PHILIPPS, John (d.1629), of Picton, Pemb. and Clog y fran, Carm.
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Family and Education
1st s. of Morgan Philipps of Picton by Elizabeth, da. of Richard Fletcher of Bangor, Caern., registrar of diocese of Bangor. m. (1) Ann, da. of Sir John Perrot, 3s. 8da.; (2) Margaret, da. of Sir Robert Denys of Bigton, Devon, s.p. suc. fa. 1585; cr. Bt. 1621.
J.p. Pemb. 1591, sheriff 1594-5, 1610-11; sheriff, Carm. 1622-3.1
Philipps (to adopt the spelling of the name preferred by his descendants) was a nephew of William Philipps, who had represented the shire in 1559 and 1572 and who bequeathed Picton to his brother, John’s father. Other parts of the estate, however, were left to William’s daughters Elizabeth and Mary, wives of George Owen of Henllys and Alban Stepneth of Prendergast respectively; and much of John Philipps’s life was spent in territorial disputes, of which the first was over lands in Rhoscrowther, in the extreme west of the shire, south of Milford Haven. In 1583 John Gwyn of Carew accused him and Griffith White of Henllan before the Star Chamber of violent proceedings with regard to these lands, proceedings in which Philipps’s father-in-law Sir John Perrot was also concerned. It may have been the costs involved in these disputes that caused Philipps ten years later to borrow £100 from Sir Thomas Myddelton; the debt was not repaid for eight years.2
In the Parliament of 1601 Philipps unsuccessfully promoted a bill to establish the boundaries of Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, which had been left in some confusion by the Acts of Union; but Townshend, the parliamentary journalist who sat for Bishop’s Castle in this Parliament, suspected that Philipps’s real motive was to ‘strengthen his estate’ and to overthrow the claims of his cousin’s husband, George Owen. As knight for Pembrokeshire Philipps was entitled to attend the main business committee (3 Nov.) and the monopolies committee (23 Nov.). Two years later Philipps was a defendant in an Exchequer suit brought by the surveyor of crown woods against himself and eight others, on a charge of felling 2,000 oak trees valued at nearly £1,000 in Narberth forest and the neighbouring wood of Canyston, where the deputy woodward—Alban Stepneth, the husband of Philipps’s other cousin—was himself one of the accused.3
Stepneth Stepneth succeeded Philipps in the representation of the shire, followed by a Wogan of Wiston, a hereditary foe of the owners of Picton. Soon after Wogan’s second term of membership in 1621, when Philipps (now a baronet) was living on his Carmarthenshire property of Clog y fran and serving as sheriff of the county there, a violent quarrel broke out between the families, leading to two Star Chamber suits which involved also the Wogans of Boulston on one side, and Alban Stepneth and Philipps’s numerous brothers on the other.4
Philipps made his will on 10 Jan. and died 27 Mar. 1629. He was buried at Slebech as he had requested. The Clog y fran lands with the ‘growing grain, oxen, kine, bulls and pigs’ were left to the widow, while the Pembrokeshire properties passed to the eldest son and executor, Richard, who proved the will 11 June 1629. Two unmarried daughters received £500 each and provision for their wedding clothes, and another daughter, Elizabeth, who was already married ‘and I am given to understand in Ireland’—in fact she was married to Edward Medhope, clerk of the House of Commons in Ireland—received £250. Philipps left £12 to St. David’s cathedral, and small bequests to his servants. The overseers of the will included his sons-in-law, Sir James Hamilton, and Sir Francis Annesley.5