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Pennant & Eglwysbach Holland's

This branch of the Holland family is well represented in the numerous pedigrees of important, wealthy or influential families that lived in North Wales. Both Griffiths and Lewys Dwynn include them in their published collections. I have included here photographs of the original pedigrees, published in 1914 & 1846 respectively, together with a pedigree compiled jointly by my first cousin Brian Holland and myself. This latter pedigree is based on information gathered from various sources that are referred to below. Both Brian and I have tried to observe certain Standards and Good Practice in completing the pedigrees to be found here.

Griffith's Pedigree for the Pennant Holland family

A photograph of the Pennant Holland's pedigree page contained in Griffith's Pedigree can be seen by clicking on the link here (courtesy of Flintshire Archives). The physical size of the chart is about A3 and it can be difficult to navigate visually.

An HTML version extracted from the pedigree can be seen here Click Here which will open a new page in your browser. Just close that page to return here. To start navigating backwards through the descendants of Howel Holland, just click on his name. For those who are used to browsing with two tabs open you can easily compare the pedigree image and html versions by switching between them. The pedigree contains only the information provided in Griffith's Pennant Holland Pedigree. An extended version resulting from information gathered from other available sources can be seen below.

Lewys Dwnn Pedigree

For those interested in comparing this earlier pedigree of the Pennant Holland family prepared by Lewys Dwnn to the Griffith Pedigree above it can be viewed here (by permission of Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru/The National Library of Wales)

Eglwysbach Expanded Holland Pedigree

Based on a significant amount of hard work by my 1st cousin Brian Holland we have been able to develop and add considerably to the Griffith's Pedigree above using a variety of archive material. Wherever possible in this larger pedigree I have added the source of information used.

This expanded Pedigree in the form of a searchable database and a "Family Explorer" view it can be accessed by clicking here .This version will be more convenient for those looking to find a specific name.

You can also view a hand drawn version of the Eglwysbach Holland pedigree drawn by Brian Holland. The great benefit of this form of presentation is;

The file is approximately 1.2 Mb in size so depending on your connection speed will take a few seconds to download and appear clearly. Click here to access

Historical Notes

The following notes are extracted from a number of different sources and show the Pennant and Plas Berw Holland’s have common descent. You will find it useful to compare the two pedigrees to see how the Pennant/Eglwysbach family fit in.


The Pennant Estate is located within the Parish of Eglwysbach, Denbighshire and was situated in wooded valleys and hills on the eastern side of the Conway Valley. The Holland family remained in possession of the Pennant estate until at least 1723. The map below shows the general position of Eglwysbach. Just click on the location to bring up a more detailed map with Pennant just to the south east of the village.

Map showing Eglwys Bach


Eglwysbach Holland's Pedigree 1330 - 1875 by Brian Holland (Updated December 2013)Brian Holland

The Hollands of Eglwys Bach can be traced back with reasonable certainty to Roger (Hoesgyn) Holland who was reputed by the Latter Day Saints (LDS) research to have been born approximately in 1330 AD.  His ascendants are open to some speculation and will be dealt with separately.  In addition to the Eglwys Bach Hollands he was also the ancestor of the Anglesey, Kimnel and Abergele Hollands.

There is no evidence to date of there being any family connections between Roger's Eglwys Bach ancestors and the Conwy Hollands. There is a reasonable possibility that the Hollands of Llangelynnin and Gyffin parishes in the Comote of Isaph in Caernarfonshire were descended from John Holland son of Morgan Holland of Eglwys Bach.

The main residence of the Eglwys Bach Hollands was Pennant Hall which dates back to the 15th century and was probably occupied by Howel Holland, grandson of Roger (Hoesgyn) Holland, and was passed on through the generations until it finished up in the hands of the Rev Howell Holland Edwards in the 19th century, he being the son of Mary Holland and the Rev Edward Edwards, Mary being the daughter of Jeffrey Holland and Mary Wynne, he being the last male survivor of this dynasty.  Much of the historical data referring to the Eglwys Bach Hollands is derived from the notes of Howel Holland Edwards who appears to have carried out extensive research of the Holland pedigree. However there are some discrepancies between his notes and the published data of Griffiths and other publications.

For the purposes of constructing a pedigree chart it is therefore safest to use the Griffiths pedigree as a starting point and use the data from other sources to fill in any gaps and incorporate additional data. In order to accommodate the growing Holland family in Eglwys Bach two other main branches were formed residing at Pen Y Bryn and Bryn Y Fran. These two lines also appear to have run out of male heirs by the 19th century. In addition there were also properties called Ty Thyn Bellin ap Jenkin and Cefn Y Coed in which members of the Holland family were known to reside. Information used in the pedigree chart is derived from the following sources.  

  The locations of Pen y Bryn & Bryn y Fran can be seen just to the south east of Eglwysbach in the map left



The following abbreviations are used throughout the following text;

Gfs; Griffith Pedigree for the Pennant Holland family.

Dwyn; Heraldic Visitations of Wales.

LDS; Church of Latter Day Saints (Family Search - Pedigree Resource Files)

Hayes; Dafydd Hayes Marriage Database (see Clwyd Family History Society)

HHE; Howel Holland Edwards notes forming part of the Nanhoran Estate records.

NLW; National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth.

PR; Parish Register (Usually Eglwysbach unless stated otherwise)

Roger Hoesgyn Holland(Circa 1330- 1390)

According to Gfs (p110) he was married to Margaret daughter of Dafydd Chwith ap Dafydd descended from Owen Gwynedd, Prince of Wales. Very little information has come to light regarding the Chwith (possibly Chwyth) family. According to Dwnn (p364) his ascendancy was David ap David ap Griffith ap Kradog (Cariadog) ap Thomas ap Rhodri ap Owen Gwynedd. According to P C Bartrum (Gruffudd ap Cynan 13) Angharad had a brother Cynwrig Goch of Eglwys Bach. Presumably Roger received land in Eglwys Bach through his marriage to Margaret. An input from Neville Holland refers to a book on medieval history that suggests that the Hollands of Upholland Lancashire were awarded land in N Wales that had previously belonged to Llewlyn ap Gruffudd, Prince of Wales who died in 1282, some of Llewlyn’s land was in the Eglwys Bach area.  

According to the LDS website Roger was born in 1330 which matches up well with the approximate date derived by extrapolating upwards from known birth dates of descendants assuming 30 years per generation, and downwards seven generations from Owen Gwynedd (b1097) to his wife Margaret, it seems highly probable that he was born in the first half of the fourteenth century. No written evidence has come to light to substantiate this date, in fact very little has been found other than that which appears on the published pedigrees of Gfs, Dwnn and Bernard Holland, and the HHE notes. There is general agreement that his son and heir was Robin Holland. In addition Gfs attributes to him a daughter Angharad who married Ieuan of Melai and Vronhaulog (Fronheulog) (Gfs p110.), this is confirmed by P C Bartrum (PCB Holland 1). From this marriage they had a son Einion Vychan who married Angharad vch Gruffydd ap Cynfrig ap Bleddyn Llwyd of Hafodunas. The Wynne family of Melai and Maenen Abbey were direct descendants of the marriage between Ieuan of Melai and Angharad. (Gfs p 376).

According to the combined Welsh pedigrees in Bernard Holland’s Lancashire Hollands Roger also had a son Radulphus who married Rosa (widow) dau of Skevington de Breton, and another dau Ankareta who married John ap Rhys Wynne. Radulphus had two daughters, Isabella and Alicia. Isabella married H Ravenscroft. We have so far been unable to vouch for the accuracy of this data, there is no mention of them on P C Bartrum’s pedigree. He also had a daughter Mali who married first Ieuan Ddu ap Ieuan of Trofarth and they are attributed one son who married Alswn f Einion and had issue Dafydd and Cynwrig (PCB Marchudd 3). She married 2nd Cwnws ap Dafydd ap Llywarch and had issue Hywel Goch, Ieuan Ddu and Gronwy. Her brother in law was Gruffudd Fain whose grandson Rhys was murdered by Roger’s great, great, great grandson John Holand (see below).

It is noticeable that Roger and his descendants married into prominent Welsh families which enhanced their land holdings and status within the area. In St Asaph Cathedral there is a stone slab, shown left, with an heraldic shield bearing a lion rampant and three fleur de lis at one end and a greyhound chasing a hair at the other end, regrettably there is no inscription. This is described in a book entitled “Medieval Stone Carvings in North Wales” by Michael Powell Siddons. There is a plaque beside the slab which hypothesises that it is that of a member of the Holland family as it closely resembles the official Holland coat of arms. By comparing this slab with others in North Wales it is possible to date it as being from the mid 14th to early fifteenth century, this would coincide with the approximate death of Roger Hoesgyn Holland and so it is feasible that it could be a memorial to him.

There is a similar slab in St John’s Church, Ysbyty Ifan commemorating Cwnrig ap Llwyarch which depicts a similar Lion rampant but with three roses and possibly two fleur de lis, this also has evidence of a hare being chased by a hound. There are two other slabs depicting a hound chased by a hare these being at Llanyblodwel and Valle Crucis Abbey. Pennant Melangell was the patron saint of the hair and there is a shrine to him in St Melangell's Church, Llangynog. As there is no obvious family connection between these four slabs it seems unlikely that it was a heraldic inscription; it most probably had some symbolic meaning connected to St Melangell. There is no doubt that Roger Hoesgyn Holland would have been a prominent person in Denbighshire at this time and it is feasible that he may have been interred at St Asaph Cathedral, however there is no way of proving this conclusively.

