Descendants of Lewis ap David of Cardiganshire, Wales

Generation #2

Note: Information on the Lewis Family before Walden Lewis b. c. 1774 in Virginia comes from assumptions based on multiple sources. Therefore, the information on this page is not reliable for genealogical purposes. A detailed discussion of the many connections can be found at Lewis Family Research.

James ap Lewis (1Lewis ap Dafydd ap Meredydd) Lewis, Esq.

We know of James Lewis, Esquire, from the following record:

Practically nothing is known of the earlier house and land of Gellidywyll, except that at one stage it had consisted of two adjacent farms collectively known as Tir merch Ieuan David Llwyd, the merch having probably been an heiress. . .in September 1589 Jenkin ap Howell of Llandygwydd, Cardiganshire, yeoman, son and heir of Howel ap David ap Jenkin, deceased, sold the two messuages formerly called Tir Merche Ieuan David Lloyd, "now called Gellie Dowyll" in Cenarth parish, to James Lewes of Penbryn parish, esquire. Both forms of the name, Gellydywyll and its alias, continued to be used in legal documents down to the year 1725. . .

Origins of the Lewes family.

Fortunately for social historians, the deputy herald Lewys Dwnn made two calls at plas Abernantbychan in the Cardiganshire parish of Penbryn. On the first, 15 January 1588-9, he was entertained by the head of the household, James Lewes, esquire, Justice of the Peace, which resulted in the production of an exhaustive family tree, duly signed as correct by the squire, and faithfully recorded by the deputy-herald (Heraldic Visitations of Wales, i, 39-40).

Dwnn's host died in 1599 and some ten years later, Dwnn called on his son Sir John Lewes who had succeeded to Abernantbychan, and again made a detailed tree, with numerous additions bringing it up to date (ibid, i, 54-5). Whereas on the former visit Dwnn had enjoyed hospitality only, the second proved more profitable, for in addition to board and lodging, the knight presented him with ten shillings for his travail. Although no biographical details of the earlier ancestors are entered, we can deduce that they belonged to the pedigreed freeman class, the bonheddig, whose marriages were invariably made with partners from families of a similar status, and that they enjoyed a position of local importance.

In the atrium of the house of Lewes, the statue of Ednowain ap Bradwen occupies pride of place. A twelfth-century Merionethshire magnate, he is listed as the founder of one of the Fifteen Noble Tribes of Gwynedd, and as husband of Marged daughter of the prince Cynan (died 1173) a younger son of the redoubtable Owain Gwynedd. He is also the heraldic ancestor of the llwyth whose descendants bore the arms posthumously assigned to him, the distinctive bearings of gules three serpents nowed argent, to which some branches have added the crest of an eagle displayed enwrapped with a serpent, and the motto "Be as Innocent as the Dove, Wise as the serpent."

The lineage of Ednowain and his family group occur in numerous early genealogical compilations, notably in the folios of Lewis Dwnn's Visitations and in the Golden Grove Books. Llewelyn Dalran, fifth in descent from the founder of the tribe,' was the first of his line to settle in Ceredigion--y kynta i ddod i Ddeheubarth saith Dwnn--probably as a result of marriage with Jonet daughter of Gwilym ap Seissyllt, Lord of Abernant Bychan according to the same authority. In all probability Jonet was an heiress for it was at her home that Llewelyn settled during the early part of the fourteenth century, which continued to be the main residence of some fourteen generations of his descendants, until alienated by testamentary devise to a son of Gogerddan in 1739.

An informative essay on the Abernantbychan family, written by Mr. Daniel Huws, M.A., of the National Library of Wales, appeared in the journal of this learned society for 1969, based on documentary evidence contained in the collections of deeds from Coedmor, Noyadd Trefawr and Gogerddan, in which he discusses the formation and devolution of the Abernant-bychan estate from Elizabethan times. Towards the middle of the seventeenth century the Leweses seem to have preferred their other residence, Coedmor in the Tivyside, and to have let the old home to tenants.

