PRICE, Sir Richard (1561-1623), of Plâs Gogerddan, Gogerddan, Llanbadarn Fawr, Card.
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Family and Education
b. 1561,1 1st. s. of John Price I† of the Inner Temple and Gogerddan and his 1st w. Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Perrot of Islington, Mdx. and Haroldston, Pemb.2 educ. Clifford’s Inn; I. Temple 1583.3 m. bef. 1591, Gwen (Gwenllian) (d.1639) da. and h. of Thomas ap Rhys ap Morys ap Owen of Aberbechan, Newtown, Mont., 4s (1 d.v.p.), 6da.(2 d.v.p.)4 suc. fa. 1584;5 kntd. 28 June 1603.6 d. 5 Feb. 1623.7 sig. Rich[ard] Pryse.
Member, Council in the Marches, 1577/81-d.;8 j.p. Card. 1584-d. (custos 1590-2, 1594-d.), Mont. 1598-d.,9 sheriff, Card. 1585-6, 1603-4, Mont. 1590-1, ?1622;10 dep. lt., Card. by 1587-d.,11 collector, Privy Seal loan 1604;12 commr. oyer and terminer, Wales and the Marches by 1602-d.,13 subsidy, Card. and Mont. 1608,14 aid, Card. 1609,15 piracy, Carm., Pemb. and Card. 1617,16 subsidy, Card. 1621.17
The Prices of Gogerddan traced their ancestry back to Gwaethfoed, lord of Ceredigion in the eleventh century. It may have been the Member’s great-grandfather, Rhys ap Dafydd Llwyd, who in the early sixteenth century built Plâs Gogerddan, some three miles north-east of Aberystwyth, from which the family dominated the northern part of Cardiganshire: in 1637 their estate was reckoned to be worth £1,000 a year, far ahead of any other family in the county.18 Price inherited this entire estate in 1584, in which year he was also returned for the county for the first time.19
Price augmented his lands through purchase and lease, and unsurprisingly acquired a significant presence in nearby Aberystwyth.20 Although he married a Montgomeryshire heiress, and served as sheriff of that county in 1590-1, his principal focus was Cardiganshire, where he became a deputy lieutenant in 1587 and custos rotulorum in 1590. His prominence did not go unchallenged though, and in 1599 he was the focus of a potentially damaging Star Chamber case in which he and fellow justices Morgan Lloyd and Morris Vaughan were accused by another magistrate of numerous abuses. Price was also charged with misusing his position as a deputy lieutenant after he and 500 of his supporters, at a general meeting of the county at Tregaron church, demanded a cymortha (an outlawed custom of raising aid) and threatened to press refusers for military service. Several lower ranking officials allegedly followed suit when they saw the £300 his scheme produced.21
Price was not eligible to stand for the county in 1604 as he was then serving as Cardiganshire’s sheriff. This did not mean that he remained aloof from political manoeuvring, however, as the county’s choice fell upon his son-in-law, John Lewis. Price’s electoral influence was even more visible in the local borough election, in which he sought to engineer the return of Richard Delabere, whom he may have helped to the same seat in 1601. As required, Price sent his precept to Cardigan, whereupon the town proceeded to elect William Bradshaw, but ‘minding to make choice of a friend of his’, Price held another election at Aberystwyth using electors ‘unduly procured’, who returned Delabere. After investigating the matter, the Commons admitted Bradshaw and ordered Price’s arrest for partiality.22 How the Commons dealt with Price thereafter is not known, but he may have subsequently encouraged the contributory boroughs to withhold Bradshaw’s wages, as the latter was obliged to sue for payment.
Price’s behaviour in respect of the 1604 election is puzzling. By holding the election at Aberystwyth rather than Cardigan he was probably trying to consolidate his influence over the disparate borough constituency: Aberystwyth was much closer to Gogerddan, and thus more open to his influence than Cardigan, which lay at the opposite southern end of the shire, near Bradshaw’s home at St. Dogmaels. This interpretation is supported by allegations made in the 1599 Star Chamber action, in which Price was accused of removing the county armoury from Cardigan to Llanbadarn Fawr, close to Aberystwyth. There he also built a new shire hall, despite Llanbadarn Fawr’s tiny size and unsuitability. Moreover, Price himself described Cardigan as lying ‘in the one end or nook’ of the county, and was a close friend of Aberystwyth’s mayor and returning officer, Richard Mortimer, who was described as a ‘devoted man to Richard Price’ in 1599.23
The tradition of electing Price as county Member was re-established in 1614 and 1621. However, as in the Elizabethan Parliaments in which he served, Price appears not to have made any impression at Westminster, as the ‘Mr. Price’ recorded in the Journal in 1621 was Charles Price, Member for New Radnor.
