Flint Boroughs


Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Right of Election:

in inhabitants paying scot and lot of the boroughs of Flint, Caergwrle, Caerwys, Overton and Rhuddlan

Number of voters:

about 600


(1801): Flint 1,169; Caergwrle [parish of Hope] 1,924; Caerwys 773; Overton 1,233; Rhuddlan 594


19 Mar. 1799 WILLIAMS re-elected after appointment to office 
11 Nov. 1806SIR EDWARD PRYCE LLOYD, Bt.107
 Sir Stephen Richard Glynne, Bt.93
 William Shipley64
 Sir Stephen Richard Glynne, Bt.184
 Sir Edward Pryce Lloyd, Bt.121

Main Article

Watkin Williams of Penbedw represented the boroughs unchallenged for nearly 30 years: his father had sat for Flint too, and on his being persuaded to retire in 1806 he wished his wife’s great-nephew, Col. Shipley, to succeed him. The latter was about to marry a sister of Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, 5th Bt.* (whose father was first cousin of the retiring Member) and he hoped to get the support of the Williams Wynns and of their uncle Lord Grenville, the prime minister. This he at first obtained, but considerable embarrassment was caused to his patrons by the rival candidature of Sir Stephen Glynne, 8th Bt., of Hawarden, who not only stood in exactly the same relationship to Lord Grenville as Col. Shipley, having just married Grenville’s niece, thereby obliging Grenville to sit on the fence, but also had some claim on Sir Watkin, to judge from a letter of his father-in-law Lord Braybrooke to Grenville, 9 Nov. 1806:

Glynne’s surprise proceeded from Watkin’s change of sentiment respecting Flint politics: and he was concerned that when applications were made by Watkin and family to their friends, or at least to their relations, there should not have been some proviso respecting Glynne, in case of his continuing in the same mind, upon the present occasion.1

Yet Sir Watkin had written to Grenville, 17 Oct. 1806, as soon as he found ‘Mr Williams nearly determined to give up his seat’, unequivocally requesting Grenville’s support for Shipley, and Glynne’s conduct during the election confirmed him in this preference.2

There were, it seems, six prospective candidates in all. Sir Thomas Hanmer, 2nd Bt., of Bettisfield and Francis Richard Price of Bryn-y-pys, who controlled Overton, withdrew3 and three went to the poll. Owing to the division in the prevailing interest, Sir Edward Pryce Lloyd, whose uncle Sir Edward Lloyd had aspired in vain to the seat for many years and who was brother-in-law of the county Member Sir Thomas Mostyn, headed the poll, thanks to the support, at the last moment, of followers of Shipley, who saw no hope for their man, but were eager to keep out Glynne. On 12 Nov. 1806 Charles Williams Wynn* informed his brother Henry:

I am sorry to tell you that Shipley finding that a mistake in the assessments would deprive him of many of his Rhuddlan votes and that some others had (certainly unhandsomely) been stolen by Sir Stephen, yesterday gave up in favour of Sir Edward Lloyd in consequence of a prior engagement that each of them should keep back fifty votes to be made over to whichever should be the strongest of the two—the loser to be paid all the expenses of the election. This being told to Sir S. he was aware that he had no longer a possibility of success and then gave up.

This agreement might have operated with Glynne, rather than Lloyd, ‘but his conduct was such as to put it out of the question’, for he evidently declined any agreement with Shipley, ‘and afterwards permitted his agents to do and say things of which he ought to be ashamed’, though the Williams Wynns hoped to prevent personal enmity from developing between the two men. As Glynne had the support of Lords Grosvenor and Kenyon, Sir Thomas Hanmer, David Pennant and (in 1806 only) of Lord Bulkeley, he would not give up the struggle.4

