Wednesday, 24 February 2021

1st Viscount St Davids

THE VISCOUNTS ST DAVIDS WERE THE LARGEST LANDOWNERS IN PEMBROKESHIRE, WITH 19,745 ACRES


This family, which is of great antiquity in south Wales, is descended from CADIFOR AP COLLWYN, Lord of Dyfed (d 1089).

His great-grandson,

SIR AARON AP RHYS, attended RICHARD I into the Holy Land, 1190. 

His descendant,

SIR THOMAS PHILIPPS, High Sheriff of Pembrokeshire, 1516, married Joan, daughter of Henry Dwnn, and was father of

JOHN PHILIPPS, of Picton Castle, Pembrokeshire, High Sheriff of Pembrokeshire, 1542, who wedded firstly, in 1480, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Griffith, and had issue,
MORGAN, his heir;
William.
He espoused secondly, Anne, daughter of John Voel.

Mr Philipps died in 1551, and was succeeded by his elder son,

MORGAN PHILIPPS, of Picton Castle, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Fletcher, of Bangor, and had issue, an only child,

SIR JOHN PHILIPPS JP, Knight, of Picton Castle, MP for Pembrokeshire, 1601, High Sheriff of Pembrokeshire, 1597, married firstly, Anne, daughter of Sir John Perrot, and had issue,
RICHARD, his heir;
Hugh;
Dorothy; Jane; Frances.
He wedded secondly, Margaret, daughter of Sir James Dennys.

Sir John was created a baronet in 1621, designated of Picton Castle, Pembrokeshire.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR RICHARD PHILIPPS, 2nd Baronet (c1594-c1648), High Sheriff of Pembrokeshire, 1633, who wedded Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Erasmus Dryden Bt, and had issue,

SIR ERASMUS PHILIPPS, 3rd Baronet (c1623-97), of Picton Castle, MP for Pembrokeshire, who had issue by his second wife, Katherine, daughter of Edward D'Arcy,
JOHN, his successor;
Edward;
Elizabeth; Margaret.
Sir Erasmus was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN PHILIPPS, 4th Baronet (c1666-1737), of Picton Castle, MP for Pembroke, 1695-1702, Haverfordwest, 1718-22, who espoused, in 1697, Mary, daughter of Anthony Smith, and had issue (with four daughters),
ERASMUS, his successor;
JOHN, succeeded his brother as 6th Baronet.
The elder son,

SIR ERASMUS PHILIPPS, 5th Baronet (1699-1743), died by accidental drowning, unmarried, when the baronetcy devolved upon his brother,

SIR JOHN PHILIPPS, 6th Baronet (c1701-64), father of

SIR RICHARD PHILIPPS, 7th Baronet, who was elevated to the peerage of Ireland, in 1776, in the dignity of BARON MILFORD.

His kinsman (revert to descendants of the younger son of the 1st Baronet),

SIR ROWLAND HENRY LAUGHARNE-PHILIPPS (1788-1832), succeeded to the baronetcy, in 1823, as 8th Baronet, though died without male issue, when the title devolved upon his brother,

SIR WILLIAM PHILIPPS-LAUGHARNE-PHILIPPS, 9th Baronet (1794-1850); whose lineal descendant,

THE RT HON SIR JOHN WYNFORD PHILIPPS, 13th Baronet (1860-1938), GBE, Privy Counsellor, was elevated to the peerage, in 1908, in the dignity of Baron St Davids, of Roch Castle, Pembrokeshire; and advanced to a viscountcy, in 1918, as VISCOUNT ST DAVIDS, of Lydstep Haven, Pembrokeshire.

(Image: Picton Castle Trust)

PICTON CASTLE, near Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, was originally a motte castle, and was reconstructed in stone by the Sir John Wogan between 1295 and 1308.

The design was unusual because there was no internal courtyard.

The main building, however, was protected by seven circular towers which projected from the wall.

At the east end, two of these towers acted as a gatehouse, and the portcullis entrance between them led straight into the lower part of the great hall.

At this time the windows were narrow slits but these were replaced in about 1400 by large windows and a grand recessed arch with large window was built in the gatehouse.

In 1405, French troops attacked and held the Castle, and it was seized again during the English civil war in 1645 by Parliamentary forces.

In the 15th century, the male-line of Wogans died out.

Their heiress, Katherine, married Owen Dunn.

Sir Henry Dunn, the grandson of Owen and Katherine, only had daughters.

The Picton Castle estate thus came into the hands of the Philipps family when Sir Henry's daughter Jane married Sir Thomas ap Philipps of Cilsant in the 1490s.

Sir John Philipps, who inherited the castle in the 15th century, remodelled the building and created a new entrance which remained until the 1820s when a new entrance was designed by Thomas Rowlands

In 1611, JAMES I required funds for his army in Ireland and decided to raise the money by selling baronetcies.

Sir John Philipps paid £1,095 for his hereditary title (about £300,000 in 2019).

(Image: Wikipedia)

The estate remained with the Philipps family until the death of Sir Richard Philipps, 7th Baronet, later the 1st Baron Milford, in 1823, when it was inherited by his cousin Richard Grant, who assumed the surname Philipps and was created a Baronet in 1828 (and Baron Milford in 1847).

His heir was his half-brother, the Rev James Henry Alexander Philipps (formerly Gwyther).

On his death the estate passed to his son-in-law, Charles Edward Gregg Philipps, who was created a Baronet, designated of Picton, in 1887; then to Sir Richard Foley Foley-Philipps, cousin of Sir John Erasmus, and grandson of Charles Edward Gregg Philipps.

The estate is now run by the Picton Castle Trust.

St Davids arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

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