Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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VAUGHAN family of Bredwardine , Herefordshire .

This was the main branch of the Vaughans who traced their descent, through WALTER SEYS , to MOREIDDIG WARWYN (to whom the origin of the family's coat of arms, three boys’ heads with a snake entwined about their necks, was ascribed), and thence to DRYMBENOG AP , lord of Brycheiniog . The family had accumulated property at Llechryd in Elvael and Cwm Du before Walter Seys had won renown and wealth in the wars of Edward III . In the pedigree books, he is said to have m. the heiress of Sir Walter Bredwardine , and to have taken up residence at Bredwardine , followed by his son, RHOSIERHEN ,’ who m. a daughter of Sir Walter Devereux , and his grandson, ROGER VAUGHAN , who m. Gwladys , daughter of Dafydd Gam (q.v.) , and fell with his father-in-law in the personal defence of Henry V on the field of Agincourt , 1415 . According to a document given at Cwm Du , 26 Nov. 1383 , Walter Seys had a son called ROGER VYCHAN , whose mother was Matilda verch Ieuan ap Rees , then wife of Howel ap William ap Jankyn and holding land in the lordship of Talgarth ( Cardiff Library , Brecknock Deeds, 3 ). It is certain that Roger Vaughan left three sons by Gwladys , daughter of Dafydd Gam Watkin , heir of Bredwardine , Thomas ap Roger — see Vaughan of Hergest family , and ( Sir ) Roger Vaughan — see Vaughan of Tretower family — and that they were brought up with their uterine brothers, William Herbert , earl of Pembroke (d. 1469 ) (q.v.) , and Sir Richard Herbert (d. 1469 ), sons of Sir William ap Thomas of Raglan (d. 1446 ) . Gwladys d. in 1454 . Hywel Swrdwal or Hywel Dafi (qq.v.) composed an elegy on her death. WATKIN VAUGHAN was slain by an arrow at Hereford , according to his elegy by Hywel Swrdwal . This elegy does not support the suggestion made by Evans ( Wales and the Wars of the Roses , 128-9) that this incident took place at the battle of Mortimer's Cross . Watkin 's wife was Elizabeth , daughter of Sir Henry Wogan . He is described in the pedigree books as lord of Bredwardine , Cwm , Tir Ralph , Llechryd , and the Gorred . At least fifteen children are ascribed to him. Mention must be made of the second son, WILLIAM VAUGHAN of Rhydhelig , of whom Dr. John David Rhys reports that a family tradition maintained that it was he who slew the earl of Warwick when the kingmaker was stealthily escaping from Barnet field , 1471 . He was regarded as a champion in the field of battle with no one to equal him, after the death of his uncle, Thomas ap Roger of Hergest . He was at one time constable of Aberystwyth castle and his praises were sung by Dafydd Nanmor and Lewis Glyn Cothi (qq.v.). Lewis Glyn Cothi also sang to Lewis ap Watkin , calling him the Roland of Llanbedr Painscastle and Rhulen . According to Lewis Dwnn , the Vaughans of Pont-faen , in Cemais , were descended from John Vaughan , another son. It is also said that John Vaughan , father of Sir Hugh Johneys , knight of the Sepulchre , 1441 , was an illegitimate son of Walter Vaughan . Walter Vaughan 's heir was Sir THOMAS VAUGHAN , who m. Eleanor , daughter of Robert Whitney . Lewis Glyn Cothi wrote a eulogy of him before he was knighted . His heir was Sir RICHARD VAUGHAN , who was knighted at Tournai , 13 or 14 Oct. 1513 , and who was sheriff of Herefordshire , 1530-1 , and 1541-2 . His wife was Anne , daughter of John Butler , and heiress of Dunraven and Pen-bre . The main line now removed from Bredwardine , and we find WALTER VAUGHAN , Sir Richard 's heir, sheriff of Carmarthenshire in 1557 , and living at Dunraven in 1584 . Walter 's second son was CHARLES VAUGHAN , ancestor of the Vaughans of Cwmgwili and Pen-y-banc , and his heir was THOMAS VAUGHAN , sheriff of Carmarthenshire , 1566 and 1570 . The latter m. Catherine , daughter of Sir Thomas Johnes of Abermarlais , and bought the estate of Fallerstone, Wilts. His heir, Sir WALTER VAUGHAN ( knighted 27 June 1603 ) d. 4 June 1637 , and was buried at Tenby . He was followed by his son, Sir CHARLES VAUGHAN , who m. Frances , daughter and heiress of Sir Robert Knolles of Porthaml — see Vaughan of Porthaml family. Dunraven was sold by his son, THOMAS VAUGHAN , who, dying without a male heir, left the remainder of his estates to his sister, Bridget , who, in 1677 , m. John Ashburnham , who was created lord Ashburnham , 20 May 1698 . The estates remained in this family for another two centuries. The main line gave way at Bredwardine to another branch of the family, the Vaughans of Moccas — see Vaughan of Porthaml family . The first of them recorded at Bredwardine is Watkin Vaughan , who wrote a letter to lord Burghley from there, 17 Dec. 1584 . His wife was Joan , daughter of Miles ap Harry of Newcourt , in the Golden Valley , and niece to Blanch Parry (q.v.) , queen Elizabeth 's maid of honour . They had two sons, Harry , heir to Moccas and Bredwardine , and Rowland , heir of Newcourt . This Rowland was the author of the remarkable book entitled Most approved and long experienced waterworkes , 1610 , which contains a long epistle to William Herbert , earl of Pembroke . His wife was Elizabeth , daughter of Rowland Vaughan of Porthaml . HARRY VAUGHAN ' S wife was a grand-daughter of Hugh Lewis of Harpton . Their heir was ROGER VAUGHAN (matriculated at Oxford , 11 May 1604 , aged 15), who rebuilt Bredwardine castle , 1639-40 . His son, HARRY VAUGHAN , m. Frances , daughter of Walter Pye , in 1635 . After his death, she m. Edward Cornewall , of the Stapleton family, and it was his son who succeeded to Moccas , having purchased Bredwardine for himself.


  • Peniarth Manuscripts at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth) 118, 127, 140;
  • The Visitation of Herefordshire (1569) , 1569 ;
  • Limbus Patrum Morganiae et Glamorganiae (1886) ;
  • Reade , Memorials of Old Herefordshire (1904) ;
  • Evans , Wales and the Wars of the Roses (1915) ;
  • Robinson , A History of the Castles of Herefordshire and their Lords (London, 1869) ;
  • Heraldic Visitations of Wales and Part of the Marches (1846) , i, 139, 172.


Evan David Jones, F.S.A., (1903-87), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959