William ap Thomas

The main entrance of Raglan Castle, now ruined

William ap Thomas (died 1445) was a member of the Welsh gentry family that came to be known as the Herbert family through his son William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke and is an ancestor of the current Earls of Pembroke.

Raglan manor, attained through marriage through heiress Elizabeth Bluet, was greatly expanded by William and his son, William Herbert, into the well-fortified Raglan Castle, one of the finest late medieval Welsh castles.

William served King Henry V of England during his first French campaign and in numerous subsequent capacities and was knighted in 1426.


William ap Thomas was the son of Sir Thomas ap Gwyllym, Knt (d. 1438) of Perth Hir and Maud Morley, daughter and co-heir of Sir John Morley of Llansantffraed. In 1400 Thomas and his wife Maud inherited Llansantffraed Court, the country seat and estate of Sir John Morley.[1][2] Llansantffraed Court was located approximately 2 miles west of the town of Raglan and Raglan Castle,[3] near Clytha and Abergavenny,[2] Wales. Thomas is buried in the church where a plaque records his death and that of his successors until 1624.[1]

After Sir Thomas' death, Llansantffraed Court passed through William's brother, Philip.[3] In 1449 Philip was given 'advowson of the living' by Sir Edward Nevill, 3rd Baron Abergavenny and Elizabeth de Beauchamp, Lady of Abergavenny. Llansantffraed Court was held by the Philip's descendants in an unbroken line until the 17th century.[2]

The Blue Knight of Gwent

Sir William fought in France with Henry V of England and at the famous Battle of Agincourt. In 1415, Sir William was created knight banneret. In 1426, he was knighted by King Henry VI, becoming known to his compatriots as "Y marchog glas o Went" (the blue knight of Gwent), because of the colour of his armour.[4][5] he gradually began to establish himself as a person of consequence in South Wales.

Important offices in Wales

William held the following positions:[5]

While William played an active role for the Duke of York, his sphere of influence was generally limited to South Wales.[5]


William married firstly in 1406 Elizabeth or Isabel Bluet (also spelled Bloet), the daughter of Sir John Bluet of Raglan manor and widow of Sir James Berkeley. Elizabeth, "the lady of Raggeland,"[6] inherited Raglan Castle with her husband James Berkeley, who later died in 1405 or 1406. Elizabeth died in 1420.[5][6][7][8][9] Before marrying Berkeley she had married and become the widow of Sir Bartholomew Picot. Elizabeth's third marriage, to William ap Thomas, had no issue.[9]

William married secondly heiress Gwladys ferch Dafydd Gam, described by Welsh poet Lewys Glyn Cothi as 'The Star of Abergavenny' for her beauty. She was the daughter of Sir Dafydd Gam and the widow of Sir Roger Vaughan of Bredwardine. All three men had been part of the Welsh contingent that fought with King Henry V of England in France, including the Battle of Agincourt.[1][7][10]


William and Gwladys had the following issue:

Other issue less consistently attributed to Gwladys and William include: Maud, Olivia, Elizabeth (who married Welsh country gentlemen, John ab Gwilym),[10] and Thomas Herbert.[11]

Raglan Castle

When Sir John Bloet died, Raglan manor passed to Elizabeth Bloet and her husband James Berkeley.[8][17] When William's wife Elizabeth died in 1420, Elizabeth's son Lord James Berkeley inherited Raglan Manor. William resided at Raglan manor as a tenant of his stepson[6] until 1432 when he purchased the manor[8] from Lord Berkeley.[5][6]

Grandiose expansion for defence and comfort occurred between 1432 when William ap Thomas bought the manor and 1469 when his son, Sir William Herbert, was executed. Improvements by father and son included the twin-towered gatehouse, five storied Great Tower encircled by a moat, a self-contained fortress in its own right, South Gate, Pitched Stone Court, drawbridge and portcullis.[6][8]

Thomas Churchyard praised Raglan Castle in his 16th century poem, The Worthiness of Wales:[18]

