VAUGHAN, Edward (c.1600-1661), of the Inner Temple, London and Llwydiarth, Llanfihangel yng Ngwynfa, Mont.
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Family and Education
b. c.1600,2 5th but 3rd or 4th surv. s. of Owen Vaughan (d.1616) of Llwydiarth and 1st w. Catherine, da. and h. of Maurice ap Robert of Llangedwyn, Denb.3 educ. I. Temple 1618, called 1635.4 unm. suc. nephew Herbert Vaughan 1650.5 bur. 8 Oct. 1661.6 sig. Ed[ward] Vaughan.
J.p. Mont. 1624-6, 1643-8;7 commr. disarming recusants, Mont. 1641;8 chairman, sub-cttee. of accts., Mont. by 1646-7; commr. assessment, Merion., Mont. 1647-8, Mont. 1657, Jan. 1660, N. Wales Assoc. 1648, militia, Merion., Mont. 1648, N. Wales 1660;9 sheriff, Denb. 1658-60;10 dep. lt. Mont. 1661-d.
Assoc. bencher, I. Temple 1659-d.11
Originally from south Wales, the Vaughans acquired Llwydiarth by marriage in the fourteenth century. During the early Stuart period they owned 100,000 acres of upland pasture in northern Montgomeryshire, worth perhaps £2,500 a year, with outlying properties in adjacent parts of Denbighshire and Merioneth. Despite the size of this estate, no member of the family represented Montgomeryshire before 1647, largely because they had the misfortune to be overshadowed by the Herbert families of Montgomery Castle and Powis Castle, whose lands and local influence were even more extensive than their own.12
As the fifth of seven sons, Vaughan’s chances of inheriting the family estate were initially slim. After his eldest brother, John, died without male heirs in 1616 his father modified the family entail, making the second son, (Sir) Robert, heir to the majority of his lands, and settling smaller properties on all of the others except for the future MP. This may have been a deliberate snub, but it is perhaps as likely that Vaughan was already intended for a legal career, to which end he was enrolled at the Inner Temple in 1618. Sir Robert duly succeeded to the estate upon his father’s death at the end of 1616, but was survived only by a daughter at the time of his death in 1624. Vaughan subsequently claimed that Sir Robert had created a new entail in 1622 or 1623, which settled the reversion of the estate upon him.13 The provenance of this deed was highly questionable, as no mention was ever made of arrangements to break the 1616 entail, while, if Vaughan’s description of the indenture’s contents are to be believed, it failed to make provision either for the jointure interests of Sir Robert’s wife Dame Katherine, or for the rights of any male heir born to Sir Robert after it was sealed. Moreover, no mention was made of the rights of the third and fourth brothers, Charles and Roger, who would have been required to relinquish their existing claims before the new settlement could take effect. Roger, who disappeared from the family records after 1617, was presumably dead by the time his father’s inquisition post mortem was taken in 1620,14 but Charles, still alive in 1638, inherited lands at Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain on the Shropshire border, and his wife, as heiress to Edward Price of Eglwyseg, Denbighshire, brought him lands worth £400 a year in the vicinity of Llangollen, Denbighshire. However, he was not an ideal heir at the time the alleged entail was drafted in 1622/3, as his marriage had recently broken down, and shortly thereafter he conveyed his own estates to Sir Robert to forestall any attempt by his estranged wife to sue him for maintenance.15
Two considerations ensured that the questionable validity of the 1622/3 entail vexed the Vaughan family for a generation: the first was the birth of Sir Robert’s posthumous heir, Herbert Vaughan, three weeks after his father’s death; while the second was Dame Katherine Vaughan’s ability to make her views felt through her father, Sir William Herbert* of Powis Castle, an influential figure both locally and at Court. The dispute began immediately upon Sir Robert’s death, on 30 July 1624, when Edward Vaughan and his retainers seized control of Llwydiarth, allegedly killing a servant in the process. Dame Katherine responded with a suit before the Council in the Marches, of which her father was a member, and was granted possession as guardian of the interests of her infant son. Vaughan contested this ruling in King’s Bench and Chancery, while Dame Katherine went to Star Chamber with a claim that the entail was a forgery, challenged Vaughan’s probate of her husband’s will in the Court of Delegates, and attempted to use the Court of Wards to regain control of her late husband’s goods.
