VAUGHAN family of Courtfield, Herefordshire.

This family, which has given so many of its sons and daughters to the service of the Roman Catholic Church, has its home at Courtfield, in Welsh Bicknor, now in Herefordshire, but formerly in Monmouthshire.

One of the Vaughan ancestors was WILLIAM AP JENKIN, alias Herbert, who was lord of Wern-ddu, Monmouthshire, in 1353; he was the ancestor also of the families of Proger of Wern-ddu, Jones (afterwards Herbert) of Treowen and Llanarth, Powell of Perth-hir, Hughes of Cillwch, and Morgan of Arkstone. As the descent of the family is given in genealogical works, e.g. Burke's Landed Gentry, mention of some members only is called for in this account.

In 1562 JOHN AP GWILYM of Gillow, Herefordshire, purchased the manor of Welsh Bicknor. His daughter and heiress, Sibylla, became the wife of JAMES VAUGHAN, a descendant of Howel ap Thomas, of Perth-hir, the manor of Welsh Bicknor thus coming into the possession of one of the senior members of the Herbert clan. WILLIAM VAUGHAN (died 1601), son of James and Sibylla, married Jane (Joan), daughter and (eventual) heir of Richard Clarke, of Wellington, Herefordshire. Jane (Joan) Vaughan figures prominently in the Recusants' Rolls, 1592-1619; the names of the Vaughans figure also in the Rolls over a period of many years. JOHN VAUGHAN (died 1639), son of William and Jane (Joan), is often referred to as the first Vaughan of Courtfield. THOMAS VAUGHAN, younger brother of William Vaughan, became a Roman Catholic priest, being ordained abroad in 1627 by Dr. Gifford, archbishop of Rheims and primate of France. He was sent upon the English mission and died c. 1650 at Cardiff, after enduring hard usage on board a ship.

JOHN VAUGHAN (1676? - 1754), third of Courtfield, besides succeeding to the manor of Welsh Bicknor, inherited the manors of Ruardean, Gloucstershire, and Clyro, Radnorshire, as heir to his childless half-brothers, John Vaughan of Huntsham and Richard Vaughan of Courtfield. His second wife was a kinswoman in the paternal line - Elizabeth, daughter of Philip Jones of Llanarth. A 1718 parliamentary survey of lands of Papists valued his estates in four neighbouring counties at £996. Two of his sons, RICHARD VAUGHAN and WILLIAM VAUGHAN were actively associated with the Jacobites. Both joined the young Pretender (as also did their acquaintance David Thomas Morgan), fought at Culloden, and fled to Spain after the final defeat of prince Charles's forces; they were outlawed in 1745 and were expressly excluded from the general pardon proclaimed by George II in 1747. William became a general in the Spanish army. Richard (died at Barcelona in 1795) had some years previously married a Spanish lady who had Irish blood in her. By her he had seven sons and three daughters; he also, like his brother, entered the service of the king of Spain. One of his sons, WILLIAM VAUGHAN (1738 - 1796), became heir, the fifth of Courtfield (his father having been outlawed), to his uncle JOHN VAUGHAN, the fourth of Courtfield, who died without issue in 1780. William was succeeded by his only son, WILLIAM MICHAEL THOMAS JOHN VAUGHAN, sixth of Courtfield. He was followed by his eldest son, JOHN FRANCIS VAUGHAN, 1808 - 1878, the seventh of Courtfield; he married Eliza Louisa, daughter of John Rolls, the Hendre, Monmouth. Amongst the sons of the marriage were: HERBERT VAUGHAN (Cardinal Vaughan), archbishop of Westminster; ROGER WILLIAM VAUGHAN, archbishop of Sydney; KENELM VAUGHAN, priest, who travelled in Spain and North America; JOSEPH VAUGHAN, O.S.B., founder and prior of S. Benedict's monastery, Fort Augustus; BERNARD VAUGHAN, who became a well-known Jesuit preacher (' Father Bernard Vaughan '); and JOHN VAUGHAN, co-adjutor bishop of Salford. Four sisters became nuns.

CARDINAL VAUGHAN (1832 - 1903), eighth Vaughan of Courtfield, was succeeded by his brother, FRANCIS BAYNHAM VAUGHAN (1844 - 1919), ninth of Courtfield. He, in turn, was followed by his son CHARLES JEROME VAUGHAN (1873 - 1948), tenth of Courtfield; he was ' Camerario Segreto di Cappa e Spada ' to Pope Pius X. Two of Charles Vaughan's brothers, HERBERT VAUGHAN and FRANCIS VAUGHAN, were priests and one sister was a nun - Francis Vaughan (died 1935) becoming bishop of Menevia in 1925. The extensive and valuable Courtfield muniments were deposited in the National Library of Wales in 1949. (See N.L.W. Annual Report, 1948-9.)


Published date: 1959

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