Powell family, of Nanteos

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Powell family, of Nanteos

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The family originally resided at Llechwedd Dyrys, Cardiganshire. Sir Thomas Powell (1631-1704), Serjeant-at-law (1688), a Baron of the Exchequer and Judge of the King's Bench during the reign of James time married Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of David Lloyd (Gwyn) of Aberbrwynen. It was Sir Thomas's successful legal career which ensured the rise to local eminence of the Powell family. Thomas's son, William Powell married in 1620, Avarina, daughter of Cornelius le Brun by his wife, Ann, daughter and co-heiress of John Jones of Nanteos. After this period Llechwedd Ddyrys became unoccupied and was later abandoned and became a ruin.

William and Ann's heir was their eldest son, Thomas Powell, M.P. for Cardigan Boroughs 1725-1727 and for Cardiganshire 1727-1742. He married Mary, grand-daughter of Sir John Frederick, Lord Mayor of London in 1662. They built the Georgian mansion on the site which was completed in 1757. On Thomas's death in 1752 the estate devolved on his surviving brother, Dr William Powell (1705-1780). Through the marriage of his sister Anna to Richard Stedman, the extensive lands of the Ystrad Fflur (Strata Florida) estate came to the Powells, including Strata Florida Abbey. Following this acquisition, the Powells owned 30,000 acres from Devil's Bridge and Ponterwyd to Aberystwyth, including extensive sheep walks above Llanddewibrefi.

William was succeeded by his son, Thomas (1745-1797), whose heir was his eldest son, William Edward Powell (1788-1854). The latter was M.P. for Cardiganshire 1816-1854 and Lord Lieutenant for the county. He purchased an army commission and left the running of the estate to agents. The estate, due partially to a series of family settlements, was heavily in debt. When William came of age in 1809 the debt amounted to over ℗Đ20,000. He made some attempt to retrieve the situation, arranging for the sale of his un-entailed property at Llanbrynmair, Montgomeryshire in 1823, but he also spent ℗Đ2,880 on improvements to the mansion which were completed in 1847.

The estate passed to William's son, William T.R. Powell (1815-1878), M.P. for Cardiganshire, 1859-1865, who sold parts of the estate to the value of ℗Đ80,000 between 1868 and 1873. According to the return of owners of land, he owned an estimated 30,573 acres in Wales (in Cardiganshire, Breconshire and Montgomeryshire) with an estimated rental of ℗Đ9,372.

William T.R. Powell's heir was his eldest son, George Ernest John Powell (1842-1884), poet, scholar and friend of Byron, Swinburne, Longfellow and Wagner.He was succeeded by his father's cousin, William Beauclerk Powell (1834-1911), who along with his son, Edward Athleston Lewis Powell (1870-1930) sold extensive tracts of land which saw the estate dwindle to 4,000 acres. Edward married Margaret Louisa Joan, eldest daughter of Sir Pryse Pryse of Gogerddan, thereby uniting the two declining houses. Their only son, William Edward George Pryse Wynne Powell (b. 1899) was killed in action in France.

Various claims of male relations to the estate were rejected and when Edward Powell died in 1930, the male line of the Powells came to an end. A descendant of Edward Powell's widow, Elizabeth Mirylees, succeeded to Nanteos. Most of the remaining 2,250 acres and the house were sold in 1967.

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