Details of my 17 times great grandfather, Sir Roger de Pyvelesdon, Sheriff of Anglesey and Constable of Caernarfon Castle, lynched by Welsh rebels in 1294, and his wife Agnes le Clerk 

My 17 times great grandfather, Sir Roger de Pyvelesdon, was the third son of Sir Roger de Pyvelesdon (of Pyvelesdon - now called Puleston, near Newport, Shropshire) and his wife Agnes, nee Monthermer. He was born at Pyvelesdon about 1229. 

These stained glass representations of Roger de Puleston, soldier ("miles" is Latin for soldier) and "A de Puleston" came from the chapel at Emral and were incorporated into the east window of Worthenbury Church, which was built by the Pulestons of Emral. Do they represent Sir Roger de Pyvelesdon and his wife Agnes? I suspect so, as he was the first Puleston to own Emral.

Sir Roger's shield appears on the heading to each page of this website and in the stained glass representation of him above. In heraldic terms, it is "Sable, 3 mullets argent" (3 white stars on a black background).

Roger married Agnes le Clerk, the daughter of David le Clerk, Baron of Malpas, and of Angharad, his second wife. They had a son Richard, my 16 times great grandfather.

Salop/ Shropshire and Staffordshire

About 1247 to 1249, Roger de Pivelesdon and 2 Knights were witnesses to a deed of gift by Radulf de Tyrne [Tern] in favour of the Abbey of Shrewsbury (page 99, volume 9, Eyton's Antiquities of Shropshire).

About 1256, Roger de Pivelesdon and his brother Jordan witnessed a Charter by which William de Ercall gave land to the priory of St leonard and the White Nuns of Brewode (page 86, Volume 9, Eyton's Salop).

In 1265, Roger and his brothers Thomas and Richard were imprisoned in the Tower of London by King Henry III, who confiscated Roger's estates in Shropshire as punishment for supporting the rebellion led by Simon de Montfort.

However, Roger soon became a particular favourite of Henry III's successor, King Edward I, who came to the throne in 1272.

King Edward I, who granted Emral to Sir Roger de Pyvelsdon

In 6 Edward I (1277-8), Roger de Pyvelesdon is mentioned in the Exchequer Rolls, Wallia Miscellaneous Bag, No. 38, M.I. in connection with pleas at Albo Monasterio before R. de Ferryngham, in which Adam de Montgomery complained that Llewelyn Prince of Wales took his grain at Clynnoc and carried it away.

In 1279, Roger de Pyvelesdon was appointed to a commission to investigate the conduct of the Sheriff of Herefordshire.

In the Hundred Rolls for Shropshire, 7 & 8 Edward I (1280), Roger de Pyvelesdon's name stands second among the 12 jurors on the inquest as to "how many and what demesne manors the King holds in his own hand".

On 6 October 1280, Roger de Pyvelsdon acknowledged at Lincoln that he owed £40 to R. Bishop of Bath and Wells, to be levied, in default of payment, on his lands and chattels in Salop and Staffordshire (Calendar of Close Rolls, Volume 2, 1279-88, page 67, membrane 1d).

On 10 September 1281, at Windsor, the Calendar of Close Rolls, Volume 2, 1279-88, page 134, membrane 3d, records the enrolment of a grant from Thomas de Audelyme, lord of Audelyme, co. Chester, to Nicholas, Prior of St Thomas near Stafford, and the convent of the same, in frankalmoin, of the advowson of the church of Audelyme, with warranty against all men except brother J Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chapter of the same and Sir John, Prior of Wenlock. Sir Roger de Peulesdon was one of the witnesses.

In 1283, Roger was an Assessor and Collector of the tax of the "thirtieth" in Staffordshire (Parliamentary Writs, I. 785).

On 4 February 1284, the Calendar of Close Rolls, Volume 2, 1279-88, page 252, membrane 9, records an order (made at Nettleham) to the Treasurer and Barons of the Exchequer to acquit Roger de Pyulisdon of the 13 shillings and 4 pence in which he was amerced before Thomas de Welland and his fellows, justices of the bench, for a default committed by him before the justices, as the King has pardoned him.

On 7 June 1285, the Calendar of Charter Rolls record the confirmation at Westminster of a Charter of King Henry III and also of the recognition made by Hugh de Lacy and other before Roger de Pyuelesdon, Sheriff of Salop and Stafford, Hugh son of Robert Forester of Shrewsbury, Richard de Leghton and Roger de Appeleye, verderers of Shrewsbury, touching the lawing of dogs in the lands of the Abbot and Convent of Lilleshulle. It is not clear whether this refers to this Roger de Pyvelesdon or his father, as both were Sheriffs of both Salop/Shropshire and Staffordshire.

Between 1285 and 1292, Nicholas de Audley granted to the Burgesses of Novus Burgus [Newport, Salop] a right of common in Brodmerss. Roger de Pivelesdon was a witness to that deed, and also to another one about the same period in which he is described as a Knight (pages 133-4 of Volume 9 of Eyton's Salop). He also witnessed a deed dated 5 April 1293 at Newport by which Nicholas Peye of Newport gave to Peter Fuller a messuage and curtilage in that town (pages 134-5 of Volume 9 of Eyton's Salop).


In the 1270s, Emral, near Worthenbury, Flintshire, was occupied by Emma, daughter of Henry de Audley and widow of Gruffydd ap Madoc, Prince of Powys and owner of Dinas Bran castle (near Llangollen, Denbighshire), who died in 1270.  According to the Salusbury pedigree book belonging to Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, Emral may have been built for Emma as a dower house, for her to occupy during her widowhood. How long she was in possession of Emral is unclear but it appears from an inquisition of 5 Edward I (1275), that she had been dispossessed of all her lands in both Maelors. In 1277, Roger's brother, Richard, surrendered Emral to King Edward I. Possibly in 1282, but in any event between 1279 and 1284, when Roger de Pyvelesdon is referred to in a document as "de Embers-hall", the King granted Emral to his favourite, Roger, despite the fact that it was Richard who had delivered Emral to the King.

