The Families of Berllandywyll
By Major FRANCIS JONES,
C.V.O., T.D., D.L., F.S.A.
Wales Herald of Arms Extraordinary
Among the rural parishes of Carmarthenshire that provide pleasurable feasts for those who seek the delights of the countryside, few can excell the diverse scenic fare provided by the parish of Llangathen, where rolling uplands, wooded dingles, lush lowlands and meadows are given over wholly to the promotion of Britain's oldest occupation, farming and its ancillaries. Llangathen straddles the highway leading from Llandeilo to the county town of Carmarthen, bounded on the south by the river Tywi, on the north by the hills and woodlands of Llanfynydd, embracing some 5608 acres, and including within its bounds the 525 acres of the little ecclesiastical parish of Llanfihangel Cilfargen, so that today the whole administrative unit is 6133 acres.
In addition to the enchantments of the countryside, the parish offers antiquarian evidences of the activities of primitive folk whose lives were dominated by two considerations — subsistence and safety. Above a steep scarp on Grongar hill, the remains of an ancient fort remind us of the uncertain lives its builders must have led before the rule of law imposed discipline on the community, while the forms 'castell' that occur elsewhere in the parish, and in field-names, those flickering rushlights of an unrecorded gloom, indicate how widespread and general this uncertainty must have been. Belonging to a later period, no less capricious, is Dryslwyn castle on a knoll above the Tywi, a fortress that played an important part in the twelfth and thirteenth century struggles between Welsh princes and Norman barons, now reduced to a few straggling walls and ramparts. Under the year 1257 the Bruts
record a battle at Coed Lathen, believed to be near Llether Cadfan, where the Welsh inflicted a severe defeat on an invading force commanded by one Stephen Bauzan. More peaceful inclinations are represented by the church dedicated to the Celtic saint who gave his name to the parish, built on a heighty spot above the hamlet where it continues its centuries-old mission of bringing solace and comfort to parishioners, and although altered from time to time the fabric retains certain medieval remnants. Amongst its noteworthy features is the resplendent tomb of Anthony Rudd sometime Bishop of St. Davids, who had lived at nearby Aberglasney, and the small chapels still bearing the names of the residences of the gentle families for whom they had been built — Capel Berllandywyll and Capel Llether Cadfan.
Nine mansions of landowning families stood within the parish — Aberglasney, Berllandywyll, Brynhafod, Court Henry, Parc Henry, Hafod Neddyn, Lanlash, Llether Cadfan, and Penhill — six being well-established in the Tudor period, three at least having been "going concerns" in medieval days. It is Berllandywyll and its owners that will exercise us in these pages.
The house, now adapted to farming usages, stands on a southerly slope facing towards Grongar Hill
immortalised by the muse of John Dyer, and overlooking the meandering flow of the Tywi through the fertile vale below. When Joseph Gulston called there in 1783 he described it as "a very beautiful spot", while the Revd Thomas Beynon, agent of the Golden Grove estate described it in 1806 with pardonable exaggeration as "one of the most beautiful spots in the kingdom". The property has been known by two names. The original, Porthwryd, persisted until the latter half of the seventeenth century when it was supplanted by the name Berllandywyll, the 'secret or hidden orchard'. What determined the change is not known. The newer form occurs first in 1671 as Berllan Towell,
in 1673 as Berlant Dowill,
in 1679 as Porthwryd,
and in 1690 as Berllan Dowill alias Porthwrid,
after which the form Berllandywyll or — dowyll occurs consistently. The house and outbuildings stood within a triangular area formed by two roads, the apex being below the house, near the Towy where the old ferry, Glan y bad, once operated. Among the field-names attached to the property were College Chapel, Castell y Gwrychion, Ferren fach, and the ten-acre field Erw Porth which may contain an echo of the older name of the property. The original house stood in the field across the road, and part of its surrounding wall survives; the present house was built just above the orchard during the 18th century.
No information has been found enabling us to judge the extent of the estate in early times, but evidence surviving from the eighteenth century suggests it had been modest. Nevertheless, its owners were among the front-runners of West Wales gentry, and some of them held estates in neighbouring counties as well. Although four families lived there from 1350 to 1806, the property was never sold, for each family succeeded by marriage with the heiress of the predecessor, so that the biological link continued unbroken for four and a half centuries. The first family occupied the property for some three or four generations, the second for five, the third for six, and the fourth for one transient generation, after which the house and demesne was let to tenants, and the attached farmland became noted for the quality of its harvests. The Tithe Map for 1839 shows Berllandywyll as comprising 221 acres, owned by Lord Cawdor and farmed by David Jones.
The first family at Porthwryd
The first of this family at Porthwryd, the magnate Llewelyn Foethus, traced his ancestry through eight generations to Elystan Glodrudd the prince who had ruled the territory between the rivers Wye and Severn, largely represented today by the county of Radnor. His father Llewelyn ddu was the son of Owain ap Sir Gruffydd, Esquire of the Body to King Edward III (see Lewis Glyn Cothi, Works
i, 170). Llewelyn Foethus ("the Luxurious") lived in the first half of the fourteenth century, and is described by the deputy-herald Lewys Dwnn (Heraldic Visitations,
ii 224) as "o Langathen a Borthwryd'.' He was followed by his son Gruffydd who held the Crown appointment of Constable of Maenordeilo in 1355-58. Gruffydd had two sons, Rhys and Ieuan, and two daughters, Jenet who married Rhys ap David Fongam ap Hywel ap David, the said David Fongam having held the post of Steward of Cantref Mawr in 1303-09, and Jonet who married Nicholas ap Philip of Crug near Llandilo, and became the great-grandparents of Sir Rhys ap Thomas, K.G., of Dynevor.
