Available from Boydell and Brewer
Right of Election:
in the corporation
Number of voters:
|24 June 1790||SIR HUGH WILLIAMS, Bt.|
|20 Oct. 1794||SIR WATKIN WILLIAMS WYNN, Bt., vice Williams, deceased|
|6 Jan. 1796||WILLIAMS WYNN, re-elected after appointment to office|
|14 June 1796||THOMAS WYNN, Baron Newborough [I]|
|10 July 1802||THOMAS WYNN , Baron Newborough [I]|
|4 Nov. 1806||THOMAS WYNN, Baron Newborough [I]|
|8 May 1807||THOMAS WYNN, Baron Newborough [I]|
|10 Dec. 1807||SIR EDWARD PRYCE LLOYD, Bt., vice Newborough, deceased|
|10 Oct. 1812||THOMAS FRANKLAND LEWIS|
|22 June 1818||THOMAS FRANKLAND LEWIS|
Beaumaris, the only corporation borough in Wales, was under the ‘sole influence and direction’ of Thomas James, 1st Baron Bulkeley, who had no issue and returned his stepfather again in 1790.1 On Sir Hugh’s death in 1794, having no member of his family to return, he began to use the seat as a pawn in his bid for political power in the area and returned first Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, whose interest in Caernarvonshire was useful to him, until the dissolution, when he could count on a safe county seat for Denbigh, and next Lord Newborough, whose tenure of the seat for life was, in effect, compensation for the eclipse of his family interest in Caernarvonshire and its replacement by Bulkeley’s.2 As Bulkeley and his ally Lord Uxbridge had failed to secure a British peerage for Newborough, the provision of a seat for Beaumaris was a necessary sacrifice to placate him and ensure their joint supremacy in the counties of Anglesey and Caernarvon.
On Newborough’s death in 1807, his nephew Thomas Wynn Belasyse attempted to obtain the seat from Lord Bulkeley ‘on the same terms as his late uncle’, but when Bulkeley, in his own words, threw cold water on his request, he declared hostility to Bulkeley in Caernarvonshire. To counter this, Bulkeley, who had been ‘greatly puzzled’ for a nominee, had at first, before Newborough died, secretly offered it to Sir Stephen Glynne, 8th Bt., of Hawarden, who refused it. Bulkeley informed Glynne that he had given him the preference because of his regard for Lord Braybrooke, Glynne’s father-in-law, and added:
The town wants a pier into the sea which I fancy would cost about £1,000, and the two corporation dinners each year (generally given by the Member) amount to £50 or £60, and to these conditions I shall add none other of any significance.
Bulkeley brought in Sir Edward Pryce Lloyd, then without a seat, informing Lord Grenville, to whom he was politically allied:
I naturally look to some counterpoise to the great interest I have lost and Sir Thomas Mostyn, Sir Edward Lloyd and Sir Robert Vaughan, three brothers by marriage, have very large possessions in the county of Caernarvon.3
Having heard that Sir Watkin Williams Wynn was dissatisfied with his returning Lloyd, as it might ‘in future be of detriment’ to arrangements at Flint, Bulkeley explained in the same letter that he had no such intention; but he hinted that as Sir Watkin had ‘sold almost all his property’ in Caernarvonshire, he had no basis for bargaining with Bulkeley. In 1812 Lloyd transferred to Flint, and Bulkeley, who was hostile to Lord Liverpool’s ministry, returned Thomas Frankland Lewis, an unexceptionable stranger, who publicly acknowledged the favour4 and held the seat until 1826. In 1813 the corporation acknowledged a gift of £1,000 from Frankland Lewis and in 1817 they sent him a statement of the expenditure of £1,750 received from him since 1813.5
Author: R. G. Thorne
- 1. Oldfield, Boroughs, ii. 397.
- 2. NLW mss 12411, Eliza Griffith to Phoebe Lloyd, 13 June 1796.
- 3. Glynne-Gladstone mss at St. Deiniols, G.6, Bulkeley to Glynne, 4 Oct.; Fortescue mss, Fremantle to Grenville, 23 Oct., Bulkeley to same, 22 Nov.; Devon RO, Earl Fortescue mss FC 74a, Bulkeley to Fortescue, 12 Nov. 1807.
- 4. N. Wales Gazette, 15 Oct. 1812.
- 5. NLW, Harpton Court mss 2156-7.