DEFENCE STATEMENT: Made by Chancellor [Owen] Hughes [Vicar of Penmynydd] in a case concerning a dispute over the election to a chamber in Penmynydd almshouses. Attached is a an abstract of the will of Lewis Rogers and an explanation of how Lewis Owen came to be one of the executors of the will. Rogers' will was proved by Henry Roberts, the other executor, Maurice Shaw, renouncing his executorship. After proving the will Roberts assigned the executorship to Lewis Owen, one of the overseers of Roger's will. Owen took out a bond of 2000 marks for the just performance of the executorship. The Defence Statement tehn explains that Owen bought 2 acres of land in Penmynydd from Richard Branthwyatt, Esq. but that the almshouse was not built until 1620. At the same time the tithes of Eglwys Rhos, which had been bought by Owen, were assigned by a deed of foeffment for the support of the almshouse.
The same deed also conveyed the land on which the almshouses were to be built to 14 foeffees one of whom, Hugh Williams and his heirs, was appointed collector. Hugh Williams took on the job of collector and with Roberts White, the prebendary of Penmynydd, and Richard Owen Tudor appointed the almsmen. Hugh William's son, Thomas took no interest in the charity; he had been left estates in England by Lewis Rogers and lived there. In fact none of the foeffees took much interest in the charity, neither did Conningsby Williams, the son of Thos. Williams, until he married the daughter and heiress of Richard Owen Tudor of Penmynydd. After his marriage he took on the job as collector to the charity in the name of his wife, but without legal authority because the original foeffees died without renewing the foeffment. Conningsby Williams died in 1708 without issue, and his executor Richard Hampton, and Francis Bulkeley, heir at law to Richard Owen Tudor undertook the management of the almshouse. After Bulkeley's death, his sister, Mrs. Meyrick acted.
The Defendant, with Mrs. Meyrick and the churchwardens, undertook the task of nominating people to the almshouse because Thomas Williams, heir to John Williams through his son John, was an infant and could only act through his guardians, who, probably because they lived in England, took no interest in the charity. Thomas Williams never came of age. He died in 1719 and his heir at law was Robert Williams at Penmynydd. However the defendant and the churchwardens continued to take an interest in the charity and appointed Arthur Rowlands to one of the chambers. He died in 1735 leaving a widow Grace Hughes and an idiot daughter Elizabeth Arthur. The dispute in this case concerns this family and Robert Owen of Holyhead, described by the defendant as aged over 70, but of indifferent conversation and not very poor. Owen claimed that Elizabeth Arthur had been elected to a vacant chamber for which, as a woman, she was ineligible, and that the defendant had put pressure on Owen Jones, the sexton of the pariah church at Penmynydd, to marry Grace Hughes and take care of her daughter Elizabeth in return for the chamber vacated by the death of Arthur Rowland. The defendant denies that Elizabeth Arthur was elected although he was of the opinion that there should be two poor women admitted to the almshouse, as indeed had been the practice in the past, so that in his eyes she was not ineligible as Owen claimed. He denied that Robert Owen had been elected to the disputed chamber and that the pension paid to him for two years, by Robert William's agent should be refunded to the charity. He was not eligible for election, not belonging to one of the other four parishes. He denies that he put any pressure on Owen Jones to marry Arthur Rowland's widow, but that he chose to do so and that he was properly elected to the chamber by Richard Lord Viscount Bulkeley, Wm. Rodvell, Nicholas Bayly, Owen Meyrick, Wm. Evans and himself, being 6 of the foeffees named in a deed of 1737.