A Welsh Celt in the New World
John Lewis (origins unknown) sent this information to me via e-mail. Since adding it to my website, I have recently learned the names of the authors and their books, which you will find below.

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The following passages come from - "The Welsh Lineage of John Lewis (1592 - 1657) Emigrant to Gloucester, Virginia.," by Grace Moses. Revised edition published in 1992 by The Clearfield Company. 

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In September, 2003, Mr. Ronald D. Lewis contacted the Author of this website and asserted that he originated the following dissertation as a letter to his father, and that Grace Moses (cited above) was not the correct originator. Click Here to see his alleged original letter.

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During the Roman occupation of England and Wales our ancestors were located in what is now Scotland and Wales. Our paternal line is derived from the area around what was Ayr, Scotland (around Edinburgh). This was the region of the Votadini tribe, a tribe from the migrations of Celts from the Caucasus area in Asia, crossing Europe and finally settling the British Isles. Our lineage comes from some of the ancient lines that many of the kings of England, Scotland and Ireland share. Using these lineages we can trace our line back to Adam and Eve.
Prior to the invasion of the isles by Roman forces, all the peoples of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland shared a common language and heritage. All were part of the larger Celtic nation that was spread across Europe, sharing a common belief system, language and culture.
After the Roman invasion of Britain, including everything south of Hadrian's wall, of which the Votadini tribe was one of the most northern tribes to fall under the Romans, our ancestors were given Latin names as well as their Celtic names. The first of which I shall discuss were Tegid ap Cein (Tacitus) born 270 AD, his son Padarn ap Tegid (Paternus), born 305 AD, and grandson Edern ap Padarn (Aeternus), born 364 AD, were all rulers of the Votadini tribe.
Edern's son Cunneda Wledig, born 380 AD, ruled a peaceful and very prosperous tribe who maintained their fighting edge. During this time, the Irish were invading and settling areas of northwest Wales of which the ruling Vortigern (over king) of Wales decided to make an offer to Cunneda. This offer was that Cunneda could have most of the land of Northwest Wales if he drove the Irish from Wales. As the region was largely uninhabited by the Welsh, Vortigern saw this as a golden opportunity to provide a buffer zone between southern Wales, an unpopulated and largely wilderness area of the north, and populate it with a formidable ally, namely the Votadini. Cunneda drove the Irish from the region and moved many of his tribe to what was to become his kingdom of Gwynedd. Cunneda married the daughter of Coel Hen, high king of North Britain, over-king of many of the northern tribes of England. This union not only produced our Einion Yrth, but also Gwen verch Cunedag. According to Welsh legend it was the mother of Eigyr (Igraine) who married Uther Pendragon, father to King Arthur.

From all accounts of Arthur, he was the over-king of England and Wales. There was no "Camelot" as that was a creation of a storyteller from France. But from my research, it appears that his "knights' were actually kings that served under his overlordship during the battles with the Saxons. This was a common practice for the people prior to the Roman occupation and appears to have been revived, if only for a short time, until the Saxon invasion of England was completed after Arthur's death. Arthur was very successful in his warfare due to inclusion of many Roman war tactics, which included cavalry and organized armies that destroyed all Saxon forces up until he was killed in battle. These battles are described by Roman monks who lived during the same time period as most of this was occurring. Arthur has been described as "Miles" and Arthuro by these same monks. His name appears to be derived from the same words in Celtic and Latin, Arth - bear in Celtic, Ur - bear in Latin. We can only imagine how the Saxon's viewed him as a "bear" to fight.


Einion's son Llyr Mereni had a son, Caradoc Freichfras (Iron Hand), who according to legend served Arthur as one of his knights. He was also king of a large region in Wales.

