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Brian Picton Swann

OWEN PICTON, son of Owen Picton of Trellifen [Trellyfaint], Nevern. He became a Puritan and was appointed to a teaching post under the Commonwealth by the Commissioners for the Propagation of God in Wales. Owen Picton was appointed Usher, or Second Master, of the Puritan school in Cardigan on 17 March 1652/3 at a salary of £20 per annum. He seems to have continued in this post through the Interregnum and, bending with the wind which returned Charles II to the throne, submitted to ordination as a priest after the Restoration. Owen Picton was a witness to the will of Alban Owen of Henllys (1580-1656), dated 23 March 1655; who died on 20 March 1656/7 and the will was proved in the PCC on 14 May 1657 [PROB 11/264/178]. Alban Owen was the son and heir of George Owen of Henllys and thus one of the Lords of Cemais [Dillwyn Miles, The Lords of Cemais, Cemais Publications, Haverfordwest, 1997, pp. 60-62].

    • Alban Owen was succeeded by his son, David Owen, as Lord of Cemais, but there is no surviving evidence that he and his immediate successors exercised their quasi-feudal rights. David Owen does not figure in any contentious or other matters dealing with the Lordship. He married Anne, daughter of Robert Corbet of Ynysmaengwyn, Co. Merioneth, in about 1651, and by her had a son, William Owen (born ca 1654, d. 1721) and two daughters. William Owen married, firstly, Anne, daughter of Sir Gilbert Gerard, Bt., of Tiskerton, Co. Durham, and secondly, Anne, daughter of John Mathias of Llangwarren. He died in 1721, leaving no surviving issue, and the Lordship of Cemais passed to his two surviving sisters and coheirs, Elizabeth Owen and Anne Owen. The story of their time in charge of the Lordship of Cemais is best told under the Picton of Whitechurch and Trelech document [Dillwyn Miles, The Lords of Cemais, pp. 62-63].

Owen Picton was a witness to the will of his brother, Thomas Picton of Nevern, on 2 February 1656/7. He was an administrator of the estate of his brother-in-law, James Morgan of Tredrissy [Tredrissi], granted on 7 December 1660. He was granted a licence as a Minister on 26 July 1662 [SD/O/57-58]. He was nominated as curate of Cardigan and Verwig on 8 November 1662; and appointed Rector of Llanchllwyddog on 7 February 1662/3; but was dead by 14 September 1663, as he was succeeded at Llanchllwyddog by Dr. Jenkin Lloyd of Llangoedmore, "The most secular and shameless of all Welsh Puritan Nononformists" [T. Richards, Religious Developments in Wales, 1654-1662, National Eisteddfod Association, 1923, p. 486]. Owen Picton married Joan Vaughan of Redwalls, daughter of Griffith Vaughan of Redwalls (Tucker MSS). It should be possible to identify her and her father by some further research.

Redwall(e)s [Fagwyr goch in Welsh] was part of the Barony of Cemais, and would now lie in the parish of Moylgrove. In The Extent of Cemais, 1594 [Pembrokeshire Records Series 3, 1977, taken from Bronwydd MSS 3] there are three pages on the lands and tenants of Newcastle and Redwalls, pp. 38-40. There are properties known as English Redwalles and Welsh Redwalles. In the Extent of Cemais, 1594, David Malladge had the main lease of Redwalles from 17 November 19 Eliz. (1577) to 16 November 1598 (21 years) [Bronwydd MSS 3, f. 207]. Of course, this is too early for the period under consideration here, and the tenancy will have changed by the Civil War and Interregnum period of 1642 to 1660. To give an idea, there is a Table on p. 81 of The Extent of Cemais, 1594, which shows the demesne lands of the Barony of Cemais at that time in the hands of tenants and their valuation [Bronwydd MSS 3, f. 210]. The town of Newport (15s); Bury (£20); Kemes Supra (£5:19s:6d); Kemes Infra (5s:4d); Redwalles (£3:13s:8d); Eglosserow [Eglwyswrw] (£19:7s:4d); Bayvill [Bayvil] (£17:10s:8d); Moelgrove [Moylgrove] (£10); Total value £78:11s:6d. Thus later Rentals for Newcastle and Redwall(e)s will survive in the Bronwydd MSS and it should be possible to pick up Joan Vaughan and her father, Griffith Vaughan, in them. It will be interesting to find if Griffith Vaughan left a will, which one would suspect he should have.

