Pantyffordd Farm nestled beneath Waundwr in the shadow of the Bannau Caerfyrddin (Carmarthenshire Fans)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

William Price Tynllwyn Myddfai Gent.

William Price Tynllwyn, Myddfai, Gent. is the earliest member of the Price family that can be identified with confidence. Although there are many details of his life that are still obscure, there is enough detail about him to make him much more than a mere name on a register. Importantly, he left a detailed will which names all his children surviving in 1799 and also gives the numbers of grandchildren in each of his offspring's families. This will is the basis for all the family reconstructions that follow and it is a key source not only for actual data but also for a flavour of rural life at that time. (The will can be seen at the National Library of Wales together with a copy of the will and three bonds that accompany it in the DTM Jones Collection - also at the NLW). See this post for details of the will.

There is no detail about where and when he was born, although there is circumstantial evidence to suggest that he was from the Llandovery area. The name Price of course comes from the Welsh form “ap Rees/Rhys” (son of Rees) and since the patronymic naming system was common at this time he could have been named William ap Rees ** (where ** could be any other name). Other clues might lie in the naming of his children since it was traditional at this time to name children after paternal grandparents and then maternal grandparents. William's first boys were John and Morgan and the girls were Jane and Elizabeth (names which continued to be common in further generations of the family). 

William married twice. No positive record of his first marriage to Margaret has yet been found unless it be that recorded at Llandingat (the main parish church of Llandovery) on 8 Sep 1744 "(P)rees William and Margaret Thomas were married by banns". The only positive thing we can say is that the marriage must have taken place around 1747 or earlier (the date when his first son John was baptised at St. Michael's, the Myddfai Parish Church). The Parish Register records the baptisms of the remaining children - Jane (1750), Morgan (1753), David (1755), William (1758) and Elizabeth (1761).

His date of birth is also a mystery. The Myddfai parish baptismal records in the early part of the 18th century are difficult to read but even a close examination has yield no clue. Surprisingly he has no memorial at St. Michael’s church Myddfai (if there was one it hasn’t survived). We have no age given in the Parish Records at the time of his death on 24 July 1799. If we assume that he was about 20 at the date of his marriage to Margaret then he would have been born around 1725 which would make him around 75 at the time of his death.

Margaret, William’s first wife and mother of all his children died in 1777 and in 1779 William married a second time by license at Myddfai Parish Church (MPC). His second wife's name was Magdalen Rees. She appears to have been a native of Myddfai and a possible candidate from the Parish Records is "Magdalen d/o Rees Thomas Lewis and Elizabeth bp. 29 Jan 1733" at MPC. This would make her 46 at the time of her marriage and about 71 at the time of her death in 1804.

William is styled Gent. in the parish records and also ‘freeholder’. This meant that he owned some freehold property and was entitled to vote in county elections. This together with the fact that he was literate and was able to send his eldest son to be educated at Oxford implies that he was a man of some substance and this is confirmed by further evidence including his will.

In order to distinguish him from later Prices of the same name I have called him William Price Tynllwyn, where he lived for at least the latter part of his life. In fact he did not own Tynllwyn farm - the 1779 Land Tax Assessment shows that the owner was a Mrs Owens and the occupier was William Price - so he obviously leased the farm and this is also confirmed in his will. However it is worth noting that the tax assessed (£1-7s-0d) indicates that Tynllwyn was a considerable property, this being the highest amount levied in the Myddfai Upper Division. William’s leasehold of Tynllwyn is confirmed by his will which bequeathed the remainder of the lease of Tynllwyn to his son Rev. John Price who lived there until his death in 1819. In turn the lease succeeded for a short time to his son Edward until presumably it expired.

William’s will, which was executed following his death in 1799, was valued at £450 - a considerable sum for the time (£15k - £20k in today’s terms). It is also possible that he had conveyed some of his property and wealth to his surviving sons before his death. The will is a valuable resource for much that follows and so the next post describes it in detail.

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