Single Member Welsh County

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Number of voters:

about 800


9 May 1754John Lloyd
3 Dec. 1755Wilmot Vaughan vice Lloyd, deceased
20 Apr. 1761John Pugh Pryse
30 Mar. 1768Wilmot Vaughan, Visct. Lisburne
4 Jan. 1769Lisburne re-elected after appointment to office
7 Mar. 1770Lisburne re-elected after appointment to office
26 Oct. 1774Wilmot Vaughan, Visct. Lisburne
28 Sept. 1780Wilmot Vaughan, Earl of Lisburne
28 Apr. 1784Wilmot Vaughan, Earl of Lisburne

Main Article

In 1754 the leading Whigs in Cardiganshire were John Lloyd of Peterwell, Thomas Johnes of Croft Castle, and Lord Lisburne of Crosswood. Of the leading Tory families, William Powell of Nanteos had no political ambitions, and John Pugh Pryse of Gogerddan, who had probably the best interest in the county, was a minor. The Tories, guided by Sir John Philipps of Picton Castle, a trustee of the Gogerddan estate, agreed to support Lloyd for the county on condition that John Symmons was supported in the borough by the Whigs.1

On Lloyd’s death in 1755 Wilmot Vaughan came forward, with the support of Powell and the Gogerddan trustees.2 Thomas Johnes, seeking to represent Vaughan as ‘standing on a Tory bottom’,3 proposed Herbert Lloyd of Peterwell, brother of the previous Member, but ministerial pressure forced him to drop the campaign and support Vaughan.4

John Pugh Pryse came of age in 1760. Sir John Philipps, acting on his behalf, came to an agreement with Johnes and Lloyd by which Pryse was to represent the county and Lloyd the borough.5Vaughan received a promise of Treasury support, but even so was forced to abandon the contest.6

By 1768 the position had changed a good deal. Pryse proposed to stand for Merioneth; and Sir Herbert Lloyd, supported by Johnes, early began to canvass Cardiganshire. But Lloyd was very unpopular, and when Pryse and Powell declared for Lord Lisburne (as Vaughan had now become) he was forced to withdraw.7 Lisburne was returned unopposed in 1774, 1780, and 1784. John Robinson wrote about Cardiganshire in his survey for the general election of 1780: ‘The same again, though not liked, and if an opposition would certainly be thrown out.’ Pryse’s death in 1774 and Powell’s in 1780 weakened Lisburne’s position; but it seems that Robinson underestimated the strength of his interest.

Author: Peter D.G. Thomas


  • 1. Philipps to Wm. Powell, 19 Apr. 1753, Nanteos mss, NLW.
  • 2. Letters to Powell from Vaughan (18 Feb. 1755), Philipps (26 May 1755), and Rev. J. Lloyd (30 June 1755), Nanteos mss.
  • 3. Add. 32856, ff. 52-53.
  • 4. Add. 32857, ff. 115-16, 431.
  • 5. Add. 32893, ff. 300. 471; 32901, f. 359.
  • 6. Add. 32901, ff. 32-33; 32916, ff. 92-93 32918 f. 248.
  • 7. Pryse to Powell, 7 Aug. 1767, Lisburne to Powell, Jan., 19 Apr. 1768, Nanteos mss; Glocester Jnl. 31 Aug. 1767.