Available from Cambridge University Press
Number of voters:
c.1,100 in 1620.1
|14 Mar. 1604||SIR WILLIAM MAURICE|
|c. Mar. 1614||RICHARD WYNN|
|27 Dec. 1620||JOHN GRIFFITH III|
|21 Jan. 1624||THOMAS GLYNNE|
|11 May 1625||THOMAS GLYNNE|
|(Sir) Peter Mutton*|
|18 Jan. 1626||JOHN GRIFFITH III|
|c. Feb. 1628||JOHN GRIFFITH III|
Caernarvonshire is divided into three by the massif of Mount Snowdon: to the east, the Creuddyn peninsula and the Conway valley; Arfon and Arllechwedd Isaf along the Menai Strait to the north; and Eifionydd and the Ll?n peninsula to the south and west. During the early modern period the shire’s economy was of the conventional upland type, mixing subsistence crops of rye and barley with the commercial farming of livestock, a combination which left the freeholders’ ability to meet tax demands heavily dependent upon the state of the cattle trade. Industrial activity was modest: Caernarvon had a small cloth industry, and there were a number of millstone, slate, coal and lead mines on the slopes of Snowdon.2
The politics of early Tudor Caernarvonshire were dominated by the Griffiths of Penrhyn, but their subsequent decline allowed Elizabeth’s favourite, Robert Dudley†, earl of Leicester, to intervene in local affairs, polarizing the county over his vigorous pursuit of concealed tenures within the Forest of Snowdon.3 After his death in 1588 control of the shire devolved upon the two greatest local landowners, Sir John Wynn† of Gwydir and Sir William Maurice. In a county divided by geography, faction and religion, it is surprising that parliamentary elections in Elizabethan Caernarvonshire were largely uncontested, as similar circumstances produced bruising clashes in Denbighshire and Montgomeryshire. The fact that Leicester was an absentee may have helped to defuse the situation, although the underlying tensions probably explain why Wynn, one of the earl’s most active local allies, did not stand after 1586, and his younger brother Ellis Wynn† failed in his ambition to secure the knighthood of the shire at the end of Elizabeth’s reign.4
At the general election of 1604 Sir William Maurice, who had sat for Beaumaris in 1601, changed places with the lawyer William Jones I*, knight for Caernarvonshire in Elizabeth’s last Parliament. This was probably an amicable arrangement, as Maurice had headed the list of attestors to Jones’s return in 1601, and the sheriff who supervised his own return three years later was Jones’s brother-in-law, John Griffith the elder of Cefnamwlch. Maurice probably faced a challenge from Gwydir at some stage of the proceedings in 1604: the Wynns were conspicuously absent from the election return, which was signed almost exclusively by men from the western end of the shire, while Sir John Wynn had spoken of nominating his brother when a Parliament was first mooted in June 1603. However, the disgruntled tone of a letter written by Ellis Wynn shortly before the county day suggests that his brother had failed to stand by his earlier undertakings, from which it may be inferred that the family ultimately shied away from a contest.5
It is unlikely that Maurice contemplated standing for the shire at the next general election in 1614: he was by then over 70 years old, and the king’s cherished project for a full Union with Scotland, to which he, almost alone among MPs, had given his wholehearted support, had long since been laid aside. As soon as the summons was announced, Wynn (whose heir was then in France) nominated his second son Richard, a courtier in the household of lord chamberlain Suffolk. Confident of the backing of his own tenants in the Conway valley, Wynn appealed to at least three key figures at the western end of the shire, John Griffith of Cefnamwlch, Henry Bodvel of Maes y Castell and John Jones of Castellmarch, who assured him of their support on the (well-founded) understanding that William Jones was prepared to settle for the burgess-ship at Beaumaris. The only other candidate who may have put himself forward was Sir William Glynne† of Glynllivon, who was later said to have withdrawn upon receiving Wynn’s promise to support either him or his heir at the next election.6
Any joy Wynn may have felt at this electoral success turned to ashes six months later with the news of the sudden death of his heir in Italy, while his local prestige suffered a mortifying blow in November 1615, when he was fined 1,000 marks by the Council in the Marches for attempting to intimidate the Crown tenants of the manor of Llysvaen, Caernarvonshire.7 Wynn had no intention of paying the fine without appeal, but in the meantime his servants were arrested, his lands seized, and the justices of the Council in the Marches called for his removal from local office. Forced to flee to London to avoid arrest, he procured the remission of all but £200, at the price of a public submission at Ludlow in March 1616.8 The memory of this humiliation presumably explains why Wynn welcomed an opportunity to restore his local standing when a fresh general election was called in November 1620.
