Available from Boydell and Brewer
|1558/9||WILLIAM PRICE I 1|
|1562/3||WILLIAM PRICE I|
|1 May 1572||ROLAND KENRICK|
|1584||THOMAS BULKELEY 2|
|29 Sept. 1586||THOMAS BULKELEY|
|24 Oct. 1588||THOMAS BULKELEY|
|13 Oct. 1597||WILLIAM JONES|
|28 Sept. 1601||WILLIAM MAURICE|
In 1562 Beaumaris was granted a charter, which was unique in North Wales although common enough in English boroughs. It established a governing body of 24, comprising a mayor, two bailiffs and 21 capital burgesses. Provision was also made for a recorder, a common clerk and coroner, and the borough was to have its own j.p.s. Two factors contributed to the granting of the charter, the burgesses’ offer to keep the town’s defences in repair at their own cost, and the influence at court of the leading local family, the Bulkeleys. The charter mayor, Richard Bulkeley I, was heir to the head of the family and among the first capital burgesses were four of his relatives and 14 Bulkeley tenants.
One of the clauses of the charter gave the town the authority to choose a Member of Parliament from among the burgesses of Beaumaris. His wages were to be met by the ‘borough and community’. The 1559 return indicates that about 30 electors were present in the common hall of Beaumaris and the aldermen officiated. After 1562, the town council, meeting in the guildhall, chose the MP.
The Bulkeleys’ control of the borough was virtually complete. At the 1586 election, the mayor and two of the 14 burgesses were Bulkeleys; in 1597, four of the family appear on the return, while the nine signatures on the 1601 return include three Bulkeleys. The 1571 MP, William Bulkeley, was a Beaumaris merchant and one of the first capital burgesses of the town. Thomas Bulkeley (1584, 1586, 1589, 1593) was recorder of the borough from 1586. William Price I (1559, 1563) was a townsman and capital burgess, and also a tenant of Sir Richard Bulkeley. Although he was related to the 1559 county Member, Meredydd, who was an opponent of the Bulkeley faction, Price himself seems to have been a Bulkeley supporter. The last two MPs of the reign were both from Caernarvonshire gentry families. William Jones (1597) began a distinguished legal career as recorder of Beaumaris. William Maurice (1601) shared the deputy lieutenancy of Caernarvonshire with John Wynn of Gwydir, who had already tried, but failed, to nominate a friend at Beaumaris earlier in the reign.
In June 1589 Thomas Bulkeley wrote from Lincoln’s Inn to inform the mayor that he had not yet received payments for the last Parliament.3