Prichard Ancestry

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PATERNAL ANCESTRY OF ?MARGARETTA PRICHARD (est 1650 –?1728)

Wife of Oakley Leigh (I). dau of John Prichard & descendant of Welsh knights and princes

Overview

The extensive and diverse family line of ?MARGARETTA PRICHARD is our longest and in parts our richest line, though in other parts it is totally blank. We give only the paternal line because
?MARGARETTA’s mother’s name does not appear in any known pedigree, so we have no data at all on her maternal ancestry. For these reasons, it is so far a work in progress, and we hope for help from other family genealogists and historians.

In fact, we are not even certain of the first name of our ancestor given here as ?Margaretta Prichard. In the pedigrees she is clearly identified as the "ferch" i.e. daughter, of JOHN PRICHARD and as the wife of OAKLEY LEIGH, but no Christian name appears for her. Neither her will nor that of her husband is now known, and her children’s wills are either unknown or do not mention their mother. To avoid the awkward use of NN, we selected the name of an otherwise unidentified Margaretta Leigh who was buried at St Peter’s church in Carmarthen on 7 May 1728, which is within the possible time frame of OAKLEY LEIGH’s widow. This first name Margaretta appeared often in the parish records of Abergwili, where the PRICHARD family lived earlier, but the marriage was not recorded there. It probably took place in Carmarthen, but the Carmarthen church records are extant only from 1671 when she was already a child-bearing adult. Thus, the question mark indicates the speculative nature of her Christian name, but not her family status nor her place in our LEIGH pedigree.

We chose to present ?MARGARETTA's complex ancestry in two separate forms or sections: an ancestry chart or ahnentafel to cover its detail, and a historical narrative to cover its richness in Welsh and English history. These formats cover much of the same information, but the ancestry chart begins with ?MARGARETTA and goes back in time to our earliest ancestors, whereas the narrative begins with our earliest ancestors and follows the history of Wales up to the time of ?MARGARETTA. To create a link between the two forms, in the HISTORICAL NARRATIVE we identified major figures by their numbers from the ANCESTRY CHART, with Roman numeral I preceding numbers from the Primary Chart and Roman numeral II preceding numbers from the Branch Chart.  We also referred figures in the ANCESTRY CHART to their historical time in the various sections of the HISTORICAL NARRATIVE from the Welsh Princes 1,2 to the Gentry l,2,3,4,5. There is also a difference in the inclusiveness of each format.  The HISTORICAL NARRATIVE gives all those ancestors we consider reasonably well supported by pedigree and historical documentation. In the ANCESTRY CHART we added other figures who are given in the pedigrees but so far are not well enough supported to be considered certain or even reliably likely ancestors, and for both sets of people we give the evidence we found for their identity and family status. Our sources for both the HISTORICAL NARRATIVE and the ANCESTRY CHART are listed in the third section, the PRICHARD BIBLIOGRAPHY. The first two sections are color coded to identify the pages that belong to each section.

HISTORICAL NARRATIVE ANCESTRY CHART BIBLIOGRAPHY
Welsh Princes 1,2 Primary Chart 1,2  
The Gentry 1,2,3,4 Branch Chart 1,2

Ancestry Chart

The long PRICHARD ancestry made a single chart unwieldy and clumsy, so we divided all the known and many of the tentative ancestors of ?MARGARETTA into two groups and thus divided her long, complex ancestry chart into two parts with continuing numbers. They can be easily reconstructed and seen as a single ancestry chart. The first part, Primary Chart, gives her immediate family in the short PRICHARD line and then many ancestors of her only known grandmother, the unnamed daughter of 10.JOHN ap REES and 11.ELIZABETH ferch THOMAS ap RHYS of Ravensdale. Our second part was separated from the first because it formed a compact unit itself, and especially because its figures included Welsh royalty. This second part is titled the Vaughan & Lewis Branch Chart, and it starts with two lines of royal descendants in gentry families (the lines of 46.HUGH VAUGHAN and 95.JANE LEWIS) and goes back to the earliest princely figures who were reliably documented. To reduce the download time, we split each chart in half and numbered it as "1" or "2", but the link between the sections is seamless.

Historical Narrative

Useful as an ancestry chart is for numbers of ancestors, it does not handily give historical information about them or place them in their contemporary context. Going back in time, it shows an effect before its cause, and response before stimulus of that response. Thus it cannot support description of the historical process through time. As we were discovering pedigree lines to most of the major figures of Welsh history, we felt the need to explain the historical periods those figures lived and worked in. Additionally, ?MARGARETTA’s ancestry is known in many branches and periods, so we needed to show each branch separately in a classic pedigree, and also give the intermarriages and collateral lines that are important in placing the families in their historical context. The richness coming from ?MARGARETTA’s single known grandmother is especially gratifying since it brings the whole long pageant of Welsh history, sometimes joyful, sometimes tragic, and always complex in the fact that Wales remained a distinct geographical country whose inhabitants had their own laws and customs and their own unique language, but it never became unified as a politically independent kingdom or state accepted as such by most of its inhabitants and so recognized by its neighboring states and international law.

