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BIOGRAPHICA ET BIBLIOGRAPHICA GEORGE AND ERASMUS LEWIS (Bywgraffiadur, pp. 516-7, D.W.B., pp. 551-2) It may be from a general reaction against the so-called 'Whig interpretation of history' that a good deal of attention has been given recently by historians to Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, the Tory politician who was vilified by Robert Walpole and the Whigs. Harley, who came from the Welsh border and who had many Welsh friends and proteges, counted as one of his most trusted assistants Erasmus Lewis. In English letters Erasmus Lewis (1670-1754) appears as the friend of Swift, Pope, Arbuthnot, and Dr. Richard Mead. Erasmus was from Carmarthenshire, and is rightly mentioned in the Dictionary of Welsh Biography. But there is nothing there which shows that he was also the son of George Lewis, who appears in a quite unconnected note in the same Dictionary, and that Erasmus's wealth helped the rise of a distinguished Welsh county family.1 Erasmus Lewis is often said to have been born at 'Abercothy near Carmarthen'. He certainly did possess this old house (which still stands on the edge of the river Towy near Pontargothi) soon after 1700, and he passed it to his heirs. But it is extremely doubtful whether he was born there. The evidence of James Buckley2 and the Alcwyn Evans MSS3 on which Buckley based so much of his work, suggests that during the 1660s Abercothy was the home of George Jones (sheriff in 1664) and then of his grandson John Williams (sheriff 1681) who appears to have died about 1695. John Williams, who was descended from Dean John Williams of Bangor, had many children, none of whom appears to have had any connexion with Erasmus Lewis.4 Erasmus Lewis had a number of lucrative posts from time to time in the service of William III and Anne, and bought properties or mortgages in various parts throughout his long life. He very likely bought Abercothy soon after 1700. He is much more likely to have been born in the nearby vicarage of Abergwili. His father George Lewis had become vicar of that important parish in 1668 and was to remain there until his death in 1709. George Lewis is mentioned in the Dictionary of Welsh Biography on the grounds that he is said by Moses Williams in his Cofrestr (1717) to be the author of an anonymous booklet, published in 1704, called Cyngor Difrifol i Geidwad Tai i Osod i Fyny Addoliad Duw yn eu Teuluoedd. Gyda Gweddiau Beunyddiol. Moses Williams was probably accurate in his attribution, for his father, Samuel Williams, who must have known George Lewis well, was still alive in 1717. George Lewis was clearly in a mood for 'serious counsel' in 1704, and in 1705 he made his will at Abergwili, registered at Carmarthen in 1709, and which is now amongst the St. Davids probate records deposited at the National Library. The will proves beyond doubt that George Lewis died late in 1709, that his eldest son and chief heir was Erasmus Lewis, (to whom he left his properties, especially those in Newchurch near Carmarthen), that he had other children, Mary (who became Mrs. Griffies and founded the important line of Griffies-Williams of Llwynywermod), George Lewis, Bernard Lewis (to whom he left his books, and who founded a family at Westerham in Kent), and lastly Rowland Lewis (who purchased Torycoed in Llangyndeyrn, and became sheriff in 1719). These are mentioned in scattered pedigrees in Buckley's book on the sheriffs of Carmarthenshire.5 These scattered pedigrees given by Buckley have one puzzling detail, which is that the Reverend George Lewis of Abergwili was the son of an alderman George Lewis of Carmarthen. The will of the alderman (proved in 1675) is preserved amongst the St Davids probate records at the National Library, and he held property in the parish of Newchurch and also had a son called George Lewis. But this son was a minor in