Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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GOWER , Sir ERASMUS ( 1742 - 1814 ); admiral ;

b. at Glandovan (‘ Glan Duan , West Wales Records , ii, 39), Kilgerran , went to sea very early with captain John Donkley , R.N. , who had married his father's sister. After serving on various ships , he was twice sent on voyages of discovery round the world , and in 1769 (as lieutenant ) to the Falkland Islands (being shipwrecked before reaching port). He was at home from 1770 till 1779 , but then was captain under Rodney , and from 1786 till 1788 served off Newfoundland . He was knighted in 1792 and sent to convoy H.M. Ambassador ( Macartney ) to China . Further service (notably under Cornwallis in 1795 ) led to rear-admiral 's rank ( 1799 ); in 1804 he became vice-admiral . After a term ( 1804-7 ) as c.-in-c. and governor of Newfoundland , he retired and was made admiral in 1809 . He d. at Hambledon , Portsmouth , 21 June 1814 , ‘in his seventy-second year.’ Erasmus Gower was the son of Abel Gower ; his mother was a daughter of Erasmus Lewes , who was vicar of Lampeter — a Lewes of Gernos , Llangunllo, Cards. ( Meyrick , Cardiganshire , 2nd ed., 202, 221). The Gowers , a Worcestershire family, had come into Glandovan ( c. 1700 ) by intermarriage with the Stedmans , who in their turn had acquired it by intermarriage with the original family, the Vaughans . These were descendants of Robert Vaughan , a cadet of the better-known Vaughans of Cors-y-gedol in Merionethshire (q.v.) ; this Robert 's wife was Elizabeth , daughter of the translator Thomas Phaer (q.v.) . The Gowers eventually removed from Glandovan to Clunderwen, Pembs.

Sources:

  • J. R. Phillips , The history of Cilgerran comprising a detailed account of the castle, church, mansions, old families, men of note, tin-plate works, slate quarries, salmon fishery, &c.; including the topography of the parish; with copies of charters, and other MSS , 1867 , 104-22;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Author:

Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Published date: 1959