Much as Sir John Wynn may have been inclined to pick a fight over the county seat, the initiative for the 1620 contest came from London, where his son (Sir) Richard had decided to stand by 3 Nov., the day on which the Privy Council ordered the writs sent out. Sir Richard probably hoped his early declaration of intent would discourage any rival candidates, to which end he offered first refusal of the seat to (Sir) William Jones; the latter, being on the verge of appointment as a justice of Common Pleas, declined, and, as courtesy demanded, offered Wynn ‘his goodwill and assent’. There was also a remote possibility that the aged Sir William Maurice might choose to ‘run a-madding again’, in which case Wynn proposed to yield precedence and content himself with the borough seat. Having carefully guarded against a confrontation with the two most senior figures in county society, Wynn was taken aback by a challenge from a completely different quarter when John Griffith III, a Lincoln’s Inn lawyer and son of the 1604 sheriff, declared himself.9
Griffith’s entry into the fray threw Wynn’s calculations into disarray: he correctly surmised that any promises made by Jones and Maurice should now be discounted, while Griffith could look for further support from his father-in-law, Sir Richard Trevor†, who had recently purchased a large slice of the Penrhyn estate. In all the excitement, Wynn, having earlier lobbied Sir Lionel Cranfield* to get his brother-in-law Sir John Bodvel excused from the shrievalty, now forgot to countermand the request, thus losing the chance to secure himself a favourable returning officer at the election. Griffith’s supporters regarded the new sheriff, Robert Owen of Ystumcegid, as their man, but the Wynns seem to have neutralized his influence by delaying the dispatch of the writ appointing him sheriff until after the election, which was thus presided over by the previous year’s incumbent, Robert Wynn of Glascoed. Wynn’s uncle Sir William Thomas doubted whether either man would be willing to serve the Wynns’ cause, advising that ‘the best kindness we are to expect of them is but indifferency’.10
Griffith, also working from London, lobbied just as hard as his rival, approaching Sir William Maurice with particular care:
You know best the experience that is obtained by being of a Parliament, and that every true lover of his country should endeavour to do service there; in that desire I now am bold to entreat your voice for me to be knight of the shire, whereby you shall make me beholding to you, and I shall rejoice in a better thought of myself by your election of me.
This overture failed, as Wynn had already secured Maurice’s support, but Griffith responded by pressing Maurice ‘to grant me your favour in leaving your friends to their liberty … if without injury to yourself it may be so’, an appeal which was quickly reinforced by another from Maurice’s favourite granddaughter, wife of the assize judge Sir Francis Eure*, who urged him to ‘labour and endeavour for other voices in his behalf as you would do for me, if I were a man and fit for the place’. To Wynn’s annoyance, Griffith also managed to secure control of the writ for the election, despite promises to the contrary from lord chancellor St. Alban (Sir Francis Bacon*). Finally, Griffith’s opponents accused him of employing nefarious means to achieve his ends, including the interception of Wynn’s correspondence and the use of the lawyer Simon Parry as a spy within the Gwydir camp.11
The efforts of the two contenders in London were more than matched by those of their supporters in Wales. Sir John Wynn quickly dispatched his younger son Owen, his servant Edward Lloyd and his cousin William Wynne of Melai, Denbighshire, to canvass the freeholders of the Conway valley, the Creuddyn peninsula, Llysvaen and the lowlands along the Menai Strait as far as Caernarvon, where they were assisted by Sir William Thomas.12 The latter’s calculations, based upon these efforts, provide some of the most detailed psephological data of any early Stuart election:
CAERNARVONSHIRE CANVASSING RETURNS, 162013
Projected Wynn support
Conway, Creuddyn and Arllechwedd Isaf
All but ‘scattered voices’ (assuming Bulkeley support)
All but ‘scattered voices’
Is Gwyrfai, Bangor and Caernarvon
All but ‘scattered voices’
On these projections, the Wynns looked as though they might carry the day by a comfortable majority of up to 200 votes, but, like any modern pollster, Thomas warned of a substantial margin of error, particularly as Wynn’s adversaries had engaged a Caernarvon scrivener to draft leases enfranchising additional freeholders to swell their numbers at the county day, a tactic that was promptly emulated by Sir John Wynn among his Gwydir tenants. Thomas’s prediction for Eifionydd suggests that he believed Sir William Maurice’s tenants would vote for Wynn, an assumption Griffith’s supporters were ultimately to undermine.
