wpaf105913.png
wp34f74798.png
wp9e4d01d9.png
wp9e4d01d9.png
wp9e4d01d9.png
wp6feb6b37.png
wp6feb6b37.png

(1)m..1637

wp64772ccc.png
wp295a3488.png
wp6feb6b37.png
wp6feb6b37.png

Jevan Athro

or

Jevan the “Teacher”

 

Rees ap Jevan

David ap Rees

of Landegley, Gent.

occurs 1583

dies 1584

Griffith ap David

of Llandegley

occurs 1583

Katherine verch David

occurs 1583

Jevan ap David

of Llandegley

occurs 1583

Lewis ap David

of Llandegley

occurs 1583

John ap David

of Llandegley

occurs 1583

James ap David

of Llandegley & Glascwm, Gent.

occurs 1583-1637

dies before 1661

wpa0057e43.png
wp9243a6f6.png
wp9243a6f6.png
wp9243a6f6.png
wp737f36dc.png
wp9243a6f6.png
wp9243a6f6.png

James Griffith

occurs 1583

Meredith ap Griffith

occurs 1583

Lewis ap Meredith

occurs 1583

Katherin verch Lewis

occurs 1583

David James

of Glascwm, Gent.

occurs 1621-1680

Thomas James

of Glascwm, Gent.

occurs 1637-1684

Moses James

of Glaswm

died circa 1681

wpc85ec1a0.png
wpc85ec1a0.png
wp8cdc597d.png
wpc85ec1a0.png
wp349c6419.png
wp28273fcc.png
wp831b80f4.png
wp89f79de4.png
wpced0a59e.png

 

?

Rees ap John

occurs 1583

wpdc363db5.png
wpc85ec1a0.png

Evan James

of Glascwm, Gent

occurs 1671

John James

of Glascwm

occurs 1679-1713

David James

of Glascwm

occurs 1662

James James

of Glascwm

occurs 1684

Hannah James

of Glaswm

occurs 1684

wpa8a6f279.png
wp6f7f2a7b.png
wpa0b3f517.png

Peter James

of Glascwm

occurs 1683

wpc85ec1a0.png

The James Family of Llandegley and Glascwm Parishes of Radnorshire, Wales (1582-1713)

wpba4381a9.jpg

Larry P. James

19 Nov. 2011

1. The Research of Archivist R. Morgan

 

          The earliest records concerning James family history were first introduced to us from the research of Steven B. James of Pittsburg, Kansas and Archivist R. Morgan of Powys County Library in Llandrindod Wells, Wales in 1986.  On February 27th of that year Mr. Morgan sent to Steven James a summary of his research concerning the James family of Radnorshire, Wales.  It is important to note that Radnorshire was incorporated into Powys County in 1974 and that is why today you will not find reference to a separate Radnor County or “shire.”  In his letter Mr. Morgan wrote:

 

“Dear Mr. James,

 

I cannot add anything to what you already know about David James, evidently you have seen C.H. Browning, The Welsh Settlement in Pennsylvania (Philadelphia 1912), and the article by Frank Noble in The Transactions of the Radnorshire Society (1959) which mentions David James `mariner’ of Glascwm as one of the fourteen Radnorshire subscribers to the purchase of Welsh Tract 1681.  Noble also mentions James’ wife Margaret and daughter Mary.

 

The parish registers of Glascwm do not survive from before 1679.  The later registers are at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, Dyfed.

 

I do have records relating to David James of Glascwm in the period 1637-1680 in a bundle of deeds formerly belonging to Radnor County Council.  I enclose a table summarizing the details given by the deeds, from the information given by Noble it is difficult to identify him with your David James, but for what it is worth I give it.  I can find no mention of James or any close relatives after 1680.  The family owned property in Glascwm including a mill, Melin Busnant, which James sold in 1679.

 

Yours sincerely,

R Morgan, Archivist”

 

Included with his letter was the following diagram setting forth a summary of Mr. Morgan’s research:

James David

of Glascwm, Gent.

occurs 1637

d. before 1661

David James

of Glascwm, Gent.

occurs 1637-1680

 

Katherine

occurs 1661-1680

unamed

eldest son

died before 1661

(1)m..1661

wpcdc0363d.png
wpc85ec1a0.png

John James

1679-1680

John Prosser

of Llanfihangel

Nantmelan, Gent.

occurs 1661

Elizabeth ferch Thomas

 

unnamed daughter

wp6feb6b37.png
wp6feb6b37.png

Thomas James

of Glascwm

occurs 1637-1661

Mary ferch Thomas

occurs 1637

m..1637

wp7de6e35d.png

James ?

Rees Thomas

of Glascwm

occurs 1637

Mr. Morgan’s notes were annotated with the following footnote: “NB `ferch’ is Welsh for `daughter of’’ Radnorshire was still quite Welsh-speaking before about 1750.”

 

           Although, as Mr. Morgan stated, it is difficult to connect the David James who arrived in 1682 with the David James found in his research, it does appear that prior to 1682 our James family resided in the vicinity of the Parishes of Glascwm and Llandegley for at least three generations between 1637 and 1680.  This fact is pointed to in the Certificate of Removal requested by the immigrant David upon his arrival in Pennsylvania from his fellow Quakers at the Radnorshire Men’s Monthly Meeting which states, “Whereas we understand yt our dear friend David James, and his wife Margaret, with his daughter Mary who have for several years past inhabited amongst us both in the parish of Llandegley and Glascwm both in the county of Radnor, having now arrived in the 8th mon. 1682 into the Province of Pennsylvania.”  The James family of Glascwm identified by Mr. Morgan included a progenitor by the name of “James ap David” or “James David” and two sons named “David James” and “Thomas James.”  

