WYNN, Henry (1601/2-1671), of Rhiwgoch, Merion. and the Inner Temple, London

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



1640 (Apr.)
1661 - 27 July 1671

Family and Education

b. 1601/2,1 8th but 5th surv. s. of Sir John Wynn†, 1st bt. of Gwydir, Caern. and Sidney, da. of Sir William Gerard† of Ince, Lancs., ld. chan. [I] 1576-81;2 bro. of Sir Richard* and William*. educ. privately at Gwydir (William Holmes); Hawarden sch., Flint. 1614; St. Albans sch., Herts. 1615-18;3 I. Temple 1618, called 1629.4 m. settlement 15 Sept. 1620, Katherine, da. and h. of Ellis Lloyd* of Rhiwgoch, Merion., 1s.5 d. 27 July 1671.6 sig. Henry Wynn.

Offices Held

Commr. subsidy, Merion. 1624;7 collector, clerical tenths, Exeter dioc. 1640;8 j.p. Merion. 1650-3, 1670-d.;9 commr. assessment, Merion. 1661-9, Westminster 1666-9;10 sec. (jt.) Council in the Marches by 1662-d.11

Commr. exacted fees 1636/7-40.12

Steward, Marshalsea Ct. by 1638-42, 1660-d., Bromfield and Yale, Denb. 1660-d.;13 sol. gen. to Queen Henrietta Maria 1640, 1660-9;14 steward, Westminster Abbey manorial cts. 1641-60;15 bencher, I. Temple 1647, 1660-d.;16 prothonotary and clerk of the Crown, N. Wales 1664-d.17


The youngest of ten siblings, Henry Wynn was raised at Gwydir with his brother Ellis and several of his nephews, including John Mostyn*. ‘In respect of the English tongue’ he was sent first to Hawarden School and then to St. Albans, and subsequently admitted to the Inner Temple, where he was introduced to other Welsh students by one of his father’s lawyers, John Lloyd of Ceiswyn, Merioneth.18 He described his first chamber as ‘a long, dark and melancholy hole’, prompting his family to secure better quarters from William Lewis Anwyl of Park, and the executors of Hugh Hare†.19

While Wynn pursued his studies in London, his father, to maintain his Welsh roots, looked to marry him to a local heiress. Sir John’s first choice was Margaret, daughter of Richard Evans of Elernion, one of his few friends in western Caernarvonshire, but her inheritance was modest, and negotiations with Sir William Maurice* foundered over the price. An alliance with an 11 year-old daughter of the recently deceased John Panton* was briefly considered, but in September 1620 a match was concluded with the granddaughter of Robert Lloyd† of Rhiwgoch, Merioneth. In return for a reversion to the Rhiwgoch estate, Wynn paid Lloyd £600 and passed his outlying estates in Trawsfynydd, Merioneth and Eifionydd commote, Caernarvonshire to his son.20 The marriage took Wynn away from London for so long that his brother William wondered whether there was any point in leasing chambers for him, and his protracted absence may explain why he was not called to the bar until 1629.21

While at Gwydir in December 1620, Wynn’s gossip about his father’s plans for the Caernarvonshire election allegedly proved useful to John Griffith III*, who wrested the shire seat from the Wynns. Three years later, Sir Richard Wynn proposed that his brother stand for Merioneth on the Rhiwgoch interest, which, ‘if it may be done without charge or competition’, would help to repair the damage done to the family’s reputation by their earlier defeat. Sir Richard lobbied Sir William Herbert* in London, while on the day of the election Wynn’s supporters were reinforced by those of Lloyd’s relatives William Vaughan of Cors y Gedol and Hugh Nanney of Nannau, whose signatures headed the election indenture.22 Unsurprisingly Wynn, who was only 22 years old, played no recorded part in the session, but he was apparently a diligent attender. He sent his father copies of several key speeches, and regular newsletters about the business of the House, which focused on his father’s chief preoccupations: legislation of local interest; attacks on Arminian clergy; and the impeachment charges against lord treasurer Middlesex (Sir Lionel Cranfield*) and lord keeper Williams.23

Wynn’s return for Merioneth in 1624 was apparently uncontested, but his youth and unfamiliarity with the shire seem to have occasioned some misgivings, as his father discovered upon putting his name forward for re-election in 1625. William Salesbury*, knight of the shire in 1621, replied that he had promised his voices to whomever Nanney and Vaughan chose to nominate. Wynn’s wife was niece to both of these men, but their support may have been granted more grudgingly than in the previous year, as it was given upon condition that ‘Harry will supply the place himself; if otherwise, they desire to be freed from their promise’. Wynn may well have faced a challenge on this occasion, as he subsequently expected a petition against his election, although his fears ultimately proved groundless.24

As in the previous year, Wynn left no trace on the records of the session, but, despite the plague, he remained at Westminster until the adjournment, and was (he claimed) one of only 160 Members present at Oxford, where his father’s old acquaintance Dr. Anyan found him lodgings at Corpus Christi College. Once again, he provided his father with a detailed account of the Commons’ debates in his correspondence. His first letter included a long list of bills read in the opening weeks of the session, but he showed a maturer appreciation of the political issues at stake than in 1624, concentrating his attention on criticisms of the government’s handling of the preparations for war, and the reluctance of the House to increase their initial offer of two subsidies; he may have been briefed by one of his Oxford housemates, Nathaniel Tomkins*.25

