The Saunders family has been settled in West Wales for so long a period, and has been so connected by marriage with residents of the three counties, that comparatively few recollect that it is just a little over three hundred years ago that the first scion of this ancient and influential sept came to Wales. It has been stated by some genealogists that the ancestor of the Saunders family came over to England in the train of William the Conqueror, and it is quite possible that this may be true, although there is no mention of his name in the Rolls of Battle Abbey. But however this may have been, the Saunders were in Surrey at a very early date, and according to Brayley's Topographical History of Surrey Vol. iv., p. 266, they were settled at Charlwood that county in the reign of Edward II., and before that time held an estate at Sanderstead in the same county.
It is evident that persons of the same name, at all events were in England in 1224, as there is an order in the Close Rolls, dated 20 Nov.,1 in that year, issued to the treasurer, to pay Hugh de Windles, constable of the Tower of London, 28s. for the use of Thomas de Sandres, smith in the same Tower, for 84 day's work, at 4d. a day, while in 1274 there is an order in the Close Rolls to the sheriff of Northampton to allow bail to William Saundre of Thornbawe, who was imprisoned at Northampton for the death of Woolnoth de Pempeston, and had appealed against the judgment. Another early mention of a Saunders occurs in the Patent Rolls for 10 April, 1319, when on the intercession of Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford and Essex, King Edward II. granted to Elena, wife of John Saundre of Dover, for her life, the house in Dover, which her husband John Saundre had held in chief, and had been escheated for felony, on account of which John de Saundre had abjured the realm.
Again, on 4 Sept., 1346, the Patent Rolls mention that a number of persons, including George de Longevill, knt., and John Saundre of Enebourne, Berks, were, for their services in the war with France, pardoned by the King then at Calais, for previous offenses, on condition that they did not withdraw from the King's service, so long as he should stay in France. In 1348, the same records indicate that some of the Saunders of bygone days followed out the old principle that might was right, as a commission of oyer and terminer was in that year issued to William de Shareshull and others to try a case brought by Edward, Prince of Wales, against John Sandre, Richard Sandre, Walter Sandre, and others who had carried off the Prince's goods at Chalk in Kent, and had assaulted the Prince's servants there, where by the Prince had lost their services for a long time.
Presumably Richard Sandre managed later on to appease any royal resentment occasioned by this little escapade, as in 1377 a Richard Sandre, who may very well have been the same person, is stated in the Patent Rolls to have been appointed a commissioner of walls and dykes in the marsh of Harnhull, between Whitstable and Faversham in Kent.
There are many other references to persons of the name of Saunders, Saundre, or Sandre in the Patent Rolls, at an early date, but it will suffice to quote one more extract from that source which shows that the ancestor of the Saunders in West Wales was not the first of the name to settle in the south of the Principality. The entry in question relates that on 28 Jan., 1343, a commission was issued to Stephen de Buterle, the King's sergeant-at-arms, to arrest two ships belonging to Bernard Saundre of Carmarthen, which, with another ship belonging to Lydney, were alleged to have plundered a vessel called a 'tarite' (probably a corruption of 'tarida,' i.e., a ship of burden, otherwise a cargo vessel) in the port of Falmouth.
But to return to the Saunders of Charlwood. According to the Harleian M.S., No. 1433, the earliest known member of the family was James Saunders, who had a son Mathew Saunders, the latter having issue, Stephen Saunders. This Stephen Saunders had a son, called Thomas Saunders, whose wife's name is said to be Johanna or Joan. It is possible that this is the Thomas Saunders, whom John Payn, the King's chief butler, appointed as his deputy in the port of Bristol, and to whom a writ of aid was issued on 5 Feb., 1400 (Patent Rolls).
The same Thomas Saunders was appointed in 1404 to the office of gauger of wines at the port of Bristol and other places adjacent, and it is evident that he had secured the favour of the King, as it is stated that he was not to be removed from that office without the King's special command. This office was confirmed to him in 1423, and he was then described as Thomas Saunders of Bristol, King's serjeant (Patent Rolls). The fact that he was described as of Bristol suggests that he lived there, and it may be contented that the owner of Charlwood would scarcely have left his considerable estate to reside in Bristol to attend to his office there. It may, however, be that the description in question was intended merely to refer to the locality of the office, and it must be remembered that many offices were in those days often sinecures and were performed by deputies and sub-deputies. The Harleian M.S., No 1397, in the British Museum, states that the following inscription was to be seen on the church porch of Charlewood in 1622:-
Orate pro anima Thos. Sand. et Joha' nxoris ejus et pro animabus omnium fidelium defunctorum.
This inscription, unfortunately, does not seem to have borne any date, but it evidently records the death of Thomas Saunders of Charlwood and his wife Joan.
From the marriage of Thomas Saunders of Charlewood and his wife Joan there was a son William Saunders, who married Joan, the daughter of Thomas Carew of Bedington. This William Saunders died on 10 Aug., 1481, and his wife Joan in 1470, as appears by a brass formerly on a tombstone at Charlwood, bearing this inscription, which has fortunately been copied in the Harleian MS., No. 1397:-
Orate pro animabus Will'i Saunder generos' qui ob' 10 die mensis Augusti A.D. Mill'o CCCCLXXXI et Joha' nx' ejus qu\'e6 ob' ... die mensis .... A`. 1470, quor' a'iabus p'pl'cietur Deus. Amen.