 

           At the time family surnames were being settled in England, a completely different situation was occurring in Wales, most of which, outside a few settled towns, led a life largely unaffected by English social practices.  In the greater part of Wales, the ancient naming system continued.  By this system, children were identified or placed chiefly in relation to their father.  For example, the Welsh word for son is mab (often written as “map” or “ap” ) which is similar to the Scottish use of the word mac.  A man called Rhys would be known as Rhys “mab” Owain, that is, Rhys (the son of) Owain.  As the patronymic naming system evolved in the Welsh language mab became fab, and the initial soft `f’ sound (Englsih `v’) was dropped in normal speech.  This practice would produce Rhys ap Owain.  Moreover, a free Welshman would know not only his father’s name, but those of his earlier male ancestors, and he would be able to recite his name as a patronymic string, thus:  Rhys ap Owain ap Hywel ap Maredudd ap Gruffydd.  Welsh tradition provides that a “true” Welshman would know his paternal line ten generations removed.  

 

           Daughters were also known by their father’s name:  Gwenllian verch (ferch in modern orthography) meaning “daughter of” Rhys; the relationship was often shortened to vch or vz in documents and appears also as ach.  Traditionally this led to women retaining their maiden names, that is, their father’s name rather than their husband’s.  This is reflected in many documents in both Welsh and English to quite late dates and may explain why Margaret James, the reported sister of David James who arrived in 1682 was not known by the name of her husband, Samuel Miles.

 

          In due course and under pressure from the government and outside influences, the patronymic system was dropped.  The first to adopt fixed surnames were the wealthier classes and the practice filtered through society at different levels from the Tudor times on.  The ap system survived in a shorthand form for some time:  a man who might previously have been known as Dafydd ab Ifan could be known in the transitional period as David Evan; his son might be known as Thomas David and his grandson as Evan Thomas.  All that is missing is the implied ap, and the patronymic system continued essentially unchanged.  The next state of transition towards surnames of the patronymic type occurred when the second name was passed on, more or less unchanged, to later successive generations.  Evan Thomas, the imaginary grandson mentioned above, might have had a son known generally as David Thomas.  When David Thomas had a son known as “William Thomas”, we can usually assume that the surname has become settled in a family.  This is exactly what we see occurring in our family in the mid 1600’s.  That is to say, the David James and Thomas James occurring in 1637 as reported in Mr. Morgan’s research appear to represent the first generational level within the family to adopt “James” as a permanent family surname.  One must keep in mind that through the mid-nineteenth century, it was common for children to be named after their grandparents, their parents and their close relations, the exact sequence often varying according to circumstances.  Combining this tradition with the Welsh patronymic system implies that those families living in the vicinity of the James family during the mid 1600’s bearing the surnames David, Davies, Thomas, John and Jones are likely candidates for extended family relations.

 

         According to Mr. Morgan, the James family appears to have owned land and operated a mill known as “Melin Busnant” which was sold in 1679.  In addition to being cultivators of their own land or “yeomen,” the James family’s interest in the construction and operation of mills continued for several generations.  Undoubtedly, this pension for mill operation was an important ingredient to the early financial success of the family during the 17th Century and may explain our David James’ marriage to Margaret Mortimer.  As reported by G.W. Ridyard in his 1994 essay “Water Power in Radnorshire,” the Mortimers were a prominent “mill owning” family in Radnorshire prior to 1700.  Mr. Morgan’s letter, however, indicates that the only records of economic activity relating to the James family and the generations preceding available to him were contained in a bundle of deeds formerly belonging to the Radnor County Council.  The later registers referred to by Mr. Morgan were reportedly located at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, Dyfed and, as of 1986, remained to be examined.  For the next 20 years no further research was conducted for want of access to the archaic and ancient records of Wales.

 

        In 2009 something truly amazing happened.  In that year the National Library of Wales uploaded over 400,000 pages of documentation concerning the history of Wales onto the Internet at a website entitled, “Welsh Journals Online.”  This massive database provided researchers with access to a free online selection of 19th, 20th, and 21st century Welsh and Wales-related journals held at the National Library and partner institutions covering a wide range of subject areas including records of historical and genealogical significance.  Suddenly, access to records previously unavailable was simply a few clicks away.  Welsh Journals Online has made many records of particular significance to James family historians accessible including:

 

· “R/D/GNX Deeds of the Practice of Messrs. Green and Nixson (Prestigne and Knighton);

·  “The Beginnings of ‘Quakerism’ in Wales” from Radnorshire Society Transactions (1941);

· “A 1663 List of Radnorshire Baptists, Quakers and Catholics” by Frank Noble (1958);

· “Radnorshire Settlers in the Foundation of Pennsylvania” by Frank Noble (1959);

· “Radnorshire Wills: Archdeaconry of Brecon” from Radnorshire Society Transactions (1983);

· “Radnorshire Hearth Tax Return of 1670 – Parts 1-3” (1989-1991);

· “Water Power in Radnorshire” by G.W. Ridyard (1994); and,

· “Radnorshire Mills” by D. Stedman Davies (1994);

 

From a review of these records one can quickly discern that the research conducted by Mr. Morgan in 1986 was focused primarily on the “Deeds of the Practice of Messrs. Green and Nixon” and Frank Noble’s 1959 essay, “Radnorshire Settlers in the Foundation of Pennsylvania.”  And although Mr. Morgan’s research overlooked many important details within these works, we are eternally grateful to him for pointing us in the right direction.

