GLYNNE, Thomas (c.1596-1647), of Glynllivon, Caern.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



1640 (Apr.)

Family and Education

b. c.1596,1 1st s. of Sir William Glynne† of Glynllivon and Llanfwrog, Anglesey and 1st w. Jane, da. of John Griffith I* of Plas Mawr, Caernarvon and Trefarthen, Llanidan, Anglesey.2 educ. ?Oxf. Univ. 1613, L. Inn 1614.3 m. settlement 13 May 1636 (with £500) Ellen, da. and coh. of Owen [ap] Robert Owen of Bodafon, Llanfwrog, Anglesey, 1s. 1da.4 suc. fa. 1620.5 d. bet. 26 Nov.-30 Dec. 1647.6 sig. T[homas] Glynne.

Offices Held

Dep. lt. Caern. 1620-42;7 commr. subsidy, Caern. 1621, 1624, 1628-9, 1641;8 j.p. Caern. 1621-d., Anglesey 1638-d.;9 sheriff, Caern. 1621-2;10 commr. subsidy arrears, Caern. 1626, Forced Loan 1626-7, knighthood fines 1630, piracy, N. Wales 1631, Poll Tax, Caern. 1641, Irish aid 1642, assessment 1642-3, 1647;11 col. militia ft., Caern. by 1644;12 gov., Caernarvon 1646-d.;13 v.-adm. N. Wales by Feb. 1647-d.14


The Glynnes claimed descent from a semi-mythical ninth century chieftain, and were settled at Glynllivon, four miles south of Caernarvon, by the thirteenth century. They remained loyal to the English Crown during Glyndŵr’s revolt, and, following marriages into the English settler families of Bulkeley and Puleston, adopted the surname Glynne early in the sixteenth century. However, they did not forsake their Welsh heritage, remaining patrons of bardic culture until the early Stuart period.15 Glynne’s father, the first MP in the family, grew up in Anglesey, hence his return for that shire in 1593.

Glynne made a brief appearance at Court in June 1617, when it was reported that Rowland Whyte, a former constable of Caernarvon Castle, hoped to place him in the household of the new favourite, George Villiers, earl of Buckingham. The latter’s journey to Scotland with the king meant that these plans came to nothing, and Glynne probably returned to Wales long before his father’s death in 1620.16 At the Caernarvonshire election in December 1620 Glynne backed John Griffith III* against (Sir) Richard Wynn, largely because Sir John Wynn† had broken a promise made in 1614 to back Glynne at the next parliamentary election. Even so, Glynne was belatedly considered as a candidate by the Wynns on the morning of the 1620 election, when it became clear that the Gwydir interest was facing a disastrous defeat unless its members could unite behind a man who might split the opposing vote.17

Glynne’s relations with the Wynns remained sour over the next few years. William Wynn* secured his removal from the subsidy commission in the summer of 1621, while in January 1623 the Wynns complained to the Privy Council that Glynne, as sheriff, had interfered with their collection of the Palatine Benevolence in the Conway valley during the previous year.18 Glynne obtained ample revenge with his return to the 1624 Parliament on the interest of the rival Llŷn faction, and compounded the insult while at Westminster by signing the petition against the proposed lease of the Welsh greenwax fines to Sir Richard Wynn. The only other record of his presence in Parliament in 1624 was his attendance, as a knight of the shire for Wales, at one of the committee meetings for the Edwards v. Edwards decree bill, which concerned an estate in Denbighshire.19

At the 1625 election Glynne was opposed for the county seat by Sir Peter Mutton*, chief justice of North Wales. Mutton had sat for the borough seat in 1624, and claimed that Glynne had assured him while at Westminster on that occasion ‘that if any of my friends had desired the place [i.e. the shire seat] for me he would have yielded with many protestations of his love and respect unto me’. Having taken a casual pleasantry at face value, Mutton then compounded his error by approaching Sir John Wynn for support before assuring himself of Glynne’s willingness to stand aside, a miscalculation which was sure to raise the hackles of the Llŷn faction, who undertook to fight for the seat ‘might and main’. Glynne almost won the election by default on 13 Apr., when he appeared at the county court with the sheriff, ‘and might have carried it with the voice of 20 men without any opposition’ but for the fact that the writ did not arrive until the following day. Wynn’s support for Mutton cooled in the aftermath of this blunder, and it is likely that Glynne faced only a token opposition on the day of the election, although, in the words of a Wynn supporter, he and his Llŷn allies still ‘laboured as if it had been to obtain a great prize’.20 Glynne left no trace on the known records of the Parliament, although he almost certainly attended the early part of the sitting, as he was active elsewhere around Westminster at the time: in July the Court of Wards granted him a lease of part of the estates of a recently deceased Northumberland knight, Sir Henry Widdrington*; and a few days later he persuaded secretary of state Sir Edward Conway I* to recommend his brother for a captaincy in the Cadiz expedition.21

