Denbighshire

Welsh County

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Number of voters:

about 1,800 qualified voters in 1681; 1,484 voters in 17161

Elections

DateCandidate
5 Mar. 1690SIR RICHARD MYDDELTON, Bt.
6 Nov. 1695SIR RICHARD MYDDELTON, Bt.
10 Aug. 1698SIR RICHARD MYDDELTON, Bt.
22 Jan. 1701SIR RICHARD MYDDELTON, Bt.
6 Dec. 1701SIR RICHARD MYDDELTON, Bt.
5 Aug. 1702SIR RICHARD MYDDELTON, Bt.
19 May 1705SIR RICHARD MYDDELTON, Bt.
 SIR RICHARD MYDDELTON, Bt.
18 Oct. 1710SIR RICHARD MYDDELTON, Bt.
16 Sept. 1713SIR RICHARD MYDDELTON, Bt.

Main Article

The Myddeltons of Chirk Castle had held the upper hand in Denbighshire county elections since the Restoration; after 1684, when the estates of their only serious rivals, the Salusbury family of Lleweni, passed, through a failure in the male line, to the Cottons of Combermere, Cheshire, they were utterly dominant. Sir Richard Myddelton, 3rd Bt., a High Tory, was returned without opposition at every election from 1685 until his death in 1716. In this period his election expenses (the bulk of them consisting of payments to innkeepers or donations to the poor), which had been dwindling prior to the Revolution, set new standards in economy: £9 10s. 6d. in 1690; a mere £5 18s. in December 1701; and £10 3s. 6d. in 1708. Not even temporary displacement as custos after his refusal to sign the Association in 1696 could disturb his assured supremacy. He drew support from both sides of the party political divide, and before the 1705 election in particular he was showered with pledges of support from the leading Denbighshire squires. One wrote, ‘I am sure this county is at present so happy in the good understanding between the principal gentlemen that I hope it will not be in the power of any person to disturb it.’2

The county address of 1702, lamenting the death of King William and giving thanks for the accession of Queen Anne, offers a sign that there was still at least a flicker of life in the body of Denbighshire Whiggery: politically neutral in its sentiments, this was presented not by Myddelton but by the Whig circuit judge Sir Joseph Jekyll*. Two years later, however, the address of congratulation on the recent war victories made a point of linking the name of Sir George Rooke* with that of the Duke of Marlborough (John Churchill†), and belatedly echoed the Queen’s reference, in her first speech to Parliament, to her ‘entirely English’ heart, now a Tory catchphrase. The welcome accorded to Dr Sacheverell in 1710, when he was escorted into the county by ‘a very numerous train of gentlemen, clergy and freeholders, who thanked him for the great service he had done’, and was subsequently entertained at Chirk Castle ‘with all imaginable marks of respect’ and ‘in a princely manner’, was enthusiastic even in comparison with what the Doctor had already encountered elsewhere. Bells rang, bonfires blazed, and as Dyer reported, ‘in all the villages through which he passed in this loyal county the streets were strewed with flowers and the houses were adorned with boughs, and the common people followed him in great number from place to place’. At the assizes the Whig judges were mobbed, including Jekyll, who had been one of the managers of the impeachment, and in their inevitable address the denizens of Denbighshire expressed their abhorrence of ‘all those traitorous and damnable positions which assert the legality of deposing or resisting princes upon any pretence whatsoever’. That summer saw the foundation in Denbighshire of the Cycle of the White Rose, one of the most famous of Jacobite societies. Further addresses, on the peace in 1712 and 1713, celebrating ‘this glorious end of a long and destructive war’, excoriated the factious enemies of the ministry, men who ‘delight in blood’. Even after the Hanoverian succession Myddelton was re-elected unopposed, the freeholders ‘having a due sense how honourable and how agreeable to the sentiments of this loyal county, Sir Richard Myddelton his behaviour in former Parliaments has been’.