The Gwillym (Gwillim, Guillim, Guillym, Gwyllim) family history

A manuscript Gwillim family tree

A manuscript Gwillim family tree, given to my father by a visitor to Langstone in 2004, shows that among the eight generations from John Gwillim of Fawley to the Robert Gwillim who married Elizabeth Atherton there were five Thomases (two of whom married Elizabeths), four Johns, two Williams and two Roberts.   Ample scope for confusion between the generations.   The Gwillym monument in St Deinst's church Llangarron shows two more Williams, who died young in 1709 and 1717.   But it was John's great grandson Thomas who settled here.

Some additional details from the manuscript family tree.   The eldest son of John Gwillim of Fawley was also John Gwillym of Fawley.   Thomas (at King's Caple) and Elizabeth had a second son, John Gwillim (1551- ), who married Alice, daughter of Roger Cox of Little Fawley.   Thomas (at Little Birch) and Mary had an elder son, John Gwillim of Little Birch, who married Eleanor, daughter of George Wellington (they had a son, Jonathan Gwillim, aged one in 1634 i).   The Margaret who married Thomas Gwillim of Llangarron, described by Robertson as sister of Edw. Rawlyns of Kilreege, was daughter of Edward Rawlyns of Hereford.

The tree shows that Thomas and Margaret had nine children: Thomas (aged 19 in 1634 and not acknowledged by Robertson, who describes William as the eldest son), William (1630-1698), James, Richard, Mary, Elias(?), Margery, Alice and Bridge(?).   Is it wrong about Thomas?   He would have been 15 years older than William, with another seven siblings to follow, which seems unlikely.   The reference to 1634 suggests Robertson's History as a source (cf. Thomas Guillym of Little Birch (living 1634) and Jonathan Gwillim, aged one in 1634) but I can find no record there of a Thomas Gwillim aged 19 in 1634.

William and Benedicta had two sons: Thomas (no dates) and William (1651-1706).   William the elder was identified by John Aubrey, in his manuscript notes for a history on the county, as an expert on cider apples.  ii

William the younger married Elizabeth Kyrle on 12 September 1689.  iii  They had two sons: Robert (born in 1692) and William (died in 1709, aged 15).   William was High Sheriff in 1693, the first of his family to hold any official post in the county. iv  Cornforth suggests “he may have been better off than his forebears thanks to his wife”.   He inherited Langstone in 1698 and so, if the new front was built in about 1700, as dated by the Royal Commission volumes on Herefordshire, it was his work.   Elizabeth died on 12 December 1714. v  He is included in a recent dictionary of Herefordshire biography. vi

There is a will of William Gwillym of Langstone, dated 10 May 1708, held by the National Archives, Kew.   As William the younger died in 1706, this must be his son's will unless the date is wrong.  vii

Robert married Jane Symonds in 1712.   (Her father, Robert, was High Sheriff in 1701.)  viii  They had at least three children: Robert (born in 1713); and William and Jane (died in 1717).  Jane (the mother) died in 1727.  Her hatchment still hangs at Langstone.

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     i     Robertson, 2009, page 24   (return to text)
     ii    Mowl, T. and Bradney, J., Historic Gardens of Herefordshire, Redcliffe Press, Bristol, 2012, page 77 and end-note   (return to text)
     iii   Robertson, 2009, page 314   (return to text)
     iv   Cornforth, J., Langstone Court, Herefordshire, Country Life Vol. CXLII No. 3688, 9 November 1967; see also Duncumb, J., Collections towards the History and Antiquities of the County of Hereford, Volume 1 Part 1 General Introduction, Merton Priory Press Ltd, Cardiff, 1996, page 148  (return to text)
     v    A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain – Volume 3 records, under Robert Kyrle and his issue: “Elizabeth (nee Kyrle) married to William Gwillym Esq of Langston in Herefordshire and died 12th December, 1714 leaving a son, Robert”.   (return to text)
     vi   Weaver, P., A Dictionary of Herefordshire Biography, Logaston Press, 2015, page 184  (return to text)
     vii  (return to text)
     viii   Duncumb, J., Collections towards the History and Antiquities of the County of Hereford, Volume 1 Part 2 City of Hereford, Merton Priory Press Ltd, Cardiff, 1997, page 579  (return to text)