Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Right of Election:

in the freemen (1660-1); in the freemen and the inhabitants paying scot and lot (aft. 1663)

Number of voters:

under 100 (1660-1); over 200 (after 1663)


 Sampson Lort 
  Election declared void, 29 June 1660 
11 June 1661ISAAC LLOYD 
 Sir William Morton 
  Election declared void, 23 May 1663 
c. Sept. 1666SIR FREDERICK HYDE vice Morton, appointed to office 
 Hugh Owen 
14 Aug. 1677(SIR) HERBERT PERROTT vice Hyde, deceased 
 William Wogan 
c. Feb. 1679WILLIAM WOGAN 
 Thomas Owen 
9 Sept. 1679THOMAS OWEN 
 William Wogan 
22 Feb. 1681THOMAS HOWARD211
 Thomas Owen58
14 Apr. 1685WILLIAM WOGAN 
14 Jan. 1689WILLIAM WOGAN 

Main Article

The indentures for Haverfordwest are extremely full and informative: they give names and occupations of the electors, and indicate the importance of the leather trade in the town. There were many contested elections, probably due in part to internal divisions, but also to attempts to impose court candidates. The two great county families, Owen of Orielton and Philipps of Picton, seem to have avoided open contests; but plainly exerted an influence in the borough.

There were several candidates in the field in 1660. In March, the wife of Rowland Laugharne wrote to the mayor to recommend the sitting Member, Sir Robert Needham. The corporation wrote to Needham that it was ‘bound to let him know that the commonalty, who are the electors ... are so extremely averse to a stranger that ... nothing will satisfy them but the choosing of a native of the country [county] to be their representative’. Laugharne was encouraged by this reply to offer his services to the borough, but he was not seriously considered. James Philipps of Cardigan Priory, an influential figure in south-west Wales during the Protectorate, had the support of the Presbyterian corporation. On 3 Apr. the mayor told Philipps that he expected his return ‘without opposition’, though already Sampson Lort of East Moor, a dexterous trimmer during the Civil Wars and later a republican, was canvassing the town, and on 5 Apr. he wrote to Philipps that his ‘cousin’, William Philipps, a local Royalist, ‘does labour for voices to be himself burgess for this town’. Warned that a split vote might well let Lort in, James Philipps withdrew to Cardigan Boroughs. If the corporation had to choose between William Philipps and Lort, Philipps was by far the lesser evil. Even so, trickery had to be used to prevent Lort’s victory. When he appeared on polling day, the sheriff asserted that he was not a ‘burgess’ of the town and refused to poll his supporters. Nevertheless a poll of some sort was held, for in his petition Lort claimed a majority of 16 over Philipps. The corporation gave evidence that Lort was unfit to represent the town which he had oppressed during the Interregnum; in religion he had favoured fanatics rather than ‘orthodox and godly ministers’; he had treated the corporation arrogantly and his supporters were soldiers and informers. Philipps failed to have the case heard at the bar of the House, and the elections committee recommended that the election should be declared void. Philipps spoke ‘excellently’ in defence of the corporation, recounting Lort’s record, but the House agreed with the committee. Lort now changed his tactics and gave his support to Sir Frederick Cornwallis, a courtier and a stranger. But this did not work, nor did an attempt to detain the writ. On 7 Aug. William Philipps was re-elected.1

The general election of 1661 was not held until over a month after the Cavalier Parliament met. The local candidate, Isaac Lloyd, was opposed by Sir William Morton, chief justice of the circuit and an erstwhile Cavalier. Lloyd was returned by the still unpurged corporation, but Morton claimed greater support among the scot and lot voters. The elections committee reported on 4 Apr. 1662 in favour of the wider franchise, but, on hearing that both Lloyd and Morton had polled dubious votes, the House referred the matter back. On 10 May 1663 Morton was ordered to give Lloyd a list of his voters who were not freemen. The committee reiterated its earlier opinion, but the House declined to agree and ordered a new election on the wider franchise. Morton was successful, but it is not possible to say whether there was a contest.2

The promotion of Morton to the King’s bench in 1665 caused a by-election. The court candidate was Morton’s successor on the Carmarthen circuit, Sir Frederick Hyde. Hugh Owen (later Sir Hugh Owen, 2nd Bt.), petitioned against Hyde’s return, and on 26 Nov. 1667 the elections committee recommended a new election. But the House disagreed and resolved on a division that Hyde was duly elected. Another by-election was caused by Hyde’s death in 1677. The candidates were Sir Herbert Perrott, in the country interest, whose predecessors had dominated the borough in Elizabethan times, and William Wogan, a lawyer from a cadet branch of the family. Wogan’s petition was referred to the elections committee in three successive sessions, but never reported.3

Wogan, a moderate supporter of the Court, contested the two elections of 1679. His opponent was Thomas Owen, another lawyer of local origin, who resided chiefly in Westminster. Wogan was successful in February, but on 25 Mar. the sheriff of Haverfordwest informed the Commons that Wogan had been wrongfully returned by a ‘pretended sheriff’ and that Owen had the votes of a majority of the inhabitants. No action was taken; but the result was reversed in September. Wogan petitioned when the second Exclusion Parliament met, but again no report appears. Wogan moved up to the county seat in 168l, but Owen, unable to attend the election owing to his Westminster commitments, was heavily defeated by a local court supporter, Thomas Howard. The grand jury in 1682 declared their abhorrence of the ‘Association’ and paid tribute to the naval prowess of the Duke of York, and the corporation produced another loyal address after the Rye House Plot. Wogan was elected to James II’s Parliament, but in September 1688 Sunderland recommended William Barlow. The Duke of Beaufort (Henry Somerset) included Barlow among the few candidates pledged to James’s religious policies who might be elected if the corporations were remodelled and purged. But at the general election of 1689 Wogan was ‘freely and unanimously’ re-elected.4

Authors: Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar


  • 1. Cal. Recs. Haverfordwest 1539-1660 (Univ. Wales, Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. xxiv), 165-72; Bowman diary, f. 31; NLW, Haverfordwest corp. mss. 387-9.
  • 2. CJ, viii. 397, 484, 491.
  • 3. CJ, ix. 26, 430, 484, 518; Milward, 138.
  • 4. CJ, ix. 484, 518, 643; Prot. Dora. Intell. 18 Mar. 1681; London Gazette, 12 June 1682, 7 Sept. 1683; CSP Dom. 1687-9, p. 276; Duckett, Penal Laws (1882), 288.