Thomas Peers Williams

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Lt.-Col. Thomas Peers Williams (27 March 1795 – 8 September 1875) was MP for Great Marlow 1820-1868 and Father of the House of Commons December 1867 – 1868.[1]

Peers Williams owned a house and estate called Craig-y-Don, near Beaumaris on Anglesey.[2] He also had a residence at Temple House, Bisham, Berkshire, near Marlow. He was active in the Anglesey Hunt.

He first became an MP in 1820 for the constituency of Great Marlow (usually known as Marlow), and retired in 1868 after serving 48 years. In the last year, he was Father of the House of Commons from December 1867, succeeding Henry Cecil Lowther who had entered the House in 1812 and retired as MP in 1867.

Family background[edit]

His grandfather Thomas Williams (1737–1802) was a prominent attorney and active in the copper industry. He was the son of one Owen Williams of Cefn Coch in Llansadwrn, who owned also Tregarnedd and Treffos. About 1785, Williams became chief agent of copper mines owned partly by the earl of Uxbridge and partly by the family of Llysdulas; for a time both parties entrusted the management to Williams alone. He was closely associated with the Uxbridge family and helped several sons get elected to Parliament. In 1790, probably with help from the earl of Uxbridge, he was elected for Great Marlow, and held the seat till his death on 30 November 1802. (The seat was won in 1820 by his grandson and retained until 1868). Four generations from Thomas Williams of Llanidan to his great-grandson Lt-General Owen Lewis Cope Peers Williams (d. 1904) held the Great Marlow seat with intervals, from 1790 until 1885.

His son Owen Williams (1764–1832), also MP for Great Marlow,[3] married Margaret Hughes, and had a son Thomas Peers Williams (the subject of this article). Three of the younger Thomas's daughters were married to members of the House of Lords, two others to sons of lords.

The elder Thomas's descendants gradually released their hold on the copper industry; they are now remembered as owners of the Craig-y-don estate and the founders of banks. Several were Members of Parliament.

Marriage and children[edit]

Madge, Nina and Blanche Peers-Williams

Peers Williams married 27 August 1835 Emily Bacon (d. 24 November 1876), daughter of Anthony Bushby Bacon of Benham Park and later of Elcot Park, both in Berkshire[4]

Lt Col Thomas Peers Williams[5] had at least two sons[6] and several daughters who married into the peerage.

