VAUGHAN, Edward (d. 1718), of Llwydiarth, Mont.

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



Mar. 1679 - Mar. 1681
1685 - 1687
1689 - 5 Dec. 1718

Family and Education

1st s. of Howel Vaughan of Glan-y-Llyn, Merion., by Elizabeth, da. of Humphrey Jones of Ddol, Ysceifiog, Flints.; bro. of John Vaughan II*.  m. settlement 24 Aug. 1672, Mary (d. 1727), da. and coh. of John Purcell of Nantcribba, Mont. by Eleanor, da. of Sir Robert Vaughan of Llwydiarth, at least 1s. d.v.p. 2da.  suc. Edward Vaughan† to estates of Llwydiarth and Llangedwyn, Denb. 1661; fa. 1669.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Welshpool 1678.2

Sheriff, Mont. Jan.–Nov. 1688; custos rot. Merion. 1711–?14.


Vaughan, the adopted heir of his wife’s uncle, had succeeded to extensive estates in Montgomeryshire and established an interest in the county so powerful that he was returned as knight of the shire without opposition at every general election from 1679 until his death. An anti-Exclusionist, he was assumed to be a staunch Churchman and was thus pricked as sheriff in January 1688 to prevent him from standing for the projected Parliament. However, while opposing any repeal of the Test Act he told the lord president he would be ‘content’ with whatever alterations to the Penal Laws King and Parliament should think fit. At the Revolution he was at first sympathetic to those who espoused King James’s cause, but in the words of one such Jacobite ‘afterwards proved as great a rebel as the rest’. In the Convention, according to Lord Ailesbury’s (Thomas Bruce†) list, he voted to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant. Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†), by contrast, classed him as ‘doubtful’ in his analysis of the parties in March 1690.

Apart from Edward Vaughan’s prosecution of a breach of privilege complaint in October 1690, and again in April–May 1714 in a case arising from exploitation of lead mines on his lands, it is impossible to differentiate between his parliamentary activity and that of other Vaughans in the Commons. His habit of obtaining leave of absence mid-way through a session might suggest irregular attendance: he was granted a month’s leave on 16 Jan. 1692, his wife being ill; a further three weeks on 3 Feb. 1693, and again on 23 Mar. 1694 and 21 Mar. 1695; unlimited leave on 13 Mar. 1696, 26 Feb. 1697, 18 Apr. 1698 and 26 May 1701; three weeks once more on 18 Jan. 1703; and six weeks on 19 Mar. 1712. In addition, a ‘Mr Vaughan’ was given leave on 16 Mar. 1711, for six weeks, at roughly the same time of year as Edward’s well-nigh annual grant. Against this record of absence might be set his appearances on parliamentary lists, missing only a few recorded divisions in the period. Despite Carmarthen’s uncertainty about him in 1690, Vaughan showed a consistent pattern of Tory allegiance. He was marked as an opponent of the Court in Robert Harley’s* list of April 1691, and, after figuring as one of the ‘gentlemen of Wales’ who petitioned the Commons in January 1696 against the grant of Welsh lordships to Lord Portland, was forecast as likely to vote against the ministry in the division on 31 Jan. 1696 on the proposed council of trade. He signed the Association but opposed both the fixing of the price of guineas at 22s. and the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†. In an analysis of the 1698 elections Vaughan was classed as a member of the Country party, and at about the same time he was forecast as a likely opponent of the standing army. Harley included him with the Tories in his list of the Parliament chosen in November 1701, accurately as it turned out, for Vaughan was later listed as having favoured the motion of 26 Feb. 1702 vindicating the Commons’ proceedings of the previous Parliament in the impeachments of the four Whig lords. In March 1704 Lord Nottingham (Daniel Finch†) listed him as a likely supporter in the proceedings upon the Scotch Plot. Later that year Vaughan was forecast as a likely Tacker, and, though he was lobbied by the Court via his brother-in-law Sir Godfrey Copley, 2nd Bt.*, he voted for this measure on 28 Nov. 1704, and in consequence was classified as ‘True Church’ in a list of 1705. It is possible that the connexion with Copley, himself made comptroller of army accounts in April 1704, had earlier brought Vaughan to the perfunctory notice of the court. In July 1702 the Duke of Marlborough (John Churchill†) had secured a promise from Lord Treasurer Godolphin (Sidney†) to find ‘something . . . for Mr Vaughan, in which you think he can do no hurt’. If this Vaughan was indeed Edward, nothing came of the contact. Edward voted against the Court candidate in the Speakership election of 25 Oct. 1705, was listed as a Tory in 1708 and opposed the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell two years later. Classed as a Tory in the ‘Hanover list’, Vaughan appeared as a ‘Tory patriot’ who in 1711 had opposed the continuation of the war, and as a ‘worthy patriot’ who in the 1710–11 session helped to expose the mismanagements of the ousted Whig government. However, he steered clear of back-bench pressure groups, possibly bought off with the office of custos of Merioneth, or perhaps merely too frequent an absentee. His loyalty to the ministry is suggested by his inclusion in December 1711 upon a list of those Lord Treasurer Oxford (as Harley had become) was considering elevating to the peerage to ensure the passage of the peace through the Lords.3

Classed as a Tory in the Worsley list and in two lists of the Members re-elected in 1715, Vaughan remained in opposition until his death on 5 Dec. 1718. His estate passed to his son-in-law Watkin Williams Wynn†, forming part of that agglomeration of broad acres which made Wynn the Tory ‘Prince of Wales’.

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. Mont. Colls. v. 410; xxvii. 203; J. E. Griffith, Peds. Anglesey and Caern. Fams. 253.
  • 2. Mont. Colls. xii. 320.
  • 3. Herbert Corresp. ed. W. J. Smith (Univ. of Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. xxi), 352, 354; NLW Jnl. xxvi. 30–31; The Case of Mr William Waller . . . [1714]; Boyer, Wm. III, iii. 136; Bull. IHR, xxxiv. 93, 95; Marlborough–Godolphin Corresp. 81, 88; Add. 70332, memo. 23 Dec. 1711.