GWYN, Owen (by 1530-93/94), of Bristol, Glos. and London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1530, s. of Morgan Gwyn ap John ap Gruffydd of Cefn Iorwerth, Glam. ?educ. Oxf. BCL 10 July 1543. m. 1 or 2da.1

Offices Held

?Sheriff, Card. 1552-3.


Owen Gwyn came from a cadet branch of one of the many Glamorganshire families descended from Maenarch, lord of Brecknock. He may have trained as a civil lawyer, although the significance in this connexion of his naming two civilians, William Aubrey II and Francis James, among the overseers of his will is lessened by his kinship with Aubrey and his propinquity to James in Bristol. The Owen Gwynne who in 1545 entered Queens’ College, Cambridge, as a sizar is more likely to have been a Wynn of Gwydir.

Gwyn may have been the sheriff of Cardiganshire who was prosecuted for having returned to Mary’s first Parliament the allegedly non-resident John Price II. Although the office would more naturally have fallen to a Gwyn of Moel Ifor, Cardiganshire—who would thus have been responsible for returning his kinsman John Gwyn for Cardigan Boroughs—no Owen Gwyn has been found in that family’s pedigree, whereas when the native of Glamorgan sued out a pardon some years later he included Cardigan among his residences. If Gwyn was the sheriff concerned he probably owed the office to the influence of William Herbert I, 1st Earl of Pembroke who was later to hold the attorney-generalship of Glamorgan jointly with Gwyn’s nephew David Evans. It was clearly to the earl that Gwyn owed his return to Mary’s second Parliament for Marlborough, a borough with which neither he nor his fellow-Member Thomas Tyndale had any connexion. Tyndale lived at Eastwood Park, Thornbury, not far from Bristol, and both William Aubrey II and David Evans sat in this Parliament as clients of Pembroke. Nothing is known of any part Gwyn may have played in the Commons but in 1557 he was one of several Bristol citizens bound over to appear before the Privy Council for their failure to contribute to the loan. In the same year a Carmarthenshire man was pardoned after being outlawed for non-appearance in court to answer for a debt of £160 to Owen Gwyn of London.2

Gwyn’s first known acquisition of land had been the lease in 1551 of the Dorset manor of Burton, but it was as Owen Gwyn late of London, alias late of Bristol, alias of Chedzoy, Somerset, alias of Cardigan that he sued out a pardon at the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth. Pembroke’s tenant at Chedzoy, he was also to be described as of Chard, Somerset, when he brought a chancery suit against his brother David’s widow and her second husband. In 1566 he obtained a 21-year lease of the former priory of Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, and two years later, described as of Bristol, he was obliged to go to law to secure his rents from the local man he had installed as bailiff. He still held the Burton and Kidwelly leases when he made his will on 11 Jan. 1592 as ‘of the castle of Bristol and the county of Gloucestershire, esquire’. He asked to be buried in St. Peter’s, Bristol, ‘without pomp or charge’ and divided the two leases and his property in Bristol between his grandsons (described as ‘nephews’) John and Owen, sons of John Ashe of Tickenham, Somerset, his nephew Matthew William and his son-in-law Anthony Hall, Halsey or Hawse. Hawse was named executor and the overseers included the two civilians, Aubrey and James, and Philip Langley of Bristol. Although ‘weak in body’ when he made his will, Gwyn survived to add a codicil on 1 Aug. 1593 and it was not until the following 13 June that the will was proved.3

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. F.T. Baker


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first certain reference. G. T. Clark, Limbus Patrum Morganiae, 82, 206-8, 458; Emden, Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxf. 1501-40, p. 253; PCC 52 Dixy.
  • 2. E159/333; Dwnn, Vis. Wales, i. 38; CPR, 1555-7, p. 337; 1558-60, p. 150; APC, vi. 205.
  • 3. CPR, 1558-60, p. 150; 1563-6, p. 436; 1569-72, p. 154; Pembroke Survey (Roxburghe Club cliv), 445, 451, 465-6; C3/69/86, 77/60; PCC 52 Dixy; Vis. Som. ed. Weaver, 95.