New Radnor Boroughs


Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

No names known for 1542


1553 (Mar.)(not known)
1553 (Oct.)RHYS LEWIS 2

Main Article

By the mid 13th century the town of Old Radnor had been superseded by that of New Radnor, some two miles away. The borough is said to have had a charter destroyed in 1401 during Owain Glyn Dwr’s uprising but no new one was issued until 1562. In the early 16th century, when the lordship of the borough belonged to the crown as part of the earldom of March, authority was vested in a bailiff and common council. Made the shire town at the Union, New Radnor alternated with Rhayader as the meeting place of the county court until 1543 and with Presteigne for the rest of the period. Of the other ‘ancient boroughs’, Cefnllys, Knighton, Painscastle and Rhayader were boroughs by prescription controlled by the crown. The townships of Knucklas and Norton were no more than vills, and Presteigne, perhaps the most prosperous community in the shire, had burgages but no status as a borough. New Radnor and Presteigne were included in the Act of 1544 for the re-edification of certain towns (35 Hen. VIII, c.4).5

Little is known about the elections, which were supervised by the bailiff of New Radnor. Three indentures survive, those for 1542 and 1558 being in a poor state and the one for 1545 being combined with the return for the shire. In 1545 the contracting parties are the sheriff of Radnorshire and the burgesses of the borough of Radnor, but in 1558 Rhys Lewis is described as having been elected with ‘the consent and assent as well of the burge [sses of Radnor as of] other burgesses of all other boroughs within the [said county]’. In September 1553, October 1554 and 1555 the name of the person elected is included in the indenture for the shire election. In November 1553 the attorney-general prosecuted (Sir) Adam Mytton for failing to send a precept to New Radnor at the recent election: Mytton answered the charge in Michaelmas term 1554, when he argued that the rules governing elections in England did not apply to Wales.6

All the Members had property in New Radnor or lived within five miles of the town. Robert Vaughan from Presteigne was returned during the shrievalty of his neighbour John Bradshaw I. Only Richard Blike had any previous parliamentary experience, having been knight of the shire in 1547. Thomas Lewis went on to sit for Radnorshire four times under Elizabeth.

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Hatfield 207.
  • 2. Bodl. e Museo 17.
  • 3. Huntington Lib. Hastings mss Parl. pprs.
  • 4. C219/24/247.
  • 5. M. Beresford, New Towns in the Middle Ages, 570-4; The King’s Works, iii. 174-5; Williams, Rad. 152, 167-8, 176, 249, 254, 265.
  • 6. C219/18B/143, 18C/189, 21/249, 23/209, 24/247, 25/257.