WILLIAMS, Thomas Peers (1795-1875).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



1820 - 1868

Family and Education

b. 27 Mar. 1795, 1st s. of Owen Williams* and Margaret, da. of Rev. Edward Hughes of Kinmel Park, Denb. educ. Westminster 1808-12; Christ Church, Oxf. 1813. m. 27 Aug. 1835, Emily, da. of Anthony Bacon of Elcott, Berks., 2s. 6da. suc. fa. 1832. d. 7 Sept. 1875.

Offices Held

Capt. R. Anglesey militia by 1847, lt.-col. 1853.

Mayor, Beaumaris 1827-8.


Williams, who may have joined Brooks’s Club on 11 May 1816, came in for Great Marlow on the dominant family interest in 1820.1 He retained his seat at the next twelve general elections, eight of which were contested. Like his father, he acted initially with the Whig opposition to the Liverpool ministry, but ended this period as a Conservative. He was an indifferent attender, though he was less negligent of his parliamentary duties than was his father. He divided against government on the civil list, 5, 8 May, and for economies in revenue collection, 4 July 1820. He voted to deplore the omission of Queen Caroline’s name from the liturgy, 26 Jan., and to censure ministers’ prosecution of her, 6 Feb. 1821. He divided for Catholic relief, 28 Feb. He voted for reductions in the military estimates, 14 Mar., 14 May, and for abolition of the death penalty for forgery offences, 23 May 1821. In 1822 he voted for more extensive tax reductions, 11 Feb., relaxation of the salt duties, 28 Feb., when he also voted to condemn Sir Robert Wilson’s* dismissal from the army, admiralty economies, 1 Mar., and abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, 13 Mar., 2 May. He divided for large tax remissions, 28 Feb., ordnance cuts, 17 Mar., against the naval and military pensions bill, 11, 18 Apr., for inquiries into the prosecution of the Dublin Orange rioters, 22 Apr., and the cost of the coronation, 19 June, and for the abolition of punishment by whipping, 30 Apr. 1823. His only known votes in 1824 were against the aliens bill, 23 Mar., and for repeal of the assessed taxes, 10 May. He paired against Brougham’s motion condemning the prosecution of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, 11 June 1824. He defaulted on a call of the House, 28 Feb., but appeared and was excused, 1 Mar. 1825, when he voted for Catholic relief; he did so again, 21 Apr., 10 May. He divided for repeal of the assessed taxes, 3 Mar., 17 May, and against the duke of Cumberland’s grant, 30 May, 10 June 1825. He was in the opposition minorities against the president of the board of trade’s separate salary, 1, 10 Apr., and divided for Lord John Russell’s parliamentary reform motion, 27 Apr. 1826.

Williams was absent from the division on Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827. He voted to withhold supply until the ministerial crisis following Lord Liverpool’s stroke had been resolved, 30 Mar. 1827. He presented a Marlow petition for repeal of the Test Acts, 19 Feb. 1828, and voted for that measure a week later. As expected by the Wellington ministry, who did not now regard him as being in regular opposition, he divided for Catholic emancipation, 6, 30 Mar. 1829. He may have voted for the amendment to the address, 4 Feb. 1830. He was credited with dividing for the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb., but against the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb. With his father, he voted against the sale of beer bill, 4 May, 21 June. He moved unsuccessfully to adjourn the debate on the second reading of the bill to reorganize the Welsh judicial system, 27 Apr., and voted in a minority of 30 against it, 18 June. He divided against Jewish emancipation, 17 May 1830. In September Williams, like his father, was considered a ‘friend’ by the government, after being listed initially as one of the ‘good doubtfuls’; but he was absent from the crucial division on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830. He joined his father in voting against the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., and for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. He divided against the second reading of the reintroduced measure, 6 July, paired against combining Rochester with Chatham and Strood, 9 Aug., and voted to preserve freemen’s rights, 30 Aug. On the proposal to deprive Marlow of one seat, 15 Sept., he argued that it deserved to retain both, like its neighbour Chipping Wycombe, a Whig stronghold towards which ministers had shown ‘gross partiality’. He voted against the passage of the bill, 21 Sept. He took three weeks’ leave to attend to urgent business, 6 Oct. He divided against the second reading of the revised reform bill (which reprieved Marlow), 17 Dec. 1831, but only paired against the third reading, 22 Mar. 1832, a month after succeeding his father in the family’s Berkshire and Anglesey estates. He voted against the second reading of the Irish reform bill, 25 May, and paired with opposition on the Russian-Dutch loan, 12 July 1832.

At the general election of 1832 Williams, ‘a stubborn Conservative, stung by the loss of a seat for Marlow’ to a reformer on his father’s death, withdrew from the Pagets of Plas Newydd the support which his grandfather and father had given to their electoral interests in Anglesey and North Wales.2 In 1840 his near neighbour Benjamin Disraeli† described him as ‘a nincompoop’, though they were ‘friends enough’.3 He opposed Peel’s repeal of the corn laws in 1846 and supported Lord Derby’s Conservative administrations of 1852, 1858-9 and 1866-8, retiring at the dissolution in 1868 after 48 years of unbroken and thoroughly undistinguished membership of the Commons.4 He died ‘after a painful illness’ in September 1875.5 He was succeeded in the family estates by his elder son Colonel Owen Lewis Cope Williams (1836-1904), Conservative Member for Marlow in the 1880 Parliament. Of his six daughters, three married peers, two the younger sons of peers and one a baronet.

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. Add. 58977, f. 165.
  • 2. UCNW, Plas Newydd mss iii. 3618, 3655.
  • 3. Disraeli Letters, iii. 1089.
  • 4. Dod’s Parl. Companion (1847), 254; (1865), 308.
  • 5. The Times, 9, 11 Sept. 1875.