Lewis Family Origins

Generation #1 - ?

The above crest and shield was in the possession of the Zachary Lewis family of Bel Air Plantation, VA. However, that Lewis family also descends from the Smith family who descends from this Lewis family. A detailed discussion of the many connections can be found at Lewis Family Research.

Much of the following information was gleaned from
Lewis Patriarchs of Early Virginia and Maryland,  pp. 6 - 7, by Robert JCK Lewis.

For those of you who have heard me say over and over, "I will never fall into the trap of tracing my ancestry back to King X or Prince Y"; as I was only interested in tracing my families back to the water's edge when and where they got off of the boat. To those people, please accept my apology. This continued branch of research fell into my lap.

Lewis Family Coat of Arms

. . .Dwnn registered their arms as those of Ednowain, quartered
a) with Elystan Glodrudd ruler of Twixt Wye and Severn
(or=gold; a lion rampant=in profile standing erect with forepaws raised; gules=red)
b) and Gronw Goch of Llangathen in Carmarthenshire
(azure=sky blue; three stags' heads guardant=head turned to face the viewer; or=gold).

    Ceredigion: Journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society, p. 376. 
<https://journals.library.wales/> 18 May 2019.

I. The Lewys Family of Ancient Britain

In Old Wales, a pedigree of at least three generations was required to associate with society. Therefore, maintaining the records of the family pedigree was a prime duty of the family patriarch. After the Kingdom of Wales was subsumed by Edward I of the Plantagenet Norman-English (1277), the pedigrees of prominent Welsh families were added to the roles of English lords.

In the late 1500s, Lewys Dwnn was appointed Deputy Herald at Arms (1586 - 1613). His mission was to go around Wales to interview the heads of the many titled families and record their family pedigrees. And as a native speaker of Welsh, Dwnn was the perfect ambassador. Dwnn's exhaustive missive is recorded in his Heraldic Visitations of Wales and is treasured as part of the "Bardic and Historical Remains of Wales."

Dwnn first interviewed James Lewis, Esq. of Abernant Bychan, Cardiganshire (d. 1599). Ten years later, Dwnn interviewed Sir John Lewis, Knight, who provided additional edits to the original pedigree.

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. [Lineages]

    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.

