Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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YALE family, of Plâs yn Iâl ( Bryneglwys ) and Plas Grono ( Wrexham ).

This ancient Denbighshire family was descended from Osbwrn Wyddel of Cors-y-gedol, Mer. , ancestor of the Vaughans of that place through the marriage of Osbwrn 's great-great-grandson Elise with the heiress of Allt Llwyn Dragon , later Plâs yn Iâl . His grandson,

THOMAS YALE ( c. 1526 - 1577 ), ecclesiastical lawyer ,

third son of David Lloyd ( Yale ) by Gwenhwyfar Lloyd of Llwyn-y-maen (see under Edward Lloyd ( 1570 - 1648? ), was educated at Queens’ College , Cambridge , of which he became Fellow ( 1544-67 ) on taking his bachelor's degree . Ten years after proceeding to M.A. ( 1546 ) he was admitted to minor orders ( 24 Sept. 1556 ) by bishop William Glyn , who inducted him to the rectory of Llantrisant ( Anglesey ) a few weeks later. He never resided there, qualifying instead for a legal career by becoming LL.D. ( 1557 ) and advocate of the court of Canterbury ( 1559 ) — in time to take a prominent part in legal arrangements for the appointment to Canterbury of Matthew Parker , who made him his chancellor , vicar-general , and judge of the court of audience , and used him as his right-hand man, sending him on many visitations, including two of Bangor ( 1566 and 1576 ) — the latter with Nicholas Robinson — and naming him as executor in his will. From 1562 to 1570 he was chancellor of Bangor diocese and from 1564 to 1573 prebendary of Faenol (S. Asaph) , rated at 200 marks a year. He was Dean of Arches from 1567 to 1573 , and on 12 July 1570 was made joint keeper , with Parker 's son, of the prerogative court of Canterbury . When Grindal became archbishop in 1576 he consulted Yale and William Awbrey on the reform of the ecclesiastical courts , and on Grindal 's sequestration, Yale administered the whole province till his fatal illness in Nov. 1577 , when he was succeeded by Awbrey .

DAVID YALE , alias LLOYD (d. 1626 ), chancellor of Chester ,

was almost certainly an illegitimate son of John Wyn ( Yale ) , heir of Plâs yn Iâl and elder brother of the above Thomas . He followed his uncle to Queens’ College , Cambridge , 1555 , and as Fellow there ( 1565-81 ). On graduating B.A. he was presented to the rectory of Llandegla ( 1564-73 ), and in 1578 succeeded to his uncle's prebend at S. Asaph , taking the degree of LL.D. in the following year. With Edmund Meyrick he administered the see of Bangor in the vacancy between the episcopates of Nicholas Robinson and Hugh Bellot in 1585 . He became prebendary of Chester in 1582 and chancellor of the diocese in 1587 . In 1598 he made extensive purchases of land from the Erddigs of Erthig (see under Edisbury ), selling some but keeping Plas Grono as (till 1721 ) the family seat. His son, Thomas Yale II , m. a daughter of bishop George Lloyd , of Chester , and after his death and her re-marriage to the governor of New Haven (Con.) , she and her children joined him in America ( 1638 ).

ELIHU YALE ( 1649 - 1721 ), India merchant and philanthropist ,

was the grandson of Thomas Yale II , b. in America but returning to Britain as an infant ( c. 1651 ) with his father, David Yale II , who added Llwyn Einion to the ancestral property, but educated his son in London and sent him out to Madras ( c. 1670 ) as a clerk in the service of the East India Co. He became governor there ( 1687-99 ), returning with a fortune of £200,000, to live alternately in London (as a governor of the Company) and at Plas Grono , where he was a liberal benefactor of Wrexham church and a creditor of Josua Edisbury ; but he is best known for the benefactions ( 1714-21 ) of books, pictures, etc., sent by him at the request of Cotton Mather , to the college at New Haven , which later ( 1745 ) took from him the name of Yale University . He d., intestate, in London ( 1721 ), his remains being taken to Wrexham for burial, and the estate divided between coheiresses, who sold most of it. Plas Grono reverted to the Erthig estate in 1728 and the house was pulled down in 1876 .


  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography , lxiii, 282-3, and sources therein cited;
  • J. E. Griffith , Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire Families , 1914 , 189;
  • J. Y. W. Lloyd , History of the Princes, the Lords Marcher, and the Ancient Nobility of Powys Fadog , v, 136-44;
  • A. N. Palmer History of the thirteen country townships of the old parish of Wrexham, and of the townships of Burras Riffri, Erlas, & Erddig Being the fifth and last part of "A history of the town and parish of Wrexham" , 1903 , 216-20, 244-53;
  • Thomas , A History of the Diocese of St. Asaph , 1912 , 133;
  • A. Ivor Pryce , The Diocese of Bangor in the sixteenth century being a digest of the registers of the bishops, A.D. 1512-1646 , 1923 , 15, 50;
  • Venn , Alumni Cantabrigienses , I, iv, 486;
  • N.L.W., Edward Owen Manuscripts at the National Library of Wales (Deeds), 43.


Emeritus Professor Arthur Herbert Dodd, M.A., (1891-1975), Bangor

Published date: 1959