Richard Vaughan 1600-1686

From Book Owners Online

Richard VAUGHAN 2nd Earl of Carbery or Earl of Carberry 1600-1686

Biographical Note

Richard Vaughan was the eldest son and heir of John Vaughan, 1st Earl of Carbery, of Golden Grove Carmarthenshire and Margaret Meyrick. He was a Member of Parliament for his county from 1624 to 1629 and succeeded to the earldom in 1634. He was admitted to Gray's Inn in 1638, and married, first, Bridget Lloyd and, secondly, Frances Altham with whom he had two sons.

As one of the wealthiest and most influential members of the gentry in Carmarthenshire, he rose to prominence in the Civil War, being appointed as a Royalist militia commander. Richard Vaughan had no aptitude for soldiering, and failed to hold the staunchley Parliamentarian neighbouring county of Pembrokeshire in 1644. He then retired to his estate at Golden Grove, and in 1652 married for a third time to Alice Egerton. At the Restoration, he was appointed Head of the Council in the marches, a post he carried out competently until 1672. He was succeeded in 1686 by his second son, John Vaughan (1640 – 1713).


Richard Vaughan's inclination seems to have been for a quiet life as a wealthy country peer and patron of the arts. This included offering support to a number of eminent writers of this time including Samuel Butler. In 1645, he welcomed Jeremy Taylor to live at Golden Grove, where he wrote several books. Correspondence indicates that he invited other antiquaries to visit the Golden Grove library, which had assumed a reputation for holding a collection of fine Welsh manuscripts from his father's time. It is highly probably that it also contained a significant number of printed books, although no catalogue has survived. Nevertheless there are two published works which bear the name of the great house: Golden Grove (1600), a commonplace book written by his uncle William Vaughan and Golden Grove (1655) a popular manual of daily prayers by Jeremy Taylor, as well as a large and much valued collection of manuscripts know as the Golden Grove Book of Welsh pedigrees, a transcription of which is held in National Library of Wales. He clearly supported the Welsh language, persuading Charles II to appoint a King's printer for the British language in 1676.

Following the death, without issue, of the third Earl, the estate was left to his daughter, Anne Vaughan, who became the Duchess of Bolton and lived exclusively in London. Golden Grove mansion was without a resident for 50 years, but the books may have followed Anne to her London home. The house suffered a fire in 1729, and was eventually rebuilt by Anne's heir, a cousin John Vaughan. His son Richard Vaughan (1726 – 1780) moved into the new Golden Grove around 1757 and received back there some of the family treasures, as well as building up the library again. Although nothing is known, for certain, regarding the fate of the Golden Grove library of the 17th century, it is possible that some of the books were still to be found there in the twentieth century.


  • Jones F. The Vaughans of Golden Grove: 1 The Earls of Carbery. Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion. 1963:96 - 145.