Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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EDWARDS , Sir JOHN ( 1770 - 1850 ), baronet and M.P. ;

b. 15 Jan. 1770 , son of John Edwards (d. 1789 ) of Greenfields , Machynlleth (now Plas Machynlleth ). He matriculated at Queen's College , Oxford , 8 Dec. 1787 , was lieutenant-colonel in the Montgomeryshire Militia , high sheriff of Merioneth , 1805 , and of Montgomeryshire , 1818 . Between 1832 and 1841 he fought four elections as a Whig in an attempt to win and keep the Montgomery boroughs seat from the Tories , spending over £20,000 in the process. The borough of Montgomery , which since 1728 had enjoyed the sole right of electing a borough member, had long been under the control of the Herberts of Powis castle (see the article on them). Edwards had for some time been ‘nursing’ the borough of Machynlleth which, with Llanidloes , Welshpool , Llanfyllin , and Newtown , were added to the constituency by the Reform Act of 1832 . At the election of 1832 (the first after the Reform Act ) Edwards was defeated by the Tory David Pugh of Llanerchudol . Following a petition and a hearing by a committee of the House of Commons , the election was declared void, and at the consequent election of 1833 Edwards defeated the Tory candidate Panton Corbett of Longnor Hall , Salop . He was re-elected unopposed in 1835 and in 1837 again defeated Corbett . In 1841 he was defeated by the Tory candidate Hugh Cholmondeley of Vale Royal . Throughout his parliamentary career he supported the Grey and Melbourne Governments and was rewarded with a baronetcy in 1838 . He was described in 1842 as ‘the first representative of popular opinions in the Montgomeryshire boroughs.’ He d. 19 April 1850 . His daughter and heiress m., in 1846 , George Henry Vane , later 5th marquess of Londonderry .


  • W. R. Williams , The History of the Parliamentary Representation of Wales (1895) , 151-2;
  • R. Williams , Montgomeryshire Worthies (1894) , 55-7;
  • Perry and Knapp , Controverted Elections , 162;
  • Bye–Gones, relating to Wales and the Border Counties , 1875 , 276-86, 331;
  • T. J. Hogg , Reports on Certain Boroughs (1837–8) , 1837-8 , 77-8;
  • Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies , iv, 360;
  • Old Wales a monthly magazine of antiquities for Wales and the Borders (Talybont, Breconshire, 1905-1907) , iii;
  • Foster , Alumni Oxonienses .


Professor Glyn Roberts, M.A., (1904-1962), Bangor

Published date: 1959