Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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LORT family, of Stackpole and other seats in Pembrokeshire .

GEORGE LORT came from Staffordshire to Pembrokeshire c. 1567 as steward of the Stackpole estate under Margaret Stanley ; later on he bought the estate. His heir was his son ROGER LORT ( 1555? - 1613 ), sheriff in 1607 ; then came HENRY LORT ( sheriff in 1619 ), who was said to have been deeply involved in smuggling on the Pembrokeshire coast . Henry had three sons: ROGER (who lived at Stackpole ); JOHN (who lived at Prickaston or Prickeston , near Castlemartin church — see Fenton , Pembrokeshire , 1903 ed., 223; today only a farmhouse), and SAMPSON , of East Moor , near Manorbier , who m. a daughter of Sir John Philipps of Picton . All three ‘trimmed’ dexterously during the Civil Wars . In 1642 Roger was on the Parliament's Militia Commission for Pembrokeshire , but in the same year he and Sampson were members of the ‘ Royalist Association ,’ and Roger a Royalist officer ; both brothers signed several declarations on the king's side in 1643-4 ; Roger persuaded Tenby to admit a royalist garrison, and Sampson was one of the gentry who spoke of attacking Pembroke . In 1643 Stackpole was taken by Rowland Laugharne (q.v.) , but Roger Lort was not there — he had gone up to London to make his peace with Parliament , and though in 1645 he was fined £1,000, the fine was never paid. Indeed, in 1645 all three brothers were in the Parliamentary ‘Association’ of west Wales . But it is clear that the Puritan leaders of west Wales had little faith in them; and in the same year it became obvious that all was not well between them and Poyer and Laugharne . This disagreement became important in 1647 when Poyer threw all three into gaol; Poyer 's disobedience of Laugharne 's order to release them was one of the causes of his downfall later on. They were released, and at the end of the wars, officially pardoned. Not that the Royalists either thought highly of them; one of these in 1661 ( Laws , Little England , 356 = Camb. Register , i, 164) judged that Roger Lort was prepared to adhere to any principle or religion that would bring him wealth, and as for Sampson : ‘ he hath only the jaw of the Scriptural Sampson, yet he wrought much harm with it — he can pray as long as it profits him .’ It is, however, fair to say that Sampson , of all the three brothers, most resembles a genuine Puritan . [It looks as if he had been that Sampson Lort , aged 33, who in 1635 landed in the Bermudas ], and his daughter Elizabeth was m. to the Quaker , Charles Lloyd ( II ) of Dolobran (see under Lloyd of Dolobran ). On the other hand Roger alone made some show of service in arms for the king . It is believed that Sampson , too, favoured the Restoration ; he must have been dead by 1670 , for the owner of a seven-hearth house in Manorbier in 1670 was a Thomas Lort ( W. Wales Hist. Records , x, 190).

Roger Lort was a man who loved his ease, and was fond of composing Latin epigrams . He was made baronet in 1662 , and d. in 1664 . He was followed by his son, Sir JOHN LORT (d. 1673 ), and he by his son Sir GILBERT LORT , who d., unmarried, in 1698 . The estate passed to Gilbert 's sister ELIZABETH , who m. Alexander Campbell of Cawdor — thus it was that the house of Cawdor came to Pembrokeshire .

More than one sheriff came from the line of John Lort of Prickaston . The last heir in the direct line was JOHN LORT , sheriff in 1775 , who was dead by 1778 . His daughter ELIZABETH m. George Phillips , of Haverfordwest , from whom sprang the family of LORT . But the last John Lort had an uncle, ROGER LORT , who was mortally wounded at Fontenoy in 1745 (memorial to him and his family in S. Mary's , Tenby — see Laws , Church Book of S. Mary…at Tenby , 84), and had m. Anne Jenkins , daughter of a cleric in Llanbadarn-fawr, Cards. ; she d. in 1767 ; there is mention of some of her property in Llanbadarn in Morris Letters , ii, 565, and Add. M.L. , pp. 898, 912, 925. The eldest of their children was MICHAEL LORT , b. at Prickaston in 1725 (18 at his matriculation from Trinity College , Cambridge , in mid-June 1743 ) who was at ‘ Mr. Evans 's school’ at Tenby before going to Westminster and thence to Cambridge ; he d. at Colchester 5 Nov. 1790 . Lort became Regius Professor of Greek ; he was also an antiquary , and a friend of Gray and of Boswell . He knew no Welsh , but was led by curiosity concerning Celtic poetry to consult Richard Morris and to correspond with Lewis Morris — see Morris Letters , ii, 537, 544, 550, 555, 557, 565, 581, and Add. M.L. , pp. 466-8. He was uncle to William Lort Mansell (q.v.) .

Sources:

  • E. Laws , History of Little England beyond Wales , 1888 (index);
  • James Phillips , The History of Pembrokeshire , London, 1909 (index);
  • Henry Owen , Old Pembroke Families in the ancient County Palatine of Pembroke. Compiled, in part from the Floyd MSS. , London, 1902 , 29-31;
  • Mirehouse , South Pembrokeshire some of its history and records , London, 1910 , 51 et sqq. (where however the first John Lort is misnamed ‘Henry’);
  • A. L. Leach , History of the Civil War (1642-49) in Pembrokeshire and on its borders , London, 1937 (index);
  • W. R. Williams , The History of the Parliamentary Representation of Wales , 1895 ;
  • The Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion , 1946-7 , 212, 228;
  • other references in text;
  • [ A. H. Dodd , The Character of Early Welsh Emigration to the United States , Cardiff, 1953 , 11-12].

Author:

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

Published date: 1959