Lloyd, though unconnected with Grenville’s administration, proved as staunch a supporter of it as Shipley, who came in elsewhere, but wished to represent his ‘native borough’ and returned to the fray in 1807. Sir Stephen Glynne had hoped that Shipley would be satisfied with his seat for St. Mawes, and that by gaining Shipley’s votes he could oblige Sir Edward Lloyd to withdraw before his superior numbers without a contest. He had burned his own boats by refusing a seat for Buckingham on a vacancy in January 1807, offered him by his wife’s uncle the Marquess of Buckingham, and was not considered, as he had hoped to be, for an opening at Chester on the Grosvenor interest. He continued to hope that the marquess, whose abhorrence of another ‘collision’ between his nieces’ husbands was known to him, would induce Shipley to give way to him: but relations between them were impeded on the eve of the election by a rumour circulated by Shipley’s father the dean of St. Asaph that Glynne was standing ‘with government support’. While some of Glynne’s supporters may have adopted a ‘No Popery’ platform, there is no strong evidence to suggest that Glynne was anything other than what the Marquess of Buckingham believed him to be, ‘truly independent’. Lord Grenville remained neutral as between Glynne and Shipley.5

Glynne was reluctant to stand against Lloyd alone unless supported either by Shipley or by Capt. Hamelin Trelawny, a Cornish gentleman, who had been rumoured to be standing ‘on his brother’s interest’, but who had merely wished to profit by his nuisance value in a constituency where everything turned on ‘ifs and ans’ in a contest. (Trelawny’s brother, William Lewis Salusbury had inherited in 1800 the 55 tenements in Flint belonging to his kinsman Owen Salusbury Brereton.) Another interest to be contended for was that of Francis Price of Bryn-y-pys, who waited to see what Shipley and Trelawny would do before committing himself: ‘if either of them join me’, reported Glynne on 2 May, ‘he will do so’. Moreover, if Shipley stood, Glynne had to fear that, as in 1806, the weaker of Shipley and Lloyd would give up the fight and keep him out by coalition. During the first week in May everything turned on Trelawny’s decision; on the pretext of waiting for his brother’s advice, he played a waiting game, hoping that Francis Price would decide first and thus enhance the value of his votes. The conduct of the Trelawnys exasperated all the candidates: ‘if it were ascertained who would succeed they might support the weakest side and if nearly equal it might be decided in the Cornish way by the toss up of a guinea’. To make matters worse for Glynne, Dean Shipley declared that if his son did not stand, he would give his interest to Lloyd. On 6 May Glynne saw Shipley who declared:

if he can get Trelawny, he will stand, and poll every vote, as he says he never will turn them over again to anyone. Should he withdraw and I get Trelawny I shall beat Sir Edward if Williams of Penbedw is with me and Bagot Reed against, which is not certain.

Next day Glynne was sure Trelawny would back Shipley,

but we, with Price’s assistance, should beat him if Sir Edward does not turn over his votes to him. At present without Price we are the strongest, but if Trelawny goes to Sir Edward all is over. What a rascal the dean is to give his votes to Sir Edward ... Between the dean on one side and two Cornishmen on the other, the borough is not worth having.

Soon afterwards, the alignments were settled: Trelawny backed Shipley, who determined to stand a full poll, and Price backed Glynne. Glynne’s estimate of the result was that he and Shipley would run neck and neck and Lloyd be left behind: Glynne’s strength was in Overton (the Price voters) and Caergwrle, Shipley’s in Flint and Rhuddlan and Lloyd’s in Flint and Caerwys. Lloyd’s weakness worried Glynne, who on 12 May informed his wife that he feared Lloyd would do anything to prevent him from succeeding and that if a coalition between the other two took place before the poll, he would withdraw: but there was no public coalition and the poll proceeded for all three, until on 20 May Lloyd conceded victory and gave his remaining votes to Shipley. It was now ‘even betting’, as Glynne had predicted. Before the poll had started, Glynne had set great store by ordering his ribbons at Flint and not in London, so as to secure four votes. Soon afterwards he wrote: ‘The election, I think, depends a great deal upon the absence of two voters who are resident in Anglesey, but who will be obliged to vote for Shipley should they be brought to Flint’. In the last few days, every vote was strongly argued, but on 26 May Glynne gave up amid riotous scenes. The importance of adventitious support in securing Lloyd his seat in 1806 had been demonstrated, though Lloyd blamed his defeat on his support for Catholic relief. It is not certain whether the complaint that he and his brother-in-law Sir Thomas Mostyn were monopolizing the county representation had anything to do with it.6

