New Radnor Boroughs


Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Right of Election:

in the freemen of New Radnor, Rhayader, Knighton, Knucklas, and Kevenlleece (or Cefnllys)

Number of voters:

about 1,100


2 Feb. 1715THOMAS LEWIS 
 Edward Harley, Lord Harley 
26 Mar. 1722THOMAS LEWIS 
21 Aug. 1727THOMAS LEWIS651
 John Verney497
 William Bateman, Visct. Bateman 
1 July 1747THOMAS LEWIS 

Main Article

This seat depended on the power of the corporation of New Radnor to create freemen in the capital borough, and on that of the steward of the King’s manors to create freemen, as well non-resident as resident, in three of the contributory boroughs, Rhayader, Knighton and Knucklas. From 1690 to 1715 it was filled by the Harleys, who held the stewardship and had a dominant influence in the New Radnor corporation; but on George I’s accession they lost the stewardship to their chief local rival, Lord Coningsby; while in New Radnor the bailiff usurped the corporation’s power to create freemen, using it to return Thomas Lewis against Lord Harley.1 Re-elected without a contest in 1722, Lewis was opposed in 1727 by John Verney, who was supported by Coningsby’s successor, the 1st Duke of Chandos, in alliance with the Harleys. When the bailiff, now Lewis’s brother-in-law, created over 200 new freemen,2 Chandos instructed his agent to use his power as steward to create as many new freemen as Verney might ask him to,3 but no advantage appears to have been taken of his offer. In 1734 Lewis was again returned by his brother-in-law, who was alleged to have refused to poll more than one vote for the opposing candidate, closing the poll soon after it had opened, when only 70 had voted.4 In all three contests the defeated candidates petitioned, but no decision was taken by the House of Commons on their petitions.

In 1739 Lewis strengthened his hold on the seat by procuring the issue of a new charter for New Radnor, enabling him to re-model the corporation in his own favour.5 Re-elected unopposed in 1741, he completed his control of the seat by securing the stewardship for his brother in 1746,6 after which he was returned without opposition for the rest of the reign.

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick


  • 1. CJ, xviii. 39, 493, 652.
  • 2. Verney to Walpole, 5 Aug. 1727, Cholmondeley (Houghton) mss.
  • 3. Chandos to John Price of Knighton, 3 Aug. 1727, Chandos letter bks.
  • 4. CJ, xxii. 329.
  • 5. CJ, xxiv. 226.
  • 6. Gent. Mag. 1746, p. 384.