Allegiances in the remainder of the shire varied according to the cross-currents of local politics. Lewis Bayly, bishop of Bangor, having commenced his episcopate by picking a fight with Sir John Wynn, thereafter sparred more regularly with his dean, Edmund Griffith of Cefnamwlch. Some weeks before the election Bayly surprised even Owen Wynn with the vehemence of a post-sermon oration in which he exhorted his Bangor congregation ‘to pass their voices for my brother’. Bayly’s neighbour, William Williams of Vaynol, who had recently clashed with the bishop over his wife’s Catholic sympathies, declared for Griffith, although neither he nor his wife (Sir John Wynn’s aunt by her previous marriage) were prepared to pressure their tenants on behalf of either side.14 The Wynns looked for additional support among Merioneth gentry families who had estates in Caernarvonshire, such as the Vaughans of Corsygedol and Robert Lloyd† of Rhiwgoch, but there were fears that Sir Richard Bulkeley’s* promises to Wynn on behalf of his tenants in the Conway valley might not hold good, probably because of the ill usage they had hitherto received at Sir John Wynn’s hands. At the western end of the shire, Sir John Bodvel lobbied on behalf of his brother-in-law, Sir Richard Wynn, apparently making headway with Arthur Williams of Meilionydd, who had recently been feuding with his Cefnamwlch neighbours.15
After a whirlwind campaign lasting three weeks, the freeholders converged upon Caernarvon for the county court at the end of November. Sir William Thomas leased the Shire Hall on behalf of Wynn’s supporters, stocking it with beer, food and bedding, while it seems that both sides independently sought to encourage a good turnout among their own tenants by arranging a muster of the county militia at Caernarvon on the same day. This provoked a shrill protest from Thomas Glynne: ‘the election of the knight of the shire should proceed from the free will of the freeholders according to the statute and by His Majesty’s Proclamation … and not from the threats of these musters’. Sir William Thomas unsuccessfully urged an ailing Sir John Wynn to make a personal appearance at the hustings, promising him that ‘your countenance will carry the matter clear away by dashing and daunting the adverse part’. However, if the election looked doubtful, Thomas planned to object to both candidates on the grounds that they were not resident within the shire, and to impose a third man at the last moment, a ploy he assured Wynn ‘will grieve and gall them more than the losing of it by competition with you’. In the event the election was postponed, presumably because the writ had not arrived, although Griffith’s supporters, doubting the prospect of a clear-cut victory without the benefit of their newly minted freeholders, may simply have advised the sheriff not to publish the writ.16
Surprisingly, it was the Wynns who experienced a loss of nerve in the aftermath of this abortive contest, perhaps because they had come to believe their own predictions of an easy victory. Sir William Thomas admittedly remained confident: he assured Sir John Wynn that ‘I will not spare for any pains or labour in the defence of your credit’, even though the next county day would fall during the Christmas holidays, and he advised Wynn to canvass his followers once again. Owen Wynn, by contrast, urged his father to reconsider, reminding him of ‘the trouble and charge you will put your friends unto in such a time as everyone would willingly take his rest’, and hinting that some of the Gwydir faction were inclined to put him forward as a candidate in place of his brother. Meanwhile, Sir John wrote an angry letter to his son William Wynn* in London, castigating Sir Richard Wynn’s failure to mobilize official support from the Council in the Marches and the Prince’s Council. By the middle of December the strain had broken Sir John’s health, and Owen Wynn returned to Gwydir to care for his father, advising Thomas that ‘my case now admits no gadding abroad about an imaginary cause’. Morale at Gwydir improved a little with the arrival of letters from Sir Richard Wynn and the family’s close ally John Williams, dean of Westminster, and on 19 Dec. Sir John Wynn sent to Sir William Maurice, urging him to maintain his support ‘to the end’. Meanwhile, Owen Wynn sought to improve the family’s chances by passing a bribe to the sheriff’s wife. However, by this stage Wynn was looking to salvage some shreds of his reputation rather than to score an outright victory, and legal advice he received at the time suggest that his options included ruling both candidates unfit through non-residence, or, at worst, standing aside in a last-minute show of generosity to Griffith.17
