Ballynakill was incorporated by a charter of 1613, 10 James I. The corporation comprised a sovereign, two serjeants-at-mace, 12 burgesses and an unlimited number of freemen. In 1783 it had 'a Magistrate and 12 Burgesses. 1,000 inhabitants, one sixth Protestants. Patron, Earl of Drogheda. Bought a few years back for £4,000. [Owner of] Soil, Earl Stanhope. 2 Burgesses residents and there are also a few Freemen still extant who are entitled but not permitted to vote.'323
The Barrington family (0085, 0086), who sat for the borough with short breaks (John Barrington (0085) was declared not duly elected in 1715) until 1760, sold Ballynakill to Lord Drogheda between 1761 and 1768324 for £4,000. Lord Drogheda would appear to have got a bargain. In 1790 Ballynakill was described as follows:
This close Borough, whose electors have been reduced by time and management to a small number of Burgesses and a few Freemen, is the sole property of the Earl of Drogheda whose recommendation is all powerful in the appointment of the confidential trustees of his authority and whose pleasure invariably determines the choice of its representatives. Over the political conduct of these gentlemen, at least for some years past, his Lordship appears to have possessed little influence, they seeming to act as if they owed no obligation to his kindness, but had purchased their seats, instead of obtaining them, as was supposed, from his friendship and patronage. Who will be elected for it hereafter it is impossible to foretell, as Sir William Montgomery (1448), who long represented it [1768-88], died in the course of the last year and Mr John Moore (1464), its other Member, has avowed his intention of becoming a candidate for the Borough of Lisburn. Should it be exposed to sale, the noble Earl's parliamentary consequences will be entirely confined to his personal exertions in the House of Lords.325
Sir William Montgomery was the father-in-law of Luke Gardiner (0842), John Beresford (0115) and the Marquess Townshend. It was thought that at the 1790 election he might have sold one seat to Sir John Tydd (2117), who held the lucrative office of Paymaster of Corn Premiums.326 In 1790 the Ballynakill corporation book327 listed the following: Frederick Trench (2108) (Sovereign), Burgesses, Earl of Drogheda (1454), Hon. Ponsonby Moore (1467), William Burton (0303), Thomas Pigott (1683); in 1791 John Tydd was added to the list. Ballynakill was disfranchised in 1800 and the £15,000 compensation was awarded to the Marquess of Drogheda.