In accordance with family tradition Rowland Vaughan played a prominent part in the public life of the county and, like his father, who was sheriff of Merioneth in 1613/4 and 1620/1 , he was appointed sheriff in 1642/3 . He was a staunch Royalist and it is said that he fought as a captain at the battle of Naseby . Englynion by William Phylip show that he certainly took some active part in the Civil War ( Pen. MS. 115 ) and Caer-gai was burnt down by Cromwell 's soldiers on their way from Montgomeryshire in 1645 . Vaughan himself was imprisoned at Chester by the Cromwellians in 1650 and his estate given to a kinsman, but after the end of the Civil War and after some years of litigation he recovered his estate and rebuilt Caer-gai .
Many of his englynion and other poems contain references to his political beliefs and to his sufferings at the hand of the Cromwellian party and many of them relate to the topics of the day. He also wrote a number of carols and other poems of a religious nature and translated several hymns from English and Latin into Welsh . The Welsh versions of the hymns in the Book of Common Prayer are generally attributed to him (see Thickens , Emynau a'u Hawduriaid and Llyfr Gweddi Gyffredin , 1664 ). He also wrote several elegies on the death of eminent Merioneth men. Some of his poems were published in Carolau a Dyriau Duwiol , 1729 , Blodeu-Gerdd Cymru , 1759 , and other anthologies, and many of them are to be found in contemporary manuscripts, some of them being in his autograph (for an example of his autograph, see illustration between 142 and 143 in N.L.W. Jnl. , i).
Rowland Vaughan is better remembered, however, as a translator of religious works , in particular of works supporting the Established Church . The first and most important of these to be published was Yr Ymarfer o Dduwioldeb , a translation which appeared in 1630 of Lewis Bayly , The Practice of Piety . Several later editions of this translation appeared within the following century. This first translation was followed in 1658 by Yr Arfer o Weddi yr Arglwydd ( John Despagne ), Pregeth yn erbyn Schism ( Jasper Mayne ), Prifannau Sanctaidd , together with Ymddiffyniad Rhag Pla o Schism ( William Brough ), and Prifannau Crefydd Gristnogawl , together with Y Llwybraidd-Fodd Byrr ( James Ussher ). His last published translated work, Evchologia ( John Prideaux ), appeared in 1660 . The translations show not only the meticulous care with which he worked but also his masterly command of an extensive vocabulary and a fluid style of writing. His introductions and dedicatory letters to these works contain numerous allusions to contemporary historical events as well as his own fortunes and family.
Vaughan also translated one other important work, although his translation was never published. Among the Brogyntyn manuscripts deposited in the National Library of Wales some years ago by lord Harlech was found a hitherto unknown portion of Vaughan 's translation of Eikon Basilike or The King's Book , together with his dedication addressed to lord Harlech 's ancestor, colonel Sir John Owen ; for this, see N.L.W. Jnl. , i, 141-4.
Rowland Vaughan d. 18 Sept. 1667 and the Caer-gai estate passed to his eldest son, John , whose great-granddaughter, Mary Elizabeth (b. 1709 ), wife of the Rev. Henry Mainwaring , rector of Etwall , sold it, together with Tref Prysg , to Sir Watkin Williams Wynn , about 1740 .
Megan Ellis, (1906-2001), Aberystwyth
Sir William Llewelyn Davies, M.A., LL.D., F.S.A. (1887-1952), Aberystwyth
Published date: 1959