The Ancient History of the Tribe of Lewys


Location/ Notes

Ancient Ancestor:
fl 110 BCE Heli/ Beli Mawr (the Great)
-64th King of Britain
-Son of Manogan
-Father of Caswallon/ Cassivellaunus
fl 110 BCE Heli/ Beli Mawr (the Great) Reigned for 40 yrs.
Beli Mawr is claimed as the founder of the Deisi, later rulers of the kingdom of Dyfed, and also of the Silures.
-His eldest son, Aballac, is claimed as the ancestor of Coel Hen, of the fourth century 'Kingdom of Northern Britain'. . .
-His second child, daughter Lweriadd, marries Llyr Lleddiarth, who is claimed as the founder of Gwent.
-Another of his children as claimed by tradition is Cassivellaunus, the mid-first century BC high king who fights against Julius Caesar's expeditions. . .
15 Generations or about 500 years
1. Coel Hen b. c. 400 CE
-Cornelius Dux Brittanarum
(Duke of the Bretons)
+Gwawl furch Coel Hen
Coel Hen b. c. 400 CE First King of Northern Britain; High King after Vortigern.
-c.380s - 390s Late in the century, the only known British military unit, the First Cohort of Cornovii (Cohors Primae Cornoviorum) can be found serving at the Pons Aelius (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) garrison on the eastern end of Hadrian's Wall. -By this time the five hundred-or-so men of the unit would have been commanded by Vortigern [449 CE per Bede] and later under the command of Coel Hen.
2. Ceneu ap Coel lived 450 CE -c.420 - c.450 (St) Ceneu ap Coel Second 'King of Northern Britain'.
-c.450 Ceneu's territory is divided into Rheged. . .and Ebrauc. . .which continues under the name of the 'Kingdom of Northern Britain.'
3. Maeswig Gloff/ Mar ap Ceneu -fl c.450 Mor ap Ceneu / March / Mark Third and last 'King of Northern Britain'. 'Chief of Dragons'.
-'Mor' means 'great,' as in Alfred the Great.. . .
-It later evolves considerably changed in Welsh as 'mawr', which is applied to several late Welsh kings (notably the ninth century Rhodri Mawr). . .
-c. 470 Upon the death of Mor, 'Chief of Dragons' (Pendragon), the 'Kingdom of Northern Britain' is divided between his sons. Einion gains Ebrauc while Arthuis gains the 'Kingdom of the Pennines'.
4. Arthwys ap Mar lived 529 CE Upon the death of Mor ap Cenau, grandson of Coel Hen, his 'Kingdom of Northern Britain' was divided between his sons.
The eldest of them gained the capital city of the North, Ebrauc.
-Arthuis. He was the first 'King of the Pennines'. . .
5. Cynfelyn ap Arthwys -fl c. 480 Cynfelyn ap Arthwys Moved south into the Midlands and founded Cynwidion.
-Brother, Pabo Post Prydein (St) (Pillar of Britain) Died as a monk in Gwynedd in 530.
-The youngest son of King Arthuis of the Pennines.
- fl c. 480 Cynfelyn ap Arthwys King of Middle Britain. Son of the king of the Pennines.
6. Cynwyd of Cynwydion -fl 510 Cynwyd ap Cynfelyn, King of Cynwidion.
7. Cadrod (of) Calchfynydd -fl 540 Cadrod/ Cadrawd King of Calchwynedd.
-Cadrawd, one of the Gwyr y Gogledd or 'Men of the North',
-Shrinkage of Middle Britain to Cynwidion to Calchwynedd, the kingdom is probably now cut off and isolated. 
-The Britons in the area. . .descending with the kingdom into darkness as contact with relatives in the north is lost and the noose of Angle and Saxon pressure continues to tighten.
-fl c. 600 Possible last king, lost to history when the kingdom was extinguished.

The above notes were gleaned from the pages associated with
"Eboracum," Celtic Kingdoms of the British Isles <https://www.historyfiles.co.uk/KingListsBritain/BritainEbrauc.htm> 27 June 2019.

8. Yspwys of Moel Ysbiddon
(682 - 740)
-The Migrant to Wales. Where did he settle?
-Moel Ysbiddon, "The stranger's mount." The Lewis family was of Meirionnydd.
22 + 1. Ednowain ap Pyradwe un o'r 15 Llwyth (of the 15th Tribe) Of the Kingdom of Gwynedd. Of the sub-Kingdom of Meirionnydd.
22 + 5. Llewelyn Dal Rain of Ddeheubarth7 First generation at plas Abernant Bychan, Penbryn, Cardiganshire.
Married the granddaughter of Seyssyll, Lord of Abernant Bychan.

Dwnn, Lewys, "GWEL HELYTH SYR JOHN LEWYS, MARCHOG," Heraldic Visitations, v. 1, pp. 39-40.
<https://archive.org/details/HeraldicVisitations> 21 May 2019.

II. Ancient Lineages

1. From the journals of Welsh pedigrees, we read of the second century BCE king in Northern Britain (c. 110 BCE), Heli/ Beli Mawr (the Great) who reigned for 40 yrs.
-What's important to us is that his eldest son, Aballac, is claimed as the ancestor of Coel Hen, of the fourth century "Kingdom of Northern Britain."
-Beli Mawr is claimed as the founder of the Deisi, later rulers of the kingdom of Dyfed, and also of the Silures.
-His second child, daughter Lweriadd, married Llyr Lleddiarth, who is claimed as the founder of Gwent.
-Another of his children, as claimed by tradition, is Cassivellaunus, the mid-first century BCE high king who fought against Julius Caesar's expeditions.
-There is a period of about 500 years of darkness until the end of the Roman occupation of Britain.

