of the Shire were the most prominent members in the House of Commons with two knights elected for each of the 37 counties under Royal jurisdiction. Elections for Knights of the Shire were conducted by county sheriffs at county courts and in the early days of Parliament all freemen, even those who did not own property, could vote in these county elections. This caused resentment among those who did own land and in 1429 Parliament restricted the right to vote in elections for knights of the shire to those freemen who owned freehold land worth 40 shillings. This 40 shilling franchise was only abolished in 1832 by the Great Reform Act.
The table below records those Nonington residents who qualified to vote in the election of the two Kent Knights of the Shire in 1754.
Poll for the knights of the shire to represent the County of Kent 1754.
|Freeholders||Freeholds||Of what comprising||Occupiers|
|William Hammond||Nonington||h & l [house & land]||Rich. Downing|
|Robert Matson||ditto||ditto||Will. Elgar|
|Thomas Ashenden||Sarr||ditto||Mrs. Kennis|
|Valentine Payne||Elmstone||ditto||Will. Bourne|
|Thomas Hayward||Mersham||ditto||—— London|
|Abraham Dunn||Nonington||ditto||his own|
|John Obday||Buckland||ditto||Rob. Obday|
|Vincent Payne||Wickh. Brooks||land||John Larkin|
|Daniel Wood||Nonington||h & l||John Mote|
|Austen Pain||ditto||ditto||Edw. Rose|
|William Wood||ditto||ditto||Tho. Durning|
|John Ukens||Langdon||ditto||Tho. Sharp|
|Samson Creek||Nonington||ditto||his own|
|Richard Downing||Kingston||ditto||Edw. Ford|
|John Sexton||Barham||ditto||his own|
|Samuel Maxted||Norborn||ditto||Rich. Hogben
|William Taylor||St. Nic. Thanet||h&l||Wid. Taylor|
|Sir Narborough D’aeth Bt||Knowlton||land||his own|
|Francis D’aeth Cl||ditto||tythe||ditto|