Select Price Miscellany

Here are some Price stories and accounts over the years:

The Prices of Rhiwlas

The Prices of Rhiwlas in north Wales can trace their ancestry back to the early 11th century and Marchwesthian, a prince and chieftain of the House of ap Rhys at Rhiwlas.

Rhys ap Meredydd (Rhys Fawr) fought for Henry Tudor at Bosworth Field in 1485.  He was a huge man and, according to legend, slew the English King Richard III with his own hands.  His son Sir Robert ap Rhys served Henry VII and was a cross-bearer to Cardinal Wolsey in the 1530ís. 

The Price name, or initially the Welsh Prys or Pryse version, was adopted sometime in the 1570ís.  William Price was an MP for Merioneth in 1636 and was later a captain in the Royalist army.  The Price family remained influential in Merionethshire during the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Pryces of Montgomeryshire

slain in 1469
Thomas Pryce

Matthew Pryce       
sheriff of Montgomery in 1548
John Pryce
sheriff of Montgomery in 1566-86
Edward Pryce
sheriff of Montgomery in 1615
Sir John Pryce
baronet and MP in 1640
Sir Matthew Pryce
baronet and sheriff in 1659-60

Rhys had been killed fighting in the War of the Roses on King Edward IVís side at the Battle of Danesmoor in Northamptonshire in 1469.

John Price of Jamestown

John Price from Montgomeryshire, aged 36, arrived at Jamestown in 1620 (although other reports have him arriving earlier in 1611 on the Starr).  He was one of those who, after the Indian massacre of 1622, assumed a greater importance within the new colony, being one of the eleven counsellors for the provisional government. 

John Price died in 1638.  His principal heirs were his sons Mathew and John.  Their descendants lived in Henrico county and, from 1750 to the Civil War, in Prince Edward county where they operated the Weaver tobacco plantation

The Prices at Foxley

Robert Price from Giler in Denbighshire, like the Prices of Rhiwlas, had claimed a lineage that went back to the Welsh prince Marchwesthian in the early 11th century.  He was a leading judge and lawyer in the court of Charles II and became Baron of the Court of Exchequer in 1702.

He had, after his marriage, acquired a partial interest in the ancient wooded estate of Foxley in Herefordshire.  This became a full interest when he bought out the other partners in 1714.  He started work on a new Grand House for the estate in 1719.

Robert Baron Price died in 1733 and it was the generations that followed that involved themselves in the beautification of Foxley through landscaping and gardening: 

  • Uvedale Tompkins Price (1685-1764)
  • Robert Price (1717-1761)
  • Sir Uvedale Price (1747-1829)
  • and Sir Robert Price (1786-1857).  
They were patrons of the arts as well, in particular of the portrait painter Gainsborough. 

The best known of these Prices was Uvedale Price, who wrote the Essay on the Picturesque, As Compared with the Sublime and The Beautiful in 1794.  This treatise, much discussed at the time, argued that the preferred mode of landscaping should be to retain old trees, rutted paths and textured slopes, rather than to sweep them all away in the style that had been popularized by Capability Brown.

The Eccentric William Price

Dr. William Price, widely labelled during his lifetime as radical and eccentric, was later remembered by some as "one of the great Welshman of all time."  There is a permanent exhibition and statue dedicated to him in the town of Llantrisant in Glamorgan where he lived for most of his life. 

Born in 1800, he was well-known for his support of Welsh nationalism and Chartism, and for his involvement in the Neo-Druidic sect.  At this phase of his life he began developing an appearance unconventional for his time, wearing a fox fur hat and emerald green clothing and growing his beard long and not cutting his hair.  He also tried holding Druidic events, but nobody turned up.

At a time when burning bodies was considered a sacrilege, this was the man who cremated his own dead son, whom he had named Jesus Christ Price, on Llantrisant Common in 1884 - even charging admission to the public.  Price was arrested and put on trial by those who believed cremation was illegal in Britain.  However, he successfully argued that there was no legislation that specifically outlawed it.  Upon his own death in 1893, he was cremated in a ceremony that was watched by 20,000 onlookers.

William Price to Quebec

William Price was born in 1789 into a well off and well-educated Welsh family originally from Glamorgan. However, his father died in 1803, leaving the family with eight children under 21 years of age, a large but old mansion in the outskirts of London, and a crippling debt.  The home was turned into a boarding house to support the family. 

The oldest son Richard, hot headed and quick-tempered, soon left the nest.  His shipping business took him various places but he ended up marrying and staying in Chile.  The next David, also involved in shipping, also travelled widely before returning to England.  Neither of them was that successful in their business lives, although Richardís son Sam did make a fortune during the California gold rush. 

William was the next son, aged fourteen when his father died.  He too worked for Davidís shipping company and in 1810, at the age of twenty one, was sent to Quebec as a clerk.  He saw the new opportunities in timber in Canada and by 1820 had started with three partners his own lumber company. 

Much of this early material comes from The Story of William Price, put together by Alice Sharples Baldwin in 1978 from a box of old letters that was discovered in the Price family home on the banks of the St Lawrence river in Quebec City.

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