Dictionary of Welsh Biography



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MEYRICK family, Bodorgan , Anglesey . This family is descended from Cadafael , lord of Cedewain in Powys , but it was in the Tudor period that it first came into prominence. LLEWELYN AP fought under Henry Tudor at the battle of Bosworth ; his son MEURIG AP LLEWELYN served under Henry VIII , was promoted to be captain of the bodyguard , and was given the Crown Lease of the manor of Aberffraw . Meurig was succeeded at Bodorgan by five of the same name — Richard Meyrick ; but it can hardly be said that any one of the five left much of a mark on the history of the county. There was trouble for years between RICHARD MEYRICK II (d. 1596 ) and Hugh Owen of Bodeon (q.v.) concerning part of the Aberffraw manor lands; the Bodorgan estate was crushed by the cost of the litigation and by 1590 a substantial portion had been sold to discharge Meyrick 's debts. RICHARD MEYRICK III (d. 1644 ) was the first of the family to be appointed sheriff of Anglesey , and that not until 1614 . Indeed, the Meyricks had very little lustre until the estate passed into the hands of OWEN MEYRICK I ( 1682 - 1760 ), second son of WILLIAM MEYRICK ( 1644 - 1717 ), and grandson of RICHARD MEYRICK IV (d. 1669 ). He set the estate on a strong foundation, looked after it ceaselessly and carefully, and considerably enlarged its boundaries. In the Anglesey election in 1708 , Owen opposed lord Bulkeley and, although unsuccessful on this occasion, effectively challenged the Bulkeley supremacy in the island. In 1715 he was actually elected to Parliament and held the seat until 1722 . He was also sheriff , 1705-6 , and Custos Rotulorum from 1715 until his death in 1759 . It is worth noting here that it was he who engaged Lewis Morris (q.v.) to measure the Bodorgan estate .

Owen Meyrick was succeeded by his son, OWEN MEYRICK II ( 1705 - 1770 ), who m. a wealthy heiress, the daughter of John Putland of London ; and by his grand-son, OWEN MEYRICK ( 1752 - 1825 ), who was equally fortunate in his marriage — to Clara , daughter and heiress of Richard Garth of Morden , Surrey . The estate acquired additional wealth through the marriage of the latter's daughter and co-heiress, Clara , to AUGUSTUS FULLER of Ashdowne House , Sussex . Their son, OWEN FULLER ( 1804 - 1876 ) adopted the name of Meyrick when he inherited the Bodorgan estate on the death of his grand-father.

In the course of time three other branches of the Meyricks were established: at Gwyddelwern, Mer. (see Meyrick , Edmund ), at Cefn Coch , Llanfechell , and at Monckton, Pembs. The strongest of these was the last (see next article) of which the founder was ROWLAND MEYRICK ( 1505 - 1566 ), second son of Meurig ap Llewelyn and brother of Richard Meyrick I . He was educated at S. Edward's Hall , Oxford , where he graduated B.C.L. in 1531 and D.C.L. in 1538 . He was principal of New Inn Hall , 1534-6 . In 1550 he became canon and chancellor of S. Davids and while there played a leading part in the fierce dispute between the chapter and the bishop , Robert Ferrar (q.v.) , concerning the income of the cathedral. When Mary Tudor came to the throne he was turned out of his canonry at S. Davids but, before long, the wheel of fortune turned once more and he was appointed bishop of Bangor in succession to William Glynn (q.v.) , 21 Dec. 1559 . He m., 1554 , Catherine , daughter of Owen Barrett of Gelliswic and Hasguard, Pembs. , and d. 24 Jan. 1565/6 , leaving four sons. Two of these, Sir Gelly Meyrick and Sir John Meyrick , are dealt with in the next article.

Bibliography:

  • J. E. Griffith , Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire Families , 1914 , 126-7;
  • U.C.N.W. Bodorgan Manuscripts at the University College of North Wales ;
  • E. G. Jones , Transactions of the Anglesey Antiquarian Society and Field Club , 1939 , 73-5;
  • T. Richards , ibid., 1934 , 23-34.

Author:

Emyr Gwynne Jones, M.A., (1911-72), Bangor