|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 David) Lewis
We know of James 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 1 173) 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 <http://welshjournals.llgc.org.uk/browse/viewpage/llgc-id:1093205> 29 September 2012.
James was born in about 1540 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 progeny.
In 1577 James married Ann Wogan b. c. 1550 Pembrokeshire, Wales. Anne was the widow of Rhys Lloyd.
We know of James from the 1599 interview by the deputy herald Lewys Dwnn who made two calls at plas Abernantbychan in the Cardiganshire parish of Penbryn. Because of this heraldry record, we know the accepted lineage for this family back to the time of Arthur.
And, James died shortly thereafter.
Born c. 1540 Cardiganshire, Wales
Married 1564 in Cardiganshire, Wales, to Elizabeth Stedman b. c. 1545 Cardiganshire, Wales
9/1564 Cardiganshire, Wales, Land Transaction
|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 poperties in the parishes of Penbryn and Llandisilio gogo (certain properties in Bettws Ievan, Brongwyn, and Penbryn expressly excepted) to John Mortymer of Llangoedmor, John Stedman of Straddfleere [James' father-in-law], James ap Rees ap Morgan of Penbryn and Phillip Howell of Llandysul, gentlemen, to enable the grantor to make a settlement on his eldest son James Lewis.|
10/1564 Cardiganshire, Wales, Land Transaction
|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.|
Married 1577 in Cardiganshire, Wales, to Anne Wogan b. c. 1550 Pembrokeshire, Wales
1/1589 Genealogy Record
9/1589 Cardiganshire, Wales, Land Transaction
|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.|
Died 1599 Cardiganshire, Wales
1. James Lewis
Born 1575 Cardiganshire, Wales
Married c. 1600 in Cardiganshire, Wales, to Joan Lloyd b. c. 1580 Cardiganshire, Wales
Died before 1629 Cardiganshire, Wales
2. Sir John Lewis b. 1581 Cardiganshire, Wales