Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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ELLICE ( ELLIS ), ROBERT ( fl. 1640 ), Royalist soldier ,

was the elder son of Gruffydd Elis ap Risiart of Frondeg , near Bersham, Denbs. , the family coming originally from Hopedale and claiming descent on the male side (with a bend sinister) from Sandde Hardd , conqueror of Hopedale ( c. 1100 ), and on the female side from the Stanley s of Ewloe . Robert Ellice acquired, possibly from his uncle PETER ELLICE (d. 1637 ) of Wrexham (a learned lawyer and antiquary , whose genealogical collections were extensively used by Robert Vaughan of Hengwrt , q.v. ), the estate of Gwasnewydd (now Croes-newydd ) in the township of Broughton and parish of Wrexham . His family lived there till towards the close of the 17th cent. , but in 1646 he is described as ‘of Ruabon .’ He served under Gustavus Adolphus in the Thirty Years War , and on his return in the Civil War at home on 15 Jan. 1643 (on royal orders) he seized Chirk castle , the seat of the Roundhead Sir Thomas Myddelton (q.v.) and commanded 600 Welsh Royalist infantry at Middlewich, Ches. ( March 1643 ), where they were defeated and Ellice captured. Released in Sept. 1643 , he was given command for the king over Denbighshire and Flintshire with 1,200 men, at the head of whom he took part in operations round Wem ( March 1644 ) and helped to defend Montgomeryshire against the ensuing Roundhead invasion. In 1645-6 he took part in the defence of Conway and Chester . He was admitted to composition and fined £200 (at the rate of one-tenth), later reduced to £150 on the plea that he had only a life-interest in the estate. His younger brother THOMAS ELLICE (entered Gray's Inn 1651 ) became governor of Barbados .

Robert Ellice d. before 1661 , and was succeeded by his son PETER ELLICE (d. 1719 ), who became a J.P. and deputy-steward of Bromfield and Yale . Extensive rebuilding forced him to mortgage the estate bit by bit, until by 1750 it had passed into the hands of the mortgagees.


  • A. N. Palmer , History of the thirteen country townships of the old parish of Wrexham, and of the townships of Burras Riffri, Erlas, & Erddig Being the fifth and last part of "A history of the town and parish of Wrexham" (1903) , 82-90;
  • History of the Princes, the Lords Marcher, and the Ancient Nobility of Powys Fadog , iii, 68;
  • J. R. Phillips , Memoirs of the Civil War in Wales and the Marches, 1642–1649 (1874) , i, 145, 164, ii, 55-6;
  • Archaeologia Cambrensis , i, 34-5;
  • Denbighshire Historical Society Transactions , iii, 50, 55, 75;
  • Journal of the Merioneth Historical and Record Society i, 24;
  • Calendar of the Committee for Compounding with Delinquents, etc., 1643–1660 , ii, 1499-1500 ;
  • Bye–Gones, relating to Wales and the Border Counties , 1913-5 , 30-1;
  • T. Pennant , A Tour (Tours) in [North] WalesPennant, Thomas , 1883 , i, 349;
  • Sir W. Brereton's Letter sent to the Honoble William Lenthal Esq … concerning all the passages and treaties of the siege and taking of the city of Chester And by Mr. Speaker appointed to be printed and published With a most exact declaration of Chesters enlargement after three yeers bondage, set forth by Nathanael Lancaster, chaplein to the Cheshire forces (5 March 1645/6) , 5 March 1645 / 6 , 5;
  • N.L.W. Hanmer deeds, 114;
  • Crosse of Shaw Hill Manuscripts at the National Library of Wales , 1114.


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

Published date: 1959