The eldest son, Rhys, like his father, held Crown appointments. In 1386 he was Constable of Cetheiniog and Maenordeilo, and in 1392-1400 Beedle of Cetheiniog, and Deputy-Farmer of Llanllwch 1398-1400. During the rising of Owain Glyndwr, the younger son Ieuan espoused the Welsh cause, with the result that his lands were forfeited to the Crown, and given to his brother Rhys who had remained loyal to the King. Rhys benefitted to an even greater extent on 3 December 1401 when he received the forfeited lands of the Cayo magnate Llewelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan who had been executed for rebellion at Llandovery in the King's presence on the preceding 9 October. Further offices were showered on him — the important appointments of Sheriff of Carmarthen (1400), Constable of Dryslwyn Castle and Forester of Glyncothi and Pennant (1402). However, in July 1403 Rhys caused a great sensation in west Wales by publicly espousing Glyndwr's cause. The defection of so important a Crown official called for immediate action, and in September of that year Henry, Prince of Wales entered the county at the head of a strong force, declared Rhys an outlaw, seized all his lands and handed them to Thomas Dyer a burgess of Carmarthen. After wandering in the wilderness for several years, Rhys returned to the King's peace in 1409, received a pardon, and his lands were restored to him, while two years later he received one of his former appointments, the Constableship of Cetheiniog and Maenordeilo. The bells of Llangathen rang again, and the notes of the harp enlivened the halls of Porthwryd as in days of yore.
Rhys ap Gruffydd ap Llewelyn Foethus married Maud daughter of Sir William Clement who held extensive lands and public offices in Ceredigion. He was followed by his son Llewelyn who married a daughter of Ieuan Gwyn ap Gwilym Fwya, descended from the Glamorgan chieftain, Griffith Gwyr. From this union there was an only child, Gwenllian described as "aeres Porthwrid" by Lewys Dwnn. She was the last of the direct line of Llewelyn Foethus at Porthwryd which she brought to her husband Rhys ap David Hir who became the first of the succeeding family at his wife's ancestral home.
The second family at Porthwryd
The man who now hung his shield in the hall of Porthwryd descended from the lords of Rhydodyn (Edwinsford) in Llansawel, who traced their lineage to an Irish mercenary leader, Idio Wyllt, who had come to Wales in the eleventh century and settled in south-west Breconshire. His descendant David Fychan ap David of Rhydodyn had a son, Morgan, who married Lleucu daughter and heiress of Rhys ddu of Gornoethe in Cayo, descended from Dafydd Fongam. Morgan was followed by his son Dafydd Hir (The Tall) who lived in Llangathen, and was twice married. By his second wife, Lleucu daughter of Ieuan ap Llewelyn ddu, he had two sons, Rhys who married the heiress of Porthwryd, and Howell whose descendants lived in Carmarthen.
After Rhys ap Dafydd Hir married Gwenllian of Porthwryd, he settled at his wife's home. By her he had two sons, Henry ap Rhys the elder son and heir, and Owen ap Rhys who married Margaret daughter of Joan Gwilym Fychan of Baili Glas in Abergwili whose descendants settled at Hafod Neddyn.
In due course Henry ap Rhys succeeded to Porthwryd. He married the daughter of one of Ceredigion's most powerful families, Lleucu daughter of Llewelyn Lloyd of Castell Hywel in Llandysul. He was alive in 1550, and on 24 May of that year Henry ab Rees David Hire of Llangathen, gentleman, released four parcels of land in that parish to David ap John ap Gwilym (Edwinsford deeds).
By Lleucu he had two sons and three daughters: 1. William ap Henry, of whom later. 2. John ap Henry married Catherine daughter of Sion ap Gwilym ap Thomas Fychan of Llether Cadfan, settled at Ystradwrallt in Abergwili, whose descendants took the surname Williams, one of whom, Nicholas Williams was High Sheriff in 1698. 3. Lleucu married David Edwardes of Carmarthen. 4. Jane married William Morgan of Carmarthen. 5. Elizabeth married Francis Williams of Carmarthen.
William ap Henry of Porthwryd married Elen sister of the Catherine who had married his brother John. Her father John ap Gwilym of Llether Cadfan was the son of Gwilym ap Thomas who had been an Esquire of the body to King Henry VIII. They had an only child, Harry ap William.
Harry ap William also known as Harry William and Harry William Harry, succeeded to Porthwryd. On 13 July 1586 he and Walter Vaughan of Golden Grove, esquire, gave a bond of indemnity to David Rice ap William touching a bond for payment of a fine of £200 imposed for certain offences on the said Walter by the Court of Star Chamber. He married Anne daughter of Griffith ap Morgan of Carmarthen, a descendant of the powerful family of Morgan of Muddlescomb. Anne had been married previously, to David Lloyd of Castell Hywel in Llandysul by whom she had issue, which, as we shall see, led to a pretty tangled relationship. On 30 April 1586 Harry William Harry, gentleman, granted the tenement called Parkey Henrye in Llangathen to Richard ap Rudderch of Llanfynydd, gentleman; and on 28 December 1590 Harry William Harrie, gentleman, and Harry William Thomas, yeoman, gave a bond to Thomas Vaughan, gentleman, all of Llangathen, to suffer a Fine and Recovery with further assurances of a tenement called Tyer Lloid in the said parish.
Harry William and his wife Anne were both still living in 1608. They had five sons and four daughters: 1. Walter Williams, eldest son and heir apparent, married Margaret daughter of David Lloyd of Castell Hywel. He was alive in 1608, but died very shortly afterwards, for in the following year his widow remarried to Harry Thomas Morgan of Carmarthen (Dwnn,
i, 228, 235). As he left no issue, the estate passed, ultimately, to his two surviving sisters Barbara and Mary. 2 - 5, Harry, Lewis, Robert, and David Williams, all died without issue.
6 - 7. Sage and Sioned Williams, died without issue.
8. Barbara Williams, ultimate co-heiress, inherited Porthwryd as part of her share of the estate. She married George Lloyd of Castell Hywel son and heir of David Lloyd by his first wife Jane of Pantstreimon. Both were living in 1608. Their issue will be discussed in the next section.
9. Mary Williams, ultimate co-heiress, married William ap John ap Thomas Lloyd, by whom she had two daughters, Elizabeth and Barbara.
I mentioned earlier that an unusual relationship had resulted from the two marriages of Anne to Harry William and David Lloyd, best explained in tabular form:
This resulted in Anne becoming both step-mother and mother-in-law of George Lloyd and his sister Margaret.
