Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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CARTER family, of Kinmel, Denbs.

Kinmel , near Abergele , once the property of a Lloyd family ( Yorke , Royal Tribes , 2nd edn., 113), changed hands when Alice , heiress of Gruffudd Lloyd , m. Richard ap Dafydd ab Ithel Fychan , of Plas Llaneurgain ( Northop ). Their daughter and heiress, Catherine , m. Pyrs Holland (d. 1552 ), of Faerdref (see Holland families , No. 5 ); thus was founded the house of Holland of Kinmel (ibid., No. 7). Pyrs was followed ( J. E. Griffith , Pedigrees , 259) by a son, David , a grandson, PYRS ( sheriff of Denbighshire , 1578 ), and a great-grandson, DAVID , sheriff of Denbighshire , 1596 , whose will was proved in 1616 . This David left two infant co-heiresses, Mary and ELIZABETH (she is called by Pennant Catherine ’, and in some books ‘ Dorothy ’ — which was her mother's name). In 1641 Mary was m. to William Price of Rhiwlas, Mer. (q.v. under Price of Rhiwlas ), and in 1647 Elizabeth m. John Carter .

Sir JOHN CARTER (d. 1676 ), colonel in the Parliamentary army ,

was b. at Dinton, Bucks. , a village rich in associations with the Parliamentary cause. He was the eldest son of a Thomas Carter ; a younger son, William , became a wealthy London merchant . Tradition avers that John started life as a linen-draper — hence the contemporary pun which described his marriage as the acquisition of ‘ the best piece of holland in the county .’ But in 1645 he was successively captain and colonel of horse at Brereton 's siege of Chester , and was one of the commissioners at its surrender in Feb. 1645/6 . In close association with George Twiselton , he took an active part in the siege of Denbigh , and in the administration of the town after its capitulation in Oct. 1646 . In Nov. Carter was made governor of Conway castle , and subsequently commander in North Wales . The Second Civil War ( 1648 ) saw him again co-operating with Twiselton in the defeat and capture of Sir John Owen ( 1600 - 1666 ) near Llandygái . In 1650 he was sheriff of Caernarvonshire and a commissioner under the Act for Propagation of the Gospel in Wales ; in 1651 (confirmed by Cromwell in his governorship of Conway ), and again in 1656 , lord-lieutenant of Caernarvonshire . He was Member of Parliament for Denbighshire in 1654 , 1656 , and 1658-9 ; and Cromwell knighted him c . March 1657/8 . But towards the end of the Protectorate , Carter was evidently ‘trimming’; he was expelled from the Rump Parliament . After the Restoration he was knighted afresh ( June 1660 ) by the king , was, for a short time, Member of Parliament for Denbigh , was steward of the manor of Denbigh ( July 1660 ), governor of Holyhead ( Nov. 1660 ), and sheriff of Denbighshire in 1665 . He d. 28 Nov. 1676 (being then ‘57’ — a very dubious statement), and was buried in the (now ruined) chancel of the old church of S. George (in Welsh , Cegidiog or Llansantsiôr ). His character and trustworthiness have been variously estimated.

The Carter dynasty at Kinmel was but short-lived. Sir John 's son, THOMAS CARTER (d. 24 July 1702 ), was in chronic financial difficulties, and was in 1695 a prisoner in the Fleet . His two eldest sons, John and Thomas , had predeceased him in 1686 , and it was his surviving son, WILLIAM CARTER , who inherited the heavily encumbered estate. In 1729 William procured an Act of Parliament , allowing him to sell out to Sir George Wynne of Leeswood, Flints. ; William then went to live at Redbourn , in Lincs. The Kinmel estate continued to be an embarrassment even to its new owners, and in June 1781 a decree of Chancery sanctioned its sale to a David Roberts , of London , who, however (with his associates), sold it again, in 1786 , to the Rev. Edward Hughes — see the article Hughes , Hugh Robert , which brings the story of Kinmel down to 1911 . It may be added here that Hugh S. B. Hughes d. in 1918 , and his brother and heir in 1940 . The house (which had been rebuilt) was occupied by the War Department during the 1914-19 war, and was sold in 1934 ; but the greater part of the lands passed to the heir who, in 1953 , deposited the family papers in the library of University College , Bangor .


  • On the whole history of the Kinmel estates, see the full account by E. Gwynne Jones in Denbighshire Historical Society Transactions for 1955;
  • on Sir John Carter, Caernarvonshire Historical Society Transactions , 1952, by Norman Tucker .
  • Other references (at times inconsistent): Archaeologia Cambrensis , 1867 (167), 1870 (174);
  • John Williams , Ancient and modern Denbigh a descriptive history of the castle, borough and liberties with sketches of the lives, character and exploits of the feudal lords (Denbigh, 1856) ;
  • History of the Princes, the Lords Marcher, and the Ancient Nobility of Powys Fadog , iv (index);
  • Calendar of Wynn (of Gwydir) Papers, 1515–1690, in the National Library of Wales and elsewhere (1926) (index);
  • T. Richards , A History of the Puritan Movement in Wales (1920) and Religious Developments in Wales, 1654–1662 (1923) (indexes).


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

Published date: 1959