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Universal (male) suffrage and the secret ballot were 19th century developments. Prior to then the right to vote was limited to property owners. Voting was not secret and each voterís preference was recorded in a poll book. Many of these were subsequently published by local worthies and are now available as facsimiles. Three Norfolk Poll Books Ė those for 1768, 1806 and 1817 Ė have been published by Raymondís Original Poll Books. These list all the voters in Norfolk by parish and give the location of the qualifying freehold. They all give the names of the candidate voted for, one provides the freeholders trade or profession and another gives the name of the occupier of the freehold. The names of the favoured candidates should enable you to deduce something about your ancestorís politics or at least the politics of his patron).

The Norfolk Poll Book 1768
(Poll Date - 23 March 1768)

Name Parish Notes Page
William RUDDERHAM Mendham Property in Redenhall 36
John RUDDRAM New Buckenham   59
John RUDDRAM Norwich Property in Yarmouth 103
James RUDDRAM Wilton   119
William RUDDRAM Wilton   119

The Norfolk Poll Book 1806
(Poll Date - 13 November 1806)

Name Parish Notes Page
Thomas RUDDERHAM New Buckenham Bricklayer 20
Joseph RUDDERHAM New Buckenham Bricklayer 20
John RUDRUM Loddon Innkeeper 81
James RUDRAM Hockwold Carpenter, Voted in Lynn 89

The Norfolk Poll Book 1817
(Poll Date - 20 May 1817

Name Parish Notes Page
T RUDDERHAM Wereham Tenant of Samuel Steward 6
Thomas RUDDERHAM Wereham   14
John RUDRUM Loddon   141
Joseph ROTHERHAM New Buckenham   151