|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.
Richard "the Gamester" (2James ap Lewis, 1Lewis ap David) Lewis
Richard Lewis was born in about 1581 at plas Abernant-bychan, Penbryn Parish, Cardiganshire, Wales. Richard was the "Great Gamester," who is in the Lewis pedigree chart in Dwnn's Heraldic Visitations, p. 40: "Richard Lewes Bachelour of Laws; Is a great and generall gamester but somewhat unfortunate."
The overarching question is, "What would prompt Richard's children to leave the lap of luxury in Wales and immigrate to very early Colonial Virginia?" Had the Lewis family devolved from the riches of nobility to penury with the ongoing loss of their many estates?
a. On 9/28/1689, John Lewis of Coedmor mortgaged the Coedmor estate for £400. And later, John Lewis was "obliged to convey" Coedmor to his cousin, Walter Lloyd.
b. Abernant Bychan Manor devolved down to John Lewis, previously of Coedmor, then to his daughter Catherine and her son George Lewis Langton. Had the value of Abernant Bychan so diminished that the manor was a lesser inheritance? Or, was Catherine the sole heir? Whatever the circumstances, Abernant Bychan Manor passed out of the Lewis family. In 1738 George Lewis Langton willed the manor to his step-grandfather, Walter Pryse, a descendant of the house of Gogerddan.
c. The Gellidywyll estate across the Afon Teifi in Carmarthenshire remained in possession of the junior branch of the Lewis family for five generations. The estate was purchased by James ap Lewis, Esq. for James Lewis & Joan furch Morgan Lloyd and passed down to a) Thomas Lewis, Esq. & Mary furch David to b) James Lewis & Joan furch Owen to c) Bridgett Lewis, apparent heir, & William Jenkins to d) Elizabeth Jenkins, apparent heir, & William Brigstocke. In about 1850, William Owen Brigstocke of Gellidywyll and Blaenpant, a distant descendant of the first William Brigstocke, married Emmeline Lloyd of Coedmor. This marks the combination of those two estates within the Lloyd family who were cousins with the previous owners, the Lewis family of Cardiganshire.
I postulate that this "unfortunate" Gamester lost it all, prompting his sons to brave the oceans, immigrating to America where land was there for the taking. As evidenced, Richard's purported son Richard immigrated in 9/1635 to St. Christopher's (now St. Kitts) in the British West Indies and was later transported to Charles River Shire by William English who received 1,420 acres of land for the many persons he transported to Virginia.
But, there are no actual records for Richard "the Gamester."
Born c. 1581 plas Abernant-bychan, Penbryn Parish, Cardiganshire, Wales
c. 1600 Attained Bachelor at Laws
Married c. 1605 in Cardiganshire, Wales to an unknown spouse
Date and place of death unknown
1. James Lewis b. c. 1605 Cardiganshire, Wales
2. Richard Lewis b. 1609 Cardiganshire, Wales