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Within the text of the document that follows we find record of the most distant known paternal ancestor of the immigrant David James (circa 1660-1739) of Llandegley & Glascwm Parishes of Radnorshire, Wales.  James ap David, the son identified in this last will and testament of David ap Rees is the progenitor of the James family of Llandegley & Glascwm.  This document marks the first appearance of James ap David in the known ancient records of Radnorshire.  Many relatives are also mentioned in this document that identifies the genesis of the James, Davies, Lewis, John and Meredith families of Landegley.  The clan’s ancient historic lands are referred to as the “The Soith,” an area once claimed as the exclusive hunting grounds of Roger Mortimer, the Earl of March and described by E.J.L. Cole in his 1946 essay entitled The Castles of Maelienydd, as “Coed Swydd, the hill on which the Pales Meeting House stands, about 1½ miles to the north of Llandegley.”  The text in standard format is from the original abstract prepared by E.J.L. Cole.  The text is italic represents the translation work of Larry James.

14 February 1583 in the 26th year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth the 1st

I, David ap Rees ap Jevan Athro of Llandegley, County of Radnor, sick; soul to God; body to Llandegley church,

to poor men’s box 12d;

to catholic Church at. St Davids 4d;

to son Jevan ap David tenement [farm] called Tir [Land of] David ap Rees ap Jevan Here in a place called Y [The] Soith in Llandegley, which I purchased on condition Of redemption of said David ap Rees ap Jevn Here;

to John ap David my youngest son 1 parcel arable & meadow called Rosse yr Heole [The Hidden (heole) Moor (rosse)] in Llanvihangell Kevenllis which I purchased of Howell ap Rees ap Howell on condition Of redemption;

to said Jevan ap David 2 steers 3 years old at May next, 1 black 1 brown;

to son Lewes 1 pyed [“pied” or “milking”] black cow & 2 sheep;

to John ap David 4 wild mares & 1 yearling colt, 1 black cow, 10 sheep;

to Catheringe vz [daughter of] Morgan spinster 2 kine, 1 heifer, 1 cow calf in custody of David ap Gllm & 10 sheep, 1 red yearling bullock;

to Katherine vz [daughter of] David my eldest daughter 1 mare white & 2 kine, 1 black 1 plewed red;

to Katherin vz [daughter of] Lluis my woire [granddaughter] 1 black cow;

to Lewis ap M’dithe [Meredith] my owir [grandson] 1 brown cow;

to James Greffethe my owir [grandson] 4 sheep;

to Ellen vz [daughter of] Lluis spinster 1 yearling heifer, 2 sheep;

to Meredith ap Greffith my woir [grandson] 1 black yearling heifer;

to daughter. Katherin 2 ewes;

to son James ap David £4 on my exors [executors]; if he dies before payment to be divided between Jevan ap David, Lluis ap David, John ap David my sons;

to Rees ap John my cousen 1 wheather;

rest of goods to Greffeth ap David my eldest son (exor) [executor];

overseers:  tutors etc:  James ap Jevan ap Greffethe, Lluis David ap Lluis, M’edd ap John & John ap Jevan Phillipp;

Witness:  Phellipp ap Jevn ap Jevn, Howell ap Rees ap Howell & Rees John;

Debts due on testator:  to Jevan ap John by bond £6 13s 4d, Howell Phellipp 4s; Jevan ap Griffiths 33s 4d; David ap Jevan Here 6s 8d, Meredith ap John £3, Phillipp’e ap Jevan ap Jevan 4s 4d;

Inventory:  11 kine each 13s 4d; 4 oxen each 20s; 1 heifer 10s; 2 yearling heifers each 5s; 2 steers each 7s; 40 yearling sheep or hoggs each 2s; 3 wild mares each 13s 4d; 2 yearling colts each 5s; 1 horse 20s; householdstuff…; corn in barn & fields 40s.  

Proved:  28 April 1584.

The Last Will and Testament of David ap Rees ap Jevan Athro

Translated by Larry P. James, 2011


From “Radnorshire Wills,” abstracted by E.J.L. Cole

Published in Radnorshire Society Transactions, Volume 53, 1983, page 70-71.


                                         Legend:  “£” = pound;

                                                          “s” = shilling;

                                                          “d” = pence;


                                           Welsh: “ap” = son of;

                                                        “vz” = daughter of;

                                                        “woir” or “owir” = grandchild;

                                                        “tir” = land;

                                                        “kine” = cow;

                                                         “y” or “yr” = the.