In 1666 James Williams, esquire, of Abernantbychan was High Sheriff, and his name together with his address, occurs in Blome's list of gentry in 1673, and also in documents of Cardiganshire Great Sessions so late as 1688. During his tenancy an ancient British coin was found in the parish and kept by 'John Williams esq., of Abernantbychan who communicated a drawing of it to bishop Gibson' (Gough, Camden's Britannia, Vol 2 (1789), p. 529, and PI. XVIII, fig 12. opp.p. 501).

The last owner of the mansion in the main line, George Lewes Langton (his mother was the Lewes heiress) died unmarried in Rome on 22 August 1739 and was buried in a lead coffin in the English cemetery there, leaving by his will, Abernantbychan to Lewis Pryse of Woodstock, a member of the Gogerddan family. Nevertheless the property is marked on Kitchin's map as "Abernant Buchan. Lewis Esq. When Lewis Pryse was made a Justice of the Peace for the county in 1748 he was described as of Abernantbychan. . .

James Lewes the eldest son and heir is an important figure in the family's chronicle. In addition to adding very considerably to his already extensive heritage, thereby increasing his economic and social position, be held prominent public offices which enabled him to influence the administrative and political life of the county. Mr. Huws has traced fifty records of his acquisition of real estate, mostly from local freeholders, some of them major acquisitions that became the basis of the formation of further independent estates to be enjoyed by his descendants. Between 1570 and the end of the century he had purchased properties in the Cardiganshire parishes of Blaenporth, Brongwyn, Llangeler, Llangoedmore, Llanfairorllwyn, Llandyfriog, Llandygwydd, Penbryn, St. Mary Cardigan and Troedyraur in the Carmarthenshire parishes of Cenarth and Laugharne; and in the Pembrokeshire parish of Nevern.

He married twice firstly, in 1564 to Elizabeth daughter of John Stedman of Ystrad Fflur (High Sheriff in 1580 and 1588) by Anne daughter of William Philipps of Pentypark, Pembrokeshire and secondly, in 1577, Anne Wogan, widow of Rhys Lloyd, daughter of John Wogan of Wiston, Pembrokeshire marriages which allied him to two of the most powerful and established families in southwest Wales.

    Ceredigion: Journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society, Vol. 8, nos. 1-4, 1976-1979, "Gellidywyll: a Ceredigion family South of the Teifi" <> 29 September 2012.

James was born in about 1530 in Cardiganshire, Wales. And as the oldest son, James inherited the Abernant Bychan Manor from his father. James is first cited in records in 1564 when he married Elizabeth Stedman, daughter of John Stedman with whom James' father had land dealings. Reasonable conjecture leads to the belief that Lewis, James' father, was setting up the financial security for young James at the time of his marriage. But, Elizabeth died young with only son James as male progeny.

In 1577 James married Ann Wogan, daughter of Sir John Wogan of Gastell Gwys (Wiston Castle), b. c. 1557 Pembrokeshire, Wales. Anne was the widow of Rhys Lloyd. Ann was a descendant of the first John Wogan who had seized Wiston Castle in the 13tth century. Ann's brother, Sir John Wogan, would be the father of John Wogan, the father of Mary Wogan who married Col James Lewis of Abernant Bychan and Coedmor Manor.

Here, we reach an important milestone in the history of the Lewis family. In about 1600, James, the younger, married Joan Lloyd b. c. 1580 Cardiganshire, Wales. With James Sr. raising a new, younger family, first son James did not receive the family homestead of Abernant Bychan. Rather, young James received Gellidywyll in the Parish of Cenarth, Pembrokeshire, south of Afon Teifi, and moved off early to raise his own family. Their family story is recorded in "Gellidywyll: a Ceredigion family South of the Teifi." Second son, Sir John Lewis, Knight, remained at Abernant Bychan, the family homestead, and effectively assumed the mantle of patriarch.

We know of James principally from the 1599 interview by Deputy Herald Lewys Dwnn who made two calls at plas Abernantbychan in the Cardiganshire parish of Penbryn. Because of this heraldic record, we know the accepted lineage for this family back to the time of Arthur. And, James died shortly thereafter.