Dame Katherine’s possession of the family estate left Vaughan in a very weak position, as the proportion of his brother’s goods he managed to secure hardly sufficed to cover the liability for annuities and dowries which he took on as executor of Sir Robert’s will.16 Moreover, the multiplicity of suits with which he was burdened by his sister-in-law ensured that he would be put to a great deal of expense if he ever wished to make good his claim to his patrimony. Under the circumstances, the only means by which he could secure possession at reasonable cost was a private Act of Parliament, and it seems likely that this was his prime motive for seeking election in the later 1620s. However, finding a seat among the hotly contested shires of north Wales was not an easy prospect: Dame Katherine’s father monopolized the knighthood of Montgomeryshire, and the Herberts of Montgomery dominated the borough seat, while Denbighshire saw a three-way contest in 1625 and was thereafter divided between the Myddelton and Thelwall families. The political situation was more fluid in Merioneth, where the Llwydiarth interest held only 1,000 acres, but Vaughan could hope for the support of his brother-in-law William Salesbury*, one of the county’s dominant figures. Vaughan may have stood for the knighthood of the shire in 1625, when the prime candidate was Henry Wynn, heir to the Rhiwgoch estate and knight of the shire in the previous Parliament. As soon as the election was called (Sir) John Wynn, (1st bt.)† canvassed Salesbury on his son’s behalf; the latter replied that he had promised to support the nominee of his cousins Hugh Nanney and William Vaughan of Cors-y-Gedol, who duly backed Wynn, and ten days later Salesbury endorsed their choice on the understanding that ‘my cousin Harry will supply the place himself’. Salesbury’s reluctance to commit himself to Wynn suggests that he expected another contender to emerge, and even if none appeared on the day, the election was clearly controversial, as Wynn spent the first month of the session expecting a petition to be filed against his return. Once he judged the danger to be past, Wynn sued out a writ for repayment of his expenses for the 1624 session, a move which backfired when he found himself facing the freeholders at another general election only six months later. This time it was Vaughan who carried the day, with Salesbury heading the list of those who attested his return.17
Any plans Vaughan may have had for introducing an estate bill came to nothing in 1626, when the Commons neglected private legislation in favour of attacks upon the duke of Buckingham. Given his animosity towards his Herbert neighbours, he was almost certainly the ‘Mr. Vaughan’ who ‘commanded a formal presentment from Montgomeryshire against Sir William and Sir John [?Percy] Herbert’ as recusant officeholders, a motion which had earlier been rejected. He left no other trace on the records of the House, but as a Welsh MP he was entitled to attend committees for the Bromfield and Yale copyholders’ bill (1 June) and the Bulkeley estate bill (10 June).18 He probably chose not to stand for Merioneth at the next election in 1628, when Richard Vaughan II of Cors-y-Gedol seems to have been returned unopposed. By this time, Vaughan’s chances of regaining possession of Llwydiarth were rapidly diminishing, while the father of the successful candidate, who had served as sheriff in 1626, may have pressed Vaughan to support his son’s candidacy the next election.
Vaughan’s lawsuits with his sister-in-law ground on inconclusively until the eve of the Civil War. After six years of deliberation, Star Chamber ruled that the entail upon which Vaughan based his claim to Llwydiarth was not forged, but left him to pursue his claim to the estate at the Common Law, where his attempts were easily frustrated: Dame Katherine held a belated inquisition post mortem to prove her title to her late husband’s estate in 1631, which allowed her to secure a Court of Wards injunction suspending Vaughan’s suit against her. Vaughan tried to break the deadlock in the equity courts by appealing first to King’s Bench and then to the probate courts, but while Archbishop Laud offered him sympathy, he could do little to overcome rivalry between the various jurisdictions. Towards the end of the 1630s Vaughan’s adversaries added to his woes by suing him for defamation in the earl marshal’s court over his insinuation that his nephew Herbert Vaughan was illegitimate.19