"The Earle of Penbroke that was created Earle by King Edward the four bult the Castell sumptuously at the first
Not farre from thence, a famous castle fine
That Raggland hight, stands moted almost round
Made of freestone, upright straight as line
Whose workmanship in beautie doth abound
The curious knots, wrought all with edged toole
The stately tower, that looks ore pond and poole
The fountaine trim, that runs both day and night
Doth yield in showe, a rare and noble sight"

Dafydd Llwyd proclaimed Raglan the castle with its "hundred rooms filled with festive fare, its hundred towers, parlours and doors, its hundred heaped-up fires of long-dried fuel, its hundred chimneys for men of high degree."[19]

Death and burial

Gwladys and William ap Thomas were patrons of Abergavenny Priory, where they were both buried

William ap Thomas died in London in 1445 and his body was brought back to Wales. William's wife, Gwladys, died in 1454.[5] Gwladys and her husband William ap Thomas were patrons of Abergavenny Priory where they were both buried; their alabaster tomb and effigies can still be seen in the church of St Mary's.[7][10][20] [21]


  1. 1 2 3 Nicholas, T. (2000) [1872]. Annals and Antiquities of the Counties and County Families of Wales: containing a record of all ranks of the gentry with many ancient pedigrees and memorials of old and extinct families (Facsimile reprint ed.). Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing.Com. p. 777. ISBN 0-8063-1314-5.
  2. 1 2 3 Gobion, C. "Llansantffraed Court, A Potted History of the House". Llansantffraed Court. Retrieved 25 February 2011.
  3. 1 2 Ragland, C (1978). The Raglands: the history of a British-American family. 2.
  4. Clark, Arthur (1962). The Story of Monmouthshire, Volume 1. Christopher Davies. p. 122. ISBN 978-0-9506618-0-3.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Cadw (1994). Guidebook for Raglan Castle (Section transcribed at CastleWales.com). Cadw. Retrieved 25 February 2011.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 Hull, L (2006). Britain's Medieval Castles. p. 160. ISBN 978-0-275-98414-4.
  7. 1 2 3 Fanthorpe, L; Fanthorpe, P (2005). The World's Most Mysterious Castles. Toronto: Dundurn Press. ISBN 1-55002-577-5.
  8. 1 2 3 4 Newman, J (2000). The Buildings of Wales: Gwent / Monmouthshire. London: Penguin Books. pp. 16, 17, 490, 589. ISBN 978-0-300-09630-9.
  9. 1 2 Richardson, D; Everingham, K (2004). Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. Baltimore, MD, US: Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc. p. 100. ISBN 0-8063-1750-7.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Prichard, T. J. Llewelyn. (2007) [1854]. The Heroines of Welsh History: Or Memoirs Of The Celebrated Women Of Wales (Reprinted ed.). Kessinger Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-4325-2662-7.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 Evans, Howell T. (1915). Wales and the wars of the Roses. Cambridge University Press. p. 244. LCCN 15019453.
  12. Griffiths, R. A. (2004-11). "Herbert, William, first earl of Pembroke (c.1423–1469),". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/13053. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  13. Griffiths, R. A. (2004-11). "Stradling (Stradelinges, de Estratlinges) family". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/48658. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  14. "Sloane Charters". Cymmrodorion Record Series. London: Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion. 4: 618. 1908.
  15. Evans, Howell T. (1915). Wales and the wars of the Roses. Cambridge University Press. p. 214. LCCN 15019453.
  16. Owen, Henry (1902). Old Pembroke Families in the Ancient County Palatine of Pembroke. London: C. J. Clarke. LCCN 05015821.
  17. Brown, R (1989). Castles From the Air. Cambridge: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge. p. 190. ISBN 0-521-32932-9.
  18. Churchyard, T. "A Description of Monmouth Shiere". Worthiness of Wales. Retrieved 25 February 2011.
  19. Jones, R (2003). Haunted castles of Britain and Ireland.
  20. "Abergavenney Priory-William ap Thomas, Sir". Aberystwyth University. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  21. "St. Mary's Priory of Abergavenny, William ap Thomas and Gwladys Monuments". St Mary's Priory Church. 2008. Retrieved 7 February 2011.

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/9/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.