JONES, Charles (c.1595-1640), of Lincoln's Inn, London; later of Plas Du, Llanarmon, Caern.
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Family and Education
b. c.1595,2 3rd but 2nd surv. s. of William Jones I* and 1st w. Margaret, da. of Griffith ap John Griffith of Cefnamwlch, Tudweiliog, Caern.; bro. of Robert*, William†.3 educ. St. John’s Camb. 1611; L. Inn 1613, called 1619.4 m. (settlement 16 June 1626, with £300 p.a.), Margery (d. by 1637), da. of William Stone, Haberdasher of Broad Street Ward, London, s.p.5 d. by 3 Sept. 1640.6 sig. Charles Jones.
Clerk (jt.), inquiry comm. [I] 1622;7 recorder, Beaumaris by 1625-at least 1628;8 fee’d counsel London 1629-d.;9 reader, Furnival’s Inn 1629;10 dep. recorder, London 1632-d.;11 bencher L. Inn 1636, reader 1640.12
Commr. buildings, London 1630, oyer and terminer, 1632-d., sewers 1632, piracy 1633, charitable uses 1637, gaol delivery, Newgate 1638.13
Jones was presumably destined for a legal career from an early age, as he and his brother William† were granted a reversion of the offices of prothonotary and clerk of the Crown for Denbigh and Montgomery in 1606, which they eventually relinquished 30 years later, shortly before the death of the incumbent, Sir Peter Mutton*.14 Jones went to Ireland as clerk to the inquiry commission of 1622 on the nomination of his father, the chief commissioner, but on his return to Wales he somehow insulted Owen Wynn of Gwydir, to the annoyance of his father, who drafted a formal apology on his behalf with the assistance of Edward Littleton II*, one of the justices of Great Sessions.15
Probably because of his London address, it was Charles rather than his elder brother Griffith who was returned to Parliament on the family interest at Beaumaris from 1624. He should not be confused with Sir Charles Jones of Treowen, Monmouthshire, who was named to the Commons’ list of recusant officeholders in 1624 because of his wife’s Catholicism. Although he left no trace on the records of the 1624 session, Jones signed the petition organized by Sir Eubule Thelwall* against (Sir) Richard Wynn’s* attempt to secure a farm of Welsh greenwax fines.16
In August 1625 Jones was joined in the Commons by his brother Robert, but as the more experienced man, it was probably Charles who secured leave of absence for Littleton, now his brother-in-law, who was on the assize circuit.17 For the same reason, in the following year, it was probably Jones rather than his younger brother who was named to help investigate the misconduct of the sheriff of Leicestershire (26 Apr. 1626). He was also nominated to assist John Selden draw up the charges against the duke of Buckingham concerning the latter’s alleged neglect of the office of lord admiral and the seizure of the St. Peter of Le Havre.18
Though only occasionally differentiated from his brother and Richard Jones*, it was probably Charles, the experienced barrister, who was responsible for most of the activity indiscriminately attributed to ‘Mr. Jones’ during the 1628 session. Littleton chose Jones and Sir Robert Phelips to help him prepare precedents for his exposition of the Commons’ claim to freedom from imprisonment without cause shown (7 April). This led to his nomination as an observer at the joint conferences of 23 and 25 Apr., at which the Lords agreed to proceed with the Commons in securing the liberty of the subject.19 Jones made a lengthy speech on martial law during the debate of 18 April. Quoting an example of the abuse of martial law from Camden’s Annals, and an Irish precedent which he had presumably learned while in Dublin in 1622, he asserted that ‘for my part, I will not come near an army for fear, for I think it as dangerous as the Trojan horse’.20 Perhaps surprisingly, he later agreed with Littleton and Selden that John Baber* should be readmitted to the House after investigation for billeting soldiers without a warrant.21 Unlike his brother-in-law, Jones was not recorded as having been involved in the passage of the Petition of Right. His most significant speech during the latter part of the session concerned the bill to remove the English border shires from the jurisdiction of the Council in the Marches. Supporting the bill, he claimed that ‘the four shires were added to Wales upon a supposition of I know not what fears of the Welshmen who had been, since their submission in E[dward] I’s time, as obedient as others. In Owen Glendower’s business, Englishmen had their hands in it’.22
