Merioneth

County

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Elections

DateCandidate
10 Jan. 1559JOHN WYN AP CADWALADR
5 Jan. 1563ELLIS PRICE
1571HUGH OWEN
 John Salesbury
1572JOHN LEWIS OWEN
10 Nov. 1584CADWALADR PRICE
1586ROBERT LLOYD
5 Nov. 1588ROBERT SALESBURY
1593GRIFFITH NANNEY
26 Sept. 1597THOMAS MYDDELTON
 John Vaughan
20 Oct. 1601ROBERT LLOYD

Main Article

During the earlier part of this period the parliamentary representation of Merioneth was largely in the hands of Ellis Price, the Earl of Leicester’s agent, who, however, sat once only for the county, in 1563. The 1559 MP was John Wyn ap Cadwaladr of Rhiwlas, his nephew. In 1571 his influence was challenged by an opposing faction who put up Price’s old enemy John Salesbury. Price supported a relation, Hugh Owen of Cae’rberllan Contests in Merioneth were unusually bitter owing to the lack of a borough seat for the defeated candidate to fall back on, and on this occasion feelings ran so high that the council in the marches of Wales were compelled to condemn those who ‘by outward signs and tokens of brag’ sought to prevent a ‘proper election’ in the county. Price afterwards reported to Leicester:

... I did lately give the election and voices of me and my friends within the county of Merioneth to Hugh Owen esq. ... to be knight of the Parliament for the said county against the said Salesbury, who stood in trial with the said Hugh Owen for the same room and election ... wherein the said Salesbury was overthrown ...

Price was not challenged in 1572 when John Lewis Owen of Llwyn, Hugh’s elder brother, secured the seat, nor in 1584 when his great-nephew Cadwaladr Price of Rhiwlas, son of the 1559 MP, came in. But a Salesbury supporter was elected in 1586 in the person of Robert Lloyd of Rhiwgoch, and with the death of Leicester in September 1588, Price’s influence finally crumbled. In the election that November, Robert Salesbury, the son of the defeated candidate of 1571, was returned. Griffith Nanney (1593) was a bitter enemy of John Lewis Owen. Thomas Myddelton, one of the 1597 candidates was an outsider but he could count on the Nanneys and the Rhiwgoch Lloyds as his ‘cousins’ and on the Salesburys and the Nanneys because they owed him money. His opponent, put up by John Lewis Owen and Cadwaladr Price, was John Vaughan of Caer Gai. Both John Lewis Owen and Cadwaladr Price were now deputy lieutenants and powerful men, but they so abused their positions that a Star Chamber case was brought against them, where it was claimed that:

... the said deputy lieutenants and their said company [300 ‘base people out of the bordering counties ... unlawfully armed and weaponed with daggers, pistols, mainpikes, Welsh hooks, swords, bucklers, long staves and gauntlets’ gathered so] that many honest persons of good wealth and credit, fearing the election would prove bloody, did thence depart and those that tarried did give their voices in fear and amazement.

Even so, victory went to Thomas Myddelton and the supremacy of the Salesbury faction was established. The 1601 Member was the same Robert Lloyd of Rhiwgoch who had successfully broken the Price-Owen monopoly in 1586.

A Star Chamber suit about the wrongful conversion of money levied to pay the 1593 Member discloses that Nanney received £15 or £16 for his services. The undersheriff, it was alleged, collec