2. Then we find Coel Hen, the progenitor of this Lewis family. According to Scottish history, Coel Hen was the progenitor of the Scottish kings of Rheged, Elmet, and Eiden. From Welsh history, we learn that he was also a progenitor of the kings of Wales who descend from Cunedda's marriage with Coel's daughter, Gwawl.

Coel Hen appears in the Harleian genealogies and the later pedigrees known as the Bonedd Gwŷr y Gogledd (The Descent of the Men of the North) at the head of several post-Roman royal families of the Hen Ogledd. His line [was] collectively called the Coeling. . . He [Coel] was also considered to be the father-in-law of Cunedda, founder of Gwynedd in North Wales, by his daughter Gwawl.

    "Coel Hen" <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coel_Hen> 27 June 2019.

3. The sons in the direct line down from Coel assumed the kingship of their inheritances; as the land was divided up into lesser and lesser kingdoms. Concurrently, the Angles from the east and the Saxons from the south continued to encroach on Breton territory. We end with Cadrod of Calchfynydd whose kingdom was surrounded and eventually subsumed  by the Angle-Breton Kingdom of Mercia.

At the end of the Angle-Saxon-Jute invasions, the lands occupied by the Germanic invaders became what we know as England. The northern boundary roughly corresponds with that of Hadrian's Wall. And, the western boundary roughly corresponds to the traditional boundary with Wales. Modern historians might claim that our Germanic cousins brought order and civilization to their new England. And, the barbaric Bretons were excluded to the wilds of Scotland and Wales and Ireland. But, my perspective is exactly the opposite.

III. Q-Celt vs. P-Celt: the Question of the Ancestral Language

The Lewis family pedigree continues down seven generations from Coel Hen to Yspwys of Moel Ysbiddon, the "Stranger's Mount." Yspwys is noted as a forefather of many Welsh families including the House of Tudor. Reading through the Journals, there appears to be a connection between the term Strangers and what language they spoke. Many cited historians of Wales defer from confronting the great controversy of who spoke q-Celt or p-Celt and when the language changed.

I feel that we will become involved in all that vast tangle of scholarship which surrounds the question of the relationship between the Goedelic and Brythonic Celts in the Roman and sub-Roman periods.

    Ceredigion - Journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society, "The Corbalengi Stone," v. 4 #1 <https://ceredigionhistory.wales/>  13 July 2019.

I propose a simplistic answer. What if our Lewis Tribe who lived along the northern boundary of Brythonic Britain, continued to speak a version of the old Gaelic of Ireland similar to the language of the barbarian Scoti. When their lands were overrun by the Saxon and Angle invaders, they escaped south and west to the ancient Welsh homeland. But by the time they arrived in Wales, their cousins, the descendants of Cunedda, were already Brythonic speakers. Thus, our people would be "strangers' who still spoke the old Gaelic.

IV. SNP R-DF27 and the Iberian-Celt Markers

What's interesting is that Yspwys is cited as being from Spain. Although improbable, there is a truth here. The core of this research is based on yDNA evidence. Descendants of this Lewis family carry the yDNA marker for the Iberian-Celt group SNP R-DF27. In plain English, if you are a Lewis from Wales but you do not carry the Iberian-Celt markers for R-DF27, you do not belong to this family. The next question is "When did Yspwys or the family come from Spain?"

The preponderance of evidence presented herein indicates that we are the Milesians of Irish mythology. Our ancestors sailed from the Celtic Promontory (Promunturium Celticum), Gallaecia/ Asturias of northwestern Iberia and conquered Ireland post 1,000 BCE. And as early as 650 BCE, our tribe migrated to/ invaded Wales and Scotland, bringing their "Spanish" markers to Britain.

From Yspwys, the lineage continues down 14 generations to Ednowain ap Pyradwen un o'r 15 Llwyth (of the 15th Tribe). That is an additional 400+ years. During this volatile period from before the Roman incursions to the extermination of Roman civilization in Britain, our q-Celt/ Gaelic speakers learned to speak p-Celt/ Brythonic.

