Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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WYNNE , WILLIAM ( 1671? - 1704 ), historian ,

came of the family of Wynne of Garthewin , Llanfair Talhaiarn (see J. E. Griffith , Pedigrees , 167), a cadet branch of the Wynne of Melai family (ibid. 376); a Robert Wynne (d. 1682 ), younger son of John Wynne of Melai , m. Margaret Price , heiress of Garthewin ; their son, Robert Wynne ( 1636 - 1680 ), rector of Llan-ddeiniolen and of Llaniestyn , and canon of Bangor , m. Catherine Madryn , heiress of Llannerch Fawr ( Llannor , near Pwllheli ). The eldest son of this marriage was ROBERT WYNNE (d. 1743 ), Fellow of Jesus ( Oxford ) 1681-91 , vicar of Gresford and chancellor of S. Asaph 1690-1743 , a supporter of the S.P.C.K. and of the charity-school movement ; the youngest was the historian . Born in all probability in 1671 (certainly not later than 12 Nov. 1671 ), he went up to Jesus College in March 1687/8 , took his first degree in 1691 , became Fellow of Jesus in 1692 , and seems to have resided continuously at Oxford till 1702 at least. In 1702 he was preferred to the rectory of Llanfachraeth in Anglesey , but there is no evidence that he ever resided there; he is called ‘ bishop's chaplain ’ on his tombstone. According to a marginal note in the Llanfachraeth register, he d. in May 1704 . At Oxford , he was one of the circle of Edward Lhuyd (q.v.) . In 1697 , he published a History of Wales — really a working-over of the Historie of Cambria ( 1584 ) of David Powel (q.v.) ; it was reprinted (unaltered) in 1702 , again (with some changes) in 1774 and 1812 , and finally in 1832 (with topographical notes by Richard Llwyd of Llannerch Brochwel ). Its merits are slight, but it remained for well-nigh two centuries the ‘stock’ book on mediaeval Welsh history, for English readers.


  • Fuller discussion in Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies , vi, 153 — 9.


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

Published date: 1959