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 voters:

818 in 1702


18 Nov. 1695SIR JOHN CONWAY, Bt. 
24 Aug. 1698SIR JOHN CONWAY, Bt. 
8 Jan. 1701SIR JOHN CONWAY, Bt. 
10 Dec. 1701SIR ROGER MOSTYN, Bt. 
22 July 1702SIR THOMAS HANMER, Bt.510
 Sir John Conway, Bt.3081
23 May 1705SIR JOHN CONWAY,  Bt. 
19 May 1708SIR ROGER MOSTYN, Bt. 
Nov. 17102SIR ROGER MOSTYN, Bt. 
26 Dec. 1711SIR ROGER MOSTYN Bt. re-elected after appointment to office 
30 Sept. 1713SIR JOHN CONWAY, Bt. 

Main Article

Flintshire elections were the preserve of a charmed circle of greater gentry, the four families of Conway, Hanmer, Mostyn and Puleston, who for the most part arranged the county and borough representation among themselves, serving in rotation. Aside from Sir Roger Puleston, a moderate Whig, who in any case died in 1697 heavily in debt, all were Tories. The Whig interest of the Whitleys of Hawarden, which had appeared formidable in 1689, when both Roger Whitley* and his son Thomas* had briefly held appointment as custos, was more or less extinct by the late 1690s with the death first of Thomas and then of his father. Thereafter the formidable Tory consensus suffered only one breach. In 1702 Sir John Conway, 2nd Bt., who may already have given trouble by supporting his kinsman Thomas Ravenscroft* against Sir John Hanmer, 3rd Bt.†, in a by-election for the Boroughs in 1697, refused to stand down for a second time for the county, in favour of Hanmer’s nephew (Sir) Thomas II (4th Bt.). Since Conway had previously sat as knight in three consecutive Parliaments from 1695 to 1701, Hanmer had reason to feel aggrieved. ‘If Sir John Conway will not be content to be out of Parliament once in ten years’, he wrote,

when other gentlemen require to have their turn of serving, it must be disputed with him. I do not find he is in any such temper of resigning; but, on the contrary, I believe he is forming an interest against that which Sir Roger Mostyn [3rd Bt.] and I shall jointly prosecute on our own behalfs. The county, I shall appear for; and Sir Roger for the borough [sic]; both mutually assisting one another.

The combination of Hanmer and Mostyn was successful, and the following year the two baronets went further, instigating with the assistance of Mostyn’s father-in-law, the Earl of Nottingham (Daniel Finch†), a purge of the Flintshire commission of the peace. However, Lord Treasurer Godolphin (Sidney†) intervened to thwart them before the new warrant, already prepared, could be issued.3

Good relations between the major powers were restored before the election of 1708, and presumably even before Conway’s return as knight of the shire in 1705. For the next two general elections Mostyn took over for the county, Conway moving to the Boroughs constituency, though only after he had humbly offered to defer to Hanmer. Then prior to the 1713 election, it being ‘considered that the last agreement of the county was expired’, the principals, joined by the 4th Viscount Bulkeley (Richard*), ‘took an opportunity at London of talking together concerning it’. As Hanmer subsequently recalled:

the intention was to preserve peace and good neighbourhood among us, and the terms which were then proposed and consented to by all then present were these – that all parts of the former agreement should be renewed and stand good, with this alteration and addition only, that whenever within the new term, which was to be the same with the former, it should be Sir John Conway’s turn to serve, either for the county or the borough, it might be in his choice to do it himself, or name another gentleman belonging to the county, and agreeable to the rest of the gentlemen of it. This proposition had the consent of all of us who were then present, if the other gentlemen who were not there and the county had no objection to it, when it should be made to them.

Conway was returned unopposed.4

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. Bean’s notebks.
  • 2. No day-date is given in OR.
  • 3. Flints. Hist. Soc. xiv. 45–46; A. H. Dodd, Studies in Stuart Wales, 214; CSP Dom. 1689–90, pp. 271, 312, 367; 1702–3, p. 536; HMC Kenyon, 428; L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs, 159.
  • 4. NLW, Bettisfield mss 81, Conway to [Hanmer], Mar. 1708; J. Hanmer, Par. and Fam. of Hanmer, 164–5.