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 , ) 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) WILLIAM 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.

Sources:

  • 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) , more specifically 161-7, but also consult index;
  • correction by Mr. W. T. Morgan of the N.L.W.

Author:

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

Published date: 1959