GRUFFYDD, Robert (by 1515-75 or later), of Caernarvon.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b. by 1515, 2nd s. of Edmund Gruffydd of Porth-yr-Aur by Sioned, da. of Meredydd ap Ieuan ap Robert of Gwydir. m. Elizabeth, da. of George Sparrow of Beaumaris, Anglesey, 6s. 5da.1
Bailiff, commote of Uwchgwyrfai, Caern. in 1536, 1543-5, commote of Isgwyrfai, Caern. in 1537-constable of the peace, commote of Isgwyrfai in 1546, 1548; bailiff, Nantconwy in 1550-1; dep. constable Caernarvon castle and ex officio dep. mayor, Caernarvon in 1551, 1553 and 1575; j.p. Caern. 1558/59.2
Robert Gruffydd’s family was an offshoot of the well-known family of Penrhyn, his grandfather having been third son to William Gruffydd Fychan (d.1483) and brother to William Gruffydd (d. 1505/6), chamberlain of North Wales. He was thus second cousin to Sir Rhys Gruffydd.3
As a younger son Gruffydd had to make his way through trade and office in and around Caernarvon, where he was assessed for subsidy on goods worth £20. In May 1552 he stood surety for a French cobbler in the town, Julien le Grand, at the Caernarvonshire quarter sessions. Like his father before him he was deputy constable and deputy mayor, and it was to his stepfather (Sir) John Puleston, the constable and mayor, that he owed his first return to Parliament. At the following election he was replaced by Puleston’s son Robert, of whose election he was a witness, and it was not until 1558 that he was to sit again: by then Puleston was dead and Gruffydd probably owed both his seat in Parliament and his place on the Caernarvonshire bench to the standing of his family rather than to the new constable John Harington II. Five of his cousins of Plas Mawr were to sit for Caernarvon Boroughs in the following reign.4
Under Elizabeth, Gruffydd was the defendant in two cases in the court of requests, of which the second, heard in 1574, arose from a family dispute over the will of his elder brother John, who had died more than 30 years before. Of greater interest is Gruffydd’s own bill of 1575 in the Star Chamber, in which as deputy mayor of Caernarvon (although in the continuous absence of the constable he was in practice the mayor) he defended the liberties of the borough against the interference of the sheriff, Rowland Puleston, whom he accused of seizing livestock on the town common and committing other illegalities. No further trace of Gruffydd has been found.5
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: P. S. Edwards
- 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Griffith, Peds. 226.
- 2. SC6/Hen. VIII 4964, m. 5; 4965, m. 4v; 4966, m. 5; 5468, m. 6v; 5477, m. I; 5478, m. IV; Cal. Caern. Q. Sess. Recs. ed. Williams, 31, 38-39, 56, 62, 65, 120-1, 162, 174-5; E. Breese, Kalendars of Gwynedd, 127n; St.Ch.5/G13/21.
- 3. DWB (Griffith fam. of Carreglwyd, Anglesey).
- 4. E179/220/135; C219/19/151; Cal. Caern. Q. Sess. Recs. 238.
- 5. Req.2/29/112, 197/66; St.Ch.5/G13/21.