 

          At this point it is important for the James family historian to have an understanding of the geography of the former Welsh county of Radnor.  Recall that in his 1683 certificate of removal, David James is said to have formerly resided in the parishes of both “Llandegley” and “Glascwm” - both parishes being located in the county of Radnor.  At first blush one might assume that this is a reference to the sequence of David’s residential history, that is, first he resided in Llandegley and then, in the parish of Glascwm.  Upon a closer examination of the records, however, we will see that this apparent reference to two different locations is, in fact, a reference to one very precise location.  The parish of Llandegley and the parish of Glascwm are adjacent and border one another within the county of Radnor.  Llandegley lies directly to the north and slightly to the west of Glascwm and the land surrounding Melin Busnant, as identified by Mr. Morgan, lies directly between the two parishes.  Although the Busnant mill was officially located in the parish of Glascwm, the lands held by the James family surrounding it were both in Llandegley and Glascwm at the same time, hence David is identified as formerly residing in “both” Llandegley and Glascwm Parishes.  This precise reference to parallel locations is very important in connecting the 1682 immigrant David James with the James family identified by Mr. Morgan in his research of 1986.

 

2. The Deeds from the Practice of Messrs. Green & Nixson (Prestigne and Knighton)

 

 

            Within the Deeds from the Practice of Messrs. Green & Nixson, there are excerpts from seventeen different transactions containing direct references to the James family of Glascwm or their lands.  Undoubtedly, these are the “deeds” referred to by Mr. Morgan, “formerly belonging to Radnor County Council.” These records begin with a “marriage settlement” dated August 28, 1606 in the marriage of Walter George Harries of Glascwm to Katherine Evan, daughter of Evan Price of Glascwm identified as Record No. “R/D/GNX/168.”  In this marriage settlement George Prichard Cradock of Llangome Parish and his associates agree to the transfer of a home formerly owned by Howell David Cadogan and a farm formerly owned by Jevani ap Llewelin Vongam to the newly wed couple.  The significance of this otherwise innocuous deed is that it makes reference to “the land of James ap David” within the parish of Glascwm.  Thus, in 1606 we see the oldest reference to landholdings by the James family contained within the Deeds of Messrs. Green & Nixson and the first appearance of “James ap David” or “James David” as he is also referred to as.

 

         The second significant record contained within the Deeds of Messrs. Green & Nixson is a bond dated October 4, 1616 securing the purchase of multiple parcels of land formerly belonging to David Thomas and Gwenllian vz. Gllm’ called the farm at “Come Mawr” and identified as Record No. “R/D/GNX/170.”  The location of these parcels is described as “all [in parish] Glascome, stretching in length from the ‘watter’ called busnant on [South] to mountain or commons called y menith bach on [North], in breadth between lands of James David and of Watkin ap Rosser on [East].”  The clue provided by this particular deed is the reference to the lands of James David lying in Glascwm Parish indicating a location south of a mountain called “y menith bach” and just north of waters called “busnant.”

 

         The third record of significance and the first directly pertaining to the James family of Glascwm within the Deeds of Messrs. Green & Nixson is a deed to the title of land dated January 25, 1622 and is identified as Record No. “R/D/GNX/171.”  In this deed we see James David expanding his land holdings in Glascwm by acquiring the lands formerly belonging to “Jevan ap Rees ap Jevan” identified as being in the “Busnant” and a cottage with the land formerly held by the George Harries of Glascwm identified in Record No. “R/D/GNX/168” above.  As we shall later see, “Jevan ap Rees ap Jevan” is the brother of James David’s father and thus within this transaction James David is acquiring lands formerly held by his uncle.  Of particular significance is the introduction within this transaction of David James, the son of James David who is also identified within the deed.  As it appears from the language of the transaction James David is acquiring these lands for the benefit of himself as well as his son David James.  Thus the year 1616 sets the benchmark for the first appearance of a “David James” in Glascwm Parish.

 

           The fourth record pertaining to the James family of Glascwm within the Deeds of Messrs. Green & Nixson is dated November 18, 1637 and is identified as Record No. “R/D/GNX/174-175.” This is arguably the most informative record concerning James family history contained within the collection of Green & Nixson.  This particular transaction is entitled a “Marriage Settlement” and concerns the marriage of David James to “Elizabeth verch Thomas” the daughter of “Katherine verch Rees,” and, the marriage of “Thomas James” to “Mary verch Thomas” another daughter of “Katherine verch Rees.”  Both “David James” and “Thomas James” are clearly identified in this transaction as the sons of James David of Glascwm and are clearly marrying two sisters who were also the daughters of the late “Thomas ap David ap Prees.”  In consideration of the marriage of his two sons, James David agrees to convey the title of his farm “Combe Maure” within the parish of Glascwm to “Rees Johnes” of Llanvareth Parish and “Lewis ap David” of Llanbadarn Parish while reserving the “right to use” this farm to his son David James presumably for the duration of his life.  James David also agrees to convey the title to lands and a water gristmill called “Melin y Busnant” to these same gentlemen while reserving the “right to use” this mill to his son Thomas James presumably for the duration of his life.  This is the first transaction among the collection of Green & Nixson that directly makes reference to “Melin Busnant” and the James family interest in the mill.

