Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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VAUGHAN family, of Golden Grove, Carms.

The Vaughans of Golden Grove claimed descent from Bleddyn ap Cynfyn , prince of Powys (q.v.) . The first member of the family to settle at Golden Grove was JOHN VAUGHAN . His son, WALTER VAUGHAN m. (1) Katherine , second daughter of Gruffydd ap Rhys of Dinefwr (see Rice family ), and (2) Letitia , daughter of Sir John Perrot (q.v.) . He was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN VAUGHAN ( 1572 - 1634 ),

who served under the earl of Essex in the Irish campaign of 1599 . He was Member of Parliament for Carmarthen borough in 1601 and 1620-22 . Appointed Comptroller of the Household to the prince of Wales (afterwards Charles I ), he accompanied him to Spain in 1623 . He was created baron Vaughan of Mullingar and earl of Carbery in the Irish peerage. He m. (1) Margaret , daughter of Sir Gelly Meyrick (q.v.) , and (2) Jane , daughter of Sir Thomas Palmer of Wingham , Kent . He d. 6 May 1634 , and was buried at Llandeilo-fawr .

John Vaughan was succeeded by his eldest and only surviving son,

RICHARD VAUGHAN ( 1600? - 1686 ),

who had been knighted on the occasion of the coronation of Charles I in Feb. 1625/6 . He was a Member of Parliament for Carmarthenshire , 1624-9 , and admitted to Gray's Inn in Feb. 1637/8 . In March 1642 the House of Commons nominated him lord-lieutenant of the militia , to be raised in Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire ; but on the outbreak of the Civil War he was appointed by the king to the command of the Royalist Association of the three western counties . The House of Commons , therefore, resolved to impeach him in April 1643 . Carbery does not appear to have taken any active steps until the summer of 1643 when he summoned representatives of Pembrokeshire to a conference at Carmarthen , with a view to suppressing those who had Parliamentary sympathy there, and to the security of Milford Haven , where troops, withdrawn from Ireland , might land. He entered the county in Aug. Tenby submitted on 30 Aug. , and a garrison was placed in Haverfordwest . Pembroke , however, proved defiant under the leadership of the mayor , John Poyer (q.v.) , who was joined by Rowland Laugharne (q.v.) . Carbery appointed his uncle, Sir Henry Vaughan of Derwydd (below), commander of the Royalist forces in Pembrokeshire . With the assistance of ships of the Parliamentary fleet , Laugharne took the offensive, reduced the Royalist garrisons , and captured the fort which they were building at Pill on Milford Haven ( 23 Feb. 1644 ). Sir Henry Vaughan withdrew from Haverfordwest and Carbery left the county, resigning his commission in April. He was ordered to pay an immediate fine of £160 for his delinquency to the Committee for Compounding , and on 17 Nov. 1645 his full obligation was assessed at £4,500. But Rowland Laugharne personally intervened in his favour, and on 9 April 1647 the House of Commons remitted the fine. The fact that he escaped sequestration suggests that he took no definite part in the struggle after 1644 . He tried to dissuade the Carmarthenshire gentry from lending any support to Poyer and Laugharne in the revolt against disbanding in 1648 . During the Civil War disturbances Jeremy Taylor took refuge at Golden Grove and dedicated his Holy Living , 1650 , and Holy Dying , 1650/1 , to Carbery as his patron and protector. After the Restoration Carbery was appointed lord-president of the Marches of Wales at Ludlow , and there he had Samuel Butler as his secretary and steward of the castle ; part of Hudibras is said to have been composed there. Carbery was removed from the presidency in 1672 owing to charges brought against him of ill-treatment of his servants and tenants at Dryslwyn . He d. 3 Dec. 1686 . He m. (1) Bridget , daughter of Thomas Lloyd , Llanllyr, Cards. , (2) Frances , daughter of Sir John Altham , Oxhey, Herts. , and (3) lady Alice Egerton , daughter of John , 1st earl of Bridgwater . His surviving children were by his second wife. FRANCIS VAUGHAN , the eldest son, was Member of Parliament for Carmarthen , 1661-7 , and d. in 1667 without issue. He was, therefore, succeeded by John , who was the 3rd and last earl of Carbery .

