County Elections: Extracts from Dr. Randall


Before 1815 elections for the one member of Parliament then possessed by the county under the legislation of Henry VIII were held at Cowbridge. In the latter part of the eighteenth century, the County representation was very much a family affair and it might ave almost been called a Dunraven seat. Charles Edwin held the position from 1747 until his death in 1756.

Then there was an interval when the seat was held by a Vernon of Briton Ferry, but it reverted in 1780 to Dunraven in the person of Charles Wyndham. He retired in 1789 and after some controversy his son, Thomas Wyndham, was returned unopposed.

But the free and independent electors of the county were not disposed to allow even an unopposed member to be returned too cheaply, and Mrs Margaret Thomas of Bridgend presented a bill for over £100 of which Lord Dunraven supplied some details.

Election Day
  • Dinners for 108 gentlemen at the Town Hall at 2s. 6d. 
  • Dinners for 51 gentlemens servants at 1s. 6d. 
  • Dinners for six chairmen, 2 doorkeepers, 10 persons who carried flags at Bridgend, St. Brides, Newcastle, Laleston, etc., also for 18 bell-ringers and gunners, all at 1s. 6d. 
  • Three bottles of Brandy drunk by gentlemen passing and repassing through the house at 3s. 6d. 
  • Two bottles of cider drunk by gentlemen in the dusk of night at 1s. 6d.

Other items state: 49 gallons of ale, hay and corn for seventy gentlemen's horses.

Breakfast was also provided for those who might happen to stay rather late and of this convenience we find ten gentlemen availed themselves in the parlour and twelve coachmen elsewhere.

Contemporaneously with the celebrations at Bridgend, Mr Wyndham entertained over a hundred of his friends to a ball at Cowbridge, which appears to have been arranged for him by Mr. Christopher Bradley at 9s. per head - extra being charged on account of port wine and sherry for the gentlemen and cards and negus for the ladies.

Thomas Wyndham held the seat unopposed until he died in 1814. Shortly afterwards, in April 1815 a county meeting was held at the Pyle Inn - here it was decided to introduce a bill into Parliament to make Bridgend the place for holding the county elections.  The Act was evidently passed as all subsequent elections were held at Bridgend until the passing of the Reform Act in 1867.

The elections were held in a field near the the Leicester Inn called the Election Field. (now where The Star Inn is situated)



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