Under Elizabeth and James, Price was active in litigating over a grant he had received of Pennal in Merioneth in 1587. He brought several Exchequer cases alleging unlawful intrusion on his lands. Resistance to his tenure appears to have been led by the Herberts of Dolguog, Montgomeryshire, as Matthew II† and Francis Herbert, father and son respectively, along with Rowland Pugh of Pennal, were accused of withholding rent and duties and claiming freehold.24 Price was also involved in the cloth trade, for a suit brought by his wife after his death sought to recover £20 for five pieces of ‘Welsh cloth’ which Price had sold to David ap Hugh of Machynlleth, Montgomeryshire.25
Price, whose forebears included the famous bard Ieuan ap Rhydderch, was a prominent patron of traditional bardic culture. He had numerous poems and odes composed in his honour by prominent bardic figures, including Lewys and James Dwnn, Huw Machno, Ieuan Tew and Siôn Cain.26 Sir Richard and the bards had cause for lamentation in 1622 when Price’s heir, Sir John, died while serving as Montgomeryshire’s sheriff.27 The administration at the Council in the Marches felt that Price himself should complete the term of office as the expense in getting someone else would be too great.28 It is unclear whether he served, however, and may have been too ill to undertake such duties as he himself died in February 1623. He was interred in the church at Llanbadarn Fawr.29 His will of 5 Feb. 1623 placed the family estates in the hands of his wife, Lady Gwen, in trust for his grandson and heir, Richard†, a minor. He also directed that his widow be allowed to sell properties up to the value of £200 to cover outstanding debts, and provided an annuity of 100 marks for his younger grandson, Thomas, and £20 apiece to his four surviving daughters. He appointed his widow as executrix, and the overseers of the will included his sons-in-law (Sir) John Lewis* and Rowland Pugh*. The will was proved on 3 Apr. 1623.30
Lady Gwen Price represented the family as a formidable matriarch during the 1620s and 1630s, continuing several of the Member’s lawsuits and safeguarding the Gogerddan interests.31 She was referred to in May 1638 as ‘old Lady Price of Gogerddan’, and died a year later, when the estate passed to her grandson.32 Richard obtained a baronetcy in 1641 and assumed his grandfather’s place as Cardiganshire Member in a recruiter election of 1646, but was excluded at Pride’s Purge.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Lloyd Bowen
- 1. E134/15Jas.I/Hil.8.
- 2. Dwnn, Vis. Wales ed. S.R. Meyrick, i. 44; W. Wales Hist. Recs. i. 3-4.
- 3. I. Temple database of admiss.
- 4. Dwnn, i. 44; D.H.E. Roberts, ‘Noddwyr y Beirdd yn Sir Aberteifi’, Llên Cymru, x. 93; PROB 11/181, ff. 55v-57; Mont. Colls. v. 425.
- 5. PROB 11/67, ff. 325v-6v.
- 6. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 111, where he is mistakenly referred to as being ‘of co. Hunts.’.
- 7. NLW, Peniarth 117, ff. 5-8.
- 8. P. Williams, Council in the Marches of Wales, 354-5; NLW, ms 9056E/809; Peniarth 117, f. 7.
- 9. JPs in Wales and Monm. ed. Phillips, 188-93, 132-8.
- 10. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 242, 261; NLW, ms 339F, f. 133.
- 11. G. Owen, Taylor’s Cussion, pt. 1, f. 36; STAC 5/L2/10; SP12/265/15; C231/1, f. 49v; NLW, Peniarth 117, ff. 5-8.
- 12. E401/2585, f. 67; HMC, Laing, i. 99.
- 13. C181/1, f. 33; 182/2, ff. 17v, 51v, 254, 276-7, 299; 181/3, ff. 26, 129v.
- 14. SP14/31/1.
- 15. SP14/43/107.
- 16. C181/2, f. 276.
- 17. C212/22/21.
- 18. HEHL, EL7126.
- 19. PROB 11/67, f. 325v.
- 20. E112/145/42.
- 21. STAC 5/L2/10; 5/L9/26.
- 22. CJ, i. 170a-b.
- 23. STAC 5/L2/10; 5/L9/26.
- 24. E112/59/26; 112/61/20; 112/145/66; 112/150/37, 41, 47, 67, 71, 83; E134/6Jas.I/Hil.9; 134/20Jas.I/Mich.16; 134/20Jas.I/Hil. 6. Price’s widow relented over two properties in Pennal in 1628, conveying them to Francis Herbert: NLW, Powis Castle 12628.
- 25. E112/145/86.
- 26. Roberts, ‘Noddwyr y Beirdd yn Sir Aberteifi’, 92-97; Roberts, ‘Noddi Beirdd yng Ngheredigion - Rhai Agweddau’, Ceredigion, vii. 26-31.
- 27. Astudiaeth o Fywyd a Gwaith Siâms Dwnn (c.1570-c.1660), Cywyddwr o Fetws Cedewain yn Sir Drefaldwyn ed. D.H. Evans, ii. 292-6.
- 28. NLW, ms 339F, f. 133; Mont. Colls. ix. 51-2;
- 29. NLW, Peniarth 117, ff. 5-8; Astudiaeth o Fywyd a Gwaith Siâms Dwnn, ii. 351-5.
- 30. PROB 11/141, f. 221r-v.
- 31. E112/271/1, 16, 21; 112/276/18.
- 32. Herbert Corresp. ed. W.J. Smith (Bd. of Celtic Studs. Hist. and Law Ser. xxi), 95; PROB 11/181, ff. 55v-7; Astudiaeth o Fywyd a Gwaith Siâms Dwnn, ii. 393-8.