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Cardigan (UK Parliament constituency)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Former Borough constituency
for the House of Commons
Number of membersone
Replaced byCardiganshire

The Cardigan District of Boroughs was a parliamentary constituency in Wales which returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and its predecessors, from 1542 until it was abolished for the 1885 general election. The borough constituency comprised the four towns of Cardigan, Aberystwyth, Lampeter and Adpar - geographically separated from each other but all within the county of Cardiganshire.


For much of its existence, the constituency was dominated by a relatively small number of landed families. During the eighteenth century, representation was keenly contested between the county families.[1]

At the turn of the nineteenth century, the county town of Cardigan remained the largest of the boroughs with a population of 1,911 in 1801, and was controlled by the Earl of Lisburne.[1] Lisburne's heir, John Vaughan, held the seat unopposed from 1796. However, Aberystwyth experienced rapid population growth in this period and its population reached 1,758 by 1801. Aberystwyth was under the influence of Edward Loveden Loveden, of Gogerddan.[1] Loveden had obtained the estate through his marriage to Margaret Pryse, and coveted a parliamentary seat for his son, Pryse Loveden, who had adopted the name Pryse Pryse upon inheriting the estate upon his mother's death in 1796.

However, the Lisburne interest remained predominant until after the closely contested election of 1812, when Vaughan defeated Herbert Evans of Highmead by eighty votes.[2]

After this contest, Vaughan's position became untenable, and it was assumed that he would not to contest the next election. In 1816, following the death of Thomas Johnes, the member for the county, Pryse Pryse of Gogerddan withdrew in favour of William Edward Powell of Nanteos, in order to avoid a contest. This was a political as well as a personal compromise, since Powell was a Tory and Pryse a Whig.[1] In 1818, Pryse was elected unopposed for the boroughs, and held the seat for over thirty years. In 1832 the Reform Act resulted in a larger electorate as householders of homes worth over £10 were enfranchised in the boroughs. The constituency was still dominated by the Loveden-Pryse family of Gogerddan. Pryse Pryse held the seat from 1818 until his death in 1849, except for the 1841 election (see below). By agreement between Pryse and William Edward Powell, who continued as member for the county until his resignation in 1854, neither challenged the other's domination and so elections were almost always unopposed.

The one exception was the 1841 election when there was a close contest with John Harford, which was characterized by allegations of coercion. The contest was attended by a great deal of confusion. The poll books for Aberystwyth were either lost or stolen and never reached the returning officer, who came to the view that he should declare both candidates elected due to the uncertainty (the Conservative was slightly ahead in the polls from the other three parts). Neither of the two candidates could actually speak in the House of Commons until a committee determined the election, and it accepted the evidence that the Liberal candidate (Pryse) had outpolled the Conservative (Harford) by 305 to 285, enough to make his election secure, so he was given the seat.

In 1842, largely as a result of this episode, Pryse declared his support for the secret ballot.[3]

Apart from 1855, when John Lloyd Davies won a byelection by 12 votes, the Conservatives never won the borough.

The last member to represent the constituency was David Davies from 1874 until 1885. When the county and borough constituencies were merged to form the Cardiganshire seat in 1885, David Davies comfortably won the election. In 1886, however, Davies joined the Liberal Unionists and was narrowly defeated at the General Election that year by the Liberal Party candidate.

Members of Parliament

Members of Parliament 1542-1640

As there were sometimes significant gaps between Parliaments held in this period, the dates of first assembly and dissolution are given. Where the name of the member has not yet been ascertained or (before 1558) is not recorded in a surviving document, the entry unknown is entered in the table.

