Single Member Welsh County
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Number of voters:
|25 Apr. 1754||Sir Nicholas Bayly||231|
|16 Apr. 1761||Owen Meyrick||202|
|14 Apr. 1768||Owen Meyrick||259|
|Sir Nicholas Bayly||155|
|12 Apr. 1770||Sir Nicholas Meyrick vice Meyrick, deceased|
|20 Oct. 1774||Thomas James Bulkeley, Visct. Bulkeley|
|14 Sept. 1780||Thomas James Bulkeley, Visct. Bulkeley|
|22 Apr. 1784||Nicholas Bayly||370|
|Owen Putland Meyrick||363|
The chief interests in Anglesey were those of the Baylys of Plas Newydd, the Bulkeleys of Baron Hill, and the Meyricks of Bodorgan; but there were also a good many smaller interests, and elections usually produced complex negotiations and manœuvres. The Meyricks were traditionally looked upon as Whigs, the Bulkeleys as Tories, while the alignment of the Baylys varied—in 1754 and 1761 Nicholas Bayly counted as ‘country party’; but at all times the politics of the island turned first and foremost on family interests.
In 1754 Owen Meyrick had the support of the Treasury, but he had little from the big landowners or local squires, the Baron Hill interest and even some reputed Whigs, including Sir William Owen and Robert Wynne of Bodyscallen, declaring for Bayly. Moreover Meyrick seems to have been very economical in his election expenditure, which was well under £100, while Bayly spent freely.1 Meyrick was easily defeated.
In October 1760 Bayly became involved in a private scandal which turned local opinion against him. The dowager Lady Bulkeley (whose son was still a minor) offered the Baron Hill interest to Hugh Owen—she wanted to keep out Meyrick, who was a much more dangerous rival to her son’s interest.2 Meyrick made a successful canvass; and Bayly and Owen, seeing it was hopeless for both to stand, threw dice to decide who should be the candidate. Meyrick easily defeated this alliance, and in 1768 repeated his triumph. On his death in 1770, both his son Owen Putland Meyrick and Lord Bulkeley were under age, and Bayly regained the seat without opposition.
By 1774 Lord Bulkeley was of age, and was returned unopposed both then and in 1780. In 1784 he faced a formidable challenge led by Bayly’s son who had succeeded his cousin as Lord Paget. Bulkeley put up Owen Putland Meyrick, but Paget spent over £8,000 in support of his brother Nicholas Bayly, who won after a close and bitter contest.3 Shortly after the election Bulkeley abandoned Anglesey to Paget, in return for Paget’s support in Caernarvonshire.