V. The Ancient Lineage of the Tribe of Lewys

1. Coel Hen1 b. c. 400 CE
Cornelius Dux Brittanarum, (Duke of the Bretons)
+Gwawl furch Coel Hen
Constans, 76th Sovereign of Britain
+Helen furch Coel Hen
2. Ceneu ap Coel3
3. Maeswig Gloff/ Mar ap Ceneu4 3. Gorwst Letlwm
4. Arthwys ap Mar b. 529 4. Meirchiawn 
5. Cynfelyn ap Arthwys   5. Elidyr Lydanwyn
6. Cynwyd ap Cynfelyn   6.  Llywarch Hen5
7. Cadrod (of) Calchfynydd6 Others down to Elidyr
8. Yspwys of Moel Ysbiddon7 
9. Yspwys Mwyntyrch
10. Unhwch Unarchen 10. Mynan ap Yspwys Elidyr
11. Maeldaf Hynaf of Moel Esgidton (Ysbiddon) 11. Mor ap Mynan Gwriad ap Elidyr
+Ethyllt d/o Cynan descendant of Cunedda
12. Heuan 12. Elfyw ap Mor Merfyn Frych ap Gwriad of the 2nd Royal Tribe
13. Kynvan 13. Cynan ap Elfyw, Lord of Clwyd Rhodri "the Great" b. 820
14. Morgynhor 14. Marchudd of the 8th Noble Tribe, Lord of Rhos
15. Rynn Others down to the House of Tudor Others down to Owain Gwynedd
16. Kedyvor (Cadivor)
17. Kenurth (Cynarth)
18. Kyndelu
19. Morud 19. Generation of Elystan Glodrudd
of the 5th Royal Tribe
20. Bleydud (Bleddyn Tudor)
21. Mael Owain Gwynedd, King of Gwynedd Others down to Gronwy Goch
22. Pyradwen/ Bradwen/ Bratwen Cynan, Lord of Meirionnydd; d. 1174;
bastard son of Owain Gwynedd
-Had daughter Esyllt 

Dwnn, Lewys, "GWEL HELYTH SYR JOHN LEWYS, MARCHOG," Heraldic Visitations, v. 1, pp. 39-40.
<https://archive.org/details/HeraldicVisitations> 21 May 2019.

1. Coel Hen, Coel "the Old," or perhaps Coel "the First," Cornelius Dux Brittanarum (Duke of the Bretons). Romano-Welsh chieftain who filled the leadership void left by the departure of the Romans c. 407 CE. Known as the first King of Northern Britain.
2. Cunedda, first King of Gwynedd. The House of Tudor descends from Coel Hen through the marriage of Gwawl to Cunedda, progenitor of the royal dynasty of Gwynedd.
3. Ceneu ap Coel, second "King of Northern Britain" back in the Old North.
4. "Mar" means Great. Some believe his actual name is lost to history. Perhaps his name was Maeswig Gloff.
5. Another branch from Coel Hen.
Merfyn Frych ap Gwriad descends from Coel Hen through Llywarch Hen founder of the Second Royal Dynasty of Gwynedd in the 9th century.
6. Cadrod. Ancestor in traditional pedigrees. Was he "too late" to be the father of Yspwys?
-Calchfynydd, a kingdom of Yr Hen Ogledd, the "Old North," is believed to have been located in Roxburghshire, in the Scottish Borders.
7. According to tradition, Yspwys came from Spain with Aurelius Ambrosius and Uther Pendragon, King Arthur's father, c. 466 CE.
-Moel Ysbiddon, "The stranger's mount." The Lewis family was of Meirionnydd.
-Gronwy Goch descends from the Tribe of Lewys through Yspwys of Moel Ysbiddon.
-The House of Tudor descends from the Tribe of Lewys through Yspwys of Moel Ysbiddon.