Robin Holland ap Roger Hoesgyn Holland (Circa 1360-1430)

It is believed his lands were confiscated for his siding with Owen Glyndwr but later reinstated. According to HHE (XDS/101/23/37) he married Agnes vch Meredith ap Rhys ap Richard, HHE extends this to ap Cadwalader ap Griffith ap Conan Twysog whereas GFS has Anne. As we are not sure of the source of Gfs I have opted to use Agnes though either could be right. The LDS website omits Robin Holland altogether, making Howel the son of Roger (Hoesgyn). I think we have to conclude this is a mistake as it disagrees with all other references to the Holland family tree.

Robin is known to have had two sons; the eldest Howel Holland inherited the Pennant Estate in Eglwys Bach, Denbighshire; and Dafydd Holland of Faerdref who started the Holland lines in Abergele and Kimnel (Ref Welsh Biography Online). Gfs also includes a John Holland, evidence for this comes in a document translated from Latin, dated 1410, which pardons Ieuan ap Robyn Holand, and also Ieuan’s sisters Morwyth and Gwenllian, Ieuan ap Griffith ap Robert Holand and others for “ all manner of treasons, insurrections, rebellions, arsons etc.” (NLW Bettesfield 1 MS 202). It seems highly likely that the Robyn mentioned is the ancestor of the Eglwys Bach family, Ieuan being the Welsh for John. So far I have been unable to allocate Ieuan ap Griffith ap Robert to any of the family lines and he remains a mystery. According to Sir John E Lloyd, Robin supervised the siege of Harlech and on two occasions captured the constable of the castle.


Howel Holland ap Robin of Pennant (Circa 1400-1470)

There seems to be some disagreement as to the spouse of Howel Holland. According to Gfs, Howel married Arddyn vch John Vychan ap John ap Gruffydd ap John ap Howel ap Madog of Lleyn which agrees with the family tree in the Dwnns Heradic Visitations of Wales. However, HHE has him married to Lleiki vch Gruffydd ap Ednwch ap Einion Lloyd ap i’r Penwyn o Melai, and LDS has his wife as Lleucu vch Grufydd of Rhiwlas, Denbighshire. Perhaps he married more than once, if so there is no clue as to which spouse was the father of his son John. I suspect that Gfs regurgitated the Dwnn pedigree and as we don’t know the origin of this data I have chosen to use the HHE and LDS information as they appear to agree on the name if not the place of origin. HHE in his notebook (XD/11/1) admits to not knowing how Howel came into possession of Pennant but suspects it was by marriage, we have so far been unable to trace the roots of his spouse.

John Holland ap Howel (Circa 1430-1500)

Again there is some confusion regarding the spouse or spouses of John ap Howel. Gfs and Dwnn record him as being married to Elin vch Ithel who was the heiress of Ithel ap Howel ap Llewelyn, owner of the Berw Estate in Anglesey. These pedigrees show the descendants of both the Berw and Pennant lines resulting from this marriage. The LDS website has the Berw Line descending from this marriage, but has the Pennant line descending from a marriage between John ap Howel and Angharad vch Dafydd of Penmachno, Caernarfonshire. HHE has his wife as Gwen (Gwenllean) vch Dafydd of Betws Y Coed.  As Penmachno is within four miles of Betws y Coed it seems likely that these are one and the same person. In his notebook HHE quotes the date of the marriage between John and Angharad (Gwen) vch David ap David ap Howel Coetmore as being in 1476.

This marriage is confirmed in the Gfs pedigrees (Gfs page 192), but the descent is vch Dafydd ap Howel which is most likely correct. There are no descendants quoted from this marriage. HHE states that the residence of Howel Coetmor was at Hendre Rhys Gethin and that he was known in his day as a gallant soldier by the name of the Knight of Bettws. His remains are interred in the parish church of Llanrwst. He was head of the Tribe of Howel Coetmor (Gfs, p394) and his descendancy from Owen Gwynedd is confirmed in the Tribe of Owen Gwynedd reproduced in Gfs, p393. His coat of Arms can be seen in the Llanrwst church and there are references to him in Arch Camb 1874, p128-131.None of the above pedigrees show any issues from this marriage.

The GFS pedigree (p110) refers to John of Berw and according to Gfs he was High Sheriff of Anglesey in 1461. John’s marriage to Ellinor is believed to have taken place between 1470 and 1480 according to a NLW biography. He would have been middle aged by this time so this gives some credence to the suggestion that he married twice. If these dates are correct it implies that he had interests in Anglesey for sometime before his betrothal to Ellin so it seems likely that Ellin was his second wife. In addition to his eldest son Morgan the LDS and Bernard Holland pedigrees also include a Miss Holland who married Rhys ap Dafydd, Elizabeth, and Jonet who married Hugh Ednyfed.  None of these appear on the Gfs pedigree, possibly because they do not form part of the main lines of descent. For completeness I have included them in the Pedigree.

According to HHE in documents XDS101/23/47 and XDS101/23/39 the youngest son of John Holland by his wife Angharad was Gruffydd. He claims that he had a daughter Isabella who married Rhys ap Jenkin, however this appears to be a mistake as several Coed Coch papers refer to Isabella vch Gruffith ap Ieuan ap David who we believe was David ap Robin who was the ancestor of the Kimnel and Abergele estates.(see below). It would appear that HHE got his Gruffiths mixed up. There appear to be two possible scenarios regarding the descendants of John.

  1. His first wife Angharad died young without issue between 1476 and 1480 and all the descendants were from his marriage with Ellin. We know that Owen Holland ap John was High sheriff of Anglesey in 1504. If we assume it was unlikely that he would have had had such a responsible office bestowed upon him before the age of twenty one years, then it is likely that he was born before 1483. As Gryffydd was born after Owen there would have been just enough time for the other three named children to have been born between Morgan and Owen assuming 18months per birth. It is also possible that some or all of the others were born after Owen.
  2. John and Angharad had all the above named children, except Owen. This would have left at best 7 years to have had five children which seems highly unlikely.

Option 1 seems to be the most plausible and agrees with Gfs and Dwnn. Unless any further information emerges to underwrite the HHE and LDS versions we have opted to adopt option 1 as the most likely outcome.

According to HHE (XDS/11/1, p 5) Gruffydd had a daughter Isabella from an unknown spouse, however there are a number of documents in the Coed Coch papers (11,13,14,15 and 25) between 1489 and 1499 that refer to Land transactions involving Isabella vch Griffith ap Ieuan ap David Holland wife of Rys ap Jenkin. Isabella married Rhys ap Jenkin ap Llwellyn of Trofarth and Betws Yn Rhos. Their daughter Gwen married John ap Owen of  Trallwyn in Llansanffraid and of Gell Y Gell in Eglwys Bach. Their granddaughter by this marriage, Jane Owen, married Jeffrey Holland the great grandson of John ap Howel.  Jane Owen’s sister, Mary, by her marriage to Edmund Williams was the mother of Archbishop John Williams (1582-1650). Edmund Williams was of Maes Cadwgan, Township of Arianas, near Conwy.

This is in fact in Gyffin Parish and interestingly was later in the tenure of Ellin Holland according to the 1794 land tax records. Isabella also had a son David ap Rys ap Jenkin (Ref Coed Coch 71,92,103), he was still living in 1541. The significance of these Coed Coch papers, which can’t be disputed, is that they appear to show a difference from the official pedigrees for the Kimnel and Abergele Hollands in the Heraldic visitations and reproduced by Gfs, Powys Fadog, Archaeologia Cambrensis and other publications, however this is explained by P C Bartrum pedigrees (Holland 5) which shows Isabella to be the daughter of Gruffudd ap Ieuan ap Dafydd ap Robin and his wife Anne vch Jenkin Holland  as opposed to Isabella ap Gruffudd ap Dafydd ap Robin.

There are a couple of entries in the Letters Patent during the reign of Henry V11 referring to John Holland as follows:

12th Henry V11 Part 2

1497 - P 113- Grant for life to John Holland the Kings servant, Yeoman of the Crown of the office of Keeper of the Little Park in Denbigh, North Wales, in as fit a manner as Nicholas Mauley held the office.

1499 – P 188- Grant for life of William Almer one of the Yeomen of the Crown of the office of Keeper of the Little Park in Denbigh void by the death of John Holland.

From this we can deduce that John must have died between 1497 and 1499.

Morgan ap John (circa 1470-1516)

All sources agree that Morgan Holland was married to Elizabeth, daughter of Hugh Conway of Bryneurin; the LDS website includes that this is in Llandrillo yn Rhos, Denbighshire. HHE (XDS/11/1, p5) states that the year of the marriage was 1488. If, as deduced above, Morgan was the product of the marriage between John and Ellin then he would have been a minor being possibly between 10 and twelve years old. This implies that it would have been an arranged marriage. Morgan was the eldest son of John Holland by his marriage to Ellin vch Ithel as implied in HHE XDS/101/23/37, and consequently he inherited the Pennant Estate. According to several sources Morgan was Sergeant Porter to King Henry V11 (1485 to 1509).

