Dictionary of Welsh Biography



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MEYRICK or MERRICK family, of Hascard , Fleet , and Bush, Pembs. , and Wigmore, Worcs. The Pembrokeshire branch of the Meyrick s of Bodorgan , Anglesey arose through the marriage of Rowland Meyrick , bishop of Bangor , to Catherine , daughter of Owen Barrett of Gelliswic, Pembs.

Their eldest son, Sir GELLY ( GILLY , GILLIES or GULLIAM ) MEYRICK ( 1556? - 1601 ), was named after the maternal estate, and on his father's death (when he was c. 9 years old) was sent to be brought up on his mother's manor of Hascard , near Lamphey, Pembs. , where he entered the service of Sir George Devereux (see under Devereux ). From c. 1583 he served in the Low Countries , attending his patron's nephew, the 2nd earl of Essex , at Flushing in 1585 , and subsequently serving in Leicester 's forces. On his return he became steward of Essex 's household ( c. 1587 ), and represented Carmarthenshire in the 1588 Parliament. He followed Essex to Portugal ( 1589 ) and Normandy ( 1591 ), and on the death, in 1592 , of his kinsman Sir Roger Williams (q.v.) — hitherto Essex 's right-hand man — he became all-powerful with the earl , to whom his complete devotion was proverbial, and at whose suit the queen gave him extensive lands, including Wigmore castle , which became his principal seat. Essex knighted him (as Sir William or Gellian ) on the Cadiz expedition ( 1596 ), and in 1597 he followed his lord to the Azores and again sat (probably for Carmarthenshire ) in Parliament , where he had by now achieved some prominence. His last campaign was with Essex in Ireland ( 1599-1600 ). After a brief spell of disfavour ( July 1600 ), he was employed, in Jan. 1601 , in rallying to the earl's cause the Devereux clientele in South Wales , the Welsh swordsmen who had served with him abroad, and his own connections in Radnorshire (where he had m., c. 1584 , the daughter of Ieuan Lewis of Gladestry , widow of John Gwynn of Llanelwedd , who brought him both estates), and in Carmarthenshire (where his daughter Margaret was the wife of Sir John Vaughan of Golden Grove , later 1st earl of Carbery (q.v.) , as well as his brother Francis (below)). He was responsible for billeting the earl 's followers in London , for bribing the Globe players to play ‘ Richard the Second ’ on the eve of the revolt ( 6 Feb. ), and for the defence of Essex House ( 8 Feb. ) against the forces of the Government . On 13 March 1601 he was executed for treason. His son, Roland Meyrick , and his daughter, lady Vaughan , were restored in blood and name by James I ( 24 May 1606 ).


Sir FRANCIS MEYRICK ( kt. 5 Aug. 1599 , d. 29 July 1660 ), of Fleet , Monkton , younger brother of Sir Gelly , was with him in Ireland ( commanding the west Wales contingents ), and also took a minor part in the rising but escaped punishment. Sir Francis 's third son, Sir JOHN MEYRICK (d. 1659 ), soldier , was knighted in 1614 (13 June) , accompanied the 3rd earl of Essex to Flanders in 1620 , and subsequently fought in the Low Countries ( 1624 ), in Spain ( 1625 ), and under Gustavus Adolphus in the Thirty Years’ War , where he was wounded before Maastricht ( 17 Aug. 1632 ). He sat for Newcastle-under-Lyme in the Short and Long Parliaments , where he was frequently consulted on military questions. He commanded a regiment in the Bishops’ Wars of 1639-40 (in which his brother GELLY MEYRICK , knighted 26 Mar. 1639 , as Sir Gillan , was an ensign ), and was recommended by the Commons for a commission in Ireland as soon as the Irish rebellion broke out in Oct. 1641 . During the Civil War he became adjudant-general of Essex 's army and later general of the ordnance , and he served as assessment commissioner for Pembrokeshire in 1647 ; but he disapproved of the execution of the king and went into retirement during the Interregnum, dying in 1659 . His portrait, formerly at Bush (the home of his descendants till 1837 ), is now at the family seat of Slebech . Two of his grandsons held legal office in North Wales : JOHN MEYRICK of Bush (b. 1674 ), educated at Jesus College , Oxford , and the Middle Temple , who, after representing Pembroke ( 1702-8 ) and Cardigan ( 1710-2 ) in Parliament , became puisne judge of the Anglesey circuit from 1712-4 , and FRANCIS MEYRICK , Registrar of North Wales . The family is still active in Pembrokeshire public life.

Bibliography:

  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • J. E. Griffith , Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire Families , 1914 , 126-7;
  • D. Mathew , The Celtic Peoples and Renaissance Europe. A study of the Celtic and Spanish influences on Elizabethan history , 1933 , chapters xviii and xxi;
  • Reports of the Historical Manuscripts Commission , 3 rd R. , 498, 4 th R. , 336, 5 th R. , 362-3, Rutland , i, 367-70, Cecil , iv, 340, vi-ix, xi, xiii, xiv;
  • Rushworth , Historical Collections of Private Passages of State , 1721 , iii, 1241 ff.;
  • The Journals of the House of Lords , i, 445;
  • W. A. Shaw , Knights of England , 1906 , ii, 57, 93, 154, 206;
  • W. R. Williams , The history of the Great Sessions in Wales, 1542-1830 together with the lives of the Welsh judges, and annotated lists of the chamberlains and chancellors, attorney generals, and prothonotaries of the four circuits of Chester and Wales , Brecknock, 1899 , 113;
  • The Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion , 1946-7 , 77, 84;
  • The National Library of Wales Journal , vi, 190-1;
  • Firth and Rait , Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642–1660 , 1911 , i, 290.

Author:

Emeritus Professor Arthur Herbert Dodd, M.A., (1891-1975), Bangor

Corrections and additions:

MEYRICK or MERRICK (FAMILY), of Hascard ( DWB , 630-1). Sir Roger Williams d. in 1595 ( DWB , 1069).