Bannow was a borough by prescription and no charter could be found for it in 1800,426 when Charles, Earl of Ely (2088), claimed the compensation for its disfranchisement. Apparently:
This place was, in the time of Henry the Second, a sea port of some consequence, and lying directly opposite to that part of Wales from which the English adventurers emigrated, it soon became populous, being well enough adapted to the shipping then in use but since that period, the sea has thrown up a bar against its entrance, so that it is now accessible only to the smallest kind of fishing boats. As the former circumstance pointed it out for the distinction of being a Borough, so from the latter sprang its decline and its consequent subjugation to Lord Viscount Loftus (2088), its absolute master, who nominates at pleasure its Magistrates and Burgesses, the only electors now remaining to it and equally appoints its representatives.
In 1783 it had '13 Burgesses. No inhabitant. Patron, Mr Tottenham. Proprietor of the soil, Mr Boyse',427 and in 1784 the Belfast News Letter reported that 'Bannow retains only the name, being totally uninhabited.'428 Bannow was disfranchised in 1800 and the £15,000 compensation paid to Charles, Marquess of Ely - his marquessate was also part of the benefits that accrued to him from the Union.