GLYNNE, Sir Stephen Richard, 9th bt. (1807-1874), of Hawarden Castle, Flint.
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Family and Educationb. 22 Sept. 1807, 1st s. of Sir Stephen Richard Glynne, 8th bt., of Hawarden and Hon. Mary Neville, da. of Richard Aldworth Griffin (formerly Neville)†, 2nd Bar. Braybrooke; bro. of Henry Glynne*. educ. Eton 1820-3; Christ Church, Oxf. 1825. unm. suc. fa. as 9th bt. 5 Mar. 1815. d. 17 June 1874.
Sheriff, Flint 1831-2, ld. lt. 1845-d.
In 1815 Glynne, a descendant of the Glynllifon family and the Welsh princes, who had been groomed from birth to play a leading role in Flintshire politics, inherited the prestigious 7,000-acre Hawarden estate purchased by Sir John Glynne† in 1653 and the baronetcy conferred on Williams Glynne† eight years later.1 His mother was a cousin of the 2nd marquess of Buckingham, and her Neville and Grenville connections brought close ties with the Delameres of Aston Hall, the Williams Wynns of Wynnstay and the Cholmondeleys of Vale Royal, who took a particular interest in the progress of the Glynne children following their father’s early death from consumption.2 Glynne’s guardians, his maternal grandfather Lord Braybrooke and Sir William Earle Welby† of Denton Hall, Lincolnshire, and his maternal uncle George Neville Greville and other trustees, arranged his education and ensured that the estate, which was worth £9,320 13s. 8d. a year in 1823, benefited through enclosure and was not impoverished during his minority.3 Even at Eton, where he excelled in academic subjects on account of his remarkable retentive memory, Glynne had demonstrated the passion for church music and architecture which made him the premier ecclesiologist of his age, and he prepared detailed descriptions of churches he visited in Wales, the south of England and France, on which he corresponded with Robert Champion Streatfield and others.4 Lady Williams Wynn, however, found him at 17
too quiet and slow to shine on the stage or indeed off it. He still retains that singular indisposition to mix or associate even with his schoolfellows when they visit him, and will, I fear, never be popular, though I must admit that his peccadilloes are all negative ones.5
His residence at Oxford, where he first met his future brother-in-law William Ewart Gladstone† and counted Sir Thomas Dyke Acland* among his closest friends, was minimal, and churches remained his main interest; but despite Braybrooke and Thomas Grenville’s† concurrence that he should not risk his health by taking a degree, he gained a third in classics in 1828.6 His coming of age that September was one of the great county celebrations he so dreaded, and he afterwards followed his family to France, where he spent over £17,000 on pictures and antiques.7 He travelled extensively on the continent, but had returned to Hawarden before strikes and mob violence rocked the Flintshire coalfield in December 1830, when he was one of the first coal owners to panic and seek military assistance.8 A poor horseman, who shunned the chase, he was dubbed ‘the topographical baronet’ by Mrs. Edward Stanley and cut a sorry figure as a militia captain; but his rents held up well, and, as sheriff, 1831-2, he assumed a high profile by fostering well-publicized work creation schemes and attending the Chester Cambrian Society St. David’s Day celebrations, 1 Mar. 1831.9
He convened and chaired the Flintshire reform meeting at Mold, 21 Mar., where he declared for the Grey ministry’s bill, and the county petitioned Parliament in his name to avoid delay.10 The county seat was newly vacant through the death of Sir Thomas Mostyn, when the bill’s defeat, 19 Apr., precipitated a dissolution. Glynne was disqualified as sheriff from standing and he remained ‘neutral’ when Mostyn’s nephew and eventual heir, Edward Mostyn Lloyd Mostyn, took the county and his father, Sir Edward Pryce Lloyd retained the Boroughs at the general election in May 1831.11 His ‘solid religious principle and determination to act on it in spite of everybody’ were considered remarkable for his age and when Lloyd’s elevation to the peerage at the coronation produced a vacancy in Flint Boroughs, he co-operated with him to see off possible challenges from David Pennant and William Shipley Conway and celebrated his twenty-fourth birthday by bringing in his younger brother Henry, for whom he was substituted directly his term of office as sheriff expired in February 1832.12 To the regret of his kinsman Charles Watkin Williams Wynn*, he repeatedly professed his support for reform, retrenchment, protection and the abolition of sinecures, which the marquess of Westminster warned might only work to his advantage in the short term.13
He took his seat, 26 Feb., and although he made no speeches of note, he voted as expected to enfranchise Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., and Gateshead, 5 Mar., for the third reading of the revised reform bill, 22 Mar., and for Lord Ebrington’s motion calling on the king to appoint only ministers who would carry it unimpaired, 10 May 1832. He divided for the second reading of the Irish reform bill, 25 May, and presented petitions that day from Denbighshire and Flintshire against the government’s proposals for Irish education. Nonconformists welcomed his vote against the government amendment to Buxton’s motion for inquiry into colonial slavery, 24 May 1832. Lloyd Mostyn correctly complained that Glynne neglected county meetings and chose not to confide in him, and noted his closeness to the Grenville family: ‘Uncle Beilby [Paul Beilby Thompson*] with whom he is domiciled, seems to be his first adviser’.14 He did not vote when party allegiance was tested on the Russian-Dutch loan in July 1832 and, like Thompson, he promised to support Charles Williams Wynn in preference to the Whig Littleton for the expected vacancy in the Speakership.15 Rumours of a peerage for Glynne proved false, and the enlarged Flint District constituency returned him unopposed as a Liberal at the general election in December 1832.16 There was however, ‘an impression ... that Sir Stephen is returning to Toryism’, and he later claimed that ‘in supporting the reform bill I always considered it as a final measure’.17
As a Liberal Conservative, Glynne was returned in absentia for Flint Boroughs in 1834, defeated Lloyd Mostyn to take the county in 1837, but lost to him in 1841, when allegations that he was guilty of buggery coloured a particularly bitter campaign.18 He was seated on petition, but, virtually bankrupted by the failure in 1845 of his Oak Farm coal and iron works, he stood down at the dissolution in 1847. (He failed to recapture the seat as an ‘independent’ in 1857.)19 Although Glynne was an intensely private man, in 1845 his brothers-in-law prevailed on him to accept Peel’s offer of the county lieutenancy, and in 1847 he became the first president of the Cambrian Archaeological Association. He also served on the committee of the Ecclesiological Society and contributed to its publications; archaeological notes on over 5,000 churches in England and Wales are attributed to him.20 He died suddenly of a heart attack in Shoreditch High Street, London in June 1874, so extinguishing the Glynne baronetcy, and was buried at Hawarden, commemorated by an effigy by Matthew Noble. The Gladstones, who had invested heavily in the Hawarden estate and resided there with Glynne, saw to the arrangements and executed his will and the settlement of 16 Dec. 1867, by which Hawarden passed to his nephew William Henry Gladstone† (1840-91).21
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Margaret Escott
For a detailed account of Glynne’s life see A.G. Veysey, ‘Sir Stephen Glynne, 1807-74’, Flint Hist. Soc. Jnl. xxx (1981-2), 151-70.
- 1. W.E.B. Whittaker, ‘The Glynnes of Hawarden’, ibid. iv (1906), 32-36; NLW, Glynne of Hawarden mss 140; Oxford DNB.
- 2. NLW ms 2792-8 passim.; Glynne of Hawarden mss 25, 4364, 4384-6, 4590.
- 3. Flint RO, Glynne mss D/HA/1/8; Glynne of Hawarden mss 140, 296-300, 3901-8, 3910-66, 3973-8, 3984, 4366, 4347, 4594, 4757, 5758.
- 4. Glynne of Hawarden mss 34, 56, 57, 4348, 4353, 4358-75, 4597; St. Deiniol’s Lib. Glynne-Gladstone mss GG27, S. to M. Glynne, 22 July 1826; Archaelogia Cambrensis (ser. 3), v (1874), 249.
- 5. Williams Wynn Corresp. 306.
- 6. Gladstone Diaries, i. 265; Glynne of Hawarden mss 142, 4390, 4406, 4424, 4562, 4591, 4604-7, 4758; NLW ms 2795D, C. to H. Williams Wynn ; Mem. and Letters of Sir Thomas Dyke Acland ed. A.H.D. Acland, 22, 33.
- 7. Buckingham, Mems. Geo. IV, ii. 379; Williams Wynn Corresp. 369-70; Glynne of Hawarden mss 142, 4423; NLW ms 2796D, Lady Delamere to H. Williams Wynn, 6 Oct. 1828.
- 8. NLW ms 2797D, Lady Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 17 Aug. 1830, Lady Delamere to same [23 Jan. 1831]; 4817D, C. Williams Wynn to same, 1 Sept. 1830; Glynne of Hawarden mss 4836.
- 9. Glynne of Hawarden mss 4763, 4769, 4770; Chester Courant, 4, 11, 18, 25 Jan., 1, 8, 15, 22 Feb., 1, 8 Mar. 1831; Veysey, 153-4.
- 10. Chester Chron. 18, 25 Mar.; Chester Courant, 22 Mar. 1831; CJ, lxxxvi. 456.
- 11. Mostyn of Mostyn mss 7904, 7905, 7910, 7912, 7914, 7949; Chester Chron. 22, 29 Apr. 1831; H. Taylor, Hist. Notices of Flint, 191.
- 12. Acland Mem. 32-33; Glynne of Hawarden mss 5391, 5392, 5404; Warws. RO, Pennant mss CR2017/TP463/1-2; Mostyn of Mostyn mss 265, Lloyd Mostyn to fa. ; 8128-46; Chester Chron. 23, 30 Sept. 1831, 24 Feb., 2 Mar. 1832; Chester Courant, 27 Sept. 1831, 21, 28 Feb. 1832.
- 13. NLW, Coedymaen mss 220, 221; Glynne of Hawarden mss 5396, 5397, 5408.
- 14. Mostyn of Mostyn mss 265, Lloyd Mostyn to fa. 17 Mar.; Glynne-Gladstone mss GG37, S. to Mary Glynne, 4 Apr. 1832.
- 15. Coedymaen mss 234.
- 16. Caernarvon Herald, 7 Apr. 1832; N. Wales Chron. 1 Jan. 1833.
- 17. Pennant mss CR2017/TP433/10; Glynne mss D/HA/1258.
- 18. Glynne of Hawarden mss 4650, 5417; Chester Chron. 11 Aug. 1837, 21 May, 4 June 1841; Glynne mss D/HA/1/6; Gladstone Diaries, iii. 112, 122-6.
- 19. CJ, xcvii. 291, 296; S.G. Checkland, The Gladstones, 314, 353, 359-60; J. Marlow, Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone, 29, 48-49; Glynne mss D/HA/1/19-20.
- 20. Veysey, 157-66; Glynne of Hawarden mss 4706; Add. 40564, ff. 276-80; 40566, f. 133; E.A. Pratt, Catherine Gladstone, 19.
- 21. Chester Chron. 20, 27 June 1874; Glynne mss D/HA/1/9, 17; 2/7-8, 23, 27, 29-31, 34, 39; Gladstone Diaries, viii. 501-2, 533, 555; ix. 8, 147.