Gorey was enfranchised by a 1620 charter of 17 James I. Its corporation consisted of a sovereign, 12 burgesses and free commons. The village had about 200 inhabitants and was under the patronage of the Ram family, although Lord Valentia owned part of the soil. In 1790 Gorey was reputed to be:
a very poor and despicable village, situated in a most beautiful and fertile country. Never of any importance, the chapter of accidents alone could have elevated it to the rank of being represented in the House of Commons. It is, as might be expected, a close Borough, whose sole electors, limited indeed in number, are appointed by the Ram family under whose dominion it entirely is, and whose power is irresistible in the choice of its Members.437
Throughout the period 1692 to 1800 the borough belonged to the Rams. Except for the 1713-4 parliament, Abel Ram (1756) sat for the borough from 1692 until his death in 1740; his son Abel (1757) sat from 1727 to 1776, Stephen Ram (1764) from 1764 to 1790, and until the 1790s both seats were usually occupied by the Rams. After 1790 they tended to sell the seats; in 1796 John Toler (2081) paid £2,300 for his return on condition that the money would be returned if he died before the next parliament. A seat in parliament was a considerable outlay and a considerable income for its possessor. In 1800 the £15,000 compensation for its disfranchisement was paid to Stephen Ram.