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Edward Brydges Willyams

Edward William Brydges Willyams (1834-1916) was a Liberal MP, successively for three Cornish constituencies [1]. The Times reports that in 1892, he was appointed High Sheriff of Cornwall[2].


Parental family

He was born 6 November 1834, the son of Humphry Willyams (1792-1822) [3], a banker, land-owner and Liberal elector of Truro [4] and Ellen Frances Brydges Neynoe, his wife. She was the daughter of Colonel William Brydges Neynoe of Castle Neynoe, County Sligo.[5]

His older brother, James Willyams died aged 38 in 1861 [5]

His aunt by marriage Sarah Mendez da Costa, was an heiress, who married his father's elder brother James (1772-1820) and had no children. However, when she died in 1863, she gave three quarters of her fortune to Benjamin Disraeli, a great friend of hers [6] [1].


He was educated at Merton College, Oxford [1].

Parliamentary service

  • MP for Truro from 1857 to 1859[7].
  • MP for East Cornwall, 1868-1874.
  • MP for Truro, 1880-1885.

He stood for election at St Austell in 1877, as a Liberal Unionist but was defeated by the Gladstonian candidate[8].


He was married twice, first to Jane, youngest daughter of Sir Trevor Wheler, Bt. on 26 June 1856 [9] and then on 5 June 1882 to Emily [10], a daughter of Sir Joseph Moses Levy, the proprietor of the Daily Telegraph, which then supported the Liberal Party [1]. Emily Brydges Willyams died 5 February 1902


He was a keen supporter of the old Cornish sport of hurling [1]. Racing reports in The Times from 1884 to 1910 show his ownership of several race-horses, during this period.


He was the co-respondent in a divorce in 1871/1872, having carried on an affair with Lady Jolliffe, the wife of Captain Jolliffe, MP for Wells. He did not stand at the General Election in 1874 [4] :Jaggard p.183-189. [11].

Olive Willyams, the wife of his heir, Arthur Hugh Vivien Willyams, tried to obtain £4,000 from him, using promissory notes that he claimed were forged by her. She was committed to prison for three years and “was afterwards declared to have become insane [1] [12] [13] .


He died on Tuesday, 10 October 1916, at his seat, Carnanton, St Columb Major.


Main sources

  • Obituary of Edward Brydges Willyams in The Times, Thursday, Oct 12, 1916; pg. 11; Issue 41296; column E.
  • Edwin Jaggard Cornwall politics in the age of reform 1790-1855, Royal Historical Society/Boydell Press, (1999), ISBN 0-86193-243-9, Chapter 6-8.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Obituary in The Times, Thursday, Oct 12, 1916
  2. The Times, Wednesday, Jan 27, 1892; pg. 9; Issue 33545; col F Appointment of E. B. Willyams in the Court Circular.
  3. Burke's A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain 1838, page 38: Willyams of Carnanton, on Google Books.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Edwin Jaggard Cornwall politics in the age of reform
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Gentleman's Magazine, July-December 1861, p334 Notice of the death of James Willyams on Google Books.
  6. ODNB article by M. G. Wiebe, ‘Willyams, Sarah Brydges (d. 1863)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [1], accessed 26 April 2008.
  7. The Times, Monday, Mar 16, 1857; p.12; Issue 22629; col E: "Election Intelligence: Truro", indicates that Willyams will stand and his views.
  8. The Times, Friday, May 20, 1887; pg. 5; Issue 32077; col F: "Election Intelligence. Cornwall, St. Austell Division." -G L M'Arthur - 3,540 ;Brydges Willyams - 3329.
  9. Probably Sir Trevor Wheler, 11th Baronet (1828-1900). The marriage is reported in The Times, Monday, Jun 30, 1856; pg. 1; Issue 22407; col A
  10. ThePeerage.Com family information for Levy.
  11. The Times, Friday, Mar 08, 1872; pg. 11; Issue 27319; col D: "Court Of Probate and Divorce, March 7".
  12. The Times, Friday, Feb 04, 1910; pg. 4; Issue 39187; col A: "The Assizes. Western Circuit., Claim on Promissory Notes."
  13. The Times, Saturday, Oct 01, 1910; pg. 3; Issue 39392; col A: "Charge of Forgery".

Parliament of the United Kingdom

[[Category:UK MPs 1857


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