Elected Assembled Dissolved Member Note
1542 16 January 1542 28 March 1544 unknown
1545 23 November 1545 31 January 1547 Jenkin ap Rhees
1547 4 November 1547 15 April 1552 John Cotton History of Parliament gives Gruffydd Done
1553 1 March 1553 31 March 1553 Edward ap Howell
1553 5 October 1553 5 December 1553 John Gwyn
1554 2 April 1554 3 May 1554 John Powell
1554 12 November 1554 16 January 1555 John Powell History of Parliament gives John Gwyn
1555 21 October 1555 9 December 1555 Thomas Phaer
1558 20 January 1558 17 November 1558 Thomas Phaer
1559 23 January 1559 8 May 1559 Thomas Phaer
1562/3 11 January 1563 2 January 1567 John Gwyn
1571 2 April 1571 29 May 1571 Edward Davies
1572 8 May 1572 19 April 1583 Edward Davies
1584 23 November 1584 14 September 1585 Francis Cheyne
1586 13 October 1586 23 March 1587 Francis Cheyne
1588 4 February 1589 29 March 1589 Alban Stepney
1593 18 February 1593 10 April 1593 Sir Ferdinando Gorges
1597 24 October 1597 9 February 1598 Thomas Rawlins
1601 27 October 1601 19 December 1601 William Aubrey
Richard Delabere
Double return unresolved at the dissolution of Parliament
1604 19 March 1604 9 February 1611 William Bradshaw
1614 5 April 1614 7 June 1614 Robert Wolverstone
1620 16 January 1621 8 February 1622 Walter Overbury
12 January 1624 12 February 1624 27 March 1625 Rowland Pugh
4 March 1625 17 May 1625 12 August 1625 Rowland Pugh
12 January 1626 6 February 1626 15 June 1626 Walter Overbury
31 March 1628 17 March 1628 10 March 1629 John Vaughan
1640 13 April 1640 5 May 1640 John Vaughan

Members of Parliament 1640-1660

This sub-section includes the Long Parliament and the Rump Parliament, together with the Parliaments of the Commonwealth and the Protectorate (before the Convention Parliament of 1660).

Long Parliament

Year Member Party
November 1640 writ delivered too late to make a return, new writ ordered
December 1640 John Vaughan
1645 Vaughan expelled - seat vacant
1646 Thomas Wogan
1653 Cardigan was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament
and the First and Second Parliaments of the Protectorate
January 1659 Col. Rowland Dawkins
May 1659 Unrepresented in the restored Rump
April 1660 James Philipps
1663 Sir Charles Cotterell
1679 Hector Phillips
1693 John Lewis
1698 Sir Charles Lloyd
1701 Henry Lloyd
1705 Lewis Pryse
February 1710 Simon Harcourt Tory
October 1710 John Meyrick
1712 Owen Brigstocke
1713 Sir George Barlow, 2nd Baronet
1715 Stephen Parry
1725 Thomas Powell
1727 Francis Cornwallis
1729 Richard Lloyd
1741 Thomas Pryse
1746 John Symmons
1761 Sir Herbert Lloyd, 1st Baronet
1768 Pryse Campbell Whig
1769 Ralph Congreve
1774 Sir Robert Smyth, 5th Baronet
1775 Thomas Johnes
1780 John Campbell Pittite
1796 Hon. John Vaughan
1818 Pryse Pryse Whig[4][5]
1849 Pryse Loveden Whig[6][7]
1855 John Lloyd Davies Conservative
1857 Edward Pryse Radical[8][9]
1859 Liberal
1868 Sir Thomas Lloyd, 1st Baronet Liberal
1874 David Davies Liberal
1885 Constituency abolished

Election results

Elections in the 1830s

General election 1830: Cardigan Boroughs[4][10]
Party Candidate Votes %
Whig Pryse Pryse Unopposed
Whig hold
General election 1831: Cardigan Boroughs[4][10]
Party Candidate Votes %
Whig Pryse Pryse Unopposed
Whig hold
General election 1832: Cardigan Boroughs[4][11]
Party Candidate Votes %
Whig Pryse Pryse Unopposed
Registered electors 1,030
Whig hold
General election 1835: Cardigan Boroughs[4][11]
Party Candidate Votes %
Whig Pryse Pryse Unopposed
Registered electors 899
Whig hold
General election 1837: Cardigan Boroughs[4][11]
Party Candidate Votes %
Whig Pryse Pryse Unopposed
Registered electors 920
Whig hold

Elections in the 1840s

General election 1841: Cardigan Boroughs[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Whig Pryse Pryse 305 51.7 N/A
Conservative John Scandrett Harford 285 48.3 New
Majority 20 3.4 N/A
Turnout 590 70.9 N/A
Registered electors 832
Whig hold Swing N/A

Originally, both Pryse and Harford were returned after the poll books for two polling stations at Aberystwyth were lost, with 226 votes recorded for Harford and 163 for Pryse. After extensive evidence, however, a committee determined the above results and Harford was declared unelected.