VI. The Recollection of Sir John Lewis, Knight

(Parish of Penbryn Woods)

GWEL HELYTH (understanding - abundant)


Wife & Family

Other Children

  Owain Gwynedd2 (1100 - Nov 1170)  
  Cynan, Lord of Meirionnydd3; d. 1174;
bastard son of Owain Gwynedd
Gwenllian d/o Cynan down to the House of Tudor5
Gruffydd ap Cynan, King of North Wales down to the Kings of Powys.6
1. Ednowain ap Pyradwen4 un o'r 15 Llwyth (of the 15th Tribe) of Meirionnydd Marged d/o
Gynan ab Owain Gwynedd
Other descendants recorded in Vincent, 136-1021, ed.
2. Tudor ap Ednowain7   Other descendants recorded in Vincent, 136-1022, ed.
2. Generation of Gronwy Goch b. c. 1240 d. aft 1307
3. Llewelyn (Senior) Elen d/o Gronwy ap Einion ap Seyssyllt8  
4. Llewelyn vychan (Junior) Lleuky d/o Llewelyn ap Einion ap Klynin off (from) Llwydiarth (Powys) William ap David Lloyd o Beniarth, Merionethshire;
Syr Thomas Lloyd person (Parson at) Malloyd, Merionethshire
5. Llewelyn Dal Rain of Ddeheubarth9 Soned d/o Gwilym ap
Seyssyllt L of Abernant Bychan10
ai pais val Kaplan
6. David Lloyd ap Llewelyn, Esq. Marged d/o Jankyn ap Rydderch ap David o'r Park  
7. Meredydd Jan d/o William ap Howel ap Llewelyn ap Rys chwith o GeredigionA  
8. David Lloyd Sioned ag aeras Ierwerth ap Rydderch ap Rys chwith Esgwier (Esq,)  
9. Meredydd ap David Ethliw d/o Rys ap Meredydd ap Rys, Esq o Lyn Aeron o Dewdwr  
10. David ap Meredydd ap David, Esq. Eva d/o Rys ap Howel ap Rys ap David ap Howel vychan (Junior) ap Rys voel (Senior) JamesB; Joan 
11. Lewys ap Dafydd ap Meredydd of Abernant Bychan, Esq.C (b. c. 1500) Siwan (Joan) d/o Rys ap Sion ap Howel ap David ap Thomas ap David ap Gruff ap Gronwy GochD

He married Joan daughter of Rhys ap John ap Howel of Gernos in Llangynllo, by Elen daughter of Sir James ab Owen of Pentre Ifan in Nevern, Pembrokeshire.

