This book covers the issues and personalities of Radnorshire politics in the nineteenth century. The local issues which exercised voters and non-voters alike, when the electoral franchise was much more restricted, were the rights of cottagers who had encroached on common land; tolls and tollgates; and fishing rights. The imposition of additional costs on Radnorshire’s many small farmers in the form of tolls came on top of other grievances — declining farm incomes, tithes, high poor rates and increased local taxation — and the very visible and local tollgates became an easy focus on which anger could be vented, forcing the authorities into overhauling the turnpike system in south Wales. The issues of commons encroachment and fishing rights saw more of a class divide and in both cases the Radnorshire establishment found it politic to make concessions to local public opinion.
Keith Parker brings out the careers and political thoughts of the candidates, both those successful and unsuccessful, delves into the local issues that fired local politics, the ebb and flow of allegiances between families and how radicalism could cause estrangements, gives a feeling for elections down the century, and explains how the gradually increasing number of electors changed the way that electioneering took place. In so doing he also provides a social history of Radnorshire in the nineteenth century.
A former deputy head of John Beddoes School, Keith Parker lectured for some years on local history for the Extra-Mural Department of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and since retirement has spent much of this time in historical research and writing. Parties, Polls and Riots is the third of his books on the history of Radnorshire to be published by Logaston Press.
Paperback | 192 pages | 234 x 156 mm | 2009
40 b&w photographs