Brogyntyn Estate (England and Wales)

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Brogyntyn Estate (England and Wales)

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Family estate, situated in Selatyn near Oswestry, Shropshire, but incorporating large ancestral estates in North Wales.

The earliest settlement on the site is a motte, supposedly associated with Owain Brogyntyn. By the mid-sixteenth century the owner was John Lacon, whose estate included Constable's Hall at Porkington and Llanddyn near Llangollen in Denbighshire. His daughter, Margaret, was married in 1556 to William Maurice (1542-1622) of Clenennau in Penyfed, Caernarfonshire, eldest son of Moris ap Eliza and Ellen Puleston. Since 1501, when Moris ap John ap Meredudd received a gift of land in Clenennau from his foster-father, Rhys ap Ieuan ap Dicws Foel, the Moris family had accumulated property in Penyfed, Penmorfa, Trefan, Pennant, Clenennau and parts of Merionethshire. William Maurice continued this trend over the next five decades by the further acquisition of lands in Shropshire, Denbighshire and Merionethshire, by leases from the Corporation of Harlech and enclosures in Harlech Marsh. He was widowed in 1572, but remarried twice, in 1576 to Ellen Lewis, widow of John Lewis of Chwaen Wen, Anglesey, and in 1605 to Jane Johnes (nee Puleston), widow of Sir Thomas Johnes of Abermarlais, Carmarthenshire. From 1581 he held several important public offices in the county administration of Caernarfonshire and Merionethshire, and he was knighted upon the accession of James I in 1603. - - Sir William's eldest son, William Wynn Maurice (1559-c.1598) had predeceased him, leaving two daughters, Ellen and Margaret, as coheiresses upon their grandfather's death in 1622. Ellen Maurice (1578-1626), was married to John Owen of Bodsilin and Fernhill, secretary to Sir Francis Walsingham, and eight children were born prior to his death in 1611. She remarried in 1616, to Sir Francis Eure, Chief Justice of North Wales, by whom she had one son, Compton. By then she was living at Constable's Hall, Porkington, where she had the house rebuilt in 1617. Ellen died in 1626, leaving her eldest son, John Owen (1600-1666), as heir to the Clenennau estate, and his brother William (1607-1670), to inherit Porkington. - -Sir John, who was a staunch Royalist, served as Vice-Admiral of North Wales and Governor of Conway Castle. Col. William Owen defended Harlech Castle during the Civil War. Their sister, Margaret, was a forbear by marriage of the Godolphin family of Abertanat. - -John Owen's son, William (1624-1677/8) married Catherine, daughter of Lewis Anwyl of Parc, Llanfrothen in 1648. He inherited both Clenennau and Porkington from his father and his uncle respectively, but he based his family home at Llanddyn. The surviving heir of William and Catherine Owen was their son, Robert (1658-1698). He was knighted in 1678, served as MP for Merionethshire and Caernarfon Borough, and held several other local public offices. In 1683 he married Margaret, daughter of Owen Wynn and heiress to the substantial estates of Glyn, Sylfaen and Ystumcegid. A short time later he also acquired a moiety of Nant in Flintshire by a settlement with his wife's family. Unfortunately, Sir Robert Owen died prematurely in 1698, leaving massive debts. - -The successor to the estate was William Owen (1688-1767), who eased his financial burden by marrying Mary, daughter of Dr Henry Godolphin, Dean of St Paul's and Provost of Eton, in 1730. William Owen's estate was additionally enlarged by the purchase in 1736 of part of the Brynker lands in Dolbenmaen, which he promptly mortgaged to pay for extensive renovations at Porkington. - -The Brogyntyn estate descended to the eldest surviving son, Robert Godolphin Owen (1733-1792), who remained a bachelor. In the absence of male heirs the estate was inherited by his sister Margaret (1738-1806), who married Owen Ormsby of Willowbrook, co. Sligo, 1777. Their daughter, Mary Jane (1781-1869), became heiress to Brogyntyn, Clenennau, Glyn and her father's lands in Ireland. Her wealth enabled her to carry out a complete renovation of Porkington. In 1815 she married William Gore, another Irish landowner, who assumed the additional family name of Ormsby. Considerable additions were made to the estate during his lifetime, the largest being Drenewydd in Whittington, purchased from the Peniarth estate in 1830 for ℗Đ35,000. A fire caused major damage to parts of Brogyntyn Hall in 1874.- -The title Baron or Lord Harlech was first awarded to John Ralph Ormsby-Gore (1816-1876) in 1875 shortly before he died. He was succeeded under a special remainder by his younger brother, William Richard Ormsby-Gore (1819-1904), second Baron Harlech. The latter had followed a military career and held several public offices in Ireland between 1841 and 1876. He married in 1850 to Emily Charlotte, daughter of Admiral Sir George Francis Seymour. By 1883 his estates comprised 57,647 acres in North Wales, Shropshire, Berkshire and Ireland, and they were further increased by the purchase of Pentre-pant near Brogyntyn in 1893. - -George Ralph Charles Ormbsy-Gore, third Baron Harlech (1855-1938), followed a distinguished military and public career which included a command of the Welsh Guards and he made a prestigious marriage in 1881 to Lady Margaret Ethel Gordon, daughter of Charles, Marquis of Huntley. Their son succeeded to a depleted estate, for in 1894 the trustees were permitted to sell land in Treflys and in 1911 all the Eifionydd property (over 8000 acres) was sold, except the family's ancestral home at Clenennau. - -William George Arthur Ormsby-Gore, fourth Baron Harlech, (1885-1964), saw active service in Egypt during the First World War and he held numerous public offices including Lord Lieutenant of Merionethshire, Constable of Harlech and Caernarfon castles, board member of several national museums and galleries, and High Commissioner for the United Kingdom in South Africa. In 1913 he married Lady Beatrice Cecil, by whom he had six children. - -William David Ormsby-Gore, the fifth Baron (1918-1985) joined the army in 1939 and after the Second World War he pursued a career in politics. He was also closely involved with the media, being a film censor and chairman of Harlech television. He married twice, in 1940 to Sylvia Lloyd Thomas, and again in 1969 to Pamela Colin of New York. David Ormsby-Gore was killed in a road accident in 1985. The eldest surviving son of his first marriage, the current Lord Harlech, is Francis David Ormsby-Gore, born in 1954. - -The effects of two world wars and the burden of death duties led to the sale of Drenewydd in 1939, Llanddyn in 1943 and the eventual abandonment of Brogyntyn. From around 1985 the house stood virtually empty and it was finally sold to developers in 2005.

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