Huw (Hugh Lewes David Meredidd of Nevern), Eva, David of Gernos (wed Gwenllian d/o Thomas), Jan, Rys, Lleurlys, Nikolas, Katrin, John, Mari, William, Elen (wed Rys Lloyd ap John Lloyd).
12. James Lewys, Esq., d. 1599 1) Elizabeth Stedman
2) Ann d/o John Wogan, Esq of Gastell Gwys
1) James of Gellidywyll, Cenarth, Carmarthenshire
2) Sir John, Elizabeth, RichardE, Elen (wife of Rys Lloyd ap John Lloyd), Jason, Mari, Niklas, Sysly, Huw, Marged, Georg, Briget
13. Sir John Lewis, Knight
Last resident of Abernant Bychan
Bridgett d/o Sir Richard Pryse of Gogerddan
+ Gwen d/o Thomas ap Rys ap Moros of Aberbechan, Esq.F
Letys, Mari, [Richard b. 1609?]
14. Col James Lewis Mary d/o John Wogan of Wiston *Edmund Lewis of Virginia
15. James Lewis of Coedmor* Catherine d/o Col Rich. Harrison of Hurst in Berkshire, Knt.   15. Jane married
(1) Thomas Lewes of Llysnewedd d. 2/1672
(2) Cpt Thomas Lloyd ap John Lloyd of Cilgwyn (Kilgwyn, Carmarthenshire)
16. John Lewis of Coedmor* Elizabeth d/o Lodowick Lewes of Llangors, Breconshire, married
1) John Lewis of Coedmor
2) Walter PryseI of Woodstock
Walter Pryse d. 1774; married
1) Mary Sewell
2) Elizabeth of Langors, Breconshire
16. Walter LloydG
+Mary Bevan
16. 1) John Lloyd d. 3/1702
+Elinor d/o John Lloyd of Carmarthenshire;
Elinor married
2) Thomas Lewis of Llysnewydd d. 1712
3) Walter Morley
17. Catherine Lewis* John Langton of Ireland Lewis Pryse d. 1779 17. Thomas Lloyd (d. 4/1737) of Coedmor s/o John Lloyd
+Mary d/o Morgan Howell
18. George Lewis Langton*H   Edward Lovedon d. 1822
+Margaret Pryse d. 1/1784
18. Walter Lloyd
+Anna Posthuma Thomas of Pentowin
    Pryse LovedonJ
+Harriet Ashbrook d. 1/1813
+Jane Cavallier
19. Thomas Lloyd d. 9/1810
+Elizabeth d/o Edmund Probyn of Newland, Gloucestershire, England
      20. Thomas Lloyd of Coedmor b. 11/1793
20. Oliver Lloyd b. 7/1801
+Anna Maria d/o Cpt James Richard Lewis Lloyd of Dolhaidd in Carmarthenshire
      21. Emmeline Lloyd b. 1/1830
+William Owen BrigstockeK of Gellidywyll and Blaenpant

Dwnn, Lewys, "GWEL HELYTH SYR JOHN LEWYS, MARCHOG," Heraldic Visitations, v. 1, pp. 39-40.
<https://archive.org/details/HeraldicVisitations> 21 May 2019.

1. Lewys Dwnn first interviewed James Lewis, Esq (d. 1599). Ten years later, Dwnn interviewed Sir John Lewis, Knight, who provided additional edits to the original pedigree.
2. Owain Gwynedd, King of Gwenydd, 1st Prince of Wales (c. 1000-1170).
-Member of the House of Aberffraw, the senior branch of the dynasty of Rhodri the Great.
-Owain's elder brother, Cadwallon, was killed fighting in Powys in 1132. Thus, the name Cadwallader would also appear in my family.
3. Cynan, Lord of Meirionnydd, bastard son of Owain Gwynedd,  d. 1174. As Gwynedd guards the coast of northern Wales, Meirionnydd is the strategically significant lands along the Snowden Mountain ridge and the western coast of Wales.
4. Working up the genealogy tree 14 generations we find Ednowain ap Pyradwen of the 15th Tribe of Gwynedd.
-His wife, Marged d/o Cyan, was the granddaughter of Owain Gwynedd.
-"Laid the foundations of the Lewises of Abernant-bychan and Coedmawr, now extinct, and of the surviving houses of Llysnewydd and Llanilyr
5. King Henry VII descends from Gwenllian, daughter of Cynan, through Henry's great-grandmother, Margret ferch Dafydd vychan, wife of Meredith Tudor. (Henry VII; Edmond, Earl of Richmond; Owen Tudor; Margaret m. Meredith Tudor)
6. Madoc ap Meredeth, Prince of Lower Powys, d. Winchester 1160, bur. Melfod Church near Mathrafal; married Princess Susannah d/o Griffith ap Cynan, King of North Wales.
7. Tudor ap Ednowain. His mother, Marged, was cousin to "Llewelyn the Great." (Marged, d/o Cyan b/o Iowerth Drwyddwn aka Edward "Broken Nose" f/o Llwelyn)
8a. Einion ap Seyssyllt
-Llewelyn (Senior) wed Elen d/o Gronwy Goch ap Einion ap Seyssyllt.
-Owen Brogyntyn wed Marredd dau. of Einion ap Seyssyllt, Lord of the Cantref of Merioneth.
-Owen Brogyntyn; Owen ap Madoc, Lord of Edeirnion, Dinmael & Abertanat in Powys Fadoc; (Owen of Porkington) whose arms were the Black Lion of Powys.
-Owen and his brother, Griffith Maelor, in alliance with Owain Gwynedd, Prince of North Wales, and Rys ap Tudor, King of South Wales, defeated King Henry II at the Battle of Crogan beneath Castell Crogan (Chirk Castle)(1165)
-from "A Genealogical History of the Dormant Abeyant, Forfeited and Extinct Peerages of the British Empire," p. 114. <https://books.google.com/books> 25 May 2019.
8b. Ednowain (father of Einion) was eighth in descent from Gwyddno Garanhir, prince or lord of Cantref Gwaelod, the whole of whose territory was inundated by the sea in his life time, and it now forms a part of the present Cardigan Bay, though that portion of the sea still retains its ancient name of "Cantref Gwaelod."
-From Burke, The Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, p. 654-5 <http://ourfamilylinks.org/> 25 May 2019.
9. 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 his marriage with Sonet daughter of Gwilym, granddaughter of Seissyllt, Lord of Abernant Bychan.
10. Seyssyllt, grandfather of Soned d/o Gwily, Lord of Abernant Bychan.

