JOHN LEWIS, LLYNWENE, Historian and Antiquary By FRANCIS G. PAYNE, M.A., F.S.A. Many years ago in addressing this Society on the subject ot Radnorshire poets and their patrons I included a brief account of John Lewis of Llynwene. This afternoon I propose to speak of him at greater length. Although John Lewis has been dead for nearly three hundred and fifty years, he is still remembered by those interested in the histor- ical scholarship of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Indeed, his stout defence of traditional British history as expounded by Geoffrey of Monmouth has during the last twenty years led to a mild revival of interest in his work, or, at least, in as much of his work as has been published.(l) John Lewis was the second son of the second marriage of Huw ap Dafydd ap Lewis, of Harpton, Old Radnor. This Hugh ap Dafydd was born towards the close of the 15th century and he was the first of his family to adopt a surname. The surname he took was Lewis which was his grandfather's christian name. In the male line he was a direct des- cendant of Llywelyn Crug Eryr and through him of Prince Rhys Gryg. His mother, Elen, daughter of Dafydd ap Rhys ap Meurig, also of Harpton, was descended from Elystan Glodrydd, Prince of Rhwng Gwy a Hafren, that is between Wye and Severn, west of Hereford. Hugh Lewis was married twice, his first wife was a daughter of Maredudd Mathew of Heyope, his second a daughter of Roger ap Watcyn Fychan of Hergest Court, near Kington. From 1536 when he was appointed one of the commissioners for dividing certain Welsh shires into hundreds, he took an active part in public life. But in addition to such activities, common to those of his status elsewhere in Britain, there was one other duty incumbent upon him by virtue of his descent. That was the upholding of Welsh traditions and the patronage of Welsh learning. Merely to mention this point to- day is to emphasise it and I do so because of the deterioration of this traditional duty during the last two centuries. To Hugh Lewis himself however, there was nothing self-conscious in it. It was as natural for him to hold open house to bard and herald and wandering minstrel, as it was for him to find himself on the sheriff roll. The Hugh Lewis whose activities may be traced through the English public records and state papers was only half the man. The other half, often under the name of Huw ap Dafydd ap Lewis we meet in the manuscripts of the bards, signing the bardic licence of the famous Gruffudd Hiraethog,(2) or in a less dignified moment witnessing, indeed instigating, an amazing four hour fight between a harpist of Builth and a bruiser of Llanidloes. (1) Lien Cymru, II, pp.15-16; IV, p.21-22. Nat. Library of Wales Journal, VII, p.228. Kendrick: British Antiquity, pp.74, 100. (2) Y Lienor, XIV, pp. 165-181.