Glynne voluntarily stood aside to allow John Griffith III a clear run at the county seat in 1626, his name appearing second on the indenture returning his ally, and Griffith probably sought to return the favour by lobbing to have Glynne excused from payment of a Privy Seal loan of £20 a few months later.22 Although active in local affairs, Glynne took no further part in national politics until he was returned to the Short Parliament in 1640. His late marriage, in 1636, must have surprised many of his friends, not least his lawyer brother John Glynne†, who had until then held the reversionary interest to the family estates. The bride brought him a dowry of £500, a relatively modest sum even by Welsh standards, but she also held a reversion of lands worth £150 a year after the death of her mother, a useful addition to Glynne’s own estate, which he valued at £500 a year. After his mother-in-law’s death in 1638, Glynne discovered that his wife had signed away her rights to her inheritance before her marriage, and he spent much of the next four years at law, attempting to claw back some of these lands from his wife’s uncle.23

Glynne contested both the county and borough seats for the Long Parliament elections, but was frustrated by his erstwhile ally, John Griffith III. A reluctant royalist during the Civil War, Glynne was briefly detained on suspicion of parliamentarian sympathies at some point early in the conflict, although by 1644 he was serving the royalist cause locally as a militia colonel. He swiftly changed sides when parliamentarian forces invaded the county in the spring of 1646, and the assistance he rendered during the siege of Conway led to his being made governor of Caernarvon by Parliament in June 1646.24 He died at the end of the following year, his successor as vice-admiral of North Wales being appointed under a warrant dated 30 Dec. 1647. In his will of 26 Nov. 1647 he left his lands to his infant son John, whose heiress married the Hanoverian courtier Sir Thomas Wynn, bt., MP for Caernarvon Boroughs from 1713.25

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Simon Healy


  • 1. Assuming age 18 on entry to Lincoln’s Inn.
  • 2. J.E. Griffith, Peds. Anglesey and Caern. Fams. 125, 171-2.
  • 3. Al. Ox.; LI Admiss.
  • 4. Griffith, 171; C2/Chas.I/G12/1, 2/Chas.I/G36/7.
  • 5. G. Roberts, ‘Glynnes and Wynnes of Glynllifon’, Trans. Caern. Hist. Soc. ix. 28, 40.
  • 6. PROB 11/206, ff. 4v-5; LJ, ix. 622b.
  • 7. NLW, Clenennau 401; NLW, 9060E/1313; HEHL, EL7443.
  • 8. NLW, Brogyntyn 3329; C212/22/23; E179/220/154-6; SR, v. 67, 90.
  • 9. JPs in Wales and Monm. ed. Phillips, 11-12, 26-30.
  • 10. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 248.
  • 11. E179/224/598, f. 2; T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 2, p. 145; C193/12/2; C181/4, f. 95v; SR, v. 107, 141, 157; A. and O. i. 978, 1096.
  • 12. Cal. N. Wales Letters ed. B.E. Howells (Bd. of Celtic Studs. Hist. and Law ser. xxiii), 61.
  • 13. CSP Dom. 1645-7, pp. 445, 563; Cal. N. Wales Letters, 61-2.
  • 14. Cal. Wynn Pprs. no. 1815; LJ, ix. 622b.
  • 15. Griffith, 172; Roberts, ‘Glynnes’, Trans. Caern. Hist. Soc. ix. 25, 28; DWB (Glyn of Glynllifon); J. Gwynfor Jones, Concepts of Order and Gentility in Wales, 184, 214.
  • 16. NLW, 9056E/791, 9058E/1034; Griffith, 130; R. Lockyer, Buckingham, 32.
  • 17. NLW, Clenennau 401; NLW, 466E/940.
  • 18. NLW, 9057E/968, 989; 466E/1064.
  • 19. NLW, 9059E/1189, 1217-18; C219/38/324; HLRO, main pprs. 20 May 1624.
  • 20. Procs. 1625, pp. 674-9, 684.
  • 21. WARD 9/123, ff. 339-40; NLW, 9060E/1266; CSP Dom. 1625-6, p. 71; APC, 1627, p. 190.
  • 22. C219/40, f. 13; E401/2586, p. 337; NLW, 9061E/1422.
  • 23. Caern. RO, XD2/5747-8; C2/Chas.I/G12/1; 2/Chas.I/G36/7; 2/Chas.I/G50/20; 2/Chas.I/G52/46; 2/Chas.I/G59/34; 2/Chas.I/G61/174; 2/Chas.I/G62/102; 2/Chas.I/O2/34; 2/Chas.I/W28/61; 2/Chas.I/W50/46.
  • 24. NLW, 9062E/1677; Cal. N. Wales Letters, 61-2; CSP Dom. 1645-7, pp. 445, 563; CCC, 1245.
  • 25. Cal. Wynn Pprs. no. 1838; LJ, ix. 622b; PROB 11/206, ff. 4-5; Griffith, 171-3.