WILLIAMS, Sir William, 6th Bt. (c.1668-96), of Vaynol, Caern.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1689 - 23 Dec. 1696

Family and Education

b. c.1668, 2nd s. of Sir Griffith Williams, 4th Bt., of Vaynol by Penelope, da. of Thomas Bulkeley, 1st Visct. Bulkeley of Cashel [I], of Baron Hill, Anglesey, sis. of Robert†, 2nd Visct. and Hon. Thomas Bulkeley*.  m. bef. 1686, his cos. Ellen (d. 1729), da. of Robert Bulkeley, 2nd Visct. Bulkeley, and sis. of Richard*, 3rd Visct. and Hon. Robert Bulkeley*, s.psuc. bro. as 6th Bt. c.1673.1

Offices Held

V.-adm. N. Wales c.Oct. 1688–d.; freeman, Caernarvon by 1692.2


Williams was re-elected unopposed for Caernarvonshire in 1690, probably with the support of his relations the Bulkeleys, who had assisted his reinstatement in local office after the Revolution. He is known to have spoken twice in the first session: on 27 Mar. 1690, on the granting of tunnage and poundage, which he argued should not be ‘for such a time that the Parliament may not come again’; and on 12 May, against complying with a request from the Lords to permit the attendance in the Upper House of Sir Robert Clayton* and Sir George Treby*. In December 1690 Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) included him in a list of supporters, probably in connexion with the projected Commons attack on Carmarthen’s ministerial position. Two years later a ‘Sir William Williams’ was included upon Grascome’s list of placemen. It appears, however, that some confusion had arisen between Williams of Vaynol and Sir William Williams, 1st Bt.* Though the list identified the Member for Caernarvonshire, it described him as King’s Counsel, an office held by Williams of Glascoed, who had not been elected to the 1690 Parliament. Despite quarrelling with the Bulkeleys in 1692, when he took part, as a second for his friend Sir Bourchier Wrey, 4th Bt.*, in a duel with Hon. Thomas Bulkeley, Williams was safely returned once more in 1695. He was forecast as likely to oppose the Court in the division of 31 Jan. 1696 on the proposed council of trade, and although he signed the Association promptly he later voted against the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†. His appearances in the Journals are impossible to distinguish from those of his namesake, Sir William Williams, 1st Bt., although given his earlier inactivity and the 1st baronet’s prominence as a lawyer and political figure, it seems reasonable to attribute most committee appointments and tellerships to the latter, the more so since no obvious decline occurred in the amount of such business undertaken by ‘Sir William Williams’ after the 6th baronet’s death, which occurred on 23 Dec. 1696, a week after he had reportedly killed a man in a duel.3

Williams bequeathed his estate, worth about £2,500 p.a., to the sons of Sir Bourchier Wrey for their lives, with the reversion to the crown. This arrangement, decided upon, or so it was said, in a state of inebriation, immediately gave rise to conflict between the Wrey family and Williams’ ‘heirs at law’, headed by Sir Arthur Owen, 3rd Bt.*, who took possession of Vaynol even before Williams’ funeral, so that the corpse had to be taken to another house to await burial. After considerable litigation, the crown’s right was confirmed in 1699. Despite the ‘several great encumbrances’ on the estate, there had already been applications from would-be grantees, and the King promptly made over the reversion to John Smith I*, whose family eventually obtained possession.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. J. E. Griffith, Peds. Anglesey and Caern. Fams. 190; CSP Dom. 1687–9, p. 245; Clarendon Corresp. i. 204; Cal. Wynn Pprs. 399; Trans. Anglesey Antiq. Soc. (1948), 84, 87.
  • 2. HMC 7th Rep. 348; Trans. Caern. Hist. Soc. viii. 78.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1689–90, p. 67; Grey, x. 17, 135; Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 351; iv. 157.
  • 4. Luttrell, iv. 163, 531; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, i. 152; CJ, xi. 784; xii. 37, 69, 84, 140–2; xiv. 303–4, 316; Post Boy, 1–4 July 1699; CSP Dom. 1699–1700, p. 39.