Sir John Salusbury of Lleweni

Shakespear’s Love’s Martyr is dedicated to him as “To the Honourable, and (of me before all other) honored Knight” and “one of the Esquires of the bodie to the Queenes most excellent Maiestie” (p. 3), and in the title-page of the “diverse Poeticall Effaies” he is designated” the true-noble Knight” (p. 177). Even these slight descriptions guide us to the Salisburys or Salisburies of Lleweni, Denbighshire—long extinct. Dr. Thomas Nicholas, in his Annals and Antiquities of the Counties and County Families of Wales, commences his account of the Salusburys thus :–“The long standing and distinguished alliances of the Salusburys of Lleweni, in the Vale of Clwyd, and the high character, borne by several of the line, render them a ‘notable house, and awaken regret at their disappearance. The name is spelt differently in early writings­—Salusbury, Salesbury, Salsbury; Dwnn almost always adopt­ing the phonetic method, spells this name “Salsberie.” They were of Lleweni and Machymbyd. At what time they first came to Denbighshire, or how the surname originated, is not known, but it is believed that their origin was Welsh. John Salusbury, the third of. the name known to us, was the founder of the Priory of White Friars at Denbigh, and died A.D, 1289. He must therefore have witnessed the great struggle of Llewelyn and Edward, which was very hot in those parts. His grandson, William Salusbury, was M.P. for Leominster 1332, long before members were appointed for Wales. William’s grandson, Sir Harry Salusbury (died circa, 1399), was a Knight of the Sepulchre, and his brother John was Master of the House for Edward III, and suffered death in 1388.” (p. 392.)

He thus continues: “Sir Harry’s grandson, Sir Thomas Salusbury, Knt, the first mentioned in the pedigrees as of Lleweni, was a man of. great note as citizen and soldier. His consort was Jonet, daughter and heir of William Fychan of Caernavon. He took a distinguished part in the battle of Blackheath (1497) against Perkin Warbeck’s, insurrection, for which he was rewarded by Henry VII. with the order of knighthood. He died 1505, and was buried at the White Friars, Denbigh (Whitchurch). Sir Roger, his son, married a Puleston of Emral, and was followed by Sir John of Lleweni, who married a Myddleton of Chester, of the Gwaenynog line. He was constable of Denbigh Castle in 1530, and served in several parliaments for the county of Denbigh – died 1578. His son, John Salusbury, Esq., of Lleweni, was the member of this house who married the celebrated Catherine Tudor of Berain; and his son by Catherine, Thomas Salusbury, Esq., married Margaret, daughter of Morys Wynn, Esq., of Gwyder, but had no male issue; his second son, John, married Ursula, daughter of Henry Stanley, Earl of Derby, and was succeeded by his son, Sir Henry Salusbury, Bart, who married Hester, daughter of Sir Thomas Myddelton, Knt, of Chide Castle. His line terminated with his grandson Sir John, whose daughter and sole heir married Sir Robert Cotton, Bart, of Combermere, Cheshire, from whom the Combermen family are derived. Cotton-Hall, named after the Cottons, was the birth-place of the great General Lord Combermere. The Lleweni estate was sold by Sir Robert Cotton to the Hon. Thomas Fitzmaurice” (p. 392).

Turning back on these names, our Sir John Salisburie was John, second son of John Salusbury—who died in his father Sir John Salusbury’s life-time—by (as above)

