Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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WILLIAMS , CHARLES ( 1633 - 1720 ), benefactor of his native town , Caerleon-on-Usk .

He was unfortunate enough to kill a cousin of his ( Morgan of Penrhos ) in a duel, and had to flee the country. He went to Smyrna , where he became a merchant , trading not only with Turkey but with other countries such as Russia , and acquiring great wealth in the process. John Hanbury of Pontypool (see under Hanbury ) succeeded in the reign of William III in making it possible for him to return to Britain , where he appears to have lived quietly in London , dealing in stocks and shares and lending money to the Government — thus adding to his wealth. He d. unmarried, 29 Aug. 1720 , ‘at the age of 87’; when he made his will ( Jan. 1717 ) he was living in Covent Garden . As a token of his gratitude to Hanbury , he had arranged for the sum of £70,000 to be paid to one of Hanbury 's sons as soon as he attained his majority, subject to the condition that he added the name ‘ Williams ’ to his own surname; this was done in 1729 (see Hanbury-Williams , Sir Charles ). In his will, he left £4,000 to found a charity school for thirty boys and twenty girls in Caerleon-on-Usk , and to pay for their apprenticing — so far as the balance permitted; the school was built in 1724 . Moreover, in a codicil ( 23 Aug. 1720 ), he left a further sum of £3,000 for the repair of the church and the improvement of the roads in, and leading to, the town.


  • W. Coxe , An historical tour in Monmouthshire (1801) ( 1904 ed. ), 104, 207;
  • Bradney , A History of Monmouthshire , I, ii, 438;
  • Report on Charities ('Monmouth') , 1815-39 (‘Monmouth’), 450-60, for a full account of the charities.


Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Published date: 1959