Another inscription preserved in the same MS. records the death of John Saunders, probably a son or brother of William Saunders. It reads:-
Hic jacet magist' Joh'es Saunder qui ob' 3 die Febr. A. D. 1477
William Saunders was possibly the person whom the Patent Rolls mention as having been on 1 July, 1473, appointed one of the deputies at the port of Southhampton, of Anthony. Earl Riveres, chief butler of England. From the marriage of William Saunders with his wife Joan there were the following children:-
1. Richard Saunders, who inherited Charlwood and married Agnes, by whom he had a son Nicholas, whose descendants held the Charlwood estate till the 17th century. Richard Saunders died in 1480, and his wife Agnes on 7 Jan., 1486, as appears by a copy of an inscription at Charlwood Church, preserved in the Harleian MS., No. 1397. In addition to Nicholas, Richard Saunders had two sons, William and James; James, who was the third son, died on 19 Feb., 1511 (Harleian MS., No. 1397); Nicholas, the son of Richard Saunders, died on 29 Aug., 1553; he married Alice, the daughter of John Hungate of York, and their son Thomas Saunders, afterwards Sir Thomas Saunders, knt., was King's Remembrancer of the Exchequer. Nicholas and his wife Alice were buried at Charlwood Church, where there still remains an interesting brass to their memory (see illustration), bearing this inscription:-
Here is buryed Nicholas Saunder Esquyer, and Alys his wife, daughter of John Hungate of the Countey of Yorke Esquyer, ffather and mother to Thomas Saunder Knyght, ye King's Remembrance of thexcheker whiche Nicholas deceased the xxix day of August ye firste yere of ye reigne of quene Mary A'MV'LIII.
In Charlwood Church there is at the present time a fine old oak screen on which are carved in several places the initials 'R.S.' Tradition says that this screen was presented by one of the Saunders, and in all probability the donor was Richard Saunders, who dies in 1480. In the same church hangs an ancient helmet, which is said to have been worn by one of the family at the Crusades.
2. Henry Saunders, the ancestor of the branch in West Wales.
Up to this point the pedigree has been dependent on the Harleian MS.,2 but from this date corroboration is obtainable from documentary evidence. Henry Saunders, the second son of William Saunders and Joan Carew, resided at Ewell, in Surrey. According to the Visitation of Surrey of 1625, he married Joan, the daughter of John Lepton of Kipwich in Yorkshire. In his will3 dated 1 Sept., 1518, which was proved in London 23 Feb., 1519 (Ayloffe, fol. 15), he desired to be buried in the hospice of Henry VII., called the Savoye, near London, and bequeathed all his personalty to his wife Joan, except one gold cross. His realty would appear to have been settled on his wife, as he directed 'my feoffees of the manor of Botalls and tenements in Ewell, Evesham, and Chesenden in Surrey to stand possessed of the same to the use of my wife Joan for her life,' with remainder to Joan Saunder (wife of testator's son, Nicholas Saunder) for her life, with successive remainders in tail male to testator's sons William Saunder and Nicholas Saunder, with similar remainders to Henry Saunder and Thomas Saunder (the sons of Nicholas Saunder of Charlwood, who was the son of testator's brother Richard), with remainder in tail male to William Saunder (son of testator's brother Richard Saunder), and on failure of such issue, the property was to be sold and the proceeds divided between the churches of Ewell and Charlwood. The testator also owned the manor of Pendell and lands in the parishes of Blechynglegh, Nutfield, etc., which he devised to his son William Sander in tail male.
Henry Saunders of Ewell mentions the following children in his will, but does not state the order of their birth:-
1. Nicholas Saunders, who married, according to the Visitation of Surrey, Joan daughter and heiress of John Iwardly of Surrey, and widow of _____ St. John. From this marriage there were three daughters, Jane (wife of Richard Bray of Ewell, Surrey), Ursula (wife of _____, Hungerford), and Joyce (wife of _____ Woodcock), and they were probably all spinsters in 1518, as they were described by their maiden names in the will of Henry Saunders of Ewell.
2. William Saunders (second son).
3. Agnes, who, at the date of her father's will was engaged to be married to Rice Keys (son of Thomas Keys), and was then under age, as her father bequeathed her £60 when she was twenty-one.
William Saunders (son of Henry Saunders by his wife Joan Lepton) also resided at Ewell. He married Joan, the daughter and coheiress of Wm. Marston of Horton, Surrey, and widow of Nicholas Mynde of Norfolk, and beside acquiring property with his wife, seem to have assed to it by purchase. In 1538 he was receiver for the counties of Surrey and Sussex, and on 1 Feb., 1539 he was appointed one of the seventeen Particular Receivers of Augmentations on the next vacancy (Augmentation Book, 233, fol. 327b.). In 1543 Thomas Saunders of Surrey furnished two foot soldiers and
William Saunders of Surrey found three foot soldiers for the army in Flanders (State Papers). In 1544 ' _____ Sanders of Ewelme' (no doubt William Saunders of Ewell) is mentioned in a muster book as being liable, among the gentlemen of Surrey, to supply soldiers for the army against France (State Papers).
William Saunders executed his will on a 2 Oct., 1570, and must have died prior to 10 Nov., 1571, on which date it was proved in London (Holney, fol. 42). He desired to be buried in the 'Chapell nighe my tome [tomb] within the parish church of Ewell.' His will reveals that the testator was in wealthy circumstances. To his wife Joan he bequeathed "my apparell and jewells,' and 'twoe olde angells.' and to his son Erasmus Saunders a 'crosse of golde with a pearle in thende [the end] therof.' To his son Francis, testator bequeathed 'my owche of gold with a murrion's face,' with a cross of mother-of-pearl, etc. Nicholas Saunders, the testator's son and residuary legatee, was directed to keep a house in Ewell for his father's widow, and, if the personalty was insufficient to cover the debts, the deficiency was to be met out of the profits of the manor of Chesmyngton and Proke. In addition to her dower out of the manor of Cardens and its appurtenances in Clif Higham and Frindesburie, the widow was to be given dower out of the lands bought by the testator in the parishes of Clif Colney, Higham, and Frindesbury in Kent. Subject to this, these properties were devised to testator's eldest son, Nicholas, in tail male, with similar remainders in succession to testator's sons Erasmus and Francis. The manors and lands in the parishes of Ewell, Elsham, Chesington, St. Savior's in Southwark, Blechinghigh, Nutfield, Charlwode, Horley, Newdigate, and Ockeley in Surrey, which had descended to testator from his father, Henry Saunders, were to devolve as directed by the will of the said Henry Saunders.
Joan, the widow of William Saunders of Ewell, survived her husband by some nine years. Her will dated 14 April, 1580 and proved in London on 15 July, 1581 (Darcey, fol, 27), raises a curious point. According to the Visitation of Surrey, she was, previous to her marriage with William Saunders, the widow of Nicholas Mynde, but in her will she bequeathed legacies to her sons Oliver Gittons and Albey Gittons. It seems clear therefore, if the Visitation be correct, that she must have been twice married before she became the wife of William Saunders, unless indeed two of her daughters by one of the two marriages married two persons of the name of Gittons. With the exception of Agnes (who was engaged to Rice Keys), and Margaret, all the daughters of William Saunders who are mentioned in his will appear to have been married, and the name Gitton does not occur as one of the husbands. Moreover Joan Saunders in her will refers to Oliver and Albey Gittons as 'my sons,' while in bequests to their spouses, she describes them in each case as 'the wife of my son,' thus leading one to the conclusion that she was previously married to a person named Gittons.
It would seem that Joan, the widow of William Saunders, removed after the death of her husband to Marlborough; at all events, she desired to be buried there. This removal was probably due to the fact that her daughter Frances Saunders had married a person named Spilman, who resided at Marlborough. This change of residence is rather significant, as it marks another step in the direction of West Wales.
The children of William Saunders by his wife Joan were:-
1. Nicholas Saunders (eldest son), who married Isabella, the sister of Sir Hugh Carew of Bedington, Surrey, knt.
2. Erasmus Saunders, the ancestor of the West Wales branch.
3. Francis Saunders.
4. Frances, who married Henry Spilman of Marlborrough, second son of Sir John Spilman.
5. A daughter who married Nicholas Lussher of Surrey.
6. Elizabeth, who married _____ Castell.
7. Urithe, who married John Paygrave of Norfolk.
8. Catherine, who married _____ Carvell.
Erasmus (son of William and Joan Saunders of Ewell) possibly accompanied his mother to the West of England; in any event, he eventually settled in Pembrokeshire. The date of his arrival is not known, but it is certain that he was there on 23 Sept., 1577, as on that date he, described as of Jordanston in St. Florence, was sued by Griffith White, esq., for trespass, at the Great Sessions held at Haverfordwest. As to the inducements that first led him to Wales, there is no record. He is stated to have been a lawyer - the Golden Grove Book describes him as 'learned in the law' - and it is possible that he may have practised at the Great Sessions in South Wales. We are, however, able to make a pretty safe guess as to the reason that caused him to permanently settle in Pembrokeshire. Somewhere or other he had met Jenet Barrett (the daughter of William Barret of Tenby by Anne his wife, who was the daughter of Thomas Lougher of Tenby), and determined to make her his wife.
William Barrett was a substantial landowner and apparently also a merchant. His will, proved in London on 26 May, 1553 (Taske, fol. II), shows that he owned Tremoillet (near Pendine), lands in the parish of Pendine, in Tenby, and also at Llanstephan in Carmarthenshire; he was also owner of a trading vessel, as he bequeathed to his brother James Barrett 'my bote and my gayne,' (i.e., my boat and my profit therefrom). Subject to certain life estates and terms of years, William Barrett seems to have devised all his lands and his silver plate to his daughter Jenet Barrett, or to use his own words, 'I make [her] heyre of all my lands.' Jenet Barrett at her father's death was of 'very tender years,' and the property, which also included lands in Crosland and Llanstafan [Llanstephen, Carms.], came into the hands of James Barrett, a merchant in Tenby, who was the brother and one of the executors of the testator, William Barrett, Rees Barrett, another brother of the testator, having renounced the executorship, and Anne, the widow and other executrix, having on 15 Feb., 1553, assigned by deed all her interest under the will (except her dower), and also the custody of her daughter Jenet, to the testator's brother, James Barrett.
It appears in a bill in Chancery (Chancery Proceedings, Ser. ii., bundle 166, No. 70), filed by Erasmus Saunders, that of the property in question, lands to the value of £ ____ were held of Sir John Perrott, as of his manor of Laugharne, by knight's service, and that the residue of the lands was held by socage service, and that the wardship of Jenet Barrett was claimed by the Right Hon. William Orle on account of the reversion of certain lands holden of him by knight's service, whereof Katherine Morgan had an estate for life. James Barrett alleged that the wardship of Jenet Barrett had been acquired by him from Orle, and that he was therefore entitled to her custody till 18 April 15 . . .
This bill gives the interesting information that Jenet was in the night-time carried away by a certain Peter Veale, gent., and her wardship sold to Erasmus Saunders, who no doubt immediately married her. James Barrett, it would seem, sued before the Lords of the Star Chamber for the recovery of Jenet, but evidently failed, as he adds in his Answer that it lost him £40. The Chancery suit was brought by Erasmus Saunders, who was described as 'of London, gent.' to recover his wife's property from James Barrett.
After his marriage Erasmus Saunders settled permanently in Wales. In 1572 he was bailiff of Tenby, and in 1577 he was mayor of that town. The exact date of his death is not known, but there is evidence existing that he died before 29 Sept., 1603. This is proved buy two documents (among the papers of the Great Sessions) relating to an action brought in 1603 by his widow Jenet to recover rent from John White, to whom Erasmus Saunders and his wife had on 23 Sept., 1597, granted a lease of Tremoillet, in the parish of Eglwys Cymmin, Carms., together with 12 cows, 8 oxen, and 100 sheep, for a term of five years at a rent of £22 per annum.
Jenet Saunders died prior to 10 Sept., 1628, her will, dated 16 May previously, having been proved on that date. She devised all her lands, except the tenement called Pricstarow in the parish of Laugharne, to her son William (probably her second son), and bequeathed to her son Nicholas and his son Francis £200, which Nicholas owed her for the fee simple of Newbourne.
The children of Erasmus Saunders by his wife Jenet Barrett were as follows:-
1. Nicholas Saunders of Newton in the parish of, Laugharne, who married Mary, the daughter of _____ Marsey. The will of Nicholas Saunders, dated 12 July, 1636, was proved at Carmarthen on 26 Jan., 1637, and by it he has devised all his property to his four daughters, Mary, Elizabeth, Temperance, and Catherine Saunders. His son Francis, to whom a bequest was made in the will of his grandmother, Jenet Saunders, probably died before his father, as his name is not mentioned in the will of Nicholas Saunders. According to the Golden Grove Book, the daughters and coheiressess of Nicholas Saunders were all married; Mary, to Lewis Eaton of Llanddowror, Carms., who was one of the executors of the will of Nicholas Saunders; Elizabeth, to Thomas Davies of Newton; Temperance, to James Lewis, the son of Jason Lewis of _____ ; and Catherine, to Jenkin Lewis, the son of Rev. Rowland Lewis.
