Ceredigion (UK Parliament constituency)
|Ceredigion shown within Wales|
|MP:||Mark Fraser Williams|
|Type:||House of Commons|
Ceredigion, formerly Cardiganshire, is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Created in 1536, the boundaries have remained remarkably unchanged for nearly five centuries. From 1536 until 1885 there were two single-member constituencies, one being a county constituency (Cardiganshire) comprising the rural areas, and the other being a borough constituency (Cardigan District of Boroughs) comprising a number of separate towns; in 1885 the borough constituency was abolished, and its towns and electors incorporated into the county constituency. The towns which comprised Cardigan Boroughs varied slightly over this long period, but primarily consisted of Cardigan, Aberystwyth, Lampeter and Adpar, the latter now a suburb of Newcastle Emlyn across the River Teifi, in Carmarthenshire.
The county constituency was enlarged in 1983 with the addition of part of Pembrokeshire, being renamed Ceredigion and Pembroke North. In 1997 it reverted to its former boundaries, being renamed Ceredigion.
The Ceredigion Welsh Assembly constituency was created with the same boundaries in 1999.
- 1 Boundaries
- 2 History
- 3 Members of Parliament
- 4 Election results
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 Bibliography
Ceredigion, formerly known by the anglicised version of its name as Cardiganshire, was first enfranchised in 1536 when King Henry VIII incorporated Wales within England. The county was given one member, who was to be elected by each person who owned property of a sufficient value. In addition the inhabitants of Cardigan, Aberystwyth, Adpar and Lampeter were given the right to elect one MP between them, with the vote restricted to the Freemen. The general election of 1715 saw the return of Lewis Pryse, who was expelled from the House of Commons in the following year for refusing to attend the House to take oaths of loyalty to King George I after the Jacobite rising, with which he sympathised.
From 1832 the Reform Act changed the electoral system so that householders of homes worth over £10 were enfranchised in the boroughs. The Borough constituency was still dominated by the Loveden-Pryse family based in Gogerddan who were supporters of the Liberals; Pryse Pryse held the seat from 1818 until his death in 1849, except for the 1841 election (see below). The county saw more influence of the Powell family of Nanteos who were Conservatives; William Edward Powell held the seat from 1816 until he resigned in 1854. By agreement between the two, neither challenged the others' domination and so elections were almost always unopposed.
In the 1841 election there was a great deal of confusion in the borough constituency, which was being opposed. The poll books for Aberystwyth were either lost or stolen and never reached the returning officer, who decided that he should return both candidates 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. Other than an 1855 byelection victory by 12 votes, the Conservatives never won the borough.
The county saw its first contest in the 1859 general election when two Conservatives fought for the seat. In 1865 the sitting MP stood down and there was a contest between two Liberals, won by Sir Thomas Lloyd, Bt. who defeated a Gladstonian opponent, David Davies, Llandinam. Lloyd transferred to the borough in the 1868 election when the seat was captured by Swansea industrialist, E.M. Richards. This election is often regarded as a landmark when tenant farmers apparently refused to follow patterns of age-old deference and vote in line with the wishes of their landlords. Following this election there were allegations of intimidation by Conservative landlords and a national fund was set up to support those allegedly evicted from their farms. In reality, however, Richards' victory owed much to the support of the powerful Pryse family of Gogerddan. There were close contests for the county thereafter, on a slightly widened franchise.
In a redistribution of seats for the 1885 general election, the borough constituency was abolished and absorbed into the county. This brought into the county seat the more radical politics of urban voters in the boroughs of Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Lampeter and Adpar. More significantly, the further widening of the franchise in 1884 added between five and six thousand new voters to the register by extending the pattern of household suffrage to the counties. The majority of these voters would have been tenant farmers, the more prosperous agricultural labourers, and householders in small towns or large vaillages such as Tregaron, Aberaeron, New Quay, Aberporth, Tal-y-bont and Borth, which had not been part of the old Cardigan Boroughs constituency. The impact of the widening of the franchise and boundary changes was to increase the electorate from 5,026 in 1883 to 12,308 by 1886. It was assumed that these changes would make the county a reasonably safe bet for the Liberal Party and that supporters of Gladstone would be comfortably returned at every election. These structural changes to the political arrangements of the county were also taking place against wider social and economic developments which affected all aspects of Cardiganshire life. Traditional industries were in decline, agriculture was increasingly in crisis and it was becoming increasingly difficult for a still-increasing population to earn a living within their native parishes and communities. As a result, there were two major consequences. Firstly there was a significant population shift as a result of emigration, in the majority of cases to the south Wales valleys. Secondly, the great landed estates of the county, which and for so long dominated the politics of the county, were in many cases heavily in debt. This second factor contributed to the loss of landowner influence in the politics of the county, a trend that became very apparent at the first elections to the Cardiganshire County Council.
Initially, the predictions that Gladstonian Liberals would dominate county politucs were realised, in 1885, David Davies was elected to represent the constituency with a majority of 2,323 (24.2%) on a turnout of 78%, heavily defeating the Conservative, Matthew Vaughan Davies. Although David Davies was no public speaker, he drew substantial support in Cardiganshire as a generous benefactor of the new university college at Aberystwyth and also through his links with Calvinistic Methodism, which had over 13,000 members in the county. Allied to this was a particularly effective Liberal association which paid close attention to the registration of voters.
In 1886, however, Davies broke with Gladstone over home rule for Ireland in 1886 and a number of his associates such as Robert J. Davies, Cwrtmawr followed him into the Liberal Unionist camp. He sought re-election as a Liberal Unionist but lost by 9 votes to William Bowen Rowlands, who was the Gladstonian candidate. This election split the Liberal Party in Cardiganshire and the election was hotly contested with almost all the landowenrs, including those previously regarded as having Liberal sympathies, supporting Davies. He also received the support of several prominent Liberals, especially from his own Methodist denomination. The result of the election was largely attributed to the influence of nonconformist ministers over their congregations, although the more effective canvassing of supporters by the Liberal Association was also identified as an important factor.
Even though Bowen Rowlands's victory was by the closest of margins it was a decisive moment in the political history of Cardiganshire. It proved that a Gladstonian Liberal candidate, even an Anglican with strong Irish Nationalist sympathies, could triump in Cardiganshire even against the resources and religious connections of a candidate suh as David Davies. Although Liberal Unionism continued to be championed by a relatively small group, led by the journalist Henry Tobit Evans, who published a newspaper, Y Brython, at Lampeter. most of the leading Liberals who had defected to davies eventually rrteunred to the fold, in some cases in order to contest the 1889 County Council elections. The demise of Liberal Unionism was confirmed at the 1892 General Election when, William Jones, a self-made Birmingham draper who had a small estate in Cardiganshire and was a member of the Cardiganshire County Council ran with the support of Joseph Chamberlain. Chamberlain had sponsored a number of Nonconformist unionist candidates in Wales in the hope of capitaliizing upon perceived antipathy towards Irish Nationalism. Despite spending heavily and producing a farnmer evicted at the 1868 Election on his platform, Jones was heavily defeated by Bowen Rowlands.
|General Election 1895 Cardiganshire
|Liberal||Matthew Lewis Vaughan-Davies||4,927||56.8|
|Conservative||John Charles Harford||3,748||43.2|
He went on to become the longest serving MP for the constituency, holding it until 1921. His closest electoral call came in the 'Khaki election' of 1900 when he had a majority of 781 (9.4%) over J.C. Harford of Falcondale.
|General Election 1900 Cardiganshire
|Liberal||Matthew Lewis Vaughan-Davies||4,568||54.7|
|Conservative||John Charles Harford||3,787||45.3|
Thereafter, Vaughan Davies was comfortably returned at each election but the vitality of the Liberal Association was in serious decline.
|General Election 1906 Cardiganshire
|Liberal||Matthew Lewis Vaughan-Davies||5,829||66.3|
|Liberal Unionist||C E D M Richardson||2,960||33.7|
By 1914 the Association was heavily dependent on Vaughan Davies's role as treasurer to keep it going. In the meantime, Vaughan Davies remained on poor terms with prominent Liberals, including John Gibson, editor of the Cambrian News until his death in 1915.
In many ways the Liberals had become the new elite in Cardiganshire by the time of the First World War. This was demonstrated in 1919 when John Humphreys Davies, the nonconformist squire of Cwrtmawr, was appointed Principal of the University College, Aberystwyth, at the expense of Thomas Jones, who was championed by Lord Davies of Llandinam, grandson of David Davies.
With Vaughan Davies known to be a supporter of Lloyd George, it was natural that Lloyd George looked to him to boost his support in the House of Lords and awarded him a peerage in the New Years' Honours list in 1921. Although he would have preferred to be called 'Lord Ceredigion', the Garter King of Arms refused this as an inappropriate title for a Baron, and so Vaughan Davies took his title from the River Ystwyth which ran past his home. The peerage created a vacancy in a historically Liberal seat and the Asquithites decided to take the Lloyd Georgeites on in their 'backyard' in what became a memorable by-election.
Ernest Evans, who asserted on his election posters that he was 'THE Liberal candidate', was a Barrister from Aberystwyth and had been Private Secretary to Lloyd George himself, and therefore had the blessing of the Coalition and official support from the Conservatives. A number of possible Asquithian Liberal candidates were approached to contest the seat against Evans and eventually the choice fell upon W. Llewelyn Williams who was sponsored by the Asquithite 'Welsh Liberal Federation'. No other candidate stood and in the straight fight, Evans won with a majority of 3,590 (14.6%).
The sudden shotgun merger of the two factions in the Liberal Party led to Evans getting the official approval of the unified party for the 1923 election. However, the Conservatives decided to fight and this deprived him of their votes. Hopkin Morris decided to fight again as an unofficial Liberal and won with a 5,078 vote majority. He was lucky to survive the 1924 election, a disaster for the Liberals, by being returned unopposed. The first Labour Party candidate stood against him at the 1931 general election and polled 24% of the vote in a straight fight against Morris, who had a 13,752 (52.0%) majority.
In 1932, Morris left Parliament temporarily (he was later to return as MP for Carmarthen) when he was appointed as a Metropolitan Police magistrate. The byelection on 22 September 1932 saw the first three-way fight between the parties, but was won by Owen Evans for the Liberals. Like many of the Liberal MPs he had been a Barrister. Evans died shortly before the 1945 general election, but the seat was easily held by his successor Roderic Bowen; unusually the Labour vote actually fell in percentage terms compared with the previous election despite the Labour landslide in the country at large.
Labour established itself as the main challenger to the Liberals at the 1950 general election in a three-way contest, and the Conservatives opted out of the contest thereafter until 1964. This was partly a move to keep the seat from going Labour. Plaid Cymru first fought the seat in 1959 and kept their deposit (just, with 12.8% of the vote).
With a four-way contest involving the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru at the 1964 general election, and a national swing to Labour, Roderic Bowen suffered a precipitate decline in his share of the vote to only 38.4%; he was re-elected with a majority of 2,219 (7.4%) over Labour. After the death of the Speaker in 1965, Bowen accepted the offer to become a Deputy Speaker, which prevented him from speaking on behalf of his constituency. For the 1966 election, Labour selected Elystan Morgan who had been a member of Plaid Cymru until 1964; with a further national swing and Morgan making a credible bid for the Welsh-speaking vote, Labour won the seat by 523 votes.
Morgan managed to hold on to the seat with an increased majority in the 1970 election. The Liberal vote had collapsed nationwide, with Plaid Cymru taking third place. However, the Liberal resurgence in the early 1970s led to the party regaining the seat in the February 1974 general election with Geraint Howells; the October 1974 general election saw almost the same result. In 1979, Howells increased his majority with Labour falling to third place and the Conservatives increasing their vote by more than 20%; this was one of the highest swings in the whole country.
In boundary changes in 1983, the constituency gained a small part of Pembrokeshire and also took a Welsh version of its name, becoming known as Ceredigion and Pembroke North. Geraint Howells was re-elected with the Conservatives second, Labour third and Plaid Cymru fourth in both the 1983 and 1987 general elections.
The result of the 1992 general election in Ceredigion and Pembroke North was one of the least expected in the country. Cynog Dafis, a teacher at Ysgol Dyffryn Teifi, Llandysul, standing as a Plaid Cymru candidate with support from the local branch of the Green Party, gained the seat with a majority of 3,193. Dafis more than doubled his majority in 1997 with Labour coming in second and the Liberal Democrat vote dropping by 10% to 16.5%. The constituency name was shortened to Ceredigion at this election as it reverted to its former borders, having lost the part of North Pembrokeshire in boundary changes.
Cynog Dafis was elected to the National Assembly for Wales in 1999 and unlike the other 'dual mandate' MPs chose to resign his seat at Westminster, causing a by-election which saw Simon Thomas retain the seat for Plaid Cymru. The by-election saw Labour fall from second to fourth place and the Liberal Democrats vote rise. At the 2001 general election, Thomas retained the seat, although the Liberal Democrat vote again rose to 26.9%.
2005 and 2010 Liberal resurgence
At the 2005 general election, the Liberal Democrats regained the seat. Mark Williams, who had fought the seat in the 2000 by-election and in 2001, had a majority of 219 (0.6%) following a swing of 6% over Simon Thomas. Mark Williams was the first non-Welsh speaking Member of Parliament elected to represent the constituency since Bowen Rowlands (MP from 1886 until 1892, who declared at a meeting in Aberystwyth when adopted as candidate that he could not speak Welsh). At the 2010 general election, he received a massive increase in his vote, polling over 50% of the votes cast and raising his majority from 219 to 8,324 over the Plaid Cymru candidate, Penri James.
Members of Parliament
|1541–1543||Rice ap Philip|
|1545–1547||David ap Llewellin Lloid of Llan Dissill|
|1553 (Mar)||James Williams|
|1553 (Oct)||John Pryse II|
|1554 (Apr)||John Pryse II|
|1554 (Nov)||James Williams|
|1555||Sir Henry Jones of Abermarlais|
|1558||Sir Henry Jones of Abermarlais|
|1604–1611||Sir John Lewis|
|1614–1622||Sir Richard Pryse|
|1629–1640||No Parliaments summoned|
MPs after 1640
- 1640: James Lewis
- 1640–1644: Walter Lloyd (Royalist) – disabled to sit, 5 February 1644
- 1646–1648: Sir Richard Pryse, 1st Baronet – excluded in Pride's Purge, December 1648
Cardiganshire was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament
- 1659: Col. James Philipps
Elections in the 2010s
|General Election 2010: Ceredigion|
|Liberal Democrat||Mark Williams||19,139||50.0||+13.5|
|Plaid Cymru||Penri James||10,815||28.3||-7.6|
|Liberal Democrat hold||Swing||+10.6|
Elections in the 2000s
|General Election 2005: Ceredigion|
|Liberal Democrat||Mark Williams||13,130||36.53||+9.66|
|Plaid Cymru||Simon Thomas||12,911||35.92||-2.35|
|Liberal Democrat gain from Plaid Cymru||Swing||+6.0|
|General Election 2001: Ceredigion|
|Plaid Cymru||Simon Thomas||13,241||38.3||-3.4|
|Liberal Democrat||Mark Williams||9,297||26.9||+10.4|
|Plaid Cymru hold||Swing||-6.9|
|Ceredigion by-election, 2000|
|Plaid Cymru||Simon Thomas||10,716||42.8||+1.1|
|Liberal Democrat||Mark Williams||5,768||23.0||+6.5|
|Independent Green – Save the World Climate||John Davies||289||1.2|
|Wales on Sunday – Match Funding Now||Martin Shipton||55||0.2|
|Plaid Cymru hold||Swing||-2.7|
Elections in the 1990s
|General Election 1997: Ceredigion|
|Plaid Cymru||Cynog Dafis||16,728||41.6||+10.7|
|Labour||Robert (Hag) Harris||9,767||24.3||+5.7|
|Liberal Democrat||Dai Davies||6,616||16.5||-10.0|
|Conservative||Dr. Felix Aubel||5,983||14.9||-9.1|
|Referendum Party||John Leaney||1,092||2.7|
|Plaid Cymru hold||Swing||+2.5|
|General Election 1992: Ceredigion & Pembroke North|
|Plaid Cymru||Cynog Dafis||16,020||30.3||+15.0|
|Liberal Democrat||Geraint Wyn Howells||12,827||25.1||-11.6|
|Plaid Cymru gain from Liberal Democrat||Swing|
Elections in the 1980s
|General Election 1987: Ceredigion & Pembroke North|
|Liberal||Geraint Wyn Howells||17,683||36.6||-5.2|
|Plaid Cymru||Cynog Glyndwr Dafis||7,848||16.2||+3.3|
|Green||Mrs Marylin A. Wakefield||821||1.7||+0.8|
|General Election 1983: Ceredigion & Pembroke North|
|Liberal||Geraint Wyn Howells||19,677||41.8|
|Plaid Cymru||Cynog Dafis||6,072||12.9|
|Ecology||Miss Marylin A. Smith||431||0.9|
Elections in the 1970s
|General Election 1979: Cardigan|
|Liberal||Geraint Wyn Howells||13,227||35.6||-6.6|
|Conservative||I. Emlyn Thomas||11,033||29.7||+20.3|
|Labour||John L. Powell||7,488||20.2||-15.3|
|Plaid Cymru||Dafydd J. L. Hughes||5,382||14.5||+1.3|
|General Election October 1974: Cardigan|
|Liberal||Geraint Wyn Howells||14,612||42.2|
|Labour||Dafydd Elystan Morgan||12,202||35.2|
|Plaid Cymru||Clifford G Davies||4,583||13.2|
|General Election February 1974: Cardigan|
|Liberal||Geraint Wyn Howells||14,371||40.2|
|Labour||Dafydd Elystan Morgan||11,895||33.2|
|Conservative||Trefor W. Llewellyn||4,758||13.3|
|Plaid Cymru||Clifford G. Davies||4,754||13.3|
|Liberal gain from Labour||Swing|
|General Election 1970: Cardigan|
|Labour||Dafydd Elystan Morgan||11,063||33.4|
|Liberal||Huw Lloyd Williams||9,800||29.6|
|Plaid Cymru||Hywel ap Robert||6,498||19.6|
Elections in the 1960s
|General Election 1966: Cardigan|
|Labour||Dafydd Elystan Morgan||11,302||37.13|
|Liberal||(Evan) Roderic Bowen||10,779||35.41|
|Conservative||John Stradling Thomas||5,893||19.36|
|Plaid Cymru||Edward Millward||2,469||8.11|
|Labour gain from Liberal||Swing|
|General Election 1964: Cardigan|
|Liberal||(Evan) Roderic Bowen||11,500||38.41|
|Labour||D. L. Davies||9,281||31.00|
|Conservative||Arthur J. Ryder||5,897||19.70|
|Plaid Cymru||Gareth W. Evans||3,262||10.90|
Elections in the 1950s
|General Election 1959: Cardigan|
|Liberal||(Evan) Roderic Bowen||17,868||58.96|
|Labour||Mrs. Loti Rees Hughes||8,559||28.24|
|Plaid Cymru||Gareth W. Evans||3,880||12.80|
|General Election 1955: Cardigan|
|Liberal||(Evan) Roderic Bowen||18,907||65.20|
|General Election 1951: Cardigan|
|Liberal||(Evan) Roderic Bowen||19,959||67.30|
|Labour||Rev. Brynmor Williams||9,697||32.70|
|General Election 1950: Cardigan|
|Liberal||(Evan) Roderic Bowen||17,093||52.17|
|Labour||Iwan J. Morgan||9,055||27.64|
|Conservative||Dr. G.S.R. Little||6,618||20.20|
Elections in the 1940s
|General Election 1945: Cardiganshire
|Liberal||Evan Roderic Bowen||18,912||63.8||+2.7|
|Labour||Iwan J. Morgan||10,718||36.2||-2.7|
Elections in the 1930s
|General Election 1935: Cardiganshire
|Liberal||David Owen Evans||15,846||61.1||+12.4|
|Labour||Ronw Moelwyn Hughes||10,085||38.9||+19.7|
|Cardiganshire by-election 1932: Cardiganshire
|Liberal||David Owen Evans||13,437||48.7||-27.3|
|Labour||Rev. D.M. Jones||5,295||19.2||-4.8|
- Resulted from the resignation of Rhys Hopkin Morris, in August 1932, upon his appointment as a Metropolitan Police Magistrate
|General Election 1931: Cardiganshire
|Liberal||Rhys Hopkin Morris||20,113||76.0||+15.5|
|Labour||J. Lloyd Jones||6,361||24.0||N/A|
Elections in the 1920s
|General Election 1929
|Liberal||Rhys Hopkin Morris||17,127||60.6|
|Unionist||E C L Fitzwilliams||11,158||39.4|
|General Election 1924
|Liberal||Rhys Hopkin Morris||unopposed||n/a||n/a|
|General Election 1923
|Unionist||Earl of Lisburne||6,776|
|Independent Liberal gain from Liberal||Swing|
- denotes that the candidate was pledged to take the Liberal Party Whip.
|General Election 1922
|National Liberal||Ernest Evans||12,825||51.0|
|Liberal||Rhys Hopkin Morris||12,310||49.0|
|National Liberal hold||Swing|
|Cardiganshire by-election, 1921|
|National Liberal||Ernest Evans||14,111||57.3|
|Liberal||William Llewelyn Williams||10,521||42.7|
|National Liberal hold||Swing|
Elections in the 1910s
|General Election 1918
- denotes candidate who was endorsed by the Coalition Government.
|General Election January 1910 Cardiganshire
|Liberal||Matthew Lewis Vaughan-Davies||6,348||68.3|
|Conservative||George Fossett Roberts||2,943||31.7|
- Cardiganshire by-election, 1932
- Ceredigion by-election, 2000
- List of Parliamentary constituencies in Dyfed
- Members expelled from the House of Commons since the Restoration
- Morgan. Cardiganshire Politics. p. 313.
- Morgan. Cardiganshire Politics. pp. 314–18; 319–20.
- Morgan. Cardiganshire Politics. pp. 322–3.
- "Meeting in support of Mr D. Davies". Aberystwyth Observer. 26 June 1886. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- Morgan. Cardiganshire Politics. pp. 323–4.
- "Cardiganshire Election and its lessons (editorial)". Aberystwyth Observer. 17 July 1886. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
- Morgan. Cardiganshire Politics. pp. 324–5.
- British parliamentary election results, 1885-1918 (Craig)
- Morgan. Cardiganshire Politics. pp. 328–9.
- Morgan. Cardiganshire Politics. p. 330.
- Morgan. Cardiganshire Politics. pp. 332–5.
- Alamanac of British Politics, 5th ed, Robert Waller & Byron Criddle
- "The County Election". Aberystwyth Observer. 3 July 1886. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- Expelled the House 23 March 1716 for failing to attend to take an oath of loyalty.
- Ceredigion Cyngor Sir Ceredigion County Council – candidates Ceredigion
- Ceredigion BBC Election – Ceredigion
- British parliamentary election results, 1918-1949, Craig
- Morgan, Kenneth O. (1967). "Cardiganshire Politics: The Liberal Ascendancy 1885-1923". Ceredigion 5 (4): 311–346.
- Palmer, Caroline (2004). "Matthew Lewis Vaughan Davies - ambitious cad or assiduous politician?". Ceredigion 14 (4): 73–104.