The Vaughan family established itself at Courtfield, Monmouthshire, when John Gwillym purchased the estate for £800 in 1562, and when his only daughter Sybil married James Vaughan of Llangattock. James and Sybil's heir was their second son, William (d. 1601), who married Jane, daughter of Richard Clarke of Wellington, near Hereford. William and Jane were the first members of the family to face persecution for their allegiance to the Roman Catholic faith. Jane appeared on the recusant rolls for Welsh Bicknor from 1592 to 1619 and associated herself with an early act of public resistance at Hereford in 1605 when a number of people were prosecuted for hearing Mass at the Darren on the Herefordshire slope of the river Monnow.

In 1601 Courtfield was inherited by their son, John Vaughan (1575-1639). His recusancy earned him monthly fines and the confiscation of two-thirds of his land. He was eventually forced to sell extensive parts of the estate. He was imprisoned for a period, but later pardoned by Charles I.

John's son and heir, Richard Vaughan (1600-1697) was known as 'The Grand Old Man of Courtfield'. The family lost more than half of its ancestral land in confiscation during this time. In 1651, the manor of Welsh Bicknor with the mansion house of Courtfield was sequestered. The goods and livestock were auctioned, leaving Richard with a notional freehold and one third of the rental income. He married Agatha, daughter of John Berington of Cowaine Court, Herefordshire.
On his death, Richard left a son, John Vaughan (1675-1754). John married secondly, Elizabeth, daughter of Philip Jones of Llanarth Court, another Catholic family. Besides succeeding to the manor of Welsh Bicknor, he also inherited the manors of Ruardean, Gloucestershire, and Clyro, Radnorshire, as heir to his childless half-brothers, John and Richard Vaughan. A 1718 parliamentary survey of his lands valued his estates in four neighbouring counties at £996.

Two of his sons, Richard and William were actively associated with the Jacobites. Both fought at Culloden, and fled to Spain after the final defeat of Charles Edward Stuart's forces. They were excluded from the general pardon given by George II in 1747 and their property was seized. Their elder brother, John (d. 1780) inherited Courtfield, but on his death without issue the estate passed to William Vaughan (1738-1796), son of Richard.

William's son, William Michael Thomas John Vaughan (1781-1861) married Teresa Maria Weld in 1803. The couple re-built Courtfield. His heir was his eldest son, John Francis Vaughan (1808-1880). He purchased property in Ireland, and served as a Justice for Monmouthshire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Radnorshire, and County Mayo, the extent of his offices reflecting the spread of his estates. The estate then descended in the male line until Joseph Herbert Vaughan (b. 1910), who sold the Courtfield house with about 50 acres to the Mill Hill Missionary Society

Ref:National Library of Wales
Courtfield Estate Records
Administrative and biographical history:
Part 1

Sited on the Hill above Welsh Bicknor is the fascinating manor house Courtfield
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