It seems clear from this evidence that Owen Picton achieved some appreciable social status. He may have been able to exploit the unsettled time of the Civil War in North Pembrokeshire and Cardigan, which was not affected to anything like the same degree as South Pembrokeshire. Having said that, Sir Charles Gerard, an experienced Royalist officer, arrived on the local scene in 1644. He brought other officers of like experience with him [Sir Charles Gerard was exiled during the Interregnum and after the Restoration in 1660 was ennobled as the Earl of Macclesfield]. In the terms by which the Civil War had been fought up to that date in Pembrokeshire, he was thought cruel and careless of the lives and properties of the County's inhabitants. It was even more serious that he and his junior officers were contemptuous of the susceptibilities and dignities of the Royalist gentry with whom they had to co-operate in the region [Roland Mathias, The First Civil War and The Second Civil War and Interregnum, Chapters VI and VII in Brian Howells, Ed., Pembrokeshire County History, Volume III, NLW, Aberystwyth, 1987, especially pp. 189 to 196 of Chapter VI and the whole of Chapter VII]. These Chapters are essential reading to understand the turbulent nature of events in North Pembrokeshire between 1644 and 1660, and what it was necessary to do in order to survive. Just an inkling can be given in the couple of paragraphs below.

During the month of June 1644 Gerard's forces, mostly men with experience in Ireland, were having things pretty much their own way. They marched northwards to cut off Parliamentarian forces that had crossed the Cardiganshire border, taking some 200 prisoners. They captured the Castles at Cardigan and Newcastle Emlyn, leaving a garrison the first, and by 7 July 1644 had taken Roch Castle, which the Parliamentary Commander, (Sir) Rowland Laugharne, was evidently using as a provisions base. It became a very anxious time for the Parliamentary forces in Pembrokeshire. Haverfordwest fell to the Royalists on 22 July 1644 and Tenby and Pembroke were surrounded. But events elsewhere took a hand. On 2 July 1644 the King, Charles I, and the Royalist Army in England were defeated at the Battle of Marston Moor, and Gerard's presence was required in England.

The details need not concern us, but by early December a Parliamentarian force under Laugharne was at Cardigan. The town surrendered immediately, but the garrison of the Castle, commanded by the appropriately named Major Slaughter, one of Gerard's officers, emboldened by possessing ordnance from the frigate Convert, recently wrecked nearby, offered stout resistance for a fortnight or more. But, on 29 December 1644, there arrived from the port one of the Leopard's brass guns which, after three days, breached the walls. Surrender followed immediately. Laugharne left Colonel Rice [Rees] Powell to hold Cardigan, whilst he himself advanced on Newcastle Emlyn.

Joan Picton was buried at Cardigan on 12 October 1691. Owen and Joan Picton were the parents of:

    • 1. ELIZABETH PICTON, born 11 January 1651 and bapt. 15 January 1651 at Cardigan. She died on 18 July and was buried on 20 July 1656 at Cardigan.

    • 2. JOHN PICTON, born 27 September 1653 and bapt. 30 September 1653 at Cardigan. He is described in the Tucker MSS as "Servant to Mr Hector Phillips of Cardigan". Hector Phillips, Esq., of Porth Eynon, Cardiganshire, was Parliamentary Commissioner for the sale of Royalist sequestrated estates in the Counties of Cardigan, Carmarthen and Pembroke. He is said to have incurred great odium by the manner in which he carried out his instructions (Cambrian Register, i, p. 167). He was a great-great-grandson of Sir Thomas Phillips of Picton Castle. Either he, or his son of the same name, was lessee from the Crown of the 'wear' and fishing of Kilgerran; and of the fines, emoluments etc. from proceedings before the King's Stewards in eleven Lordships, and in the towns of Cardigan and Aberystwyth, temp. Charles II.

    • John Picton was a gentleman at Cardigan. He married Elinor Davies, daughter of Henry Davies and his wife Elizabeth, only daughter of Robert Lloyd, gent. It would be useful to discover if either Henry Davies or Robert Lloyd left a will. John Picton and Elinor Davies were married on 9 November 1704 at Cardigan.

