Pembroke Boroughs


Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Right of Election:

in the freemen of Pembroke, Tenby and Wiston

Number of voters:

over 300 in 1710


c. Apr. 1660SIR HUGH OWEN, 1st Bt.
2 Oct. 1676SIR HUGH OWEN, 2nd Bt. vice Laugharne, deceased
1 Sept. 1679ARTHUR OWEN II
14 Mar. 1681ARTHUR OWEN II
14 Jan. 1689ARTHUR OWEN II

Main Article

The Owens, with their principal residence only two miles south-west of Pembroke, established a claim to the borough seat in 1626, which, with the exception of the Protectorate Parliaments, they retained until 1695. Of the two out-boroughs, Tenby lay in the Owen orbit, but Wiston was controlled by the Wogans.

There is no evidence of any contest in this period. In 1660 the head of the Orielton family rather strangely preferred to leave the county seat to his more active brother. His own record in the Civil War had been opportunistic, and in 1661 he was replaced by his cousin Rowland Laugharne, whose indenture he signed. Laugharne had been an active Parliamentarian in the first Civil War and an active Royalist in the second. According to Laugharne’s wife, he was ‘so well-beloved’ as to be elected in his absence, but his return was more probably due to the Owen interest. A writ was ordered on 12 Nov. 1675 on Laugharne’s death, and Lord Anglesey (Arthur Annesley) wrote to inform the corporation. But it was almost a year before the by-election was held. Sir Hugh Owen, the second baronet, was returned; but he passed the seat to his younger brother when he moved up to the county at the general election. There was probably a contest at both elections of 1679, since Arthur Owen, a moderate supporter of the country party, was returned in March ‘with the assent and consent of the greater part of the other burgesses’, and in September merely by ‘many burgesses’. Although the Pembroke corporation produced loyal addresses after the Rye House Plot and on the accession of James II, Arthur Owen’s tenure of the seat was not to be interrupted. He was elected in 1685 ‘with the whole assent and consent’ of the electorate, and again after the Revolution. Nevertheless, despite the Owen predominance, their parliamentary record is unimpressive.

CSP Dom. 1665-6, p. 154; Add. 18730, f. 4v; London Gazette, 20 Aug. 1683, 23 Mar. 1685.

Authors: Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar