Denbigh Boroughs (UK Parliament constituency)

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For the 1918–1983 constituency, see Denbigh (UK Parliament constituency).
Denbigh Boroughs
Former District of Boroughs constituency
for the House of Commons
Preserved county Denbighshire
Major settlements Denbigh, Holt, Ruthin, and Wrexham
Number of members One
Replaced by Denbigh

Denbigh District of Boroughs (variously referred to as Denbigh District, Denbigh Boroughs or just Denbigh) was a parliamentary constituency centred on the town of Denbigh in Wales. It returned one Member of Parliament (MP) to the British House of Commons.

The constituency first returned an MP in 1542, to the English Parliament. From 1707 to 1800, the MPs sat in the Parliament of Great Britain, and after the Act of Union 1800, in the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

The constituency was abolished for the 1918 general election.


From its first known general election in 1542 until 1918, the constituency consisted of a number of boroughs within the historic county of Denbighshire in Wales.

The seat should not be confused with the county constituency of Denbighshire, which existed from the sixteenth century until 1885. The county was divided into East Denbighshire and West Denbighshire between 1885 and 1918.

After 1918 Denbighshire was represented in Parliament by two single member county constituencies, which included all the boroughs formerly in the Denbigh District of Boroughs. One of these was Wrexham, but the other was the Denbigh division of Denbighshire.

Denbigh (1535–1832)[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 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 Denbighshire, the county town was Denbigh. The out boroughs were Chirk, Holt, and Ruthin. At some point, between 1603 and 1690, Chirk ceased to participate.

In 1690–1790 the freemen of the three remaining boroughs were entitled to vote. There were about 1,400 electors in 1715 (including non resident freemen). This number was reduced to about 400 after 1744, when only resident freemen were allowed to vote. The electorate increased to about 500 in the 1754–1790 period.

Denbigh Boroughs (1832–1918)[edit]

This was a district of boroughs constituency, which grouped a number of parliamentary boroughs in Denbighshire into one single member constituency. The voters from 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 four boroughs of Denbigh, Holt, Ruthin, and Wrexham.

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.

After 1918[edit]

In the redistribution of seats which took place at the 1918, the Denbigh Boroughs constituency was abolished, along with the two county divisions of East Denbighshire and West Denbighshire. They were replaced by a new county division called Denbigh, which comprised the whole of the county, except for the Municipal Borough of Wrexham and part of the Chirk Rural District which formed the Wrexham division.

The local authorities in the Denbigh division were the Municipal Boroughs of Denbigh and Ruthin; the Urban Districts of Abergele and Pensarn, Colwyn Bay and Colwyn, Llangollen, and Llanrwst; as well as the Rural Districts of Llangollen, Llanrwst, Llansillin, Ruthin, St Asaph (Denbigh), Uwchaled, part of Chirk, and the part of Glan Conway not in Caernarvonshire.

Members of Parliament[edit]

MPs 1542–1660[edit]

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 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 Richard Myddelton
1545 23 November 1545 31 January 1547 George Salusbury
1547 4 November 1547 15 April 1552 Robert Myddelton
1553 1 March 1553 31 March 1553 Simon Thelwall
1553 5 October 1553 5 December 1553 Simon Thelwall
1554 2 April 1554 3 May 1554 John Salesbury
1554 12 November 1554 16 January 1555 Fulk Lloyd
1555 21 October 1555 9 December 1555 John Evans
1558 20 January 1558 17 November 1558 John Salesbury
1559 23 January 1559 8 May 1559 Simon Thelwall I
1562 or 1563 11 January 1563 2 January 1567 Humphrey Llwyd
1571 2 April 1571 29 May 1571 Simon Thelwall I
1572 8 May 1572 19 April 1583 Richard Cavendish
1584 23 November 1584 14 September 1585 Richard Cavendish
1586 13 October 1586 23 March 1587 Robert Wrote
1588 4 February 1589 29 March 1589 John Turbridge
1593 18 February 1593 10 April 1593 Simon Thelwall II
1597 24 October 1597 9 February 1598 John Panton
1601 27 October 1601 19 December 1601 John Panton
1604 19 March 1604 9 February 1611 Hugh Myddleton
1614 5 April 1614 7 June 1614 Hugh Myddleton
1620 16 January 1621 8 February 1622 Hugh Myddleton
1624 12 February 1624 27 March 1625 Hugh Myddleton
1625 17 May 1625 12 August 1625 Hugh Myddleton
1626 6 February 1626 15 June 1626 Hugh Myddleton
1628 17 March 1628 10 March 1629 Hugh Myddleton
1640 13 April 1640 5 May 1640 John Salusbury Short Parliament
1640 3 November 1640 5 December 1648 Simon Thelwall Long Parliament
... 6 December 1648 20 April 1653 Simon Thelwall Rump Parliament
... 4 July 1653 12 December 1653 unrepresented Barebones Parliament
1654 3 September 1654 22 January 1655 unrepresented First Protectorate Parliament
1656 17 September 1656 4 February 1658 unrepresented Second Protectorate Parliament
1658/59 27 January 1659 22 April 1659 John Manley Third Protectorate Parliament
... 7 May 1659 20 February 1660 unknown Rump Parliament restored
... 21 February 1660 16 March 1660 unknown Long Parliament restored

MPs 1660–1918[edit]

Year Member Party
1660 John Carter
1661 Sir John Salusbury
1685 Sir John Trevor
1689 Edward Brereton
1705 William Robinson
1708 Sir William Williams, Bt.
1710 John Roberts
1713 John Wynne
1715 John Roberts
1722 Robert Myddelton
1733 John Myddelton
1741 John Wynn
1747 Richard Myddelton
1788 Richard Myddelton
1797 Thomas Jones
1802 Hon. Frederick West
1806 Robert Myddelton Biddulph
1812 Viscount Kirkwall Tory
1818 John Wynne Griffith Whig
1826 Frederick Richard West Tory
1830 Robert Myddleton-Biddulph Whig
1832 John Madock Whig
1835 Wilson Jones Conservative
1841 Townshend Mainwaring Conservative
1847 Frederick Richard West Conservative
1857 Townshend Mainwaring Conservative
1868 Watkin Williams Liberal
1880 Sir Robert Alfred Cunliffe, Bt Liberal
1885 Hon. George Thomas Kenyon Conservative
1895 William Tudor Howell Conservative
1900 Hon. George Thomas Kenyon Conservative
1906 Allen Clement Edwards Liberal
1910 Hon. William Ormsby-Gore Conservative
1918 constituency abolished. See Denbigh and Wrexham


Elections in the 1880s[edit]

Robert Cunliffe
General Election 1885: Denbigh Boroughs[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative George Kenyon 1,761
Liberal Robert Cunliffe 1,455
Majority 306
Conservative gain from Liberal Swing
John Barlow
General Election 1886: Denbigh Boroughs[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative George Kenyon 1,657
Liberal John Barlow 1,446
Majority 211
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1890s[edit]

General Election 1892: Denbigh Boroughs[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative George Kenyon 1,664
Liberal T H Williams 1,566
Majority 98
Conservative hold Swing
General Election 1895: Denbigh Boroughs[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative William Tudor Howell 1,833
Liberal Walter Herbert Morgan 1,604
Majority 229
Conservative hold Swing

Elections in the 1900s[edit]

General Election 1900: Denbigh Boroughs[5]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative George Kenyon 1,862 51.5
Liberal Clement Edwards 1,752 48.5
Majority 110 3.0
Turnout 3,614
Conservative hold Swing
Clem Edwards
General Election 1906 Denbigh Boroughs[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Clement Edwards 2,533 56.4 +7.9
Conservative George Kenyon 1,960 43.6 -7.9
Majority 573 12.8 15.8
Turnout 94.5 +7.1
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing +7.9

Elections in the 1910s[edit]

General Election January 1910: Denbigh Boroughs[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative William Ormsby-Gore 2,438 50.1
Liberal Clement Edwards 2,430 49.9
Majority 8 0.2
Turnout 4,868
Conservative gain from Liberal Swing
General Election December 1910: Denbigh Boroughs[8]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative William Ormsby-Gore 2,385
Liberal Caradoc Rees 2,376
Conservative hold Swing

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Liberal Year Book, 1908
  2. ^ The Liberal Year Book, 1908
  3. ^ The Liberal Year Book, 1908
  4. ^ Debrett's House of Commons and Judicial Bench, 1901
  5. ^ Debrett's House of Commons and Judicial Bench, 1901
  6. ^ British parliamentary election results, 1885–1918 (Craig)
  7. ^ Debrett's House of Commons and Judicial Bench, 1916
  8. ^ Debrett's House of Commons and Judicial Bench, 1916
  • Boundaries of Parliamentary Constituencies 1885–1972, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Parliamentary Reference Publications 1972)
  • British Parliamentary Election Results 1832–1885, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Macmillan Press 1977)
  • British Parliamentary Election Results 1885–1918, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Macmillan Press 1974)
  • 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 1690–1715, by Eveline Cruickshanks, Stuart Handley and D.W. Hayton (Cambridge University Press 2002)
  • 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)
  • Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "D" (part 1)[self-published source][better source needed]