Wynn stood for Merioneth a third time in 1626, when he was opposed by Edward Vaughan of Llwydiarth. His wife’s grandfather canvassed on his behalf again, but his cause cannot have been helped by the fall of lord keeper Williams, his family’s patron, in November 1625. He was also hampered by his earlier insistence upon the collection of parliamentary wages for the 1624 session: having sued out a writ de expensis in Hilary or Easter 1625, he delayed sending it to Merioneth until July, by which time he was sure that his second return would not be contested. However, his suspicions that ‘the gentlemen of the country perhaps would take exceptions at it’ seem to have been proved correct six months later, when the county court returned his opponent. He is unlikely to have stood at the next election in 1628, which saw the return of his wife’s cousin Richard Vaughan II*.26

Shortly after Wynn began his legal studies his brother Morris expressed the hope that he would offer his services to his friends and relatives at a discount once he qualified. His generosity is unlikely to have stretched this far, but he acted for his brother William in Chancery on several occasions, and arbitrated a dispute between his brother Owen and the 10th earl of Northumberland (Algernon Percy*) in 1654. A surviving legal notebook from the later 1630s reveals that he dealt with 50-60 cases a term, that the majority of his clients came from north Wales, and that he frequently practised in Chancery, as might be expected from a man whose earliest patron had been lord keeper.27 By this time his professional income had increased following his appointment as judge of the Marshalsea Court, and he was wealthy enough to be able to lend the king £500 towards the cost of the First Bishops’ War in 1639.28

Wynn represented Merioneth in the Short Parliament, but not in its successor. He laid low during the Civil War, and although elected a bencher of the Inner Temple in 1647, he did not serve until the Restoration. He married his only son, Sir John†, to the heiress of Wattstay, Denbighshire in 1657, and presumably passed Rhiwgoch to the couple before his death on 27 July 1671, as he apparently left no will. His son inherited the Gwydir baronetcy in 1674, and represented Denbighshire in Parliament almost continuously for 20 years, but he died childless in 1719, when his estates passed to Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, great-grandson of Wynn’s brother William.29

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Simon Healy


  • 1. He was aged 69 at his death.
  • 2. J.E. Griffith, Peds. Anglesey and Caern. Fams. 281.
  • 3. NLW, 466E/642; 9053E/482; 9054E/605; 9055E/706; 9056E/836-7, 844, 860, 877, 883, 886-7; UCNW, Mostyn 6478.
  • 4. I. Temple database of admiss.
  • 5. Denb. RO, DD/WY/6555.
  • 6. J. Gwynfor Jones, Wynn Fam. of Gwydir, 212, n. 181.
  • 7. C212/22/23.
  • 8. E401/2462.
  • 9. JPs of Wales and Monm. ed. Phillips, 50, 52.
  • 10. SR, v. 285, 371, 402, 404.
  • 11. CSP Dom. 1661-2, p. 303; 1670, pp. 297, 339-40.
  • 12. G.E. Aylmer, ‘Chas. I’s comm. on fees, 1627-40’, BIHR, xxxi. 61.
  • 13. CSP Dom. Addenda, 1625-49, p. 575; CSP Dom. 1660-1, pp. 137, 295; 1668-9, p. 430; Denb. RO, DD/WY/6353.
  • 14. Les Reportes de Sir William Jones (1675), p. 454; CSP Dom. 1660-1, p. 137; 1664-5, p. 158.
  • 15. Acts of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster ed. C.S. Knighton (Westminster Abbey rec. ser. v), 178 and n. 200.
  • 16. CITR, ii. 277, 334.
  • 17. CSP Dom. 1664-5, p. 148; 1671, p. 406.
  • 18. NLW, 466E/642; 9053E/482; 9054E/605; 9055E/706; 9056E/836-7, 844, 860, 877, 883, 886-7; UCNW, Mostyn 6478; I. Temple Admiss.
  • 19. NLW, 9056E/877, 886-7; 9057E/923; Griffith, 241.
  • 20. NLW, 466E/868, 880-1; 9057E/903; Griffith, 175; Denb. RO, DD/WY/6555.
  • 21. NLW, 9057E/923; CITR, ii. 179.
  • 22. NLW, 9057E/988; 9059E/1177, 1190; C219/38/292.
  • 23. NLW, 9059E/1195, 1201, 1207, 1209, 1220, 1226.
  • 24. Procs. 1625, pp. 692-3; Griffith, 180, 200, 279.
  • 25. NLW, 9060E/1348, 1356, 1358, 1363.
  • 26. Ibid. 1356; Procs. 1626, iv. 246, 322.
  • 27. NLW, 9056E/883; C2/Chas.I/W74/17; 2/Chas.I/W92/3; 2/Chas.I/W124/66; C8/47/149; Cal. Wynn Pprs. no. 2055.
  • 28. CSP Dom. Addenda, 1625-49, pp. 575, 605; CSP Dom. 1640, p. 5.
  • 29. CITR, ii. 277, 334; Denb. RO, DD/WY/6419; Gwynfor Jones, 107, 212 n. 181.