VAUGHAN, Richard II (by 1606-1636), of Cors-y-Gedol, Llanddwywe, Merion. and Plas Hên, Llanystumdwy, Caern.
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Family and Education
b. by 1606, o.s. of William Vaughan of Cors-y-Gedol and Ann, da. and h. of Richard Vaughan of Talhenbont, Llanystumdwy, Caern. m. settlement 12 Apr. 1616, Elizabeth (d. by 25 Oct. 1641), da. of John Owen of Clenennau, Penmorfa, Caern. and Brogyntyn (Porkington), Salop, 1s. 1da. suc. fa. 1633. d. 19 July 1636, aged c.30.1 sig. Richard Vaughan.
The Vaughans claimed descent from a member of the Anglo-Irish Fitzgerald family, who married the heiress of Cors-y-Gedol in the early thirteenth century. By 1600 they owned several thousand acres of pasture in Merioneth, to which the MP’s father added by his marriage to the heiress of Talhenbont, Caernarvonshire. The family supported Jasper Tudor during the Wars of the Roses, but were of little political significance during the Tudor period, although after the 1536 Act of Union every head of the family served as sheriff of Merioneth at least once, while Rhys Vaughan was returned as knight of the shire in 1545.4
The Vaughans played a significant role in the fractious electoral politics of both Merioneth and Caernarvonshire during the 1620s. In December 1620 Sir William Thomas hoped that Vaughan, young as he was, would lead his family’s tenants in support of (Sir) Richard Wynn* of Gwydir at the hard fought Caernarvonshire election. If Vaughan attended, Wynn’s defeat meant that he was not invited to sign the indenture, but he did attest the Merioneth return, which was sealed eight days earlier.5 Three years later, Wynn’s younger brother Henry, who had married the heiress of Vaughan’s cousin Ellis Lloyd*, was returned for Merioneth, with Vaughan’s father heading the list of attestors. Wynn was re-elected in 1625, but it is possible that he lost the voices of the Cors-y-Gedol tenants on this occasion, as Sir William Thomas recorded that ‘Richard Vaughan, my cousin William Vaughan his son’ had turned out at the Caernarvonshire election in support of the Wynns’ inveterate enemies, the Llŷn faction. The Vaughans’ mounting opposition to the Wynns became abundantly clear at the next election: Richard Vaughan signed the return of John Griffith III* of Llŷn at the Caernarvonshire election, while his father, as sheriff, presided over the defeat of Henry Wynn in Merioneth.6
With Henry Wynn removed from contention, Vaughan was himself returned for Merioneth in 1628. In view of his youth and inexperience, it is unlikely that any of the activity attributed to ‘Mr. Vaughan’ in the records of the two sessions can be ascribed to him. The man who sued for privilege for one of his servants on 20 May 1628 was probably Henry Vaughan of Carmarthen, who was later named to the investigating committee (24 June),7 while the lawyer John Vaughan of Cardigan Boroughs was almost certainly the man who spoke about the constitutional liberties of the subject.8 Vaughan made only one brief speech on 24 Apr. 1628, when, as knight of the shire, he certified that there were no recusant officeholders in Merioneth, but according to his great-grandson he nevertheless achieved a certain notoriety at Westminster because he
was so very fat and unwieldy that the folding doors of the House of Commons were opened to let him in, which is never done but when the Black Rod brings a message from the king, who being then in the House of Lords, the folding doors opened, when the rumour in the House was, "the Black Rod or the Welsh Knight is coming".9
Vaughan succeeded his father in 1633, and was pricked as sheriff of Merioneth two years later. He died suddenly during his term of office, on 19 July 1636, apparently from complications arising from an operation to reduce his girth. His mother secured