  • Lieutenant General[7]Owen Lewis Cope Williams (12 July 1836 Berkeley Square, London - 2 October 1904 Temple House, Bisham) of Craig-y-Don, Llandegfan, Anglesey (which he sold 1884),[8] and Temple House, Bisham, Berkshire, sometime MP for Great Marlow 1880-1885. He married 1stly 18 August 1862 Fanny Florence Caulfeild (1838 Florence, Italy - 28 July 1876 Berwick House, Stable Yard, St. James's, London), younger daughter of St.George Francis Caulfeild and yr sister of Emily, Countess of Lonsdale by whom he had issue 1 son Owen Gwynedd St. George Williams (1865-killed in 1903 Matabele War). He married 2ndly 1882 Nina Mary Adelaide Sinclair, daughter of Sir John George Tollemache Sinclair, Bt. Owen Williams had two sons who predeceased him, one of whom, Gwynedd, was killed in the Matabele War.[9][10][11]
  • Hwfa Williams (fl. 1914),[12] who with his wife was prominent in the court of Edward VII. He was manager of the racing course Sandown Park, created about 120 years ago. His wife Mrs Hwfa Williams, nee Florence Farquharson (affectionally remembered by Felix Yusupov)[13] was a notable society hostess, and known as the best-dressed woman in England. They were both still alive in 1913, having married in 1881.[14] In 1914, Williams was shot and badly wounded in the Pall Mall by an overworked telegraph clerk.[15] His wife later authored It Was Such Good Fun, an account of Edwardian high society life.
Woroneicki coat of arms
  • Gwenfra Williams - she had a daughter Julie who became Princess Woroneicki.[16][17]
  • (1st daughter) Margaret Elizabeth Williams (24 November 1838 - 10 August 1909),[18] known as Madge,[9] married 12 August 1866 as his 2nd wife[19] Sir Richard Mostyn Lewis Williams-Bulkeley, 11th Baronet (20 May 1833 – 28 January 1884) of Baron Hill, Anglesey; son of Sir Richard Williams-Bulkeley, 10th Baronet (1801–1875).[20] Sir Richard and Madge Williams-Bulkeley had one daughter, Bridget Henrietta Frances, who married Benjamin Seymour Guinness, of Anglesey; they were parents of Thomas "Loel" Guinness.
  • (2nd daughter) Emily Gwendoline Williams (July 1839-9 November 1932),[21] known as Gwen, wife since 1863 of the 2nd Earl Cowley; she lived at Bodwen on the Isle of Wight overlooking Wotton Creek. She died at the age of 92 and had a daughter, Eva.
Edith Peers-Williams, later Countess of Aylesford
  • (3rd daughter) Edith Peers-William (died 23 June 1897),[22] who married 1871 Heneage Finch, 7th Earl of Aylesford (1849–1885), and had two daughters. The Earl and his wife separated in 1877, when she became involved with the married Marquess of Blandford, the future 8th Duke of Marlborough. In 1881, she bore a son, later known as Guy Bertrand (b. 4 November 1881 Paris, christened 1883).[23] This son was baptized only in June 1883 St Mary-le-Strand, London as a son of the 7th Earl. His claims to the peerage (made by his mother Edith) were [ denied by the House of Lords in July 1885.[24] Edith, Countess of Aylesford never married Lord Blandford who went on to marry an American heiress.[25] The Earl of Aylesford attempted to divorce his wife, but was himself found guilty of adultery, and thus the decree nisi was cancelled.[26]
  • (4th daughter) Blanche Mary Williams (1844-1 July 1914)[27] married 15 January 1866 Lt Col Lord Charles John Innes-Ker (b. 31 Dec 1842; d. 19 Nov 1919), 2nd son of the 6th Duke of Roxburghe, and had issue
  • Nina Janet Bronwen Williams (died 1939),[28] known as Bronwen, but also called Nina in family photos online[9] married 1870 Hon Seton Montolieu Montgomerie (15 May 1846 – 26 Nov 1883) a younger son of the 13th Earl of Eglinton & Winton, and had issue three daughters; Alswen, Viva and May.[29]
Evelyn, Duchess of Wellington.
  • (6th daughter) Evelyn Katrine Gwenfra Williams (1855-11 March 1939 West Green House, Hartley Wintney, Hants),[30] who married firstly 7 March 1882 the 3rd Duke of Wellington (1846–1900) in 1882; they had no issue. She remarried in 1904 a Wellesley cousin Col. Hon. Frederick Arthur Wellesley (1844–1931), a son of the 1st Earl Cowley, as his third wife. Frederick Wellesley had previously married 1873 (div. 1882) Emma Loftus, granddaughter of the 2nd Marquess of Ely, and then married 1884 (div 1897) Catherine Candelon. He was also her brother-in-law, as the younger brother of the 2nd Earl Cowley, husband of her eldest sister.


The grandson Thomas Peers Williams was a considerable landowner in Wales ,[31] as recorded with 7,010 acres (28.4 km2) in 1873. He owned estates in Anglesey and Berkshire, and elsewhere.


