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Meyrick (Merrick) Family of Bodorgan, Anglesey, Wales

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"Burke's Peerage," edition of 1887, page 946, et seq., as follows:

"The Meyricks are of the purest and noblest Cambrian blood, and have possessed the same ancestral estate and residence at Bodorgan, Anglesey, Wales, without interruption above a thousand years. They have the rare distinction of being lineally descended both from the sovereign Princes of Wales of the Welsh royal family, and from King Edward I., whose eldest son was the first Prince of Wales of the English royal family.

  • Cadvan (Catamanus), descended from a long line of regal ancestors, was King of North Wales at the end of the 6th century, and had his palace at Aberffraw. He fought at Bangor Iscoed, and is supposed to have been killed there, and buried at Bardsey. His grandson—
  • King Cadwaladr, a chivalrous and illustrious Prince, founded the church of Llangwaladr, A. D. 650—the parish church of Bodorgan, which is still the family seat, near Aberffraw, which became a sanctuary. He removed thither the remains of King Cadvan, which were re-buried in a stone coffin. The lid of the coffin with the following original description, still legible, is now affixed to the wall inside the church.—"Catamanus Rex, sapientissimus, opinatissimus omnium Regum;" i.e. "King Cad van, the wisest and most famous of all Kings." Cadwaladr began his reign A. D. 680, and was the last crowned king of the British race. He died at Rome, and was canonized. He was succeeded by his son—
  • Idwal Twrch, who was succeeded by his son—
  • Rhodvi Molwynog, A. D. 703, whose son—
  • Conan, was Prince of North Wales, A, D. 720. His only daughter and heiress—
  • Essylt, was married to Mervyn Vrych, King of Powys, and their son—
  • Rhodri Mawr, (Rhoderick the Great), King of all Wales, began to reign A. D. 843, and fell in battle A. D. 876. From him were descended, (besides others,) Owen Gwynnedd, Prince of Wales, A. D. 1136, and—
  • Llowarch ap Bran, Lord of Monau (Menai), and founder of the II. noble tribe of North Wales and Powys. They were brothers-in-law, their wives being sisters. Llowarch ap Bran was succeeded by his son, Meredydd, who married his cousin, Gwenillian, granddaughter of Prince Owen Gwynnedd.
  • Cadwgan ap Llywarch (Llowarch)
  • Meredydd ap Cadwgan ap Llowarch, ap Bran, of Bodorgan, whose descendant—
  • Eva, daughter of Meredydd ap Cadwgan, of Bodorgan, his only child and heiress, married Einion Sais, the direct descendant and representative in the 6th degree from—
  • Cydafael Ynnyd, lord of Cydewain, County Montgomery, and Judge of Powys, i. e. regent under the Prince, of Central Wales, called Powys, or Powys-land. He was a lineal descendant from Urien, Lord of Rhigid, A. D. 90, who is claimed to be a direct descendant from Coel Codebog, a British king, B. C. 262. Cydafael married Arienwen, daughter of Jarwarth, the eldest son of Prince Meredydd ap Bleddvnn, who was Prince of Wales, A. D. 1063. In the year 1212, when the country was threatened by an invasion by the English, Cydafael seized a firebrand with which he ran from mountain to mountain, summoning the people to arms, whereby he gave such timely notice that the invaders were repulsed. For this service his kinsman Llewellyn the Great granted him a coat-of arms, viz:

"Sable (to indicate the night) three firebrands, or., fired ppr." This coat was augmented (temp. Henry V.), by a grant to his descendant, Einion Sais, who married Eva of Bodorgan, of a—

"Chevron arg., charged with a fleur-de-lis gules, between two choughs, sable, respecting each other." And a crest was added, viz:

"A castle arg., surmounted by a chough (or Bran) holding in dexter claw a fleur-de-lis." This in allusion to castle Dinas-Bran, the principal fortress of his ancestor, Prince Bleddynn, and the place where Cydafael held his court as Judge of Powys.