Catherine Tudor of Berain [n1 Dr. Nicholas, as before, gives an interesting account of this famous “Catherine”; and I deem it well to avail myself of it, as follows: – “Catherine of Berain,” the most noted of her race in this country, was of the clan or tribe of Marchwerthian, and was left sole heiress of Berain. She married four husbands, each of a high and honourable house, and had such a numerous offspring that the name was given her of Mam Cymru, “the mother of Wales.” Her first husband was John Salisbury, Esq., of Llyweni, (2nd son of Sir Thomas Salusbury, hen, Llyweni), and her estate of Berain was inherited by her children gotten by him. The second was Sir Richard Clough of Denbigh, Knt. of the Sepulchre, who made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land; the third, Morys Wynn, Esq., of Gwyder; and the fourth, Edward Thelwall of Plas-y.Ward. Catherine of Berain’s father was Tudyr ap Robert ap Ievan ap Turlyr ap Gruffydd Lloyd ap Heilyn Frych, which Heilyn Frych was ninth in descent from Marchwerthian, Lord of Isaled, founder of the eleventh noble tribe.” … “The portrait of Catherine, given in Yorke’s Royal Tribes, marks a person of firmness and intelligence, and these qualities, added to her estate and numerous alliances and offspring, supplied her with a charm which the bardic heralds of the time knew not how to resist; they spared no pains, accordingly, to provide her with a lineage whose antiquity would comport with their idea of her merits. Tudyr was carried back to Urien Rheged, and he of course to Coel Godebog, who, although a reputed contemporary with Herod the Great, was vouched by the bards to have a full blown heraldic coat – . Arg., an eagle displayed with two heads, sable.’ Coel was in the twelfth—degree from Beli Mawr, King of Britain 72 B. c., who bore, they said, . Az., three crowns Or in pale’; and he was about the fifteenth from Brutus, who, as the bards believed, came to Britain about B. C. 1136, bearing along with his father Sylvius, an escutcheon charged thus: – . Quarterly: I, Or, a lion rampant passant Gu.; 2, Az., three crowns Or in bend’ 1″ (p. 393.)].

John Salusbury, Esq. was born “about 1567″ –a portrait of him having been at Lleweni, dated 1591, aet.24 [n2 Pennant’s Tour in Wales, vol. ii, p. 145.]. He became heir of his brother Thomas, who was executed, in 1586, for conspiring to deliver Mary, Queen of Scots, from imprisonment. His wife was (as above) Ursula, a ‘natural’ daughter of Henry, fourth Earl of Derby. The record of administration of her estate, as of the town of Denbigh, is dated 9th May 1636. They had four sons and three daughters. Henry, the eldest and only surviving son, was created a baronet, as of Lleweni, 10th November 1619, and died 2nd August 1632. His only surviving son was Sir Thomas Salusbury, author of “Joseph,” a poem (1636)—who died in 1643 [n3The Bibliographers overlook that Sir John Salisbury has a longish poem prefixed to Eromena, 1632, folio.].

Sir John Salusbury was surnamed “the strong”; and that explains Hugh Gryffith’s playing on ‘might’—of which anon. He was M.P. for co. Denbigh 43 Elizabeth (1600-1). All the authorities say he died in 1613; but no will nor administration of his estate has been found. A shadow of obscurity thus lies on the memory of Chester’s ” true-noble Knight” –unlifted even from his (exact) death-date. Spelling of names was so arbitrary and variant then, that I should have attached no difficulty to the family spelling of ‘Salusbury’, as against ‘Salisburie’ of Love’s Martyr. As I write this I am called upon to annotate a Sir Stephen Poll—according to one of Nicholas Breton’s Epistles-dedicatory—while he really was Sir Stephen Fowle, and so is it endlessly. But I am enabled absolutely to identify Sir John Salusbury of Lleweni with Chester’s Salisburie. For this is placed beyond dispute by another Epistle-dedicatory addressed to him as—be it noted—(a) of ‘Llewen,’ (b) as ‘Esquier for the Bodie to the Queene’s most excellent Maiestie,’ as in Chester; and which, in the sorrowful absence of other information, is of peculiar interest.

