Lewis ap Jon and the 1640 Muster Rolls

The Roll for Breconshire dated 9th July 1640 is held at the Public Record Office, Chancery Lane, London (Microfilm SP 16/462 in the Rolls Room)

"This indenture made the nine day of July in the fourteeth year of the reign of (our) Sovereign Lord, Char;es, King of England, Scotland and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Anno Domini 1640. BETWEENE Henry Williams, Thomas Gwyn, Edward Rowley and Edward Williams Esq, Deputie Lieutenants for the County of Brecknocke of the 1st party and Captaine Henry O'bryne and Captaine John fitzGerald of th'other party WHEREAS these Deputie Lieutenants have made (indecipherable) from the Right Honourable John, Earl of Bridgewater, Lord Lieutenabt of Wales and The Marches by virtue of the Kings Majestie, most Royall letters and directions from the Lords of the Kings most honourable Privy Councell to the said Lord Lietenant directed and advised to the forming of Two Hundred able and favourable men for the (warres) out of the said County to be imploied(employed) in his Majestie's Armie.

AND WHEREAS herewith the said Captaines Henry O'bryne and John fitzGerald have borne and are now authorized by the Right Honourable Algernon, Earl of Northumberland, Lord Generall of his Majestie's Armie by his (.....) of Commission put (.....) addressed for the said two hundred soldiers at the hand of the said deputie Lieutenants FROM this indenture putting forth that these Captaines Henry O'bryne and John fitzGerald have had and (warrant) by the delivre (delivery) of the said Deputie Lieutenants two hundred able and favourable men for the (warres) whose names and surnames with their several addresses and place od habitation are prinspuly (principly) underwritten. And do witnesseth the p'ticular receipt of these ( ..... ) and ( .... ) wherefor and directed the said Deputie Lieutenants for the number of two hundred soldiers.

IN WITNESS whereof these parties to this said indenture whereas equitably have put their names and seales, so said and proved, above written"

The rolls then go on to list the hundred men under Captain Henry O'bryne and the hundred under Capitain John fitzGerald . Under the latter at number 76 in Llanafan Fawr is the name LEWIS AP JON.

The background to this muster lay in the Bishop Wars of 1639 - 1640. The term was a generic term for the conflict between England and Scotland caused by fierce Scottish reaction against Charles I's attempt to reform the Scottish church. The Scottish National Covenant was drawn up in 1638, after which the Presbyterian Kirk abolished episcopacy and raised forces to resist King Charles.
First Bishops' War, 1639 - The English army sent against Scotland was so obviously inadequate that the King didn't dare risk a battle. Royalist leaders in Scotland - the Marquess of Huntly and his son, Viscount Aboyne - were easily defeated by Covenanter armies under the Earl of Montrose and Alexander Leslie. Negotiations with the Earl of Antrim to bring an army over from Ireland broke down, and the King was obliged to sign the Treaty of Berwick in June 1639.
Second Bishops' War 1640 - Encouraged by the Earl of Strafford, King Charles sent a second force against the Scots in 1640. This ended in a humiliating defeat for the English at the battle of Newburn, August 1640. The ensuing Treaty of Ripon left Alexander Leslie's Covenanter army occupying Newcastle-upon-Tyne and exacting an indemnity of 850 a day from the English government for their quarter.

The expense of the Bishops' Wars forced Charles to abandon his attempt to rule without Parliament and obliged him to call the Short and Long Parliaments, 1640, in order to raise funds and heralded the start of the English Civil War.

Charles Carlton's excellent book " Going to the WARS" notes that those who fought fiercest for the Crown were often outsiders, provincials from the Celtic fringes. The deprived, the rejected, the unemployed, the evicted, those scorned by the establishment will often fight for the powers that be with the utmost bravery. Erich Fromm has called this paradox "group narcissism" whereby outsiders compensate for for a lack of satisfaction with their lot by excessive loyalty to those insiders whose kismet is far better than theirs to give their life some meaning.

The Welsh fought well during the Bishops Wars they did badly at the Battle of Edgehill . Although badly armed, they broke and ran causing one eye-witness to remark that the infantry were "poor welsh vermins, the off-scourings of the nation". However at the Battle of Brentford four weeks later they redeeemed themselves as they drove three crack Parliamentary regiments into the River Thames.

The Roundheads regarded Wales as well beyond the pale and Parliament never even attempted to enlist Welsh support

"blind Wales and other dark corners of the land" - JohnCorbet (Governor of Gloucester)

A member of the Rump Parliament wondered " if one could find a place with more ignorance and hatred of God's people than Merionethshire"

I am still researching this element but from the literature I've looked at to date it appears that Wales was left alone by the Parliamentarians for much of the Civil war and beyond.

With regard to LEWIS ap JON himself several facts have emerged. His first children were called Catherine and Margaret who were twins. Sadly they were baptised and buried in the same year 1644. Their youger brother John was baptised on 5th November 1645. They were also two other brothers Thomas and SIMON ap LEWIS.
(my great grandfather six times removed) but their dates of birth are not known. Thomas died and was buried in 1686 and Simon in 1722.

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This page was last updated on 19/04/02 09:15