Emral Hall was granted to Sir Roger de Pyvelesdon by King Edward I about 1282

In 1284, "foresta domini Rogeri de Pyvylston" is mentioned as a boundary in a grant by Owen ap Ieuan ap Caradoc of lands in nearby Willington (J. Salesbury Manuscripts, page 98 - Archaelogia Cambrensis, 1888, volume 32, page 293).

Anglesey and Caernarfonshire

On 20 March 1284, at Rhuddlan Castle, King Edward I appointed Roger as the first Viscount or Sheriff of the county of Anglesey, an island off the coast of Caernarfonshire, North Wales, for the rest of his life at a salary of £40 a year and appointed his brother Richard as Viscount or Sheriff of the county of Caernarfon. Two months later, on 23 May 1284 (12 Edward I), Roger was also appointed Constable of Caernarfon Castle at a salary of £20 a year:

"Rex praecipit Camerario suo de Caernarvon quod allocaret Rog. de Pyvelesdon, Vice-Comi. de Anglesey pro servitio suo 20 li. de redditu. Firmae istius manerii quod idem Rog'us tenuit de Rege in Anglesey."

Another document dated 13 May 1288 (18 Edward I) records that Roger was reimbursed £68 4s 11d for expenses incurred by him on the King's behalf:

"Rex precepit eodem Camerario allocare Rogero de Pyvelesdon Vic. de Anglesey in primo computo suo 68 li. 4s 11d de exitibus officii sui predicti per ipsum Rogerum in negotiis Regis ibidem expens."

This may have been for the repairs to the Palace at Aberffraw, Anglesey carried out by Roger and for the farming of the ferries of Anglesey - his records for the ferries at Porthaethy and Porthesgab in 1291-2 have been described as a tribute to his business ability.


Caernarfon Castle, about 1890

As well as owning Emral and estates in Shropshire, Roger built and owned a house called Plas Pulesdon (now Palace Street, Caernarfon), recorded by Thomas Pennant in his book A Tour of Wales in the 18th century as "a very antient place".

On 18 January, 22 Edward I (1294), Roger de Pyvelesdon, Knight (having been knighted by King Edward I some time previously) witnessed at Emral a deed to which his brother Richard was a party (E. Breese's Kalendars of Gwynedd, page 48).

In 1293, Sir Roger was appointed by King Edward I to collect a tax of one-fifteenth of the value of movables of the people of North Wales, in order to raise money for Edward's wars against France. This tax was extremely unpopular with the Welsh and Sir Roger was a figure of hate for many of the Welsh inhabitants. In the Autumn of 1294, led by Madoc ap Llewelyn (illegitimate son of the late Prince Llewelyn of Wales), the people of Anglesey rebelled, burning the church at Llanvaes, Anglesey.

During the Michaelmas fair of September 1294, the Anglesey rebels made a sudden raid on the town of Caernarfon. The English townsmen in Caernarfon were put to the sword. The Anglesey rebels took Caernarfon castle (Hemingburgh, (E.H.S.), volume il, pages 57-8), arrested the unpopular Roger de Pyvelsdon and lynched him (Transactions of the Cymmrodorion Society, 1902-3, page 36), together with "divers others who abetted the collecting of the tax" (History of Wales by Caradoc of Llancarvan). According to Craig Owen Jones's book The Revolt of Madog ap Llywelyn, page 82, Sir Roger was captured, hanged and beheaded by two of his tenants, one of whom, Gronw of Twrcelyn, was an underling in the English administration on Anglesey (the other was Trahaearn ap Bleddyn). On page 35 of John Wynne's 1861 book Hanes Sir a Thre Caernarfon, he writes that "the chief tax collector, Sir Roger de Pulesdon, was hanged over the door of his own house, namely the present day Red Lion". The Red Lion was at 2 Palace Street, Caernarfon, and is now the site of the Market Hall. Bar Medi in Palace Street also claims to be on the site of Plas Pulesdon. 

On the right of this picture is Plas Puleston, the Caernarfon home of Sir Roger de Puleston, outside which he was lynched by Welsh rebels in 1294. It was located in what is now Palace Street.

The onslaught of the Welsh appears to have been as unexpected as it was successful and, as soon as the English King learnt of its serious proportions, he abandoned his projected French campaign, and hastened to support the English boroughs that were being threatened with destruction at the hands of the Welsh insurgents (Ann. De Oseneia (Rolls), pages. 338-9).

Old map of Caernarfon 

In revenge for Roger's murder, Edward I instructed Archbishop Witchesley to order Bishop Llewelyn of St Asaph to excommunicate the whole of North Wales (although the baptism of children and hearing the penances of the dying were still allowed). The excommunication was read by the Bishop at Wrexham, Caerwys, Oswestry, Pool and Mold. The King also destroyed the old palace at Llanvaes, had Grono Ringild hanged for Roger's murder and confiscated the lands of Traherne ap Blethin in Anglesey for aiding the murder.

 Rather more recently, in 2006, "Roger de Puleston" was the answer to a general knowledge (!) question ("Who was lynched by the Welsh at Caernarfon in 1294 for collecting taxes for King Edward I?") in the popular BBC television show Mastermind. Not surprisingly, the contestant did not know the answer!  


Copyright: Haydn Puleston Jones, 2007-17