LEWIS, William (by 1526-1601 or later), of Presaddfed in Bodedern and Gaerwen, Anglesey.
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Family and Education
b. by 1526, 1st s. of Hugh Lewis of Presaddfed by Agnes, da. of Sir William Gruffydd of Penrhyn, Caern. m. (1) Margaret, da. of (Sir) John Puleston of Caernarvon, Caern. and Bersham, Denb., 3s. ?inc. William 7da.; (2) Ellen, da. of Edward ap Hugh Gwyn of Bodewryd, 1s. 1da. suc. gd.-fa. 1532.2
Sheriff, Anglesey 1548-9, 1557-8, 1571-2; commr. relief 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553, subsidy 1555, 1563, smuggling 1565, defence 1569, armour 1569, victuals 1574, tanneries 1574; j.p. 1555, 1558/59, q. 1564-1601 or later; ?escheator Jan. 1560; high collector, subsidy 1572.3
Between the deaths of his father and grandfather William Lewis was the ward of John Puleston, one of whose daughters he was to marry. He makes few appearances in the records until the reign of Edward VI, when he served his first shrievalty, but later references show that the series of leases of lands in Anglesey made to him by the augmentations began before the death of Henry VII. In 1548 he was a plaintiff in the Star Chamber against Thomas and Robert Bulkeley; the dispute, which concerned the making of a mill dam, takes its place in the developing conflict between Lewis and Sir Richard Bulkeley. It is not known whether Bulkeley’s by-election to the Parliament of 1547 took place while Lewis was sheriff, but he was to challenge Lewis’s own election to the first Marian Parliament, claiming that the sheriff had falsely returned Lewis although Bulkeley had gained a majority of the votes. In both of the resulting actions, by the attorney-general in the Exchequer and by Bulkeley in the common pleas, judgment went against the sheriff and thus by implication against Lewis as his accomplice, but by the time the common pleas reached its decision in Trinity term 1555 Bulkeley had twice been elected for Anglesey in succession to Lewis. Whether he tried for the seat in the autumn of 1555 is not known, but this time it was Lewis who was re-elected. He was evidently unshaken by the defeat in the courts, and the absence of any repetition of it may be taken as vindicating his stand, as perhaps does his appointment to the county bench. What role the sheriff, John ap Rhys ap Llewelyn, played in the election is not known; as sheriff at the next, Lewis was himself to return an ally in Rowland ap Meredydd. His feud with Bulkeley continued, with William Llyn deploring it in a poem of 1560 as poisoning the social life of the island.4
Lewis was not among the Members of Mary’s first Parliament who opposed the restoration of Catholicism, or those of her fourth who are known to have voted against one of the government’s bills; 20 years later he was to be listed as a Catholic by an agent of Mary Queen of Scots. Yet he was able to serve the Elizabethan regime for as long as it continued; one of the last references found to him occurs in a list of complaints in a Star Chamber bill during 1597-8 where he was accused of attempting to sway a jury at the Anglesey great sessions in favour of his friend Owen Wood of Rhosmor.5
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: P. S. Edwards
- 1. Entered in OR as ‘miles’, a mistaken attempt to supply the suffix missing from the torn return, C219/21/213v.
- 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Dwnn, Vis. Wales, ii. 199.
- 3. CPR, 1553, pp. 363, 419; 1563-6, p. 31; APC, vii. 286; R. Flenley, Cal. Reg. Council, Marches of Wales, 56-57, 60, 109, 127; E179/219/14, 15, 16; SP11/5/6.
- 4. Wards 9/131, f. 169; CPR, 1563-6, pp. 56, 239, 339; 1566-9, p. 344; 1569-72, p. 256; St.Ch.3/6/86; E159/333 Mich. 86; E. Plowden, Reps. (1816), 118 seq.; Add. 14882, ff. 107v seq.; HMC Welsh, ii(4), 1052.
- 5. SP12/95/55; E179/219/6; St.Ch.5/G26/27.