CONWAY or CONWY family, of Botryddan ('Bodrhyddan'), Flintshire

The Conways were of English origin, descended from Sir William Coniers, ' Knight of War ', high constable of England under William the Conqueror. Sir HENRY CONWAY, son of Sir Hugh Conway, who married Ellen (or Angharad), daughter of Sir Hugh Crevecoer, lord of Prestatyn, was the first known to have settled in Wales, and his son, Richard, succeeded as lord of Prestatyn. In contrast to his predecessors, JENKYN CONWAY (died about 19 September 1432), grandson of Richard, married a Welshwoman, Marsli, daughter of Maredudd ap Hywel ap Dafydd of Cefn-y-fan, ancestor of the Wynn family of Gwydir, and the accession of Elizabeth I found the family firmly established as an integral part of Flintshire society. JOHN CONWAY (died 1578), grandson of Thomas Conway (died before 1526), and great-great-grandson of John, ' Aer Conwy Hen ' (died 1487), and his second wife, Jonet, daughter of Edward Stanley of Hooton, sat for his county in the queen's first parliament and again for the borough of Flint, 1562-7; he was also high sheriff, 1558-9. His son, yet another JOHN CONWAY (died 15 December 1606), who was high sheriff of Flintshire, 1584-5 and 1599-1600, is known to students of 16th century Welsh literature for his translations of two contemporary treatises: Apologia Musices by John Case (1588) (Klod Kerdd dafod ai dechreuad) and A Summons for Sleepers, an anti-Puritan work by Leonard Wright (1589) (Definiad i Hennadirion). Sir Hugh Conway who, in 1504, was appointed Treasurer of Calais by Henry VII (Cal. Pat. Rolls Henry VIII, vol. ii, 365), was a son of John ' Aer Conwy Hen ' by his first marriage.

The direct line ended with Sir JOHN CONWAY (1575 - 1641), son and heir of the last-mentioned. John Conway, on his death without issue in August or September 1641. During the reign of James I and up to the eve of the Civil War the family showed distinct Romanist leanings, both Mary, Sir John's wife, and WILLIAM CONWAY, his brother who succeeded him at Botryddan, figuring prominently in the recusant lists of the period along with the Conways of Sychtyn in the parish of Northop, descended from James Conway, one of the sons of John ' Aer Conwy Hen ' by his second wife. This taint, however, had quite disappeared by the time William Conway's son, Sir HENRY CONWAY (1630 - 1669), came into his inheritance. Created a bart. by Charles II, 25 July 1660, he sat for Flintshire in the Pensionary Parliament from 1661 until his premature death in the autumn of 1669. His eldest son, Sir JOHN CONWAY (1663 - 1721), succeeded as 2nd bart. Educated at Christ Church, Oxford, he was Member of Parliament for Flintshire 1685-7, 1695-1701, 1705-8, and 1713-5, and for Flint boroughs 1702, 1708-13, and 1715 until his death in 1721. Although he had been one of James II's retinue when he visited Oxford as duke of York in 1683, Sir John's loyalty as a Tory lay with the established institutions of church and state rather than with the Stuart dynasty. Indeed, he later declared himself in favour not only of the 1688 Revolution but also of the Hanoverian Succession.

The baronetcy became extinct with him, Henry, his only son by his first marriage (to Margaretta Maria - or M. Theophila, acc. to Pedigrees - daughter of John Digby of Goathurst) having predeceased him. Penelope, the only child of his second marriage, to Penelope, daughter of Richard Grenville (Greenould, acc. to Pedigrees) of Wotton Under-wood, Buckinghamshire, and heiress to the Botryddan estate, married James Russel Stapleton, and of their four daughters and co-heiresses, Frances, the youngest, became the wife of Sir Robert Salusbury Cotton of Lleweni and Combermere abbey (see Cotton, Sir Stapleton). Penelope, daughter and co-heiress of Penelope, the eldest daughter, and Ellis Yonge of Acton and Bryn Iorcyn, married William Davies Shipley, dean of St Asaph. It may be of further interest to note that from Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Conway by his first wife, who married Sir Thomas Longueville, bart., was descended Harry Longueville Jones, inspector of schools for North Wales.

Distantly related to the Conways of Botryddan (through Edward Conway, another son of John ' Aer Conwy Hen ' by his second wife) were the Conways of Arrow and Alcester in Warwickshire, of whom Edward Conway (died 1631) was Secretary of State, 1627-30, and was created viscount Conway of Conway castle, 26 June 1627. He bought the castle from the Crown in 1628 and his son, Edward Conway (1594 - 1655), the 2nd visc., took preliminary steps towards putting it into repair with a view to living there.


Published date: 1959

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