Roscommon was a medieval borough - its first charter was granted by Edward I and in 1310 the inhabitants petitioned Edward II to confirm it, which he did by writ enrolled in the Exchequer. The modern corporation was founded on a 1613 charter of 10 James I. It was to comprise a portreeve or provost, 12 free burgesses and a commonalty, and all the inhabitants were to form part of the corporation. In 1783 the town of Roscommon had about 350 inhabitants and its electors were the sovereign and burgesses only.344 In 1790 it was said that:
This, which is a close Borough, whose electors consist of twelve Burgesses only, has for the last sixty years been entirely under the dominion of the Sandford family, whose pleasure has been all-powerful in the creation both of the electors and the elected. But a stubborn competitor to them, not long since, sprung up in the person of Sir Edward Crofton (0524) who, on the foundation of some ancient claims, asserted his right to one-half of the representation. To avoid legal or personal contest, the claim was, by common consent, referred to the decision of Denis Bowes Daly (0571), Esq. a gentleman of unquestionable integrity and honour who, on investigation determined against it. Such a determination ought to have been decisive, but self-interest discovers a strength of right where reason can perceive none. In consequence of this, Sir Edward still adheres to his first purpose and seems inclined to try whether he can not effectuate by force what the free consent of his opponent is ill disposed to grant. What the event of this dispute will be, it is difficult to say, nor is it of any consequence to the community to know. It is a mere private contest and let it end as it will, one seat for the Borough will be sold and the other filled by a little dabbler in the ministerial lottery of places and pensions.345
In fact one Sandford sat for Roscommon in the 1783-90 parliament and two in the 1790-7 parliament. Crofton's attack was unsuccessful. Roscommon was disfranchised by the Act of Union and the £15,000 compensation was paid to its recent MP Henry Moore Sandford (1869), who was then Lord Mount Sandford.