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Genealogy Places of Interest


Now having brought together the families of the Kings of Powys and the much more recent Lords of Nannau (Nannau = Brooks) we can trace the family toward the present day. JOHN ap OWEN, CALLED DERWAS. John Derwas lived at Penrhos Hall in the Parish of Llandrinio, Powys. He was probably born early in the 1500's the great-grandson of Reinallt, English equivalent Reginald, of Garth who was the youngest son of Sir Gruffydd Vechan. His grandmother was Elen Derwas, the granddaughter of Griffith Derwas of Cemmaes. Thus John ap Owen could claim descent from two great men of the 15th century, Sir Gruffydd Vechan who distinguished himself on the field of Agincourt and Griffith Derwas of Cemmaes, 2nd son of Meurig, 6th Lord of Nannau, Esquire to the body of King Henry VI. John ap Owen took his grandmother's maiden name as his surname and was known as John Derwas of Penrhos, probably building the Hall, which was occupied by the family for over 200 years. John Derwas was married twice and, as the side of the 'tree' in which we are interested was that of his first wife a brief summary of his second wife's 'tree' will be given first.

The second wife was Ellen the daughter of Lewis Lloyd of Moelfre, by whom he had two sons, Owen and Richard. There is no history of Richard but Owen married Joyce the daughter of David Lloyd Jeffrey. They had three sons John, David and Michael. Nothing is known of John, David is listed as David Derwas of Penrhyn Vichan and Broniarth and Michael as Michael Derwas of Burgedin. Michael married Elen, daughter of David Powell of Llansantffraid, had a son Owen who married the daughter of John Edwards of Chirk and had a daughter Magdelen who was living with an uncle in Chirk in 1674. Owens' second son David married an unnamed daughter of Edward ap Thomas of Hendre Ren by whom he had two sons and three daughters (will come back to the first son). The second son is not named (did he die at birth), Dali the eldest daughter is recorded as living with Lady Hanmer in 1674. The two other daughters were Mary and Elizabeth but nothing more is recorded of them. The eldest son John of Llwynwymapsis obtained that estate by marriage in 1674 to Katherine, daughter of John Kynaston and inherited the estate from her brother Humphrey Kynaston. They had a son David who married Dorothy, the daughter of John Edwards of Great Ness. They in turn had a son David who married Sinah, daughter of Thomas Parry of Gweimddu near Oswestry and had a son David living at Llwynymapsis in 1738. We now return to John Derwas of Penrhos and his first wife Anne, who was the daughter of Richard Langford of Leigh and The Isle (Bicton?). John had two sons by Anne, Richard and Hugh. Hugh married Margaret the daughter of Jeffrey of Llewellyn and had a son Richard where the 'tree' ends. Johns' son Richard married twice but there is no record of the second wife.

The first wife was Margaret, daughter of Jeffrey Penrhyn and introduced the second estate. John had two sons, Hugh the oldest who was thrice married but died without legitimate issue but who founded and endowed a new chapel (Penrhos Church) and was succeeded by his nephew William Derwas. There is no record of a wife for John Derwas, the second son, but he had two sons and a daughter, William, Griffith and Margaret. The following is taken from the original 'text'.