As the sons of Harry William had died without issue, the male line failed, which led to a third family becoming owners of Porthwryd through marriage with the elder coheiress.
The third family at Porthwryd/Berllandywyll
Through Barbara his wife, George Lloyd became owner of Porthwryd. He continued to live at Castell Hywel, and whether he lived occasionally at Porthwryd or let it to tenants is not clear, but the latter certainly became the main seat of the family in due course. The new owner descended from one of the oldest Cardiganshire families whose founding father Cadifor ap Dinawal had taken a leading part in the storming of Cardigan castle in 1157, an exploit commemorated in the coat-of-arms of his descendants, sable
three scaling ladders argent
between a spear-head embrued, and on a chief gules
a castle argent.
For his part in the battle The Lord Rhys bestowed on him the hand of one of his daughters, and endowed him with Castell Howel and other properties in south Ceredigion. George Lloyd was twelfth in line from the martial Cadifor to have lived at Castel Howel. Barbara of Porthwryd predeceased him, and he married secondly Lettice daughter of Rowland Stedman of the Ystrad Fflur family. By Barbara he had three children: 1. Thomas Lloyd, living in 1608, died without issue. 2. David Lloyd — see below. 3, Anne, living in 1608, married firstly Hugh Lloyd of Ffoshelyg (will proved in 1636), and had issue, and secondly Hugh Price of Blaenywern.
David Lloyd succeeded to Castell Howell and Porthwryd, and married Winifred daughter of Thomas Jones of Llanbadarnfawr (Cards) and Dolau Cothi (Carms). He predeceased his wife who afterwards married Robert Birt of Llwyndyrus by whom she had two daughters. According to the Alcwyn Evans MSS she was buried at St. Peters church Carmarthen on 24 August 1675. By Winifred, David Lloyd had four children: 1. Thomas Lloyd son and heir, of whom later. 2. Elizabeth married as his second wife Owen Brigstocke of Llechdwnuy, the post-nuptial settlement dated 3 December 1661; she died on 3 February 1667-8, leaving issue. 3. Anne married a Mr. Bernard, and had a daughter, Elizabeth. 4. Abigail married Morgan Mathew of Castell Mynach, Glamorgan; she was still living in 1721, being then of advanced years.
Thomas Lloyd succeeded to the Cardiganshire and Carmarthenshire estates. It was during his time that the change of name of the latter property took place. Blome's List of nobility and gentry published in 1673 describes him as of 'Berlant Dowill', which became Berllan-dowyll or -dywyll. Another point to be noted, is that the family surname was often spelled as Llwyd, the earlier, and correct, form. Thomas was one of the trustees to the settlement of his sister Mrs. Elizabeth Brigstocke in 1661, and in that year his name appears in the list of justices of the peace of Carmarthenshire. He married, firstly Bridget daughter of Thomas Lloyd of Wernfylyg and Llanllyr, Cardiganshire: she predeceased him, having had no children. His second wife, also named Bridget, whom he married after 1660, was a daughter of Sir Henry Vaughan of Derwydd and Sage his wife. Her brother, Sir Henry Vaughan the younger, by will dated 7 October 1671 bequeathed £300 to "my sister Floyd wife of Thomas ffloyd of Berllan Towel], Esq.", and on 17 January 1678-9 Thomas and Bridget Llwyd, described as of Porthwryd, gave a release of the legacy to the testator's executor. She was living in 1702 when she received ten shillings under the will of her sister Mrs. Jane Lloyd of Faerdre near Llandysul.
He lived mainly at his Carmarthenshire seat, and in 1686 was elected a Common Councilman of the borough of Carmarthen and took the qualifying oaths on 4 October, signing himself as 'T. Llwyd of Berllan dowill". On 21 April 1702 Griffith Rice of Newton wrote a letter to "Thomas Llwyd Esq at Berthlan-dowilt" asking for his support at the next parliamentary election as he had done in the past.
In 1709 Morgan Davies of Llangain parish, gentleman, who had been Clerk of the Peace since 1700, petitioned the Lord High Chancellor, complaining that Thomas Lloyd of Berllandowyll, Thomas Lloyd of Danyrallt, William Brigstocke of Llechdwnny, and Samuel Hughes of Laugharne, esquires, Justices of the Peace, had deprived him of certain emoluments of office. When an alehouse licence was issued the licensee paid a fee of 2s. 6d, of which Is. 6d. was the perquisite of the Clerk of the Peace. However the said justices held licensing meetings in private so that the Clerk could not attend, and pocketed the fees themselves. In their answers, sworn on 22 April 1710, the squire of Berllandywyll (who said he had been a justice for 50 years) and the others flatly denied the Clerk's allegation, and asked for the complaint to be dismissed with costs to the defendants. The verdict is not recorded, but doubtless it was in favour of the defendants. He is described as "Thomas Llwyd of Berllandywyll" when appointed a trustee of the will of David Lloyd of Llanfechan on 30 July 1711.
Thomas Lloyd probably died shortly after 1711. By his second wife, Bridget (Vaughan) he had a son, Thomas, and a daughter, Elizabeth, who died unmarried.
The son and heir apparent, Thomas Lloyd, never succeeded to the estates as he died in his father's lifetime. He married Mary eldest daughter of Sir Francis Cornwallis of Abermarlais by Elizabeth daughter of Sir Henry Jones of that place. The post-nuptial settlement was made on 2 August 1690 between the following parties - 1. Thomas Lloyd the elder of Berllandowill, esq., Bridget his wife, and Thomas Lloyd the younger, their son and heir apparent. 2. Benjamin Lewis of Cilgwyn and John Phillipps of Carmarthen, gentleman. 3. Sir Rice Rudd of Aberglasney, Bart., Thomas Cornwallis of Abermarlais, William Pugh of Mathafarn (co. Mont.), Richard Vaughan of Grays Inn, Thomas Lloyd of Bronwydd, and Edward Jones of Llether Neuadd (co. Carms.), esquires. By this deed the following properties were settled on Thomas Lloyd the younger, and Mary (Cornwallis) his wife, and the heirs of their body.
