Williams-Wynn baronets

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The Williams-Wynn Baronetcy, of Gray's Inn in the County of Middlesex was created in the Baronetage of England on 6 July 1688 for William Williams, a prominent Welsh politician and lawyer from Anglesey, Wales.[1]


The first Baronet served as Speaker of the House of Commons from 1680 to 1681. The second Baronet represented Denbigh Boroughs in the House of Commons.

Sir Watkin, 3rd Baronet, sat as Member of Parliament for Denbighshire and was a prominent Jacobite. He was the husband of Jane (née Thelwall), great-granddaughter of Sir John Wynn, 1st Baronet, of Gwydir. Sir John Wyn was the direct male heir descendant of the princely house of Aberffraw through his ancestor Owain Gwynedd, and pretender to the title prince of Wales. In 1718, he inherited, through his wife, the Wynnstay estates on the death of Sir John Wynn, 5th Baronet, of Gwydir (see Wynn baronets), and assumed the same year the additional surname of Wynn in honor of his wife's princely heritage and claims as prince of Wales.[2] By the 18th century the Williams-Wynn family had become the largest landowners in north Wales.

The fourth Baronet represented Shropshire and Denbighshire in Parliament and served as Lord Lieutenant of Merionethshire. The fifth Baronet sat for Beaumaris and Denbighshire and was also Lord-Lieutenant of Merionethshire. The sixth Baronet was Conservative Member of Parliament for Denbighshire for over forty years.

Bodelwyddan castle – Williams-Wynn family seat from c.1880 to 1925

Sir Herbert, 7th Baronet succeeded to the baronetcy in 1885 on the death of his uncle He inherited Bodelwyddan Castle from an heirless cousin in 1880 and made it the family's principal seat, refurbishing the castle in the 1880s.[3] Additionally, Sir Herbert briefly represented Denbighshire in 1885 before the constituency was abolished.

However, the costs of maintaining the estates and the burden of death duties became too great, and Sir Watkin, 8th Baronet, was forced to sell Bodelwyddan Castle and estate by 1925 and Wynnstay in 1948.[4] Llwydiarth estate in Montgomeryshire was also sold and the Glan-llyn estate in Merionethshire accepted by the government in lieu of death duties.[5] The baronet retired to the Llangedwyn estate.

The ninth Baronet was Lord Lieutenant of Denbighshire, and the tenth Baronet served as Lord Lieutenant of Denbighshire and of Clwyd.

Today, the family is represented by Sir David, 11th Baronet, who remains active in Welsh life in Denbighshire and Flintshire.[6] In 2008 he was in the news because it was widely reported that his daughter Alexandra – a sculptor and student at the Royal Academy of Arts – had modelled nude for the famous artist Lucian Freud.

In the continued discussion of potential Welsh independence his name is sometimes brought forward as a theoretical candidate in Welsh monarchy scenarios. In the past, some Plaid Cymru members have advocated that an independent Wales would be better served by a Welsh constitutional monarchy, one which would engender the affection and allegiance of the Welsh people and legitimize Welsh sovereignty.[7] An hereditary constitutional monarch would, they argued, embody and personify Welsh national identity above party politics, while political parties formed governments in a parliamentary system similar to those of Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, or Spain.[7]

The socialist and economist D.J. Davies wrote an article in Y Faner in 1953, and later published in English in the 1958 book Towards Welsh Freedom, in which he advocated for the elevation of a Welsh gentry family as the Royal Family of Wales.[8] Among the criteria for consideration, argued Davies, was that the family had to have a history of contributing to Welsh life and reside in Wales.[7] Today's Plaid Cymru members, however, are largely republican and the idea is rarely revived.

Through primogeniture, Sir David Williams-Wynn, 11th Baronet, may be heir to the Aberffraw legacy and claim as princes of Wales, and could theoretically use the appellation "Dafydd III of Wales".[7][9][10]

Williams, later Williams-Wynn baronets of Gray's Inn (1688)[edit]

The heir apparent is the present holder's son Charles Edward Watkin Williams-Wynn (born 1970).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cokayne, George Edward, ed. (1904), Complete Baronetage volume 4 (1665–1707), vol. 4, Exeter: William Pollard and Co, retrieved 2 February 2019
  2. ^ It is claimed by some that there are living relatives of the Wynn family living in the United States who claim to be descended from either an Owen Wynn or a Hugh Wynn who supposedly emigrated there in the 17th Century. However, the sources for both these claims are considered to be very unreliable and probably later constructions [1]. Certainly, if there were any sons or grandsons of Owen Wynn alive in 1719 then they would have inherited the baronetcy. No one made any such claim, so it seems most unlikely that there were surviving sons or grandsons of Owen Wynn living in New England.
  3. ^ The Williams Baronetcy of Bodelwyddan in the County of Flint, was created in the Baronetage of Great Britain on 24 July 1798 for John Williams. He had previously served as High Sheriff of Flintshire. Williams was the great-grandson of John Williams, second son of Sir William Williams
  4. ^ Bodelwyddan Castle
  5. ^ "Wynnstay Estate Records". Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  6. ^ Denbigh and Flint Show
  7. ^ a b c d Jobbins, Siôn T., Why Not a Welsh Royal Family? Published in Cambria Magazine, January 2008
  8. ^ Wales Must Have A Monarchy, published in Welsh in the journal Y Faner 1953, and in English in the book Towards Welsh Freedom in 1958
  9. ^ D.J. Davies wrote of the Rhys/Rice family of Dinefwr, perhaps unaware of the Williams-Wynn family and claims as descendants of the Wynn family.
  10. ^ An alternative title would be "Dafydd IV of Wales" if the 12th century usurpation of Dafydd ab Owain Gwynedd were considered part of the line of rulers.