Some Awbrey Family History by Stuart Davies

Many thanks to my cousin Stuart Davies, who is a meticulous genealogist and accurate historian. The Awbrey Family intermarried in many ways with the descendants of the Princes, and with other Cambrian Norman Families such as Havard and Gunter. Their Norse / Gothic origins can be seen from the etymology, Awbrey is from Alberic (King of the Elves), Havard is from Hoy Vard (of high worth) and Gunter (Gunar in modern Scandinavia and Iceland) is from Gunr Herr (battle leader). There were Awbrey Hen, Havard Hen and Gunter Hen. So after one generation they spoke British Celtic (Welsh) and many became staunch defenders of the language for centuries, as I am myself. Bartrum stops his Awbrey line with Thomas Awbrey (born 1299), but they go back to Richard 1st Duke of Normandy through Isabella de Clare who married Reginald Aubrey (eleventh century). Other family names like Games and Vaughan come from Welsh, Games is from Dafydd Gam and Vaughan from Fychan. The Herberts adopted the name, their original name was Welsh. All this is on Dr. William Awbrey was granted large tracts of land by Elizabeth 1st, and John Aubrey F. R. S. wrote “Brief Lives” (short biographies). The Ynys Cedwyn Gentry were descended from the Princes and the Normans. I was lucky to discover the only extant documents pertaining to our ancestor Elizabeth Portrey of Ynys Cedwyn House, apart from church records. Stuart Davies has been immensely helpful over the years and the genealogy is all on On the British side Stuart and I are descended form the Tudor ancestor, Tewdwr Mawr ap Cadell (tenth / eleventh century), ancestor of Henry VII and Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector.

Sent: 13/05/2017 17:37:35 GMT Daylight Time
Subj: Re: Awbrey Family History

Apologies for the delay in replying to you, but I wanted to collect some photos to send you which are related to the Awbrey family of the Swansea Valley. I will endeavour to help you with respect to any questions that you may have, but the Awbrey family is spread over such a wide area in Wales that there are many aspects of it that I have not touched at all.

I note that you have visited Christ College in Brecon. Apart from the Awbrey connection, I had two uncles who went to school there and there were other cousins to both Myron and myself who were pupils there around the beginning of the 20th century. In fact I first contacted Felicity Kilpatrick, the school archivist, to provide details with respect to WW1 serving old boys. I subsequently went on a tour of the school with her and others. It should be the primary place to visit for anybody interested in the Awbrey connection, albeit that it is but a shadow of what the friary must have been like prior to the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century. One hesitates to guess what it was like in all its finery after Roger Thomas etc have done such extensive damage. Did you manage to get any photos of the Awbrey chapel? I am not sure that it necessarily deserves such a title as it, apart from now being the vestry, has little related to the Awbrey family other than the grave slab of Thomas Awbrey which is in any case of a 17th century date.

The first photo that I attach is of a plaque memorial to Morgan Awbrey [note the spelling] who was of Ynyscedwyn Hall in Ystradgynlais and died in 1648. The original ancient church was demolished and replaced in the 1860s with the present church. Wall plaques were transferred to the new church, albeit that this is the earliest, but none of the marked stone grave slabs from within the old church were moved or at least there are none there now. The last male Awbrey of this descent died in the 1670s, though he had made a very good marriage to one of the Middletons of Middleton Hall in Carmarthenshire [long demolished, but now the site of the National Botanic
Gardens of Wales and with newly discovered extensive water features of lakes,
cascades etc].

The sister of this last Morgan Awbrey [the first born always bore that
name in this branch of the family, presumably named after hen {old in Welsh}
Morgan Awbrey, the one time lord of Brecon] married into the Portrey family and her granddaughter subsequently married into the Gough family of Gloucestershire. My second photo shows a wall plaque from the old church put up by the son of this grand-daughter. The only trouble is that he omits altogether the name or mention of his grandfather. This inscription is quoted by all the post 1800 History Books of Breconshire and thus perpetuates the error.

My third photograph again shows an old plaque now positioned in the new church. It details the Gough family owners of Ynyscedwyn Hall. You will note that the first named bore the surname of Aubrey. This was a requirement of the settlement of the what was in effect the old Awbrey estate. The last male Portrey inheritor of the Awbrey Estate died with no legitimate heirs and prior to his death an agreement was reached by all parties that the Estate would pass on his death to the eldest son of the Gough heirs, on condition that the heirs would take the name of Aubrey to perpetuate the name. This requirement was held to for approx. 60 years after the death of the Portrey before being dropped. The male Gough family inheritors of the estate themselves died out in the 1930s and the house was taken over by the local council. It was eventually developed by them as their council offices. To their disgrace the council decreed in the 1990s that the hall should be demolished and the land used for executive style housing. Youtube contains a series of photos of the hall prior to demolition.

My last photograph is of a plaque placed in the new church just over 50 years ago. It makes reference to my gggggrandmother, albeit that the name is in error. She was married as an Elizabeth Portrey, albeit illegitimate. Myron is also of course descended from her. She married a Morgan Thomas and hence the family name of Morgan through the Welsh patronymic naming system dropped from the next generation onwards.

Much of our Awbrey family history has been researched using Limbus patrum Morganiae et Glamorganiae, by George T Clark, Wyman 1886. Are you familiar at all with it? Is the book by Jon Awbrey, Dominion and Decline to which you refer in your Wikitree link still available for purchase in the US?

Come back to me with any queries you may have reference this email and any other questions you may have.

Stuart Davies

Subject: Awbrey Family History

Dear Stuart Aubrey,

I am sure that my cousin Stuart Davies will help if he can. He sent the photograph of the House. I attach some Aubrey genealogy back to Thomas Aubrey, the Red Haired Constable (Cwnstabl Coch), born 1299, who married Nest ferch Owain Gethin, born 1304, descended from the Princes as shown. This is where Bartrum stops his line, but it can be pushed back reliably to the de Clare Family and Richard Duke of Normandy, descended from Norse Iarls near Trondheim. You are welcome to use this on Wikitree, or any of the genealogy on The Institute for Ancient Wales Studies in Texas does a lot of good work on the ancient genealogies. Morgan Aubrey Hen, Lord of Brecon (born 1389) was married to Alys ferch Watkin.


Myron Evans

In a message dated 04/05/2017 23:20:37 GMT Daylight Time, writes:

Dear Dr. Evans,

Over the last couple of years, I have read many of your postings regarding our Awbrey family. Once again today, I read the one about Llanelieu – The Awbrey House – Of particular import is the statement “You may well be aware that three Awbrey brothers went from there to the US.” One of those brothers is my emigrant ancestor, John Awbrey. I have been to Brecon twice including visits to Llanelieu Court, Abercynrig and other Awbrey related locations.

Do either you or Stuart Davies (if I recall he also descends from Morgan Awbrey) have the time to answer some questions?

I do a lot of work on WikiTree. My profile is at

Some of my projects are at: and


Stuart Awbrey

Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas

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