Welsh County

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Number of Qualified Electors:


Number of voters:

834 in 1710


6 Mar. 1690SIR RICE RUDD, Bt. 
7 Nov. 1695SIR RICE RUDD, Bt. 
11 Aug. 1698SIR RICE RUDD, Bt. 
16 Jan. 1701SIR RICE RUDD, Bt. 
18 Dec. 1701GRIFFITH RICE 
 Sir Thomas Powell, Bt. 
30 July 1702GRIFFITH RICE 
12 Oct. 1710SIR THOMAS POWELL, Bt.752
 Griffith Rice821
3 Sept. 1713SIR THOMAS POWELL, Bt. 

Main Article

The overpowering interest of the Vaughans of Golden Grove, headed by the Earl of Carbery [I] (John Vaughan†), custos of Carmarthenshire from the Revolution onwards, made the county (one of the more populous in Wales) a citadel of Whiggism until the Sacheverellite fever of 1710. The ability of the Whig Sir Rice Rudd, 2nd Bt., to retain the shire seat unopposed until he died, derived, we may assume, from support Carbery must have accorded him, since Rudd was himself nearly bankrupt and his Carmarthenshire estates were weighed under with debt. Thereafter the Vaughan nomination fell upon Griffith Rice, who, comfortably withstanding an opportunist Tory challenge by Sir Thomas Powell, 1st Bt., in December 1701, was also returned unopposed in the three succeeding general elections.2

At last, in 1710, the Tories saw their chance, mounting a vigorous campaign on the issue of ‘the Church in danger’. It was unfortunate for Rice that he had been blacklisted as voting in favour of the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell; and on this occasion Carbery’s endorsement, delivered by letter rather than in person was not strong enough to counteract the prevailing High Church enthusiasm, though the Flying Post claimed in a report that ‘the managers’ of the election had refused to poll over 700 freeholders and gentry for Rice. The Whigs did not, however, consider a petition worthwhile. Powell consolidated his position through a remodelling of the county commission of the peace, a number of Tory justices being added ‘to support his interest’. Carbery’s death in January 1713, followed by a brief interregnum at Golden Grove until the heiress married the Marquess of Winchester (Charles Powlett II*), was an even more serious blow to the Whig cause. In the 1713 election it was Powell’s turn to be chosen without opposition, the triumph having been prefigured in May by his presentation of a loyal address from the county on the conclusion of peace, praising the ‘exemplary fidelity’ and the ‘wise conduct’ of the Queen’s ministers. But the Tory heyday was short-lived. The Hanoverian succession saw Winchester installed as custos and Tory justices purged from the bench, and in 1715 the Whig ascendancy resumed.3

Author: D. W. Hayton


Unless otherwise stated, this article is based on the account of Carmarthenshire politics by P. D. G. Thomas in Carmarthen Antiq. iv. 32–35.

  • 1. Post Boy, 19–21 Oct. 1710.
  • 2. Defoe, Tour ed. Cole, ii. 455; CSP Dom. 1689–90, p. 210; Trans. Cymmrod. Soc. 1963, p. 132.
  • 3. Univ. Coll. Swansea, Mackworth mss, Carbery to [Rice], 12 Aug. 1710; Flying Post, 7–9 Nov. 1710; London Gazette, 9–12 May 1713; L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs, 201–2, 223, 240–1.