Foulk Salusbury, the second son of Thomas Salusbury, of Lleweni (and his wife Margaret, daughter of Morys Wynn), and grandson to Thomas Salusbury, hen, was made Dean of St. Asaph in 1493; Rector of Glympton, Oxfordshire in 1501; Chancellor of the Diocese of Bangor, 1513; Rector of Llanhaider and Llandyrnog, in the County of Denbigh and Rector of Denbigh in 1537. He died, it is said in 1543. I have a very string conviction that some of these dates must be wrong; or he must have been made Dean when very young, or he lived to be a very old man. In the year 1534, he and his chapter renounced the Pope’s authority in this Kingdom, and acknowledged the supremacy of the King in all spiritual matters. It would further appear that he gave practical proof of the charge, by at once marrying. He had 3 sons and 3 daughters, John Wynn, Rhys Wynn, Richard, Elizabeth, Ellen and Margaret.

John Wynn Salisbury, the eldest son of Foulk, married Elizabeth, daughter of Ifan Lloyd, and had Rhys, Robert, William.

Rhys Wynn Salisbury, the second son of Foulk, married Elizabeth, daughter of Richard ap Ienan ap Huylin, of Penmachno. They had son..

Hugh Wynn Salisbury, who married, 1st Janet Salisbury; and had a son by his 2nd wife, Katharine Goodman, of Ruthin..(dau. of Gawen Goodman, Esq.)…

Owen Salisbury, whose daughter, Lowry Salisbury, married Ienan ap Rhys, Blaen-y-Cwn, Penmachno, and had Gwen, Grace, Margaret, and Elizabeth

Richard Salisbury, the third son of Foulk, married Eveline Tendering, and was Rector of Tendering in Essex 1562; he died there in 1575, leaving a son…

Some of this is also provided by another published source:

There is a note in “Cambro Briton” by Robert Vaughan, Hengwrt, which might as well be recorded here:…”Rug is now the Mansion of Mr. William Salisbury, of Glyn Dyfidwy; here Griffith ap Conan Prince of Wales, being desired by the Earl of Chester to meet him with a small guard, little suspecting any treachery, was taken by the said Earl and imprisoned for a long time.” I may also put into this Chapter a very interesting Paper, given to me by Miss Anghard Llwyd, of Rhyl, which (whether abstractly correct or not) is worth preserving:… Thomas Salisbury m Janet Griffith, had Roger, John, Thomas, Jane. Roger Salisbury m Elizabeth Puleston, had John, Thomas, Robert, Foulk, Jane, Grace. John Salisbury m Jane Myddleton, had John, Robert, Thomas, Hugh, Edward, Roger, George, Elizabeth, Jane. John Salisbury m Catherine Tudor, had Thomas, John, Elizabeth. Thomas Salisbury m Margaret Wynn, had Margaret. John Salisbury m Ursula Stanley, had Henry, John, William, Ferdinand, Arabella, Uriana, Jane. Henry Salisbury m Hester Middleton, had Thomas, John, Ursula, Elizabeth. Thomas Salisbury m Hester Tyrrell had Thomas, John, Hester. She adds…”Jane Salisbury married Henry Williams, and had a son, Lumley Salisbury, who married Dorothy V. Rees ap Thomas, and had Margaret, who married Arthur Williams, who had Edward, who married Jane Lloyd, who had Anne, who married Robert Howel Vaughan, who had Robert William Vaughan. Roger Salisbury, married Jane Middleton, and their son John Salisbury, married Elizabeth Ravencroft, and had John, who married Elizabeth Norreys, who had Thomas, who married Anne Percival, who had Thomas and Norfolk.”

Salusbury/Salesbury of Rug and Bachymbyd

One of these, Owen Salusbury, married in October 28, 1635 to Mary Goodman, daughter of Gabriel Goodman (of Abenbury, Flint County, a prothonotary of North Wales, and/or also referred to “of Lincolns Inn’ Co. Middlesex, and later, “of Adenbury, Co. Denbs., Esq.”) and his wife Janet Saunders. Despite the wealth of connections, Owen Salusbury’s father, William, split his estate, and Owen inherited only the Rug part of it.For more on this line, see: Salusbury/Salesbury Family of Rug and Bachymbyd.

These two Salusbury lines were estranged, and often at odds with each other over their positions in Denbigh. They sometimes fought on opposite sides of an issue,


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