Unlike the ANCESTRY CHART, the NARRATIVE begins at the earliest times and traces events and their results in chronological order up to ?MARGARETTA’s life in the late 1600’s. It first encompasses the period of the major Welsh princes, who reached their peak of power then were diminished and defeated, roughly 825 to 1282 A.D. This section is titled The Welsh Princes. Then we cover the era of the pre-eminent gentry and official class down to the late 17th and early 18th centuries.  This section is titled The Gentry. Again, to reduce download time especially for numerous illustrations, we split the NARRATIVE into numbered sections but with a seamless link to the next section.

Pedigrees--Advantage & Disadvantage

?MARGARETTA’s ancestry was first compiled from a succession of pedigrees progressing back through several branches of her ancestry, and for almost all of her ancestry we do not have the church and testamentary records we used to prove the pedigrees of the descendants of OAKLEY LEIGH and
?MARGARETTA in the Leigh Descendancy Chart
. Thus we did not find independent evidence of the marriage of OAKLEY LEIGH to the daughter of JOHN PRICHARD, nor of the marriage of JOHN’s father RICHARD to the daughter of JOHN ap REES, so for these relations we had to rely upon the pedigrees of the family. Therefore it is important to give our general principles governing the use of pedigrees, especially since pedigrees may carry a bad reputation as they can easily be falsified.

The pedigree of ?MARGARETTA’s immediate family was recorded in 1685 by David Edwardes (ca.1630-1690), Deputy Herald for South Wales, who is generally considered reliable in his records of his contemporaries. He recorded the LEIGH pedigree in the following year, and gave a cross-reference to OAKLEY’s wife’s pedigree. Edwardes’ father was mayor of Carmarthen at about the same time as OAKLEY’s relatives were active in borough government, and he would have known them well. Edwardes’ pedigree manuscripts are divided into county books, and ours are in the Carmarthenshire book (pp.10, 98, 148, 165). These books are now at Oxford University titled Bodleian Additional Manuscripts, C177,178,179 and are available on Film no.230630. They were transcribed into the Golden Grove Books in about the mid-18th century, which were also later filmed. Edwardes was familiar with the pedigrees of many branches of ?MARGARETTA’s long ancestry lines, which had been recorded by Gruffudd Hiraethog (d.1564) who was the first Deputy Herald for Wales appointed by the English kings of arms. Many of his extensive pedigrees are in the Peniarth Collection at the National Library of Wales, and they are particularly useful for study as he quoted his sources. He is also considered to be reliable, and his copying of older material appears to be accurate (Bartrum, "Notes on the Welsh Genealogical Manuscripts," pp. 63-98).

The earliest surviving genealogical manuscripts were originally written in the ninth and tenth centuries, and contain the pedigrees of the rulers of various Welsh dynasties and of important families, but where the original manuscripts have not survived we have only later copies (Siddons, "Printed and Manuscript Pedigrees," p.215). We are fortunate to have access to these valuable old pedigrees. The kinship group was very important in Welsh law for the inheritance of land, settlement of disputes, and payment of compensation, and the Welsh were described by the 12th century as being able to recite from memory the names of their ancestors back to the 6th or 7th generation. Even after English law was introduced and knowledge of one’s pedigree was no longer legally necessary, the Welsh still attached great importance to ties of kinship – and they continue to do so to this day, as demonstrated by the fact that you are reading this! From the 14th century on, the Welsh bards extolled their patrons’ ancestry, in some cases giving their male-line ancestors for many generations, and they were succeeded by gentlemen-antiquarians such as David Edwardes (Siddons, "Printed and Manuscript Pedigrees," pp.209, 216).

For these old documents we used the extensive compilations published by Peter C. Bartrum. Over a period of 40 years Dr Bartrum examined all existing pedigree manuscripts written up to 1580, as well as a large selection of later sources, then compared, analyzed, and date-tested them, adding historical and biographical evidence when possible. He published the most probable versions of these pedigrees with indexes in 26 volumes as Welsh Genealogies AD 300-1400 in 1974 and Welsh Genealogies AD 1400-1500 in 1983. To keep the project within practical bounds he limited the period covered to the generation born about 1500. Bartrum retained the custom of grouping family pedigrees under a single historic figure, like a patriarch of a tribe, and titling the long pedigree by the patriarch’s name even if the line had large gaps. Thus, for example, we cite the pedigree of JOHN ap REES by the name of its patriarch Elystan Glodrydd (a ruler of part of Wales in the 10th century) with Bartrum’s pedigree number (e.g. Elystan Glodrydd 52(D).

Bartrum found that the early genealogies are remarkably reliable when allowance is made for accidental mistakes due to carelessness or ignorance, but complete historical accuracy is not claimed. Where possible he gives cross-references for all marriages, and he concluded that "nearly all marriages recorded up to the end of the 16th century are bona fide [given in good faith] if not always correct." For these reasons, Dr Michael Siddons, the present Wales Herald Extraordinary, advises that "it is wise to take pedigree evidence as a signpost to be followed rather than as proof of a particular descent, and wherever possible to check the accuracy of the pedigree against independent evidence at every step" ("Manuscript Pedigrees," p.224). He also quotes the advice of J. Gwenogvryn Evans, that when a pedigree reaches back beyond the third generation before the one in which it was drawn up, it should not be trusted unless supported by independent evidence.

