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

Background Information

Number of voters:

about 2,000 in 1727


5 Apr. 1660HENRY SOMERSET, Lord Herbert of Raglan
4 Apr. 1661HENRY SOMERSET, Lord Herbert of Raglan
7 Nov. 1667SIR TREVOR WILLIAMS, Bt. vice Lord Herbert, called to the Upper House
 James Herbert
13 Feb. 1679CHARLES SOMERSET, Lord Herbert of Raglan
18 Nov. 1680SIR EDWARD MORGAN, Bt. vice William Morgan, deceased
10 Feb. 1681SIR EDWARD MORGAN, Bt.
30 Apr. 1685CHARLES SOMERSET, Mq. of Worcester
15 Jan. 1689CHARLES SOMERSET, Mq. of Worcester

Main Article

The Restoration came early to Monmouthshire, Sir Trevor Williams inducing the militia to declare for the King even before the general election of 1660, when Lord Herbert, the effective head of the Raglan family, was returned with William Morgan, the heir to the Tredegar estate. There was probably no contest then or in 1661, but the remainder of the period was dominated by the uneasy relation between the Raglan interest and the county gentry. The wealth and power of the latter increased as the earls of Pembroke shed their estates and interest to concentrate upon Wiltshire, though the 5th Earl’s steward received orders to promote the election of Williams in 1667, when Lord Herbert succeeded to the peerage as Marquess of Worcester. The Raglan nominee, James Herbert petitioned, but according to John Milward, ‘the election was clear for Sir Trevor’. But so bitter was the contest, and such ‘great animosities’ ensued, especially when Worcester purged the commission and the lieutenancy of his opponents, that the dispute was said to be still fermenting ten years later.1

At the next general election Herbert was sheriff, and William Morgan wrote to Secretary Williamson that Worcester

wants one of the knights to be his son and to have the nomination of the person for the borough, which the gentry think too much. They offered him the choice of his son for the first knight with himself, but he refused, though it will be carried three to one against him. All his dependency is on the sheriff, whom he is sure of.

As Morgan and the young Lord Herbert were returned, the sheriff’s services were either superfluous or ineffective, and Worcester could congratulate himself on the result, by comparison with the failure of such court peers as Lords Bath and Lindsey to influence county elections in Cornwall and Lincolnshire. But in August, Williams regained the county seat unopposed, Lord Herbert desisting before the poll. William Morgan died before the second Exclusion Parliament met, and on 17 May 1680 John Arnold wrote to Hugh Speke: ‘We have settled our election: Sir Edward Morgan to succeed Mr Morgan, and I am confident we are twenty to one against the great lord’. Morgan was duly returned, probably without a poll, and he and Williams were elected unopposed in 1681, despite the absence of the latter in London. The quarter sessions in October produced a loyal address, but two months later Worcester, in expectation of a new Parliament, wrote to his wife: ‘As to the county, I am assured there is no withstanding the former [Members], which I wonder at’. As late as 1683, he considered Monmouthshire ‘a county as ill-affected as any in England.’2

By 1685 Morgan was dead and Williams had been neutralized by a crushing fine for scandalum magnatum. At the general election Sir Charles Kemys, a loyal adherent of the house of Raglan, was returned with Lord Herbert. The latter was also elected for Gloucestershire, but never formally opted for either seat. Less obnoxious to the Whigs than his father, who had been forbidden to assist him in 1685, he was returned ‘unanimously’ to the Convention, this time with the veteran Williams.3

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Cal. Cl. SP, iv. 635; Edith E. Havill, ‘Parl. Rep. Mon.’ (Cardiff M.A. thesis, 1948), pp. 75, 84; Bath mss, Coventry pprs. 4, f. 416; Milward, 181; Bodl. Carte 72, f. 382.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1679-80, pp. 74, 483; 1680-1, p. 495; Beaufort mss, Ld. to Lady Worcester, 22 Feb. 1679, 11 Dec. 1681; HMC 10th Rep. IV, 152; True Dom. Intell. 23 Sept. 1679; True Prot. Merc. 26 Feb. 1681; HMC Dartmouth, i. 86; J. R. Jones, First Whigs, 101-2.
  • 3. Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 15, f. 110, Southwell to Weymouth, 14 Feb. 1685.