From Caradoc Freichfras we moved on to one of his descendants, Rhys Goch, the first discernable Lewis. He was awarded his coat of arms after a great battle with one of the other Welsh tribes. The line of Caradoc Freichfras to Rhys Goch is as follows:

Caradoc Freichfras ap Llyr
Cawrdaf ap Caradoc
Caw ap Cawrdaf
Glou ap Caw
Hoyw ap Glou
Cynfarch ap Hoyw
Cyndeg ap Cynfarch
Teithwalch ap Cyndeg
Tegyd ap Teithwalch
Tangwydd ap Tegyd
Gwyngy ap Tangwydd
Einion ap Gwngy
Rhys Goch ap Einion

The Lewis line is the only line that distinguishes itself with all paternal descendants from Rhys Goch to the present. Other descendants from Rhys Goch include Morgans, Howells and other noted families, but no other with a direct male line. Rhys Goch was born about 1070 AD. From Rhys Goch our line is as follows:

Genillin ap Rhys Goch
Idris ap Genillin
Ieuan ap Idris
Ieuan Fychan
David Mwnton
Hywel Hir ap David
David ap Hywell Hir
Gwilym ap David
John ap Gwilym
Thomas ap John
Lewis ap Thomas born about 1510, Brecknockshire, Wales
Richard Lewis born before 1537 Llangotuck, Crickhowell, Brecknockshire, Wales

The Lewis family that presently exists came from Llangatock, Brecknockshire in Wales. Our family history is long and full of interesting tales and adventures. We will start by explaining the Welsh naming system, which varied greatly from the English naming system.
In Wales, families did not use surnames until the 1600s, when it became a part of England and was Anglicized. The Welsh used a complex system whereby the son would take the name of the father as a second name, for instance, one of our ancestors was Lewis ap Thomas, his son was Richard ap Lewis. The 'ap' being the Welsh form of 'son of', likewise the women used 'verch' as in Nest verch Llewelyn. This seems complicated and incomprehensible until you realize that family lines were identified strictly by Coats-of-Arms. Wales differed greatly in their treatment of the Coats-of-Arms as compared to England. The English used the coat as a sign of status only, as they had been using surnames for several centuries. The Welsh, identifying family lines by their coat, valued and treasured their coats to a much higher degree. This being said, we will continue with the family history. 
Our Coat-of-Arms is shown on the cover page, the dragon cut vert holding the human hand bloodied, with the crest of a dragon cut vert as well. This is the original Lewis Coat-of-Arms as held by Rhys Goch, the first identifiable "Lewis". Rhys Goch was born sometime around 1070 AD. He was noted in many of the bards legends handed down from his day. 
Our family descended from these great men to the most distant relative that we can physically trace, Lewis Ap Thomas of Brecknockshire, Wales. He was married to Maud de Turberville, both born around 1500 AD, they had a son, Richard Ap Lewis, he in turn had Lewis Prichard (shortened form of Ap Richard). Lewis had a son John Lewis, this is the ancestor that brought us to the new world and the one we will concentrate most on. 
John Lewis received his inheritance from his grandfather, Richard Lewis. Richard's oldest son, William, was disinterested in the family holdings as he had become a lawyer after attending Oxford and moved to London. Richard's second son was Lewis Prichard, who had died by the time his will was testated, leaving John, Lewis' oldest son as the heir of the Lewis estate. John was a good man, having been raised by his uncle Edward after his father's death, and had earned a burgesship in the township of Abergavenny, bestowed upon him by the Lord of that place. This was a title granted to the most responsible and wealthy of a township. He was also referred to as a "Gentleman", in Wales this means someone who bears arms, a leader in time of war. It was during this time that he married Johane verch Morgan Lewis, a Lewis from another clan, not associated with the Rhys Goch line. Later he married Catherine Phillip, mother of our ancestor, John Lewis II. 
During this time in Wales, the English civil war was brooding. Cromwell and the Puritans had taken over the government and King Charles I was building his army in order to regain the throne of England. Most of the Welsh gentry, of which John was, favored the Royals as opposed to Cromwell. John gathered men from Abergavenny and led them during the rebellion. During one of the battles, John held a castle that was taken by Cromwell's forces. He was subsequently banished from the kingdom for a period of two years for his participation in the rebellion. He spent this time in Barbados and upon his return, sold his interests in Wales, gathered his family and moved to Virginia in 1653. It can be assumed that hearing of Virginia with its unparalleled resources and beauty by shipmen passing through Barbados had a major influence on his decision to move, as well as his obvious dislike for the government that banished him from his homeland, and had repressed his people for so long. 

