WYNN, Sir John, 5th Bt. (c.1628-1719), of Rhiwgoch, Merion. and Wynnstay, Denb.
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Family and Education
b. c.1628, o. s. of Henry Wynn† of Figtree Court, Inner Temple and Rhiwgoch by Catherine, da. of Ellis Lloyd† of Rhiwgoch. educ. I. Temple 1646, called 1653, bencher 1683; travelled abroad 1653. m. 5 Oct. 1657, Jane (d. 1676), da. and h. of Eyton Evans of Watstay (later Wynnstay), Denb., s.p. legit. Kntd. 23 Mar. 1663; suc. fa. 1671; cos. Sir Richard Wynn, 4th Bt.†, of Gwydir, Llanrwst, Caern. as 5th Bt. 30 Oct. 1674.1
Steward of Bromfield and Yale manors, Denb. 1671–d.; sheriff, Denb. 1671–3, Caern. 1674–5, Merion. 1675–6; custos rot. Merion. 1678–Apr. 1688, 1690–6, 1700–11; common councilman, Denbigh 1691–d., alderman 1695–6.2
Wynn, who was restored to local office at the time of the 1690 general election, first as a j.p. and then as custos rotulorum of Merioneth, was safely returned again for his ancestral county and was classed as a Tory and as a probable Court supporter by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) in a list of the new Parliament. In December 1690 Carmarthen listed him as a likely ally, probably in anticipation of the projected Commons attack upon him. In April 1691, however, Robert Harley* classed him with the Country opposition. Wynn’s appointment on 9 Feb. 1692 as first-named Member of the committee on a private bill concerning a Merionethshire estate may signify an isolated exception to his otherwise passive role in the House. He made only one recorded speech, moving on 14 Nov. 1692 that Sir Richard Myddelton, 3rd Bt., be excused for his absence from a call of the House. On 3 Apr. 1694 he was accorded leave of absence for an indefinite period. Although during the 1694–5 session Henry Guy* listed him as a ‘friend’ in expectation of the Commons attack on Guy himself for corruption, Wynn was not in London in May 1695 to give his personal support to the protests of the ‘gentlemen of North Wales’ against the grant of lands in Denbighshire to Lord Portland, despite his own vested interest as steward of the manor which Portland had been granted and his own previous professions of support for the protesters.3
Whether for political or personal reasons, Wynn was not re-elected in 1695. He may have refused the Association for he was subsequently removed as custos, a slight which moved Bishop Humphreys of Bangor to complain on his behalf. In the 1698 election he transferred to the safer seat of Caernarvon Boroughs, where his own influence was combined with that of other powerful Tory families. A comparison of the old and new Commons classed Wynn as a Country supporter, and he was also forecast as a likely opponent of a standing army. Wynn made little impact on the records of the 1698 Parliament, and on 29 Mar. 1699 was granted an indefinite leave of absence on grounds of ill-health. In fact, he appears to have absented himself in order to assist the Tory interest in the battle for the control of Denbigh Boroughs. In February 1701 he was listed as likely to support the Court in agreeing with the supply committee’s resolution to continue the ‘Great Mortgage’, and, having been classed as a Tory in Harley’s analysis of the second 1701 Parliament, was subsequently listed as having favoured the motion of 26 Feb. 1702 vindicating the Commons’ proceedings during the previous Parliament in the impeachments of the four Whig lords. Wynn’s Tory sympathies were to the fore in the 1702 Parliament. In March 1704 Lord Nottingham (Daniel Finch†) listed him as a likely supporter in the proceedings upon the Scotch Plot, and in the following session Wynn was forecast as likely to support the Tack. Despite being lobbied by Harley himself, Wynn voted for this measure on 28 Nov. 1704. Described, like other Tackers, as ‘True Church’ in a list of the 1705 Parliament, he voted against the Court candidate in the division on the Speaker, 25 Oct. 1705, and was again listed as a Tory early in 1708.4
Wynn’s advanced age encouraged younger Tories to manoeuvre to succeed him in 1708 in the county seat for Caernarvonshire, to which he had transferred at the previous election. However, their rivalries produced a crisis that was only resolved at a county meeting with a general agreement that Wynn should stay on as knight of the shire until he died or ‘desisted’. He was returned again ‘unanimously’ in 1710, and according to Dyer, ‘the gent[lemen] and freeholders without solicitation came from all parts of the county to attend the election’, in order to pay tribute to ‘so good a patriot who has served in Parliament . . . near 50 years and was always an asserter of monarchy and episcopacy, is well affected to the succession as settled in the . . . house of Hanover’. Even less active than before, Wynn was granted one more leave of absence, on 29 Mar. 1711, to recover his health. He finally retired from Parliament at the 1713 election. Wynn died on 7 Jan. 1719, aged 91, and was buried at Ruabon, Denbighshire.5
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. CSP Dom. 1652–3, p. 477; IGI, London.
- 2. Ibid., 1689–90, p. 509; Cal. Treas. Bks. x. 1201–2, 1375; J. Williams, Recs. of Denbigh, 142.
- 3. CSP Dom. 1689–90, p. 477; Cal. Treas. Bks. x. 1201–2, 1375; NLW, Chirk Castle mss E1072, Sir John Trenchard* to Myddelton, 15 Nov. 1692.
- 4. HMC Downshire, i. 722; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 533; A. L. Cust, Chron. Erthig, i. 59–61.
- 5. Trans. Caern. Hist. Soc. xix. 42–43; Add. 70421, Dyer’s newsletter 9 Nov. 1710.