Caernarfon (UK Parliament constituency)

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Coordinates: 52°58′34″N 4°18′29″W / 52.976°N 4.308°W / 52.976; -4.308

Caernarfon
Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of Caernarfon in Wales for the 2005 general election.
Preserved county Gwynedd
Major settlements Caernarfon
19502010
Number of members One
Replaced by Arfon and Dwyfor Meirionnydd
1536–1950
Number of members One
Type of constituency District of Boroughs constituency

Caernarfon was a parliamentary constituency centred on the town of Caernarfon in Wales. It elected one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system.

The constituency was created in 1536 as a District of Boroughs, represented in the House of Commons of England until 1707, in the House of Commons of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800, and in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1950. The District of Boroughs was abolished in 1950, and replaced with a county constituency of the same name, which was itself abolished in 2010.

History[edit]

Known as Carnarvon until 1832, and then as the Carnarvon Boroughs or Carnarvon District of Boroughs from 1832 to 1950 and as Caernarvon from 1950 to 1983, it is named after Caernarfon, the main town within the constituency. Its most famous member was David Lloyd George, who was MP for 55 years. When Lloyd George became prime minister in 1916 it became the first Welsh constituency to be represented by a serving prime minister. Plaid Cymru held the seat continuously from 1974 until its abolition in 2010, longer than they have held any other seat.

Boundaries[edit]

The constituency names, in this section, follow the format and the spelling used by F. W. S. Craig in his British Parliamentary Election Results series. Variations may be found in other sources.

Caernarvon 1536-1832[edit]

On the basis of information from several volumes of the History of Parliament, it is apparent that the history of the borough representation from Wales and Monmouthshire is more complicated than that of the English boroughs.

The Laws in Wales Act 1535 (26 Hen. VIII, c. 26) provided for a single borough seat for each of 11 of the 12 Welsh counties and Monmouthshire. The legislation, which was passed in 1536 using the modern civil year starting on 1 January, was ambiguous as to which communities were enfranchised. The county towns were awarded a seat, but this in some fashion represented all the ancient boroughs of the county as the others were required to contribute to the members wages. It was not clear if the burgesses of the contributing boroughs could take part in the election. The only election under the original scheme was for the 1542 Parliament. It seems that only burgesses from the county towns actually took part. An Act of 1544 (35 Hen. VIII, c. 11) confirmed that the contributing boroughs could send representatives to take part in the election at the county town. As far as can be told from surviving indentures of returns, the degree to which the out boroughs participated varied, but by the end of the sixteenth century all the seats had some participation from them at some elections at least.

The original scheme was modified by later legislation and decisions of the House of Commons (which were sometimes made with no regard to precedent or evidence: for example in 1728 it was decided that only the freemen of the borough of Montgomery could participate in the election for that seat, thus disenfranchising the freemen of Llanidloes, Welshpool and Llanfyllin).

In the case of Caernarvonshire (now Caernafonshire), the county town was Caernarvon (now known as Caernarfon). The out boroughs were Conway (now Conwy), Criccieth (or Cricieth), Nevin (now known as Nefyn), and Pwllheli. The freemen of the five boroughs were entitled to vote. In the 1715-1754 period there were estimated to be about 1,600 freemen, of whom about 1,200 were non resident. Later in the eighteenth century the estimated electorate was about 1,000 freemen.

Caernarvon Boroughs 1832-1950[edit]

The Caernarvon Boroughs, was a district of boroughs constituency, which grouped a number of parliamentary boroughs in Caernarvonshire into one single member constituency. The voters in each participating borough cast ballots, which were added together over the whole district to decide the result of the poll. The enfranchised communities in this district, from 1832, were the six boroughs of Caernarvon, Bangor, Conway, Criccieth, Nevin, and Pwllheli.

The exact boundaries of the parliamentary boroughs in the district were altered by the Parliamentary Boundaries Act 1868, but the general nature of the constituency was unchanged. There were no further boundary changes in the 1885 redistribution of parliamentary seats.

In 1918 the constituency was re-defined, so that it included the then local government areas of the Municipal Boroughs of Bangor, Caernarvon, Conway, and Pwllheli; the Urban Districts of Criccieth, Llandudno, Llanfairfechan, and Penmaenmawr as well as the Lleyn Rural District.

In 1918-1950 the administrative county of Caernarvonshire had been divided into two seats - Caernarvon Boroughs and a Caernarvonshire county constituency. The territory of the borough seat was enclaved within the county constituency. Different local authorities, included in the borough constituency, were not necessarily adjoining.

Caernarvon 1950-1983[edit]

The redistribution, which took effect in 1950, created two Caernarvonshire county divisions - Caernarvon in the south-western two thirds of the county and Conway (later spelt Conwy) in the north-eastern third. The new divisions included territory which had come from both of the two old seats.

The local authorities, whose territories were combined to form the constituency in 1950, were the Municipal Boroughs of Caernarvon, and Pwllheli; the Urban Districts of Criccieth, and Portmadoc; as well as the Rural Districts of Gwyrfai and Lleyn. This arrangement was not altered by the redistribution which took effect in February 1974, which was based on the pre-1974 local government boundaries.

From 1 April 1974, a new pattern of counties was created in Wales. This constituency became part of the county of Gwynedd.

Caernarfon from 1983[edit]

In the redistribution of 1983, the spelling of the official name of the constituency was changed. The constituency boundary was unchanged, but it was redefined in terms of the local authorities created in 1974. It comprised the Borough of Arfon wards numbered 8 to 12 and 16 to 29, together with the District of Dwyfor.

In 1996 Welsh local government was again reorganised. Arfon and Dwyfor became part of a Gwynedd unitary authority.

The Parliamentary Constituencies (Wales) Order 1995, based on the pre-1996 local authority areas, came into effect in 1997. It defined this constituency as:-

(i) The following wards of the Borough of Arfon, namely, Bethel, Bontnewydd, Cadnant, Deiniolen, Llanberis, Llandwrog, Llanllyfni, Llanrug, Llanwnda, Menai (Caernarfon), Peb-lig, Penisarwaun, Penygroes, Seiont, Talysarn, Waunfawr and Y Felinheli; and

(ii) the District of Dwyfor.

Following radical boundary changed undertaken by the Boundary Commission for Wales, this seat was abolished in time for the general election in 2010, replaced by Arfon and part of Dwyfor Meirionnydd.

Members of Parliament 1536–2010[edit]

Election Member[1] Party
1542 John Puleston [2]
1545 Robert Gruffydd [2]
1547 Robert Puleston [2]
1553 (Mar) Gruffydd Davies [2]
1553 (Oct) Henry Robins [2]
1554 (Apr) Henry Robins [2]
1554 (Nov) Sir Rhys Gruffydd [2]
1555 Name not known [2]
1558 Robert Gruffydd [2]
1558/9 Maurice Davies[3]
1563 John Harington [3]
1571 John Griffith [3]
1572 John Griffith [3]
1584 Edward Griffith [3]
1586 William Griffith I [3]
1588 Robert Wynn [3]
1593 Robert Griffith [3]
1597 John Owen [3]
1601 Nicholas Griffith [3]
1604 John Griffith, died
replaced by
Clement Edmondes
1614 Nicholas Griffith
1621 Nicholas Griffith
1624 Peter Mutton
1625 Edward Littleton, sat for Leominster
replaced by
Robert Jones
1626 Edward Littleton, sat for Leominster
replaced by
Robert Jones
1628 Edward Littleton
1640 April John Glynne
1640 November William Thomas, disabled 1644
1647 William Foxwist
Not represented in Parliaments of 1653, 1654 and 1656
1659 Robert Williams
1660 William Glynne
1661 William Griffith
1679 Thomas Mostyn
1685 John Griffith
1689 Sir Robert Owen
1698 Sir John Wynn, Bt
1705 Thomas Bulkeley
1708 William Griffith
1713 Sir Thomas Wynn, Bt
1749 Sir William Wynn
1754 Robert Wynne
1761 Sir John Wynn, Bt
1768 Glynn Wynn
1790 Lord Paget
1796 Hon. Edward Paget
1806 Hon. Sir Charles Paget
1826 Lord William Paget Whig
1830 William Ormsby-Gore Tory
1831 Hon. Sir Charles Paget Whig
1833 Owen Jones Ellis Nanney Tory
1833 Hon. Sir Charles Paget Whig
1835 Sir Love Jones-Parry Whig
1837 William Bulkeley Hughes Conservative
1859 Charles Wynne Conservative
1865 William Bulkeley Hughes Liberal
1882 Love Jones-Parry Liberal
1886 Edmund Swetenham Conservative
1890 David Lloyd George Liberal
1916 Coalition Liberal
1922 National Liberal
1923 Liberal
1945 By-election Seaborne Davies Liberal
1945 David Price-White Conservative
1950 Goronwy Roberts Labour
Feb 1974 Dafydd Wigley Plaid Cymru
2001 Hywel Williams Plaid Cymru
2010 Constituency abolished: see Arfon (UK Parliament constituency)

Elections[edit]

Elections in the 2000s[edit]

General Election 2005: Caernarfon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Plaid Cymru Hywel Williams 12,747 45.5 +1.1
Labour Martin R. Eaglestone 7,538 26.9 −5.4
Liberal Democrat Mel Ab-Owain 3,508 12.5 +6.2
Conservative Guy Opperman 3,483 12.4 −2.8
UKIP Elwyn Williams 723 2.6 +0.7
Majority 5,209 18.6
Turnout 27,999 60.4 −1.6
Plaid Cymru hold Swing +3.3
General Election 2001: Caernarfon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Plaid Cymru Hywel Williams 12,894 44.4 −6.7
Labour Martin R. Eaglestone 9,383 32.3 +2.8
Conservative Mrs. Bronwen Naish 4,403 15.2 +2.9
Liberal Democrat Mel Ab-Owain 1,823 6.3 +1.4
UKIP Ifor D. Lloyd 550 1.9 N/A
Majority 3,511 12.1
Turnout 29,053 62.0 −11.7
Plaid Cymru hold Swing

Elections in the 1990s[edit]

General Election 1997: Caernarfon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Plaid Cymru Dafydd Wigley 17,616 51.0 −8.0
Labour Eifion W. Williams 10,167 29.5 +14.0
Conservative Elwyn Williams 4,230 12.3 −6.9
Liberal Democrat Mrs. Mary Macqueen 1,686 4.9 −0.9
Referendum Party Clive Collins 811 2.4 N/A
Majority 7,449 21.6
Turnout 34,510 73.7 −6.4
Plaid Cymru hold Swing +1.9
General Election 1992: Caernarfon[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Plaid Cymru Dafydd Wigley 21,439 59.0 +1.9
Conservative Peter E.H. Fowler 6,963 19.2 −2.0
Labour Ms. Sharon Mainwaring 5,641 15.5 −0.3
Liberal Democrat Robert Arwel W. Williams 2,101 5.8 −0.1
Natural Law Gwyndaf Evans 173 0.5 N/A
Majority 14,476 39.9 +3.9
Turnout 36,317 80.1 +2.1
Plaid Cymru hold Swing +1.9

Elections in the 1950s[edit]

General Election 1959

Electorate 41,202

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Goronwy Owen Roberts 17,506 51.0
Conservative Tom Ellis Hooson 9,564 27.8
Plaid Cymru Dafydd Orwig Jones 7,293 21.2
Majority 7,942 23.1
Turnout 34,363 83.4
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1955

Electorate 42,753

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Goronwy Owen Roberts 17,682 50.2
Conservative O Meurig Roberts 8,461 24.0
Plaid Cymru Robert E Jones 5,815 16.5
Liberal D Geraint Williams 3,277 9.3
Majority 9,221 26.3
Turnout 35,235 82.4
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1951

Electorate 43,453

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Goronwy Owen Roberts 22,375 62.4
Conservative John E B Davies 13,479 37.6
Majority 8,896 24.8
Turnout 82.5
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1950

Electorate 43,483

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Goronwy Owen Roberts 18,369 49.1
Liberal E. R. Thomas 7,791 20.9
Conservative G. W. Williams 6,315 16.9
Plaid Cymru John Edward Jones 4,882 13.1
Majority 10,578 28.2
Turnout 85.9
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1940s[edit]

General Election 1945: Caernarfon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative David Price-White 11,432 32.9 -0.5
Liberal Seaborne Davies 11,096 32.0 -34.6
Labour William Elwyn Edwards Jones 10,625 30.6 N/A
Plaid Cymru J E Daniel 1,560 4.5 N/A
Majority 336 0.9
Turnout 34,713 73.8 +15.0
Conservative gain from Liberal Swing
By-election 1945: Caernarfon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Seaborne Davies 20,754 75.2 +8.6
Plaid Cymru J E Daniel 6,844 24.8
Majority 13,910 50.4 +17.2
Turnout 27,598 58.8 -18.6
Liberal hold Swing

Elections in the 1930s[edit]

General Election 1935: Caernarfon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal David Lloyd George 19,242 66.6 +7.3
Conservative A R P Du Cros 9,633 33.4 -7.3
Majority 9,609 33.2 +14.6
Turnout 28,873 77.4 -2.9
Liberal hold Swing
General Election 1931: Caernarfon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal David Lloyd George 17,101 59.3 +1.3
Conservative F P Gourlay 11,714 40.7 +14.5
Majority 5,387 18.6 -13.2
Turnout 28,815 80.3 -1.5
Liberal hold Swing

Elections in the 1920s[edit]

General Election 1929: Caernarfon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal David Lloyd George 16,647 58.0 -24.4
Conservative John Bowen Davies 7,514 26.2
Labour T ap Rhys 4,536 15.8 -1.7
Majority 9,133 31.8 -33.2
Turnout 28,697 81.8 +4.8
Liberal hold Swing
General Election 1924: Caernarfon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal David Lloyd George 16,058 82.5 +19.4
Labour Alfred Zimmern 3,401 17.5
Majority 12,657 65.0 +38.8
Turnout 19,459 77.0 -3.9
Liberal hold Swing
General Election 1923: Caernarfon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal David Lloyd George 12,499 63.1
Conservative Austin Ellis Lloyd Jones 7,323 36.9
Majority 5,176 26.2
Turnout 19,822 80.9
Liberal hold Swing
General Election 1922: Caernarfon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
National Liberal David Lloyd George Unopposed N/A N/A
National Liberal hold Swing N/A

Elections in the 1910s[edit]

David Lloyd George
General Election 1918: Caernarfon

Electorate

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Coalition Liberal David Lloyd George 13,993 92.7 +30.7
Independent A Harrison 1,095 7.3
Majority 12,898 85.4 +61.4
Turnout 15,088 63.4 -24.3
Coalition Liberal hold Swing
David Lloyd George
General Election December 1910: Caernarfon

Electorate

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal David Lloyd George 3,112 62.0 +1.8
Conservative A L Jones 1,904 38.0 -1.8
Majority 1,208 24.0 +3.6
Turnout 5,288 87.7 -4.8
Liberal hold Swing
General Election January 1910: Caernarfon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal David Lloyd George 3,183 60.2 -1.5
Conservative H C Vincent 2,105 39.8 +1.5
Majority 1,078 20.4 -3.0
Turnout 5,288 92.5 +0.4
Liberal hold Swing

Elections in the 1900s[edit]

David Lloyd George
General Election 1906: Caernarfon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal David Lloyd George 3,221 61.7 +8.4
Conservative R A Naylor 1,997 38.3 -8.4
Majority 1,224 23.4 +16.8
Turnout 5,218 92.1 +5.1
Liberal hold Swing
General Election 1900: Caernarfon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal David Lloyd George 2,412 53.3 +1.1
Conservative H Platt 2,116 46.7 -1.1
Majority 296 6.6 +2.2
Turnout 4,528 87.0 -1.8
Liberal hold Swing

Elections in the 1890s[edit]

David Lloyd George
General Election 1895: Caernarfon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal David Lloyd George 2,265 52.2 -0.2
Conservative Hugh Ellis-Nanney 2,071 47.8 +0.2
Majority 194 4.4 -0.4
Turnout 4,336 88.8 +1.7
Liberal hold Swing
General Election 1892: Caernarfon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal David Lloyd George 2,154 52.4 +2.2
Conservative J H Puleston 1,958 47.6 -2.2
Majority 196 4.8 +4.4
Turnout 4,112 87.1 -2.4
Liberal hold Swing
By-election 1890: Caernarfon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal David Lloyd George 1,963 50.2 +2.1
Conservative Hugh Ellis-Nanney 1,945 49.8 -2.1
Majority 18 0.4
Turnout 3,908 89.5 +11.2
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing

Elections in the 1880s[edit]

General Election 1886: Caernarfon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Edmund Swetenham 1,820 51.9 +2.8
Liberal Love Jones-Parry 1,684 48.1 -2.8
Majority 136 3.8
Turnout 3,504 78.3 -6.2
Conservative gain from Liberal Swing
General Election 1885: Caernarfon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Love Jones-Parry 1,923 50.9
Conservative Edmund Swetenham 1,858 49.1
Majority 65 1.8
Turnout 3,781 84.5
Liberal hold Swing

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "C" (part 1)[self-published source][better source needed]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "History of Parliament". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 2011-11-27. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "History of Parliament". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 2011-11-27. 
  4. ^ "Politics Resources". Election 1992. Politics Resources. 9 April 1992. Retrieved 6 Dec 2010. 

Sources[edit]

  • Boundaries of Parliamentary Constituencies 1885-1972, compiled and edited by F. W. S. Craig (Parliamentary Reference Publications 1972)
  • British Parliamentary Constituencies: A Statistical Compendium, by Ivor Crewe and Anthony Fox (Faber and Faber 1984)
  • British Parliamentary Election Results 1832-1885, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (The Macmillan Press 1977)
  • F. W. S. Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1885 - 1918
  • F. W. S. Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1918 - 1949
  • British Parliamentary Election Results 1950-1973, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Parliamentary Research Services 1983)
  • The House of Commons 1509-1558, by S.T. Bindoff (Secker & Warburg 1982)
  • The House of Commons 1558-1603, by P.W. Hasler (HMSO 1981)
  • The House of Commons 1715-1754, by Romney Sedgwick (HMSO 1970)
  • The House of Commons 1754-1790, by Sir Lewis Namier and John Brooke (HMSO 1964)
  • The Parliaments of England by Henry Stooks Smith (1st edition published in three volumes 1844-50), second edition edited (in one volume) by F.W.S. Craig (Political Reference Publications 1973)
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Fife East
Constituency represented by the Chancellor of the Exchequer
1908–1915
Succeeded by
Monmouthshire North
Preceded by
Fife East
Constituency represented by the Prime Minister
1916–1922
Succeeded by
Glasgow Central
Preceded by
Liverpool Scotland
Constituency represented by the Father of the House
1929–1945
Succeeded by
Horsham