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The following passages come from - "Lewis Patriarchs of Early Virginia and Maryland," by Robert Lewis. Third Edition published in 1998 by Heritage Books, Inc. 1540E Pointer Ridge Place, Bowie, MD 20716. (1-800-398-7709). Used with permission of the author.

Lewis of Llangatock, Crickhowell
Lewis (Rhys Goch) of Brecon and Monmouthshire, Wales

Arms: Quarterly: 1st, Argent a dragon's head erased vert holding in its mouth a hand Gules (Rhys Goch of Ystrad Yw); 2nd, Gules three castles triple-towered Argent (Prince, later Sir Howell of Caerleon, Glam.) 3rd, Gules three Chevronells Argent(Jestin ap Gwergan) 4th, Azure three Plates (Sir Walter de Trevely of Llandewi Rhydderch Mon.)

Crest: A dragon's head erased vert holding in its mouth a hand gules.

Pedigree of Lewis of Llangatock, Crickhowell, Breconshire:


Tacitus (Tegid) Roman Praefect in Votadini area ca. 350 AD
Paternus (Padarn Beisrod) (of the red cloak)
Aeternus (Edern) See: Morris, J.: The age of Arthur, pp 17, 66, 68.
Cunedda Wledig conquered NW Wales ca. 400 AD, established royal line
Einion Yrth
Llyr Marini (some pedigrees give ap Mercion ap Gwrwst ap Ceneu ap Coel)
Caradoc Freichfras (Strong arm) ruled between the Wye and Severn ca. 500 AD
Cawrdaf ruled area later known as Breconshire.
Caw
Glou
Hoyw
Cynfarch (ca. 680 AD)
Cyndeg
Teithwalch
Tegyd
Tangwydd
Gwngy (last of this dynasty to rule all the area.)
Einion
Rhys Goch (Red Rhys) Ruler of Ystrad Yw in Breconshire ca. 1100. Some pedigrees: ap Maenarch ap Dryffin ap Ky ap Gwngy. Arms used by his descendants: Argent, a dragons head erased vert, holding in its mouth a hand gules. Symbol of Descent fr Caradoc Freichfras- see legend in Bulfinch's Age of Chivalry.
Genillin = Janet, dau of Prince, later Sir Howell of Caerleon:* Arms: Gules, three towers triple-towered, argent. (P. Bartrum gives wife as daughter of Cumelyn Foel.) But this is only a variant of Genillyn (Kenellyn Foel) ("The Bald")
Idris = Ann, daughter of Moriddig Warwyn
Ieuan = Gwladus, daughter of Gruffud ap Madog, great-grandson of Jestyn ap Gwrgan, last king of Glamorgan. Arms: Gules, 3 Chevronels, argent.
Ieuan Fych an = Jane, daughter of Hywel ap Iowerth of Llanffwyst.
David Mwnton = Janet, daughter of Llewelyn ap Rhys of Merthyr Tudful.
Hywel Hir = Anne, daughter of Jenkin Hafard
David = Nest, daughter of Richard Gunter
Gwilym = a daughter of Jenkin Llewelyn
John = Joan, daughter of John Gwlym Fychan
Thomas = Margery, dau. of John ap John of Ewas
Lewis = Maud, daughter of Lewis (See Turberville Chart 4(A) in Bartrum: Welsh Genealogies 1400 AD - 1500 AD.
Richard Lewis, of Llangatock Crickhowell, Breconshire, Gent. d. 1628 = Nest, daughter of Thomas ap Gwlym ap Llewelyn of Llanelli, Breconshire.
Lewis Prichard (ap Richard) aka as Rycketts (Richard) of Llantilio Pertholey, Monmouthshire (d. 1616) = Catherine (d. 1615) Bur. Llantilio Pertholey
John Lewis Rycketts (Later just John Lewis) bapt. 22 Feb 1591/2, St. Telios, Llantilio Pertholey - d. 21 Aug 1657 Poropotank Creek. VA. 


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