Sir William ap Thomas of Ragland Castle, Monmouthshire


Family Links

1. Gwladys verch Dafydd Gam

Sir William ap Thomas of Ragland Castle, Monmouthshire 1 2

  • Marriage (1): Gwladys verch Dafydd Gam
  • Died: 1445

  Research Notes:

Second husband of Gwladys verch Davy Gam.

From Wikipedia - William ap Thomas :
William ap Thomas (died 1445) was a member of a minor Welsh gentry family and was responsible for beginning the construction of Raglan Castle one of the finest late medieval Welsh castles .

He obtained Raglan through his marriage to Elizabeth Bloet , widow of Sir James Berkeley shortly after 1406. When Elizabeth died in 1420, ap Thomas retained Raglan as a tenant of his stepson James Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley , and in 1425 Lord Berkeley agreed that he could continue to hold Raglan for the duration of his life.

2nd Marriage
William married for a second time, and chose another heiress, Gwladus , described by a Welsh poet as 'The Star of Abergavenny' for her beauty. She was the daughter of Sir Dafydd Gam and the widow of Sir Roger Vaughan . Both these men had been part of the Welsh contingent that fought with King Henry V of England in France, and both were at the battle of Agincourt , where William ap Thomas had also fought.

The Blue Knight of Gwent
In 1426, ap Thomas was knighted by King Henry VI , becoming known to his compatriots as "Y marchog glas o Went" (the blue knight of Gwent). Gradually he began to establish himself as a person of consequence in south Wales .

Important Offices In Wales
As early as 1421 William held the important position of Steward of the Lordship of Abergavenny , and later became Chief Steward of the Duke of York's estates in Wales, 1442-1443. Other positions held by Sir William included that of Sheriff of Cardiganshire and Carmarthenshire , to which he was appointed in 1435, and his position as Sheriff of Glamorgan followed in 1440. Although he became one of the followers of Richard, Duke of York , and a member of the Duke's military council, Sir William's sphere of influence was largely confined to south Wales.

Raglan Castle
By 1432 William was in a position to purchase the manor of Raglan from the Berkeleys for about L667 and it was probably from this time that he began to build the castle as we know it. His building programme eventually swept away most of the original structures. The principal buildings surviving from this time are the Great Tower (left) a self-contained fortress in its own right, together with the south gate, both equipped with gunloops. He also raised the hall, though later largely rebuilt, and part of the service range beyond. Two sources indicate that William ap Thomas was the builder of the keep. One of which is a contemporary poem praising ap Thomas, mentioning the tower at Raglan Castle which "stands above all other buildings." There is also a reference to Sir William Thomas' tower from a family chronicle written by Sir Thomas Herbert of Tintern .

Death & Burial
William ap Thomas died in London in 1445, and his body was brought back to Wales to be buried in the Benedictine Priory Church of St Mary, Abergavenny [1] . His wife Gwladus, died in 1454 and her tomb and effigy can also be seen in Abergavenny in the Priory Church of St Mary. William was succeeded by his eldest son, William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke (1423-1469) who took the surname Herbert.

William married Gwladys verch Dafydd Gam, daughter of Dafydd Gam ap Llewelyn ap Hywel and Unknown.


1 Thomas, Lawrence Buckley, The Thomas Book giving the Genealogies of Sir Rhys ap Thomas, K. G., the Thomas Family descended from him, and of some Allied Families (New York: Henry T. Thomas Co., 1896.), p. 340.

2, William ap Thomas.

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