 

          The fifth record pertaining to the James family of Glascwm within the Deeds of Messrs. Green & Nixson is dated April 10, 1661 and is identified as Record No. “R/D/GNX/178.”  This record is of equal importance to the preceding record in that David James is identified as the “2nd” son of James David and Thomas James is identified as his “3rd” son.  Both sons are identified as “gentlemen” of Glascwm indicating they have by this time reached adulthood and some stature within the community.  However, David James is clearly identified now as the “heir” to James David indicating that James David is no longer alive.  This particular transaction is identified as a “Deed to Lead to Uses of a Fine” which is a common law deed made before a fine or common recovery, to show the object thereof.  In this deed David James and Thomas James are recovering £100 from John Prosser of Llanvihangell Nantmelan on behalf of himself and David Lewis of Llanbadarne in connection with the James brothers’ rightful use of the farm “Combe Mawre and Tyre yn y Gellynnen” reserved for David; and “Bussnant and water corn grist mill ‘Mellin y Bussnant’” reserved for Thomas.  There is also reported a “declaration of uses” presumably setting forth the interests reserved for the James brothers in these properties.

 

          The sixth record pertaining to the James family of Glascwm within the Deeds of Messrs. Green & Nixson is dated October 28, 1661 and is identified as Record No. “R/D/GNX/179.”  This particular transaction is strictly between Thomas James of Glascwm and John Lewes of Llanelwith, both parishes within the County of Radnor.  This record is in the form of a bond in the amount of £40 as security to observe the covenants or promises made to one another within a lease agreement between the two gentlemen.  Thomas’ brother David is not mentioned at all in this transaction nor any other member of the James family and it appears that the bond is being paid by John Lewes to Thomas James.

 

           The seventh record pertaining to the James family of Glascwm within the Deeds of Messrs. Green & Nixson is dated October 20, 1662 and is identified as Record No. “R/D/GNX/124.”  In this deed we are introduced to “David James” the son of Thomas James of Glascwm who is identified for the purpose of establishing the “duration” the transaction is intended to last.  This particular transaction is an “Assignment of Lease” in the water corn grist mill known as “Mellin y Busnant”, the kiln and kiln-house associated with the mill as well as the cottage garden and lands surrounding it.  With this deed Thomas James agrees to pay John Lewes of Llanelweth £20 to extend the duration of his right to use Mellin Busnant for not only his life but for the life of his son David James as well.  There is also a covenant or promise by John Lewes to secure the title within 7 years.  This record is significant not only because of the introduction of a second “David James” to the family residing in Glascwm but it establishes 1662 as the benchmark year for his introduction.

 

           The eighth and ninth records pertaining to the James family of Glascwm within the Deeds of Messrs. Green & Nixson are both dated November 23, 1671 and are identified as Record Nos. “R/D/GNX/183” and “R/D/GNX/184.”  In these transactions we find David James, the son of James David involved in a mortgage and bond securing covenants to a residence upon the Comb Mawr farm in Glascwm where Nathan Davies, gentleman, and Mauld Davies, widow, reside.  In this transaction we are introduced to “Evan James,” gentleman of Glascwm.  The relationship between David James and Even James, regrettably, is not clearly set forth.

 

          The tenth and eleventh records pertaining to the James family of Glascwm within the Deeds of Messrs. Green & Nixson are both dated November 1, 1679 and are identified as Record Nos. “R/D/GNX/186-187” and “R/D/GNX/188.”  These transactions are identified as a “Lease and Release” and a bond.  In the old English law of property a “lease and release” is the equivalent of a complete transfer of all legal interest in a particular piece of property.  The bond serves as insurance for the transaction.  Within these transactions David James, the son of James David is disposing of his holdings in the farm known as Comb Mawr of Glascwm.  He is also disposing of his interest in the water corn grist mill known as Melin Busnant as well as the lands surrounding it.  By the time these deeds are recorded it has been more than 17 years since Thomas James paid to have his life interest in Melin Busnant extended.  The nature of this transaction suggests that Thomas James may no longer be living and that his son David James has relinquished his interest as well.  In this transaction David James, “the uncle” is clearly transferring interest in these properties to Samuell Smyth of Kington Parish from the neighboring County of Hereford.  From this point on, the James family appears to have no further interest in the Comb Mawr farm or Melin Busnant but for the mention that David James retained ownership interest in a farm and property identified as “Tyr yn y Gellynnen” adjoining the mill stream that that fed Melin Busnant.  And as part of the transaction David James granted Samuell Smyth a 12 yard easement to cross a meadow on David’s remaining land called “Gwyrllodd Vcha” for purposes of servicing and maintaining the mill race that powered the mill.  

 

        Of somewhat more importance to our family, however, is that Record Nos. “R/D/GNX/186-187” and “R/D/GNX/188” introduce us to both “Katherine,” a later wife, and “John James,” the son of David James, the son of James David.  Interestingly, John James is identified not only as the couple’s son but also as the “heir apparent” to David James.  In old English law the term “heir apparent” would not be customarily used following the death of the parent suggesting that David James, the son of James David was still alive at the time of the transactions.  But when used in connection with the name of the spouse - the thought usually conveyed is that the person of interest, in this case David James, the son of James David, is nearing death and the purchaser of title to the land does not wish to have his interest later challenged by a widowed spouse or heir who might argue that the “old man” was not in his right mind when he sold the property.  Therefore, the spouse and “heir apparent” are made part of the transaction to ensure that all potentially interested parties in the land are on notice that their interests are being disposed of as well.  From this date on we see no further transactions in which David James, the son of James David is directly involved.

