NANNEY, Griffith (1568-1609), of Nannau, Llangachreth and Maelan, Dolgelly, Merion.
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Family and Education
b. 1568, 1st s. of Hugh Nanney of Nannau by Anne, da. of Rhys Vaughan of Cors y gedol. educ. Shrewsbury; Jesus, Oxf. July 1585. m.Ellen, da. of John Wyn ap Cadwaladr of Rhiwlas, 3s. 2da.
Commr. subsidy Merion. 1595, j.p. from c.1599.
Unlike the Salesburys of Rûg, the Prices of Rhiwlas and the Owens of Llwyn, all of recent standing, the Nanney family had been seated in Merioneth since the thirteenth century. Head of the family between 1580 and 1625, and first of his stock to use the surname consistently, was Hugh Nanney, who rebuilt the family mansion and increased his patrimony by acquisitions from the dissolved abbey of Cymmer. Apart from their inter-marriages with the neighbouring houses of Vaughan of Hengwrt, of Caer Gai and of Cors y gedol, the Nanneys had many friends in the shire, as appeared when Hugh Nanney was in prison in 1606.
Griffith Nanney predeceased his father and did not inherit the family estate, but he appears to have been endowed with lands on reaching his majority and these he increased by purchases and leases; he also had by 1597 his own separate establishment at Maelan, in the township of Garth Maelan, a mile or so south of RÃ»g. He thus became involved in the family hereditary feuds. His election to Parliament in 1593 was intended to forestall the aspirations of John Lewis Owen, the principal rival of the Nanneys, who had represented the shire in 1572, and it inaugurated a period of bloody strife between the rival factions. A Star Chamber suit about the wrongful conversion of money levied to pay the MP indicates that Nanney received £15 or £16 for his services as knight of the shire. The under-sheriff was alleged to have collected £50 in the county and embezzled the balance. As knight of the shire for Merioneth, Nanney could have attended committees on the subsidy (26 Feb.) and a legal matter (9 Mar.).
The year after the election Griffith Nanney sued John Lewis Owen in Star Chamber for illegal intrusion and violent breaking down of enclosures (alleged to have been themselves encroachments on common land) at Tyddyn Bach in Garth y Maelan. An accusation against Nanney of unlawful enclosure came before the same court in 1606-7. He was also associated with his father in 1604 in charges brought by the Crown before the court of Exchequer (but attributed to the malice of the Owens of Llwyn) of sales of timber from 1588-94 from Penrhos woods, north of Nannau, which were claimed as crown commons and part of the forest of Snowdon. A heavy fine was imposed, and the father suffered a term of imprisonment for nonpayment, but in a later action a crown witness was proved to be perjured. A compromise was reached the year after Griffith’s death, not, however, before the feud had issued in gross disorders in the town of Dolgelly and in charges and counter-charges before the Star Chamber and the council of Wales of mutual forays on the proprietary pews of the respective families in Dolgelly church. Griffith was further accused of unlawful detention of a commissioner in the Penrhos wood case and of other misdemeanours as a magistrate; and he accepted a challenge from one of the Llwyn faction to a duel, which apparently never took place. All this cost money, and Nanney was soon borrowing from Thomas Myddelton. In 1606 a writ of attachment was out against him for £200; but the London merchant’s regard for his ‘cousins’ of Nannau made some accommodation possible, and Nanney was still borrowing money on mortgage to within a couple of years of his death. He died in 1609, letters of administration being granted as July. He was lamented in an elegy by the Nannau household bard, Richard Phylip.
This biography is based upon E. D. Jones, ‘Fam. of Nannau’, Jnl. Merion. Hist. Soc. ii. 15; B. R. Parry, ‘Hist. Nannau Fam. to 1623’, UCNW MA thesis 1958. Other sources include: Griffith, Peds. 200; UCNW Nannau-Hengwrt mss; Star Chamber, ed. Edwards (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. i), 91, 94, 185; D’Ewes, 474, 496; St. Ch. 5/N10/34; 8/221/24, 223/17, 225/15; 5/W28/23; Arch. Camb. (ser. iii), x. 104; NLW Peniarth mss 327, pt.1; HMC Welsh, i. 269.