The Ll?n men, scenting victory, pressed home their advantage, warning Sir William Thomas and Sir John Bodvel that they would face charges in Star Chamber for attempting to impose militia rates upon Griffith’s supporters, and threatening to proceed against Bishop Bayly in Parliament and to terminate his lease of a farm held from the Cochwillan estate as a punishment for pressuring his tenants to support Wynn. Bayly also received a letter of admonition from Lord President Northampton, warning him that the lord chancellor had received a complaint about his activities, and urging him to ensure that the election was not marred by violence. With increasingly contradictory signals emerging from Gwydir, support for the Wynns faded even among their closest allies: Sir John was particularly shocked to be deserted by his son-in-law Sir Roger Mostyn*, who may have agreed to back Griffith as the price for the Trevors’ endorsement of his own uncontested election for Flintshire. 18
At the county court, which took place on 27 Dec., John Griffith III was returned on an indenture which was, as might be expected, dominated by Ll?n families: Griffith’s father, his uncle Dean Edmund Griffith of Bangor, Henry Bodvel of Maes y Castell, Griffith Jones of Castellmarch, the Madryns and Bodurdas; further east, he was also supported by the Glynnes of Glynllivon and Nanlley, and Thomas Williams, heir to the Vaynol estate. On the morning of the election the Gwydir camp, faced with this huge array, was thrown into a panic. Assuming Sir Richard Wynn’s cause to be lost, Bishop Bayly suggested that Sir John Wynn stand instead, at which Sir John Bodvel objected that a rebuff for the head of the family would be even more humiliating than the defeat of the heir. His solution was to propose Owen Wynn as their candidate, but at this Sir William Thomas demurred, ‘saying he would not adventure his credit upon any younger brother’. He moved instead to revive Sir John Wynn’s long-forgotten promise of 1614 in favour of Thomas Glynne of Glynllivon, who, as a declared supporter of Griffith’s, might be used to divide the opposing vote. Owen Wynn endorsed the principle behind this plan, but persuaded his colleagues to adopt another Cefnamwlch partisan, Griffith Jones of Castellmarch, on the grounds that the latter’s father-in-law, William Griffith† of Caernarvon, was backing the Gwydir interest, and his father, Sir William Jones, had initially pledged his support to Sir John Wynn if the latter chose to stand in person. The logic of this tortuous argument clearly eluded the freeholders, and the Wynns’ failure to petition the Commons about the election suggests that Griffith won by an overwhelming margin.19
The ignominious collapse of the Gwydir interest provoked angry recriminations among the Wynns: taunts about Sir Richard’s non-residence struck a particularly raw nerve in Sir John, who had always regretted his son’s decision to neglect his Welsh patrimony in favour of an English wife and a Court career. The latter, reduced to the shrill assertion that ‘I … cannot find the least cause … wherein I have been faulty’, found a more level-headed advocate in Dean Williams:
The opposition grew not here at London … but it began at home in the country, against the greatness not of your son, but of yourself and your house. This I know very well as having taken no small pains in reconciling your son and Mr. Griffith betimes, which I had soon effected but that I found (by a little disputation) that the root of the opposition lay hid in Wales, and the gentleman was only set up as an active instrument to advance the designs of closer opposites.
Some historians have suggested that the roots of this electoral clash may be found in a conflict between the modernizing social and religious values of Gwydir and the conservatism of the Ll?n gentry. This interpretation gives too much weight to the Wynns’ extensive correspondence, which tends to present the family as the focus of a public-spirited struggle against obscurantist forces, a view founded upon the paranoia which increasingly coloured Sir John Wynn’s outlook in the last decade of his life as ill-health and old age confined him to Gwydir. As Williams suggested, the key issue was the conflict between Wynn and the gentry from the western end of the shire, who resented taking orders from a man who was both impossibly high-handed and virtually a stranger in their part of the world. This tension was exacerbated as Wynn’s poor health led him to sustain his authority through a clique of close relatives, such as Thomas, Bodvel and Owen Wynn, who wielded only a fraction of his social and political authority. Under Elizabeth, the grievances of the Ll?n men would have coalesced around the Bodvel family, but with the heir to the estate married to one of Wynn’s daughters, the Griffiths seized the chance to carve out a leading role for themselves in county society.20
Neither side was disposed to bury the hatchet in the months following their electoral clash. For some time, supporters of Griffith, whom Sir John Wynn ironically dubbed ‘the lord of Ll?n’, held weekly victory rallies at Pwllheli, largely to annoy Sir John Bodvel. Meanwhile, Owen Wynn, in London to explore potential avenues for revenge, discovered that he could not bring a credible lawsuit against the Ll?n men, even for acceptance of the bribe he had himself given to the sheriff’s wife, as there was no proof it had been received, and anyway, it had evidently failed to procure a victory for the Wynns.21 Moreover, a plainly vexatious charge would encourage the Wynns’ adversaries to raise the issue in Parliament, where Griffith was already boasting to Sir Roger Mostyn that he would file a complaint against Bodvel and Thomas for abusing their powers as deputy lieutenants. Shortly thereafter, in June 1621, the Wynns had an unexpected stroke of luck when Dean Williams of Westminster became lord keeper. Williams immediately took Sir John Wynn’s son William and grandson John Mostyn* into his service, and the family had high hopes that ‘by degrees we shall be sufficiently revenged of our adversaries’, a portent of which was the swift removal of three of their adversaries from the subsidy commission. However, hopes for a purge of the Ll?n faction from the commission of the peace came to nothing, as did efforts to secure the attorneyship of North Wales for Ellis Lloyd* in place of Owen Griffith of Cefnamwlch, while it took nine months of lobbying merely to get Owen Wynn added to the county bench. Williams was too canny a politician to serve as a mere catspaw for Gwydir’s ambitions, and, well aware of the way in which his predecessor had met his downfall, he warned his servants that ‘he will have no favourites as the Lord St. Albans had’. Both sides talked endlessly about litigation, and after many months of preparation the Wynns sponsored a Star Chamber bill against the Ll?n faction; to deprive Griffith of the opportunity to claim immunity, the suit was only entered on file four days before the Parliament was dissolved in February 1622.22
Williams’s reluctance to take sides in the endless quarrels of his native shire eventually served to take some of the heat out of the disputes. Griffith procured a referral of his lawsuits with the Wynns to the Council in the Marches, where he hoped for a favourable hearing, but his adversaries responded with an injunction from Williams revoking the most important charges, relating to the sealing of the Caernarvonshire election indenture, back to Chancery; the case was eventually brought to a composition by Sir Peter Mutton and Edward Littleton II*, the assize judges for North Wales, in the autumn of 1623. In November 1622, anticipating another general election, the Wynns had Sir John Bodvel pricked as sheriff, while Owen Wynn spent much of the following year trying to forge himself a marriage alliance, first with Williams’s sister and then with the lord keeper’s niece. Meanwhile, John Griffith stirred up trouble between Griffith Jones and Owen Wynn, culminating in a public quarrel at the Beaumaris assizes. He also aimed to build up an interest in the Caernarvon Boroughs seat by procuring a grant of the constableship of Caernarvon Castle, a deputation of which had hitherto been held by Sir William Thomas.23
When a fresh Parliament was finally summoned at Christmas 1623, the Caernarvonshire factions were more evenly balanced than they had been in the aftermath of the previous election, although the memory of that humiliation encouraged the Wynns to focus their efforts on Merioneth, Anglesey and Caernarvon Boroughs. However, Owen Wynn and Sir William Thomas, upon learning that the Griffiths backed the return of Thomas Williams of Vaynol, developed an opportunistic plan to divide their enemies by securing a rival nomination from Sir James Whitelocke*, chief justice of Chester, on behalf of his son-in-law Sir Thomas Mostyn. Wynn had no particular brief for his Mostyn relatives, who had abandoned the Gwydir cause at the 1620 election, but the scheme promised to sow dissension in the ranks of the family’s adversaries at little cost. In the event, Whitelocke misguidedly resolved to back Mostyn for the Flintshire seat against the express wishes of the latter’s own father, while an even more improbable attempt to promote the candidacy of one of the Wynns’ obscurer neighbours, Hugh Hughes of Cefn Garlleg, came to nothing. In a final twist to the proceedings, on the morning of the election Thomas Williams resigned his interest in favour of Thomas Glynne of Glynllivon. Once again, the indenture was dominated by the gentry of Ll?n and Uwch Gwyrfai, although they were joined by Sir William Thomas, who was present in the hope that a last-minute rival might enter the fray.24