2. William Saunders.
3. Phillip Saunders, who married, as his first wife, Jane, the daughter of Harry Adams (Lewis Dwnn's Visitation, Vol. i., p. 154). This lady was the executrix and probably the widow of John Knethell of Castlemartin, and her marriage to Phillip Saunders must have taken place between Feb., 1602, when John Knethell was alive, and Aug., 1604, when Philip Saunders and his wife Jane, as executrix of John Knethell deceased, brought an action in the Great Sessions against Henry Bowen of Upton, Pems., After her death, Philip married, as his second wife, Alice (daughter of John Edward of Tenby), who, according to Lewis Dwnn's Visitation, Vol, I., p. 67, had previously married in succession Howel Philpin and Saunders Barrett of Tenby. The marriage of Philip to Alice Edward must have taken place prior to 1617, as in that year Philip and Alice were sued by John Barrett at the Great Sessions for a debt contracted by the said Alice before her marriage. Subsequent to the death of her husband Philip, which occurred after the year 1620, Alice married Hugh Wogan, the son of Sir William Wogan of Wiston (Papers if the Great Sessions). The Golden Grove Book says that Philip Saunders had a daughter who married Thomas Owens, but does not mention the name of her mother.
We learn from the Papers of the Great Sessions, I Jac., I., that Philip Saunders had a misadventure at Cresswell, in Lawrenny Parish, Pems., on 20 June, 1603. It appears that while there, a quarrel occurred between him and Gelly Laugharne, with the result that the latter 'feloniously insulted him and with a certain knife cut off the little finger of Phillip's right hand.' Gelly Laugharne was no doubt one of the Laugharnes of St.. Bride's, but his exact relationship is so far unknown. A document in another suit in the Great Sessions brought against him by Richard Bateman to recover £4 18s. 4d., for goods supplied, describes him as of 'Pembroke, gent'.
4. Devereux Saunders (Golden Grove Book).
5. Henry Saunders of Pendine, who by his will, dated 8 Nov., 1630, and proved on 24 Nov., 1636, at Carmarthen, desired to be buried 'near his mother lately deceased.' He presumably died without issue and unmarried, as he mentions no children or wife in his will. He was bailiff of Tenby in 1616.
6. Erasmus Saunders (Golden Grove Book).
7. John Saunders of Tenby. It was not certain whether this John Saunders was a son of Erasmus and Jane Saunders. His name is not given as such either in Lewis Dwnn's Visitation or in the Golden Grove Book. His will, which was dated 9 Aug., 1612, and proved at Carmarthen on 31 Oct. in the same year, describes him as of Tenby; he was married and had a son Thomas, to whom he bequeathed £22 and 40 sheep. This son was evidently under age at the date of the will, as his father appointed Thomas Griffiths as his guardian, and in the event of the son's death £8 of his legacy was to go to testator's brother Harry Saunders. John Saunders was bailiff of Tenby in 1607.
8. Jane wife of Robert Folkot (Lewis Dwnn's Visitation, Vol. I, p. 154)
9. Elizabeth, wife of Harry Davis (Ibid).
10. Ann Saunders of Eglwyscymmin, Carms., who by her nuncupative will, dated 24 Nov., 1613, and proved at Carmarthen on 17 Dec., 1613, appointed her brother William Saunders her executor and residuary legatee.
William Saunder (son of Erasmus Saunders by his wife Jenet Barrett) resided at Pendine, and according to Lewis Dwnn's Visitation married Florence, the daughter of Peter Wlcot [? Walcot], but so far no information in regard to his wife or marriage has been discovered. The Golden Grove Book merely says that her name was Florence. William Saunders was on 12 Aug., 1610, given by his mother, Jenet, the following property:- Two tenements in Pendine called Dewes Tenemset, and John Thomas the younger's Tenement; Wilkin's Tenement in the fields of Penbowe and Pendine; Margaret Blake's Tenement in Pendine; Robert Poyer's Temement on the west part of Pendine Church; five acres in Pendine; a Tenement called Greate House in the Green of Pendine; a Tenement in Llangunnock in the lordship of Llanstiffan [Llanstephan], Carms.; two cottages in Pendine; a tenement, called Yr Hendre, in the parish of Llanstiffan, Carms.; seven acres of land in the east fields of Pendine; four acres in the fields of Pendine near a well called Fabanathe's Well [another deed calls it Falanathan's Well]; mountain ground called Pent-y-Wrath in the parish of Pendine; twelve acres in the parish of Pendine, and one acre in the Cante side in Willway and one acre in the fields of Willway.
Apparently after their mother's death some dispute as to the property arose between William Saunders and his brother Nicholas, as by a deed, 18 July, 1635, which is stated to have been made in pursuance of as award by Maurice Canon of Haverfordwest on 1 Sept., 1633, Nicholas Saunders conveyed to his brother William all the above property and in addition the following:- Skrynckill Mountain, extending from a place called the Kreege sidewards of a portway there unto a certain mountain called Tremolletts Mountain in Pendine, a close called the Greate Cline, a messuage called Wytewyes Tenement, a parcel of land called Great Hill Burrowes and East Marsh in the parish of Laugharne, a messuage and lands in Tenby called the Great House, a messuage and lands in Market St., Tenby, and a site of a house and garden in Frog St., Tenby.
From the marriage of William Saunders to Florence Wlcot, there was the following issue:-
1. Erasmus, who went to England (Golden Grove Book); presumably he was the eldest son as he is the only child mentioned in Lewis Dwnn's Visitation, yet the administration of his father, William, states that Willian Saunders was the heir.
