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 700


25 Apr. 1754Sir Nicholas Bayly231
 Owen Meyrick126
16 Apr. 1761Owen Meyrick202
 Hugh Owen160
14 Apr. 1768Owen Meyrick259
 Sir Nicholas Bayly155
12 Apr. 1770Sir Nicholas Meyrick vice Meyrick, deceased 
20 Oct. 1774Thomas James Bulkeley, Visct. Bulkeley 
14 Sept. 1780Thomas James Bulkeley, Visct. Bulkeley 
22 Apr. 1784Nicholas Bayly370
 Owen Putland Meyrick363

Main Article

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.

Author: Peter D.G. Thomas


  • 1. UCNW, Bodorgan mss 1592; Add. 32735, f. 76.
  • 2. Baron Hill mss 5336.
  • 3. UCNW, Plas Newydd mss 1, pp. 1-2.