Single Member Welsh County

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Number of voters:

about 1,300


26 Apr. 1754Edward Kynaston 
17 Apr. 1761Edward Kynaston 
8 Apr. 1768Edward Kynaston 
9 June 1772Watkin Williams vice Kynaston, deceased 
14 Oct. 1774William Mostyn Owen700
 Watkin Williams624
6 Oct. 1780William Mostyn Owen 
16 Apr. 1784William Mostyn Owen 

Main Article

The two leading families in Montgomeryshire were the Wynns of Wynnstay and the Herberts of Powis Castle; and Edward Kynaston, who held the seat unopposed from 1747 till his death in 1772, was supported by both families. In 1772 he was succeeded by Watkin Williams, a cousin of Sir Watkin Williams Wynn of Wynnstay; but after the death of Lord Powis in September 1772, the alliance between the two families broke down. At the general election of 1774 the dowager Lady Powis (the 2nd Earl was under age) put forward the candidature of William Mostyn Owen; while the Wynn family again backed Watkin Williams. There followed a long campaign of charges and counter-charges: the ‘independency’ of the county was much discussed, but the election was fought with little relevance to national problems. Williams had the support of many leading county families; Owen of the smaller freeholders and Lord Powis’s Shropshire allies, the Clives and the Corbetts. The Wynnstay expenses amounted to over £4,800, those of Powis Castle to about £5,300;1 and Powis Castle was victorious.

In 1780 Lord Powis, a Government supporter, wished to remove Owen, who voted with the Opposition; but Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, who also belonged to the Opposition, gave Owen his interest, and this time Powis Castle had to yield. Similarly in 1784, when both Owen and Wynn supported the Fox-North party, Powis was not able to oppose them.

Author: Peter D.G. Thomas


  • 1. NLW, Wynnstay mss 1249; Powis mss; Mont. Colls. viii. 8-13.