WYNNE, Sir George (1700-56), of Leeswood Hall, Flints.
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Family and Education
b. May 1700, 1st s. of John Wynne of Leeswood by Jane, da. of Humphrey Jones of Halkyn, Flints. m. 26 Apr. 1720, Margaret, da. of Evan Lloyd of Halkyn, 2s. 2da. suc. mother to Halkyn estate 1703; cr. Bt. 16 July 1731.
Sheriff, Flints. 1722-4; constable, Flint castle c.1734-50.
Wynne was the son of a poor Welsh country gentleman, but as a child inherited from his mother an estate at Halkyn on which valuable lead deposits were discovered. Having secured control of the property after prolonged litigation with his father, he re-built and re-equipped the family house at Leeswood regardless of expense and embarked on a political career.1 In 1727 he stood for Flint Boroughs, when there was a double return on which the seat was awarded to his opponent. Attaching himself to Walpole, he was rewarded with a baronetcy in 1731, and won the seat after an extremely expensive contest in 1734.
As a Member, Wynne was industrious, taking notes of debates, ‘pushing fairly to be eminent’, and regularly voting with the Government.2 But on the eve of the general election of 1741 his extravagant expenditure and a falling off in his receipts from the lead mines had reduced him to such straits that he was forced to make the following desperate appeal to Walpole:3
It is with unspeakable grief that I am at length under the necessity of troubling you with so melancholy a letter as you will find this to be. You cannot be insensible, Sir, that I was the first person that attempted to (and the only one that could) stem the torrent of Jacobitism in Flintshire, and that has been able to make any head against your most inveterate personal enemies, and the present opposition that is now made to Sir Watkin is in consequence thereof. The great power and influence of Sir W. Williams, Sir Robert Grosvenor, Sir Thomas Mostyn, Sir John Glynne etc., which I have so many years alone stood in opposition to, has brought my affairs into so bad a situation that unless you are pleased to give me some speedy and immediate relief, all that interest that I have at above thirty thousand pounds expense been rearing must quite sink, I myself and family become a sacrifice to your enemies and this on no other account but for my honest zeal in supporting your measures.
He then explained that a mortgage on one of his estates was in danger of being assigned to his archenemy, Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, ‘which would put it in his hands to ruin me at once’.
... So that, Sir, as soon as ever the Parliament is up, instead of being able to support my interest I am an undone man, a wife, and three children ruined for attachment to the service of my King and his minister. How to turn my self in so unhappy a condition I know not, I have no where to fly for protection but to that Government, in whose interest I have spent the greatest part of my estate in opposition to a most powerful and wealthy body. I must conjure you therefore, Sir, speedily to think of measures to support me against so great a subscription that the enemy have made to oppose me. The fifteen hundred pounds you were pleased to mention will not go above half way, three thousand pounds I doubt not will effectually crown the work. But then, Sir, this will not avail me to support the dignity of my family unless you are pleased to intercede with his Majesty to allow me a handsome place or pension to make me safe for so pressing are my affairs that they will admit of no delay. If I am not immediately supported I must fall a sacrifice and my poor family be entirely undone. For the sake of your own honour and interest as well as that of his Majesty take my affair, good Sir, under your immediate consideration. If I am so happy as to be supported by the Crown I shall be able to put my affairs into such a state of redemption that I shall be in a capacity to maintain my country interest with honour in opposition to those who are such enemies to his Majesty’s measures and so strenuous to ruin me only for supporting them. My case you will please to consider, Sir, is very particular. I believe there is not another instance in the whole kingdom circumstanced as mine is, where one man has to deal with so powerful an interest as that of Sir Watkin, Sir Robert Grosvenor, Sir Thomas Mostyn, Sir John Glynne, and a great number of other gentlemen of good estates. On my success, Sir, depends totally the destruction of the Tory interest in North Wales, and if I do not succeed it will be so established that there will be no making head against it in future. The enemy have no other hope of success but the apprehension that I shall not be sufficiently supported by the Court; they are too sensible if I am, that I should not only carry it for the borough but could overturn their interest for the county.
Walpole’s response is unknown but may be presumed to have been helpful, for Wynne was once again returned after a hotly contested election. He took his seat in the House of Commons, and voted with the Government on the division on the chairman of the elections committee, 16 Dec. 1741. In March, however, he was unseated by the anti-Walpole majority of the House on petition, and within a year it was reported that his personal estate had been seized for debt.4 For a time he was imprisoned in the King’s Bench prison, but in the end he appears to have overcome his financial difficulties, dying at his house in Greenwich,5 5 Aug. 1756.