Vaughan is not known to have stood at either of the general elections of 1640, but, happily for him, the three courts which had done most to frustrate his cause - Star Chamber, the Court of Wards and the Marches court - all came under attack early in the Long Parliament. He quickly made his own complaint, and on 19 Mar. 1641 the standing committee for courts of justice voted to grant him immediate possession of his family’s properties in Merioneth and Denbighshire, and leave to sue for the main estates at common law. By the end of the year he was pressuring the family’s tenants to recognize him as their landlord, and he later claimed to have obtained possession of the whole estate at Common Law in August 1642.20 Vaughan could hardly afford to desert his parliamentarian benefactors in their hour of need, particularly once his nephew sided with the king. After Montgomery Castle capitulated to Sir Thomas Myddelton II* in the summer of 1644, Vaughan was quick to seize hold of Llwydiarth, which he held with a garrison of several hundred men for the remainder of the war. His anomalous position as sequestrator of an estate he claimed in his own right was criticized by the county committee, but the strategic importance of his garrison and his key role as chairman of the Montgomeryshire accounts committee allowed him to defy his enemies with impunity.21
Vaughan’s local power base on the Montgomeryshire accounts committee made him a natural ally of the Presbyterians who dominated the national accounts committee at Westminster, and it was presumably with their encouragement that he was returned as recruiter for Montgomeryshire in 1647. One of the Members arrested at Pride’s Purge on 6 Dec. 1648, he was released after two weeks, but kept under house arrest until 12 Feb. 1649. He was subsequently harassed by the Rump’s executive committees, both for his continued refusal to surrender Llwydiarth, and alleged embezzlement of £2,000 allocated to pay his garrison’s arrears at their disbandment in 1647. The worst of his problems was solved by the death of his nephew Herbert Vaughan in February 1650, and the protectoral regime confirmed his rights to Llwydiarth in 1654. Arrested in August 1659 upon suspicion of complicity with the royalist rising in Cheshire, he emerged to help with the sequestration of those, such as Myddelton, who had been in arms. Another brief period of arrest prevented him from standing for Merioneth at the general election of 1660, but in the following year he was returned for Montgomeryshire, which he represented until his death in October 1661.22
Vaughan used his will to forestall any dispute over jointure rights with his erstwhile sister-in-law Dame Katherine by granting her a life annuity of £500, while he also acknowledged the £1,000 dowry he owed his nieces Magdalen and Katherine Vaughan, daughters of his long-deceased eldest brother John. These sums were to be raised from his estates by his nephew Charles Salesbury, whom he made his executor. Llwydiarth passed to a distant relative, Howell Vaughan of Glan y Llyn, Merioneth, whose son Edward represented Montgomeryshire in Parliament from 1679 until his death in 1718. The latter’s heiress united the estate with those of Plas y Ward and Gwydir by her marriage to Sir Watkin Williams Wynn of Watstay, creating an interest which was to dominate north Welsh politics in the eighteenth century.23
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Simon Healy
- 1. Secluded at Pride’s Purge, 6 Dec. 1648.
- 2. Assuming entry to the I. Temple at age 18.
- 3. Mont. Peds. ed. J. Rhydderch, 66-7; C142/380/136.
- 4. I. Temple Admiss.; CITR, ii. 226.
- 5. CCC, 1627.
- 6. CITR, iii. 444.
- 7. JPs in Wales and Monm. ed. Phillips, 138-9, 143.
- 8. LJ, iv. 386.
- 9. CSP Dom. 1645-7, pp. 441, 461, 491; A. and O. i. 979, 1097, 1184, 1247; ii. 1086, 1383, 1448.
- 10. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 251.
- 11. CITR, ii. 333.
- 12. DWB (Vaughan of Llwydiarth); C142/472/97.
- 13. Variously dated as 2 Feb. 1622 or 1623 in C3/387/43; C2/Chas.I/P44/36; CSP Dom. 1640-1, p. 356; CCAM, 996.
- 14. Denb. RO. DD/WY/6512; C3/387/43. It is possible Roger became a Catholic priest: Seminary Priests ed. G. Anstruther, ii. 375.
- 15. C2/Chas.I/P17/9; 2/Chas.I/U8/38; 2/Chas.I/U14/48; C3/417/12.
- 16. Mont. Collections, xiv. 388-9; E112/273/1 (Denb.); C3/387/43.
- 17. Procs. 1625, pp. 692-3; NLW, 9060E/1356; Procs. 1626, ii. 246, 322; C219/40/19.
- 18. Procs. 1626, ii. 176; iii. 146, 339, 414; iv. 215.
- 19. CSP Dom. 1629-31, pp. 272-3; 1637, p. 558; 1639-40, p. 261; 1640-1, p. 356; Harvard Law Sch. 1101, f. 46v; C142/472/97; C2/Chas.I/P44/36.
- 20. CSP Dom. 1640-1, p. 505; D’Ewes ed. W. Notestein, 512; Cal. Wynn Pprs. no. 1700; CCAM, 996.
- 21. A.H. Dodd, Studies in Stuart Wales, 116, 122, 128; CSP Dom. 1645-7, pp. 230-1, 441, 461, 491; Mont. Collections, xiv. 323; Herbert Corresp. ed. W.J. Smith (Bd. of Celtic Studs. Univ. Wales, Hist and Law ser. xxi), 27-8.
- 22. D. Underdown, Pride’s Purge, 152, 168, 195; CCAM, 995-7; CCC, 1626-8; Dodd, 162-3, 167; Cal. Wynn Pprs. no. 2245.
- 23. C3/387/43; PROB 11/306, f. 398; DWB (Vaughan of Llwydiarth).