Old Sarum, site of the original Salisbury settlement, was the most notorious example. Because there was a bishop's house there in the 13th century, the area was invited by Edward II to send two representatives to the Commons. The bishop moved his residence to Salisbury soon afterwards, but for centuries, Old Sarum solemnly returned one or two MPs, long after its last human inhabitants had left. Only once in six centuries was there a contested election in Old Sarum, when three candidates vied for two seats.
Old Sarum held its elections under a designated tree in a cornfield. None of the electors lived in the constituency. No one did. But the landlord had the right to allocate votes to a handful of his tenants who would assemble under the tree and do as they were told.
The seat was owned by the Pitt family for 110 years, until they sold it for a reputed £43,000 after a member of the family had created a national scandal by instructing Old Sarum's seven electors to vote for a clergyman. It was considered improper for a man of the cloth to sit in the Commons. William Pitt the Elder began his political career under that famous tree.