As the only lawyer among the three possible namesakes, it was probably Charles Jones who was named to the committee for Lord Gerard’s jointure bill (7 May), and who reported the committee stage of the estate bill for William Morgan of Monmouthshire and the jointure bill for the son of Lord Bergavenny (Sir Henry Neville II*).23 Finally, Jones was involved with the estate bill promoted by the 2nd earl of Devonshire (Sir William Cavendish I*), which, though ostensibly intended to allow the earl to break the family entail to make a jointure for his wife, also enabled him to sell a large part of his lands to pay off debts.24 Devonshire had earlier made a wild accusation of corruption against Jones’s father in Star Chamber, and perhaps to settle this score, Jones vehemently attacked the bill at the report stage on 2 June. He asked ‘why shall the old lord of Devonshire [William Cavendish†] be thought to deserve so ill as not to have his will stand’ and claimed that the lands Devonshire proposed to insert in the entail were charged with £20,000 of debt.25 At the third reading, Jones asserted that these debts had suddenly been discharged on the day following his revelation, and warned that ‘my lord discharges his debts very soon. The same man may charge it again’.26
Jones played a negligible part in the 1629 session, but he did speak in the debate of 23 Feb. on the seizure of John Rolle’s* goods for non-payment of customs dues, when he supported (Sir) John Eliot’s* argument that the punishment of the customs farmers should have priority.27 After the dissolution, Jones helped defend Walter Long II* against the charge of sedition arising from Eliot’s demonstration on the final day of the session., while later, in the Short Parliament, he would also criticize the former Speaker, (Sir) John Finch II, for having moved the dissolution ‘upon pretence of a message from the king without consent of the House’).28 Possibly as a consequence of his participation in Long’s trial, Jones was granted a small retainer as legal counsel by the corporation of London at the request of Sir Thomas Myddleton I*.29 It was from Myddleton and the corporation that he acquired his Welsh estate at Plas Du, for £4,000, in 1631.30
Jones’s career subsequently prospered: in 1632, he became Littleton’s deputy as recorder of London.31 While noted by Bulstrode Whitelocke* as ‘a great practiser’ at Westminster, his acquisition of Littleton’s manuscript reports for the Oxford circuit suggests that he may also have practised on his father’s assize circuit.32 Jones was no friend of the Court in the Short Parliament, so White Kennett’s later assertion that he was the Crown’s first choice for Speaker of the Long Parliament is almost certainly mistaken.33 In the event, Jones died before fresh elections could be held: his fee as deputy recorder was paid to midsummer 1640, and he was presumably dead by 3 Sept., when his successor was appointed.34 If, as he requested, he was buried in St. Paul’s, to which he left 100 marks for windows in the south quire, all trace of his grave was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1666. His brother Robert was appointed his executor and inherited his Welsh estates, which ultimately descended to his nephew William Price†. A number of his legal manuscripts were acquired by John Glynne†, a distant relative to whom he bequeathed £50 as overseer of his will.35
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Simon Healy
- 1. Jones was allowed not to choose between the two constituencies for which he was returned in 1640: CJ, ii. 15a.
- 2. Estimating his age as 16 at entry to univ. and 18 at entry to Lincoln’s Inn.
- 3. J.E.Griffith, Peds. Anglesey and Caern. Fams., 191; Dwnn, Vis. Wales ed. S.R. Meyrick ii. 118.
- 4. Al. Cant.; LI Admiss.; LI Black Bks. ii. 213.
- 5. Denb. RO, Wynnstay 7137; PROB 11/184, f. 286v; CITR, i. 340; ii. 74; Vis. Beds. (Harl. Soc. xix), 35, 62.
- 6. CLRO, City Cash Acct. 1/3, f. 132; Reps. 51, f. 78.
- 7. Exeter Coll. Oxf. ms 95, ff. 5, 71.
- 8. C219/39/253; C219/41B/3.
- 9. CLRO, Reps. 43, f. 220v. See also City Cash Accts. for 1633-40.
- 10. LI Black Bks. ii. 286
- 11. CLRO Reps. 46, ff. 268v-9; Letter Bk. LL, f. 225v.
- 12. LI Black Bks. ii. 339, 353.
- 13. T Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 3, p. 115; C181/4, ff. 128-9, 139; C181/5, f. 157v; C192/1, unfol. (5 June 1637); C181/5, f. 120.
- 14. C66/1692; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 325; 1636-7, p. 215.
- 15. Exeter Coll., Oxf. ms 95, f. 5; Cent. Kent. Stud. U269/1/Hi74, William Jones to Cranfield, 4 Mar. 1622; NLW, 9058E/1056, 1070, 1082.
- 16. CJ, i. 776b; ‘Earle 1624’, f. 163v; NLW, 9059E/1217.
- 17. CJ, i. 810b; G.D.G. Hall, ‘Seventeenth Cent. Assize Bk.’, Amer. Jnl. Legal. Hist., vii. 234, from Exeter Coll. Oxf. ms 168, ff. 54-76.
- 18. CJ, i. 854a.
- 19. Ibid. 879b, 887b, 888a; Lords Procs. 1628, v. 335.
- 20. CD 1628, ii. 552, 556; Procs. 1628, vi. 71.
- 21. CD 1628, iv. 19-20.
- 22. Ibid. iii. 474. He was named to the cttee. CJ, i. 900b.
- 23. CD 1628, iii. 404, 557, 586.
- 24. Ibid. iv. 502.
- 25. Strafforde Letters (1739) ed. W. Knowler, i. 21; CD 1628, iv. 53-5.
- 26. CD 1628, iv. 226.
- 27. CD 1629, p. 236.
- 28. CSP Dom. 1628-9, p. 556; Aston Diary ed. J. Maltby (Cam. Soc. ser. 4, xxxv), 15.
- 29. CLRO, Reps. 43, f. 220v.
- 30. NLW, Wynnstay RA34, receipts of 29 May 1630, 13 Dec. 1631, 10 Feb. 1632.
- 31. CLRO, Reps. 46, ff. 268v-9.
- 32. CD 1628, iii. 474; Whitelocke Diary ed. R. Spalding, 71; Hall, 232.
- 33. Lansd. 984, f. 190.
- 34. CLRO, City Cash Acct. 1/3, f. 132; Reps. 51, f. 78. However, he was named as a trustee in a marriage settlement of 8 Nov.! See Denb. RO, Mostyn 3617.
- 35. PROB 11/184, ff. 285-7; Hall, 231-2.