Dictionary of Welsh Biography



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WILKINS , a Norman family surnamed ‘ de Wintona ,’ settled apparently at Llandough (it may be Llandow ), Glam. , changed its name in the 14th cent. to ‘ Wilcoline ’ or ‘ Wilkyn ,’ and in the 17th to ‘ Wilkins .’

THOMAS WILKYN (d. 1623 ), his son ROGER WILKINS (d. 1648 ), and his grandson



THOMAS WILKINS ( 1625/6 - 1699 ) , were successively rectors of S. Mary church (Llan-fair), Glam. The last-named Thomas Wilkins went to Jesus College , Oxford , in 1641 , and took a law degree in 1661 ; in addition to S. Mary church he also held the rectories of Gelli-gaer ( 1666 ) and Llan-maes ( 1668 ), and a prebend at Llandaff . He d. 20 Aug. 1699 , aged 74. He had m. Jane , daughter of Thomas Carne of Nash and grand-daughter of Sir Edward Stradling of S. Donat's ; they had five children. Wilkins is a very important figure in the history of Welsh literature , not indeed in virtue of any works of his own but as an antiquary (a disciple of Rice Merrick , q.v. ) and a collector of manuscripts ; some of the most important medieval Welsh manuscripts were in his possession, notably the ‘ Red Book of Hergest ’ and the ‘ Book of the Anchorite .’ His eldest son,


THOMAS WILKINS ( 1677 - 1736? ), who gave the two manuscripts mentioned to Jesus College , Oxford , was a lawyer ; he became deputy-protonotary for the Brecknock circuit (not protonotary , as is generally said), and was the originator of a family which (with its connections by marriage) played a considerable part in the legal, financial, and industrial history of Brecknock and north Glamorgan . It would seem that he d. in 1736 , but this is very uncertain — a ‘ Wilkins ’ signs as deputy from 1726 to 1736 , and another (?) ‘ Wilkins ’ from 1744 to 1758 ; the latter seems more likely to have been John Wilkins . He was thrice married; the children of his first marriage (whose associations were with Bristol ) were the first to resume the surname ‘ de Winton .’ By his second marriage, Thomas Wilkins was the father of


JOHN WILKINS ( 1713 - 1784 ) , b. 15 Nov. 1713 , deputy-protonotary from 1759 (at least) till 1784 ; he m. SYBIL JEFFREYS , niece and heiress of WALTER JEFFREYS (d. 1746 ), a banker , of a Llywel family. Here lay the origins of ‘ Wilkins and Co. ’, or the ‘ Brecon Old Bank ’ (now merged in Lloyds Bank ), whose notes circulated throughout the region (including north Glamorgan ) and which was deeply concerned in the early phases of its industrial development.

Three of John Wilkins 's children should be noticed:



(1) WALTER WILKINS ( 1741 - 1828 ) made a fortune in India , bought Maes-llwch, Rads. , and was Member of Parliament for Radnorshire , 1796-1828 ; his descendants assumed ( 1839 ) the name ‘ de Winton ’;


(2) WILLLIAM WILKINS , said to have been his fifth son (but this is in conflict with other statements), was deputy-protonotary , 1784-99 , and protonotary from 1799 till his death in 1812 ;


(3) ANNE WILKINS , who m. John Maybery (d. 1784 ), son of Thomas Maybery , a Worcestershire industrialist , who in 1720 had set up iron-works at Brecon — in 1758Maybery and Wilkins ’ erected a furnace at Hirwaun . Their son,


[ Thomas ] Maybery ( 1759 - 1829 ) , was from 1804 (at least) till 1812 deputy-protonotary to his uncle William Wilkins , and succeeded him as protonotary in 1812 . His son, WALTER MAYBERY ( 1800 - 1862 ), became protonotary in 1830 and was the last protonotary of Brecknock , as the Great Sessions were abolished in Oct. of that year.

Bibliography:

  • Theophilus Jones , History of the County of Brecknock (3rd ed.), ii, 155, 160; iv, 110, 266;
  • 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 , 157-8;
  • John Lloyd , The early history of the old South Wales Iron Works (1760 to 1840) from original documents , 1906 ;
  • G. J. Williams , Traddodiad Llenyddol Morgannwg , 1948 , 1948 , more specifically 161-7, but also consult index;
  • [correction by Mr. W. T. Morgan of the N.L.W.].

Author:

Rev. Richard Thomas, B.A. (1872-1950), Caernarfon