 

          The thirteenth record pertaining to the James family of Glascwm within the Deeds of Messrs. Green & Nixson is dated February 2, 1680 and is identified as Record No. “R/D/GNX/189.”  This transaction takes the form of a lease in which Samuel Smyth of Kington leases the farm and dwelling at Comb Mawr as well as Melin Busnant within the parish of Glascwm to Hugh Prosser of Glascwm for a period of 21 years.  The deed clearly provides that Samuel Smyth purchased these properties from David James.

 

         The fourteenth record pertaining to the James family of Glascwm within the Deeds of Messrs. Green & Nixson is dated July 10, 1680 and is identified as Record No. “R/D/GNX/190.”  This transaction is a bond for £200 to “observe covenants etc. in Feoffment..”  A “feoffment” in old English law was commonly used when conveying lands “inherited” by one person to someone else.  The transaction is between David James; Katherine, his wife; and John James, his son – on the one part; and, Thomas Phillipps of Aberdow Parish – on the other part.  In this transaction David James, the son of James David appears to be disposing of inherited lands, but the land itself is not identified.

 

          The fifteenth record of interest within the Deeds of Messrs. Green & Nixson is the will of Samuel Smith of Kington dated April 1683 and is identified as Record No. “R/D/GNX/192.”  Although this record does not make reference to the James family it does involve farm “Comb Mawr” and “Melin Busnant” called “Busnant Mill” purchased by Samuel Smith of Kington from David James, the son of James David.  In his last will and testament Samuel Smith of Kington bequeaths the farm and mill to his daughter “Elizabeth” with right of reversion to his son “Samuel Smith.”  From this transaction we can see that by 1683 the Comb Mawr farm and Melin Busnant in Glascwm Parish were no longer in the hands of the James family.

 

         The sixteenth record pertaining to the James family of Radnorshire within the Deeds of Messrs. Green & Nixson is dated July 31, 1712 and is identified as Record No. “R/D/GNX/307.”  This particular transaction is a Release of Mortgage beween John Philips of Lower Woodhouse in the parish of Knighton, gentleman, and Evan Davies of Coxall in the county of Hereford, gentleman.  Within this transaction there is a reference to £10 and 6 months interest due John James of Knighton Parish.  No further information is provided concerning the James family.  If this is John James, the son of David James, the son of James David, he is reported in 1713 to be living in the neighboring parish of Knighton to the east of Glascwm but still located within the county of Radnor.

 

         The seventeenth and final record pertaining to the James family of Glascwm within the Deeds of Messrs. Green & Nixson is dated August 3-4, 1712 and is identified as Record No. “R/D/GNX/200-2001.”  In this “lease and release” Samuel Smith is now transferring his interest in the farm Comb Mawr purchased from David James to Thomas Lewis of Glascwm.  With this transaction we observe the lands formerly belonging to James David pass through three different owners, possibly four within the span of a little over 30 years.

 

           From  a more in depth analysis of the records contained within the Deeds from the Practice of Messrs. Green & Nixson, the same records likely examined by Mr. Morgan in 1986, we can extract a slightly more refined picture of the James family of Glascwm between the years 1606 and 1713:

 

 

 

 

 

Figure No. 2

 

 

As clearly seen, we are now confronted with two “David James” within the same family living within the Parish of Glascwm in the years preceding our David’s 1682 arrival in Pennsylvania.  Either the David James who arrived in Pennsylvania had already been married twice prior to his marriage to Margaret Mortimer and was in excess of 61 years of age, or the David James who arrived in 1682 was the son of Thomas James and Mary Thomas.  The answer may very well be found in the names the immigrant David James chose for his children.  That is to say, the immigrant David James who arrived in 1682 had already named his first daughter “Mary” and his first son born circa 1690 in Pennsylvania was named “Thomas.”  Is it possible that that immigrant David named his first two children after his parents?

 

         It is critical at this juncture that we remind ourselves of the importance of distinguishing between fact and theory.  Questions of fact do not prove a fact.  So often is the case we are drawn into the allure of constructing suppositions out of the questions we find ourselves asking.  The failure to distinguish between fact and theory or, to accept as fact another’s supposition is prevalent among genealogists.  Nevertheless, the circumstantial evidence that David James, the son of Thomas James and Mary Thomas of Glascwm occurring in 1662 is the same David James who immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1682 is compelling.

 

 

3.  The Parish Registers of St. David’s Church, Glascwm, Radnorshire

 

 

        As Mr. Morgan rightfully pointed out in 1986, the parish records of St. David’s Church surviving from Glascwm no longer exist prior to 1679.  However, copies of the those records surviving from 1679 on can be obtained on CD from “Cymdeithas Hanes Teuluoedd, Powys Family History Society.  From these parish records we obtain a few more details concerning the James family of Glascwm between the years 1681 and 1684.  For example, within the parish register is a report that a “Moses James” was buried on November 8, 1681.  On October 27, 1683 “Peter James,” the son of “John” and “Mary James” was baptized.  And, on September 24, 1684 “James James” and “Hannah James”, the children of “Thomas” and “Margaret James” were baptized.  There is no mention of a “David James” in the parish records prior to his departure in August of 1682.  This should not be totally unexpected, however, as David is known to have already been a “Quaker” during the time of his immigration and his affairs would unlikely be recorded in the records of St. David’s Church, of the Anglican denomination, beyond those required by law.  From the records of St. David’s Church in Glascwm we can extrapolate the following information:

 

wp6feb6b37.png
wp6feb6b37.png

m.1683

John James

of Glascwm, Gent.

occurs 16383

Mary

occurs

1683

Peter James

of Glascwm

occurs 1683

wp6feb6b37.png
wp6feb6b37.png

Margaret

occurs

1684

Thomas James

of Glascwm, Gent.

occurs 1684

m..1684

James James

of Glascwm

occurs 1684

Moses James

of Glascwm, Gent.

died circa 1681

Hannah James

of Glascwm

occurs 1684

wpa7f0e8b0.png
wpaf105913.png
wpaf105913.png

It is important to note that the records of St. David’s Church reveal to us that not all members of the James family in Glascwm between 1681 and 1684 were members of the Society of Friends. Although the death and burial of Moses James recorded in 1681 may not conclusively establish he was a member of the Anglican Church, there is no doubt that the baptism of Peter, James and Hannah James in St. David’s Church firmly established their membership.

 

 

4.  The Last Will and Testament of David ap Rees ap Jevan Athro of Llandegley

 

 

               From Radnorshire Wills of the Archdeaconry of Brecon, abstracted by E.J.L. Cole and published in 1983 in Radnorshire Society Transactions, Volume 53, pages 70-71 we find the last will and testament of “David ap Rees ap Jevan Athro” of Llandegley Parish, Radnorshire which states:

 

          “ 14 February 1583 26 Eliz.  David ap Rees ap Jevan Athro of Llandegley, Co. Rad., sick; soul to God; body to Llandegley ch., to poor men’s box 12d; to cath. Ch. St Davids 4d; to son Jevan ap David tenement called Tir David ap Rs ap Jevn Here in a place called Y Soith in Llandegley, wh I purchased on cond. Of redemption of sd David ap Rs ap Jevn Here; to John ap Dd my youngest son 1 pcl arable & meadow called Rosse yr Heole in Llanvihangell Kevenllis wh I purchased of Howell ap Rs ap Howell on cond. Of redemption; to sd Jevan ap Dd 2 steeers 3 yrs old at May next, 1 black 1 brown; to son Lewes 1 pyed black cow & 2 sheep; to John ap David 4 wild mares & 1 yrling colt, 1 black cow, 10 sheep; to Catheringe vz Morgan spinster 2 kine, 1 heifer, 1 cow calf in custody of David ap Gllm & 10 sheep, 1 red yrling bullock; to Katherine vz David my eldest dau. 1 mare white & 2 kine, 1 black 1 plewed redd; to Katherin vz Lluis my woire 1 black cow; to Lewis ap M’dithe my owir 1 brown cow; to James Greffethe my owir 4 sheep; to Ellen vz Lluis spinster 1 yrling heifer, 2 sheep; to Meredith ap Greffith my woir 1 black yrling heifer; t dau. Katherin 2 ewes; to son James ap David £4 on my exors; if he dies before payment to be divided between Jevan ap Dd, Lluis ap Dd, John ap Dd my sons; to Rs ap John my cosen 1 wheather; rest of goods to Greffeth ap David my edest son (exor); overseers:  tutors etc:  James ap Jevn ap Greffethe, Lluis Dd ap Lluis, M’edd ap John & John ap Jevan Phillipp; Witn:  Phellipp ap Jevn ap Jevn, Howell ap Rees ap Howell & Rs Joh; Debts due on testator:  to Jevan ap John by bond £6 13s 4d, Howell Phellipp 4s; Jevan ap Griffiths 33s 4d; David ap Jevn Here 6s 8d, Meredith ap John £3, Ph’e ap Jevn ap Jevn 4s 4d; Inventory:  11 kine each 13s 4d; 4 oxen each 20s; 1 heifer 10s; 2 yrling heifers each 5s; 2 steers each 7s; 40 yrling sheep or hoggs each 2s; 3 wild mares each 13s 4d; 2 yrling colts each 5s; 1 horse 20s; hshldstuff…; corn in barn & fields 40s.  Proved:  28 April 1584.”

 

          In this record made available through the National Library of Wales in 2009 by way of Welsh Journals Online we find the origins of James ap David.  His father “David ap Rees ap Jevan Athro” is reported to have held lands in the “Soith” which, according to E.J.L. Cole in his 1946 essay entitled The Castles of Maelienydd, “is probably Coed Swydd, the hill on which the Pales Meeting House stands, about 1½ miles to the north of Llandegley.”  In the border region between Llandegley and Glascwm within Radnorshire were the lands of David ap Rees’ brother, “Jevan ap Rees ap Jevan” that were later acquired in 1616 by “James ap David.”  In this will dated February 14, 1583, the 26th year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth the 1st, James ap David is likely still a child as evidenced by the fact there are no grandchildren identified through him and his inheritance of £4 was placed into the hand of his elder brother who served as the executor of his father’s estate and was contingent upon his survival with a reversion to his brothers should he die.  This contingency aspect was very common in old English wills because child mortality was such a serious concern