2. Williams Saunders (Glolden Grove Book).
3. Henry Saunders, who went to England (Ibid.).
4. Hugh Saunders (Ibid.).
5. Jane, wife of Devereux Hammond of Tenby (Ibid.).
6. Florence, who married Thomas Price of Pendine (Ibid.).
William, the son of William and Florence Saunders, married Jane the daughter of John Barrett of Tenby, and widow of _____ Stephens of Tenby (Golden Grove Book); by her, William had at least three children. She survived her husband, as administration of his effects was granted to her and to William Saunders, his heir, on 16 Nov., 1668, at Carmarthen. Jane Saunders, the widow, seems to have subsequently issued a caveat against this grant, but on 13 Dec., 1668, she and her son, William Saunders, renounced and consented that her second son, Charles Saunders, should administer the estate. Jane Saunders afterwards removed to the parish of St. Davids, Pems., where her will was executed on 15 Feb., 1684, and proved at Carmarthen on 15 Dec., 1685.
Her children by William Saunders were:-
1. Willaim Saunders (eldest son), who married Lettice the daughter of Evan Thomas of Tremoillet, in the parish of Eglwys Cymmin, Carms., and had by her the following children:- (a) Philip Saunders4 (son and heir) (Golden Grove Book), who died on 26 Jan., 1745, aged 84; his wife Sarah predeceased him on 12 Mar., 1740, aged 63 years; they had the following children:- Erasmus Saunders (eldest son), who died on 29 May, 1747, aged 40; Alice Saunders, who died on 11 July, 1805, at the great age of 92; William Saunders, B.A. (second son), who died on 17 .... 1756, aged 42; and Philip Saunders, B.A. (third son), who died a bachelor on 27 Jan. 1781, aged 64 (Antiquities of Laugharne and Pendine by Mary Curtis). All these were buried at Pendine. The inscription to 'Alys Saunders is on a small stone, but there is no doubt that she was a daughter of Philip and Sarah Saunders, as in an abstract of title to the property called
Vaynor in the parish of Llawhaden, Pems., she is stated to have been the only sister and administratrix of Philip Saunders, clerk, who died in 1781. (b) William Saunders (Clark's Genealogies of Glamorgan). (c) Dorothy Saunders (Golden Grove Book). (d) Alice Saunders (Ibid).
2. Charles Saunders (second son) who married Sarah, the daughter of ____ Thomas of Laugharne, (Golden Grove Book), and by her had a daughter Anne (to whom her grandmother Jane Saunders bequeathed a helfer) and Dorothy who was baptized at Llansadurnen on 13 May, 1684 (Transcript Registers of Llansadurnen).
3. Tobias Saunders of Cilrhedyn.
4. John Saunders, 'who went to travel' (Golden Grove Book).
5. Jane Saunders, who died without issue (Ibid).
Tobias Saunders, lived at Clyn-y-Felin, in the parish of Cilrhedyn, in Pembrokeshire. He married Lettice, the daughter of Howell Phillipps of Dolhaidd, in the parish of Penboyr, Carms. He is described in the Golden Grove Book as a weaver, but in his will and in other deeds he is described as 'gentleman'; it is probable therefore that he owned a weaving factory. His will, which is dated 25 Aug., 1719, and proved at Carmarthen on 11 Feb., 1720, throws little light on his real estate, which was probably disposed of by his marriage settlement, the only mention of his realty being a devise of two houses and gardens in Tenby to William and Frances Saunders, the children of testator's eldest son John Saunders deceased. A fine, however, levied in 1716 shows that Tobias Saunders owned land in the parish of Manordeifi, and his wife also came into property in the parish of Llandyfriog, Cards., under the will of her father.
The children of Tobias Saunders by his wife Lettice were as follows, but as no indication is given in his will as to their order of seniority, the arrangement below (except as regards John Saunders, who is stated in a deed, dated 8 April, 1715, to have been the eldest son of Tobias) is purely arbitrary:-
1. John Saunders (eldest son), who married _____ the daughter of William Lloyd of Ystrad, in the parish of Llandefaelog, Carms. He died on 20 Nov., 1716,5 aged 47 (Inscription at Llangendeirne), during the lifetime of his father Tobias, and administration of his effects was granted at Carmarthen on 2 Nov., 1716, to his son William Saunders. The value of his personalty was £242 11s. 2d., and in included a silver tumbler and two silver spoons, valued at 35s.; five pewter dishes and 21 plates valued at 36s.; two small hand-guns (possibly pistols) and 5 old candlesticks valued at 23s. His eldest son William Saunders practiced as an attorney at law and acquired by purchase from Francis Price of Plas Newydd, Carms., the property called Glanrbydw, which became the home of the family. William Saunders senior never married. He died on 28 July, 1753, and administration of his goods was granted at Carmarthen to his brother Francis Saunders on 10 August in that year.
Francis Saunders (administrator of his brother William), described as the son of John Saunders of Llandefaelog, matriculated at Jesus College, Oxford, on 22 Oct., 1716, aged 16; he was B.A. in 1720, M.A. in 1723, and died on 21 Nov., 1776 (Alumn. Oxon.), aged 76; he was vicar of Harrow-on-the-Hill, Middlesex, and also a governor of Harrow School; he married Joanna, the widow of _____ Killet, who predeceased him; he died apparently without issue. By his will dated 25 April, 1776, he bequeathed a number of legacies, including £1000 to Martha, the daughter of his kinsman Erasmus Saunders, deceased, and £800 to her brother Kenrick Saunders; he also gave a legacy of £20 to his step-child Henry Kellet (son of his wife Joanna by her first husband), and legacies of £10 each to Mrs. Anne Kellet (widow of Mr. Robert Cowan Kellet, the son of the said Joanna by her first husband) and to her children, Robert Kellet and Mary Kellet, both then under age; as to the residue of his realty and personalty, testator bequeathed three-fourth, thereof to his kinsman, William Saunders of Clyn-y-felin, in the parish of Cilrhedyn, and one fourth to David Saunders, commander of the ship Grosvenor in the East India Company's service.