The Berllandywyll estate
— "the capital messuage called Berllan Dowill alias Porthwryd", parcels of land formerly owned by Henry Penry; messuages called The Upper Rhywraddar and Goytrey, in Llangathen; a messuage and land near the great mountain in Llanfihangel Aberbythych; a messuage called Park Henry, and two unnamed messuages in Llanddarog; all in Carmarthenshire.
The Castell Howell estate
— "a capital messuage called Castell Howell", a water corn mill, a tucking mill, messuages called Glan Clettwr, Tythyn Pant Yscawen, Gwarr Allt yr ynn, Pant y Llyn, Glan rhyd y dre, Gwarr Alit Davolog, Gwarr Alit y Faerdre, Glan y dwr, Tythyn Rhyd y Says, Nant y Gwyddy-Ucha and - Issa, a meadow, in Llandysul; messuages called Mayn Gwnion and Moeley Cwmbach, in Llanarth; a messuage called Tyr y Bryn, in Llandissilio; and right of common in Llanwenog; all in Cardiganshire.
Although the acreages are not given it is possible to obtain an idea of the size of the estate — over nine properties in Carmarthenshire, and eighteen in Cardiganshire. It must be borne in mind that these are the settled estates, and it is possible (indeed likely) that other properties held in fee simple and leaseholds were not included in the strict entail.
The date of the death of Thomas Lloyd the younger, during the lifetime of his father, is not known, but as he left a son, an only child, the lineal succession was assured. The widow married secondly John Lloyd of Llanfechan, Cardiganshire, who did not live long after the marriage. She then took a third husband, William Lewes, and he too did not survive for long. Undeterred, she embarked on her fourth matrimonial venture, by marrying, before 1737, John Morgan, esquire, of the town of Cardigan. Mary died on 17 November 1741, aged 70, Mr. Morgan on 21 April 1765, aged 77, and a monument to their memory was placed in the church of St. Mary, Cardigan.
Some time before 1717 Thomas Lloyd, only son of Thomas Lloyd the younger, succeeded his grandfather, Thomas Lloyd the elder, whose executor he was. He became a Justice of the Peace for Carmarthenshire, and served as High Sheriff in 1720. In the parliamentary election of 1722 he supported Sir Nicholas Williams of Rhydodyn against Rice of Dynevor. He married Grace daughter and heiress of David Lloyd of Crynfryn, in Nantcwnlle, Cardiganshire, an estate she brought to her husband. He died comparatively young, before 4 April 1726, as shown by a deed of that date in which Grace is described as "Grace Llwyd widow of Thomas Llwyd late of Berllandowill esquire, deceased". In March 1727-8 she was party to the separation deed made between John Williams of Dolau Cothi and his wife Elizabeth, and is described as "Grace Llwyd of Berllan Dowill widow". Later, she took a second husband, Bennett Dyer, attorney at law, fourth son of Robert Dyer. Bennett who became High Sheriff of Cardiganshire in 1735, died without issue. The widow made her will as Grace Dyer of Berllandywyll on 7 January 1731-2, whereby she bequeathed "my purchased estate" in Llanfynydd to her husband for life to her daughter Bridget, one shilling; to her daughter Mary, £500 charged on the Cardiganshire estate provided she marries with consent of her guardians or her brother, otherwise to receive £30 per annum for life; to her daughter Alicia Graciana £1000 on marriage provided she marries with the like consent; to her second and third sons Thomas and Samuel, £500 each when they became 21 years of age; the sum of £1000 that her late husband Thomas Lloyd esquire had borrowed of Mr. Mathew Jones of ye Wayne in Monmouthshire, was to be charged on the Cardiganshire estates; all her realty in Cardiganshire, Montgomeryshire, and Llanfynydd in Carmarthenshire, also leaseholds and personalty, she left to her eldest son David Lloyd for ever, subject to the preceding legacies, and appointed him sole executor; she appointed Thomas Johnes of Llanfair (Clydogau) esquire, Elizabeth Williams of Dolau Cothi, widow, and Lewis Vaughan of Jordanston, Pembrokeshire, to be tutors and guardians of her children during minority.
Thomas and Grace Lloyd had the following children:
- David Llwyd or Lloyd as he was variously called, eldest son and heir, succeeded to the Berllandywyll, Castell Hywel and Crynfryn estates. He was made a burgess of Carmarthen on 6 April 1738. In the list of Cardiganshire freeholders his name is included as owner of the Castell Hywel and Crynfryn estates. By 1760 he had sold Crynfryn to John Jones, attorney at law, of Aberystwyth, and later sold Castell Hywel to David Lloyd of Alltyrodyn. He married Magdalen eldest daughter of David Lewes of Dolhaidd Ucha by Elizabeth Bowen of Llwyngwair. By the pre-nuptial settlement dated 18 December 1740 he settled Berllandywyll, Bwlch y gwynt, and a messuage and lands lately held by Miss Jane Griffith of Kilsane, all in Llangathen, to the uses of the marriage, and undertook to convey the Castell Howell estate in Llandysul, Llanarth, and Llandysilio-go-go parishes, to similar uses. Magdalen's portion was £147. In order to settle and establish the aforementioned properties "in the name and blood of the said David Llwyd", he and his wife, by a post-nuptial settlement made on 28 October 1742 conveyed the properties in Llangathen to David Lewes of Dolhaidd, esquire, on trust, to the uses of the couple, theirs heirs male, in default to their heirs female, and in default to the right heirs of David Llwyd; while the Castell Howell estate was to remain in the absolute ownership of David Llwyd. Excepted from both settlements were Rhywyradar (rent £27 p.a.), an unnamed messuage (£6.10.0 p.a.). Foeswen (£6.7.6 p.a.), Goitre (£3 p.a.), a water corn mill near Rhywyradar, and the College (£6 p.a.), all part of the Berllandywyll estate, and to continue in David Llwyd's possession in fee simple. As well as being a landlord he was a practical farmer. David Llwyd, seventeenth in descent from Cadifor ap Dinawal, was the last of the family in the male line to live at Berllandywyll. He died without issue in 1779, and his wife in May 1788. The devolution of the estate, as directed by his will, will be considered anon.