The LEIGH pedigree and those giving the descent of ?MARGARETTA from WILLIAM PRICHARD and JOHN ap REES pass our reliability test because they fall within the three-generations limit from the time when they were recorded by David Edwardes, and because Edwardes had both professional and personal knowledge of the LEIGH and PRICHARD families. He was also familiar with the JOHN ap REES pedigree because he himself descended from a line which branched off from JOHN’s line in about 1400, so he was a distant cousin of OAKLEY LEIGH’s wife.

Independent Evidence Test

With all pedigrees of any length but especially those longer than the three-generation PRICHARD and LEIGH lines down to the time of David Edwardes, we rely upon historical confirmation by independent evidence. Earlier than the periods when parish records are extant, we rely largely on deeds and on state records of occupation, location, court decisions etc to provide supporting evidence of the existence of ancestors named in the pedigrees. These and other kinds of historical evidence such as that provided by the bards have been studied and published by historians and genealogists, whose work we used.  JOHN ap REES’s long pedigree goes back in the male line to GRONO GOCH, who in the late 13th century was Constable of Dryslwyn Castle. Fortunately, many of his line held office in Carmarthenshire under the Crown or appeared in deeds and so were found in State records, and these have been analyzed and published by the historian Ralph A. Griffiths in two authoritative books, The Principality of Wales in the Later Middle Ages in 1972 and Sir Rhys ap Thomas and His Family in 1993. JOHN’S wife ELIZABETH also lived near Carmarthen, and the pedigree by Gruffudd Hiraethog of her father THOMAS traces the ownership of his estate back to his great grandfather, who inherited it in turn through two female lines from the earliest known owner in the 14th century. A much longer line is that of ELIZABETH’S maternal grandmother JANE BOWEN, which is recorded in State records given in Griffiths’ books. Indeed, Sir Rhys ap Thomas, whose family forms the subject of one of the books, was a first cousin of JANE’s father.

These ancestors all lived in Carmarthenshire, but two of JANE BOWEN’s relations, her husband HUGH VAUGHAN and her mother JANE LEWIS, came from other parts of the country. Both have claims to descent from the Welsh princes, and those claims appear to be justified. Most writers on HUGH’s family concentrated on his descendants at Golden Grove near Carmarthen, who for 200 years were the premier family in the county, but they ignored his claim to descent from EINION EFELL, illegitimate son of MADOG ap MAREDUDD, the last of the Princes of Powys in north Wales in the 12th century. This claim was based on the pedigree recorded by Gruffudd Hiraethog, who was a contemporary of HUGH VAUGHAN, so his immediate descent from a gentry family in Powys can be trusted. We found little documentary evidence for the earlier generations, but Welsh Herald Francis Jones concluded that the line had no inherent problems ("The Vaughans of Golden Grove," p.98), and Jones’s successor Dr Siddons agrees that it is reasonable to accept this pedigree (Private communication, 23 March 2005).

The ancestry of HUGH’s mother-in-law JANE LEWIS in Monmouthshire is generally well documented. Her father THOMAS was killed at the battle of Banbury in 1469 (Evans p.108). His descent within three generations from the lords of Tredegar was recorded around 1590, and though we have no documentary evidence for part of this line, Dr Siddons considers it likely (private comm. 23 March 2005). THOMAS LEWIS’s wife ELIZABETH was descended through a cadet line with fuller documentation of her father’s connection. These families are described in Volume 4 of J.A. Bradney’s History of Monmouthshire, which was drawn from the traditional pedigrees brought up to date, and from much record research. Documents of 1333-1411 provide very strong circumstantial evidence of descent of the lords of Tredegar from the LORD RHYS of Dinefwr (c.1132-1197) in the maternal lines of the Welsh lords of Caerleon. RHYS was descended from the early kings HYWEL DDA and RHODRI MAWR, and his wife GWENLLIAN was the daughter of MADOG ap MAREDUDD, prince of Powys, who was also claimed as an ancestor by HUGH VAUGHAN.

Research and Authorship

The whole work on ?MARGARETTA PRICHARD’s ancestry was a truly joint project of three LEIGH descendants: Norma Leigh Rudinsky, Derek Williams, and webmaster Allen Leigh. Derek’s expertise was invaluable in dealing with Welsh pedigrees, geography, and history, based on his 20 year study of his and his late wife’s Welsh descent. His own account of the ancestry of the Rev. Edmund Leigh with its earlier branches has been deposited in Carmarthenshire Archive Service, Parc Myrddin, Richmond Terrace, Carmarthen, SA31 1DS, as item CDX/661. He also prepared the Map, and the section Welsh Names for readers unfamiliar with the Welsh language and its patronymic naming system. Norma did part of the research since 1993, compiled many of the pedigrees into a computer program, and with Derek as co-author composed the text. Allen turned our routine typed documents into interesting and flexible web pages and made possible their online presentation.

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