GEN-MEDIEVAL-L Archives

Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 1998-09 > 0906321781


From: "cg" <>
Subject: Gam/Games/Gaines
Date: Sun, 20 Sep 1998 16:03:01 -0400


I'd like to add what I know to the posts of several weeks ago concerning
these families.

Thomas Gaines connection to Sir John Games:
The connection has been refered to in family tradition for several hundred
years and in published accounts for at least 125 years. The descendants of
Thomas Gaines of Virginia were aware of their Welsh heritage; Kentucky
biographies from the late 1800's mention the descent of the Gaines family
from the last Welch princes (which are traceable through David Gam). The
most recent published reference is in Calvin E. Sutherds "Compilation of the
Gaines Family" 1972, avaiable in the Library of Congress. He states:" Many
articles written in books and periodicals indicate that there is a strong
conjecture that Thomas Gaines, b 1585-90, who came to the Virginia Colony
Ca. 1641. Some say he was a son, others a grandson, of Sir John Games of
Newton; while others say he was a son of John Games of Aberbran. The
compendium of American Genealogy by Virkus Volume VI states that 'a Thomas
Gaines, son of Sir John 1559 - 1606, came from Brecon Wales ante 1650,
settled in Virgina'."

Responses from the Vicarage of Llywel and Registrar of Brecon to letters of
request for information in the 1960's on the Gaines family use the name
Games and Gaines, apparently, interchangably. One explanation I have heard
is that the name Games was used in Wales and Gaines was used when traveling
in England.

My own speculations: Thomas Gaines received a land grant of 1030 acres in
1656 so it can be said that he wasn't poor; descent from a Knight is not
unthinkable. Sir John Games however was not the only well to do member of
the Games family; many of the descendants of David Gam faired well for
hundreds of years. John Games of Aberbran, for instance, had considerable
land holdings. Thomas Gaines' departure from England at the time of
Cromwell also leads me to think that, since the Games family was traditional
loyalist, it may have been a logical move for him. During a visit to Sir
John Games house at Newton in Brecon last year I was shown the family crest
displayed above the fireplace. The owner said it had been deliberately
defaced by Cromwells troops.

David Gams Children:
According to Theophilus Jones's History of Breconshire David Gam had three
children:
1. Morgan Gam: progenitor of the Games families of Brecon, Aberbran,
Pencelli, Penpont and Newton among others. He was the greatgrandfather to
Sir John Games of Newton. The name is still common in Brecon today.
2. Thomas
3. Gwladys who married first Roger Vaughan and secondly Sir William Ap
Thomas of Raglan Castle. This second line became the Herberts and one son
was William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke. It is the Herbert ancestors who
befriended Shakespeare which forms the speculation that the Fluellen
character of Henry V is styled after David Gam. Roberts' "Royal Decent of
500 Immigrants" traces a line of nobility from John Thomas of Pennsylvania -
down through Gwladys - to her father David Gam - to his mother Mawd ferch
Iuean - on down to Henry I.

David Gams biography:
Gam, David d. 1415, Welsh warrior, is more properly styled Davydd ab
Llewelyn. Gam is a nickname meaning squinting, which, like other Welsh
nicknames, became equivalent to a surname. David's father was Llewelyn, the
son of Hywel, the son of Eineon Sais. Llewelyn possessed fair estates in the
parishes of Garthbrengy and Llanddew, which lay within the honour
or lordship of Brecon, a dependency of the earldom of Hereford, and after
1399 lapsed to the crown by the accession of Henry IV, who had long enjoyed
that earldom. Peytyn was the name of Llewelyn's chief residence. David is
described in a verse attributed to Owain Glyndwr as a short red-haired man
with a squint. He was faithful to his lord, Henry IV, even during the revolt
of Owain [see Glendower, Owen]. He was rewarded for his services by a large
share in the South Welsh lands confiscated from rebels in 1401 (Wylie, Hist.
of Henry IV, p. 245). There is a story that David plotted against the life
of Owain when attending the Welsh parliament at Machynlleth. But it rests on

no early authority, misdates the year of the Machynlleth parliament, and
wrongly makes David a brother-in-law of Owain. There seems nothing to show
that David ever wavered in his allegiance.
David was taken prisoner by Owain, probably at a time when Owain's successes
were very few. On 14 June 1412 David's father, Llewelyn ab Hywel, and the
seneschal and receiver of Brecon were empowered to treat with Owain, and by
ransom or by capturing rebel prisoners to extricate David from his rigorous
imprisonment (Federa, viii. 753).
It is said that David soon after got into trouble by killing a kinsman in an
affray in Brecon town. In 1415 David, accompanied by three foot archers
only, followed Henry V on his invasion of France (Nicolas, Battle of
Agincourt, p. 379). It is reported that when, on the eve of the battle of
Agincourt, he was questioned by the king as to the number of the enemy, he
replied that there were enough to be slain, enough to be taken prisoners,
and enough to run away. The story, however, first appears in Sir Walter
Raleigh's History of the World (p. 451). David was slain at the battle of
Agincourt, which was fought on 25 Oct. 1415. The contemporary chroniclers
who notice his death simply describe him as an esquire (Walsingham, ii. 313;
cf. Chronicles of London, quoted in Nicolas, pp. 279-80). There is a
tradition that he was knighted for his valour when dying on the field of
battle, and the fact that one chronicler says that two recently dubbed
knights were slain (Gesta
Henrici Quinti, p. 58, Engl. Hist. Soc.) is thought to bear out the story.
But one writer at least mentions both the two knights and David Gam
(Nicolas, p. 280). Lewis Glyn Cothi, a Welsh poet of the next generation,
who celebrated the praises of David's children and grandchildren, regularly
speaks of him, however, as Syr Davydd Gam (Gwaith, pp. 1, 8). It has been
suggested that David is the original of Shakespeare's Fluellen. This is not
at all an improbable conjecture, as Fluellen is plainly a corruption of
Llewelyn, and David was generally called David Llewelyn, or ab Llewelyn. The
reference to him in Raleigh shows also that his name was familiar to the age
of Elizabeth.

David is said to have married Gwenllian, daughter of Gwilym, son of Hywel
Grach. He left a family. His son Morgan became the ancestor of the Games of
Breconshire. His daughter Gwladus was by her second husband, Sir William ab
Thomas of Raglan, the mother of William, the first Herbert Earl of Pembroke.

Sources Besides authorities quoted in the text the biography of Gam in
Theophilus Jones's Hist. of Breconshire, i. 160-1, ii. 156-69, with
pedigrees; the pedigrees in Lewys Dwnn's Heraldic Visitation of Wales (Welsh
MSS. Society); Gwaith Lewis Glyn Cothi; Sir Harris Nicolas's Battle of
Agincourt; Tyler's Hist. of Henry V. published 1889

Curt Gaines

This thread: