PRICE, Richard (1773-1861), of Norton Hall, Knighton, Rad.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press

Constituency

Dates

18 Mar. 1799 - 1847

Family and Education

b. 13 May 1773,1 1st s. of Richard Price, attorney, of Norton Manor and Mary alias Margaret, da. of Charles Humphreys, attorney, of Pennant Hall, Mont. educ. Univ. Coll. Oxf. 1790. unm. suc. fa. 1797. d. 10 Apr. 1861.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Rad. 1794-5.

Lt.-col. Rad. vols. 1803, lt.-col. commdt. 1803, (militia) 1808.

Biography

A lifelong Tory who augmented his estates through the sale of crown estates and enclosure in Radnorshire, Price had been returned for New Radnor Boroughs in 1799 with the acquiescence of Edward Harley, 5th earl of Oxford, whose family’s long-standing rivalry with the Lewises of nearby Harpton Court for control of the constituency he endeavoured to overcome.2 As in 1812, his return at the general election of 1820 was opposed by Percival Lewis of Downton, whom he defeated by 207-59 after an eight-day poll. He celebrated his victory with a series of dinners in Rhayader in November.3 Price’s addresses made no political statements, but he was known to be an anti-Catholic supporter of Lord Liverpool’s ministry.4 A radical publication of 1825 correctly surmised that he ‘appeared to attend seldom and to vote with ministers’, but as he was regularly confused with the Whigs Robert Price and Pryse Pryse, some uncertainty regarding his parliamentary conduct persists.5 His alleged votes with opposition on the Queen Caroline case, 22 June 1820, 6, 20 Feb. 1821, for reductions in military, 6 Apr. 1821, and diplomatic expenditure, 15 May, and inquiry into the Peterloo massacre, 16 May 1822, can safely be discounted; as can reports that he presented petitions from Carmarthenshire for improvements in the Welsh judicature, 25 May 1820, and from Kingburn for Catholic claims, 21 Apr. 1825.6 He may have been the ‘Mr. Price’ who intervened briefly in support of the grant to the Opthalmic Institution, 2 June 1820, and backed the Newington select vestry bill, 5 Mar. 1821. He divided against Catholic relief, 28 Feb. 1821, 30 Apr. 1822, 21 Apr. 1825, and voted against reforming the Scottish representation, 2 June 1823. He probably also paired against the malt duty repeal bill, 3 Apr. 1821, and voted against repealing the salt duties, 28 June 1822, and for the Irish insurrection bill, 14 June 1824.7 He was one of Radnorshire’s few resident landlords and an active magistrate who encouraged the education of the poor and did not shirk from implementing the game laws and attending public meetings. In December 1825, he co-operated with Robert Price and Edward Rogers* of Stanage Park to allay fears concerning the Kington bank.8 He had been pledged since 1812 to promote the return of Thomas Frankland Lewis* of Harpton Court for Radnorshire on Walter Wilkins’s retirement, and authorized Lewis to say so when he was looking for a seat in 1826. Price seconded the elderly Wilkins’s nomination at the general election that year and came in again for New Radnor Boroughs unopposed.9

A stalwart of Knighton races and the Knighton Association ‘for the prosecution and bringing to justice of all persons committing felonies or other offences against our respective persons or property’, he signed the resolution adopted at the Radnorshire sessions, 12 Jan. 1827, for legislation to improve the Hereford- Aberystwyth road, and was a member of the local committee for the Rhayader road bill, which received royal assent, 23 Mar. 1829. However, as with the 1828 Rhayader enclosure and 1829 Kington improvement bills, his involvement with it in the Commons cannot be verified.10 With Thomas Wood*, he made representations to the home secretary Peel on behalf of Charles Hanbury Leigh†, who was anxious to avoid serving as sheriff of Breconshire in 1827.11 He divided against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827, and presented the Radnorshire wool producers’ petition for protective tariffs, 28 May, and one from Ross for repeal of the Test Acts, 12 June 1827, which he divided against, 26 Feb. 1828.12 He canvassed for and nominated Lewis at the by-election caused by Wilkins’s death, 17 Mar. 1828. On the hustings Sir Harford Jones Brydges of Boultibrook, Radnorshire, and Kentchurch Court, Herefordshire, accused him of being party to a coalition to give the Tories control of both Radnorshire constituencies, which he found hard to deny.13 The Wellington ministry’s patronage secretary Planta listed him among those ‘opposed to the principle’ of Catholic emancipation in February 1829, but he divided for it, 30 Mar. He nominated Lewis for re-election after his appointment as treasurer of the navy, 1 Mar. 1830, when the major issues were the fate of the Welsh judicature and the location of the Radnorshire assizes.14 Price did not attend the county meetings or comment publicly on the issue until the general election in August 1830, when he praised Lewis’s role in saving the Presteigne assizes and refuted charges of his own inaction. His return was unopposed.15