- Thomas Lloyd, a minor in 1731, was educated for the Church and spent his ministry in England. In August 1749 he was incumbent of the church of SS Philip and Jacob, Bristol, and in 1770 rector of Hornsey, Essex. Apart from her unusual Christian name Diones, nothing is known of his wife. They had no children. He made his will on 15 May 1773, died shortly after, and his body was brought from Hornsey and interred in the family vault in Llangathen church. In her will made on 31 October 1775, Diones described herself as of the county borough of Carmarthen, widow of Thomas Lloyd late rector of Hornsey. She also had a house in Bath, and it was there that the will was found by the executor. Desiring to be buried near her husband in Llangathen church, Diones left her freeholds to her nephew John Sibthorp, and nominated David Lloyd Newnam of Llanina, Cards., surgeon, and the Revd John Howell of Llangathen, to be trustees to hold her stock in Long Annuities worth £86 p.a., for the benefit of ten poor persons in Llangathen parish for ever; mentioned "my aunt Chancy"; to the said D. Ll. Newnam she left two bonds to secure the sums of £100 and £95 which had been entered into by David Lloyd, esq., of Berllandywyll, to her late husband, and bequeathed a further £50 to him, and "I order Samuel Newnam of Bristol, banker, my executor, to erect in Llangathen church a marble monument of the value of £100 in memory of my said late husband, to be placed near the reading pew". The will was witnessed by three Carmarthen men, and probate granted at Carmarthen to Samuel Newnam on 2 June 1777.
- Samuel Lloyd, a minor in 1731, died young.
- Bridget Lloyd, to whom her mother left a shilling, married Anthony Williams of Brynhafod (born on 25 September 1711) son of Anthony Williams by Elizabeth daughter of John Philipps of Tygwyn near Llandeilo, by Elizabeth Grismond his wife. She predeceased her husband who had died before 1779 having nominated his only children Alicia Gratiana and Emma Williams to be executrixes. Alicia Gratiana married Richard Jones (Llwyd) of Pantglas, and Emma died unmarried about 1778-9.
- Margaret, married between 29 April and 17 May 1727, Lewis Price of Glanyrannell in Talyllychau (ex inf. D. Emrys Williams).
- Alice Gratiana, married (marriage bond dated 1 October 1740) David Lloyd of Alltyrodyn, esquire, who had bought Castell Howell from his brother-in-law David Lloyd.
- Mary, a minor in 1731, died young.
Of this generation only one of the children of Berllandywyll left issue, namely Bridget Lloyd by her husband Anthony Williams of Brynhafod. Thus, when David Lloyd was nearing the end of his life, his heirs-at-law were his nieces Alice Gratiana and Emma Williams. He made his will on 11 December 1778, and bequeathed as follows:
To his niece Alicia Gratiana Williams "who lives with me", an annuity of £40 during the lifetime of testator's wife. To his wife Magdalen he bequeathed all his estates for her life, trustees to be Richard Vaughan of Golden Grove, Admiral William Lloyd of Danyrallt, and the Revd Thomas Lewis of Gwynfe; and after her death, to his said niece Alicia Gratiana Williams, to her sole use and not subject to any control of her husband, should she marry, for her life, remainder to Alice Gratiana's husband for life, remainder to the heirs of their bodies in tail male and female, and in default of issue, to Charles Richard Vaughan of Golden Grove, esquire, his heirs and assigns for ever: but should "any of them omit, refuse, or neglect to take on her, him, or them respectively the ancient surname of Llwyd together with her, his, or their own respective surname (except in the case of Charles Richard Vaughan who may use what name he pleases), then they are not to inherit".
As a small token of gratitude for the many acts of friendship shown to him by Richard Vaughan, and his sons John and Charles Richard Vaughan, William Lloyd of Danyrallt, Richard Jones of Pantglas, Mr. Richard Jones of Castle Yard, attorney, David Lewis of Dolhaidd, David Edwards of Llandeilo, Revd Thomas Lewis of Gwynfe, Revd Mr. Owen vicar of Llandeilo, Revd Mr. (Richard) Howell vicar of Llangathen, and Mr. Hugh Evans, attorney, five guineas each to purchase a ring as a memento.
To his niece Emma Williams he left "one shilling only which is more than she deserves".
He directed his wife to pay his debts from the personalty, and should that prove insufficient, the debts were to be charged to the realty: he left all the personalty, chaise, chaise-horses, grey mare and filly, plate, furniture, and all household goods, to his wife absolutely, and appointed her executrix.
David Llwyd's resentment towards Emma Williams was probably due, in part at least, to the fact that she had harassed him with lawsuits for moneys she claimed he owed her, claims which continued to be made on the Berllandywyll estate by Emma's executor at a later date. Emma died within a few years after her uncle David. He died soon after making the will which was proved in 1779. The beneficiaries of the realty, tenants for life, apart from one, proved short-lived. When the widow, Magdalen died in 1788, the estate passed to the next in remaindership, Alicia Gratiana Williams. Magdalen had entertained Joseph Gulston when he called at Berllandywyll in 1783, and his descriptions of eleven portraits then in the house, mainly Lloyds, have survived (see The Carmarthen Historian,
Alicia Gratiana Williams married at Llangathen on 26 January 1779, Richard Jones of Pantglas, illegitimate son of John Jones of that place. His putative father nominated him sole heir, and on that worthy's death in December 1760 Richard found himself owner of the Pantglas estate. Richard had been baptised at Llanfynydd in 1754, and afterwards educated for the bar (Grays Inn). He practised the law in south Wales, and in 1792 became Clerk of the Peace for Carmarthenshire. When his wife succeeded to Berllandywyll on her aunt's death in 1788, Richard took the additional surname as stipulated in David Lloyd's will, and thenceforth was known as Richard Jones Llwyd. As well as participating actively in public life, he was a progressive farmer, and one of the staunchest supporters of the county's Agricultural Society. He died without issue at Pantglas on 2 August 1799, aged 44, and by will dated 21 February 1799, left all his realty and personalty to "my ever dear and loving wife" for ever; and to Herbert Lloyd of Carmarthen, attorney, esquire, £100 as "a token of the great esteem and friendship I have for him", desiring him to "support, comfort, and assist my wife". Probate was granted at Carmarthen on St. David's day 1803.
