WYNN, Thomas, 1st Baron Newborough [I] (1736-1807), of Glynllifon, Caern.
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Family and Education
b. 1736, 1st s. of Sir John Wynn†, 2nd Bt., of Glynllifon by Jane, da. and h. of John Wynne of Melai, Denb.; bro. of Glynn Wynn†, and uncle of Glynn Wynn*. educ. Queens’, Camb. 1754; Grand Tour 1758-60. m. (1) 15 Sept. 1766, Lady Catherine Perceval (d. 30 Apr. 1782), da. of John Perceval†, 2nd Earl of Egmont, 1s. d.v.p.; (2) 10 Oct. 1786, at S. Maria Novella, Florence, Maria Stella Petronilla, da. of Lorenzo Chiappini, constable of Modigliana, styled Marchesina of Modigliana, 2s. suc. fa. as 3rd Bt. 14 Feb. 1773; cr. Baron Newborough [I] 23 July 1776.
Auditor, land revenue in Wales and Mon. 1756-81; ld. lt. Caern. 1761-81, custos rot. 1773-82; constable, Caernarvon Castle 1761-81; prothonotary and clerk of the crown, N. Wales 1793-d.
Lt.-col. commdt. Loyal Newborough vols. 1776, 1799, 1803-d.
Lord Newborough’s public career in England had been ruined in 1782 when, heavily in debt after lavish expense on his military fantasies, he had been deprived of the local dignities that indicated the erstwhile primacy of the house of Glynllifon in Caernarvonshire and obliged to live obscurely abroad. When he returned to Wales with a mysterious second wife in 1792, the vacuum created in local politics by his absence had been filled by Lords Bulkeley and Uxbridge. He had been made to realize this in 1790 when he wrote to Uxbridge from Florence, announcing that he would stand for the county: Uxbridge discounted his protestations of friendship and warned him off.1
While they did not regard him as a serious threat to their arrangements, the two magnates decided to placate him when he again announced his candidature in the autumn of 1795, at first by seeking to promote his ambition for a British peerage. Newborough had written to the Duke of Portland on 23 Aug. to state his pretensions to the county seat, boasting of his interest in the borough and county of Caernarvon, in Denbighshire and Merioneth and stressing that he was ‘most sincerely attached to government and anxious to know the wishes of your Grace’. Portland was disappointed that Newborough could not agree to support Lord Penrhyn’s candidature and thereby be ‘venerated as the peacemaker of the country’: he begged him not to court certain defeat by persisting in his candidature. Portland subsequently described a peerage as too high a price to pay for Newborough’s withdrawal. Newborough, who then informed Uxbridge that he would give up the county in exchange for the peerage, urged his own claims on Pitt, 19 Oct. 1795, conveniently forgetting his allegations in exile that he had been persecuted by government for not supporting them over the American war, and boasting of ‘my long and firm attachment for many years in Parliament and otherwise to government’ and ‘the influence of an extensive property in this part of the kingdom that has always been exerted in supporting the measures of the crown, with an assiduity and an expense unlimited’. When Uxbridge, under repeated pressure from him, wrote in support of Newborough’s claim, 11 May 1796, he emphasized only that its realization would preserve the peace of the county, for it was feared that Newborough, if frustrated, might yet join forces with Lord Penrhyn in the contest for Caernarvonshire. Pitt’s reply was negative, 20 May 1796.2
Although Newborough did not secure a British peerage, he was placated with a seat for life for Bulkeley’s borough of Beaumaris. This he held, apart from an attempt to bluff Bulkeley into giving him the county in 1802, with docility, supporting the administration of the day when present, which may not have been often, for he made no mark in Parliament. Bulkeley informed Lord Grenville, 17 Oct. 1806: ‘Lord Newborough has promised me faithfully to attend and vote in support of you and your government’.3 On 14 Feb. 1807 he assured Lord Howick that
indisposition alone could prevent my attendance in the House of Commons. Being now much recovered from a severe rheumatic lameness I shall immediately return to town.
My regular attendance will I trust show my firm attachment to the measures of administration that has been uniform and constant in Parliament, at present more than forty years, during which my attachments to the interests of the crown have ever been inviolable.
Newborough did not attend, through illness, on such crucial motions as Brand’s and Lyttelton’s.4 He died 12 Oct. 1807 ‘after a lingering illness’, leaving a reduced estate, two small sons and an eccentric widow, who devoted her life to proving that she was really the daughter of the Duc d’Orleans, Philippe ‘Egalité’, not, however, from any egalitarian motive.5
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: R. G. Thorne
- 1. G. Roberts, Trans. Caern. Hist. Soc. ix. 25; UCNW, Plas Newydd mss 2/200, 203.
- 2. Plas Newydd mss 2/209, 210; Portland mss PwF9622-3; PwV109; PRO 30/8/163, f. 152; 185, f. 45; 195, f. 131.
- 3. Fortescue mss.
- 4. Grey mss; CJ, lxii. 224, 306.
- 5. Gent. Mag. (1807), ii. 989; Trans. Caern. Hist. Soc. xv. 24; Sir R. P. Gallwey, Mystery of Maria Stella (1908).