The late Fred Wedlock remarked on a comic folk song, ‘There’s a bit where it changes every chorus; never mind, just guess’. The same could be said of the Pryse family of Gogerddan, whose surname changed with every generation during the nineteenth century. The source of the confusion lies with three members of the family:
- Pryse Pryse (1774-1849)
- Pryse Loveden (1815-1855)
- Sir Pryse Pryse (1838-1906)
Those are the names by which the three individuals were known at the time of their respective deaths. The changes of surname during their lifetimes have flummoxed the most eminent of scholars. This article will attempt to disentangle them for once and for all, with the help of the family portraits.
Pryse Pryse (1774-1849)
The first Pryse Pryse (1774-1849) began life as Pryse Loveden. He was the son of Edward Loveden Loveden of Buscot Park and his wife, Margaret Pryse of Gogerddan. Upon succeeding to the Gogerddan estate after the death of his mother in 1798 Pryse Loveden adopted the surname and arms of Pryse. This was in accordance with the will of his grandfather, Lewis Pryse (d. 1779). The first portrait shows Pryse Pryse as a young man, wearing late eighteenth century fashion.
The second portrait represents a much older Pryse Pryse [aged 52]. John Steegman dates the image to March 1826, from the edition of the Morning Chronicle newspaper which the subject is holding.
Pryse Loveden (1815-1855)
Pryse Loveden (1815-1855) was christened Pryse Pryse. He was the firstborn son of the elder Pryse Pryse and his second wife, Jane Cavallier. As the heir to Gogerddan and to his grandfather’s Buscot Park estate, this younger Pryse Pryse was entitled to bear the surname Loveden after his father’s death in 1849.
This first portrait shows Pryse Loveden as a young man in early Victorian clothing. Both Steegman and the NLW catalogue date the picture to 183.
The second picture, identified in the NLW catalogue as ‘Gentleman in Black Coat’ by J. Langton Barnard, 1856, represents a middle-aged Pryse Loveden. It just post-dates his death and may be a mourning portrait.
Sir Pryse Pryse (1838-1906)
Sir Pryse Pryse (1838-1906) began life as Pryse Loveden, named after his father. His mother was Margaretta Jane Rice of Llwyn-y-brain, Carmarthenshire. This younger Pryse Loveden was still a minor when his father died intestate in 1855. By a grant from the Royal College of Arms in 1863 he was entitled to bear the surname and arms of Pryse, whereupon he was known as Pryse Pryse. He became Sir Pryse Pryse, first Baronet of the second creation in 1866. The photographic portrait shows Sir Pryse Pryse in 1868.
The second image is one of a pair by Julius Hare, portraying Sir Pryse Pryse and Lady Pryse, c. 1901. The Gogerddan tenants had contributed to the cost of the paintings.
Sir Pryse named his eldest son Pryse Pryse Pryse, who died prematurely from an infected fox bite in 1900. Such an unambiguous name should end the confusion, you would think, but check out the entry for Gogerddan in Francis Jones Historic Cardiganshire Homes and their Families…!
John Steegman, A Survey of Portraits in Welsh Houses, Volume II : South Wales (Cardiff : National Museum of Wales, 1962)
David T.R. Lewis, The Families of Gogerddan in Cardiganshire and Aberglasney in Carmarthenshire (David T.R Lewis/Y Lolfa, 2020)
Francis Jones, Historic Cardiganshire Homes and their Families (Brawdy Books, 2000)
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