WILLIAMS, Richard (c.1575-aft. 1636), of Llys Dulas, Llanwenllwyfo and Rhodogeidio, Ceidio, Anglesey
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Family and Education
b. c.1575,1 1st s. of William [ap John ap John] Griffith of Rhodogeidio and 2nd w. Elin, da. of Dafydd ap Rhys ap Dafydd ap Gwilim of Llwyidiarth, Llanerchymedd, Anglesey.2 educ. G. Inn 1593.3 m. (1) Marcelie (d. 10 Nov. 1607) da. and coh. of David Lloyd of Llys Dulas, wid. of John Prydderch of Plas Tregeyan, ?2s. (?d.v.p.), 1da.;4 (2) Elin, da. of John Wynn Owen of Caemilwr, Llanrwst, Denb., 1s.;5 (3) after 1612, Margaret, da. of Owen Holland† of Plas Berw, Llanidan, Anglesey, wid. of William Pugh Gwyn of Pengwern, Llanwnda, Caern. and Owen Meredydd of Mynachty Gwyn, vicar of Clynnog, Caern., several ch. (all d.v.p.).6 suc. fa. ?by 1602.7 d. aft. 26 Sept. 1636.8 sig. Richard Williams.
While Williams claimed descent from two of the ‘noble tribes’ of pre-Conquest Gwynedd, his own circumstances were comparatively modest.12 His father, a younger son, presumably inherited little, and Williams was rated at only £2-£3 in the subsidy rolls, a relatively minor sum even by Anglesey standards.13 He should not be confused with several more prominent namesakes, particularly the Cobham family steward who was returned for New Romney at the behest of William (Brooke alias Cobham†), 10th Baron Cobham in 1584.14 He may have been the ‘Rice Williams of Anglesey, pleb.’ who matriculated at Oxford in 1586, although this man only received his M.A. five months after the future MP was admitted to Gray’s Inn.15
Williams’s elevation to the commission of the peace and the shrievalty in 1615-16 suggests that it was around this time that he married his third wife, a niece of the local magnate Sir Richard Bulkeley*. There is no indication that he was actively seeking the county seat at the end of 1620, and his name was probably put forward only a few days before the election when Bulkeley, who had sat for the shire in the previous two parliaments, fell seriously ill.16 He left no trace on the surviving records of the Parliament, and was almost certainly not the Richard Williams whose patent for exportation of Welsh butter from south Wales was repealed in July 1621 following its investigation by the Commons.17 As he had no London residence, Williams may have demanded expenses from his constituents, which would explain why the gentry were anxious that his successor should waive any such right in 1624.18
Members of the 1621 Parliament came under heavy pressure to contribute generously to the Benevolence which followed the dissolution, and Williams’s contribution of 40s. exceeded that of many of his wealthier neighbours.19 He did not stand for re-election in 1624, and when canvassed at the funeral of David Owen Theodor of Penmynydd on New Year’s day, he pledged his support to John Mostyn*, unless Sir Sackville Trevor* should openly declare himself a candidate, ‘who dwelling in the country, and one of them, must be preferred before a stranger’.20 He was the first of the gentry to sign the indenture certifying Mostyn’s return.21 Williams encountered official disapproval in the following year for his failure to investigate a ship observed taking unexplained soundings off the Anglesey coast. At the next quarter sessions ‘the bench was divided about this’, but Bishop Bayly of Bangor complained to the king.22 This may have been the cause of Williams’s removal from the Caernarvonshire bench in June 1626, though Sir William Thomas assumed that it was an insult to Sir John Wynn†, contrived by the latter’s adversary, John Griffith III*.23
The date of Williams’s death is unknown. He was certainly still alive in 1630, when he unsuccessfully prosecuted a neighbour before the Council in the Marches for stealing a fishing net from his servants,24 and he was presumably the Richard Williams who served on an Exchequer enquiry at Llys Dulas on 26 Sept. 1636.25 He was probably dead by October 1640, when his son John signed the Anglesey election indenture in his stead.26 No will or inquisition has been found, doubtless because the testamentary records filed at Bangor before the Civil War were later destroyed. His grandson, Griffith Williams, sold most of the family estate to distant relatives at the end of the century, whose debts forced them to sell up in turn in 1780.27 No other member of the family sat in Parliament.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Simon Healy
- 1. Assuming he was not the student who matriculated at Oxford in 1586 (see below).
- 2. J.E. Griffith, Peds. Anglesey and Caern. Fams. 14, 103, 114; Dwnn, Vis. Wales ed. S.R. Meyrick, ii. 140.
- 3. GI Admiss.
- 4. Griffith, 129, 149; MI at Llanwenllwyfo church, recorded in Royal Comm. on Hist. Mons. Anglesey, cxl. and plate 87.
- 5. Griffith, 288.
- 6. Ibid. 110, 206, 240.
- 7. When he first appeared in the subsidy roll: UCNW, Plas Coch 169.
- 8. E178/5924, f. 1.
- 9. JPs in Wales and Monm. ed. Phillips, 7-10, 26-7. The man who was a j.p. in Denbighshire in 1616-18 was probably a namesake, see ibid. 65-6.
- 10. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 236.
- 11. E212/22/21-3; E179/219/20, 20A.
- 12. E. Wyn Rowlands, ‘Llanwenllwyfo churches’, in Trans. Anglesey Antiq. Soc. (1977-8), pp. 150-1.
- 13. UCNW, Plas Coch 169; E179/219/19-22. A survey of c.1675 rated the family as the least important in Twrcelyn commote: NLW, 9083E, pt. 3, p. 6.
- 14. Richard Williams† died in 1601: PROB 11/97, ff. 261-2.
- 15. Al. Ox. (Rees Williams).
- 16. STAC 8/76/3, ff. 4, 5.
- 17. CD 1621 vii. 468-9. This man may previously have been a factor for Richard Gore*, see HMC Sackville (Knole) ii. 28, 124, 174.
- 18. NLW, 9059E/1242.
- 19. E179/219/19A.
- 20. NLW, 9059E/1172.
- 21. C219/38/310.
- 22. SP16/11/37.
- 23. NLW, 9061E/1422.
- 24. NLW, Carreglwyd I/1858.
- 25. E178/5924, f. 1.
- 26. C219/43/3/153.
- 27. Griffith, 114; UCNW, Plas Coch 571-9; UCNW, Kinmel 1270-98.