Vaughans of Trawsgoed Estate

Trawsgoed Estate

From, the free online encyclopedia: The Trawsgoed Estate (Welsh for “Crosswood”) is an estate located eight miles east of Aberystwyth in Ceredigion, Wales (Coordinates: 52.340252°N 3.953864°W), and in the community of Trawsgoed that has been in the possession of the Vaughan family since 1200.

Seat of the Trawsgoed estate, which extended over 22 Cardiganshire parishes

The family are descended from Collwyn ap Tangno, founder of the fifth noble tribe of North Wales, Lord of Eifionydd, Ardudwy, and part of Llŷn, who had his residence on the site of Harlech Castle.The land falls within the ancient parish of Llanafan, in the upper division of the hundred of Ilar. The Trawsgoed estate extended over 22 Cardiganshire parishes, including Llanafan. The community of Trawsgoed had a population of 989 in 2011.

History of Trawsgoed Ownership

The estate and mansion of Trawsgoed came into the Vaughan family by the marriage of Adda Fychan with Tudo, daughter and heiress of Ifan Goch of Trawsgoed, ‘Evan the Red’.The founder of the modern estate was the parliamentarian and lawyer, Sir John Vaughan, who was made Chief Justice of the Common Pleas by Charles II. It was Sir John Vaughan who acquired from the Earl of Essex much of the former monastic lands of the Cistercian abbey Strata Florida. At the same time further land was added to the estate through his marriage to Jane Stedman, daughter of John Stedman of Ystrad Fflur and Cilcennin.

The estate has been passed down in the landed family from father to son in a direct line since it was acquired by marriage in 1200. The Vaughans are one of the few aristocratic families who have retained possession of a house since first taking it on in the Middle Ages.Trawsgoed became an estate in the English sense of the word in the 16th century. Strata Florida Abbey, in the centre of Wales, was given to the 1st Earl of Essex to broker during the English Reformation and dissolution of the monasteries, and he sold much of it to the Stedman family.

Sir John Vaughan married the Stedman heiress and his brother, Henry, her sister. So almost all the abbey estate was taken over by the Vaughans. In 1695, John Vaughan of Trawsgoed, the grandson of Sir John Vaughan, was created Viscount Lisburne in the peerage of Ireland. during the Civil War he married Malet, daughter of the poet and courtier, the Earl of Rochester, and granddaughter of the Cavalier, Sir Henry Wilmot, 1st Earl of Rochester, the victor of the Battle of Roundway Down.

The Vaughan family was granted the title Earl of Lisburne in 1776 and remained at Trawsgoed mansion over successive generations. The family at one time owned estates in Northumberland and at Mamhead in Devon.

Trawsgoed Grounds

In 1873, the Vaughan’s estate acreage at Trawsgoed was the largest in Cardiganshire at 42,666 acres. The Vaughan family has for many years worshiped at St Afan’s Church, Llanafan, that lies within the estate.

Trawsgoed Mansion

Trawsgoed Mansion is a 17th-century country house, also known as Crosswood Park, formerly the seat of the Earl of Lisburne. It was Ernest George Henry, the 6th Earl of Lisburne, who added the 50-room Victorian wing to the old Georgian mansion and built the summerhouse, squash and tennis courts and the ornamental fountain. He also had the library ceiling painted in the style of those at Windsor Castle. The house eventually included seventy rooms, a summerhouse, gardens with rare Chilean and Himalayan tree species that thrive in the mild moist climate of coastal Wales, the remains of a small Roman fort adjoining the grounds, fountain, stable block, lodge house, and unencumbered view of the Cambrian Mountains.

The Vaughan family today owns over 5,000 acres of the original estate that includes upland pastures, Common Land, farmland on and adjoining Cors Caron, and  the Lisburne (Lead) Mine, second largest in Britain and one of the most profitable in all of Wales.

The last remaining Vaughan member to be in residence at the house was the Honourable John Edward Malet Vaughan, born 3 Oct 1952. He is the youngest child of John David Malet Vaughan, 8th Earl of Lisburne and Shelagh Macauley. Formerly a Director of Savills, John Vaughan is the Managing Director of Trawsgoed Estates, Ltd at this date.


Excerpts from “Reminiscences and Genealogical Record of The Vaughan Family of New Hampshire by George E. Hodgdon” Supplemented by an Account of The Vaughans of South Wales, Together With Copies of Official Papers Relating To The Vaughans of New Hampshire, Taken Out of The English Colonial Records In London by Thomas W. Hancock, Copyright, 1918, by R.C.Shannon