This is confirmed by the following entries in the Letters Patent:

12th Henry V11 part 2:

1495- P14 – Grant during pleasure to Morgan Holland, yeoman, usher of the office sergeant of the peace and the raglawship of Bromfield and late now in the King’s hands by forfeiture of William Stanley, Knight.

1497 – P???- Appointment by the pleasure of the Kings servant Morgan Holland one of the Marshalls of the hall, as keeper of the Park of Maylewyk in the lordship of Denbigh in North Wales which office is forfeited by Edward Apdenenevent and John Whyte who failed in their service for subduing the rebate in the western parts of the kingdom.

1499 – P158 – Grant for life to the Kings servant Morgan Holland, one of the marshalls of the Kings hall, office and keeper of Malewyke Park in Denbighland with the herbage and pannage of the same on the surrender in his favour by Edward ap Eden by letters patent dated 16th September, 1 Henry V11 (1486), under seal of the Earldom of Marche which granted the same office to the said Edward and John Whyte deceased.

Morgan continued to serve in the court of Henry V111 as evidenced by the following (Letters Patent Foreign and Domestic):

1509 - Morgan Holland was Marshall officiating at the coronation of King Henry V111.

From the following entry in Letters and Papers Foreign and Domestic we can deduce that Morgan was deceased by 1530:

22 Henry V111

Hugh son and heir of  Morgan Holland deceased- Grant of all lands and tenements which John ap Howel Holland formerly held in the vill of Ruthelyn in the comote of Ughdulas in the lordship of Denbigh North Wales not exceeding the annual value of 6s.

Gfs only attributes one descendant to Morgan Holland, a son Hugh Holland who inherited the Pennant Estate. However we know that he had a son John by virtue of two documents dated 1516 translated from Latin which refer to John son and heir of Morgan Holland deceased. Also Morgan’s’ brother Owen of Berw left a bequest in his will dated 1529 to his cousin John who must have been of Pennant and was therefore most likely John ap Morgan. There are several other documents referring to John ap Morgan Holland amongst the Pennant Papers.
There is some confusion about who actually was the son and heir of Morgan.

If John was the eldest why didn’t he inherit Pennant? HHE seems to have been confused over this issue as he names John as the son and heir but later concedes that Hugh was the eldest son. The answer appears to lay in the fact that John was convicted in 1513-14, along with David ap Howell ap William of murdering Rhys ap Ieuan of Eglwys Bach, the father of John’s future brother in law Ieuan ap Rhys ap Gruffydd. The felons failed to appear at the trial and were duly convicted in their absence and outlawed as a consequence. To avoid capture they would have had to abscond to another county; as Eglwys Bach is within a couple of miles of the Caernarfonshire border it is likely that they sought refuge there. Outlawry was a serious penalty as the outlaw was required to forfeit his possessions.

This would probably have meant that if Morgan had died John could not inherit, hence the only sensible thing to do was to disinherit John and make Hugh the son and heir. John was eventually pardoned in 1535 which coincided with the introduction of the Statute of Uses which aimed to change the way in which land was inherited and return to the old system of primogenitor. Once he was pardoned John was again in a position to inherit. As for John there is no information to suggest that he lived in Eglwys Bach and it seems likely that he will have moved elsewhere as he was not destined to inherit Pennant.

There are however several references to a John Holland having interests in land in Caernarfonshire in the Trecastell and Conway areas and there must be a possibility that John took up residence in this area. This will be followed up when tracing the Hollands of Llangelynnin and Gyffin. HHE in his notebook states that it was John ap Morgan that married Elin vch Ithel in 1525 but this cannot be correct. HHE appears to have been confused regarding the marriages of the John Hollands within the family and this can only be clarified if the original documents within the Pennant papers can be found.

In addition to Hugh and John, the HHE notes attribute to Morgan a daughter Catherine, who married John ap Rhys ap Ieuan ap Grufydd Vain of Eglwys Bach in 1515. This is the Rhys that was slain by John and his accomplice. Gruffudd Fain was the son of Dafydd ap Llywarch and his brother Cynwys ap Llywarch married Mali fch Roger Hoesgyn Holland, there was therefore a distant family connection, and it is possible that the altercation was the result of a family feud. Whatever the cause it did not prevent the marriage between Catherine and John ap Rhys as evidenced in the following transcript:

Grant of Annual Rent out of Eglwysfach, 1516

John ap Rees to Katherine Holland

To all Christ’s faithful to whom this present writing shall have come John ap Rees ap Jevan ap Gruffith, son and heir of Rees ap Jevan ap Gruffith, of Eglwysfach, sends eternal greeting in the Lord.
May you know that I, the aforenamed John, by reason of a marriage proposed between me and Katherine Holand, the daughter of Morgan Holand, esquire,
Have given, granted, and by this my present writing confirmed to the said Katherine the daughter,
A certain annual rent of forty shillings issuing out of all my lands and tenements within the parish of Eglwysfach,
To have and to take annually the said annual rent of forty shillings to the aforenamed Katherine, to her and her assigns, for the term of her life, out of the issues and profits of all my lands within the aforesaid parish,
To be paid to the same Katherine during her life at two feasts, that is to say, at the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel and at the feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by equal portions,
And if it should happen the said annual rent of forty shillings to be in arrears, in part or in full, at any feast on which it ought to have been paid, that then it may be well allowed to the aforenamed Katherine to enter into and to distrain in all the aforesaid lands and tenements,
And to drive away and impound the distresses so taken and to retain them in her possession while and until she shall have been fully satisfied the aforesaid annual rent of forty shillings, and the arrears of the same if there shall be any unpaid.
In witness whereof to this my present writing I have affixed my seal.
Given at Pennant on the eighteenth day of the month of May in the eighth year of the reign of the Eighth King Henry after the conquest of England.
May you know further that I, the aforenamed John, on the day of making these presents, have delivered to the said Katherine, in the name of seisin, four pence.

By me, John ap Rees.






Pedigree showing relationship of Rhys ap Ieuan to John ap Morgan Holland                                      






There is also a will dated 1564/5 (SA/1565/R1/68r) of Thomas Holland of Eglwys Bach who had a wife Elin and a brother (John). There is no reference to this Thomas on any of the published family trees or HHE notes. It seems likely that he was another son of Morgan Holland. The brother’s name is abbreviated in the will but nothing but John seems to fit, in which case it implies that John ap Morgan was still alive in 1565. The will was witnessed by William Holland and what looks like Robert Holland and others. The William would have been William ap Hugh, his nephew, Robert was possibly his brother. P C Bartrum (Holland 2) attributes a son Robert to Morgan, although he is not included in Visitation of Wales or Gfs Pedigrees; however the transcript of a Quitclaim Manuscript held at the NLW dated c1572 confirms his existence.

In a book entitled Conway and Menai ferries, by H R Davies, published by the NLW Board of Celtic Studies there is reference to Morgan Holland being granted the lease of the Conwy and Tal Y Cefn ferries for twenty years as follows “In 1504 the ferries of Tal Y cafn & Conway were leased to Morgan Holland for twenty years for an annual rent of £20. There were two boats, one only on each ferry. These are subsequently to be maintained by Morgan Holland and are to be worth £10 at the end of the term or alternatively the lease is to answer to the Lord King and his heirs Princes of Wales in the sum of £10”. A copy of this book can be found in the Conwy library.

There is a transcript of an Indenture dated 1504 (XD/101/21/15), within which Evan ap David ap Jona a freeholder of the township of Erethlyn in the Comote of Ughdulas in the Lordship of Denbigh, demised certain lands in Erethlyn to Morgan Holand Esquire for forty pence. From the text it can be deduced that the lands in question were adjoining those lands already in the possession of Morgan Holland. It would appear that Morgan must have died in 1516 as there is a Bond of this date referring to John Holland son and heir of Morgan Holland deceased.

Hugh ap Morgan (Circa 1490-1540)

Hugh was the second son of Morgan Holland and inherited the Pennant Estate due to the demise of his elder brother John. Hugh appears to have kept a close association with his brother John in spite of him having been outlawed in 1513-14. He was instrumental in achieving his pardon in 1535 and acted as his attorney in negotiating his lease of the Crown lands known as Gavel Comeige in Llangelynnin in the same year. According to Gfs, Hugh ap Morgan married Alice vch Robert ap Ieuan ap Meyricke of Bodsilin. LDS and HHE are in agreement except that HHE adds a couple more aps, vis Meurig ap Llew ap Hwlkin.  According to Gfs he had a son Jeffrey who inherited Pennant. According to HHE, Hugh also had a son William and a daughter Gwenllyn. Nothing further is known about William other than he was probably the witness to Thomas Hollands will in 1565.

