VAUGHAN, John II (by 1525-74), of Kidwelly, Carmarthen and Golden Grove, Carm.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Family and Education

b. by 1525, 1st s. of Hugh Vaughan of Kidwelly by 1st w. Jane, da. of Moris ab Owen of Bryn-y-Beirdd, Llandeilo, Carm. and Upton Castle, Pemb. m. Catherine, da. of Henry Morgan of Muddlescwm, 2s. Henry and Walter. 1da.; at least 6s. 5da. illegit.

Offices Held

Bailiff, Carmarthen in 1553, mayor 1554-5, 1563-4, alderman in 1555; receiver, duchy of Lancaster, Kidwelly 10 Mar. 1554-d.; j.p.q. Carm. 1559-d.; commr. subsidy 1560, piracy 1565; customer, Milford Haven, Pemb. 1560-d.; steward, Cilgerran, Pemb. 1560-d; sheriff, Carm. 1562-3; bailiff, coroner, escheator and town clerk, Kidwelly by 1572.


The Vaughans of Golden Grove (as they came to be known) were of old Powys stock, traditionally of base descent from the princes of Powys. The first to appear in South Wales was Vaughan’s father, who made a fortunate marriage into the family of Sir Rhys ap Gruffydd of Dynevor—then the most powerful man in Wales. On Rhys’s attainder in 1531, Hugh Vaughan (then a groom of the chamber) was one of those appointed to collect the rents accruing to the Crown from the attained man’s lands in the lordship of Kidwelly.

John Vaughan II added substantially to the lands his father had acquired in the commote of Is-Cennan first by securing a lease of the manor of Dryslwyn, north of the Towy, and then in 1564, by taking leases of Rhys ap Gruffydd’s former lands south of the river. It was here that the family mansion of Golden Grove was built, and tradition makes John Vaughan the builder. However, in all contemporary documents, up to and including his will, he is described as ‘of Carmarthen’ (or, as in the pardon roll of 1554, ‘late of Carmarthen’). On the other hand, his request to be buried in the parish church of Llanfihangel Aberbythych suggests at least an intention to settle in the parish. In 1568 and 1566 he made further acquisitions from the forfeited lands of Rhys ap Gruffydd in and around Llanelly, Pembrey, Llanstephen and St. Clears (east and west of Kidwelly) and in Carmarthen borough. He also accumulated offices both in the lordship of Kidwelly and in Carmarthen borough, where his mayoralty was the subject of a complimentary ode by a bard of Gwynedd, and was followed by return to Parliament for the Boroughs. He became an important figure in the shire, in influence second only to the family of Jones of Abermarlais, the chief beneficiaries by the attainder of their kinsman Rhys ap Gruffydd.

Vaughan had to put up a fight in the court of the duchy of Lancaster in 1570-1 for his duchy lands and offices, and his title was evidently upheld: the offices provided the excuse for a period of leave of absence from Parliament 11 June 1572 and the lands remained in the family. Browne Willis is wrong in giving Vaughan as the Member for Carmarthenshire in 1571 in his printed list, and may also be wrong in giving John Morgan as the Member for Carmarthen Boroughs in 1571. If so, it is at least possible that Vaughan sat for the Boroughs in that Parliament. The John Vaughan who was on two committees in 1571 was presumably John Vaughan I, but both John Vaughans were on the committee discussing Mary Stuart, 12 May 1572.

Vaughan died in 1574. The parliamentary vacancy was filled by his heir and executor Walter, who also succeeded his father in the mayoralty of Carmarthen, the receivership of Kidwelly, and, later, the shrievalty of Carmarthenshire. In his will, dated 6 Aug. 1568 and proved 19 June 1574, Vaughan bequeathed the Is-Cennan lands centring on Golden Grove to Walter Vaughan, but the outlying estates, including manors, parsonages, townships and house property in and near Carmarthen and Kidwelly and in south Pembrokeshire, to his other son Henry. Those in Llanelly district went to a cousin; and provision was made in cash and stock totalling about £100 for his many illegitimate children. Charitable bequests amounted to no more than ten shillings for the poor, and another £1 for municipal uses, at Carmarthen, and £2 and a black gown to the bishop for a funeral sermon.

F. Jones, ‘The Vaughans of Golden Grove’, Trans. Cymmrod. Soc. 1963, pp. 98-102; Cal. sheriffs etc. of Carmarthen (NLW ms 5586B), 9-10; Somerville, Duchy, i. 643; J. E. Lloyd, Carm. ii. 467; APC, vii. 285; E178/3345; LP Hen. VIII, xxi(1), p. 248; CPR, 1554-5, p. 347; 1558-60, p. 245; 1560-3, p. 445; 1563-6, p. 332; PCC 26 Martyn; Augmentations, ed. Lewis and Davies (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. xiii), 246, 263-4; Exchequer, ed. E. G. Jones (same ser. iv), 114; Cynfeirdd Lleyn, 1905, pp. 80-1; Flenley, Cal. Reg. Council, Marches of Wales, 75; DL1/80/V2; CJ, i. 102; D’Ewes, 206.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: A.H.D.


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.