PRYCE family, of Newtown Hall, Montgomeryshire

This family, which supplied seven sheriffs of Montgomeryshire, and was for long prominent in the affairs of the county, claimed descent from Elstan Glodrydd, founder of the 'Fourth Royal Tribe of Wales' and bore the arms attributed to that prince, ' gules, a lion rampant regardant or.'

The first member of the family to be described as of Newtown Hall was DAVID AB EINION (of Mochdre and Kerry), whose son DAVID was the subject of an ode and an elegy by Lewis Glyn Cothi, and whose grandson RHYS was killed, 'pro rege Edwardo,' at Banbury in 1469. The first to hold the shrievalty of the county was Rhys's grandson, MATTHEW GOCH AP THOMAS, who was sheriff in 1548.

JOHN, son of Matthew Pryce by Joyce verch Evan Gwynn of Mynachdy, Radnorshire, was sheriff of Montgomery, 1566 and 1586, of Cardigan, 1568, and Member of Parliament for the Montgomery boroughs in three Parliaments of queen Elizabeth. His youngest brother, ARTHUR PRYCE, of Vaynor, Montgomeryshire, was also sheriff in 1578 and Member of Parliament for the boroughs in 1571; in 1588 he was a candidate for the county against Edward Herbert of Blackhall, but was defeated, mainly owing to the gross partisanship of the sheriff (J. E. Neale, The Elizabethan House of Commons, 1949).

EDWARD, son of John ap Matthew by Elizabeth verch Rees ap Morris of Aberbechan, Montgomeryshire, was sheriff in 1615 and was father of Sir JOHN PRYCE, 1st baronet (created 15 August 1628). Sir John first adhered to the king in the Civil War, but changed sides and was appointed governor of Montgomery castle for the Parliament. He was Member of Parlia- ment in 1640 and 1654, though his loyalty to both sides was suspect. He was succeeded in 1657 by his second (but eldest surviving) son MATTHEW (died 1674), a zealous Royalist and churchman, who was sheriff in 1659/60; his son JOHN, 3rd baronet, died s.p., and was succeeded by his brother, Sir VAUGHAN PRYCE, sheriff in 1709. He died 30 April 1720.

Sir JOHN PRYCE, 5th baronet

(sheriff, 1748), son of Sir Vaughan, was a well-known eccentric, who married three times, his last lady, the widow of Roger Jones of Buckland, Brecknock, having to insist on the removal of the embalmed corpses of her two predecessors from his bedroom before her marriage. Sir John had already, after the death of his second wife, written to the curate of Newtown, then on his deathbed, to ask him to deliver messages of affection to both his wives in Heaven and to request the second to appear to him; and, after the death of the third lady Pryce, he invited a well-known faith-healer, Bridget Bostock, the 'Cheshire Pythoness,' to bring her back to life. The attempt was unsuccessful. Sir John died in somewhat straitened circumstances at Haverfordwest, 28 October 1761, whilst meditating a fourth marriage.

Sir JOHN POWELL PRYCE, 6th baronet,

son of the above, assisted the process of squandering the estates and died in the King's Bench prison for debtors in 1776. He is said to have lost his sight through the mistaken medical zeal of his wife. The title and the family became extinct with his son, Sir EDWARD MANLEY PRYCE, 7th baronet, who was found dead, in a state of destitution, in a field at Pangbourne, near Reading, 28 June 1791.

Cadet branches were the Pryce's of Vaynor, of Park, Llanwnnog, of Glanmaheli, and of Bodfach, Montgomeryshire, all are now extinct. Newtown Hall, the core of which is old, but had been much modernized in the 19th century, now (1949) serves as the offices of the urban district council.



Published date: 1959

Article Copyright:

The Dictionary of Welsh Biography is provided by The National Library of Wales and the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies. It is free to use and does not receive grant support. A donation would help us maintain and improve the site so that we can continue to acknowledge Welsh men and women who have made notable contributions to life in Wales and beyond.

Find out more on our sponsorship page.