Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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WYNN , PRYSE , and CORBET families, Ynysmaengwyn, Mer. , and GWYN and NANNEY families, Dolau Gwyn, Mer.

This is another Merioneth family claiming descent from Osbwrn Wyddel . Osbwrn 's son Kenric ( Cynwrig ) had a son LLYWELYN , who m. Nest , daughter and heiress of Gruffydd ab Adda of Dôl Goch and Ynysmaengwyn . The descendants of Llywelyn and Nest , in direct line (as far as Ynysmaengwyn was concerned), were GRUFFYDD , EINION (who m. Tanglwst , daughter of Rhydderch ab Ieuan Llwyd , Gogerddan, Cards. ), IORWERTH (living in 1425 ), and JENKIN AP IORWERTH . Jenkin ap Iorwerth was ‘ farmer ’ ( lessee under the Crown ) of the mills of Kevyng and Caethleff ( Caethley ) and of the ferry of Aberdovey , in the thirty-sixth year of Henry VI . Jenkin ap Iorwerth 's son, HOWEL , d. of the plague in 1494 , but HUMPHREY (d. 1545 ), his son by his wife Mary , daughter of Sir ROGER KYNASTON , constable of Harlech castle , continued the line. Humphrey m. Annes , daughter of Sir Richard Herbert , Montgomery , and was, by her, the father of JOHN WYNN AP HUMPHREY , who m. Ann , daughter of Rhys Vaughan of Corsygedol , and was succeeded by his son, HUMPHREY WYNN (living in 1571 ). Humphrey Wynn , to whom Siôn Phylip addressed a cywydd asking him to give a harp to Siôn ap Richard , Pennal , m. Jane ( Hughes , of Maes y Pandy ) and left two daughters, coheiresses — (1) ELIZABETH (d. 17 May 1642 ); she m. Sir JAMES PRYSE of Gogerddan (d. 1642 ), who was high sheriff of Merioneth in 1606 and to whom Rhisiart Phylip , Siôn Phylip , and Siôn Cain wrote poems, and (2) CATHERINE , whose husband was John Owen ap John ap Lewis ab Owen , of Llwyn , Dolgelley .

The heir of Elizabeth and Sir James Pryse was their daughter BRIDGET , who m. (1) ROBERT CORBET , third son of Sir Vincent Corbet , Moreton Corbet , Salop , and (2) Sir Walter Lloyd , Llanfair Clydogau, Cards. Robert and Bridget Corbet were succeeded by VINCENT CORBET (d. 1723 ), high sheriff of Merioneth , 1682 , who m. Ann , daughter of William Vaughan of Corsygedol . They left four coheiresses — (1) ANN , who m. Athelstan Owen , Rhiwsaeson, Mont. , and through whom the Ynysmaengwyn line was continued, (2) Jane , (3) Elizabeth , and (4) Rachel . Corbet Owen and Richard Owen , the sons of Ann and Athelstan Owen , left no heirs, the line being continued by their sister ANN OWEN (d. 1767 ) and her husband, PRYSE MAURICE ( 1699 - 1799 ), Lloran Ucha , etc., who assumed the name of CORBET , as did others who succeeded him, the last being ATHELSTAN JOHN SODEN CORBET (b. 1850 ), who was high sheriff of Merioneth in 1875 .

The story of the ‘disinheriting’ of Thomas Vincent , ‘son’ of the Vincent Corbet who d. in 1723 , calls for investigation. The only ‘ Thomas Vincent ’ in Foster 's Alumni who fits the dates is the Thomas Vincent , son of Thomas , ‘of Merioneth (town)’ — query ‘ Merioneth ( Towyn )’ — who matriculated from S. Mary Hall 16 April 1698 ‘aged 19’, and was B.A. in 1701 . And he is described as ‘ pauper puer ’.

The Ynysmaengwyn estate was sold in 1874 to John Corbett , of Impney , Member of Parliament for Droitwich , who, however, was not connected by blood with the other Corbets . For a note on the house, see article by W. J. Hemp in Arch. Camb. , xcvii, 230.

There was a connection between Ynysmaengwyn and the adjoining house of Dolau Gwyn , which is just off the road leading from Towyn to Abergynolwyn . LEWIS GWYN (d. 1630 ) of Dolau Gwyn , who was high sheriff of Merioneth in 1617 , was the second son of John Wynn ab Humphrey (above). By his first wife, Jane , daughter of Hugh Nanney , of Nannau , Lewis Gwyn had two daughters, Gwen (below) and Elizabeth , who m. Edward (?) Nanney , of Nannau . By his second wife, Annes , daughter of Hugh Gwyn ab Evan , Llwyn Griffri , Llanddwywe, Mer. , he had four daughters, one of whom became coheiress with her sister, Elizabeth .

Lewis Gwyn figures quite prominently in the work of some bards who were contemporary with him, particularly Rhisiart Phylip — see the article Phylipiaid Ardudwy and consult Cymm. , xlii, 155-268 — who wrote two cywyddau to a drinking vessel (‘ffiol frech’) which was at Dolau Gwyn at that time, a to ask John Vaughan of Caer-gai to give a greyhound to Lewis Gwyn , an elegy on the death of Lewis Gwyn and on the death of his daughter (and coheiress), Gwen Gwyn , who was the first wife of Lewis Lloyd , Rhiwedog , near Bala . There was also an interesting ‘bardic controversy’ concerning Dolau Gwyn in which Rhisiart Phylip figured together with his brother Siôn Phylip , Gruffydd Hafren , and Ieuan Tew . Gruffydd Phylip , son of Siôn Phylip , wrote an elegy on GRIFFITH NANNEY of Dolau Gwyn , son of Hugh Nanney ( 1588 - 1647 ) of Nannau . Griffith Nanney , who was sheriff of Merioneth in 1642 , became the husband of ANN GWYN , coheiress of her father, Lewis Gwyn (above).

Dolau Gwyn was built by Lewis Gwyn , probably just before 1620 . The house has the initials L.G.A.G. with the date 1620 , these standing for Lewis Gwyn and Ann Gwyn . Elsewhere are the initials of G.N.A.N., and the date 1656 — for Griffith Nanney , and Ann his wife.


  • J. E. Griffith , Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire Families (1914) , 237;
  • E. Breese , Kalendars of Gwynedd … (1873) ;
  • An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Wales and Monmouthshire. VI—County of Merioneth (1921) , 169;
  • Caernarvonshire Historical Society Transactions , 1949 , 25;
  • Peniarth Manuscript in the National Library of Wales 116;
  • Heraldic Visitations of Wales and Part of the Marches (1846) .


Sir William Llewelyn Davies, M.A., LL.D., F.S.A. (1887-1952), Aberystwyth

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

Published date: 1959