Between Cydafael and Einion Sais (omitted by Burke) the line was through—

  • Samuel, son of Cydafael;
  • Madoc, son of Samuel;
  • Tydyr, son of Madoc;
  • Torworth, son of Tydyr;
  • Davydd, son of Torworth;
  • Einion, son of Davydd. Einion Sais was usher, or chamberlain, of the Palace of Sheen (Richmond) to Henry VI. (temp. 1413—1471) and so was called "Sais," i. e. "Saxon," on account of his being so much in England. He fought in the wars of Henry V., by whom his coat-of-arms was augmented. He was succeeded by his son—
  • Heylin, of Bodorgan, (Heylin ap Einiawn, Esq., was living 1465) whose son and successor—
  • Llewellyn ap Heylin married Angharad, daughter of William ap Evan, another decendant of Prince Owen Gwynnedd. Llewellyn fought at the battle of Bosworth (1485) on the side of Henry VII., and his two-handed sword and saltcellar are still preserved at Bodorgan, where also his saddle was a few years back.
  • Meyrick ap Llewellyn (Meuric) was a Captain of the Guard at the Coronation of Henry VIII., April 25, 1509. He was first High Sheriff of the County Anglesey, which office he held until his death. From him the name "Meyrick," signifying "Guardian," is derived as a surname, in pursuance of an act of Henry VIII., requiring that the name of every man at the time should be borne by his descendants as a surname, there being no surnames before that time in Wales. He married Margaret daughter of Roland, Rector of Aberffraw, Anglesey, Wales. His will is dated 30 Nov., 1538. His children were—
  1. Richard Merrick, Esq., of Bodorgan, Anglesey, Wales, who succeeded Meyrick ap Llewellyn as High Sheriff of Anglesey County.
  2. Rt. Rev. Roland Merrick, D. D., Bishop of Bangor, Wales, born, 1505.
  3. William Merrick. Died unmarried.
  4. Owain Merrick. Died unmarried.
  5. Rev. John Merrick, Rector of Llandachya, Wales.
  6. Rev. Edmund Merrick, L. L. D., Arch-deacon of Bangor, Wales.
  7. Rev. Reynault Merrick, Rector of Llanleehid, Wales.

All these except William and Owain were known to have married and left descendants in the male line.

Meuric's three daughters, Alice, Sionedd, and Agnes, were also married."

Roland, 2d son of Meyrick ap Llewellyn, was first Protestant Bishop of Bangor, and was buried in Bangor Cathedral; from him are descended the Meyricks of Goodrich Court, and of Bush., of whom are the Philadelphia branch of the family in America:

The Charlestown, Mass., branch is supposed to have been derived from Thomas, who settled in Massachusetts in 1636.

"This family is descended from Cadafael, lord of Cedewain in Powys , but it was in the Tudor period that it first came into prominence. LLEWELYN AP fought under Henry Tudor at the battle of Bosworth; his son MEURIG AP LLEWELYN served under Henry VIII, was promoted to be captain of the bodyguard, and was given the Crown Lease of the manor of Aberffraw. Meurig was succeeded at Bodorgan by five of the same name — Richard Meyrick; but it can hardly be said that any one of the five left much of a mark on the history of the county. There was trouble for years between RICHARD MEYRICK II (d. 1596 ) and Hugh Owen of Bodeon (q.v.) concerning part of the Aberffraw manor lands; the Bodorgan estate was crushed by the cost of the litigation and by 1590 a substantial portion had been sold to discharge Meyrick 's debts. RICHARD MEYRICK III (d. 1644 ) was the first of the family to be appointed sheriff of Anglesey , and that not until 1614 . Indeed, the Meyricks had very little lustre until the estate passed into the hands of OWEN MEYRICK I ( 1682 - 1760 ), second son of WILLIAM MEYRICK ( 1644 - 1717 ), and grandson of RICHARD MEYRICK IV (d. 1669 ). He set the estate on a strong foundation, looked after it ceaselessly and carefully, and considerably enlarged its boundaries. In the Anglesey election in 1708 , Owen opposed lord Bulkeley and, although unsuccessful on this occasion, effectively challenged the Bulkeley supremacy in the island. In 1715 he was actually elected to Parliament and held the seat until 1722 . He was also sheriff , 1705-6 , and Custos Rotulorum from 1715 until his death in 1759 . It is worth noting here that it was he who engaged Lewis Morris (q.v.) to measure the Bodorgan estate."

SOURCE: Welsh Biography Online: Meyrick

Sources