WILLIAMS, Charles (1590-1642), of Llangibby Castle, Usk, Mon.
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Family and Education
b. 1 Nov. 1590,1 1st s. of Rowland Williams of Llangibby Castle and Cecil, da. of Sir Edward Mansell† of Margam, Glam. educ. Jesus, Oxf. 1610; I. Temple 1612. m. (1) settlement 30 Oct. 1614, (with £1,300), Frances, da. of Sir William Morgan* of Tredegar, Mon., s.p.;2 (2) by c.1623 (with £2,000), Anne, da. of Sir John Trevor I* of Plas Têg, Flints., 3s. 2da.3 suc. fa. 1612; kntd. 10 Apr. 1621.4 d. bet. 5/19 Mar. 1642.5 sig. Ch[arles] Willi[a]ms.
Commr. sewers, Mon. 1617, 1626, 1636,6 j.p. 1620-d.,7 commr. subsidy, 1621-2, 1624,8 i.p.m. 1623,9 dep. lt. by 1625,10 commr. Privy Seal loans 1625-6,11 oyer and terminer, Oxf. circ. 1625-9,12 public money retained in private hands, Mon. 1626,13 Forced Loan 1626-7;14 sheriff, Mon. 1626-7;15 commr. charitable uses, Mon. 1629,16 knighthood fines 1631-2,17 repair of St. Paul’s cathedral, Usk hundred 1635, 1638, Caldicot hundred 1638,18 disarming recusants, Mon. 1641.19
The Williamses of Llangibby traced their descent to Howell Gam ap David, lord of Penrhos, their surname becoming settled in the mid-sixteenth century. The family’s position in Monmouthshire was secured by Williams’s grandfather, Roger, who used his connection with the 1st earl of Pembroke to obtain former church lands, subsequently purchasing the manor of Tregrug.20 Williams himself attended Jesus College, Oxford, which was predominated by Welshmen, and the Inner Temple, and may have been at the latter in 1612 when his father died. Shortly after succeeding to his patrimony he received a grant of the manor of Usk from the Crown.21 In 1614 he concluded an advantageous marriage with a daughter of Sir William Morgan* of Tredegar, perhaps the most powerful gentry figure in early Stuart Monmouthshire, so allying himself with the Protestant gentry of the shire rather than with the 4th earl of Worcester and his Catholic dependants. Williams was also connected to the earls of Pembroke, who had considerable influence around Usk. In 1618 he was involved in litigation against several Monmouthshire gentlemen, some of whom had Catholic sympathies, over properties in Usk which his family had acquired from the earls of Pembroke.22
It is curious that Williams did not appear on the county bench before 1620. His elevation to the magistracy roughly coincided with his return to Parliament and was probably achieved with the assistance of his wife’s family and the 3rd earl of Pembroke. He left no trace on the records of the 1621 Parliament; he cannot have been the ‘Mr. Willyams’ named to the committee for the bill for catechizing children (16 May), as he had been knighted during the Easter recess.23
In May 1624 Williams exhibited a bill in Star Chamber against several of his tenants in a long-running dispute over common rights at Tregrug. The defendants claimed that he was ‘greatly allied’ within the county, using connections with magistrates such as his brother-in-law, Nicholas Kemeys*, to overawe the disgruntled tenants.24 He remained active in local government during the 1620s and 1630s, and secured election to the Long Parliament as Member for Monmouthshire, where he was forthright in the defence of episcopacy. He composed his will during a fatal illness on 5 Mar. 1642, in which he asked to be buried near his father’s sepulchre in the parish church of Llangibby. He left bequests of £500 for two younger sons and £800 to an unmarried daughter, which were to be raised out of the portion from his eldest son’s marriage to a daughter of Sir William Morgan* of Tredegar. He also left monies to the poor of Llangibby, Usk and Caerwent.25 Williams’s heir, Sir Trevor†, was appointed a commissioner of array in Monmouthshire, but subsequently supported Parliament, although his allegiance was never considered solid. He represented the county and borough seats of Monmouth several times after the Restoration.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Lloyd Bowen
- 1. C142/327/101.
- 2. NLW, Tredegar Park 109/8; Al. Ox.; I. Temple database of admiss.
- 3. J.A. Bradney, Hist. Mon. iii. 100-1; Gwent RO, Misc. ms 1572; Glynde Place Archives ed. R.F. Dell, 65.
- 4. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 176.
- 5. PROB 11/189, f. 95r-v; CJ, ii. 489a.
- 6. C181/2, f. 275v; 181/3, f. 200v; 181/5, f. 30.
- 7. JPs in Wales and Monm. ed. Phillips, 353-9.
- 8. C212/22/21, 23; E115/266/36.
- 9. C142/655/111.
- 10. SP16/8/24.
- 11. E401/2586, p. 254.
- 12. C181/3, ff. 179, 260v.
- 13. APC, 1626, pp. 113-14
- 14. C193/12/2, f. 36.
- 15. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 83.
- 16. C93/11/20.
- 17. E178/5512, ff. 14-15.
- 18. GL, ms 25475/1, ff. 49v, 99v.
- 19. LJ, iv. 386a.
- 20. M. Gray, ‘Gentry and the Property of the Church’, in Class, Community and Culture in Tudor Wales ed. J.G. Jones, 12-13.
- 21. C66/2000/16.
- 22. E112/107/75; E134/17Jas.I/East.2; C54/2122/7.
- 23. CJ, i. 622a.
- 24. STAC 8/291/16; G.D. Owen, Wales in the Reign of Jas. I, 124-5.
- 25. PROB 11/189, f. 95r-v; NLW, Tredegar Park 22/66-7.