Gwenllyn married Hwlkin ap David in 1558. (HHE, XDS/101/23/37). According to HHE (XDS/101/23/42), after the death of Hugh, Alice married Henry ap Ieuan Lloyd in 1563, however in his notebook he corrects this to Alice married Ieuan Lloyd. This latter entry appears to be correct as Alice was the daughter of Robert ap John of Bodisilin and appears in the family pedigree on page 136 of Gfs, according to which she had a son and heir Henry by this marriage. This may explain the confusion. There are several other documents amongst the Pennant papers referring to Hugh ap Morgan Holland relating to various land transactions, the last of these in 1540 refers to the marriage settlement of his son Jeffrey. A short hand written document in Welsh appears to be his hastily written will. A partial transcript of this is produced below:

Will of Hugh ap Morgan, 1539-40

yr ynden... hwn ascrivenwyd denes gwener y degved dydd o vis ionor
yn y xxx a vylynyddoedd o goronydieth y byrenni[n] harre yr wythved
y irwng un hug holant ap morgan holant or ustill bart ac un iev[a]n
lloyd ap d[avi]d ap m[er]ed o Egylwis vach nid amgen nac Am gymer
... ad tir nid amgen na bod y dywedic iev[a]n lloyd yn gosod ir dywedic
hug holant yr hwn ... pylar y d’oan or’ dir v’ achwbwl or
gylann’ an’ gyviownder or gyr oer onen i’ vyryn bene ac o ogo
ybyleiddie i’ vyryn y vyran dan iiij d vov erq ac nyn dyft
ar yr ymodo uchod hug ap iev[a]n ap d[avi]d ap Toia d[avi]d ap ll’ ap
Robyn johem <ap d[avi]d> ap Robyn A Fawb a ddel amben hyny yr
ymodo xvj o vylynyddoedd
...rynden... this writing denes Friday* the thirtieth day of the month of January
in the 30th year of goronydieth King Henry the Eighth
the rrwng un Hugh Holant ap Morgan Holant or <ustill> bart ac un Evan
Lloyd ap David ap Mered of Eglwysfach namely nac Am gymer
... ad land namely na to be the dywedic Evan Lloyd in gofod ir dywedic
Hugh Holant yr this ... pylar y d’oan or’ dir v’ [?]excepting or
gylann’ an’ gyviownder or gyr oer onen i’ vyryn bene and o ogo
y byleiddie i’ vyryn y vyran dan 4d vov acre and nyn dyft
ar yr ymodo uchod Hugh ap Evan ap David ap Toia David ap Ll’ ap
Robyn johem <ap David> ap Robyn A Fawk a ddel amben hyny yr ymodo 16th of years

Jeffrey ap Hugh (Circa 1530-1600)

Jeffrey married Jane vch John Owen of Denbighshire, all sources are in agreement with this, however the LDS website adds the additional information that Jane came from Trebwll Llansanffraid. Jane was a descendant of Gruffydd ap John as mentioned above.  HHE gives a date of 1540 (XDS/101/23/42) for this marriage. Pictured right is a transcription of a stone tablet erected at Pennant in 1543 by Jeffrey Holland. According to different sources there were nine children of this marriage. The eldest, Hugh, perpetuated the Pennant line whilst the second in line, Owen, started the Pen Y Bryn Line. Gfs identifies his offspring as John, William, Owen and Hugh. Additional children identified by HHE are Piers, Alice who married Evan Lloyd ap Hugh of Eglwys Bach, Elizabeth who married Tydyr Lloyd of Eglwys Bach, probably of the Bodnod family, Catherine who married Rhich ap Rinalt of Llansanffraid. According to the parish records William died in 1638, HHE records him as being a fellow and Tutor of St John College, Camebridge.

John married Jane vch Richard Stodart and had sons William and John. There is a death in the Parish record for John Holland who died in 1660, it seems reasonable to assume that this was John ap John as John senior would have been about 90 years old by this date. In the HHE notes a crime was committed in or around 1595 by John Holland and as a result he was forced to flee the county. This brought disgrace upon the family and resulted in them losing that part of the estate called Pennant Ucha. There is some doubt as to which John was the culprit i.e. John ap Jeffrey or John ap John. It is believed the crime in question was a murder. According to HHE there is correspondence within the Pennant papers referring to this event but so far these have not been found.

There is a Caernarfon Quarter Sessions entry that appears to refer to this event, and HHE refers to him as the thankless nephew of William Holland and refers to a letter to his brother Hugh. As John ap John was the nephew of William it seems reasonable to assume it was him. In 1756 there was an entry for the burial of Lowry Holland in the PR. It is possible that this was a son of Jeffrey Holland, however as there is no entry for a baptism this assumption cannot be confirmed.

Hugh ap Jeffrey, Gent, (Circa 1560 – 1618)

Hugh ap Jeffrey married Elinor Holland the daughter of Edward ap Owen of Berw Anglesey, they being distant cousins. All sources agree on this relationship which I think goes to show that the two family lines kept in touch. HHE gives a date for this marriage of 1568 (XDS/101/23/42). Gfs & LDS only attribute one child, Robert Holland to this marriage, however according to the Parish Records there was a daughter Agnes (d1613), a son, Edward (d1629), a son John (d1601), a daughter Anne (d1635), a daughter Jane who married Meredydd Lloyd in 1605 and a daughter Elizabeth (HHE XDS101/23/37) (d1647 PR) who was married to William Price (PR burial entry for Robert Price son of William Price and Elizabeth Holland), in fact, according to the PR, they had eight children, Ellen, John, Gwen, Robert, Thomas, Lowry, Blanche and Owen. There is also a Bond dated 1588 for which we have the Latin translation which in conjunction with Owen Holland of Berw,  his brother in law, Robert Holland and John Holland, his sons, and Henry ap Ieuan Lloyd, are bounden to Owen ap Hugh ap Owen of Bodeone, Anglesey for the sum of £1000. Hugh’s death is noted as 1618 in the PR.

Robert ap Hugh (Circa 1580 – 1635)

Robert inherited the Pennant estate. All sources agree that he married Mary Owen vch Hugh of Bodeon, Anglesey. It is possible that the above mentioned bond of £1000 was a marriage settlement. According to HHE the marriage took place in 1588 (XDS/101/23/42), i.e. the date of the bond. The actual birth date of Robert is unknown but as his parents were married in 1568 he must have been in his teens when he married. It is possible that this was another arranged marriage. According to the PR Roberts son and heir was Jeffrey (d1620).  He also had a son William who died in 1623 according to the PR. The only recorded death in the PR for Robert Holland in this period is 1635. It would appear therefore that both Roberts sons predeceased him and therefore it seems likely that William did not actually become heir of Pennant even though published pedigree charts show him in direct line of descendancy. This is borne out by an entry in Archaeologia Cambrensis 1885, page 133, whereby William Holland of Cefn Y Coed was Godfather to Barbara Lloid, the tenth child of Evan Lloid Jeffrey of Dyffryn, Eglwys Bach in 1617. Cefn Y Coed is the next farm down the hill from Pennant, and Dyffryn is in close proximity. Several others of the Pennant Hollands were Godparent to other children of Evan Lloyd Jeffrey. According to the PR, Robert also had a daughter Anne (b1608) and a son Hugh (b1605). There is a reference in HHE to Hugh marrying the daughter of a William Wynne of unknown origin. There is no death for this Hugh in the PR.
William ap Robert (Circa 1590 – 1623)

We don’t have birth date for William but as Robert and Mary were married in 1588 we can assume it would not be long after that. His death is recorded in the PR and HHE as 13th January 1623. As mentioned above, it seems unlikely that he ever took over the Pennant estate as he predeceased his father. William married Jane Wynne who was the daughter of Cadwalader Wynne of Voelas (Gfs, HHE XDS/101/23/37) who in turn was married to Anne Holland daughter of Owen Holland and Elizabeth Bulkely of Plas Berw. A prenuptial agreement referred to in the Pennant Papers in the NLW is dated 1621. According to HHE after the early death of William, Jane married a second time to William Wynne and they moved to live in Bryn Y Fran, another example of the close ties between the two families. Amongst the Pennant papers there is a document dated 1608 (Gelliwig 109) that refers to a mortgage between Owen Holland of Pen Y Bryn and Evan Lloyd Jeffrey in relation to property called Ty Thyn Y Bellin ap Jenkin in a place called Nant Y Rhaglaw in the township of Escobrill. In his will dated 1632 Owen bequeaths a rent of five shillings per annum to his daughter Grace from Nant Y Rhaglaw which he states as being in the possession of Jane Holland, widow. It seems likely that this is Jane widow of William, and implies that she did not remarry until after 1632 and that she lived there until she and her second husband moved to Bryn Y Fran.

William and Jane had a son and heir Robert (b1622PR, d after1679LDS) who married Elin vch Edward Wynne, Gent, of Llanaradd (HHE XDS/23/101/40).There are two entries in the parish records referring to children of William Holland. First there is a baptism of Anne vch William, 3rd June 1624. The only other William Holland identified as living at this time was William ap Jeffrey, but there is no record of him ever being married. Similarly, Jane Holland who died in 1630, for whom we have no appropriate baptism, could have been a daughter of either of these Williams. However for the same reason I think we have to attribute this Jane to William ap Robert.

Robert ap William, Gent (1622-1693)

Robert was born in March 1622 according to the PR. He married Ellen daughter of Edward Wynne of Plas Ucha in Llanyfydd (HHE XDS/11/1) a marriage deed existed for this marriage but HHE admits to it being missing from the Pennant Papers. He and his wife Elin produced a large family,the son and heir being Humphrey. The PR attributes the following other children to Robert and Elin, William (d1661), Owen (b1646), Ambrose (b1648), Jane (b1649, d1737), Anne (b1650, d1650), Margaret (b1651), Peter (b1652), Jeffrey (b1654), Thomas (b1655, d1719),Martha (b1656, d1670), Ellen (b1657), David (b1660,d1661). In addition to the PR entries Gfs attributes a son Hugh to Robert ap William. The source of this entry is unknown and so far we have found no reference to his existence in any of the HHE notes or PR’s. For the time being we have included in the family tree.

