The numerous branches of the Denbighshire Trevor s all descend from Tudur Trevor (fl. 940), son-in-law of Hywel Dda and reputed ‘king’ of the borderland from the Maelors down to Gloucester; his second son (died 1037) inherited lands round Chirk, now represented by the Brynkynallt estate, and the surname became fixed in the time of his descendant John Trevor ‘hên’ (died 1453). The family was known for persistent feuds with its neighbours, the Kyffin s, and later the Myddelton 's, the latter lasting till the early 18th century (Wynn, Gwydir Family, 1927 ed., 41-5; Edwards, Star Chamber Proceedings, 68; Myddelton, Chirk Castle Accts., 1605-66, 14 and n.; Cust, Chronicles of Erthig, i, 51, 57).
The founder of the family fortunes was
He went to Ireland (with Edward Blayney of Gregynog) as a captain in the expedition sent to retrieve the Blackwater disaster (c. 11 September 1598), stayed there on garrison duty, was wounded and commended for gallantry in 1600, and married Rose Ussher, the primate ' daughter, acquiring an estate in Co. Down (called by him Rostrevor) and helping in the plantation of Ulster. He was pensioned (c. 1605), knighted in Ireland by the lord deputy (5 November 1617), and put on the Irish privy council (c. 1623) by James I, and represented Newtown (Co. Down) in the Parliament of 1634, but fell into the hands of the rebels in November 1641, dying soon after his release in the following May. In 1619 he had built (traditionally from designs by Inigo Jones) the present mansion of Brynkynallt, later enlarged and ‘gothicized’ by the 2nd viscount Dungannon (1763 - 1837).
His heir was
Married Sir Edward's step-daughter Margaret, daughter of John Jeffreys of Acton (grandfather of Judge Jeffreys), and was educated at the Middle Temple (1620), had the satisfaction as commissioner of array to Charles I of helping to rally east Denbighshire against his hereditary foe, Sir Thomas Myddelton (1586 - 1666).
The younger son of Sir Edward by his first wife, was trained to the law, entering Middle Temple on 3 November 1624, and being called to the Bar 10 February 1633. In 1641 he appeared on behalf of the thirteen bishops impeached by the Commons, in the following February he petitioned Parliament to procure the release of his father in Ireland, and in April 1642, advised Edward Herbert (died 1657) on his defence when the Commons impeached him. On the outbreak of Civil War he joined the king in a civilian capacity at Oxford, whence he was sent on various missions, including that of settling disputes caused in South Wales (December 1642) by the independent command granted to lord Herbert, later earl of Glamorgan. In July 1643 he was one of the signatories of the declaration drawn up by a council of war at Shrewsbury, imposing an oath of loyalty on the North Wales counties in face of the impending invasion by Sir T. Myddelton. Later in the year he became paid agent at the court to Ormonde, lord-lieutenant of Ireland, and by February 1644 was also attached to Rupert, whose appointment as president of Wales he urged on the court, and whom he followed to Chester in June, helping to keep him in touch with archbishop John Williams. He wrote eye-witness accounts of many of the campaigns, and eventually participated as lieutenant-colonel in that of 1645-6 in the south-west, where he was captured and imprisoned at Bristol (April-December 1646) till he compounded (at one-tenth) for forty pounds. After further imprisonment in January 1648, he was left at liberty, helped the government to recover scattered Irish records, and resumed practice in 1659. At the Restoration he was named for the abortive order of the Royal Oak, and in July 1661 made a judge of the Brecknock circuit. He befriended his brother John's younger son, afterwards Sir John Trevor (1637 - 1717; below), whom he made his heir, but was accused of illegally administering and misappropriating the revenues of the Brynkynallt estate (then valued at £400 in Denbighshire and £1,000 in Ireland) during the minority of the ‘idiot’ heir, Edward Trevor.