2. Erasmus Saunders, D.D., who, according to the Golden Grove Book, married Elizabeth, the daughter of _____Lloyd of Aberbychan, Montg. He matriculated at Jesus College, Oxford, on 20 Mar., 1690, aged 19, and was M.A. in 1696, B.D. in 1705, and D.D. in 1712; he was born in the parish of Clydey, Pems., in 1670 and was vicar of Blockley, Worchestershire, in 1705, rector of Helmdon, Northamps., 1706-18, and canon of Brecon until his death on 3 June, 1724, aged 53; he was buried in St. Mary's Church, Salop (Alumn Oxon.). His will, dated 24 Feb., 1724, and proved on 5 Feb., 1737, states that his wife's name was Dorothy; it is therefore clear that either the Golden Grove Book is wrong, or else he must have been twice married. He owned an estate in Penington in the parish of Ashchurch, Gloucester, bought from a Mr. Francis Martyn, which he devised to his eldest son Erasmus Saunders, subject to a life interest therein to testator's widow, and subject also to bequests of £300 and £200 respectively to testator's daughters, Elizabeth and Anne, to whom he also bequeathed the tithes of Penington. To his younger sons William, Edward, Thomas and Samuel Tobias, testator left his estate called Walgroves Tow Tardland in Blockley, Worcester, and in addition he gave his son Edward a tenement in Evesham, Worc., in lieu of a present given by his god-father Edward Lloyd, esq. Testator must have had another daughter named Margaret, who was bequeathed £10 by her grandfather Tobias Saunders, but her name is not mentioned in her father's will.
Erasmus Saunders junior (eldest son of Erasmus Saunders, D.D.), matriculated at Merton College, Oxford, on 6 Mar., 1734, aged 17; he was B.A. in 1737, M.A. in 1740, B.D. in 1751, and D.D. in 1753; he was canon of Windsor 1751-6, prebendary of Rochester in 1756, vicar of Wantage Berks., in 1755, vicar of St. Martins-in-the-Fields in 1756, and of Mapiscombe, Kent, in 1757 (Alumn Oxon.).
Erasmus Saunders junior6 married Mary Kenrick, and had the following children:-
(a) Erasmus Saunders, who, according to the Golden Grove Book,7 died without issue; he was probably the Erasmus Saunders, who, the Alumn Oxon, says, matriculated at Mertton College, Oxford, on 7 Nov., 1777, aged 18, and was B.A. in 1781 and M.A. from All Souls College in 1789. (b) Rev. Kenrick Francis Saunders, who matriculated at Merton College, Oxford, on 11 April, 1783, aged 18, and was B.A. in 1786 and M.A. in 1789; he married Miss Gibbon and had issue one daughter.8 He died on 9 June, 1853, aged 89 (Alumn Oxon.). (c) Martha, who married _____ Which, and died without issue (Golden Grove Book); she was a spinster on 16 Feb., 1780, as is shown by a release executed by her on that date, and was 21 years old on 6 Dec., 1777.
Edward Saunders (brother of Erasmus Saunders junior) married, and had issue a son named Edward Saunders, who was governor of Madras and married Miss Turving (Golden Grove Book). From a letter dated from Madras on 15 Oct., 1778, it appears that Edward, the Governor of Madras, had a little son named Edward, who was sent to England on that date on the 'Latham,' under the care of Capt. Prince, to his aunt Saunders, then residing at Windsor, Berks., who was to see to his education.
3. David Saunders of Pentre, in the parish of Manordeifi, Pems.
4. Anne Saunders, who married James Thomas of Llangeler (Golden Grove Book).
5. Elizabeth Saunders, who married Evan Rees of Llwyncrwn, in Trelech a'r Bettws Parish, Carms. (Ibid).
David Saunders (son of Tobias Saunders of Cilrhedyn) of Pentre, in the parish of Manordeifi, Pems., married Susanna (the daughter of William Morgan of Blaenbilan, Pems.), who died on 14 April, 1750, aged 39 years. Her husband died on 4 Jan., 1751, aged 71, and his will, dated 31 Mar., 1748, was proved at Carmarthen on 18 May, 1751.
The issue from the marriage of David and Susanna Saunders was:-
1. Erasmus Saunders (eldest son), to whom his father devised all his realty, lived at Pentre: he married, on 6 Dec., 1746, at Llanrhystyd Church, Cards., Jane, the daughter and heiress of Richard, Phillips of Moelifor, and a monumental inscription on the outside of the wall of the old church of Manordeifi records that he died on 25 Jan., 1759, aged 40, and his wife Jane on 21 May, 1806., aged 93 years.
The children from this marriage were :- (a) Bridget, who was born on 8 April, 1754, and died a spinster on 8 May, 1803. (b) Susanna, born 3 Oct., 1755, married David Davies, M.D., of Llandovery, who afterwards assumed the name of Saunders-Davies. Susanna Saunders-Davies died on 5 April, 1823, aged 67, and as in the case of her two sisters, was buried at Manordeifi. (c) Magdalen Saunders, who was born on 21 May, 1757, and died a spinster on 11 June, 1803.9
2. William Saunders (second son), who resided at Clyn-y-felin in the parish of Cilrhedyn, Pems., and married Sarah, the daughter of _____ Lewis of the same parish, about the year 1771, the fiat for the marriage license being dated 30 Mar., 1771. William Saunders died on 29 July, 1799, aged 82, and the inscription to his memory in the vestry of Cilrhedyn Church, says:-
This stone may say what few marbles can; Here lies a friend and truly honest man.
His wife survived him till 13 Oct., 1805, when she died , aged 76 years. The Golden Grove Book, or rather the additions made to it by Theophilus Jones, the Brecknockshire historian, assert that William Saunders died without issue, but this is a mistake, as the inscription at Cilrhedyn states that he had by his wife Sarah, a daughter named Elizabeth, who died on 2 April, 1803, aged 29 years.
3. David Saunders (third son).
4. John Saunders (fourth son), who matriculated at Merton College, Oxford, on 4 April, 1750, aged 19, and was B.A. in 1754 and M.A. from Jesus College, Cambs., in 1779; he was domestic chaplain to Viscount Falkland, and was rector of Woodford and of Woodham Mortimer (Alumn, Oxon.). He was rector of Witford, in Kent, and died on 18 Jan., 1814.
