Williams Family

The most significant of the early familial relationships I have found was the Williams family, prominent members of which remained associated with the Goodman families from Wales and well into the 1800s in America. The earliest Williams family was primarily based in Caernarvon in North Wales. This Williams family was related through at least two of their maternal lines to the Tudyr (or Tudor) line, which included descent from the ancestors of Sir Owen Tudor, grandfather of Henry VII of England. William ap Gruffyd, who fought with Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, was married to Angharad, daughter of Davyd ap Jevan (ap …ap…).

William ap Gruffyd and Angharad had a son, William Williams, Esq., of Cochwillian, who was the first to have adopted the name of Williams. He married Lowry (Laura), daughter of Henry Salusbury, Esq. of Llanrhaiadr, who was the second son of Thomas Salusbury, Esq., of Lleweni, who was the first husband of Catherine Tudyr of Berain, who married as her fourth husband, when she was age 50, Edward Thelwell, brobably the brother of Edward Goodman’s wife Cisely Thelwell.

William Williams, Esq. and Lowry Salusbury had a son, William Williams, Esq., sometimes called W. Wynn Williams, Esq., whose 1st wife was Agnes, daughter of John Wynn ap Meredydd, and whose 2nd wife was Barbara, sister of John, Lord Lumley.

Edmond Williams, Esq., of Conway, was the fifth son of W. Wynn Williams, by Barbara Lumley. He married Mary, daughter of Owen Wynn, Esq., of Eglwysfach.

The Rev. John Williams was the fifth son of Edmond Williams, Esq. John Williams was educated at the Ruthin Grammar School, established by Gabriel Goodman, Dean of Westminster. He removed at age 16 to St. John’s College, Cambridge, and was later Dean of Salisbury and Westminster, Bishop of Lincoln, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, a member of the Privy Councils of James I and Charles I of England. He purchased the estates of Penrhyn in 1621, and Cochwillian in 1622. These were the ancestral homes of the Williams family, which had been acquired by others. He bequeathed those estates to his to nephew, Gruffyd Williams, first son and heir of Robert Williams, his elder brother. Bishop Williams was incarcerated (in comfort) in the Tower of London by Archbishop Laud, from 1636-39. After Laud’s impeachment and execution, he was released and promoted in 1639 to Archbishop of York. In the Civil Wars, he initially garrisoned Conway Castle for the King. Deprived of command, he quitted Charles, and joined the Parliamentarian General Mytton in reducing Conway and taking the Castle.

Thomas Morys, first husband of Elizabeth Thelwell, was probably related to the Morys Wynn, whose daughter married Thomas Salusbury, Esq. of Lleweni, grandson of Sir Thomas Salusbury. This family sometimes hyphenated both names, to be Morys-Wynn as their surname, and added a Christian name. Elizabeth (Thelwell) Morys, wife of Thomas Morys, was the sister of Edward Thelwall, who married as his fourth wife, Jane Croxton, widow of Godfrey Goodman. Elizabeth (Thelwell) Morys married as her second husband, Edward Goodman, Esq. of Ruthin, eldest son of Gawen Goodman. It is unclear as to whether Thomas Morys had died prior to the marriage of his daughter to Thomas Goodman, third son of Gawen Goodman, Esq. If so, and if his widow, Elizabeth, had already remarried to Edward Goodman, then Lowri Morys would have been step-sister to Thomas Goodman, and they would have lived in the same household.

The Williams family played a significant part in the battle of Bosworth Field, August 22, 1485, which ended the 25 year War of the Roses. In that battle, William ap Gruffydd of Cochwillian, father of William Williams, Esq., the first of that surname, led a troop of horse of his own retinue. This retinue may have included the father of Edward “Redsleeves” Goodman, but not Edward himself, unless Edward was b. before 1465. This is possible, but doubtful, given that he died in 1560. William ap Gruffyd was later handsomely rewarded with the title of Sheriff of Caernarvon for life, by Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, who was thereby established on the throne of England as Henry VII (1495-1509). The Williams family also intermarried with the Rhys family, later Rice, and the Wynn family of Conwy (Conway), who sometimes hyphenated their name as Wynn-Conway, and who usually took the surname Conway in America. The granting of arms to the Goodman family was probably as a result of their ancestor’s participation, probably with the Williams, Wynn, Conway, Salusbury, Morys, and Prýs families, at the battle of Bosworth Field. More following on those relations.

The Williams family was also related by marriage to Sir William Stanley, by his daughter, Janet to Qwilym ap Gruffyd, grandfather of William ap Gruffyd. Sir William Stanley, along with his elder brother, Sir Thomas Stanley, were pivotal and controversial figures of the battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. The Stanleys wavered in their loyalties. They attended the battle, but Willian Stanley committed to Henry’s side only when the outcome of the battle seemed certain, in order to further their own place in the new regime, and Thomas Stanley withheld his troops all together, possibly because a son was held hostage by Richard. William Stanley was 10 years later condemned and sent to the block by Henry VII. Thomas Williams, second son of William Williams, Esq., married Jane, daughter of William Stanley, Esq., of Hooton, Cheshire, who was probably the son of either Sir Thomas or Sir William, but may have been a son of Henry Stanley, Earl of Derby.

