WYNN AP MEREDYDD, John (by 1494-1559), of Dolwyddelan and Gwydir, Caern.
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Family and Education
b. by 1494, 1st surv. s. of Meredydd ap Ieuan ap Robert of Dolwyddelan and Gwydir by 1st w. Alice, da. of William ap Gruffydd ap Robin of Cochwillan. m. Ellen, da. of Morris ap John ap Meredydd of Clenennau, 5s. inc. John Gwynne†, Morris Wynn and Robert Wynn† 2da. suc. fa. 1525.2
Commr. tenths of spiritualities, Bangor diocese 1535, subsidy, Caern, 1543, benevolence 1544/45, surveillance of N. Wales coast 1544-5, relief, Caern. 1550, goods of churches and fraternities, Caern. and Merion. 1553, loan, Caern. 1557; j.p. Caern., Merion. 1543-d.; custos rot. Merion. in 1543, Caern. by 1550-d.; sheriff, Caern. 1544-5, 1556-7; steward, former lands of Beddgelert priory, Conway abbey, and the order of St. John of Jerusalem, Caern. c.1550.3
The Wynn family of Gwydir was one of the great families of Tudor Wales. Of ancient descent from Owain Gwynedd, son of Gryffydd ap Cynan, the house of Gwydir was established by John Wynn’s father, who purchased the lease of Dolwyddelan castle about 1489 and the family home at Gwydir about the turn of the century.4
The earliest reference found to Wynn is a letter of 1515 to him from Mary, Duchess of Suffolk, sister of Henry VIII, whose husband was chamberlain of North Wales; it contained a request to him to give her servant any merlins from these parts. After this tantalizing early glimpse, he is hardly caught sight of again before the Union: in 1530 he renewed the lease of the vills of Dolwyddelan, Gwydir and Trefriw at an annual rent of £19 4s.8d.5
It was almost certainly Wynn who was returned for the shire to the Parliament of 1542: although only the name John survives on the dorse of the writ and on the sheriff’s schedule, he is the most likely man to have had the honour of first representing the shire in Parliament, especially as John Puleston, who might have made a bid for it, was elected for Caernarvon Boroughs on the same occasion. Wynn was one of the first justices of the peace in Caernarvonshire and a member of the quorum; in 1543 he was also custos rotulorum in Merioneth. It was to him that, on the eve of the parliamentary election of 1542, Bishop Lee and Sir Nicholas Hare of the council in the marches wrote to recommend Richard Mytton for election in Merioneth, but Wynn’s kinsman, Edward Stanley I, carried the day. Wynn was a brother-in-law and ally of John Puleston, whom as sheriff he returned to Parliament in 1545. It is not surprising, therefore, that when early in 1551 Puleston died while knight for Caernarvonshire in the next Parliament, Wynn was by-elected in his place. His name appears on the list of Members revised in preparation for the final session in January 1552, so that he may be presumed to have taken his seat then. He was not to sit again, probably because of his advancing years, but he saw to it that his heir Morris Wynn did so twice and he was one of the local gentlemen to whom the council in the marches successfully recommended Sir Rhys Gruffydd for election in 1555. His local ascendancy owed something to the support of the 1st Earl of Pembroke, whom one member of his family called his truest friend. He sued out a general pardon at the accession of both Mary and Elizabeth, and from 1555 he rebuilt Gwydir.6
Wynn made his will on 14 June 1557, asking to be buried in Bangor cathedral. He left 20s. for the repair of Llanrwst church and a weekly sum of 1s.to be divided equally between the ‘poor folks’ of the parish every Sunday for a year. His wife was to have all the goods and chattels, some livestock and half the household stuff, the other half going to his heir Morris Wynn, who was also given some livestock and £40 in cash; three other sons and his daughter Margaret received livestock. The executors of the will were his wife and their sons Morris and John. Wynn survived its making by two years, dying on 9 July 1559; the will was proved on the following 23 Aug. An elegy was written by Sion Brwynog.7
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: P. S. Edwards
- 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament; Hatfield 207.
- 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Dwnn, Vis. Wales, ii. 158-9 and n; Griffith, Peds. 280-1.
- 3. LP Hen. VIII, viii; Cal. Wynn (of Gwydir) Pprs. 1515-1690, pp. 2, 4; CPR, 1553, pp. 363, 419; E179/220/140; Cal. Caern. Q. Sess. Recs. ed. Williams, passim; C193/12/1; SP11/5/6.
- 4. DWB (Wynn fam. of Gwydir).
- 5. Cal. Wynn (of Gwydir) Pprs. 1515-1690, p. 1; LP Hen. VIII, iv.
- 6. Cal. Wynn (of Gwydir) Pprs. 1515-1690, pp. 1, 3, 4; CPR, 1553-4, p. 356; 1557-8, p. 265; 1558-60, p. 160.
- 7. PCC 39 Chaynay; HMC Welsh, i(1), 208.