5. Margaret Saunders.
6. Lettice Saunders.
8. Elizabeth Saunders.
David Saunders (third son of David and Susanna Saunders) was in the East India Company's service, and was Commander of the Grosvenor, a ship of 499 tons burden. Some interesting sidelights in regard to the conditions prevailing at sea at that period are afforded by documents in the possession of his descendants. Under the 'Charter-party' of the ship, dated 19 Aug., 1767, for a voyage to the Coast and to Canton in China, it was provided that three-quarters of the crew should be English, and the ship was to carry 26 pieces of ordnance, 45 barrels of gunpowder and ammunition suitable, thus indicated a great contrast to the peaceful equipment of merchant vessels at the present day. The instructions given by the Company to Capt. David Saunders for his voyage are equally interesting, and as a sample the following may be quoted:-
You must carry along with you a Mediterranean Pass, there being many Algerine Rovers abroad, which you are very likely to meet in your outward or homeward-bound voyages.
Take immediate care, on receipt hereof, to have and keep your arms fixed; to station your men at their several quarters; to put your ship in a good posture of defence; to have a sufficient number of cartridges filled with powder and a proportionable quantity of shot; to be always in readiness during this voyage, in case of a sudden assault. Trust no colours. Be very watchful at all times against surprises, and cautious of speaking with any ship; and if you can avoid it, speak with none during every part of the voyage. Be very industrious to find out the trim of your ship for her better sailing.
Take care no camphire be brought in the ship by any person on any account whatsoever, lest the scent of it spoil the tea; and for the same reason let no more arrack be brought in the ship, than what shall be for the necessary stores; and be sure it be stowed in such places, as will best prevent its doing the tea harm by its steam or scent.
Being apprehensive that musk may scent and thereby prejudice the tea, we hereby positively forbid the bringing of it.
The pay of the commander was £10 per month, and the seamens' wages ranged from 17s. 6d. to 22s. 6d. per month. Under the regulations of the Company, ships of over 400 tons burden, carried five mates, a purser, surgeon and his mate, a barber if required, a gunner and his mate, a boatswain and his mate, a carpenter and his first and second mate, a caulker and his mate, a cooper and his mate, a sailmaker, armourer and smith, four able midshipmen, four quarter-masters, one coxswain, captain's cook, and ship's cook, butcher, ship's steward, and captain's steward; the captain to have no more that two servants, the chief mate to have one servant, and the second mate a servant if required. The remainder of the ship's company was to be foremast men and able seamen.
In addition to these instructions, Captain Saunders received the following orders from the Secret Committee of the East India Company:-
When in sight of St. Helena in your homeward-bound voyage, you are to bring-to about four leagues to the windward of the Island and send a boat ashore with a proper officer to acquaint the Governor who you are, with orders to return on board again forthwith, to inform you if all is well, and then, on making sail into the Road, you must show this signal, viz:- -Furl the foretop galliant sail and hoist a Dutch Jack at the foretop gallant mast head.
These secret orders were enclosed in a sealed envelope on the outside of which was written:-
Not to be opened till you are on this side the Cape of Good Hope in your homeward-bound voyage. To be destroyed in case the ship should be in danger of being taken buy an enemy, but not till the last extremity.
Whether Capt. David Saunders had any adventures with Algerine Rovers or other enemies is unfortunately not known; it is probable that he retired from his profession on coming into the property left him buy his cousin, the Rev. Francis Saunders of Harrow; at all events he was home in 1779, when he married Susan, the daughter and coheiress of John Hughes of Tymawr, in the parish of Cilcennin, Cards.; the date of the marriage has not been definitely ascertained but the fiat for the license is dated 18 Dec., 1779. Through this marriage the Tymawr property came into the possession of the Saunders family.
Capt. David Saunders died on 10 Jan., 1815, aged 88, and will was proved in London on 1 July, 1815; his widow died on 15 Mar., 1836, aged 84 years.
The issue of the marriage was:-
1. John Phillip Edward Saunders (eldest son), who died a bachelor on 21 July, 1853; he was J.P. and Deputy Lieutenant for the counties of Carmarthen, Cardigan, and Pembroke. By his will proved in London on 16 Dec., 1853, he devised certain properties in Carmarthenshire, including the mansion house called Glanrhydw, to his nephew John [Erasmus] Saunders (eldest son of testator's brother, Francis David Saunders) and other property in Pendine and Cardiganshire, to testator's brother Francis David Saunders, for his life, with remainder to his first and other sons successively in tail.
2. Erasmus Saundres (second son) was a captain in the Indian Army; he died at Madras in India on 28 Oct., 1803, aged 22 (Monumental Inscrip. at Llangendeirne).
3. Francis David Saunders, born on 8 Feb., 1787.
4. William Nonus Saunders, who was gazetted to the 85th Regiment of Foot, and was afterwards a major in the 95th Regiment of Foot. Towards the end of the troublous period (1812-14) in Canada, during which that colony was subjected to a series of invasions by the United States of America, William Nonus Saunders was stationed in the colony, and was present at the battle of Lundy's Lane, which took place on 25 July, 1814, about 1½ miles west of the Niagara Falls, and near Drummondsville, in the county of Welland and province of Ontario. This battle occurred in the third campaign against Canada by the Americas. Fortunately at this period Napoleon was shut up in Elba, and the British Government was able to send several regiments to the colony, among the officers being William Nonus Saunders, who was then an ensign. 'The most protracted and bloodiest battle [in this campaign] was at Lundy's Lane, near the Falls of Niagara, where a British officer with 1600 men under him took up his position, and was attacked by 5000 American at about 5 p.m. on a July afternoon. Night fell and the moon shone over the field, where men of the same race strove to kill one another. The assailants pushed forward their artillery till the muzzles of the guns almost met. Not till midnight did the Americans withdraw, Their killed and wounded were nearly 1000 men, and the British suffered a loss almost as heavy.'Such is the account of the battle given in America by Robert Mackenzie, and to this may be added the following episode, related by a niece of Major W. Nonus Saunders. At one time during the fight the British colours being in eminent danger of being captured, William Nonus Saunders tore them from the standard, and folded them inside his tunic; he fell badly wounded, and when found was at first supposed to be dead, but he succeeded in saving the colours, which were found soaked in his blood. There was no Victoria Cross in those days, or he would probably have received that coveted reward, but the officers presented him with a snuff box and watch, as a memento of his gallantry, which are now in the possession of his niece, After leaving Canada he served in Ceylon, where he died on 29, May. 1842, aged 49, and was buried at Candy.
