Between the days of Hywel Sele and the age of Elizabeth the Nanneys thrust their roots deep in the commote of Tal-y-bont through the buying up of lands in the townships of Brithdir and Dyffryndan , Cefnyrywen and Dolgleder , Garthgynfor , and Garthmaelan . The stock sent out many branches: a brother of Hywel Sele founded the family of Caerynwch ; the Cefndeuddwr branch grew out in the middle of the 16th cent. , that of Maes Pandy at the end of that century; the Dolau-gwyn relationships were made secure by a series of complicated marriages. The head of the house in the years 1580-1620 was HUW , a very powerful personality, of whom the bards outdid each other in extravagant eulogies, no fewer than eleven of them bewailing his death in 1623 . His career was not without some grave crises: he was on very bad terms with the Llwyn family , with the Lloyds of Rhiwaedog , with the Owens of Hengwrt , and these ill-wishers were joined by his own blood-relations of Cefndeuddwr (his great sin, it was said, was the pushing forward of his son Griffith , in 1593 , as Member of Parliament for Merioneth against John Lewis Owen of Llwyn ). His enemies concentrated on the charge that Huw Nannau had cut down thousands of trees at Penrhos between Mawddach and Afon-wen , and had made a great fortune out of them; the Exchequer gave a verdict of guilty against him, levying a fine of £1,500; Nannau went to prison rather than pay; after many petitions to the supreme authorities, he was set free, but the fine was not brought down lower than £800 [but see the item added to the bibliographical note].
The story of Nannau is somewhat uneventful until the days of colonel HUGH NANNEY , Member of Parliament for Merioneth ( 1695-1701 ) and his termagant wife Catherine , one of the daughters of Cors-y-gedol (she d. in 1733 ). He was the last Nanney to hold the estate, for his heiress Janet m. Robert Vaughan of Hengwrt in 1719 , great-grandson to the antiquary ( q.v. ; the antiquary himself had m. a granddaughter of Huw Nannau Hen ). Their son HUGH VAUGHAN almost made a total shipwreck of his fortunes by his ill-regulated life and his utter incapacity for estate management, but through the pluck and pertinacity of his lawyer John Lloyd and the prescience of the very intelligent lady Elizabeth Baker (q.v.) , who supervised the household at Nannau , things looked a little more hopeful at Vaughan 's death in 1783 , leaving his brother ROBERT VAUGHAN ( 1723 - 1792 ), created a baronet in 1791 , to carry on the long litigation till 1788 , when the Chancery masters delivered a final and very favourable verdict. It is true that R. H. Vaughan was made a baronet in 1791 , but much more important for the fortunes of the family was his marriage in 1765 with Ann Williams , heiress of the Ystumcolwyn lands by Meifod , she in turn being grand-daughter to the Meriel Williams who had m. the squire of Meillionydd in Llŷn : the upshot of all this was that Sir Robert Howell Vaughan , and his son Sir ROBERT VAUGHAN ( 1768 - 1843 ) were the quadruple possessors of Nannau , Hengwrt , Ystumcolwyn , and Meillionydd . What wonder that the second Sir Robert reared a new mansion at Nannau , became a Member of Parliament for Merioneth in 1792 , and was re-elected thirteen times, remaining a member till 1836 ? Thanks were paid to him in the form of an illustrated address, signed by 122 names, in July, 1836 ; money was collected in 1841 to found the ‘ Vaughan Scholarship ’ as a tribute to the length of his public service; and when he d. in 1843 Meurig Idris composed a long ode of eulogy (12 pages). His brother EDWARD VAUGHAN (d. 1807 ) had already succeeded by will to the Rûg estate ( 1780 ); these Rûg lands were in the possession of the Vaughans of Nannau till the death of the third Sir ROBERT VAUGHAN ( 1803 - 1859 ), when the second son of lord Newborough became proprietor. According to Sir Robert 's will — he d. without children — Hengwrt went to his wife's sisters (she was a Lloyd of Rhagad ) and Nannau to one of the sons of the first lord Mostyn , with the clear proviso that these were only interim arrangements for one life, that the two estates were eventually to come into the hands of JOHN VAUGHAN (b. 1829 ), a member of the Dolmelynllyn branch of the Hengwrt family. This happened in 1874 ; and Vaughan was very soon faced with the problem of the new railway to Bala , the old problem of fishing in the river Mawddach , and the question of the proper royalties to charge upon adventurers for gold upon his lands. In politics he was a thoroughbred Conservative , and was an unsuccessful candidate against T. E. Ellis (q.v.) in the General Election of 1886 . He d. on 29 June 1900 ( Nannau MS. 835 ), not in 1898 as recorded in the Pedigrees of J. E. Griffith (200).
Thomas Richards, D.Litt., (1878-1962), Bangor
Published date: 1959