HUGHES, Hugh (d.1609), of Plas Coch, Porthamel, Anglesey.
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Family and Education
1st s. of David Lloyd ap Hugh of Porthamel Isa by Anne, da. of John Owen of Llanfaethlu, wid. of Hugh ap Llywelyn of Bodedern. educ. ?Trinity, Camb. 1564, BA 1568; L. Inn 1571, called 1580. m. 1578, Elizabeth, da. of Simon Montagu of Brigstock, Northants., 1s. 3da. suc. fa. 1574.1
Steward of manor of Rhosfair 1580; seneschal of manors of Penmynydd 1586, 1601; steward of manors of bp. of Bangor 1595; j.p.Anglesey by 1577, q.by 1593, Caern., Merion. by 1591, q. 1593; sheriff, Anglesey 1580-1, 1591-2, 1599-1600; bencher, L. Inn 1594, Autumn reader 1595, treasurer 1602-3, dep. Queen’s attorney for Anglesey, Caern., Merion. 1589, 1592; attorney for Anglesey, Caern., Cheshire, Flints., Merion. 1596; subsidy collector, Anglesey 1599, commr. subsidy 1601; member, council in the marches of Wales 1601.2
The first of his family to adopt the surname Hughes, this Member enlarged the estate of Plas Coch, built by his father, sometimes by purchase, sometimes by lease or exchange with neighbours, such as the Bagnalls and Hollands. He became involved in a number of disputes. One of the most stubborn (eventually settled by arbitration) concerned lands in the neighbouring township of Mossoglan. In one Exchequer suit in 1587, Hughes was alleged to have tried to take the case to Shropshire, where he had many friends. Five years later, he was accused by Richard Pryther of Myfyrion, a future judge of the Chester circuit, of illegally passing reversions of leases while acting on his behalf. Hughes was also involved with neighbours in a quarrel about the right of burial in the chancel of Llanidan church, and in another (of unknown cause) with Nicholas Robinson, bishop of Bangor. In 1585 he purchased the rectory of Llanidan from Sir William Herbert of St. Julian’s, and obtained other leases from him and his heir, Lord Herbert of Chirbury (Edward Herbert III).3
Hughes must have spent most of his time in London, and his Welsh offices must be attributed to his legal rather than his territorial eminence: he was rated at £5 for the subsidy, only three being rated higher in the island. His wife was the grand-daughter of a chief justice of Henry VIII, cousin to a future chief justice, the 1st Earl of Manchester, who was already rising at the bar. Hughes’s membership of the council in the marches was sponsored by Robert Cecil. No parliamentary activity has been recorded in his name. However, as knight of the shire he was eligible to attend the following committees in 1597: enclosures (5 Nov.), the poor law (5, 22 Nov.), armour and weapons (8 Nov.), the penal laws (8 Nov.), monopolies (1o Nov.), the subsidy (15 Nov.), and Newport bridge (29 Nov.). It is sometimes stated that, shortly before his death, which occurred on 8 June 1609, he had been appointed chief justice of Ireland: but documentary evidence is lacking.4
Hughes’s will, dated 20 June 1603, and proved 1 Aug. 1609, named his wife’s cousin, the future Earl of Manchester, as chief executor, and Justice (Peter) Warburton as one of his overseers. His property in Caernarvonshire and Anglesey was shared between his wife and his only son Roger.5
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
- 1. Griffith, Peds. 30; UCNW, Plas Coch mss 130, 140-8.
- 2. Plas Coch mss 99, 125, 138, 150, 159, 169, 172, 3002, 3009; E315/309, f. 72v, 86v; PRO Index 6800, f. 586v; Cardiff Pub. Lib. ms 4, 609; Flenley, Cal. Reg. Council, Marches of Wales, 213; HMC Hatfield, xi. 567; L. Inn Bench Bk. i. 397, 416; ii. 31, 38, 40, 59, 74, 95, 108.
- 3. Arch. Camb. 1849, p. 106; RCAM Anglesey, 55; Exchequer, ed. T. I. J. Jones (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. xv) 22; Plas Coch mss 104, 130, 167, 175, 178, 185, 2940, 2964-5, 2971, 2977, 2985-6, 3017, 3027, 3030; E 58/16, 32; Lansd. 1218, f. 97; W. R. Williams, Welsh Judges, 57; Trans. Anglesey Antiq. Soc. 1939, p. 66.
- 4. Plas Coch ms 169; CP; HMC Buccleuch, i. 213 seq.; D’Ewes, 552, 553, 555, 557, 561, 565. Williams, Parl. Hist. Wales, 2.
- 5. PCC 78 Dorset; C142/316/66; Wards 7/34/74.