Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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PHILIPPS family, of Cwmgwili , Carmarthenshire .

Claiming descent from the same stock as Philipps of Picton and Kilsant , the Cwmgwili family played a prominent part in Carmarthenshire affairs in the 18th and 19th cents. GRISMOND PHILIPPS (d. 1740 ) inherited Cwmgwili from his great-uncle Gruffydd Lloyd who d. in 1713 and was high sheriff of Carmarthenshire in 1715 . His son, GRIFFITH PHILIPPS ( c. 1720 - 1781 ), was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn , 1741 , unsuccessfully contested Carmarthen in 1741 and sat for the borough 1751-61 and 1768-74 . He was closely associated in politics with George Rice of Newton (see Rice [Family] of Newton ), following the Whig leaders to the death of George II in 1760 , and thereafter attaching himself to the leading politicians of the day. About 1738 he began a long struggle with the Tory and possibly Jacobite Sir John Philipps of Picton for the political control of the borough of Carmarthen . With the support of the town mob, Griffith Philipps succeeded in 1749 in overturning the Tory common council of the borough and between 1749 and 1763 the government of the town fell into complete chaos. In 1764 , with the co-operation of George Rice and lord Verney , a new charter was obtained for the borough which consolidated the position of the Philipps party in the town, but by no means gave them complete control of its affairs. Co-operation between Philipps and Rice lasted until the latter's death in 1779 . Thereafter, the Rice family became increasingly Tory , but JOHN PHILIPPS of Cwmgwili (d. 1816 ), son of Griffith Philipps , continued to support the Whigs , finding new allies in the Vaughans , and later the Campbells , of Golden Grove . In 1785 he voted in favour of the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts . He was mayor of Carmarthen , 1783 and 1810 , Member of Parliament for Carmarthen 1784-1803 , and high sheriff of Carmarthenshire 1812 . His elder son, another JOHN PHILIPPS ( 1783 - 1869 ), served in the Navy during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars , and in 1831 unsuccessfully contested Carmarthen as a champion of parliamentary reform . He was mayor of Carmarthen in 1816 .


  • A History of Carmarthenshire , ii, chapter 1, passim ;
  • Annals and Antiquities of the Counties and County Families of Wales , i, 297-9;
  • W. R. Williams , The History of the Parliamentary Representation of Wales (1895) , 54, 55;
  • T. H. B. Oldfield , The Representative History of Great Britain and Ireland being a History of the House of Commons and of the Counties, Cities, and Boroughs of the United Kingdom, from the earliest period (London, 1816) , vi, 49-50.


Professor Glyn Roberts, M.A., (1904-1962), Bangor

Published date: 1959