It is not known what happened to those with no recorded deaths or marriages within the Eglwys Bach PR; possibly they moved away from the area. There appears to be a gap in the entries of births and deaths during the periods 1661 to 1666, and 1666 to 1674 which coincides with the period of the reformation. It is possible there could have been some unrecorded deaths during this period. There is reference to a prenuptial agreement in the Pennant Papers dated 1672 referring to the marriage of Margaret Holland and Richard Bulkeley which it is safe to assume refers to Margaret vch Robert.

There is a death for Robert Holland in the PR of 1693. The LDS pedigree records his death as later than 1679. There was however a Robert Holland son of Owen of Pen Y Bryn who was born in 1651(PR) so this death could have been him as there is no record of a marriage. It seems more likely that 1693 should be attributed to the death of Robert ap William. As for Robert ap Owen he could have moved away knowing he was unlikely to inherit Pen Y Bryn.

Humphrey ap Robert (Circa 1650 – 1720)

Humphrey was married to Dorothy Davies vch John Davies of Llanrwst (Gfs & HHE XDS/101/23/40). According to HHE the marriage took place on Aug 2nd 1675. According to the PR they had eight children as follows:

Ellen b1674, dau of Humphrey Holland and Dorothy Davies of Pennant

Mary b 1675, dau of Humphrey Holland. According to Hayes she married William Jones in 1698.

Robert Holland b1676, d1719, son of Humphrey.

John Holland son of Humphrey, Bryn Y Fran, b1677, d1698

William Holland son of Humphrey, Bryn Y Fran, b1678, It is presumed he died in 1758 as this is the only unallocated death for a William Holland. The Caerhun Parish Register records a marriage in 1714 between William Holland of Pennant and Jane Roberts of Caerhun. It is most probable that this was William ap Humphrey as there are no other candidates in this timescale. There is no evidence of any issue from this marriage.

Jane Holland b 1680, dau of Humphrey, d 1755, married Robert Davies (Hayes), 1693

Edward b 1683, son of Humphrey and Dorothy Davies

Richard b 19th June 1687, son of Humphrey and Dorothy Davies. An entry in the neighbouring parish of Llanddoget records the death of Richard Holland of Pennant 15th Sept 1687. It seems highly probable that this is the same Richard and is an indication that the family used both Parish churches.

It is a puzzle that there is no entry for a birth of a Humphrey Holland in the PR in the period when all his siblings were born (1646/1660). The only entry for a burial is 1711, however this date is attributed to Humphrey Holland ap Owen of Pen Y Bryn (Eglwys Bach History Papers) who was the householder of Bryn Y Fran in 1699, and according to the PR was born in1674. There is confusion over the occupancy of Bryn Y Fran as can be seen in the above PR entries. There is an entry for Humphrey of Pennant at an earlier date than the entry for Humphrey of Bryn Y Fran. If Robert was alive until 1693 then Humphrey would have had to find somewhere else to raise his large family. A feasible hypothesis is that he had his first child Ellen whilst living at Pennant and then moved to Bryn Y Fran where he had his remaining children. He would have moved back to Pennant as son and heir on his father’s death in 1693. By this time Humphrey ap Owen, who was born in 1674, would have been old enough to take over Bryn Y Fran where we know he was householder in 1699. What happened to the remainder of Humphrey’s children is unknown.

Robert ap Humphrey, Gent, (1676-1719)

According to the PR Robert was born in 1676 and died in 1719, this is confirmed by his Administration document ref SA/1720/11. He was married to Mary Edwards in 1694 at Llangian, Gwynedd (Hayes), who according to HHE (XDS101/23/40) was the daughter of Richard Edwards Esq of Nanhoran. The only recorded death in the PR for a Mary Holland in this period is 1706. This death is probably attributable to their daughter Mary who died within a year of birth, however we know from her letter of Administration (SA/1740/20) that Mary died in 1740. It is possible that Roberts’ wife was buried under the name Mary Edwards; this could possibly be confirmed by a look in the PR under Edwards. According to the PR they had eleven children between 1703 and 1718.

The first of these was, Anne (b1703). There is information in the Nanhoran NLW MSS 278 and MSS 319 papers that indicate she married William Davies of Newmarket, not to be confused with a marriage between a William Davies and Anne Holland at Llanelwy in 1640 (Cwytta Cyfarwyd p 193). Yvonne believes that there is a marriage licence for this marriage, but so far I have been unable to locate it. The origin of the Anne Holland in Cwytta Cyfarwyd has yet to be ascertained; however there is a possibility that it could be either Anne vch Robert (b 1608) or Anne vch William (b 1624). One of these Annes was buried in 1646(PR), for the moment I have attributed this death to Anne vch William on the assumption that she would have been too young at 16 to have married in 1640.

There is no doubt about the Marriage of Anne to William Davies of Newmarket as they are mentioned as beneficiaries in the will of Thomas Edwards (Ref Nanhoran MSS 278 and 319). Also William is named as co-administrator of Mary Hollands Letter of Administration. The connection with Newmarket is intriguing considering that Owen Holland and his Wife Catherine Davies, and family, was residing there at the time of the marriage, especially as Catherine was the daughter of John Davies of Henfryn, Newmarket.  It is unlikely that Anne’s husband was the William Davies of Henfryn who died in 1779 (SA/1779/135) who names his wife as Maud in his will. It would appear that there were two Williams Davies living in Newmarket at the same time. According to the PR his other children were as follows:

Mary (b1705, d1706)

Jeffrey (b 1st May 1707, d1775)

Ellen (b 22 Sept, 1707, Bas daughter of Robert Holland and Mary). As Jeffrey was also born six months earlier in 1707 this Ellen cannot have been by his wife Mary, therefore the mother must have been another Mary, hence the entry Bastard in the parish record. This may explain why there is no death entered in the PR under Mary Holland that we can attribute to this child.

Margarett (b1710) married Ellis Roberts of Trawsfynydd in 1741 (ref Marriage Bond B16/92 and Nanhoran MSS 278)

Thomas (b1712, d1781), Gravestone in St Martin’s Churchyard reads “Here lieth the body of Thomas Holland, 2nd son of Robert Holland of Pennant Eglwys Bach who died there ------ and was interred the 16th day in the year of our Lord 1781, Aged 68.

Mary (b1714), married (Ano) Davies of Cricceith and had one daughter who died in the alms house at Llandwrog. (HHE notebook, p22)

Rachel (b1715, d1715)

Richard (b 1717), later of the Parish of St Brides, London (Nanhoran MSS 278)

Dorothy (b1709, d1729)

William, Gent, (b 1718), later of Chancery Lane Co Middlesex (Nanhoran MSS 278) According to HHE (XDS/11/1) William was an attorney at Gray’s Inn who for some misdemeanour had to leave the county and was never heard of again.

Their children appear to have had a high mortality rate.

Jeffrey ap Robert, Esquire (1705- 1775)

Jeffrey was born in 1707 (PR) and was the last male Holland heir to the Pennant estate. He married Mary vch John Wynne Esq. of Trovarth in 1735 (HHE notebook, p23) and they had five children. Jeffrey would have only been thirteen years old when his father died so would have been too young to take over the estate; it is therefore assumed that his mother Mary took over the estate until he became of age. For some reason the births of his first two children, Elizabeth (b1736) and Howel (b 1738) are recorded in the Betws Yn Rhos Parish Registers. According to the HHE notebook Elizabeth died unmarried and Howel died in 1746. According to the Eglwys Bach PR their other children were Mary (b1740), Catherine (b1741), Margaret (b1743, d1827).

In Jeffrey’s will (SA/1775/24) he leaves his estate to his wife Mary. Jeffrey’s daughter Mary married Rev Edward Edwards in 1761 and they ultimately inherited the estate so presumably her older siblings were deceased by the time of Jeffrey’s death. We know from Mary’s will (SA/1783/41) that she had moved to Bodnod in Eglwys Bach before her decease. In the will she mentions Margarett as her only surviving daughter and the will was actually written in 1779. Mary mentions her grandsons Holland Lloyd and David Lloyd, sons of her late daughter Catherine Lloyd. Catherine is reputed to have married Thomas Lloyd of Denbigh 1n1774. Their sons David Lloyd and Holland Lloyd died without issue. (HHE notebook).

There is a tomb surrounded by railings in the St Martin’s cemetery that contains the remains of Jeffrey and his wife. The tomb stone is carved from solid sandstone and includes the family crest. The inscription is broadly as follows:

“Jeffrey Holland Esq. of Pennant Eglwys Vach, 4th July 1775 aged 68. And Mary the wife of the said Jeffrey Holland and the eldest daughter of John Wynne of Trovarth who died on the 3rd of June 1782 aged 82, also Margaret eldest daughter of the said Jeffrey Holland died September 22nd 1827”.


The reference to Margaret being his eldest daughter probably means eldest surviving daughter. There is no entry for the death of a Mary Holland, daughter of Jeffrey; however she could have been entered as Mary Edwards.