    • Volume 28, Part II, p. 79 of Treasury Warrents (1708-1709) states that William Nixon was appointed waiter and searcher at Cardigan in place of John Picton, who was dismissed for fraud (Out Letters, Customs, XV, pp 148, 150) [Search of PROCAT catalogue required]. Waiter and searcher was a Customs post, and it is fairly obvious from the title what it would involve. It was examining the cargo from incoming ships and ensuring that the appropriate revenue in the form of taxes was collected, etc. There is always plenty of opportunity for sharp practices there. John Picton died, probably around 18 April 1730, as an Inventory of his goods for that date survives to the value of £36-10s-0d. He was buried at Cardigan on 20 April 1730. Administration of his estate was granted to his widow, Elinor Picton, on 13 November 1730.

    • His wife, Elinor Picton, was a defendant, along with her son Robert Picton, to a dispute in Chancery concerning the estate of her brother, Thomas Davies of Cardigan, in 1747/8. She died at Cardigan on 14 October 1750. Other parties involved in this case were Hugh Parry of St. Margaret's Westminster, and Jane his wife; Ann Tindall, widow of John Tindall of Carmarthen; Martha Davies of Petersham, Surrey; Barbara Davies of St. Marylebone, Middlesex; John Herbert and Nicholas Gwynne. Jane Parry, Ann Tindall, Martha Davies and Barbara Davies were sisters of Elinor Picton. The litigation seems to have followed the death of their brother, Thomas Davies of Cardigan, Esq. [see Robert Picton, below, for the Chancery references]. As yet the date and place of burial of Elinor Picton, widow, is unknown. It is possible she may have gone to live with one of her sisters after the death of her husband and she lies buried in the church attached to the parish wherever they were living at the time. The book Historic Houses of Cardiganshire and Their Families, by Hugh and Caroline Charles-Jones, Brawdy Books, should be examined. John and Elinor Picton were the parents of:

      • i. OWEN PICTON, bapt. 17 September 1705 at Cardigan. He was a surety for the due administration of his father's estate in 1730. He was buried at Cardigan on 16 September 1732, presumably having just reached 27 years of age.

      • ii. ELIZABETH PICTON, bapt. 20 March 1706/7 at Cardigan and buried on 25 June 1731 at Cardigan.

      • iii. JOHN PICTON, bapt. 7 November 1709 at Cardigan. He presumably died young.

      • iv. ROBERT PICTON, bapt. 21 October 1711 at Cardigan. He was a perukemaker (wig maker) of Cardigan in 1735; and took as apprentice one William Rice for £5. He was a churchwarden in 1746. He was a co-defendant with his mother in Chancery Proceedings in 1747/8, the reasons behind which are unknown until the cases are examined [The Chancery references are: C 11/1090/27, Parry v. Picton, 1747; C 11/1093/26, Parry v. Picton, 1748; C 11/1255/3, Picton v. Parry, Geo. I. and II and C 12/1194/18, Parry v. Picton, 1749]. Robert Picton was buried at Cardigan on 28 April 1754. He left a will, dated 30 May 1752, and proved on 8 July 1754. This refers to his property in Cardiganshire and Pembrokeshire. He left the bulk of his property to Mary Price, widow of the late Richard Price, and her children. His will also mentions his aunts, Barbara Davies and Jane Parry, sisters of his mother. It also mentions his kinsman, John Picton of Whitechurch, thus establishing the link to the Whitechurch branch of the Picton families.

      • v. WILLIAM PICTON, bapt. 5 May 1719 at Cardigan. He was buried at Cardigan on 1 May 1752, when he would just about be 33 years of age.

    • 3. BRIDGET PICTON, born 18 September 1656 at Cardigan and bapt there "the following Wednesday".

    • 4. MARY PICTON, born 28 January 1661 and bapt. 2 February 1661 at Cardigan. She married Hugh Thomas on 26 November 1698 at Cardigan. It would be useful to see if they had any children baptised at Cardigan.

    • 5. ELIZABETH PICTON, born 24 February 1658 and bapt. 2 March 1658 at Cardigan. She married David Jones, who became an Alderman of Cardigan, on 6 October 1695 at Cardigan. She died on 20 December 1703, aged 45, and was buried at Cardigan. Again, it would be useful to see if they had any children baptised at Cardigan.

Picton of Cardigan

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