General election 1847: Cardigan Boroughs[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Whig Pryse Pryse Unopposed
Registered electors 761
Whig hold

Pryse's death caused a by-election.

By-election, 12 February 1849: Cardigan Boroughs[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Whig Pryse Pryse 299 50.7 N/A
Conservative John Scandrett Harford 291 49.3 New
Majority 8 1.4 N/A
Turnout 590 89.8 N/A
Registered electors 657
Whig hold Swing N/A

Elections in the 1850s

General election 1852: Cardigan Boroughs[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Whig Pryse Pryse 299 51.5 N/A
Conservative John Inglis Jones[12] 282 48.5 N/A
Majority 17 3.0 N/A
Turnout 581 68.4 N/A
Registered electors 849
Whig hold Swing N/A

Loveden (as Pryse was known at the time) died, causing a by-election.

By-election, 24 February 1855: Cardigan Boroughs[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative John Lloyd Davies 298 51.0 +2.5
Whig John Evans[13] 286 49.0 −2.5
Majority 12 2.0 N/A
Turnout 584 68.8 +0.4
Registered electors 849
Conservative gain from Whig Swing +2.5
General election 1857: Cardigan Boroughs[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Radical Edward Pryse Unopposed
Registered electors 837
Radical gain from Whig
General election 1859: Cardigan Boroughs[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Edward Pryse Unopposed
Registered electors 673
Liberal hold

Elections in the 1860s

General election 1865: Cardigan Boroughs[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Edward Pryse Unopposed
Registered electors 685
Liberal hold
General election 1868: Cardigan Boroughs[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Thomas Lloyd Unopposed
Registered electors 1,561
Liberal hold

Elections in the 1870s

General election 1874: Cardigan Boroughs[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal David Davies Unopposed
Registered electors 1,946
Liberal hold

Elections in the 1880s

General election 1880: Cardigan Boroughs[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal David Davies Unopposed
Registered electors 2,280
Liberal hold


  1. ^ a b c d Thorne, R.G. "Cardigan Boroughs". The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Cardigan". Carmarthen Journal. 31 October 1812. p. 3. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  3. ^ "Cardiganshire. Mr Pryse Pryse and the Ballot". Welshman. 15 July 1842. p. 3. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Stooks Smith, Henry (1845). The Parliaments of England, from 1st George I., to the Present Time. Vol II: Oxfordshire to Wales Inclusive. London: Simpkin, Marshall, & Co. p. 182.
  5. ^ Churton, Edward (1836). The Assembled Commons or Parliamentary Biographer: 1836. p. 190.
  6. ^ "Elections". Newcastle Courant. 16 February 1849. p. 7. Retrieved 21 August 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  7. ^ "Liverpool Mail". 17 February 1849. p. 4. Retrieved 21 August 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  8. ^ "Election Intelligence". Morning Post. 16 March 1857. p. 2. Retrieved 21 August 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  9. ^ "Election Intelligence". Hereford Journal. 27 April 1859. p. 3. Retrieved 21 August 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  10. ^ a b Escott, Margaret. "Cardigan Boroughs". The History of Parliament. Retrieved 4 May 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Craig, F. W. S., ed. (1977). British Parliamentary Election Results 1832-1885 (e-book) (1st ed.). London: Macmillan Press. p. 502. ISBN 978-1-349-02349-3.
  12. ^ "Evening Mail". 12 July 1852. p. 5. Retrieved 21 August 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  13. ^ "Members Returned". Norfolk News. 7 August 1847. p. 2. Retrieved 21 August 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.


This page was last edited on 12 December 2020, at 00:54
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