Saturday, 9 October 2010


The last Welsh Martyr, St David Lewis, comes from an old and respected Abergavenny family and there are many prominent, even famous, people in his family tree. One of them is Dr David Lewis.

Dr David Lewis was born in Abergavenny around 1520. His father was Lewis ap John (Wallis), Vicar of Abergavenny and Llandeilo Bertholau. Following the Welsh custom, David took his father’s Christian name as his surname. He was educated at Oxford and went on to a very distinguished career. Among his achievements, Dr David Lewis was a lawyer, close advisor to Queen Elizabeth I, a Member of Parliament for Monmouthshire, and a Judge of the High Court of Admiralty. He was one of the founding members of Jesus College, Oxford and, on 27th June 1571, Lewis became its first Principal. It is probably in this capacity that Dr David Lewis is best remembered.

Dr David Lewis never married. He died in London on 27th April 1584. His remains were brought back to his hometown, Abergavenny, to be interred in St Mary’s Priory Church. He is buried beneath a tomb which he himself had commissioned. His tomb, showing its age now, can be seen in that part of the church which is known as the Lewis Chapel.

How is David Lewis, first Principal of Jesus College, Oxford, related to David Lewis, last Welsh Martyr? Saint David Lewis, through his mother, Margaret Pritchard, is the great-great nephew of Dr David Lewis. The Saint’s mother was MARGARET PRITCHARD, daughter of MARGARET BAKER, who was daughter of MAUD LEWIS, sister of DR DAVID LEWIS and the daughter of LEWIS WALLIS. That also makes St David Lewis the great-great grandson of the Vicar of Abergavenny and Llandeilo Bertholau, Lewis ap John, known as Wallis.

(1)Lewis Wallis m Lucy

Dr David Lewis (2) Maud Lewis m William Baker

(3) Margaret Baker
m Henry Pritchard

(4) Margaret Pritchard
m Morgan Lewis

(5) St David Lewis


  1. Yet another interesting and well researched post. You know Breadgirl, one day they'll have an item of news on TV about David Lewis and you'll be there interviewed as the expert on the subject.

    God bless you.

  2. Good Morning Victor

    Thank you very much. Your comments are always most encouraging and I appreciate them very much. But, you really are too kind.

    I do try to find as much information as I can but I am certainly not an expert. I wish I was! I think every scrap of information is important so I try to get it out there so that St David Lewis will become better known and devotion to him will spread a little. That's my objective. I don't know how successful I am in that, but I can only try and God will do the rest.

    Thanks again Victor and God bless you.


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