Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Number of voters:

about 600 in 1774


7 May 1661HENRY WYNN
25 Mar. 1673WILLIAM PRICE vice Wynn, deceased
18 Feb. 1679SIR JOHN WYNN, Bt.
2 Sept. 1679SIR JOHN WYNN, Bt.
7 Apr. 1685SIR JOHN WYNN, Bt.
15 Jan. 1689SIR JOHN WYNN, Bt.

Main Article

Members for Merioneth were usually nominated at preliminary meetings of the gentry, and no contests are definitely known during the period, despite the lack of a borough seat. In 1660, in order to exclude Edward Vaughan I and another outsider from Montgomeryshire, it was agreed that only a resident would be elected. Several local gentlemen refused to stand, but Edmund Meyricke was ultimately ‘persuaded’ to accept the seat. In 1661, he was replaced by the courtier, Henry Wynn, who had married a Merioneth heiress. Though not at the time on the commission of the peace, Wynn was returned with the consent of ‘the greater part of the whole county’.1

At Wynn’s death in 1671, the gentry agreed that Edward Vaughan III and William Salusbury of Rûg should draw lots, the winner to have the seat at the by-election, the loser at the following election. However, parliamentary prorogation delayed the election, and in February 1673, Sir John Wynn, hoping to succeed his father as knight of the shire, presented himself to the gentry at Bala. But at a further meeting at Dolgelly, the high Anglican Cavalier Col. William Price was selected and duly returned by the county. At the dissolution of the Cavalier Parliament, he was replaced by Wynn, a moderate supporter of the Court whose ‘presents at Merioneth’, it was said, ‘are more influential than his parts or person’. He was re-elected in September 1679, despite an attempt to secure the seat for Lord Willoughby de Eresby (Robert Bertie II) who had acquired by marriage the estates of his cousin, Sir Richard Wynn.2

In 1681 the Wynn interest was unsuccessful. A challenge from Price proved ineffective, but on 3 Jan. one of the local gentry wrote to Sir Robert Owen, who had only just come of age:

I think, if you had not been backwards in acquainting your friends, Sir John Wynn could not outstrip you. ... I have ... felt the pulse of Mr Sheriff, and his answer was: ‘If Sir Robert Owen had a design to represent us, he had been more stirring’. We are worthy the asking. ... I am of opinion, though you come tardy, if they elect according to the general approbation of the gentlemen of the county, you may be pitched upon, if justice be cherished and maintained, and ingratitude and gratuities rejected.

‘They tug hard in Merionethshire’, wrote an observer; but after much manoeuvring, Sir John Wynn became conveniently ‘sick’ and stood down. No doubt there was another electoral bargain, and in 1685 Wynn regained his seat. In 1689 he was again returned by ‘divers inhabitants and land-holders ... openly and unanimously without opposition or contradiction’, Owen finding a seat at Caernarvon Boroughs.3

Authors: Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar


  • 1. Cal. Wynn Pprs. 358.
  • 2. Arch. Camb. ser. 6, xix. 220-1; Cal. Wynn Pprs. 407; NLW, Clenennau mss 781, 796.
  • 3. NLW, Brogyntyn mss 1649; Clenennau mss 796; A. H. Dodd, Studies in Stuart Wales, 207.