JOHN VAUGHAN ( 1640 - 1713 ), 3rd earl of Carbery ,

matriculated from Christ Church , Oxford , 23 July 1656 , and was admitted to the Inner Temple in 1658 . He was knighted in 1661 and represented the borough of Carmarthen in Parliament , 1661-79 , and the county, 1679-81 and 1685-7 . He was appointed governor of Jamaica in 1674 . There he was in constant conflict with the deputy-governor , the notorious Sir Henry Morgan (q.v.) , who intrigued with buccaneers and endangered the peace with France and Spain , which the governor was instructed to preserve. He was superseded by the earl of Carlisle in 1678 . After his succession to his father's estates he settled down in London , pursuing his scientific investigations . He was president of the Royal Society ( 1686-9 ). He was also a member of the Kit-Kat Club , and is described by Samuel Pepys as ‘ one of the lewdest fellows of the age .’ As he d. in Jan. 1712/13 without male issue, the earldom became extinct.

Sir HENRY VAUGHAN ( 1587? - 1659? ),

Royalist , was the 6th son of Walter Vaughan of Golden Grove and a younger brother of John Vaughan , 1st earl of Carbery . He settled at Derwydd . He was sheriff of Carmarthenshire in 1620 and Member of Parliament for the county in 1621-9 and 1640 . He was knighted at Oxford 1 Jan. 1643 , and disabled from sitting in the Commons 5 Feb. 1644 . Accompanying Carbery into Pembrokeshire in 1643 he was given command of the Royalist forces there. After the success of Rowland Laugharne at Pill ( Feb. 1644 ) he abandoned Haverfordwest and retired to Carmarthen . He was taken prisoner at the battle of Naseby ( 14 June 1645 ) and committed to the Tower .

WILLIAM VAUGHAN ( 1575 - 1641 ), author and colonial pioneer ,

was the second son of Walter Vaughan of Golden Grove and brother of John Vaughan , 1st earl of Carbery . He matriculated from Jesus College , Oxford , 4 Feb. 1592 ( B.A. March 1594 , M.A. Nov. 1597 ). He travelled widely on the Continent. In 1616 he was sheriff of Carmarthenshire . He m. Elizabeth , daughter and heiress of David ap Robert of Llangyndeyrn (now called Torcoed ). In 1617 he purchased land from the Company of Adventurers to Newfoundland , and sent out settlers from Wales at his own expense in that year and two years later. The settlement he called ‘ Cambriol ,’ and he gave it Welsh place-names; it was situated on the south coast at the head of Tripaney Bay . Vaughan was prevented by ill-health from going out himself in 1622 , and he did not succeed in establishing the colony. Owing to severe weather conditions and other causes the scheme was abandoned. He was knighted in 1628 . His writings include ( a ) a work entitled Golden Grove ( 1600 ), a commonplace-book which includes quotations from a great variety of authors, classical, mediaeval, and contemporary, arranged under three headings — moral, economic, and political. He also wrote ( b ) a Latin poem in celebration of the marriage of Charles I , and ( c ) the curious compilation which he entitled The Golden Fleece ( 1626 ). In both he employed the pseudonym ‘ Orpheus Junior .’ The Golden Fleece contains verse, both in Latin and English , animadversions on religion of a distinctly anti-Romanist character, and observations on the commercial weaknesses of the kingdom, all leading to the advocacy of colonisation , particularly in Newfoundland . He also wrote other pamphlets dealing mainly with questions of religion and health. He d. at Llangyndeyrn in Aug. 1641 , and was buried in the churchyard there.


  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • A History of Carmarthenshire ;
  • J. R. Phillips , Memoirs of the Civil War in Wales and the Marches, 1642–1649 (1874) ;
  • J. F. Rees , Studies in Welsh History collected papers, lectures and reviews (Cardiff, 1947) ;
  • unpublished theses by T. S. Williams , 1936 ;
  • W. F. Marquardt , A Critical Edition of Sir William Vaughan's 'The Golden Grove', see Summaries of 'Doctoral Dissertations' (Chicago, 1949) (see A Critical Edition of Sir William Vaughan's 'The Golden Grove', see Summaries of 'Doctoral Dissertations' (Chicago, 1949) (North Western Univ., Chicago), xvii, 1949 , 30-4).
  • For the will of Sir William Vaughan see The Carmarthen Antiquary , x, 70.


Sir James Frederick Rees, Ll.D., (1883-1967), Tenby / Cardiff

Published date: 1959