PUGH (AP HUGH), Robert (d.1565), of Plas Cefn y garlleg, Llansantffraid Glan Conway, Denb. and Penlassog, Creuddyn, Caern.
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Family and Education
s. of Hugh ap Robert (d.1565), of Cefn y garlleg. m. c.1550, Elizabeth, da. of Foulke Salusbury, dean of St. Asaph, of Berain and Lleweni, Denb., wid. of Rheinallt ap Ieuan of Penrhyn Creuddyn, Caern., 2s. 2da.1
?Receiver, Denbighland 1547;2 j.p. Caern. from 1556, sheriff Caern. 1560-1, Denb. 1561-2.
Pugh came of an ancient family long settled in the lower Conway valley, but his importance in Denbighshire derives from his fortunate marriage. His wife’s first husband was descended from Ednyfed Fychan, seneschal to Llywelyn the Great and ancestor of the Tudors. After the English conquest Ednyfed’s descendants held immediately of the English Crown the land with which Llywelyn had endowed them, and it was on these terms that Rheinallt ap Ieuan held the manor of Penrhyn, in the parish of Llangwstenyn on the Creuddyn peninsula. Rheinallt died in 1535, leaving an infant son (another Hugh) who was a royal ward. Robert ap Hugh, having married the widow about 1550, obtained the wardship from the Crown; this enabled him to enjoy the estate during the minority and then to marry the ward to his own sister Katherine. This is what gave him his footing in Caernarvonshire, where he served as constable for the hundred of Creuddyn from 1550 to his appointment as justice of the peace six years later. His election for the shire in the lifetime of his father (who outlived him by some months), with little or no freehold land to his name, is a tribute to the prestige this connexion brought with it.3
He also acquired a lease of the parochial tithe of Llangwstenyn, which he used to support a private chaplain; a share in the profits of a neighbouring fishing weir, probably that of the former abbey of Rhos Mynach, which survived till recent years; and a sub-lease of the crown ferries over the Conway (Aberconway and Tal y cafn), with the farm of the viii of Penlassog in Creuddyn. Inevitably he had often to go to law to defend his title. His rights over the ferries and Penlassog, which always went together, were challenged in a Star Chamber action towards the end of Henry VIII’s reign. In 1551-2 he brought several actions in Caernarvonshire quarter sessions against Creuddyn neighbours for trespass and hedge-breaking, thefts of cattle and cash, and another in the Exchequer to resist alleged violent encroachments on lands he claimed in Llangwstenyn. On the 24 Apr. 1559 he was granted leave of absence from Parliament for his ‘great business’ at the assizes.4
His will, made 3 Jan. 1565 and proved 26 Nov. following, shows that he had many irons in the fire besides his principal business of stock farming. Apart from his investments in ferries and fisheries, he had a share in the 30 ton vessel Katherine of Conway, which traded with France, and a store of alum and salt which may have formed part of her cargo. Most of his Denbighshire property went to his elder son David—a minor whom he placed under the guardianship of the lad’s second cousin Sir John Salusbury. The younger son and the two daughters were executors and residuary legatees, under the supervision of Salusbury (who received a horse and £40) and another. As it turned out, the executors were still under age when Pugh died, and administration had to be carried out—together with that of his father’s will—by the supervisors. Most of the Caernarvonshire property, including the weirs and ferries, was left to a namesake, the son of his former ward, with whose identity there has been frequent confusion. This other man, also a minor, was assigned to the guardianship of Sir Richard Bulkeley, with the condition, eventually fulfilled, that Sir Richard should give him one of his daughters in marriage, with a dowry of £300.
Benefactions were also left for the repair of neighbouring parish churches, including that of Conway, where he desired to be buried, and some 20 legacies to neighbours and friends, sometimes in stock, sometimes in cash ranging from Salusbury’s £40 to the chaplain’s 6s. 8d., and amounting in all to about £70. The MP’s father, as appears clearly in his will, died a Catholic, and, while the son’s will does not afford the same evidence, his descendants were active in the cause of that religion throughout the next century, with the result that although the family status remained until the male line died out early in the eighteenth century, it never again provided an MP or a sheriff. The Cefn y garlleg stock faded back into insignificance after 1559.5
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
- 1. Trans. Caern. Hist. Soc. 1957, p. 62; Cal. Caern. Q.S. Recs. 249; PCC 33 Morrison.
- 2. LP Hen. VIII, xiv(1), p. 533.
- 3. Trans. Anglesey Antiq. Soc. 1951, pp. 34-72; LP Hen. VIII, xix(1), pp. 77-8; CPR, 1547-8, p. 356; 1553 and App. Edw. VI, p. 370; Trans. Caern. Hist. Soc. 1957, p. 56; Cal. Caern. Q.S. Recs. 60, 136; PCC 11 Morrison.
- 4. N. Tucker, Colwyn Bay, pp. 248-53; Conway and Menai Ferries, ed. H. R. Davies (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. viii), 4-5, 83-5; Augmentations (same ser. xiii), 45-64; St. Ch. 20/190; Cal. Caern. Q.S. Recs. 85, 86, 91, 225; CJ, i. 60.
- 5. PCC 33 Morrison; E. A. Lewis, Welsh Port Bks. (Cymmrod. rec. ser. xii), 238; CPR, 1560-3, p. 446; 1563-6, p. 31; Lansd. 1218, ff. 97-9; A. H. Dodd, Studies in Stuart Wales, 227, 231, 234; DWB.