Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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BUTTON , Sir THOMAS (d. April 1634 ), admiral and explorer .

He was the fourth son of Miles Button , sheriff of Glamorgan in 1565 , 1571 , 1589 , and Margaret , daughter of Edward Lewis of Van . The Buttons had become possessed of Worleton , in the parish of S. Lythans, Glam. , an alienated manor of the see of Llandaff . Their house at first was probably on the Dog Hill moated grange site, just across the Nant Golych , from the parish of S. Lythans and in the parish of S. Nicholas ; later, the residence was probably on the site of the present house called Duffryn , situated nearby. The date of Thomas Button 's birth is not known. He went to sea about 1589 .

In 1612-13 he commanded an expedition dispatched to inquire into the fate of Henry Hudson and to search for a north-west passage to Asia . Button explored a great part of Hudson Bay . He was knighted on his return by James I . For the rest of his long naval career he served as ‘ Admiral of the King's ships on the coast of Ireland .’

Sir Thomas m. Mary , daughter of Sir Walter Rice of Dynevor, Carms. , and had three sons and a daughter. He made his home at Cardiff .

Miles , his eldest son, m. Barbara , the daughter and heiress of Rhys Meurug (‘ Merrick ’) of Cottrell, Glam. , and his daughter Elizabeth m. Col. John Poyer . The places of his death and burial are not known.


  • The Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion , 1948, 35;
  • G. T. Clark , Glamorgan Worthies Some account of Sir Robert Mansel, Kt., Vice Admiral of England and Member of Parliament for the county of Glamorgan; and of Admiral Sir Thomas Button, Kt., of Worlton, and of Cardiff, in the county of Glamorgan (Dowlais, 1883) ;
  • J. S. Corbett , Glamorgan Papers and Notes on the Lordship and its members (1925) ;
  • D. R. Paterson , ‘Button Gwinnett and his Family Associations with Glamorgan,’ in Trans. Cardiff Nat. Soc. , lxvi, 69-80;
  • Edgar Jones , ‘Dog Hill, Duffryn.’ in Archaeologia Cambrensis , 1933 , 398-9.


Ifor Ball Powell, Barry

Published date: 1959