PENRHOS HALL Described at some length in Fletcher Moss's "Pilgrimages of Old Homes" published in 1903 when on a pilgrimage to Powys he and a friend visited the Hall and Llyn, a nearby farmhouse. The Hall was in a very dilapidated state of repair at the time of his visit for he records : " A man named Derwas, somewhere described as John ap Owen, alias Derwas, built it and had a brother Hugh living at Llyn about the same time. It is one of the most picturesque, desolate houses anyone could imagine, standing at the end of a big field or park, where are many fine oaks which may be the remnants of an avenue." He continues, "Who was this Owen, who took the strange name of Derwas? Was he one of those pirates or patriots of Elizabeth's time who enriched themselves and their country by plundering from the Spaniard ?". This theory is most improbable. Archdeacon Thomas in his 'History of the Parish of Llandrinio' says : "This picturesque but ruinous old timbered house was the chief seat of the Derwas's, an ancient and important family descended from Sir Gruffydd Vechan, Knight Banneret of Broniarth." A photographic illustration in the 'History' gives the date of the house as 1576, but it must be considerably earlier than that. It was altered and enlarged on several occasions, first by Richard Derwas the son of John ap Owen around 1607 and later by his grandson William in the mid 17th century as shown by a carving on the north front of the date 1651 followed by the initials W.D.C.O. meaning 1651 Willielmus Derwas confecti opus, translated as "1651 William Derwas completed this work." The north front was the older building and had three gables of which the centre one was above a projecting open porch having a strong beam standing out to support some object which is not apparent. The windows were fairly large with mullions of oak. The beams throughout were massive and of 'heart of oak'; in the house they were chamfered and moulded and with wainscoting in the principal room. The south front was much less picturesque but bright and sunny, looking out on to well laid out gardens enclosed by a sunken fence and surrounded by ponds and ornamental grounds, the whole set in a well timbered park.

PENRHOS CHURCH or 'New Chapel'. Dedicated to "The holy Trinity" the church was built quite near the 'Hall' in 1625, "at the expense of Mr. Hugh Derwas of Penrhos and Mr. Owen Edwards, upon the common waste lands of the Manor of Deytheur. " This Hugh Derwas was the eldest son of Richard and even though he married three times died without legitimate issue to be succeeded by his nephew William, the eldest son of his brother John. It was a small building, 48ft by 18ft of rubble stone with mud plaster and a roof of shingle or board. The Communion Table was not railed off and it was the custom to administer the Sacrament to the people in their pews. The earliest Registers, dated 1695 were written on sheets of paper and are in poor condition, while loose sheets from 1701 to 1754 show that 'New Chapel' must have been looked upon as a kind of 'Gretna Green'.

Marriage registers are missing from 1754 to 1846.

The Rectory or Vicarage at Meifod stood in a field at the edge of the village and is now called 'The Moat'. Manuscripts in the British Museum under "Derwas of Llandrinio" would be worth inspection. Number 9864/5 makes John Derwas the 1st and Richard Derwas, to later be Vicar of Meifod, 2nd son of Griffith Derwas of 'New Chapel' (Penrhos). Meifod was a very old foundation and in 1265 there had been an 'Agreement' between Adam, son of Meurig, the Rector or Co-Rector of Meifod and the Prior of Alberbury Priory, which is corroborated by a document :- License, 28. 6. 1380 "Richard II empowers Bishop Spridlington (with the consent of his Chapter) to unite the Chapelries of Pool and Guilsfield to the Parish Church of Meifod and to appropriate the said Church, with Churches annexed, to St. Asaph and his successors for ever" granted to Bishop John Trevor. Meifod was the mother Church of Braggington, Bausley and Middletown, and Sir J.E.D. Lloyd's 'History of Wales' includes Llanfair Caereinion. The church was consecrated by Bishop Hanmer on 3rd October 1627 and the Deed of Consecration gave the 'right of nomination' of the Curate " to the founders and their heirs for ever." The founders endowed it with 8 per annum and appointed one John Vaughan to be its first Incumbent. In 1683 Mr. William Derwas appointed a Mr. Roe to the Curacy and during his time the Grammar School at Deytheur was founded by the Hon. Andrew Newport, Lord of the Manor in 1690, who endowed it with a house and enclosed some land within his Manor for its benefit. In consideration of this the nomination of the Master was granted to him and his heirs and he also appears to have claimed the nomination of the Curacy to the Chapel, according to an entry in the Registers in 1706 on the death of Mr. Roe. The result of this was that the Lord of the Manor secured the 'Presentations' to both the chapel and the school, which were then held together until 1845 in spite of the Foundation Deed of 1627, though in a sale of parts of the Manor in 1823, the year of the death of Owen of Penrhos who bequeathed his Estate to Mary Jane Ormsby Gore, Lot 24 is of special interest, viz.: "The Manor of Deytheur in county Montgomeryshire, together with the several Chief and Fee Farm Rents, amounting to a yearly sum of 21 - and also the Perpetual Right to the Chapel in the Manor of Deytheur, called Holy Trinity or New Chapel, and the Right of Appointment of a master to the Free School of Deytheur." This Lot was purchased by William Ormsby Gore, Esq. of Porkington and Penrhos, the representative of the ancient house of Derwas, who thus recovered for the family their original right of Presentation to the Chapel. (Mont. Colls. Vol. 28 p230).