Shipley, who headed the poll ‘at an inconvenient expense’, was nevertheless said to have spent ‘much the least of the three candidates’. Glynne declared he would not contest the boroughs again, having spent nearly £10,000 on the two elections; Sir Edward had spent ‘not much less’, but did not give up, ‘the more to show that his election for Beaumaris has made no alteration in his intentions’.7 Shipley felt obliged to desist in 1812, when financial difficulties made him seek the safety of a Grenville pocket borough, and Lloyd, whose position was strengthened by the interest of Francis Price, regained the seat and remained in quiet possession until 1831.8 This dénouement was not exactly in accordance with Shipley’s father’s wishes: in October 1811 he had proposed a compromise to avoid the expense of a contest which the Shipleys could ill afford. Knowing full well that Sir Edward Lloyd ‘would gladly half ruin himself’ to obtain Flint, and supposing that Francis Price would stand on the ‘Maelor’ interest (i.e. that of Sir Stephen Glynne), he suggested that Lloyd and his son should come to terms; and whoever had the majority at Flint (almost certainly, Lloyd) should come in quietly, while the other should be brought in by Bulkeley for Beaumaris. Nothing came of this plan and the surrender of Price to Lloyd quashed it.9

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Fortescue mss, Grenville to Derby, 21 Oct., to Grosvenor, 22 Oct., to Braybrooke, 3 Nov., reply 9 Nov. 1806.
  • 2. Ibid.; NLW mss 2790, Sir W. to H. Williams Wynn, 16 Nov., F. E. Williams Wynn to same, 24 Nov. [1806].
  • 3. Lancaster Gazette, 1 Nov.; Fortescue mss, Derby to Grenville, 23 Oct. 1806; H. Taylor, Hist. Notices of Flint, 172. Price withdrew in favour of Glynne (NLW, Glynne mss 5128).
  • 4. Morning Post, 18 Nov.; NLW mss 2790, Lady to H. Williams Wynn, 19 Nov.; 10804, C. Williams Wynn letterbk. 10, 12 Nov. 1806; 12422, f. 63, Wynne to Lloyd, 17 Jan. 1807; Glynne mss 4310-13, 4931.
  • 5. Taylor, 175; Glynne-Gladstone mss at St. Deiniols, G.6, Buckingham to Sir S. Glynne, 26 Jan., 22 Apr.; G.14, Sir S. to Lady Glynne [3 May]; G.19, letter to Lady Glynne, 30 Apr.; Glynne mss 4950; Bristol Jnl. 1 June 1807; Buckingham, Court and Cabinets, iv. 170; Fortescue mss, Grenville to Grosvenor, 26 Apr., Lady Williams Wynn to Grenville, 2 June 1807.
  • 6. Glynne-Gladstone mss, G.1, Lady to Sir S. Glynne [May]; G.40, Sir S. to Lady Glynne, 22 Apr., [2 May]; G.14, same to same, undated daily bulletins Apr.-May; Glynne mss 4951, 4955-5129; Salopian Jnl. 27 May, 3 June 1807.
  • 7. NLW mss 10804, C. Williams Wynn to Saxton, 8 June, to his uncle, 24 Nov. 1807.
  • 8. NLW mss 2791, M. to H. Williams Wynn, 9 Dec. 1811, C. Williams Wynn to same, 15 Aug., F. E. Cholmondeley to same, 24 Aug. [1812].
  • 9. Add. 42058, f. 208.