Mary Holland (1740- 1790)

Mary Holland married in 1761 the Rev Edward Edwards MA, clerk, Rector of Llansanffraid (PR) and afterwards from 1788 to 1798 Rector of Llanrwst. They had one son Howel Holland Edwards, MA, who ultimately inherited the estate on the death of Edward Edwards, and two daughters. The eldest daughter Mary was born 26th Jan, 1763, and died 1833 (HHE) she married John Boulger, Gent, attorney, of Chester in 1789 (Hayes) licence no A 172/232. They had a son also called John Boulger who died in 1875. The second daughter, Sarah Edwards, born April 1764, married in 1803 John Chambers Jones of Bryn Leddfor Coch and had issue two daughters. The first, Maria Jones, died unmarried in Waltham, Essex.

The second, Margaret Jones in 1837 was residing with her half brother Archdeacon Jones vicar of Waltham, Essex. Their mother died in 1806 leaving them orphans at a very tender age. (HHE notebook, p26). The following inscription in the Llansanffraid church gives details of the family;

“Mary eldest daughter of Jeffrey Holland of Pennant, Eglwys Bach, and wife of the Rev Edward Edwards, 20 Dec 1766, age 26, leaving issue one son and two daughters, Also Edward Edwards, 6th April 1799, age 71, also their eldest dau Mary Holland Boulger relict of John Boulger of Chester, Gent, 5th Jan 1834, age 69, her husband died in 1789 age 39 was buried in the churchyard of St Martin’s in the city of Chester. Adjoining lies buried their next daughter second wife of John Chambers Jones of Brynsteddfod, Esq.; she died in 1806 age 41leaving issue two daughters, Sarah Maria and Margaret Grace Jones”. In his notebook HHE states that his mother Mary died in1766 aged 26 leaving him and his sisters Mary and Sarah orphaned.

Howel Holland Edwards (HHE) (1762- 1846)

Howel Holland Edwards was born in 1762 (Gfs) and died in 1846. There is a brass plaque in St Martin’s church which confirms these dates and his entombment within the church. In addition to being Rector of the Parish of Llanrwst he was also Canon of the Church of St Peters in Westminster. HHE had a keen interest in the Holland family Genealogy, particularly with respect to the Pennant line. He sported the family coat of arms and clearly spent a lot of time researching the family tree. The Lion Rampant from the Holland Coat of Arms is depicted above a doorway in Pennant Hall dated 1810. Much of the data used for generating the Eglwys Bach family tree comes from his notes which must be given a lot of credibility as he had access to all the Pennant papers that may have been passed down through the family. Some of these have survived and are filed within the NLW and Gwynedd Archives. There may be other papers yet to be unearthed that may help to fill some of the gaps.

He was married to Caroline Palmer who came from a prominent family in Middlesex and as far as we know they had no children. HHE left a will dated 1842, ref PROB 11/2044, in which he left his estates in Eglwys Bach in trust as he had no male heir. Several potential beneficiaries were named according to who might survive from both sides of the family, one of which was the Reverend John Boulger son of HHE’s sister Mary and John Boulger senior. We know from the following inscription on Jeffrey Holland’s gravestone “ Reverend John Boulger MA of Pennant died Dec1875 aged 83” that he eventually inherited Pennant, however it is believed that after his death there was a dispute over ownership between the descendants of the Palmer family and the heirs of Margaret Holland and Ellis Roberts.

  The Arms of Howell Holland Edwards from the family collection. Courtesy Pat Nace.


They had a son Robert who according to HHE (XDS101/11/2) married first Catherine Lloyd (XDS/11/1) a gentlewoman from Pwllheli; there were no children issuing from this marriage and he subsequently married Ellen Jones his servant maid after first having an illegitimate son Thomas. They later had five daughters the eldest of which had a child called Mary Jones who was left in the care of her grandmother when her parents left the county. HHE acknowledges that this Mary was the right heir but admitted that he did not know of her existence when he made his will and would not consider changing it. In his notebook he says that the three eldest daughters emigrated to America and settled in New York where they were still living in 1834.

The other two sisters were in 1837 living with their mother at Maentwrog in the county of Merioneth. He concludes that these sisters were the right heirs to his real estates of Pennant after the entail surviving from his will. He discounts Thomas as an heir due to the illegitimacy of his birth. Margaret and Ellis Roberts also had a daughter Hannah who married David Evans in 1775. XD/101/11/3 records them as having a daughter Margaret in 1776 who in turn married Robert Jones in 1808 and they had a son John in 1809. According to HHE he had numerous issue.

After the death of the Rev John Boulger, son of Mary Holland Boulger and John Boulger senior, it would appear that the property went into the hands, of Margaret Grace Jones granddaughter of Mary Holland Boulger who was the second of the entails mentioned in the will of HHE. Reputedly she lived until she was ninety seven and died in 1902, by which time all the other potential legatees mentioned in the HHE’s will had died. She left a will bequeathing her property to various parties. John William Jones senior, a descendant of Robert Roberts, brother of Hannah Roberts the son of Margaret Holland and Ellis Roberts, successfully challenged the will and made a successful claim to the estate.

John William Jones senior (d 1902-4) and then his son John William Jones junior (d1905), and then his son Clifford John George Jones occupied Pennant Hall in the early part of the twentieth century until the latter emigrated to Canada in the early 20th century. Much of this information is provided by Pat Nace, a granddaughter of Clifford J G Jones who at the time of writing resides in Canada. Interestingly there are some remarkable physical similarities in the facial features of Pat Nace and Yvonne Humphreys daughter of Robert Cecil Holland, and particularly Mathew Humphreys, son of Yvonne.

The Pennant Estate was sold by auction in 1910 at which time it had 540 acres of land. Pennant Hall was rebuilt under the tenure of HHE, plans for this rebuild are available in the NLW, and can be accessed via the internet by inputting Pennant Hall Eglwys Bach into Google search.HHE also had a property called Plas Horluch in Eglwys Bach which he bequeathed to the Palmer family in his will. We don’t know what became of that. A recent picture of Plas Pennant is shown right. There is a coat of arms that exists over the main door.




Pen Y Bryn (1550- 1875)

The farm of Pen Y Bryn lies to the East of Eglwys Bach and overlooks the village from its position on the hillside. It is accessed via the road “Fordd Bryn Fran” and is about half a mile along the road which runs from the centre of the village. The first known occupant of Pen Y Bryn is believed to be Owen Holland, son of Jeffrey Holland of Pennant and his wife Jane Owen, Jeffrey’s eldest son Hugh inherited Pennant. It seems likely that Owen would have required his own residence to raise his family, and we know from the local history notes that he was residing in Escorebrill Township in 1609, this being the area where Pen Y Bryn is situated.

The first entry in the PR relating to Pen Y Bryn is that of the baptism of Humphrey Holland son of Owen and Margaret Davies, i.e. Owen ap Jeffrey’s great grandson. The descendants of these two brothers occupied both Pen Y Bryn and Pennant Hall for eight generations, for a period of over two hundred years. The line of inheritance for this leg of the family has been much less researched by other historians. Much of the information has been derived from the Parish Records, Wills of Owen (1634), Owen (1684), William 1767, Anne 1782, Hugh 1790 and Catherine 1808, HHE notes and gravestone inscriptions, and to our knowledge has not been reproduced elsewhere.

Owen Holland ap Jeffrey (Circa 1560– 1634)

The Gfs Pennant pedigree chart identifies Owen as the son of Jeffrey but gives no other information. We know that he was married to Jane Ffoulke by virtue of the entry in Cwytta Cyfarwydd that refers to her burial on the sixteenth day of February 1633 (p151). Additionally there is a marriage settlement dated 1625 that refers to Jane, his wife, however this must have related to the marriage of his eldest son Jeffrey as their own children were born as early as 1603. Also we know Owen died in 1634 by virtue of his will and an entry in the PR. Jane Ffoulke was the daughter of Ffoulk ap Robert of Plas Newydd, Meriadog, near St. Asaph, and his wife Grace vch Piers Holland of Kimnel, and relict of Thomas Salisbury. (Gfs p 327). Another example of intermarrying between family groups.

From various sources we can identify five children attributed to Owen. There is a mystery about two of these, Marie and Grace who were reputedly both born in 1603. The birth of Grace vch Owen is given as 17th Jan in the transcribed version of the PR and Marie vch Owen is Given as 29th June in the local historians version. We know both these people existed as Grace was named as the main beneficiary in Owens will in 1634, and Marie vch Owens death is recorded as 1619 in the PR. As no other Owens have been identified within the area we must assume that, either one of these date entries is incorrect, or the baptism of Grace was deferred relative  to the birth. This could possibly be resolved by reviewing the PR and Bishops Transcript. Interestingly another daughter, Gwen vch Owen (Senior), is entered in the PR as having died in 1619. Perhaps this is an indication that there were two Owens living but so far there is no other evidence for it.

There is some doubt as to whether Owen had one or two sons. The PR identifies Jeffrey as being born in 1606 who ultimately inherited the estate. Owen’s will leaves a bequest to his granddaughter Elizabeth vch Piers, however we don’t know whether Piers was a son or son in law. As there is nothing in the PR relating to a Piers Holland, and as he didn’t receive a bequest or inherit the estate, it seems reasonable to conclude he was a son in law. A document reference Gelliwig 109 refers to a deed of mortgage dated 20th May 1608 concerning a property called Ty Thyn Bellin in Nant Y Rhaglaw in the Township of Escobrill; the mortgage money to be paid at certain times to Owen Holland at his mansion house Pen Y Bryn.