In 1844 William Ormsby Gore as Representative of the Chief Founder, Hugh Derwas, agreed with Bishop Carey and others to the taking down of the old Church of Penrhos, which had stood for 219 years as a 'Chapel of Ease to Llandrinio' without any 'cure of souls' attached to it and in that same year it was constituted a new Ecclesiastical District, consolidated out of four adjoining Parishes. In 1845 the present church was erected to the design of Mr. Sidney Smirke of London at a cost of 1,070 and was built on the old site, marked by the Penrhos vault, but a few feet to the north, and is still in use today. There are interesting memorial tablets in the church; to "Mrs. Elizabeth Lyster, 1753"; "Mrs. Margaret Owen, 1816"; to "John Owen, 1823" erected by his relative Mary Jane Ormsby Gore "as a tribute to his worth." The Penrhos vault at Llandrinio is to the south of the present Church but was inside the original Church. WILLIAM DERWAS OF PENRHOS He was the eldest son of John, Hugh's brother, and was also known as Derwas of Penrhyn Vechan. He was on the Grand Jury List for the county of Montgomery in 1670 and succeeded to the Estate of Penrhos about 1655, for in a Deed of Release and Surrender dated 22nd June 1655 John "grants and surrenders to William Derwas, his heirs and assigns, the said premises and all the estate, right and title" of the property which Hugh had left to him for his lifetime. It may be that Penrhos Hall was already Williams' as his uncle had certainly left him some property (Penrhos), and his initials on the north front dated 1651 show the date of the alterations, which he made. William married Mary, daughter of Humphrey Lloyd of Deuddior, and had one son Hugh. He died in 1694 leaving a silver plate marked "W.D.H.W." in dotted letters with the Hallmark letter F (dated 1685) and makers mark "H.P." (Humphrey Payne) to the church of Llandrinio.

We will follow this line to its end in another four generations. HUGH DERWAS William's son married Margaret, eldest daughter of Oliver Lloyd of Coedtree and Meifod. Of their 5 children 2 sons, Hugh and William, and one daughter Margaret, died in infancy, leaving 2 daughters Elizabeth (born 1670) and Mary, who was the younger and died in 1730. Hugh, the father, himself died in 1678. Mary bequeathed a silver paten or salver to Llandrinio Church with the inscription: - "The legacy of Mistress Mary Derwas to the Parish Church of Llandrinio". She gave a similar paten to the Trinity Chapel at Penrhos. She also gave 100 to Llandrinio for the interest to provide "stuff gowns for the poor". Elizabeth married Richard Lyster of Rowton Castle and Moynes Court, Monmouthshire in 1703 at the age of 33 years. Their daughter and only child, Elizabeth, married the Rev. Lewis Owen, the 7th and youngest son of Sir Robert Owen of Porkington, or Brogyntyn, and Clenenny, a descendant of the famous Royalist Sir John Owen. Of this marriage there were two children, Margaret who died unmarried in 1816, and John, who also died unmarried in 1823. John bequeathed his house and estates to his cousin (on his father's side) Mary Jane Ormsby and it is said that he had hoped to marry her but that instead she had married William Gore and became the mother of the first Lord Harlech. She never lived at Penrhos Hall, it fell into decay and was demolished about 1880 - 1890.This branch of Derwas of Penrhos has now come to an end.