The Salusbury family was in Denbigh since before 1289, the year in which John Salusbury founded of the Priory of White Friars at Denbigh. His grandson, William Salusbury, was M.P. for Leominster 1332. William’s grandson, Sir Harry Salusbury, who d. ca. 1399, was a Knight of the Sepulcher. William’s brother John was Master of the Horse for Edward III, and suffered death (was executed) in 1388. Sir Harry’s grandson, Sir Thomas Salusbury, Knight., was a man of great note, as a citizen and soldier. His consort was Jonet, daughter and heir of William Fychan of Caernarvon. Sir Thomas was knighted by Henry VII for his valiantry at the Battle of Blackheath, in 1497. He d. 1505. His grandson, Sir John Salusbury of Lleweni, was constable of Denbigh Castle in 1530, and served in several Parliaments for the County of Denbigh. He died in 1558. (More Salusbury Notes).

John Salusbury, Esq., of Lleweni, grandson of Sir John Salusbury, was the first husband of Catherine Tudyr of Berain, who married as her fourth husband, Edward Thelwell, Esq., who was descended from Edward Thelwell, the father of Ciselye Thelwell, the wife of Edward “Redsleeves” Goodman. The Salusbury family of Rug, into which the later Goodmans married, is also from this line, although it is not established exactly how. By Catherine Tudyr, John Salusbury’s first son was Thomas, who married Margaret, daughter of Morys Wynn, Esq., of Gwydir. Their second son was John, who married Ursula, daughter of Henry Stanley, 4th Earl of Derby.

The Thelwells were supposedly of of Teutonic origin. William de Thelwell was in Llanrhudd by 1317, and his name may indicate Norman descent rather than Teutonic. They came into Denbigh with the Lord Grey, on whom King Edward I (1272-1307) bestowed the country of Dyffryn Clwyd. Those lands included Ruthin Castle, which became the ancestral home of the Thelwells in Wales, until it passed into the hands of William Salusbury. Many of the Thelwells were Privy to King James I of England, and so it is not surprising that Bishop Godfrey Goodman rose to the position he did, considering the several intermarriages between the Thelwell, Salusbury and Goodman families. In America, and sometimes in Wales and England, the Thelwell family often took the surname Howell.

Edward Thelwell, Esq. was the fourth husband of “Catherine (Katheryn) Tudyr (Tudor) of Berain”, also called Mam Cymru, or, “the mother of Wales”, due to her many children by four husbands of high and honorable houses. She was b. 1534/35 and d. 1591. She was the daughter of Tudur ap Robert Vychan of Berain, Denbighshire (Clwyd) and the granddaughter of a bastard son of Henry VII. She married first John Salusbury, Esq., of Lleweni, who d. 1556. then second in 1557 to Sir Richard Clough, of Denbigh, Knight of the Sepulcher, who d. 1570, then third, before 1573, to Morys Wynn, Esq., of Gwydir, who d. 1580, then fourth (and lastly) in 1584 to Edward Thelwell, Esq., of Plas-y-Ward, probably a grandson of the Edward Thelwell of Ruthin who was the father of Cicily, wife of Edward Goodman. Tudyr ap Robert (ap …) was the father of Catherine. Tudyr’s line carried back through Urien Rheged, and from there back to Coel Godebog, King of Britain, whose coat was “Arg., an eagle displayed with two heads, sable”. Coel was in the twelfth degree from Beli Mawr, King of Britain 72 B.C. This emblem, the eagle displayed with two heads, found its way to the Goodman arms. See Digital Image of Portrait of Katheryn of Berain, on display at the National Museum and Gallery of Wales, Cardiff.

From the preceding, it is clear that the Goodman and Williams families knew each other from before their arrival in America. Their relationships date to at least early 1600 in Wales, and possibly earlier, as both families were descended from and related to the Nobility of Wales, and were allied with the Tudor family. Fighting men of both of these families figured prominently in the establishment of Henry VII on the throne of England at the Battle of Bosworth. The Williams and Goodman families were both intimates of Henry VII, Henry VIII, and of Elizabeth I, who formally granted the Goodman family its arms. King James I of England had Williams and Goodman men on his Privy Council in the early 1600s, just as the Virginia Company was exploring and settling the new world.

It is not surprising then, that these prominent families of Wales and England were also related and allied in early Colonial America. Williams and Goodman families lived in many of the same counties of Virginia from the earliest days, through the 1700s. They fought together in several key battles of the Revolutionary War. Together, they literally blazed the trails with Boone and other early pioneers of America. Goodman and Williams men were in fact with Daniel Boone as he blazed the Wilderness Road to Kentucky, and began the taming of those lands.


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