WYNNE, Peter (-d.1667), of Bistre, Mold, Flint. and Derby House, Westminster, Mdx.
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Family and Education
?1st or o.s. of Peter (Piers) Wynne of Leeswood, Mold, Flint. and Mary, da. of Roger Kynaston. m. bef. 1616, Elizabeth (bur. 22 June 1638), da. of Richard Thelwall of Llanrhydd, Denb. 7s. (3 d.v.p.), 6da. (3 d.v.p.).1 suc. fa. 1615.2 bur. 22 Mar. 1667.3 sig. Peter Winn.
Estate steward to James, Lord Strange*, 1626-38.4
The Peter Wynne returned for Flint Boroughs at a by-election on 1 Dec. 1628 cannot be identified with certainty, but it is most likely that he was the man who served Lord Strange as an estate steward from 1626: the Stanley family had extensive estates in the county, including the manors of Hope and Overton, two of the five towns which shared the parliamentary franchise for the shire’s borough seat. The MP is also likely to have been the man appointed steward of Caerwys, another of the parliamentary boroughs, in 1626.9 The election may have been contested, as it was the subject of a complaint to the committee for privileges at the start of the 1629 session. On 9 Feb. William Hakewill reported that the election writ, which had been issued by the Crown Office without any written warrant from Chancery, was adjudged to be valid, but the additional objection ‘that the writ was unduly executed’ was not discussed. Any further consideration of the issue was terminated by the early dissolution. Wynne left no other trace on the records of the 1629 session.10
Wynne’s parentage is obscure: his father was probably the Piers Wynne who held a lease of Mold mill which descended to his son, Peter, in about 1615. This makes it likely that the MP was heir to the Wynne family of Leeswood. Moreover, the freehold of the mill was owned by the dowager countess of Derby, a connection which helps to explain Wynne’s subsequent service with the Stanley family.11 Strange’s estate steward held lands in the manor of Mold, and was presumably the man rated at £1 in lands in the 1628 subsidy.12 However, this man may not have been the only Peter Wynne living in the parish of Mold, as the Wynne family of Tower included at least two namesakes, one of whom was an army officer, Essex rebel and Virginia colonist. It is likely that the Peter Wynne of ‘Tythin’ [?Treuddyn] who was involved in a lawsuit over the will of Margaret Wynne in 1639 was not Strange’s estate steward, but a member of the Tower family.13
Wynne is first known to have had dealings with Lord Strange in 1625, as a solicitor for his neighbours George Ravenscroft and Kenrick Williams, who were petitioning for a lease of three farms in the manor of Mold. He entered Strange’s service in the following year, and his return at the by-election on 1 Dec. 1628 suggests that he was then high in his master’s esteem. Most of Strange’s revenues, amounting to nearly £2,000 a year, appear to have passed through Wynne’s hands, and although Wynne received no salary, his master apparently granted him leases of several properties, including two of the farms for which he had petitioned in 1625. Wynne and another servant also shared fees of 5s.-10s. for each lease they drafted for the Stanley tenants. He clearly gained considerably from his stewardship, during which time, by his own admission, his landed income rose from £100 to £300 a year.
Wynne had a chequered career in Strange’s service. In 1630 Ravenscroft and Williams accused him of embezzling his master’s revenues, and he was suspended from office until an audit showed him to be £447 in credit on an account of £7,000. His accusers, who considered Wynne to have cheated them over the lease of the farms in Mold which they had sought in 1625, continued their struggle before the Council in the Marches and in Chancery over the next decade. Strange clearly retained his own suspicions of his servant’s probity, as in January 1638 he seized a chest of deeds kept in Wynne’s apartments in Derby House and ordered another examination of his steward’s accounts. Wynne admitted to a shortfall of £1,580, but an independent audit found him to be just over £2,850 in arrears, which (it was claimed) he had concealed by borrowing heavily in his master’s name. Three months later, a convenient fire at Wynne’s house destroyed a number of key account books, deeds and receipts before Strange’s men could examine them. Wynne was dismissed and prosecuted in Chancery, and it seems likely that his estates were seized by decree in May 1640.14 Nothing is known of Wynne’s later life beyond the fact that he was buried at Mold on 22 Mar. 1667; no will or administration has been found, and his family seem to have left the area, with the exception of a John Wynn, possibly a relative, who was living at Leeswood in 1651.15
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Simon Healy
- 1. C2/Jas.I/W1/25; Dwnn, Vis. Wales ed. S.R. Meyrick, ii. 321-2; Flint. RO, P40/1/1, f. 7v; P40/1/2, ff. 5v, 18v, 23v-4; P40/1/3, ff. 3v, 8, 12v, 17-18, 20v, 25v, 32, 44v, 56, 61v.
- 2. Flint. RO, P40/1/1, f. 4.
- 3. Flint. RO, P40/1/4, f. 28.
- 4. Ibid.; C2/Chas.I/W43/69.
- 5. DCO, Letters and Warrants 1626-32, f. 12v; C66/2440/17.
- 6. Flint. RO, P40/1/3, f. 12v.
- 7. C181/4, f. 130v.
- 8. JPs in Wales and Monm. ed. Phillips, 108-9; Lancs. RO, QSC 30.
- 9. C66/2440/17; CHES 3/84/2.
- 10. CJ, i. 817b; CD1629, p. 181.
- 11. C2/Jas.I/W1/25; Dwnn, Vis. Wales ed. Meyrick, ii. 321-2.
- 12. E179/221/229.
- 13. Dwnn, ii. 319; P. Hammer, ‘A Welshman abroad: Capt. Peter Wynne of Jamestown’, Parergon, n.s. xvi. 59-92; C3/419/79; Flint. RO, P40/1/1, f. 62.
- 14. C2/Chas.I/R30/24; 2/Chas.I/R37/5; 2/Chas.I/R58/16; 2/Chas.I/S89/20; 2/Chas.I/W43/69; E401/2463.
- 15. Flint. RO, P40/1/4, ff. 1, 28.