The Wynns received two unwelcome scares during the 1624 Parliament, one over the investigation of their patron lord keeper Williams for judicial malpractice, and the other when Sir Eubule Thelwall* persuaded a majority of Welsh MPs to sign a petition against a lease of the Welsh greenwax fines to Sir Richard Wynn, thus delaying a grant on which the family had already expended 18 months of effort and £150.25 The lord keeper’s survival apparently disheartened John Griffith, who was reported to be on the verge of giving up his career ambitions at the end of the year, but the king’s death in March 1625 threw everything back into the melting pot, not least because it held out the prospect of fresh parliamentary elections. Williams, who hoped to organize the return of sympathetic candidates across North Wales, intended to leave Merioneth and Caernarvonshire to the Wynns. Sir John initially approached Sir William Thomas for the Caernarvonshire seat, but Thomas, mindful of the Wynns’ previous electoral humiliations, declined the offer, protesting that ‘I am not yet ready for the Parliament, and therefore whomsoever you shall nominate, I am for him’.26 Wynn’s choice next lighted upon Sir Peter Mutton, the chief justice of North Wales, an outsider whose estates lay in Flintshire. He announced his intention to stand on a visit to Sir John Wynn, ‘thinking that if I opposed it not, no other would do’, a stance which naturally delighted his host. It was presumably Wynn who suggested that Mutton write to Sir William Thomas for support, as well as Thomas Williams and Thomas Glynne, the two candidates at the previous election. However, Wynn somehow neglected to advise his guest to approach the Ll?n gentry, an omission which verged on electoral suicide and suggests that his protestations of support for Mutton’s cause were less than sincere. Shortly thereafter, when Mutton learned of Glynne’s intention to contest the seat ‘might and main’, he recalled that at the 1624 session his rival had assured him ‘that if any of my friends had desired the place for me he would have yielded with many protestations of his love and respect unto me’. This disingenuous misinterpretation of what had clearly been only a casual pleasantry as a firm promise cannot have assisted his cause. Wynn acknowledged ‘I would not willingly that Thomas Glynne should carry the place’, but he showed no real inclination to exert himself on Mutton’s behalf, and seems to have lost patience with his inept ally when it emerged that the latter’s failure to muster at least a token presence at the county court on 13 Apr. would have cost him the election if the writ had arrived in time. At the actual election four weeks later, Glynne ‘came with all the forces of Ll?n, Eifionydd and Uwch Gwyrfai’ to trounce an opponent who may already have given up the fight. Sir William Thomas, who attended the hustings, probably reflected Wynn’s views in observing with studied indifference that Glynne ‘laboured as if it had been to obtain a great prize’.27
By the time of the next election, in January 1626, changes at Whitehall had profoundly altered the political balance in Caernarvonshire. Lord Keeper Williams had been sacked and had retired to his episcopal palace at Buckden, Huntingdonshire, while Sir William Jones, although still in office, was reported to have fallen foul of the all-powerful favourite, the duke of Buckingham. The Wynns had no hope of mounting a credible challenge to the Ll?n faction, and Mutton showed no sign of wishing to repeat the electoral annihilation of the previous year. However, Glynne was replaced by John Griffith, in an arrangement which was clearly consensual, as he endorsed the latter’s return, which comprised, as usual, a roll call of the leading families from the western end of the shire.28 Griffith’s quest for preferment continued unabated, as was made evident by his obsequious defence of Buckingham in a session largely devoted to the preparation of the duke’s impeachment charges. From a local viewpoint, the session was more remarkable for the vigorous attack on Bishop Bayly led by Sir Eubule Thelwall, who accused his diocesan of offences ranging from the appointment of non-Welsh speaking clergy to fornication with his maidservants. Bayly may well have regretted the fact that, for the first time in over a decade, his Wynn allies were not represented in the Commons, and while the charges made against him were never pressed to a hearing, they were taken sufficiently seriously in official circles that he was still answering enquiries about his alleged shortcomings four years later.29
The Caernarvonshire gentry dragged their feet over the payment of Privy Seal loans to the total of £540 which were levied during the 1626 Parliament, the more so because the government was then laying plans to assess the four subsidies of 1606 and 1610 which had never been collected within the principality. Griffith used his influence to exempt his father, Glynne and Sir Thomas Williams from the loans, while Sir William Jones simply refused to pay those demanded from his family; Sir John Wynn was perhaps in the most fortunate position, in that the collector, Sir William Thomas, omitted to pressure him for payment. None of this augured well for the collection of the Forced Loan in 1627, but with Griffith by then firmly rooted in Buckingham’s service, Sir John Wynn dead, and Sir William Jones, as a judge, expected to set an example of prompt payment, would-be refusers lacked a figurehead, and the issue did not become as divisive as it would have only a few years earlier. Griffith’s dependence upon the favourite had no perceptible effect on his electoral prospects, as he was returned for the shire once again in 1628.30
Author: Simon Healy
- 1. NLW, 9057E/921.