5. Susanna Mary Saunders, who died on 20 April, 1866.
6. Jane Saunders, who died in 1871, aged 84.
7. Martha Saunders, who died in 1864, aged 74, at Cheltenham.
8. Ellenor Saunders, who died in 1869, aged 98.
9. Decima Bridget Saunders, who died in 1870, aged 77.
10. Mary Saunders, who married Thomas Winwood of Clifton, Somerset, and died in 1867, without issue.
Francis David Saunders (the third son of Captain David and Susanna Saunders) was a captain in the 16th Regiment of Trichinopoli Light Infantry; he resided at Tymawr, in Cilcennin Parish, Cards., and on 7 Dec., 1845, married Mary Anne, the second daughter of Rev. George Wade Green of Court Henry, Carms., Capt. F. D. Saunders died on 8 Jan., 1867, in his 80th year, and was buried at Llangendeirne, Carms., on 15th of the same month. His will was proved at Carmarthen on 27 March, 1867. He was survived by his widow, who on the death of her father, purchased Court Henry, and resided there until her death on 11 Jan., 1893, aged 74.
The children of Captain Francis David Saunders by his wife Mary Anne were:-
1. John Erasmus Saunders, who was born on 8 March, 1848; he was educated at Cheltenham College, and entering the army became an Ensign in the 51st King's Own Light Infantry. He was a very steady and promising young officer, and his sudden death on 4 April, 1870 at the age of 22, from heart failure, at Clonmel in Ireland, where his regiment was stationed, was universally regretted. He was buried at Llangendeirne on 10 April, 1870. He was never married.
2. William Francis David Saunders, born on 27 Sept. 1851.
3. Susanna Mary Saunders, who was born on 30 Oct. 1847, and on 5 Aug. 1868 married at Cilcennin Church, Cards., Conrade Maxwell Macpherson Middleton Abadam (eldest son of Edward Abadam of Middleton Hall, Carms.), by whom she had two daughters:- (a) Elms Alice Maud Abadam who was born on 14 May, 1869, and on 18 April, 1894, married at Court Henry Church, Charles Bernard Morland, now a major in the Welsh Regiment, the issue of the marriage being an only son Conrade Bernard Sevant Middleton Morland, born on 17 April, 1900. (b) Geraldine Mabel Abadam, who was born on 7 Dec., 1872, and on 12 June, 1895, married at Llangendeirne Church, Carms., George Rice Pryse (son of Sir Pryse Pryse of Gogerddan, Cards.), their children being a son, Pryse Loveden Pryse, born on 12 Nov., 1896, and a daughter, Margaret Angharad Elinor, born on 21 Sept., 1903. After the death of Mr. Conrade M.M.M. Abadam, Mrs. Abadam married Frank Fiddes Rudman, a captain in the Welsh Regiment. The marriage took place on 15 June, 1878, at St. John's, Paddington, London; Captain Rudman died on 28 Jan., 1884, without issue.
4. Mary Anne Saunders, who was born on 3 Nov. 1849, and now resides at Court Henry.
5. Caroline Alice Saunders, who was born on 30 June, 1853, and in 1880 married at St. George's Hanover Square, London, John David Lloyd (second son of James Lloyd, esq., of Bronwydd, Cards.), who is a retired colonel of the Reserve Force. They have one son Audeley Mervyn Owen John Lloyd, born on 11 Sept., 1881, who is a lieutenant in the 24th Regiment.
6. Ellen Maud Saunders, who was born on 28 July, 1856, and now resides with her sister at Court Henry, Carms.
William Francis David Saunders on the death of his brother John Erasmus Saunders succeeded to his brother's property, and thus united the family estates in Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire. He married at Llandygwydd Church, Cards., Helen, eldest daughter of Morgan Jones, esq., of Penylan, Pems., and Llanmiloe, Carms. He resides at Glanrhydw, where he died suddenly on 1 Oct., 1910, leaving no issue. He was buried at Llangendeirne on 8 Oct., 1910. He was a J.P. for Carmarthenshire, and was very popular in the county. On the death of Mr. W.F.D. Saunders, the property devolved on his eldest sister, Mrs. Susanna Mary Rudman, who in accordance with the provision in the entail, has assumed the surname and arms of Saunders.
1. With the exception of dates in copies of inscreptions given in small type, the new style of the year has been adopted throughout this article.
2. And also (from the date of Willaim Saunders, who died on 10 Aug. 1481) on MS. 2 D. 14. '53 in the Heralds' College.
3. The name of the testator and of his children is given as 'Saunder' throughout this will.
4. The will of Philip Saunders was proved at Carmarthen on 12 Mar., 1745.
5. Sic in the inscription, but evidently a mistake, as the administration was granted
on 2 November, 1716.
6. The will dated 18 July, 1774, of Dr. Erasmus Saunders, junior was proved in London. Dr. Saunders, junior, died on 29 Dec., 1775, in his 50th year, and was buried at Bath Abbey.
7. Additions by Theophilius Jones
8. Golden Grove Book, Rev. K.F. Saunders also had a son named Kenrick Francis Saunders who matriculated at Balliol College, Oxford, on 2 April, 1830, age 17; he was B.A. in 1834, and was a student at Lincoln's Inn in 1833:Alumn Oxon.
9. Through the deaths of her sisters, the Pentre property vested in the surviving sister, Susanna the wife of Dr. Davies, whose descendant, Mr. Arthur P. Saunders Davies, now owns the estate. The illustration of Pentre shows the mansion as it was in 1853: since that date very large additions have been made to it by the late mother of Mr. Arthur P. Saunders Davies.