The Wellington ministry counted Price among their ‘friends’, but he may well have divided against them on the civil list when they were brought down, 15 Nov. 1830.16 He was granted three weeks’ leave after serving on the Aberdeen Burghs election committee, 7 Feb. 1831. He voted against the Grey ministry’s reform bill at its second reading, 22 Mar., and seconded Lewis’s unsuccessful amendment to ‘moderate’ the pro-reform petition adopted at the Radnorshire meeting, 5 Apr. He divided for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831, and in a short speech on the 21st he apparently denied that he had voted to defeat the bill, ‘as others had done’, and said that he hoped the government would not resign. Nominating Lewis at the general election in May, he professed continued opposition to ‘the present reform bill’. His own return was ‘a quiet affair’.17 He divided against the reintroduced reform bill at its second reading, 6 July, and voted to make the 1831 census the criterion for English borough disfranchisements, 19 July 1831. He was criticized for playing no part in securing amendments to the clause establishing the new Radnor District constituency, 9, 10 Aug., 6 Sept., and was absent from the division on the bill’s passage, 21 Sept.18 He failed to divide on the second reading of the revised measure, 17 Dec. 1831, but voted against enfranchising Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., and the third reading, 22 Mar. 1832.19 He divided against government on the Russian-Dutch loan, 12 July 1832.

Price’s return for the new Radnor District constituency in December 1832 was not opposed. He failed to secure Rogers’s nomination for Radnorshire when Lewis resigned in 1834, and in 1842 was passed over for the county lord lieutenancy in favour of Sir John Walsh*, whose election for Radnorshire in 1840 he had helped to bring about.20 He was ‘father of the House’ when he made way for Lewis in Radnor Boroughs in 1847. He died, aged 88, in April 1861. As he had willed, the Norton estate passed to his sister Margaret’s son, Richard Green (1803-87), who assumed the name of Price as directed and represented Radnor Boroughs as a Liberal, 1863-9.21

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Margaret Escott

Notes

  • 1. IGI (Herefs.).
  • 2. P.D.G. Thomas, Politics in 18th Cent. Wales, 46-47; K. Parker, ‘Parl. Enclosure in Rad.’ and ‘Sale of Crown Lands in Rad. in 19th Cent.’ Trans. Rad. Soc. lxxiii (2003), 127-47 and lxxv (2005), 151-73.
  • 3. Shrewsbury Chron. 10 Nov. 1820.
  • 4. HP Commons, 1790-1820, iv. 488; Hereford Jnl. 9, 16 Feb., 8, 22 Mar.; The Times, 14-18, 21 Mar. 1820; D.R.Ll. Adams, ‘Parl. Rep. Rad. 1536-1832’ (Univ. of Wales M.A. thesis, 1969), 652-4.
  • 5. Session of Parl. 1825, p. 481.
  • 6. The Times, 26 May 1820, 6 Mar. 1821, 22 Apr. 1825.
  • 7. Seren Gomer, iii (1820), 219; iv (1821), 92, 154, 189; v (1822), 124, 188; The Times, 12 Feb. 1821.
  • 8. Herefs. RO Q/JC/4-8; X21; W.H. Howse, ‘A Family Feud at New Radnor’, Trans. Rad. Soc. xxviii (1958), 19; Shrewsbury Chron. 15 Feb. 1822.
  • 9. NLW, Harpton Court mss C/281, 595, 597, 626; Hereford Jnl. 7, 14, 28 June 1826.