Inheriting property sometimes can be a mixed blessing. David Lloyd the uncle had left debts amounting to £1663.4.11½, among the creditors being Mrs. Grace Newnam of Llanina (£355.5.0), Miss Emma Williams (£100), Mr. Samuel Newnam (£70), Mr. John Thomas for funeral expenses (£113.18.4½), William Wright wine-merchant (£13.6.5.), Thomas Taylor of Carmarthen, mercer (£11.7.0.), Stephen Polleti plasterer (£3.6.8.), Mr. Scott the gardener (10s), Thomas Jones the boatman of Glan y bad ferry over the Tywi near the foot of the hill below Berllandywyll (9s.), and Elizabeth David the dairymaid (3s,). The reference to Polleti is interesting. He was an Italian expert in plastering, and had been engaged in decorating numerous country houses in Carmarthenshire, notably Golden Grove.
Failure to pay these and other liabilities promptly, led to legal proceedings, which resulted in the Court of Exchequer decreeing in 1788 that the money should be raised by sale or mortgage of the Berllandywyll estate. R. J. Llwyd and his wife, being in possession, tried to postpone payment further, but in 1792 the Court ordered the estate be advertised and sold by the Deputy Remembrancer. Accordingly R. J. Llwyd proposed to John Vaughan of Golden Grove (then seized of the reversion of the Berllandywyll estate as brother and heir of C. R. Vaughan who had died on 19 August 1786, expectant on the deaths without issue of Mr. and Mrs. R. J. Llwyd) to join him in borrowing money to pay debts, legacies, and costs of suits, estimated at about £2500, and so prevent a sale of the property. It was agreed to borrow that sum upon their joint security, the principal to be re-paid by Vaughan on the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. R. J. Llwyd. Accordingly they borrowed £2500 at 4% interest from Mrs. Anne Powell of Llandeilo town, widow, and by a deed made on 25 April 1792 the following properties were mortgaged — the capital messuage of Ber11andywyll, the messuages of Rhiwyradar, Cwmharad, Park Cilsane, Brunant, two cottages, Melin Obeth water corn mill, an un-named messuage, dwelling house called Goytre Vach with stables, gardens, and two adjoining fields, the messuage and land called Goytre, an un-named messuage and appurtenances, a messuage called The Star, two fields called Troedyrhiw, two cottages and gardens called The Rising Sun and Bwlch y gwynt, a cottage and garden, two cottages and gardens called Gogorth, in Llangathen parish; several messuages and lands, un-named, in Llangathen and Llandybie parishes. However, the debts proved before the Deputy Remembrancer, together with the costs of suits amounted to only £1646.1.11½, far below the estimated total. This was now paid out of the sum advanced by Mrs. Powell, and Mrs. Jones Llwyd retained the residue.
The Jones Llwyds lived mainly at Pantglas, and on the husband's death in 1799, that estate passed by testamentary demise to the widow with absolute power of disposal.
Mrs. Alicia Gratiana Jones Llwyd died without issue on 7 November 1806, aged 65.
By will dated 13 November 1802 she desired to be buried in a leaden coffin in Llangathen church between her husband Richard Jones Llwyd and her uncle David Llwyd, and requested Mr. Thomas Harris of Abersannan to see that the vault was "well-arched and flagged over as it will not again be wanted as I am the last of the family"; and bequeathed as follows-
To her kinsman George Davies, esq., the farm of Pantyrodin for life. Remainder of her estates to John Vaughan of Golden Grove, John George Philipps of Cwmgwili, esqrs, and Rhys Davies of Swansea, gent., trustees, to permit Nicholas Burnell Jones, esq., son of Miss Elizabeth Lewis formerly of Gwaingranod, Llanegwad parish (who married Captn Nicholas Burnell in the West Indies trade) as descendant of the family of Jones of Pantglas, to receive the rents etc., for life, then to his issue, and in default of issue to John George Philipps son of the said John George Philipps, for life, then to his issue, and in default to Grismond Philipps brother of the said J. G. Philipps the younger, then to his issue, and in default to David Arthur Saunders Davies, son of Dr. Davies of Carmarthen, and his issue for ever; on condition that all the said beneficiaries (except George Davies) took the surname Jones and resided at Pantglas house and kept it in repair. She charged "the estates that were devised to me by my late husband", with the following annuities -
£40 to Mrs. Maria and Sarah Downes of Carmarthen, for lives, in survivorship. £10 to Frances Thomas wife of John Thomas who formerly lived at Blaenpant, and afterwards at Merthyr Tydfil, and afterwards to her son Richard Thomas for life. £30 to Alicia Thomas daughter of the said John and Frances, for life. £500 to "my relation" Maria Sophia Williams daughter of the late Revd John Williams of Dawnton. £20 to her servant Rachel Lewis, £10 to David Thomas William of Penypark, Llanegwad parish, and £20 to Anne Harris daughter of Mr. Thomas Harris of Abersannan, for lives. She left personalty to the said trustees and Nicholas Burnell and Rhys Davies, to pay debts etc., with power to cut and sell timber for that purpose; and appointed Nicholas Burnell, J. G. Philipps and Rhys Davies, executors.