A. Rys chwith o Geredigion. The Lewis Tribe gains family south of Meirionnydd.
B. James s/o David ap Meredydd ap David, Esq.:
Thomas Jones, Esq., of Llanbadarn-fawr and Dolau Cothy, Sheriff of co. of Cardigan (1618), who, having no issue by a first wife, m., secondly, Mary, dau. of James Lewis (David Meredydd, *Dale Cast. MS.), Esq., of Abernant-bychan.
C. Lewys ap David ap Meredydd, Esq., of Abernant Bychan.
D. Gruff ap Gronwy Goch, Lord of Llangathan:
JOHN ap REESís  long pedigree goes back in the male line to GRONO GOCH, who in the late 13th century was Constable of Dryslwyn Castle. Fortunately, many of his line held office in Carmarthenshire under the Crown or appeared in deeds and so were found in State records.
E. Richard Lewis; Great Gamester
F. Moros of Aberbechan, Esq. ???

*Not part of the pedigree
Where did the Abernant Bychan estate go?
G. Walter Lloyd, 1st cousin of John Lewis of Coedmor, assumed the mortgage for Coedmor.
H. 1731 George Lewis Langton "resident at Abernant Bychan."
I. 2/27/1738 George Lewis Langton "devised all his real estate to his dearest friend, Walter Pryse."
J. Pryse Lovedon, the last connection to plas Abernant Bychan.
K. William Owen Brigstocke of Gellidywyll. The moniker denotes the passing of Gellidywyll out of the Lewis/ Lloyd family sphere.

VII. The Extinction of the House of Lewis

a. The Fate of the Lewis Manors: Abernant Bychan, Coedmor and Gellidywyll

Llewelyn Dal Rain of Ddeheubarth was the first of the House of Lewis to occupy plas Abernant Bychan. Nine generations later, Col. James Lewis was the last. What happened?

In the 7th generation since Llewwly Dal Rain, we find James Lewys, Esq. of Abernant Bychan. This James had two families. With Elizabeth Stedman, James only had the one son, James. Later, James married Ann d/o John Wogan, Esq of Gastell Gwys. James and Ann had several children of whom John was the elder. When son James came of age, father James acquired the Gellidywyll estate, Cenarth Parish, Carmarthenshire, Wales, south of the Afon Tiefi. James Lewis, eldest son of James Lewis, Esq. by Elizabeth Stedman, assumed the Gellidywyll estate, 

This left James, the father, and son Sir John Lewis, Knight at the patriarchal home. And, John assumed the social position as the senior line of descent in the Lewis family. On 3/20/1615, Sir John Lewis, Knight, purchased the Coedmor estate in the Tivyside from Rowland Mortimer. Coedmor had been in the Mortimer family since the Middle Ages. Sir John Lewis, Knight, did not necessarily relocate to Coedmor. His son, Col James Lewis, relocated from plas Abernant Bychan to Coedmor sometime after 1664. And, Coedmor became the new seat of the patriarchy. Over time, the Lewis Family let Abernant Bychan Manor to renters; as the different branches of the family had relocated to more preferred properties.