Title deeds for properties mainly in the parishes of Llangoedmor and Penbryn, 1545-1773, including Melyn Werna alias Y Velyn Ganol: -Penbryn, acquired by James Lewis, 1569, 
-the New Mill and a moiety of the fulling mill, 1598; 
-Tyr Blaen Sayth or Tyr Keven y Graege and Tyr Velyn Dilas, gained by John Lewes of Abernantbychan, 1623; 
-and Parke Aberharthen, in a bond to James Lewis of Coedmor, 1661. 
The file also includes a quitclaim of of Plase Fose y Lloyne, Llangoedmor, to Rees ap John Thomas, 1545; 
-the 1578 pre-nuptial settlement of James Lewes of Penbryn and Anne Lloyd [daughter of John Wogan of Wiston], 1578; 
-the sale of Plas Dyffryn Llynan, Cardigan, to Owen Powell of Aberporth, 1581; 
-a quitclaim of Kay Gwyn and Lletty Madog, Llangathen, Carmarthenshire, 1596/7; 
-a demise of Cawres, Llangoedmor, by James Lewis the elder to Nicholas Lewis of Heane Castle, 1666; 
-and a lease by Lewis Pryse of Abernantbychan, of Cefen Trefwtial and Tre’r Piben Cefen Ceirw, Penbryn, 1773.
8 September 1564. Lewis David ap Merreddieth, esquire, had conveyed his capital tenement or mansion house called Aber Nante Bechan, Melin Brithdire water corn mill, with other properties in the parishes of Penbryn and Llandisilio gogo (certain properties in Bettws Ievan, Brongwyn, and Penbryn expressly excepted) to John Mortymer of Llangoedmor [James' brother-in-law], John Stedman of Straddfleere [James' father-in-law], James ap Rees ap Morgan of Penbryn [James's brother-in-law] and Phillip Howell of Llandysul [James's brother-in-law], gentlemen, to enable the grantor to make a settlement on his eldest son James Lewis.
1 October 1564 Hugh Lewes David Meredidd of Nevern, gentlemen, gave a bond to his eldest brother James Lewis, esquire, for peaceful possession of Cardiganshire lands that had been "devised to the said Rees by his father Lewis David Meredidd, lately deceased.
1571. James Lewis, of Abernantbychan, Esq. This family is descended from Ednowain ab Bradwen, lord of Llys Bradwen, co. Merioneth, in the 9th century, and who was the founder of the fifteenth noble tribe of North Wales. This James Lewis married Ann, d. of John Wogan, Esq., sheriff in 1562. Arms, those of Ednowain, viz. : Gu. 3 snakes ennowed in a triangular knot.
September 1589. Jenkin ap Howell of Llandygwydd, Cardiganshire, yeoman, son and heir of Howel ap David ap Jenkin, deceased, sold the two messuages formerly called Tir Merche Ieuan David Lloyd, "now called Gellie Dowyll" in Cenarth parish, to James Lewes of Penbryn parish, esquire.

    Children with Elizabeth Stedman

    1. Ann Lewis

    2. James Lewis of Gellidywyll, Carmarthenshire, Wales

    Children with Ann Wogan

    3. Elsbeth Lewis

    4. Elen Lewis

    5. Sir John Lewis b. 1580 Cardiganshire, Wales

    6. Richard "the Gamester" Lewis b. c. 1581 Cardiganshire, Wales

    7. Mari Lewis

    8. Jason Lewis

    9. Sesyll Lewis

    10. Nicholas Lewis

    11. Huw Lewis

    12. Marged Lewis b. c. 1589 Cardiganshire, Wales

    13. Giorg Lewis b. c. 1591 Cardiganshire, Wales

    14. Brichied Lewis b. c. 1592 Cardiganshire, Wales

Generation #3


This site is provided for reference only. Except where specifically cited, information contained is conjecture and should not be considered as fact.
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