  1. ^ Father of the House of Commons
  2. ^ "Craig y Don and Llanrhos". Llandudno resort information. Retrieved 11 May 2016. 
  3. ^ P.H. Ditchfield and William Page (eds) (1923). "Parishes: Bisham". A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 3. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 24 February 2008. .
  4. ^ Thoyts, Emma Elizabeth (1897). History of the Royal Berkshire Militia. J. Hawkes. 
  5. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Lt Col Thomas Peers Williams". The Peerage. [unreliable source]
  6. ^ According to a website, a Thomas Peers Williams sold the Craig-y-Don development at Llandudno, named after the family estate in Anglesey, in 1884. However, no other reference to this gentleman has been found.
  7. ^ P.H. Ditchfield and William Page (eds) (1923). "Parishes: Bisham". A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 3. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ a b c Montgomerie
  10. ^ [2]. Owen Peers Williams is listed in Burke's Landed Gentry 1855 and in Burke's Peerage 1975. Archived 11 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Temple House, built by Thomas Williams of Llanidan, is described as "a three-storied stucco mansion of early 19th-century date and has a tetrastyle lonic portico running the full height of the building" which stood in a beautiful park on the river bank.. See 'Parishes: Bisham', A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 3 (1923), pp. 139-152. Date accessed: 24 February 2008.
  12. ^ Hwfa Williams
  13. ^ Felix Yusupov. Lost Splendour [Chapter Fifteen]
  14. ^ Mrs Hwfa Williams's charity ball
  15. ^ See Barbara Tuchman, The Guns of August, p. 167.
  16. ^ Montgomerie, Page 75
  17. ^ "NEW LONDON HOME FOR MRS. AVA ASTOR; Fine Residence to be Ready for the Early Opening of the Social Season". The New York Times 27 January 1912, Section: PARTS 111 AND 1V CABLE NEWS WIRELESS AND SPORTING SECTIONS, Page C2, 1363 words. According to the article, their house in Ovington Square narrowly escaped being burnt down by fire on Boxing Day, and Mr Williams was ill with influenza. The daughter is mentioned as in America with Mrs Bridget Guinness (nee Montgomerie), her cousin.
  18. ^ [3]
  19. ^ Williams-Bulkeley was divorced from his first wife Mary Emily Baring in 1864. Their son the 12th Baronet and grandson the 13th Baronet served as Lord Lieutenant of Anglesey and also Lord Lieutenant of Gwynedd; he married 1885 Lady Magdalen Yorke (d. 27 Jan 1940), daughter of the 5th Earl of Hardwicke.
  20. ^ Leo van der Pas. "Diversary tactics - One" GEN-MEDIEVAL mailing list, 19 June 2000. Retrieved 24 February 2008. The ancestry of Stavros Niarchos (b. 1985) is detailed; his ancestress is Margaret Elizabeth Williams, maternal grandmother of the banker Loel Guinness.
  21. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Emily Gwendoline Williams". The Peerage. [unreliable source]
  22. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Edith Peers-William". The Peerage. [unreliable source]
  23. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Guy Bertrand". The Peerage. [unreliable source]
  24. ^ "[Aylesford's] paternity was however subsequently disallowed by the House of Lords: see 'The Complete Peerage', vol. 1 p. 367 fn. a; in July 1885, in the case of the Earldom of Aylesford as against the legitimacy of a child b. 4 Nov 1881 in wedlock, of parties who were residing respectively in Chapel Place (Oxford Str.) and in Portugal Str. (South Audley Str.) Midx., in the months of Jan., Feb., Mar., and Apr. previous to the BIRTH: see 'The Complete Peerage', vol. 1 p. 367 fn. b."].
  25. ^ The Angry Prince, or, Why You Shouldn’t Blackmail Your Future Sovereign. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  26. ^ "Divorce In High Life" Northern Territory Times and Gazette (Darwin, NT, Australia : 1873 - 1927 Saturday 12 May 1883, p. 3
  27. ^ [4]
  28. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Nina Janet Bronwen Williams". The Peerage. [unreliable source]
  29. ^ Leo van der Pas. Descendants of Hugh Montgomerie, 12th Earl of Eglintoun (1739-1819). Retrieved 24 February 2008
  30. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Evelyn Katrine Gwenfra Williams". The Peerage. [unreliable source]
  31. ^ considerable landowner in Wales


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Pascoe Grenfell
Owen Williams
Member of Parliament for Marlow
With: Owen Williams 1820–1832
William Robert Clayton 1832–1842
Renn Hampden 1842–1847
Brownlow William Knox 1847–1868
Succeeded by
Thomas Owen Wethered
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Henry Cecil Lowther
Father of the House
Succeeded by
Henry Thomas Lowry-Corry