DEVEREUX, Price (c. 1664-1740)

DEVEREUX, Price (c. 1664–1740)

suc. cos. 9 Aug. 1700 as 9th Visct. HEREFORD

First sat 19 Feb. 1701; last sat 8 Apr. 1730

MP Montgomery Boroughs 1691-1700

b. c.1664, s. and h. of Price Devereux (d.v.p. 1666, s. and h. of George Devereux of Sheldon, Warws. and Vaynor Park) and Mary, da. of ?Stephens of Bristol. m. 3 Dec. 1683, Mary (d. 14 Jan. 1729), da. of Samuel Sandys of Ombersley, Worcs. 1s. 1da. d. 3 Oct. 1740; admon. 15 Nov. 1740- 9 Apr. 1754, to s.1

Freeman, Welshpool 1678; ld. lt. Mont. 1711-14; steward, manors of Mavon, Card. and Mynydd Mallaen and Talyllychau, Carm. 1713-Dec. 1714.

Associated with: Vaynor Park, Mont.

A stalwart Anglican and Tory, Price Devereux was raised by his paternal grandfather and succeeded to the peerage as the cousin and male heir of Edward Devereux, 8th Viscount Hereford. He was descended from the Warwickshire Devereux of Sheldon Hall and a complex family inheritance left him with tracts of real estate in Mathon, Herefordshire and in Montgomeryshire.

Devereux failed to sign the 1696 Association (although he claimed that that he was ill in the country) and was possibly purged from the commission of the peace as a consequence.2 His career in the Lords to 1715 was lengthy but lacklustre, punctuated by frequent absences and very low levels of attendance. In the 16 sessions up to 1715, he failed to attend seven, attended a further six sessions for less than a quarter of sittings and the remaining three for only a third of sittings or less. The formation of the Tory government after the election victory of 1710 seems to have provided Hereford with greater motivation and he attended most regularly in the 1713 session. He failed to attend the brief August session.

In his first session in the House of Lords, Hereford attended 33 per cent of sittings and was named to three select committees. On 15 Mar. 1701, he protested against the rejection of the second and third heads in the Treaty of Partition. The following month, on 16 Apr. 1701, he registered his protest against the appointment of a committee to draw an address to the king on the four impeached lords. The protest was expunged, but Hereford did not sign the subsequent protest that such action was against privilege. On 6 May 1701, the House considered a petition regarding Hereford’s own privilege. Samuel Purchase objected to a protection issued by Hereford to John Wilkinson ‘to the ruin of the petitioner’ and argued that Wilkinson was merely a trustee. On 15 May Henry Yelverton Viscount Longueville, reported back from the committee for privileges which, having heard counsel on the matter, had decided that Wilkinsn was not a trustee and was therefore was entitled to privilege. Hereford missed the last four weeks of parliamentary business up to the prorogation of 24 June 1701.

The second Parliament of 1701 assembled at the end of December, but Hereford missed the first two months of the session and thereafter attended one quarter of all sittings. On 8 Mar. 1702 he took part in the conference on the death of William III and the accession of Anne. During the winter 1702 session of the new Parliament, he again missed the first two months of business and attended only 15 per cent of sittings; he was named to four select committees, including the committee to prepare an address to the queen.

On 1 Jan. 1703 Hereford’s ally, Daniel Finch 2nd earl of Nottingham, estimated that Hereford would support legislation against occasional conformity. On the 16th, Hereford duly voted against the wrecking amendment to the penalty clause. In November, Charles Spencer 3rd earl of Sunderland, twice forecast that Hereford would support another attempt to legislate against occasional conformity. In the event, Hereford did not attend the autumn 1703 session, sending his proxy to Thomas Thynne Viscount Weymouth; he acknowledged no person ‘fitter’ to hold his proxy than Weymouth and expressed confidence in the new government ‘that sets all things at right’.3 The proxy was not entered in the Lords’ proxy book.

Hereford absented himself from the autumn 1704 session and on 23 Nov. 1704 was excused attendance by the House. On 28 Nov. 1704 he registered his proxy in favour of Basil Feilding 4th earl of Denbigh, (vacated at the end of the session). This was almost certainly for use in connection with the occasional conformity bill. Hereford arrived at the House on 17 Dec. 1705, some seven weeks into the new Parliament and thereafter attended seven per cent of sittings. He missed the important ‘Church in Danger’ debate of 6 Dec. 1705, but arrived in time for the debates in the new year on the Protestant succession. On 13 Jan. 1706 he dissented three times in divisions on the bill to secure her majesty’s person and the succession.

