WYNN, Sir John (1628-1719), of Rhiwgoch, Merion. and Wynnstay, Denb.

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

Family and Education

b. c.1628, o.s. of Henry Wynn. educ. I. Temple 1646, called 1653; travelled abroad 1653. m. Jane (d. 18 Feb. 1676), da. and h. of Eyton Evans of Watstay (later Wynnstay), Denb., s.p. legit. Kntd. 23 Mar. 1663; suc. fa. 1671, cos. Sir Richard Wynn, 4th Bt. 30 Oct. 1674.1

Offices Held

J.p. Denb. and Merion. July 1660-Apr. 1688; Oct. 1688-96, 1700-d., Caern. 1702-?d.; commr. for assessment, Denb. Aug. 1660-80, Merion. 1661-80, Caern. 1677-80, Mdx. 1679-80, Denb. and Merion. 1689-90; dep. lt. Denb. c. Aug. 1660-Feb. 1688, Denb. and Merion. 1689-96, 1703-?d.; steward of Bromfield and Yale manors, Denb. 1671-d.; sheriff, Denb. 1671-3, Caern. 1674-5, Merion. 1675-6; custos rot. Merion. 1678-Apr. 1688, 1690-6, 1700-11; common councilman, Denbigh 1691-d., ‘alderman’ 1695-6.2


Wynn inherited little from his father, but he acquired by marriage the estate of Watstay, which he renamed after his own family. He hoped to succeed his father as knight of the shire in 1673, but was disappointed. His status improved in the following year when he inherited the Wynn baronetcy, though not the bulk of the Gwydir property, which eventually passed to Lord Willoughby de Eresby (Robert Bertie II).3

From the first general election of 1679 until 1713, Wynn served in every Parliament but those of 1681 and 1695-8, owing his seat more to ‘his presents ... than his parts or person’. Classed as ‘doubtful’ on Shaftesbury’s list, he was an active Member of the first Exclusion Parliament, in which he was named to 22 committees, including those for the habeas corpus amendment bill, for the speedier conviction of recusants, for security against Popery and for inspecting the Lords’ Journals about the lords in the Tower. He helped to draw up the bill to continue the prohibition on the import of Irish cattle, but he did not speak. He voted against exclusion, but refused to make way for Lord Willoughby in September. He was also active in the second Exclusion Parliament, in which the most important of his twelve committees were to inquire into abhorring, to receive information concerning the Popish Plot and to examine the papers of Sheridan and Wilson.4

Wynn was briefly replaced by Sir Robert Owen in 1681, but regained his seat in 1685, probably in accord with an electoral bargain. A very active Member of James II’s Parliament, he was named to seventeen committees, including those to recommend expunctions in the Journals, to inspect the accounts of the disbandment commissioners, to estimate the yield of tax on new buildings, and to amend the bankruptcy laws. He was clearly an Anglican, refusing the first two questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws in 1688, and was removed from local office. He was elected without a contest to the Convention, and according to Ailesbury’s list voted to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant. A moderately active Member he was appointed to 23 committees, including that for the toleration bill. On 21 May he acted as teller against committing the bill for better ordering the forces of the kingdom. He gave evidence to the Lords that ‘land was two or three years’ purchase the worse’ because of the existence of the court of the marches. He was named to the committee to inquire into delays in the relief of Londonderry, and on 19 Nov., in his only recorded speech, he praised the great services of Dr Walker in its defence. In the second session he was appointed to the committees for attainting Irish rebels and restoring corporations, acting as teller against the disabling clause. Wynn remained a Tory under William and Anne, refusing the Association of 1696. He died on 7 Jan. 1719, aged 91, and was buried at Ruabon, when the baronetcy became extinct.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar


  • 1. CSP Dom. 1652-3, p. 477.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1660-1, p. 137; 1689-90, pp. 477, 509; J. Williams, Recs. of Denbigh, 142.
  • 3. Cal. Wynn Pprs. 407.
  • 4. NLW, Clenennau mss 781, Lady Willoughby to Wynne, 14 July 1679; 796, Vaughan to Owen, 3 Jan. 1681.
  • 5. R. Morrice, Entering Bk. 2, p. 674; HMC Lords, ii. 106; CJ, x. 323.