 

            In this will we are also introduced to many relatives including the siblings of James ab David.  These include:  “Greffeth ap David” (the eldest brother); “Katherine verch David” (the eldest sister); “Jevan ap David” (brother); “Lewes or ‘Lluis’ ap David” (brother); and “John ap David” (the youngest brother). There is also reference made to several grandchildren of David ap Rees using the Welsh words “woire,” “woir” and “owir.”  These are the nieces and nephews of James ap David and include:  “Katherin verch Lluis,” the daughter of Lluis ap David; “Lewis ap Meridethe” (the son of a daughter of David ap Rees); “James Greffethe,” the son of Greffeth ap David; and, “Meredith ap Greffith,” another son of Greffeth ap David.  There is also mention of a “Rees ap John” who is identified as a cousin to David ap Rees.  Finally, we can also discern from the testator’s own name the following paternal lineage:  “Rees ap Jevan,” the grandfather of James ap David; and, “Jevan Athro,” the great grandfather of James ap David.  The word “Athro” attached to the last name “Jevan” in the patronymic string is a title rather than a name.  In old Welsh “athro” means “teacher” or “professor.”  Thus the eldest ancestor identified in the sequence would be more accurately described in modern English as “Jevan (or John) the Teacher.”  In old Welsh, the identification of a title attached to the name of the most distant known ancestor typically serves two purposes: 1) the title is usually associated with an individual of nobility, such as an historic Welsh prince, and firmly establishes the descendants as members of the Welsh gentry; and 2) the name and title serve to identify the “clan” associated with the name. From the genealogical data obtained from the the last will and testament of David ap Rees of Llandegley we can extrapolate the following family tree:

Jevan Athro

or

Jevan the “Teacher”

 

Rees ap Jevan

David ap Rees

of Landegley, Gent.

occurs 1583

dies 1584

Griffith ap David

of Llandegley

occurs 1583

Katherine verch David

occurs 1583

Jevan ap David

of Llandegley

occurs 1583

Lewis ap David

of Llandegley

occurs 1583

John ap David

of Llandegley

occurs 1583

wpa0057e43.png
wp9243a6f6.png
wp9243a6f6.png
wp9243a6f6.png
wp9243a6f6.png
wp9243a6f6.png

James Griffith

occurs 1583

Meredith ap Griffith

occurs 1583

Lewis ap Meredith

occurs 1583

Katherin verch Lewis

occurs 1583

wpc85ec1a0.png
wpc85ec1a0.png
wp8cdc597d.png
wpc85ec1a0.png
wp349c6419.png
wp28273fcc.png

 

?

Rees ap John

occurs 1583

wp632d0576.png
wpc85ec1a0.png

James ap David

of Llandegley

occurs 1583

When the information provided to us by Archivist R. Morgan of Powys County Library in Llandrindod Wells in 1986 is combined with the information gleaned from the Deeds from the Practice of Messieurs Green & Nixson of Presteigne and Knighton along with the information from the Parish Records of St. David’s Church and the last will and testament of David ap Rees ap Jevan Athro of Llandegley, the following family structure emerges:

 

 

Clan of James ap David ap Rees ap Jevan Athro

Of

Llandegley & Glascwm Parishes, Radnorshire, Wales (1583-1713)

5.  The Records of Joseph Besse Publish in 1753

 

 

          The first significant published text containing any historical accounts of the James family of Radnorshire was published in London in 1753.  This work, assembled by Joseph Besse enjoyed a rather lengthy and elaborately punctuated title, “A COLLECTION OF THE SUFFERINGS Of the PEOPLE called QUAKERS FOR THE Testimony of a Good Conscience, FROM The TIME of their being first distinguished by that NAME in the Year 1650, to the TIME of the Act, commonly called the Act of Toleration, granted to Protestant Dissenters in the first Year of the Reign of King WILLIAM the Third and Queen MARRY, in the Year 1689.”  Besse’s work chronicled the religious persecution of “nonconformists”, namely members of the Society of Friends, prior to the Act of Toleration inaugurated by King William the Third in the year 1689 and contained what Mr. Besse referred to as “authentic accounts” taken from “original records.”  On page 750 of his book “A Collection of the Sufferings,” Mr. Besse reports:

 

“About the Month called January this Year [1663], John Moone, David Powel, John Rumson, John Perks, Charles Davies, Evan Pugh, Peter Price, Evan Oliver, David James, John Davis, Roger Price, Thomas Bywater, Richard Moore, Evan Morris, David Meredith, David Oliver, Hugh William, John Wooley, James Jones, Robert Watkins, Meredith Oliver, Samuel Price, and John Davies, were committed to Prison in Radnorshire until they should take the Oath of Allegiance, which yet had not been tendered them before their Commitment.”

 

The Oath of Allegiance referred to in this text was a pledge of fidelity to the Church of England.  Prior to the Act of Toleration it was illegal for anyone to belong, let alone practice, Christianity or any other form of religion other than that espoused by the state run Anglican Church.  To do otherwise was to risk severe fines, the confiscation of property and imprisonment.

 

          The first James family historian to take notice of the persecution reported in Besse’s work “Sufferings” was Isabella Batchelder James who, in 1874, published her work, “Memorial of Thomas Potts, Junior, Who Settled in Pennsylvania With an Historic-Genealogical Account of His Descendents to the Eighth Generation.”  Isabella, who was also known as Mrs. Thomas Potts James, was a member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and on page 251 of her work under a genealogical reference to Henrietta Potts, the biological mother of her husband, Isabella writes:

 

“David, the father of Evan, had suffered persecution in Wales, and is several times mentioned by Besse in his `Sufferings.’  In December, 1662, he was imprisoned three weeks for refusing to take the oath of allegiance.  In a more extended account of the same event, it appears he suffered with twenty-two others. `Anno 1663.  About the month called January this year, David James [here follow the names of the rest] were committed to prison in Radnorshire until they should take the oath of allegiance, which yet had not been tendered them before their commitment.’  In 1674 David James attended a meeting at a house called Cloddian Cochion, within the corporation of Poole, where a small number of Friends were met together in silence.  Thomas Lloyd, of Dalobran (afterwards well known in Pennsylvania as Penn’s first deputy-governor), being present when fifteen armed men came to arrest those attending this meeting.  He requested them to remain awhile, and preached to them, for which offence he was fined, and most of those present.” (Emphasis added)

 

           Nothing more is reported concerning the persecution of David James beyond what Besse reported in his 1753 work.  But of course the question arises whether Isabella James ever visited the tombstone of the immigrant David James in Devon, Pennsylvania for had she done so, she would have observed that David’s tombstone indicates his death occurred in 1739 at the age of 70.  Although his precise date of birth is not given, his tombstone suggests he was born circa 1669.  Oral history passed down through the family suggests the year of his birth was more accurately circa 1660.  Nevertheless, how could the immigrant David James of Llandegley and Glascwm who arrived in 1682 be both the great, great grandfather of Isabella’s husband, and, be the same David James who was persecuted in Radnorshire in 1663 as reported by Besse?  Is it possible that the David James referred to by Besse was actually David James of Glascwm, the son of James ap David and the immigrant David James was the son of Thomas James, his brother?  At the present time there is no way to be certain.  For James family historians, however, the persecution suffered by the family in the mid 17th Century is without question.

 

           On March 4, 1681 Sir William Penn secured a charter to the lands in the New World that would later come to be known as Pennsylvania from the King of England with the intention of establishing a Welsh barony in this new province.  Immediately thereafter, Penn began to advertise his land and organize a colony.  He drew up an account of the province and its advantages, which was widely circulated in England and on the European continent.  At the same time Penn began to sell “rights to land” to those who wished to join him in the enterprise and to arrange for land sales and grants.  Penn’s solicitations did not go unnoticed by the James family for in June of 1682 David James, who was then residing in Llandegley and Glascwm Parishes traveled to Welshpoole in the County of Montgomery to meet with agents of William Penn in the hope of securing land in the New World.

 

           There is no written account of what motivated David James to seek a new life in North America.  However, what we do know is that William Penn and his agents were particularly interested in having members of the Society of Friends join him in this enterprise.  In any event, the immigrant David James, who was at that time a Quaker, did purchase rights to land in Penn’s new colony from Richard Davies.  David did this by signing two indentures to that effect.  In 1874, Isabella James reported that she was in possession of these documents that had been handed down to her husband, Thomas Potts James (1803-1882), the great, great grandson of David James through his descendants Evan, Griffith and Isaac James respectively.  According to Isabella, the first indenture indicated that the land was granted to David James “on a peppercorn rent when lawfully demanded, two pounds per hundred acres being paid for it, reserving to Penn the annual quit-rent of a silver shilling as lord of the soil.”

 

         From the parish records of St. David’s Church we know that the James family continued on in Glascwm beyond 1682 as activity within the family is recorded there between 1683 and 1713.  The only member of the family that appears to have possessed land holdings beyond 1682 is John James, the son of David James, son of James ap David.  His name appears on transactions dated through 1713.  The old family mill known by the many different permutations of its name including “Mellin y Busnant,” “Melin Busnant,” “Melin Bussnant,” “Melin Bisnant,” and “Busnant Mill” would continue in service until 1940 and finally come to be known as “Bettws Mill.” As reported by the Reverend D. Stedman Davies in his 1940 essay entitled “Randorshire Mills” appearing in Volume 10 of the Radnorshire Society Transactions on page 53, “Bettws Mill on the river Edw, though only a quarter of a mile from Bettws church, is actually in Glascwm parish.  It is not in use now.  It was also known as ‘Melin Bisnant.’

 

***

wp9e4d01d9.png
wp9e4d01d9.png
wp9e4d01d9.png
wp6feb6b37.png
wp6feb6b37.png

(2)m.1679

wp295a3488.png
wp6feb6b37.png
wp6feb6b37.png

James ap David

of Glascwm, Gent.

occurs 1606-1637

d. before 1661

David James

of Glascwm, Gent.

occurs 1637-1680

Elizabeth ferch

Thomas

occurs 1637

unamed

eldest son

died before 1661

(1)m.1637

wpcdc0363d.png
wpc85ec1a0.png

Evan James

of Glascwm, Gent.

occurs 1671

Katherine

Occurs

1679-1680

John James

of Glascwm

occurs 1679-1713

wp6feb6b37.png
wp6feb6b37.png

Thomas James

of Glascwm

occurs 1637-1662

Mary ferch

Thomas

occurs 1637

m..

1637

wpb97b08d8.png

David James

of Glascwm

occurs 1662