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.

    Ceredigion: Journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society, p. 375 <https://journals.library.wales/> 18 May 2019.

To follow the fate of the manors, we have to look at Coedmor first. Ownership of the Lewis manors passed down to the aforementioned James Lewis of Coedmor. He married Catherine Harrison. They had a son, John Lewis of Coedmor. And, he married Elizabeth Lewes of Llangors. Whatever debts John Lewis of Coedmor inherited and whatever debts he incurred, the end result was John's inability to pay his debts.

According to Lloyd of Gilfachwen, Cilgwyn, and Coedmore (p. 85), John Lewis became "financially embarrassed." As a result, on 9/28/1689, John mortgaged the Coedmor estate for £400. And later, John Lewis was "obliged to convey" Coedmor to his cousin, Walter Lloyd. So now John Lewis, Lord of Coedmor Manor was homeless. Where did he relocate to? And, how many estates did he have where he could have relocated?

Abernant Bychan remained in possession of the senior branch of the Lewis family. But, the manor continued to be rented out. John, previously of Coedmor, and Elizabeth Lewis had a daughter, Catherine who married John Langton of Ireland. John and Catherine Langton had a son, George Lewis Langton who died without issue [DSP] in 1738 in Rome.

Why had the Abernant Bychan Manor devolved down to Catherine and her son George Lewis Langton? Was the value 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. George Lewis Langton willed the manor to his step-grandfather, Walter Pryse, a descendant of Gronwy Goch from whence it came 13 generations previously.

The Gellidywyll estate across the Afon Teifi in Carmarthenshire continued to be in possession of the junior branch of the Lewis family for several more generations. In about 1850, William Owen Brigstocke of Gellidywyll and Blaenpant married Emmeline Lloyd. And thus, Gellidywyll returned to a 9th generation descendant of James Lewis, Esq.

Detailed histories of the two branches of this family, descendant from both wives of James Lewis, Esq, are found at Excerpts from the Antiquarian Journals of Wales.

b. The Survivors of the House of Lewis

Why did the House of Lewis in Wales go extinct?

1. During the English Civil War, members of the house of Lewis were Royalists. How many died in the war? After imprisonment, Col James Lewis was forced to switch sides and round up the local Royalists for treason against the English Parliament. And, the folks he was collecting were to much extent his family. How many of his family were executed or died in prison?

2. Were there no sons? There are records for daughters but few sons. Where did the Lewis men go? In Lewys Dwnn's Heraldic Visitations we find the pedigree for the Lewis of Abernant Bychan family. In the middle of the chart we find Richard Lewis b. c. 1581, son of James Lewis, Esq.

Richard Lewes [added] 1609 (Bachelour of Laws; Is a great and generall gamester but somewhat unfortunate.)

    Dwnn, Lewys, "GWEL HELYTH SYR JOHN LEWYS, MARCHOG," Heraldic Visitations, v. 1, pp. 39-40.
<https://archive.org/details/HeraldicVisitations> 21 May 2019.

This Richard is the son of James Lewis, Esq., of Abernant Bychan and the brother of Sir John Lewis, Knight. This Richard would have been one generation older than Richard Lewis b. 1609 of Virginia. Was Richard who immigrated to Virginia the son of this Richard?

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 (DSP) willed the manor to his step-grandfather, Walter Pryse, a descendant of Gronwy Goch.

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. The Gellidywyll estate was 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 the Lewis men who were without lands braved the oceans and went to America where land was there for the taking.

The Lewis Family in History


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