MANSELL, Anthony (?1532-1601 or later), of Llantrithyd, Glam.
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Family and Education
b. ?1532, 3rd but 2nd surv. s. of Sir Rhys Mansell of Margam by 3rd w. Cecily, da. and coh. of William Dabridgecourt of Solihull, Warws.; bro. of Edward. m. Elizabeth, da. of John Bassett II of Llantrithyd, 3s. 4da.1
J.p. Glam. 1573-1601, q. 1575, 1593-1601, j.p.q. Carm. 1596; commr. tanneries, Glam. 1574; sheriff 1590-1.2
Of English origin, the Mansell family is said to have settled in the Gower peninsula in the reign of Edward I. Oxwich and Penrice castles were its two main residences until Mansell’s father acquired Margam abbey in 1540. A trusted royal servant, Sir Rhys Mansell had taken as his third wife a servant of Princess Mary. He and his wife were to remain devoted to Mary, who on her accession was to reward him with the coveted chamberlainship of South Wales. It was also doubtless with royal support that his sons Anthony and Edward were returned to the first two Parliaments of the reign. That it should have been the younger brother, then barely of age, who took the lead suggests that he was particularly acceptable to the Queen, although it was not until 1 Oct. 1558 that he was to be granted a £20 annuity for service to her. Predictably, he was not among the Members who ‘stood for the true religion’ against the initial measures of Catholic restoration.3
By the time of his election Mansell may have been married, for John Bassett II had earlier settled on his daughter, perhaps as a dowry, his manors of Llantrithyd and Talyfan, as well as a rectory and chapel in Carmarthenshire which the Mansells had later to sue for in Chancery. To his wife’s property Mansell was to add, by two grants at the close of Mary’s reign, the manor of Gelligarn and other lands, together costing him over £600 to buy, and a lease of five manors in Gower; a few months afterwards he received under his father’s will, besides a sum of £250, some further lands in the neighbourhood and a share with his brother in his father’s house at the Old Bailey, London. One of the items in the bequest was the vicarage of Penmark, where 20 years later Mansell was to be accused by the rector of diverting tithes due to him.4
Mansell’s alliance with the Bassetts, a family identified with the Herbert interest in Glamorgan, may have smoothed his election for the shire, the sheriff being (Sir) George Herbert, but he was to be caught up in the feud between his family and the Herberts: it was scarcely by accident that a Herbert was one of the gang who, as he afterwards told the court of Star Chamber, attacked his servants in the streets of Cardiff in April 1559 while he was on business in London. The enmity of the Herberts, and the Catholic leaning to which Mary Stuart’s agent testified in 1574, probably delayed Mansell’s appointment to the bench and he was approaching 60 before he was pricked sheriff. In 1595 he and two fellow-justices were cited in the Star Chamber for assaulting the plaintiff, Matthew Williams of St. Fagan’s, and his son, but he was still on the commission of the peace six years later.5
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: P. S. Edwards
- 1. Date of birth estimated from that of elder brother and from election. G. T. Clark, Limbus Patrum Morganiae, 357, 495.
- 2. SP12/93/9; 46/31/153; R. Flenley, Cal. Reg. Council, Marches of Wales, 126, 142, 236-7.
- 3. Clark, 494-5; E. P. Statham and C. A. Maunsell, Fam. Maunsell, i. 283-336; CPR, 1554-5, p. 61; 1558-60, p. 144; E318/2195; Lansd. 156(28), ff. 90-94.
- 4. C3/122/67; CPR, 1558-60, p. 290; Statham and Maunsell, i. 488-9, 493; Exchequer (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. iv), 216; Stradling Corresp. ed. Traherne, 135.
- 5. St.Ch.5/M5/16, W21/15; SP12/99/55; Flenley, 236-7.