VAUGHAN family, of Hergest, Kington, Herefordshire

The first of the Vaughans to reside here was THOMAS AP ROGER VAUGHAN, son of Roger Vaughan of Bredwardine, who was killed at Agincourt. His mother was Gwladys, daughter of Dafydd Gam. He was, therefore, a full brother of Watkin Vaughan of Bredwardine, and Sir Roger Vaughan of Tretower, and a uterine brother of Sir William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, and of Sir Richard Herbert. His wife was Ellen Gethin, daughter of Dafydd ap Cadwgan ap Phylip Dorddu, one of the Vaughans of Tyle Glas. The earliest record of him is that he was constable of the castle of Huntingdon (some two miles from Hergest) in 1422. He was receiver of the three lordships of Brecknock, Hay, and Huntingdon in 1453-4. At the Coventry Parliament of 1457, he was granted a general pardon, with others of his kinsmen and neighbours, an indication that Henry VI's advisers hoped to prevent them from throwing in their lot with the Yorkist party. Again in 1460, he was placed on a commission to seize, in the king's name, the castles and manors of the duke of York and the earl of Warwick in Elvell, Melenith, Gwerthrynion, and on the Herefordshire border. In 1461, he was appointed receiver of the three lordships during the minority of the heir to the duchy of Buckingham. Like his brothers, however, he joined the Yorkists. He is found with them on commissions of oyer and terminer in North Wales in 1467, and it was with their forces that he marched to his death at the field of Edgecote, near Banbury, in 1469. There is some uncertainty about the date of his death. Evans (Wales and the Wars of the Roses, 177), on the grounds of an allusion by Guto'r Glyn, believed that he fell in a preliminary skirmish on Monday, 23 (recte 24) July. From Lewis Glyn Cothi's elegies upon his death it could be argued that he fell in the main battle on the 26th, and there was a tradition in the family in the time of Dr. John David Rhys that he, and not Sir Richard Herbert, was the hero of that battle. His body was brought home for burial at Kington, and, despite much renovation, the alabaster tomb, which his widow had erected in that church, survives to this day. He is said to have been 69 years old when he died. In the pedigree books, he is described as lord of Hergest, Blethvaugh, Nash, and Llaneinion. His widow was living at Nash, near Presteign, in 1474, when she obtained an indulgence for those who would pray for her husband's soul. There is a tradition that she slew, with her own hand, her cousin Siôn Hir ap Phylip Fychan, to avenge the death of her brother, Dafydd Fychan of Llinwent in Llanbister, whom he had killed. Thomas and Ellen had three sons, Watkin Vaughan, Richard Vaughan, who died shortly after his father (see his elegy by Lewis Glyn Cothi), and Roger Vaughan (see Vaughan family of Clyro), and one daughter, Alice, wife of Robert Whitney, upon whose wedding Lewis Glyn Cothi composed an epithalamium. The heir, WATKIN VAUGHAN, maintained the tradition which made Hergest a resort for the greatest Welsh bards of the 15th century. For three generations Welsh culture found a home at Hergest. There were preserved the ' Red Book of Hergest,' which is now at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and the ' White Book of Hergest,' the collection of Welsh prose and verse (believed to have been largely transcribed by Lewis Glyn Cothi) which was lost in the Covent Garden fire of 1808. Watkin Vaughan married Sybil, daughter of Sir John Baskerville, and grand-daughter of Sir Walter Devereux. His cousin, William Herbert, earl of Huntingdon, gave him the stewardship and receivership of the castle and lordship of Huntingdon, Herefordshire, in 1484, and he was made seneschal of the lordship of Brecknock by Thomas ap Sir Roger Vaughan of Tretower. He was an arbitrator in a case of murder in 1485 (B.M. Harl. MS. 6079). The bards were extravagant in their eulogies on him. Tudur Penllyn says that he was the controller of all taxes in Powys, and that he was a constable on the banks of both the Vyrnwy and the Wye. Nine children are recorded to him. It will suffice to name JAMES VAUGHAN, the heir, and the second son ROGER VAUGHAN, who married Ellen, daughter of Sir Thomas Cornewall. Sybil, wife of Hugh Lewis, Harpton, one of the commissioners who signed Gruffudd Hiraethog's bardic licence in 1545 and was father of John Lewis of Llynwene, was Roger Vaughan's daughter. James Vaughan of Hergest was the other commissioner. His wife was Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Sir Edward Croft. Their heir, CHARLES VAUGHAN, was Member of Parliament for Radnorshire, 1553. His first wife was Elizabeth, daughter of Sir James Baskerville of Eardisley, and the second Margaret, daughter of Sir William Vaughan of Porthaml, and widow of Roger Vaughan of Clyro. According to W. R. Williams, Robert Vaughan, sheriff of Radnorshire, 1562-3 and 1567-8, and Member of Parliament for Radnor borough, 1554 and 1559, was his second son by the first wife, but this is not firmly established. WALTER VAUGHAN was the heir. He was followed by his son JOHN VAUGHAN, who corresponded with Sir Robert Harley about the plague at Presteigne, 23 September 1636. His heir was JAMES VAUGHAN, who matriculated at Oxford at the age of 16, 16 November 1621. JOHN VAUGHAN was his heir. SILVANUS VAUGHAN, John's son, matriculated at Oxford, aged 17, 17 March 1676, and took his M.A. degree in 1682. He was rector of Tilston, Cheshire, and was buried at Kington, 9 July 1706. The estate went to Frances, daughter of John Vaughan. She married William Gwyn Vaughan of Trebarried (died 1752), who was descended from an illegitimate son of Sir Roger Vaughan of Tretower.


Published date: 1959

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