There were repeated prorogations from March to December 1706 and Hereford did not attend the following session. Instead on 4 Feb. 1707, he registered his proxy in favour of Rochester (vacated at the end of the session). He was also absent from subsequent sessions in 1707, but it is not possible to identify a proxy, as the proxy book is missing. On 1 May 1708 he was unsurprisingly listed as a Tory in a list of party affiliation. Following the general election in June 1708 and the Whig Junto’s preparations for confrontation with the Court in Parliament, Hereford did make an appearance in the House. He arrived three months into the November 1708 session and attended only six per cent of sittings; he was not named to any select committees. On 14 July 1709 he was admitted to the Board of Brothers, a Tory dining club, but absented himself from the November 1709 parliamentary session.4 During the division on the guilt of Henry Sacheverell on 20 Mar. 1710, it was noted that Hereford was absent.

Following the dissolution of 21 Sept. 1710 and the reconstruction of the ministry, Hereford appears to have experienced a slightly greater sense of obligation regarding his parliamentary duties. Although he again missed the first two months of the session that had assembled in Nov. 1710, he attended nearly 13 per cent of sittings. On 5 Mar. 1711 he again registered his proxy in favour of Denbigh (vacated at the end of the session). Estimated by Robert Harley, earl of Oxford, as a political ally, Hereford remained loyal to the ministry over the peace negotiations of 1711-12, but still missed the first six weeks of the December 1711 session. On 15 Dec. 1711, possibly in recognition of the weighty debates on the peace treaty, he registered his proxy in favour of Other Windsor 2nd earl of Plymouth, (vacated on 18 Jan. 1712). Thereafter, Hereford attended 18 per cent of sittings. He attended the session for the last time on 17 Mar. 1712 when he registered his proxy in favour of Weymouth (vacated at the end of the session).

Despite Hereford’s uninspiring levels of parliamentary attendance, he was described by Weymouth, his patron, as having ‘zeal for the public, and fixed resolution of serving your lordship [Oxford]’. Both he and Hereford hoped to benefit from the death of John Vaughan earl of Carbery [I] (but a Member of the Lords by virtue of his English peerage of Baron Vaughan), by inheriting his stewardship and leases.5 Hereford was now clearly in Oxford’s orbit, and on 26 Feb. 1713 the latter noted Hereford’s name as a lord to be contacted before the following parliamentary session. On 23 Mar. 1713 Weymouth thanked Oxford for having spoken to the queen on behalf of Hereford who was subsequently appointed steward of nine Cardiganshire manors ‘formerly in his family’.6 Hereford was not only in political alliance with Tories in Wales and the Marches. He recommended to the South Wales exchequer an ally of Shropshire Member of the Commons (and leader of the Shropshire Tories) John Kynaston and also joined ranks with Adam Ottley, bishop of Hereford, to make recommendations to Oxford.7 Ottley described one of Hereford’s candidates as a man who ‘did great service in the last election and spared neither pains nor charge’.8

Hereford attended the House most assiduously (by his standards) in the session that assembled on 9 Apr. 1713, attending 35 per cent of sittings. On 13 June 1713 Oxford estimated that Hereford would support the 8th and 9th articles of the French commercial treaty. As there is no surviving proxy book, whether he registered his proxy for his periods of absence is unknown. Perhaps prompted by the debates on the danger to the Protestant succession, he arrived one month into the spring 1714 parliamentary session and attended 20 per cent of sittings. On the day of the Lords’ vote on the succession, 5 Apr. 1714, he again registered his proxy in favour of Weymouth. The proxy was vacated on the 13th when the Lords considered the queen’s reply to an address on the danger from the Pretender.

On 27 May 1714 Nottingham forecast that Hereford would support the contentious schism bill. Two days later, Hereford again registered his proxy in favour of Weymouth. It was vacated the following day. He missed the debates and divisions on the bill. Following the death of the queen, Hereford failed to attend the first brief Parliament of George I. Somewhat dubious Jacobite intelligence in 1721 described him as ‘a worthy man and fit to be relied on’, but he had taken the oaths to the new king some six years earlier on 3 May 1715.9 His parliamentary career after 1715 will be examined in the next phase of this work (1715-1790). Hereford died on 3 Oct. 1740 at Vaynor aged about 76. He was buried at Berriew, Montgomeryshire and succeeded by his son and namesake who had sat as a Tory Member of the Commons since 1719.


  • 1 TNA, PROB 6/116, f. 201; PROB 6/130, f. 98.
  • 2 HP Commons 1690-1715, iii. 875.
  • 3 Longleat, Bath mss Thynne pprs. 25, f. 170.
  • 4 Add. 49360, f. 3v.
  • 5 Add. 70260, Weymouth to Oxford, 13 Feb. 1713.
  • 6 Ibid. 23 Mar. 1713; Add. 70283, appointment of Price, Viscount Hereford, n.d.
  • 7 Add. 70283, Hereford to J. Kynaston, 24 Mar. 1713; HP Commons 1690-1715, iv. 581.
  • 8 Add. 70318, Ottley to Oxford, 1 Apr. 1713.
  • 9 HP The Commons 1690-1715, iii. 875.