PRICE, James II (1571-1641), of Pilleth, Rad.

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



Family and Education

b. 1571,1 1st s. of John Price (d.1597) of Pilleth and Catherine (d.1589), da. of Roger Vaughan† of Clyro, Rad.2 educ. M. Temple 1588; Brasenose, Oxf. 1589, aged 18.3 m. Elizabeth (d. aft. Jan. 1641),4 da. of (?Eustace) Whitney of Whitney, Herefs. and Iccombe, Glos., 6s. 4da;5 bro. of Charles*. suc. fa. 16 Sept. 1597.6 d. 6 Jan. 1641.7 sig. Ja[mes] Pryce.

Offices Held

J.p. Rad. 1598-1610, 1612-d.;8 commr. i.p.m., lands of Eustace Whitney in Rad. 1608;9 sheriff, Rad. 1610-11,10 dep. lt. by 1623-d.,11 commr. subsidy 1621, 1624;12 dep. steward (jt.), Southegre (and other Crown manors), Rad. by 1622-at least 1628;13 commr. Forced Loan, Rad. 1626-7.14


The cadet branch of the Prices of Mynachdy were established at Pilleth in the first half of the sixteenth century by Stephen Price†, second son of Ieuan ap James ap Rhys (James Price) of Mynachdy.15 Although prominent in Radnorshire society, this Member cut a poorer figure at Oxford, where he was relegated to plebeian status in the matriculation registers. His father had been a member of Clifford’s Inn, and Price himself attended the Middle Temple, although this was probably to acquire a social polish rather than the result of any professional aptitude.16 He succeeded his father in 1597, and was appointed to the county bench the following year. He married into the Whitney family, almost certainly the nearby Herefordshire branch which had previously married into the Mynachdy Prices. In 1608 Price served as a commissioner at the inquisition post mortem into the Radnorshire estates of Eustace Whitney, who was probably his father-in-law.17

Politically, the Pilleth Prices played second fiddle to the Mynachdy branch until 1622, when the financial troubles of James Price I* allowed the junior line to assume a leading role in county politics. This Member was a close ally of the Mynachdy Prices, appearing as a sympathetic deponent in a 1604 lawsuit against their adversary, William Vaughan of Llowes, whom he accused of riotous behaviour at a court baron at Painscastle.18 Price counted Mynachdy associates like John Bradshaw of Presteigne and Richard Jones* of Trewern as kinsmen and allies, and witnessed the contested return of James Price I* at the 1620 county election.19 He otherwise played little part in local controversies before 1624, although in 1615 he was accused of assault by Hugh Hanley of Ludlow, who claimed Price had described him as a ‘rascal bankrupt English ... Jack-and-axes’.20

Price’s election for Radnorshire in 1624 followed the collapse of the Mynachdy interest, and, despite the earlier enmity between the two, may have been facilitated by William Vaughan, his mother’s nephew. If this is correct, then it suggests that Price had emerged as a compromise candidate in the wake of the earlier factional struggles. The return of Price’s brother Charles return as borough Member at every election held throughout the 1620s completed the ascendancy of the Pilleth family. The parliamentary records for the three assemblies in which both brothers sat do not distinguish between the two: in April 1624 James Price is known to have attended a meeting of the committee for an estate bill for the Edwards family of Chirk, Denbighshire; but most of the activity attributed to ‘Mr. Price’ can probably be ascribed to his brother, Charles.21

Price’s low profile in Parliament echoes his relatively modest role in local affairs. He was sued in the Council of the Marches in 1624 for alleged improprieties in collecting Crown rents in Radnorshire, where he and his brother Charles served as deputy steward to the 3rd earl of Pembroke. In 1628 he responded with an Exchequer bill blaming the Crown receiver, John Rowse, for any shortcomings.22 In October 1627 Price was accused of detaining £96 of coat and conduct money raised for an abortive levy of troops for Ireland in 1614, which he was directed to repay.23 In October 1630 he queried the proceedings initiated against him for knighthood fines, but he compounded at £20 the following May, shortly after a test case was resolved in the Crown’s favour.24

Price’s death on 6 Jan. 1641 was reported by Lady Brilliana Harley of Brampton Bryan. In his will, drafted the day before his death, he provided for his younger sons and unmarried daughters, and endowed six cottages then under construction in Presteigne as almshouses. His brother Charles and his wife Elizabeth were appointed executors; the former was bequeathed other property in Presteigne, while his wife acquired a jointure interest for life in one-third of his estate; she was to reside at Pilleth, ‘that my good friends may be the better entertained and the poor more comfortably received’. Probate was granted in the Brecon Archdeaconry Court on 30 March. An accompanying inventory enumerated £663 of goods, including much livestock, and noted that the expenses for his funeral at Pilleth church, excepting food and drink, had amounted to £58.25 Price was succeeded by his son John, who had married into the Rodd family of Presteigne and Trebartha, Cornwall; after the death of the latter’s son James in 1677, the estate passed away through the female line. No other member of this family sat in Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Lloyd Bowen


  • 1. E134/2Jas.I/Trin.1.
  • 2. Dwnn, Vis. Wales ed. S.R. Meyrick, i. 252; Trans. Rad. Soc. xxxviii. 53.
  • 3. M. Temple Admiss.; Al. Ox.
  • 4. NLW, BR1641/160.
  • 5. Trans. Rad. Soc. xliv. 53-7.
  • 6. Ibid. xxi. 42.
  • 7. Letters of Brilliana Harley ed. T.T. Lewis (Cam. Soc. lviii), 108.
  • 8. JPs in Wales and Monm. ed. Phillips, 325-33.
  • 9. C142/305/109.
  • 10. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 169.
  • 11. Cheshire Archives, DNE16; HEHL, EL7443.
  • 12. C212/22/21-3.
  • 13. E112/278/3.
  • 14. C193/12/2, f. 74; SP16/58/13.
  • 15. Dwnn, Vis. Wales, i. 252.
  • 16. STAC 5/P63/5.
  • 17. C142/305/109.
  • 18. E134/2Jas.I/Trin.1.
  • 19. C219/37/368.
  • 20. STAC 8/165/25.
  • 21. C.R. Kyle, ‘Attendance Lists’, PPE 1604-48 ed. Kyle, 205.
  • 22. E112/278/3.
  • 23. APC, 1627-8, p. 117.
  • 24. E178/7154, pt. 2, no. 108; E401/1918; H.H. Leonard, ‘Distraint of Knighthood’, History, lxiii. 29-31.
  • 25. NLW, BR1641/160.