Edward Conway 1564-1631






Conway Castle in Wales
 Son and heir of Sir John Conway, knight, by Helen or Eleanor, daughter of Sir Fulke Greville of Beauchamp's Court, Warwickshire. He was Knighted by Robert Devereaux, Earl of Essex in 1596 at the sacking of Cadiz. Afterwards served in the Netherlands as Governor of the Brill. (Chamberlain Letters during the reign of Elizabeth, p. 173). When the Brill was delivered up to the States of Holland (1616), he received an annual pension of 500 pounds. (Lord Carew, Letters to Sir T. Roe, p. 35).


Plan of Conway Castle
Click to Enlarge 
On 30 Jan 1622-3 he was made one of the principal Secretaries of State, and he was continued in that office after the accession of Charles I (Thomas, Hist. Notes, ii., 497, 569; Hackman, Cat. of Tanner MSS., p. 88a). He was returned for Evesham to the parliament which assembled on 19 Feb 1623-4 (Willis, p. 196), and on 22 Mar 1624-5 he was created Baron Conway of Ragley in the County of Warwick. On 8 Dec 1625 he was constituted captain of the Isle of Wight. In 2 Car. I he was created Viscount Killultagh of Killutagh, County Antrim, Ireland (Lodge, Illustr. of British Hist. ed. 1838, ii. 553), and on 6 Jun 1627 Viscount Conway of Conway Castle in Carnarvonshire (Dugdale, Baronage, ii. 453). In 1626, William Payne asked Conway to petition the King on his behalf regarding several inventions of his designed to benefit the colonies. One of these inventions was a means of producing tobacco of the same quality as the Spanish variety. He became lord president of the council in Dec 1628, and was Ambassador to Prague (1623-1625).
Conway Castle showing the
remains of the Great Hall


He was succeeded by his son, the second Viscount. He was a soldier and politician. In 1628 he was summoned to the House of Lords through a writ of acceleration in his father's junior title Baron Conway. On his death the titles passed to his only son, the aforementioned third Viscount, who was elevated to an earldom in 1679. The Earl of Conway was childless and all the titles became extinct on his death in 1683.

The Conway estates were inherited by the Earl's second cousin Popham Seymour, who was shortly afterwards killed in a duel by a Colonel Kirk. The estates then passed to the next brother Francis Seymour. Both assumed the additional surname of Conway in accordance with the Earl's will. In 1703, Francis was created Baron Conway, of Ragley in the County of Warwick, in the Peerage of England. In 1712 he was also made Baron Conway and Killultagh, of Killultagh in the County of Antrim, in the Peerage of Ireland. His son, the second Baron, was created Marquess of Hertford in 1793. See this title for further history of the peerages.[1]

The family seats of the Conway family were Conway Castle in Wales and Ragley Hall, Warwickshire.

By his wife Dorothy, daughter of Sir John Tracy of Todington, Gloucestershire, and widow of Edmund Bray, he had three sons and four daughters. His eldest son, Edward, succeeded to the family honours.

Edward died in St. Martin's Lane, London on 3 Jan 1631.
Dictionary of National Biography,
Volumes 1-20, 22, Page 975
John Donne and the Conway Papers:
Patronage and Manuscript Circulation in the Early Seventeenth Century,
Page 91, Chapter Family Friends and Household Staff.

Edward Conway 1st Viscount Conway
John Donne and the Conway Papers: 
Patronage and Manuscript Circulation in the Early 
Seventeenth Century, Page 89, 
Likeness of Edward, First Viscount Conway.
Edward's daughter Frances Conway.
Collins's Peerage of England; Genealogical, Biographical,
and Historical, Volume 8, Page 391


SOURCE