Single Member Welsh County
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Number of voters:
|30 Apr. 1754||Sir William Owen|
|7 Apr. 1761||Sir John Philipps|
|12 Feb. 1765||Sir Richard Philipps vice Sir John Philipps, deceased||778|
|12 Apr. 1768||Sir Richard Philipps||850|
|Election declared void, 6 Mar. 1770|
|20 Mar. 1770||Hugh Owen|
|25 Oct. 1774||Hugh Owen|
|25 Sept. 1780||Hugh Owen||1089|
|Richard Philipps, Baron Milford||912|
|6 Apr. 1784||Sir Hugh Owen|
|9 Feb. 1786||Richard Philipps, Baron Milford, vice Owen, deceased|
Electorally Pembrokeshire was the largest of the Welsh counties. Throughout this period its politics turned round the rivalry between its two leading families, the Owens of Orielton and the Philippses of Picton Castle. The struggle was fought between Sir William Owen and Sir John Philipps, and then between their sons, Hugh Owen (who succeeded his father in 1781) and Sir Richard Philipps (created Baron Milford in the Irish peerage in 1776). Owen was defeated in 1765, and again at the general election of 1768; but in 1770 the House declared Philipps’s election void on the grounds that the poll had been irregularly taken and it was impossible to decide which candidate had a majority of legal votes. Philipps did not stand at the ensuing by-election but instead put up John Symmons, who declined the poll when the sheriff decided to hold the election at Pembroke, a stronghold of the Owens, instead of Haverfordwest, the customary place.
In 1774 Owen was returned unopposed, but in 1780 Lord Milford, as Philipps had now become, renewed the contest. After Owen had won by nearly two hundred votes he boasted in the press that his interest was so clearly established ‘as to admit of neither doubt or dispute’.1 Yet Milford regained the seat on Owen’s death in 1786.
Author: Peter D.G. Thomas
- 1. Glocester Jnl. 9 Oct. 1780.