On 13 May 1805 she made a codicil wherby she increased the annuity of Frances Thomas to £20 for life, then to her daughter Alicia Thomas for life; in addition to the £500 she gave an annuity of £25 to Maria Sophia Williams for life; and gave annuities of £100 to each of "my relations" Lettice Llwyd and Margaret Llwyd of Llanllwni parish, daughters of Mr. Llwyd of Cwmair, for their lives. She stipulated that £100 was to be invested by the owner of Pantglas for the time being, to pay interest annually at Christmas between the poor of Llanfynydd parish who were not receiving relief from the Poor Rate: and a monument be erected in Llangathen church to the memory of "my late uncle" David Lloyd and his wife "my aunt" Magdalen Lloyd, and "my late husband, and myself", and begged that the inscription be written by the Revd Mr. Beynon to whom she bequeathed five guineas to buy a ring "as a mark of respect". Should Grismond Philipps and J. G. Philipps eldest and younger sons of J. G. Philipps die without issue, then "my relation" Thomas Lloyd son of "my kinsman" the Revd John Lloyd of Gilfachwen, was to receive the rents for life, then to his issue, and gave the ultimate remaindership to Jenkin eldest son of Jenkin Davies Berrington of Swansea, gent., and his heirs, for ever.
She continued to have further ideas, and on 15 October 1806 made a second codicil. She now stipulated that Nicholas Burnell was to take the name Jones in addition to, not instead of, Burnell; and left £300 to build a chapel in Llanfynydd parish agreeable to the plan made by Mr. William Jernegan, and £300 to provide a stipend for the minister there: 100 guineas to "my god-daughter" Elizabeth Catherine Garland; £200 to "my friend" Jenetta Iltuda Lucas for life, then to her children Thomas Evans Lucas and Jane Lucas "my godson and god-daughter"; £500 to "my friend" Rhys Davies, and desired him to give the said sum to his little niece Anne Davies Thomas provided she marries with his consent; £10 per annum to "my relation" Maria Sophia Williams in addition to her other legacy.
The degree of relationship of the testamentary heir to the Joneses of Pantglas is unknown, but it seems to have been through his mother. In 1756 Nicholas Burnell, gentleman, then living in Fishguard, married Elizabeth Lewis of Waungranod, Llanegwad parish, who has been described as "a remote relation" of the Pantglas family, and had two sons Nicholas (the testamentary heir) and Richard Burnell. There were others who claimed a closer consanguinity than the Burnells, among them a yeoman family named Thomas. Indeed as we have seen, Mrs. Jones Llwyd made bequests to some of them, namely Richard and Alicia the children of John and Frances Thomas of Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan, but it should be noticed that testatrix studiously avoided describing them as kinsfolk of any kind. They certainly considered themselves to be such and even referred to Richard Jones Llwyd as "uncle" (although probably "Welsh uncle" was meant). My researches have failed to reveal the exact relationship, but it would appear to have been claimed through the family of Davies of Penylan. The mother of Richard Jones Llwyd the acknowledged son of John Jones of Pantglas is alleged to have been a daughter of Penylan, while a sister Elizabeth Davies married Thomas Rees of Castell Carreg Cennen, parents of Frances Rees who in 1781 married John Thomas of Maespant in Llanfynydd.
John Thomas, born in 1745, received his early education at Ystrad Meurig school. About 1786 he left Maespant for Merthyr Tydfil where he remained for fourteen years as steward and overseer of the Penydarren works under Mr. Foreman the iron-master, and then returned to Carmarthen town where he died in 1804. His wife Frances (Rees) who had lived for some time before her marriage at Pantglas, died in 1824 aged 65. They had two children, a son and daughter. The daughter, Alicia Gratiana Thomas born about 1786, was educated by Mrs. Walter Horton of Carmarthen, and brought up at Pantglas, whence she went to Scotland and was for twenty-four years housekeeper to Thomas Holmes, esquire, of Raith, Kirkaldy, Fife, before she married him, and was buried on 27 December 1831 aged 45. The son, Richard Jones Thomas, was born many years after his sister, on 13 November 1799 at Merthyr Tydfil where he was baptised on 1 February 1800. He qualified as an excise officer on 14 October 1823, and served at Tenby (1824), Cardigan (1830) and Newcastle Emlyn (1835). He married at Newport, Pem., on 2 February 1826 Jane daughter of Thomas Nicholas of that town, by Jane Davies of Castle Green, Cardigan. He lived latterly at Castle Hill, Fishguard where he died on 26 February 1888, aged 87. From his son John Richard Thomas, M.D., M.R.C.S., a Surgeon-Major in the army, who saw service in the Crimea, there are several descendants still living.
In 1864 a Carmarthenshire antiquary wrote some articles on Llanfynydd to The Welshman
newspaper. He was a freeholder, Henry Jones of Penrhos farm, who proposed writing a history of Llanfynydd jointly with the then vicar of the parish. Richard Jones Thomas, also interested in antiquities, noticed some inaccuracies in the articles, and consequently wrote several letters to Mr. Jones who was an old friend. They contain some remarkable passages. It must be remembered that Thomas was writing about events that had taken place well over half a century before, and was only seven years old when Mrs. Alicia Gratiana Jones Llwyd died, so that his description of the occurrences must have been obtained mainly at second-hand. It is clear that the family had felt very strongly at exclusion from the succession and his letters reveal the intense exasperation of disappointed kinsfolk, which helped to retain the memories of events connected with earlier family affairs. Indeed, in one letter he says that "now after the lapse of many years I feel the hot indignation flushing up". In a letter written in 1864, he dwells on the iniquities of Mrs. Jones Llwyd, who prevented her husband signing a will on his deathbed which would have superseded the earlier one; Mr. Burnell's mother was "something more distant than even a Welsh niece to the Joneses"; Mrs. Jones Llwyd was eccentric, among her vagaries, the keeping of from two to three dozen bulls at Pantglas, "a terror to the neighbourhood. I can recollect reckoning 25 in one field. For eight years she slept in the day and up at night leaving the stock in their pristine state to run wild over the farm, and if an attempt was made to take any to fairs she would, early in the morning, order the lot to the green for her inspection before retiring for her rest, and in most instances order them back, recollecting that the young stock were the progeny of old favourite cows etc .... and I can remember the enormous stock of pigs at the place, for want of food, feasting on an unhappy comrade ...", and gives other examples of her eccentricity and hostility towards the Thomas family. Aggrieved relatives tried to recover the estate, and in 1811 Alicia Thomas, Maria Sophia Williams and Anne Davies Thomas brought an action in the High Court of Chancery against Nicholas Burnell Jones, J. G. Philipps, Rhys Davies, and Charles Williams for the recovery of Pantglas, but failed in their object.