The note states that Owen bequeathed this charge to his daughter Gwen Holland who was the Grandmother of John Vaughen. This is somewhat confusing as his will actually bequeathes this charge to his daughter Grace Holland, Grace being deceased (1619) by this time. It is possible that this note was written sometime after Owens death and the author may have confused Gwen and Grace. We have no record of either of these daughters marrying and have been unable to trace the line from Owen to John Vaughan.

Jeffrey ap Owen ap Jeffrey (Gent) (1606- 1651)

The PR records his birth as 1606 and his death as 1651. His wife was Gwen vch Rees ap Richard which comes from the Indenture dated 1625 relating to a marriage settlement. According to the PR he had three sons the eldest of which was Owen (b1626). Foulke was born in 1628 and Hugh in 1639. There are no deaths recorded for Foulke and Hugh so either they moved away or they died during the period when there were no parish records. Neither do we have a death recorded for Gwen, may be because it is recorded under her maiden name or again because it was within the period of missing records.

Owen ap Jeffrey (1626 – 1684)

Owen was born in 1626 (PR); there is no record of his death but we know from his will that he died in 1684. We know he was married twice, his first wife being Ellen Foulkes vch Humphrey who he married in 1637 (PR); she died in 1660 (PR). This means that he was only 11 when he married so the marriage was clearly a family arrangement and suggests that Ellen Ffoulkes was from a family of equal status, however so far we have been unable to identify her origin. According to the PR there were six children born to Owen and Ellen, the first of these being William born in 1649 who went on to inherit Pen Y Bryn. Presumably, therefore, the marriage was not consummated until Owen was twenty one. The other children attributed to Owen and Ellen in the PR were Robert b 1651, Ellen (b1653), Gwen (b1654) and A N Other Daughter (b1657, d1657).

In the Local Historians version of the PR there are seven Elizabeth’s baptised between 1642 and 1655, and one death. This information needs double checking in case burials have been misread as baptisms, particularly as it does not agree with our independent version of the PR. Assuming the source data is accurate, it is conceivable that one of these was a daughter of Owen and Ellen, the most likely being Elizabeth born on the 28 July 1655, i.e. between Gwen and A N Other. The birth dates of the other Elizabeth's don’t fit between the birth dates of the other children in this period.

During this same period Owen also appears to have had an adulterous relationship with a Jane vch John which resulted in the birth of a child John on the 18th July 1652 (PR).This child died as an infant within the year of his birth i.e. between the birth of Robert and Ellen.
Following the death of Ellen, Owen married a second time to Margaret Davies. In Owen's will he leaves bequests to his sons Thomas, Owen, Piers and Jeffrey and his daughter Jane who he states as being his younger children, and also “preferring of his children by his now wife Margaret”. There are no baptisms in the PR for the sons but this could be because they were born in the period of missing records. There is a baptism for Jane in 1666 and for another son Humphrey in 1674. Humphrey was not mentioned in the will but this may be because he was a minor, being only ten years old at the time of Owens death. He also mentions in his will his son and heir William confirming him as his eldest son.

There are no entries in the PR to indicate what happened to Owen, Pyers, Jeffrey, Elizabeth, Ellen and Gwen. A N Other died in the year of her birth (PR); there is a death for Thomas Holland in 1697 and 1719. However this could have been either Thomas ap Owen or Thomas ap Robert of Pennant. As Humphrey went on to take over Bryn Y Fran it seems probable that Thomas predeceased him, and as Humphrey died in 1711 we can conclude that Thomas ap Owen died in 1697 and Thomas ap Robert of Pennant in 1719. Jane married Robert Edwards in 1701(PR and Hayes). According to the HHE papers “Jane the first sister of William Holland married Robert Edward and had issue Hugh Robert Edward” The descendants of this marriage ultimately inherited Pen Y Bryn when the male Holland line ran out.

There is a marriage record in the register for the parish of Llanrhaedr near Denbigh for Owen Holland and Anne vch Evan on 29th June 1698. It seems highly likely that this was Owen ap Owen as no other births for an Owen have been identified within the relevant timeframe. They had a daughter Grace who was born on the 10th April 1698. As she was not entered as a Bas daughter we must assume that this was in the same regnal year but reflects the date of baptism and not the date of birth. So far there is no trace of what happened to this family.

William ap Owen (1649 – 1698)

It seems reasonable to assume that William inherited the Pen Y Bryn estate by virtue of him being named the son and heir in Owens will, however no independent data has come to light to confirm this. His birth is recorded in the PR as William son of Owen and Ellen Foulkes, b 8th Dec 1649. We have no PR indication as to who he married, however there is an entry for the baptism of Ralph son of William, 18th Nov 1676. Looking across the family tree there are no other Williams of appropriate age to have been the father. There are three entries for burials of William in the PR these being 1698, 1725 and1728. According to the Local Historian notes the householder of Pen Y Bryn in 1699 was Roger Holland therefore it seems likely that William of Pen Y Bryn died in 1698, this is confirmed by the fact that we have an administration bond (SA/1699/31) where Mary Thomas of Pennant and Ralph Holland are named as administrators. In this case Pennant could be reference to the area rather than the House, and probably indicates that Mary Thomas was his widow. The death of Ralph Holland is recorded as 1752.

Roger ap William (Circa 1670 – 1711)

We know very little about Roger other than that he was the householder of Pen Y Bryn in 1699 according to the Local Historian notes which are extracted from a work by Edward Lhwyd. The notes record his death as being 1st of March 1706/7 which agrees with a PR entry of 1707. There is no record of a baptism or marriage of Roger Holland in the PR and I have not come across any mention of him in any other data sources; however he could have been born in the period of missing records. Although it is most likely that he was the son of William, which is how he came into possession of Pen Y Bryn, it is by no means proven.

William ap Roger (Circa 1690 – 1767)

We can deduce that William was the next incumbent of Pen Y Bryn by virtue of the PR entry for Hugh son of William and Anne, and the knowledge that Hugh’s’ gravestone identifies him as being of Pen Y Bryn, there is however no record of his birth. We can only assume that he was the son of Roger as there is no conclusive evidence of this. We know from the PR entries that Williams wife was Anne. Also the Hayes marriage listing records the marriage of William Holland and Anne Hughes at Llansanffraid in 1723. It is highly probable therefore that this entry relates to William of Pen Y Bryn. This is supported by HHE in his notes where he mentions William marrying Anne daughter of ??? and Anne Hughes of Trelleyne.

A gravestone inscription in St Martin’s church, Eglwys Bach, refers to Anne vch Hugh Williams of Bwlch b1699, d 1782. As Bwlch Farm is in the parish of Llansantfraid it would appear that Anne Hughes and Anne vch Hugh were one and the same. Anne made a will dated 1778 which was probated in 1782, the year of her death. In the meantime their son Hugh died in 1779, but his will was not probated until 1790. Anne left a sum of money to her nephew Robert Roberts and niece Elizabeth, wife of William Finley. Because of the delay in probating Hugh’s will and the fact that Anne had quit claimed her title to Williams estate to Hugh, both Robert and Elizabeth sought permission to complete the administration of the estate of William so they could release the money willed to them by Anne. SA/1785/13 refers

Hugh ap William (1727 – 1779)

Hugh’s birth is recorded in the PR as 1726 and on his Gravestone 1727. His tombstone (pictured below) is in the churchyard of St Martin’s Church, Eglwys Bach, and the inscription is as follows.

” Here lieth in hopes of a Blessed deliverance the Body of HUGH HOLLAND of PEN Y BRYN Gent who was Buried the 12th Day of November in the Year of our Lord 1779, Aged 52 Years. Here also lieth the Body of CATHERINE HOLLAND wife of the above mentioned who was interred the 13th of March 1808 aged 91. Also Hugh Holland Roberts of Pen Y Bryn who died the 22nd of February 1875 aged 24.”


Hugh’s Marriage to Catherine Foulkes is recorded in the PR as 18th Feb 1757.  HHE records Catherine as being the daughter of John Foulks of Cefn Y Coed, the previous abode of William Holland of Pennant. According to the notes of the local historian, in 1777 Hugh was a member of the committee that was responsible for overseeing the rebuilding of St Martin’s church. From the date of his recorded death he did not live long enough to see the fruits of his endeavours. We only have the record of one birth attributed to Hugh and Catherine, that being of William b 3rd May 1758, i.e. one year after their marriage. For some reason this is the latest baptism recorded in the PR so it is possible that there were other births after this date.

Hugh’s will made in 1778 was not probated until 1790, eleven years after his death. Within it he bequeaths a recently purchased property called Gyfylog to his wife Catherine Holland, Gyfylog is a farm close to Pen Y Bryn and Bryn Y Fran. His other properties, including Pen Y Bryn, he bequeathed to his cousin Hugh Roberts, or whichever of his Children should survive him. He names the daughters in order of birth as Elizabeth, Catherine and Anne and an infant son Robert. For some reason these children adopted the surname Hughes even though there father was in fact Hugh Robert Edwards.

Catherine made a will in 1797 and added a codicil in 1799. The will was probated in the year of her death 1808. There are a number of bequests but none of these refer to a son William. As neither of the wills of Hugh or Catherine refers to a son William then it is assumed that he must have died before 1778, the date of Hugh’s will which would explain why he did not inherit Pen Y Bryn. It seems reasonable to assume that the death of William Holland in the PR d 7th May 1758 is in fact the infant death in William b 3rd May 1758.

