Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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WILLIAMS , Sir CHARLES HANBURY ( 1708 - 1759 ), satirical writer and diplomatist ;

b. 8 Dec. 1708 , the fourth son of Major John Hanbury (q.v.) , of Pontypool . He was educated at Eton . He was god-son to Charles Williams of Caerleon (q.v.) , who had fled abroad after killing his cousin, William Morgan of Penrhos , in a duel, and had amassed a great fortune in Smyrna . Charles Williams had been aided in returning to this country by John Hanbury , and by his will, dated 7 Aug. 1717 , he left the bulk of his fortune to Hanbury , to be held by him or one of his sons and their male heirs, the possessor for the time to take the name of Williams . Charles Williams d. in 1720 at the age of 86. His will did not specify any particular son, but it was probably understood that it should be his god-son. With the legacy John Hanbury bought Coldbrook Park and other property valued £22,725, and invested £44,700 in various mortgages and securities. This was settled in 1732 on his fourth son, Charles , who thereupon adopted the name of Williams . Charles Hanbury Williams m., on 1 July 1732 , Frances , daughter of earl Coningsby .

Charles Hanbury Williams wrote much satirical verse , and Horace Walpole professed to believe him the greatest poet of his generation. In 1746 he began the series of diplomatic missions for which he is best known. His mind became unbalanced in 1759 , and he d., possibly by his own hand , on 2 Nov. , and was buried in Westminster Abbey . The Coldbrook estate thereupon passed to his brother, George Hanbury , who, in turn, adopted the name of Williams .


  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography , for his satirical works and diplomatic missions;
  • G. S. H. Fox–Strangways (Earl of Ilchester) and Mrs. Langford Brooke , The Life of Sir Charles Hanbury Williams, poet, wit and diplomatist , (1928) , 1928 ;
  • D. B. Horn , Sir Charles Hanbury Williams and European Diplomacy, 1747-58 (London, 1930) , 1930 ;
  • practically all Williams's official papers as a British minister, as well as the private diary which he kept at Berlin and other papers, are in the Newport (Mon.) Public Library.


Emeritus Professor David Williams, D.Litt., (1900-78), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959