JONES, Richard (1578-bet.1658/64), of Trewern, Llanfihangel Nant Melan, Rad.
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Family and Education
b. 1578,1 1st s. of Griffith Jones (d. by 1594) of Trewern and Joanna, da. of Ieuan Lewis† of Gladestry (Llanfair Llythynfwg), Rad. m. Margaret (d. aft. Feb. 1646), da. of John Price of Pilleth, 2s. d.v.p.2 suc. fa. by 4 Mar. 1594.3 d. bet. 11 Feb. 1658 and 23 May 1664.4 sig. Richard Jones.
Sheriff, Rad. 1614-15,5 j.p. 1615-at least 1647 (custos rot. 1645);6 freeman, New Radnor, Rad. by 1620;7 commr. subsidy, Rad. 1621-2, 1624, 1641-2 8 dep. lt. by 1623-46,9 commr. Forced Loan 1626-7,10 capt. militia horse by 1637-42;11 dep. steward, Cantref Maelienydd, Rad. bef. 1640;12 commr. disarming recusants, Rad. 1641,13 array 1642,14 to guard Rad. (roy.)1643, accts. (roy.) 1644.15
Jones’s family was one of the more prominent of the proverbially poor gentry of Radnorshire, with an estate concentrated in the parishes of Llanfihangel Nant Melan, Old Radnor and Gladestry in the centre of the county. The Member’s father, Griffith, was the first to adopt a settled surname rather than the Welsh patronymic, and served as sheriff in 1563-4.16 The family was also involved in the government of New Radnor, only three miles distant from their home at Trewern. Griffith Jones was one of the original common councillors named under the borough’s 1562 charter, and Richard became a burgess and probably a member of the governing council too.17
It is unclear when Jones entered his patrimony, but his participation in Radnorshire’s small political elite was assured by his marriage, probably before he reached 20, to a daughter of John Price of Pilleth. The couple produced an heir, Richard, to whom Jones conveyed the majority of his property, estimated at £80 p.a., via a marriage settlement of March 1610.18 Jones was evidently not among the first rank of Radnorshire landholders, and ten individuals were rated higher than him on a subsidy collected in 1608.19 His first public office was the shrievalty in 1614, and he was named to the bench of justices when his term expired. Jones moved within the political orbit of the Prices of Pilleth and their kinsmen of Mynachdy, endorsing the return of James Price I*of Mynachdy in the bitterly contested county election of December 1620. He was also one of the burgesses who returned his brother-in-law, Charles Price, for the New Radnor seat at the same election.20
The Price association allowed Jones’s star to rise within county politics, and to attain the position of deputy lieutenant by 1623. Seen as a trusted associate by the Pilleth Prices, the latter probably facilitated his entry to Parliament as county Member in 1628, a seat held between 1624 and by his brother-in-law, James Price II. However, he appears to have made no impact in the House, as the ‘Mr. Jones’ indiscriminately recorded in the Journal was almost certainly the lawyer Charles, Member for Beaumaris. As one of the Welsh knights, Jones was nevertheless eligible to attend bill committees concerning the estate of William Morgan of Penrose, Monmouthshire and the sale of lands belonging to John Fleming (15 Apr. 1628; 23 Feb. 1629).
Jones acquiesced in the financial innovations of the 1620s and 1630s, his Forced Loan payment being only £3, possibly because he had earlier lent £10 on Privy Seals.21 Jones paid in New Radnor’s £42 Ship Money assessment on behalf of the bailiff in May 1637, and was one of those who lobbied for relief on the Ship Money payments for plague-struck Presteigne a year later.22 He was returned for New Radnor to the Short Parliament, but made way for a royal nominee in November 1640. A venerable figure in the county magistracy by 1642, Jones became a prominent royalist and was appointed custos in February 1645. He submitted to Parliament later that year, an action which occasioned a fierce response from the royalist commander Sir William Vaughan, whose forces imprisoned Jones and plundered and despoiled Trewern. One deponent claimed that the royalists took goods worth between £400 and £500, plus all of Jones’s personal papers and even his wife’s rings.23 The scale of the despoliation was probably exaggerated to assist Jones’s efforts to compound, but even allowing for this his estate was comparatively small because in 1610 he had entailed it on his son and daughter-in-law. Indeed, Jones asserted that his life interest was only worth £48 p.a.24 His son having predeceased him in 1640, the majority of the Trewern estate was held by his daughter-in-law.
Jones lived quietly at Trewern during the 1650s, but was involved in litigation in 1658 over the estate of his brother-in-law, Charles Price*, who had made him an executor of his will.25 Already an ‘unwieldy gent.’ in 1647, Jones probably passed away before the Restoration, although the precise date of his death is unknown and no will or administration has been traced.26 He was succeeded by his grandson, Griffith Jones, who sat for New Radnor in the first Exclusion Parliament.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Lloyd Bowen
- 1. E178/5136.
- 2. CPR, 1593-4, p. 77; Add. 39732, ff. 104, 107; Add. 39747, ff. 56, 74, 204; SP23/205/965, 969.
- 3. CPR, 1593-4, p. 77.
- 4. C6/113/72; 6/19/75.
- 5. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 169.
- 6. JPs of Wales and Monm. ed. Phillips, 326-34; SP28/251, unfol.
- 7. C219/37/368.
- 8. C212/22/21-3; SR, v. 68, 158.
- 9. NLW, Lleweni 668; HEHL, EL7443; SP28/251, unfol.
- 10. C193/12/2, f. 74; SP16/58/13.
- 11. HEHL, EL7443.
- 12. Add. 70003, f. 133.
- 13. LJ, iv. 386a.
- 14. Northants RO, FH133.
- 15. Bodl. Dudgdale 19, ff. 21, 87.
- 16. Add. 39732, f. 107; Add. 39747, f. 204; List of Sheriffs, 169.
- 17. C219/37/368; E178/5136.
- 18. SP23/305/965, 969, 979. In the 1660s the entire estate was said to be worth £300 p.a. and being ‘capable of very great annual improvement’: C5/508/15.
- 19. E179/224/578, 580.
- 20. C219/37/368-9.
- 21. E179/224/589a; E401/2586, p. 341.
- 22. CSP Dom. 1637, p. 132; SP16/386/26.
- 23. SP23/205/969, 973; 16/539/407.
- 24. SP23/205/963-79.
- 25. C6/113/17.
- 26. SP23/205/979.