Jane vch Owen (1666 - )

As can be seen from the gravestone inscription of Hugh Holland, Pen Y Bryn passed into the hands of Robert Jones and ultimately Hugh Holland Roberts. This comes about via the marriage of Jane vch Owen and Margaret Davies through her marriage to Robert Edwards, and is spelt out in the HHE papers as follows:

“Jane Holland the first sister of William Holland married one Robert Edward a tailor of (Pant Y Twyth) and had issue a son Hugh Robert Edwards. Hugh Robert Edwards married for his first wife a respectable woman, the housekeeper in service with a family in Bodnod. Her ???? place is not known, and had issue by her a son Robert Hughes who died in his father’s lifetime without issue, and four daughters viz - (1) Elizabeth, died unmarried at an advanced age,(2) Margaret married John Peter and had issue one son Robert Jones who inherited Pen Y Bryn estate under the will of Hugh Holland,(3) Catherine, left the county early in her life and has never been heard of since, (4) Anne Hughes married Evan Hughes of Bodean and died without issue.

Hugh Roberts, alias Hugh Robert Edwards, married second in his advanced age Anne relict of John Davies, Pen Y Waen, and had issue David Roberts the Uncle of Robert Jones ???? by his will dated 14th October 1803 gave all his estate with his wife Jane Jones and her assigns for and after the death of his said wife and unto his said uncle David Roberts died 1846, b circa 1770”.   The following comment by HHE coincides with the information on Anne Holland’s gravestone;

“ Robert son of John Peter and Margaret the 2nd daughter of Hugh Robert Edwards was buried Oct 21 1823 aged 47”.

There is an inscription at the bottom of the gravestone of Hugh Holland of Pen Y Bryn as follows;

“Hugh Holland Roberts of Pen Y Bryn who died 22nd February 1875 aged 24”.


As HHE was dead before the birth of this Hugh it implies that Hugh Holland Roberts had a son, Hugh, who took his father’s full name. Presumably he inherited the Pen Y Bryn estate but died without any heirs. It is not known whether he had a wife. We know from the 1861 census that Hugh senior was still alive and in residence at Pen Y Bryn. In addition to Hugh he also had Anne, Margaret, Ellen, David and Robert and his wife’s name was Ellen. He does not appear in the 1871 census so presumably he was deceased by then.

Bryn Y Fran (Circa 1623 – 1711)

Bryn Y Fran is a working farm on the hillside just below Pen Y Bryn. The first references to Bryn Y Fran in the PR are for the birth of John and William to Humphrey Holland of Bryn Y Fran. As mentioned previously this was Humphrey vch Robert and we surmise that he lived in Bryn Y Fran until after Robert’s death in 1679. According to HHE (XDS/101/23/37) Jane Wynne, the wife of William Holland of Pennant, after his death in 1621 married William Wynne and lived in Bryn Y Fran in Eglwys Bach.  We know from the local historian notes that Humphrey Holland was the householder in 1699, by deduction it seems probable that this was Humphrey ap Owen and Margaret.

Humphrey ap Owen (1674 to 1711)

Humphrey was a late child of Owen and Margaret Davies, being born in 1674 and living until 1711 (PR). This information is consistent with the Local Historians records, I believe he may have been married to Anne Pritchard but the source of this information is mislaid. There is no record of William having any children and it is not known who inherited the property after his death.


In the 16th and 17th century all three properties, Pennant Hall, Pen Y Bryn and Bryn Y Fran were occupied by members of the Holland family. During this period they also owned several other properties within the area, including Cefn Y Coed, consequently they must have possessed large areas of land on both sides of Eglwys Bach valley. Gradually the heirs of each estate failed to produce male heirs to succeed them, starting with Bryn Y Fran, then Pennant and finally Pen Y Bryn.

The last male Holland of direct descent residing in Eglwys Bach was Hugh of Pen Y Bryn. There are several male Hollands in different generations whose deaths cannot be accounted for. It is likely that some of them moved out of the area as they were not in line to inherit the estates. Others may be accounted for by the apparent break in the recorded births and marriages between 1600 and 1660, and 1666 to 1674. It is possible that there are descendants of these male Hollands living today but there is no easy way of finding out. Many Hollands pop up in surrounding areas and it may be that a number of these originated in Eglwys Bach, however it is not possible to confirm their origins. If any mail heirs had survived it seems likely that they would have put in a claim for estates that ultimately went to very distant relatives.

There are a number of entries in the Parish records which through lack of additional information, or more than one possible ascendant, have not been allocated a home on the family tree, these are listed below:

1612, 14th April, Burial, Alice vch Richard ap Owen Wife of Robert Holland, Groes Owen

1726, 7th Sept, Baptism, Catherine Holland, daughter of Robert and Gwen. (No such parents identified.)

1693, 30th Sept, Jane Holland, daughter of Thomas and Mary Jones. Which Thomas? Candidates Thomas ap Owen, Pen Y Bryn or Thomas ap Robert of Pennant

1696, 9th August, Baptism, Frances Holland, daughter of Thomas and Mary Jones. Which Thomas? Candidates Thomas ap Owen, Pen Y Bryn or Thomas ap Robert of Pennant.

1700, 14th Jan, Marriage, Gainor Holland and David Roberts by Lic.

1690, 4th Jan, Baptism, William Holland son of Thomas and Mary Jones.

1703, 9th Feb, Burial, Martha Holland. No Martha identified other than Martha vch Robert and Ellen Wynne, b 1670, d1670

1677, 13th May, Burial, Mary Holland wife of William Jordan of Llanrwst. Possibly Mary ap Humphrey of Pennant b 1675.

1732, 21st Jan, Burial, Catherine Holland. No Catherine identified as baptisms in previous 100 years.

1778, 12th Nov, Burial, Wife of Hugh Holland. No compatible Hugh Holland identified.

1756 13th July, Burial, Lowry Holland. No Baptism exists for a Lowry Holland. He/She is possibly a child of Jeffrey Holland and Jane Owen, however I am unable to confirm this assumption.

Cwytta Cyfarwydd

Page 7 refers to Luce Holland daughter of Ffoulke Holland of Eglwys Bach. There is no reference to either of these Hollands in any of the Parish records or HHE papers to indicate who their ascendants were.

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Sources Used

In most cases the sources listed below are cited in the relevant text above. Where a transcript of a document exits it is possible to download a pdf version of the document (look for the link within the text). All other material is usually protected by copyright and therefore should be accessed through the Archive in person or online via the links provided below.


Parish Registers St Martins Church, Eglwysbach NLW
Pedigrees of Anglesey and Caernarvonshire families John Edwards Griffiths Flintshire Archives
Heraldic Visitations of Wales and part of the Marches

Lewys Dwnn. Samuel Rush Meyrick.Welsh MSS Society 1846

Internet Archive
Pedigree Resource Files Church of the Latter Day Saints Computer Disc No 6

Nanhoran Estate Records

Miscellaneous notes and pedigrees produced by Howel Holland Edwards. A significant contribution comes from his notebook held in the Nanhoran manuscript in Gwynedd archive under the reference XDS/11/1. Although there are several contradictions and errors it does provide a number of facts and dates not available elsewhere. The notes were written in 1837, 9 years before his eventual death but give the impression that he was anticipating a legal dispute over the inheritance of the Pennant estate.

Hugh Howell Edwards Gwynedd Archives (Caernarfon)
Pennant Estate Records. Reference GB 0210 PENNANT   NLW
PC Bartrum’s Pedigrees (including Holland 1 to 6) Peter C. Bartrum Aberystwyth University
Will of Owen Holland of Plas Berw, Anglesey, dated 1529 Carreglwyd papers NLW

Will of Thomas Holland of Pennant, SA/1568/R1/68r

Will of Owen Holland of Pen Y Bryn, SA/1634/22   NLW
Will of Owen Holland of Pen Y Bryn 1684   NLW
Will of Mary Holland, Pennant, SA/1783/31   NLW

Admin of William Holland, Pen Y Bryn, SA/1767/32


Will of Anne Holland, Pen Y Bryn, SA/1782/39

Admin of William Holland, Pen Y Bryn, SA/1785/13   NLW
Will of Hugh Holland, Pen Y Bryn, SA/1790/24   NLW
Will of Catherine Holland of Pen Y Bryn, SA/1808/30   NLW
Will of Hugh Howel Edwards, Pennant, PROB11/2044   National Archives

Will of Caroline Holland Edwards, PROB11/

  National Archives
Will of Richard Edwards, Nanhoran,  Nanhoran 549


Gwynedd Archives
Indenture re will of Thomas Edwards of Nanhoran, Nanhoran 319   Gwynedd Archives
Indenture  re will of Richard Edwards of Nanhoran, Nanhoran 278   Gwynedd Archives
Notes on Eglwysbach history and early Parish Registers Compiled by local historian in Eglwysbach and made available by the Church Warden St Martins Church, Eglwysbach
Gravestone inscriptions   St Martins Church, Eglwysbach
Y Cwtta Cyfarwydd Peter Roberts 1902
A History of the Holland Family of Mobberley & Knutsford Edgar Swinton Holland 1902 Google Books
The Lancashire Hollands Bernard Holland 1917 Internet Archive
Several un referenced documents and indentures in both English and Latin.


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