Son of Sir Edward by his second wife, was born in Ireland, where he served as captain against the rebels in Co. Down, from November 1641, but soon after the Cessation of September 1643, went to England with a regiment seconded for service with the king, operating on the Welsh border (January 1644), commanding a regiment of horse under Rupert at Marston Moor and in defence of Bristol (July-August), and again in Wales in October as governor of Ruthin, where his cavalry was repulsed on 19 October, but his deputy held the castle and forced its owner, Myddelton, to retreat. After further service in England till the king's final defeat, he returned to Ireland (c. 1647) to fight under Monck, who made him governor of Carlingford (March 1648). He justified the mistrust of the Roundheads by deserting to Ormonde in June 1649, but had changed sides once more by January 1652, when he was defended from detractors by John Jones the regicide (1597? - 1660), who in the following February offered Trevor (then at Brynkynallt) to redeem a heavily-mortgaged holding there inherited from his uncle Sir Edward. He fitfully supported the Cromwell régime in Ireland till November 1659, when he secured Irish support for the Restoration and was rewarded with Irish land and office, a seat on the Irish privy council, and the title of viscount Dungannon and baron Trevor (22 August 1662). He married, as his second wife, Ann, daughter of John Lewis of Presaddfed, Anglesey, and widow of Sir Hugh Owen of Orielton, and was succeeded in the peerage by her two sons, Lewis and Mark, after whose death without offspring, it lapsed (8 November 1706).
The second son of John Trevor (died c. 1643) (above). His father dying in his early boyhood, he was befriended by his uncle Arthur Trevor (above), who prepared him for entry to the Inner Temple (November 1654), whence he was called to the Bar in May 1661. Six years later he accompanied his kinsman and namesake, Sir J. Trevor ‘III’ of Trevalun (see p. 982), on an embassy to France, was knighted on 29 January 1671, and in 1673 entered Parliament, sitting for English pocket boroughs till 1681, and failing to secure election for Montgomery in 1679. He combined a fulsome support of the royal prerogative and singlehanded defence of his unpopular cousin and patron Jeffreys with an aggressive Protestantism, resulting in his chairmanship of committees like those on the growth of popery (29 April 1678) — inspired by John Arnold, and issuing in the martyrdom of David Lewis and other South Wales catholics — and on the impeachment of Powis and the other popish lords (May 1679). Living mainly in London, he acquired a country house at Pulford, lower down the Dee than the family seat, until the death of his elder brother made him heir to the latter, probably before the violent county election of March 1681, when he revived the old family feud by capturing Denbighshire from the Whiggish but territorially far more powerful Myddeltons, who challenged him to a duel for calling the Roundhead Sir Thomas a traitor. He became mayor of Holt next year, and in 1684 was put on a commission of enquiry into concealed crown lands in Denbighshire. On James II's accession, Beaufort, as President of Wales, intervened, at the prompting of the king and Jeffreys, to heal the feud, with the result that Myddelton was returned unopposed for the county and Trevor for the borough, of which he was promptly made a burgess. Trevor had his revenge when a quarter of a century later he helped to ruin the Edisbury s, clients of the Myddeltons, by foreclosing on their Erthig estat e, of which he was a principal mortgagee.
In 1685 he was elected Speaker of the House (19 May), and appointed Master of the Rolls (20 October), and added to the privy council, with two Dissenters to offset his stiff Anglicanism, on 6 July 1688; he was also given the joint constableship of Flint castle (1687) and the office of ‘custos rotulorum’ of Flintshire (December 1688), remaining true to James even after his first flight. He therefore lost his offices at the Revolution, but was again returned to parliament for an English pocket borough and resumed his speakership (May 1690). Winning the favour of William III by his success in ‘managing’ the Tories, he was restored to the privy council (1 January 1691), made first commissioner of the Great Seal during the vacancy of 1690-93, and re-appointed Master of the Rolls on 13 January 1693, but in 1695 he was deposed from the speakership (12 March) and expelled the House (16 March) for bribery, only a few weeks after he had been within sight of the woolsack (Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii, 326, 350). His Welsh offices were restored in 1705. He died in London, 20 May 1717, leaving a reputation for legal knowledge and judicial impartiality in sharp contrast with his political venality. He was a benefactor of many county charities, including Denbigh grammar school. His portrait is preserved at Brynkynallt. He married Jane, daughter of Sir Roger Mostyn and widow of Roger Puleston of Emral. With the death, in 1762, o his eldest son, who unsuccessfully contested Denbigh boroughs in the Tory interest in 1741, the male line came to an end, the estates (and with them the surname) passing first to ARTHUR (HILL -TREVOR) (died 1771), 1st viscount Dungannon of the second creation, second son of her daughter Ann, but inheriting through his father's half-brother, a maternal grandson of the 1st viscount (above); and on a second failure of male heirs (1862) to lord ARTHUR EDWIN (HILL -TREVOR) (1819 - 1894), 1st baron Trevor of Brynkynallt (1880), younger son of the 3rd marquess of Downshire and great-grandson of Ann Trevor's elder son. The family has continued to use Brynkynallt (or Brynkinalt) as a residence and to provide the county with magistrates and deputy-lieutenants.
Published date: 1959
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