MANSEL, Sir Edward, 4th Bt. (1637-1706), of Margam Abbey, Glam. and Soho Square, Westminster.
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Family and Education
b. Oct./Nov. 1637, 2nd s. of Sir Lewis Mansel, 2nd Bt. of Margam by 3rd w. Lady Elizabeth Montagu, da. of Henry Montagu, 1st Earl of Manchester. educ. Queens’, Camb. 1653; travelled abroad (France and Italy) 1656-7. m. settlement 9 Sept. 1665, Martha (d. 1 July 1703), da. and coh. of Edward Carne of Ewenny, Glam., 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da. suc. bro. c.1640.1
Commr. for militia, Glam. Mar. 1660, j.p. Mar. 1660-80, 1684-Apr. 1688, Oct. 1688-d., commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-80, 1689-90; dep. lt. Glam. c. Aug. 1660-88, Oct. 1688-d., S. Wales 1663-?80; commr. for oyer and terminer, Wales 1661, loyal and indigent officers, Glam. 1662; v.-adm. S. Wales 1662-82; col. of militia ft. Glam. 1665-?80, by 1697-d.; chamberlain of Carmarthen 1671-d., steward of Pembroke manor, Pemb. by 1680-d., Penkelly manor, Brec. by 1687-d.; sheriff, Glam. Feb.-Nov. 1688.2
Mansel’s ancestors had settled in Gower by the 13th century. They first represented Glamorgan in 1553, and obtained a baronetcy under the original patents of 1611. Mansel succeeded to an estate of £4,000 p.a., and raised the family to a position of primacy in the county, in succession to the earls of Pembroke. He was arrested on his return from his travels in 1657, but immediately released, and he does not seem to have been active in Cavalier conspiracy. He was returned for the county at the general election of 1660. An inactive Member of the Convention he was named to eight committees, of which the most important were to consider the revenue of the crown, to endow vicarages out of impropriate rectories, to prevent the voluntary separation of married people and to settle wine licences. He made no recorded speeches, but probably voted with the Court. He was replaced in 1661 by William Herbert, Lord Herbert, but made his mark, especially in the militia, as ‘a person of great interest and integrity in these parts’. When Herbert succeeded to the peerage, Mansel was returned unopposed. He was again inactive in the Cavalier Parliament, in which he was appointed to only 14 committees, including those for the estate bills promoted by the executors of Edward Lewis and by Sir Trevor Williams. He received the government whip in 1675, and was included on the working lists among those ‘to be remembered’; together with William Morgan, he was to manage Williams on behalf of the Court. After the autumn session, Sir Richard Wiseman still reckoned him a court supporter, and (Sir) Joseph Williamson, a personal friend, correspondent, and visitor at Margam, even put him down among the potential government speakers, although he is not known to have opened his mouth in the House. By 1677, however, he had gone over to the Opposition. Shaftesbury marked him ‘doubly worthy’, and he was teller for the successful motion to extend indefinitely the prohibition on the import of Irish cattle. He warmly approved of the Dutch marriage; but on 9 Mar. 1678 he joined Morgan in complaining to Williamson of the high-handed removal by the Marquess of Worcester (Henry Somerset) of several ‘gentlemen of good note and condition’ from the commission of the peace. He was still included in the 1678 list of court supporters. In the last session of the Cavalier Parliament he was added to the committee of inquiry into the Popish Plot.3
Mansel probably solved the conflict between his personal and political loyalties by standing down in favour of his cousin Bussy Mansel in the 1679 elections, but he was removed from local office nevertheless. He was returned for the county again in 1681, when his cousin was returned for the borough seat, but left no trace on the records of the Oxford Parliament. His disagreement with Lord Worcester (now Duke of Beaufort) was composed in 1684, when he entertained him at Margam. ‘Nothing was spared that this noble place could afford of diversion’, and the chronicler of Beaufort’s progress wrote appreciatively of the ‘excellent sculpture, delicate grayings, and an infinity of good Dutch and other paintings’, as well as marbles from Mansel’s own quarries. Mansel has to be distinguished from his Tory cousin, Sir Edward Mansel of Muddlescombe, who was nominated mayor in the new Swansea charter. He was reelected in 1685, and included by Danby among the Opposition. A moderately active Member of James II’s Parliament, he was appointed to the committee of elections and privileges, and to those considering the bills to provide carriages for the royal progresses and to prohibit the import of gunpowder. He was one of the Welsh sheriffs pricked in January 1688 to preclude them from standing for the abortive Parliament, and he was absent when Beaufort put the questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws to the Glamorgan magistracy, ‘not able, as he says, to ride, not having rid ten miles these four years’. His ill health may have been genuine, for he shared to the full in the convivial habits of the Welsh squirearchy, but it had not prevented him from going to Westminster, and he was dismissed from his other county offices. He never stood again, leaving his cousin and his son to take the county and borough seats respectively in the next three Parliaments, though he retained his pugnacious disposition even in his old age. He died on 14 Nov. 1706 and was buried at Margam.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: M. W. Helms / Leonard Naylor
- 1. Cat. Penrice and Margam Mss, ser. 2, p. 107; ser. 3, p. 11; CSP Dom. 1655-6, p. 576.
- 2. Cat. Penrice and Margam Mss, ser. 3, pp. 10-15; ser. 4, i. 21, 25; CSP Dom. 1666-7, p. 249; 1672, p. 394; W. R. Williams, Great Sessions in Wales, 189; Cal. Treas. Bks. vi. 561; viii. 1429; Eg. 1626, f. 59.
- 3. Symonds Diary (Cam. Soc. lxxiv) 216; CSP Dom. 1657-8, p. 344; 1666-7, p. 13; 1670, p. 108; 1676-7, pp. 319, 513; 1677-8, p. 429; 1678, p. 25; CJ, ix. 408.
- 4. J. Dingley, Beaufort’s Progress, 313; CSP Dom. 1677-8, p. 421; HMC Downshire, i. 286; NLW Jnl. xxi. 161, 166, 167.