Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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BODWRDA ( BODURDA ) family, of Bodwrda, Caerns.

An old Caernarvonshire family, descended from Trahaearn Goch , lord of Cymydmaen . The surname was adopted by HUGH GWYN , sheriff of Caernarvonshire , 1605 (son of John Wyn , sheriff 1584 ). Of his twelve children, the eldest, JOHN BODWRDA (d. 1648? ), was sheriff in 1629 , and may have been the John Bodwrda ‘secured’ by the then sheriff ( Sir T. Cheadle ) for supposed Roundhead sympathies on the outbreak of civil war ; three went to S. John's College , Cambridge , where Hugh 's wife's brother, Owen Gwyn (or Gwynne ) , was elected master in 1612 . WILLIAM BODWRDA ( 1593 - 1660 ), second son, went there in 1612 after graduating at Oxford , becoming M.A. 1615 , B.D. 1623 , and a Fellow of the college till his ejection for refusing the Solemn League and Covenant in 1644 . After holding several college livings in England , of which he was deprived by Parliament in 1646 , he was presented in 1651 to that of Aberdaron (near his home), the gift of which had been made over to the college by archbishop John Williams . He seems to have remained here till 1670 , undisturbed both by the Triers and by the Restoration . GRIFFITH BODWRDA , the third son, who left S. John 's without graduating, was in 1626 , as under-sheriff of Caernarvonshire , exonerated by the Lords on a charge of violating the Parliamentary privilege of Lewis Bayly , bishop of Bangor . Either he or his nephew and namesake ( v. infra ) was a prolific writer of englynion . HENRY BODWRDA , fourth son, became a Fellow of S. John's and a schoolmaster in England , and shared with his brother William a legacy from the master , Owen Gwyn .

GRIFFITH (or GRIFFIN ) BODWRDA ( 1621 - 1679 ), politician and placeman ,

was the third son of the above John Bodwrda , and of Margaret , daughter of John Griffith , Cefn Amwlch . He was educated at Shrewsbury school and in 1639 (27 Oct.) entered S. John's College , Cambridge (following his elder brothers John and Hugh ), under the tutorship of his uncle William Bodwrda , and holding a scholarship founded by Dr. John Gwyn in 1574 from rents in Maenan , on the nomination of his second cousin Robert Wynne , Bodysgallen , as ‘neerest in relation of kindred unto mee and the founder.’ He left without graduating, and was appointed through the good offices of John Glynne , recorder of London , to the Wine Licence Office and that of Receiver of Firstfruits , together worth £500 a year. He was one of the commissioners for the North Wales ‘Association’ in 1648 , entered Lincoln's Inn in 1649 , and in 1656 was elected for Beaumaris to Cromwell 's second Parliament , where he took a prominent part in debates, supporting the Humble Petition and Advice but urging limitations on the financial and judicial powers of the Protector , and protesting against the financial burdens imposed on his own constituents. His greatest speech was a powerful plea for religious liberty during the attack on James Nayler , the Quaker ‘Messiah’ ( 12 Dec. 1656 ). In the same year he was made Keeper of the Records of Common Pleas , in 1657 commissioner of taxes for Anglesey and Caernarvonshire , and in 1659 he was again returned for Beaumaris in Richard Cromwell 's Parliament , where he supported the new Protector 's title, urged a strong foreign policy, and wished to disfranchise Brecon for a false return at the last election. At the same time he presented to his college a copy of Brian Walton 's recently published Polyglot Bible , acknowledged in a fulsome Latin address of thanks. In 1654 he was associated with John Glyn , John Carter , and William Foxwist in the purchase of the lordship of Hawarden from the earl of Derby . Elected to the Convention Parliament , he was one of the deputation chosen to escort Charles II from Paris ( 26 April 1660 ), subsequently turned informer at the regicide trials , and was entrusted by Charles II with the dismantling of Caernarvon castle . During the Great Fire ( 1666 ) the king put him in charge of homeless refugees at Islington . He failed, though backed by secretary Arlington , to obtain a commissionership of Excise for London in 1668 , but soon afterwards ( c. 1672 ) he was given a post at the Treasury in Dublin , where he remained till his death in 1679 , having obtained five years earlier permission from the Crown to purchase land for development near the castle. He remained on the commission of the peace for Caernarvonshire , from which his name was removed only during the ‘purge’ of political suspects in Feb. 1680 — some months after his death. His brother HUGH (also of Lincoln's Inn ) was sheriff in 1686 .

Sources:

  • J. E. Griffith , Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire Families , 1914 , 168;
  • Baker , The History of St. John's College , i, 205, 221, 225, 341, 492, 526;
  • Venn , Alumni Cantabrigienses , i, 172;
  • T. Richards , A History of the Puritan Movement in Wales , 1920 , 144;
  • T. Richards , Religious Developments in Wales, 1654–1662 , 1923 , 16, 304-5, 321, 335;
  • The Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion , 1948-9 , 69-70, and sources therein cited;
  • Baker , The History of St. John's College , i, 205, 221, 225, 341, 492, 526;
  • A. Ivor Pryce , Diocese of Bangor During Three Centuries, seventeenth to nineteenth century inclusive being a digest of the registers of the bishops , 1929 , 6;
  • W. R. Williams , The History of the Parliamentary Representation of Wales , 1895 , 4-5;
  • Burton , Diary of Thomas Burton, Esq. member in the Parliaments of Oliver and Richard Cromwell, from 1656 to 1659 now first published from the original autograph manuscript , 1828 , i, 119-21, 160, 365, ii, 47, 51, 55, 226-7, 304, 420-3, iii, 68, 135-6, 246, 249, 367, 444, iv, 158, 406, 422, 437;
  • The Journals of the House of Commons , viii, 27;
  • The Journals of the House of Lords , iii, 546, 553-4;
  • T. B. Howells , A Complete Collection of State Trials… , 1816–98 , v, 1084-5;
  • Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series , Record Publication , 1666-8 , 1672-9 ;
  • Calendar of the Committee for Advance of Money, 1642–56 . Record Publication, 1888 , iii, 1245;
  • Firth and Rait , Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642–1660 , 1911 , i, 1183, 1246-7, ii, 1084;
  • Reports of the Historical Manuscripts Commission , 11 th R., ii, 175;
  • Carreglwyd Manuscript at the National Library of Wales , 1628 ;
  • Bettisfield deeds at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth , 1636 ;
  • J. Jones (‘Myrddin Fardd’) , Cynfeirdd Llyn, 1500-1800 sef casgliad o ganiadau Wiliam Lleyn , Pwllheli, 1905 , 219-22.

Author:

Emeritus Professor Arthur Herbert Dodd, M.A., (1891-1975), Bangor

Published date: 1959