- 2. Agrarian Hist. Eng. and Wales ed. J. Thirsk, v. pt. 1, pp. 396-7; A.H. Dodd, Hist. Caern. 34-5; J. Gwynfor Jones, Law, Order and Govt. in Caern. 14-15, 24-9; NLW, 9056E/889, 9057E/922, 964, 466E/905; J. Gwynfor Jones, Wynn Fam. of Gwydir, 65-8.
- 3. P. Williams, Council in the Marches, 237-9; Gwynfor Jones, Wynns, 214-17.
- 4. J.E. Neale, Elizabethan House of Commons, 93-121; Gwynfor Jones, Wynns, 217; NLW, 9052E/195, 197.
- 5. C219/34/91; 219/35/2/191; J.E. Griffith, Peds. Anglesey and Caern. Fams. 191; NLW, 9052E/250, 271.
- 6. NLW, 466E/644-5, 940; 9055E/650.
- 7. Llysvaen was detached from the rest of the shire on the coast of Denb., near Abergele.
- 8. NLW, 9055E/672, 749, 758; NLW, Wynnstay 106/88; CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 336; Gwynfor Jones, Wynns, 89-90.
- 9. NLW, 9057E/915, 916; Stuart Royal Procs. ed. J.F. Larkin and P.L. Hughes, i. 493-5.
- 10. C2/Jas.I/T9/55; NLW, 9057E/916, 921, 923; NLW, Brogyntyn 399; List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 248; C219/37/339.
- 11. NLW, Brogyntyn 398-400, 402; NLW, 9057E/923, 926, 933, 466E/1000.
- 12. NLW, 9057E/918; Griffith, 281, 376.
- 13. Derived from NLW, 9057E/921.
- 14. A.H. Dodd, ‘Bp. Bayly’, Trans. Caern. Hist. Soc. xxviii. 23-4; NLW, 9057E/918; Griffith, 190, 281.
- 15. NLW, 9057E/921, 925, 932; 466E/1000; A.D. Carr, ‘Gloddaith and the Mostyns’, Trans. Caern. Hist. Soc. xli. 48; Gwynfor Jones, Wynns, 88; STAC 8/31/3; Griffith, 171, 380.
- 16. NLW, 9057E/921, 933, 940; NLW, Brogyntyn 401.
- 17. NLW, 9057E/924-8, 930-3, 948.
- 18. NLW, 9057E/925, 932, 934.
- 19. C219/37/339; NLW, 9057E/940; 466E/1000.
- 20. NLW, 9057E/926, 933, 937; 466E/940, 1000; A.H. Dodd, ‘Wales’s Parliamentary Apprenticeship’, Trans Cymmrodorion Soc. (1942), p. 42; Dodd, Caern. 70-1.
- 21. NLW, 9057E/944, 948.
- 22. NLW, 9057E/966, 968, 971, 975, 979, 988, 994; 9058E/1002-3, 1008, 1011, 1020; 466E/1024; C66/2245; STAC 8/31/3; JPs in Wales and Monm. ed. Phillips, 26.
- 23. NLW, 9058E/1025, 1028, 1038, 1043, 1046, 1050, 1062, 1065, 1067, 1082, 1096, 1115; 9059E/1169; Griffith, 186, 194, 281.
- 24. NLW, 9059E/1172 (which should be dated 2 Jan. 1624), 1189; Griffith, 77; C219/38/324.
- 25. NLW, 9058E/1062, 1070; 9059E/1198, 1206, 1218; 466E/1235; 9060E/1276.
- 26. NLW, 9060E/1311.
- 27. Procs. 1625, pp. 674-8; C219/39/275.
- 28. NLW, 9061E/1389; C219/40/13.
- 29. JOHN GRIFFITH III; Procs. 1626, ii. 28; iii. 3, 5, 11; UCNW, Baron Hill 3230; NLW, 9061E/1411; CSP Dom. 1629-31, p. 231.
- 30. NLW, 9061E/1412, 1422; E401/2586, p. 337; E179/224/598; E401/1386, m. 7; CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 224.