Archive:A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain

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A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain, by Sir Bernard Burke, Fourth Edition (London: Harrison, 1863).

Part II, pp. 1669 - 1670.

Williams of Abercamlais.

Lineage. - In tracing the descent of this ancient family touching is had, in the first instance, to the History of Brecknockshire, by Mr. Theophilus Jones, whose researches into the antiquities of that county its general history, and particularly the origin of the principal families resident, or who have ancient proprietors of lands therein, were indefatigable. The first of this family of whom we have any account appears, by the author above mentioned, to have been Sir Thomas, or, according to some, Sir Richard Bullen, on of the knights of Bernard Newmarch, or Bernardus de Nova Mercator, a Norman chieftain, who, as several Welsh pedigrees state, was uterine brother of William the Conqueror. Newmarch, allured by the success of Robert Fitzhammon, A Norman adventurer, and his accomplices, who had overrun Glamorganshire, was tempted, with a determined band of followers, to enter Brecknockshire, which he conquered from Rhys ap Tewdwr, the last of the Princes of South Wales, who exerciesd anything like soveriegn power over the land of Brecknock.

To the knights and principal gentlemen who accompanied Newmarch in his expedition, he distributed the domain he had acquired by his conquest, agreeably to the feudal system then prevailing, reserving to himself the principal parts, with the seignory of the whole.

Amongst others, he gave to Sir Thomas, or, as some say, Sir Richard de Bullen, or De Boulogne, the manor of Wern Fawr, a lordship in Talgarth. This Sir Thomas, or Sir Richard Bullen, or De Boulogne, and his immediate descendants, connected themselves so well in Herefordshire that they must have greatly improved their property. From one of these marriages, it is believed, sprang the Bullens of Blickling, in Norfolk; but English genealogists have been silent as to this line prior to Sir Thomas Bullen in 1411, from whom Anna Bullen, Queen of England, was the 4th in descent, and of whom there is a very good portrait at Penpont, she being always considered of the same family. Sir Thomas, or Sir Richard Bullen m. Alice, dau. of Walter de Bredwardine, and had issue, Sir Lawrence Bullen, who m. Blanch, dau. of Sir Robert Whitney, and had issue, Sir Thomas Bullen, who m. Joice, dau. of John Britt, and was father of William Bullen, who m. Ellen, dau. of John Pye, and had a son, Lawrence Bullen, who m. Margaret, dau. of Phillip Vaughan, of Tyle-plas, and was father of John Lawrence, who m. a dau. of John Gunter, and had issue, i. Richard; ii. Philip; iii. Thomas.

Richard Lawrence, the eldest son, who became of Talgarth, m. a dau. of Phip Havard, of Trevithel by whom he had issue, Philip ap Richard, who m. Jane, dau. of Lewis Havard, of Tredoman, and was father of William Philip, of Llanspyddid, who m. Gwenllian, dau. of Richard ap Ieuan Meredith. Of this marriage there were issue,

I. Thomas Williams, who follows.
II. John Williams, of Bolgoed.

The Rev. Thomas Williams, vicar of Llanspyddid, to whom is attributed the restoration of the eldest branch of this family, and who, proud of his descent from the same ancestor as the mother of Queen Elizabeth, as appears by the inscription upon his grave-stone, in Llanspyddid Church, exerted himself strenuously in support of the Reformed religion, and, from his having been the first who introduced the use of the surplice in the church service, was called "Vicar gwyn Llanspyddid," or the White Vicar of Llanspyddid. He was a master of arts. He m. Anne, dau. of Thomas Stonies, of Evenjobb, Radnorshire, and d. in 1613.

It may be observed that the gentry of Wales bore no hereditary surnames until the time of Henry VIII. That monarch, who paid great attention to heraldic matters, strongly recommended the heads of Welsh families to conform to the usage long before adopted by the English, as more consistent with their rank and dignity, which may account for this Thomas having adopted the first name of his father as a surname, which has been continued by the family to the present time.

Thomas Williams, by his wife, Anne, had issue (with four daus., viz., Joan, m. to David Williams, of Myddfe; Maud, m. to Rosser Richard; Sarah, m. to Morgan William; and Lucy, m. to John Watkin), an only son, The Rev. Daniel Williams, vicar of Myddfe and Llanspyddid, who m. Sarah, dau. of John Lewis, of Ffrwdgrwh, and had issue,

I. Thomas of Abercamlais.
II. John, in holy orders, who m. Margaret, dau. of Hugh Penry, of Devynock, of which marriage descended Williams of Penpont.
III. Edward, from whom descended Williams of Blannant.
IV. Richard, who m. Margaret dau. of Thomas Morgan, of Llannerch Bledrie, of which marriage descended Williams of Aberbran.

The eldest son,

The Rev. Thomas Williams, of Abercamlais, LL.B., m. Anne, dau. of Jeffrey Jeffreys, of Abercynrig, and had, with two daus. (the eldest of whom m. Richard Jenkins, of Tyle), an only son,

The Rev. Thomas Williams, m. Esther, dau. and co-heiress of the Rev. Elias Owen, vicar of Beguildy, and d. 1700, having had issue,

I. John, d.s.p.
II. Thomas, of whom presently.
III. Edward, d.s.p.
IV. William.
V. Daniel, m., and had a dau., Elizabeth.
I. Sarah, m. to James Powel, of Cefngwiession.
II. Susan, d.s.p.

The eldest son,

Rev. Thomas Williams, m. Elizabeth, dau. of Hugh Penry, of Llwyncentefin, and had an eldest son,

The Rev. John Williams, Canon of St. David's who m. Sarah, dau. of Penry Williams, Esq., of Penpont, and had issue, two sons and three daus.,

I. John of whom presently
II. Philip, m. Letitia, dau. of James Powel, of Church Lawford.
I. Anne-Jane, m. Mr. Carless.
II. Sarah, m. the Rev. John Jordan.
III. Rebecca.

The eldest son,

The Ven. John Williams, Archdeacon of Cardigan, m. Anne, dau. of Penry Williams, Esq. of Penpont, and had issue,

I. John, Canon of St. David's, d. unm.
II. Penry, m. Georgina Dames, of the Havannah, and had a son, John-Penry Williams, b. 15 July, 1824. Harriet-Anne, d. unm.
I. Anne, d unm.
II. Sarah, d. unm.
III. Martha, by her marriaeg with Mr. Richard Davies had a dau., Martha, who m. Rev. Thomas Williams, of Llanvapley, Archdeacon of Llandaff.
IV. Anna-Jane, m. the Rev. Charles Griffiths, and has issue,
1. Anna.
2. Hannah-Jane, m. to Capel Miers, Esq.


Transcribed by Adrian Benjamin Burke, Esq.

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