Thus Nicholas Burnell inherited Pantglas, an estate that enabled him to accept nomination for the shrievalty of Carmarthenshire, an office he filled in 1814. His stay was brief, and on 28 September 1822 he sold the property to David Jones, banker, of Llandovery. Later the old house was pulled down and a large unattractive residence raised for its newer and more opulent owners. How he could have sold an entailed estate was still a puzzle to Richard Jones Thomas in 1864 when he asked "How any part of the Pantglas estate could be sold by Burnell Jones as Mrs. Jones Llwyd had provided in case of Mr. Burnell Jones having no legitimate issue that the estate should pass to Mr. Grismond Philipps, Mr. Saunders Davies and several others". This indeed was the case as we have seen from the will, but there were legal procedures enabling an entail to be broken, and Mr. Burnell Jones must have observed these formalities otherwise he could not have sold the property.
Other disappointed kinsfolk were concerned about the alienation of Berllandywyll although the legal formalities had been duly observed and there was no good ground for challenging the course of the devolution of that estate. As we have seen, David Llwyd by his will made in 1778 had left the property to Alicia Gratiana for life, and her heirs, and in default to Charles Richard Vaughan of Golden Grove absolutely. With the death of C. R. Vaughan in 1786, his expectancy had become vested in his brother John as next of kin. In 1804 John Vaughan died, his heir by testamentary devise being Lord Cawdor. Mrs. Jones Llwyd continued to enjoy the estate as tenant for life, and on her death in 1806, Berllandywyll passed to Lord Cawdor absolutely. His lordship also became responsible for the payment of the mortgage money, under an obligation entered into by the Vaughans in 1792. Some legal proceedings ensued, and eventually, on 28 July 1809, Lord Cawdor discharged the debt, now swollen to £2809, to the executors of Mrs. Anne Powell the mortgagee who had died in 1807.
Claims against the estate caused considerable trouble, resulting in several instances in searches having to be made for the legal representatives of those connected with persons named in David Llwyd's will, not necessarily the beneficiaries themselves, but representatives of trustees whose names had to be included in some of the suits. Thus when Admiral William Lloyd, the surviving trustee died in 1796, his sister Rachel Lloyd, Housekeeper at Kensington Palace, became his heir at law, and the lawyers had to visit the palace to obtain her consent to become party to a suit. But Rachel died in 1803, and further search revealed that her heir at law was Sir John Stepney, Bart., but he spent most of his time abroad and died on the Continent.
After Lord Cawdor inherited the estate difficulties were caused by a Mrs. Grace Newnam who described herself as "next of kin to the ancient family of Llwyd of Berllandywyll", but although I have been unable to establish the precise degree of relationship there can be no doubt of the authenticity of her assertion. From information available it would seem that the following table is correct:
David Lloyd Newnam, surgeon, was executor of the will of Mrs. Diones Lloyd, and is described as nephew of the Revd Thomas Llwyd (brother of David Llwyd of Berllandywyll), which suggests that the surgeon's mother was a sister of David and Thomas Llwyd. In December 1806, Mrs. Grace Lloyd Barnes of Redland Hall near Bristol wrote to Lord Cawdor describing herself as the "only surviving heir to that old and once respectable family" of Llwyd of Berllandywyll. In reply, Lord Cawdor stated "you are undoubtedly Mr. Llwyd's heir at law, and would have become entitled to his realty had he not made the disposition he has done". The lady's importunities ceased, and Berllandywyll became an integral part of the vast Cawdor possessions.
Berllandywyll had never been a large estate, and its rental but modest. In 1778 the yearly rents totalled £284.9.0. In 1807 it yielded a rental of £493.18.4, derived from the following properties — Berllandywyll demesne, Ffoswen, Goetre, Rhiw'radar, house and garden in the village, Rhiw'r carnan, Rhiw'radar and cot, a cot and garden on Rhiw'radar, some fields, Rising Sun cot and garden, Capel Penarw cot and garden, three parts of Cwm Yngharad, Gwarfartin (all in Llangathen), Piode fach and Ysgubor wen (in Llandybie).
I mentioned earlier that David Llwyd had been a supporter of agricultural societies. Like most of the olden gentry he was engaged personally in farming, as shown by a list of his possessions made at the time of his death in 1779, which included the following items, with their valuation:
2 brown oxen, fattening, £20. A brown ox, £4.3.6. A yoke of oxen five years old, one brown, the other black, £13.13.0. A yoke of oxen, three years old, one white, the other black with white face, £11. A brindle bull, two years old, £3.15.0. A black cow called Brandy, £5.10.0. A black and white cow with Toping Horns, £5.15.0. A dark brown ditto, £6.10.0. A black cow, five years old with broad horns, £5.15.0. A brown ditto with a white head, £5. 4 heifers, £15.5.0. 3 heifers and two one-years old steers, £12. A two-years old black steer, £4. 5 calves, £6.5.0. 2 boars, £2. A pig and sow, £1.15.0. 7 young pigs, £4.4.0. 4 sows fattening, £6.6.0. 7 fat wethers, £4.11.0. A brown colt, three-years old, of the cart kind, £4. An old bay mare called Peggy, £1.5.0. A brown mare called Melon, £5.10.0. An old grey horse called Sharper, £2. A black colt called Lyon, £4.10.0. Ditto called Dick, £5. A black horse called Dragon, £4.4.0. An old bay horse, £4. A large mow of wheat, £14. 4 mows of barley, £40.19.0. 3 mows of oats, £13.6.0. Peas, £2.11.3. Part of a mow of hay, £4. A large rick of new hay, ten yards long, at 35s. per yard, £17.10.0. Wheat at Brynhafod clear of rent and expenses, £7.9.0.
Throughout the nineteenth century Berllandywyll was known as one of the most prosperous farms in the district, and continues so at the present day thanks to admirable husbandry under the direction of the occupier Mr. W. P. Thomas, to whom, and to Mrs. Thomas, I am grateful for the hospitable reception extended to me when I called there during the course of my enquiries into the history of their tree-embosomed home.