Dictionary of Welsh Biography



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GWYNNE family, of Garth , Llanlleonfel , Brecknock , earlier of Maes-llech nearby; pedigrees in Theophilus Jones , Hist. Brecknock , 3rd ed., ii, 238-40, iv, 269-70. This family, though not originally belonging to the Glanbrân clan (see Gwynne of Llanelwedd ), became later connected with it.

The surname ‘ Gwyn ’ first appears in the Garth family c. 1545 . A REES GWYNNE of Garth was coroner of Brecknock in the 17th cent. , and had a son MARMADUKE GWYNNE ( 1643? - 1712 ), a careerist of the first water. He went up to Gray's Inn in 1665 , was ‘called’ in 1667 , and m. a daughter of Peter Gwilym of Glascwm, Rads. , a London merchant ; she brought him £20,000. Returned M.P. for Radnorshire in 1680 , he escaped unseating only by the Dissolution of 1681 . In 1706 , he became second justice of North-west Wales , but was removed from office in 1708 . He was accused of corruption, and was certainly guilty of exceedingly sharp practice by which he acquired the manor of Builth and the greater part of the hundred of Builth ( W. R. Williams , Welsh Judges , 112). His son, MARMADUKE GWYNNE ( 1670 - 1702 ) predeceased him, and his possessions passed to his daughter MARY GWYNNE , who m. HOWELL GWYNNE (d. 1708 ), of a cadet branch of Glanbrân owning (besides land in Monmouthshire ) Tŷ-mawr ( Llanfihangel Bryn Pabuan ) — a house built by Thomas Huet (q.v.) , and Bryn-iouau (variously spelt); it was thus that Garth was brought into the Glanbrân nexus. There appears to have been at this stage a family settlement: Garth and Llanelwedd (however Llanelwedd may have come to hand) went together to Marmaduke , the heir of this marriage, while the other estates went to the younger son, RODBERICK GWYNNE (a misalignment at the top of page 270 in vol. iv of Theophilus Jones , op. cit., has made nonsense of the pedigree at this point), who was destined in 1734 to become, by bequest, owner of Glanbrân itself.



The heir of Garth and Llanelwedd , as has just been said, was MARMADUKE GWYNNE ( 1694? - 1769 ). He entered Jesus College , Oxford 5 May 1710 , aged sixteen, and Lincoln's Inn in 1711 , was sheriff ofRadnorshire in 1718 , and m. Sarah , daughter of Daniel Evans of Peterwell ( Meyrick , Cardiganshire , 2nd ed., 222). According to Jackson , Life of Charles Wesley , i, 514, she was one of six sisters, each of whom had £30,000. She and her husband certainly lived in great state at Garth , keeping a chaplain and twenty servants, and seldom having fewer than ten to fifteen guests staying at the house. Gwynne , for that matter, is today remembered only for his connections with Methodism . We are told ( Life of Selina, Countess of Huntingdon , i, 110-11) how his intention of arresting Howel Harris was converted into a friendship with Harris , which in turn led to friendship with the Wesleys — the Journals of both brothers have frequent references to the family. Marmaduke Gwynne favoured Harris 's marriage with Anne Williams of Skreen , and interceded with her father on Harris 's behalf (see T.L. 1172, 1180, 1184 at N.L.W. ). He was at John Wesley 's second Conference ( Bristol , 1745 ), and his daughter SARAH GWYNNE ( 1726 - 1822 ) in 1749 m. Charles Wesley . After the marriage, Gwynne went to live at Ludlow ; he d. in 1769 ( D.N.B. , under Wesley , Charles ); Mrs. Gwynne was in 1771 living at Park , near Builth (see Traf. Cymd. Hanes Bed. , 1935 , 22-3). There were nine children, six daughters (names in pedigree 22 on page 248 of Theophilus Jones , op. cit., iv — but the sixth name should be ‘ Margaret ,’ not ‘ Mary ’; Charles Wesley speaks of her as ‘ Peggy ’) and three sons; two or three of the daughters appear to have been at times rather a trial to Charles . There would be little point in dwelling on the sons, HOWELL (d. 1780 ), MARMADUKE (d. 1772 ), and RODERICK (d. 1770 ), further than to say that this Marmaduke 's descendants became the ultimate heirs of his two brothers. Garth ceased to be the family residence, but there were Gwynnes at Llanelwedd in the present century.

Author:

Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor