The Family of Nell Gwynn

by William Addams Reitwiesner

Eleanor (Nell) Gwynn, actress and "orange-girl", mistress of King Charles II (his "Protestant whore") and mother, by him, of Charles Beauclerk, 1st Duke of St. Albans (1670-1726), was born 2 Feb. 1649/50 and died 14 Nov. 1687 (bur. 17 Nov. 1687, Will dated 9 July, codicil dated 18 Oct. 1687, proved 7 Dec. 1687), a daughter of Thomas Gwynn and his wife Eleanor Smith (drowned, while drunk, in a ditch near Westminster and buried 30 July 1679, in her 56th year, at St.-Martin's-in-the-Fields) and granddaughter of an Edward Gwynn (installed Canon of Christ Church 11 May 1615, d. 24 Aug. 1624). Nell Gwynn used arms similar to the arms of Gwyn of Llansanwyr. The Gwyns of Llansanwyr are descended from Richard Gwyn of Llansanwyr, liv. 1545 [WG2 Godwin 6 (C)] and his wife Ann f. Llywelyn [WG2 Ein. ap G. 16 (A)]. The connection, if any, between Nell Gwynn and the Gwyns of Llansanwyr is unknown.

Some citations for material on Nell Gwynn and her background:

T. C. D., "The Will of Nell Gwynn", The Genealogists' Magazine, vol. VII, pp. 8-10.

George Wilson, "Nell Gwynn", The Genealogical Magazine, vol. IV (1901), pp. 384-389 (contains most of her descendants but ignores the Jenison-Walworths).

Arthur Irwin Dasent, Nell Gwynne (London: Macmillan, 1924), pp. 20-34.

John Harold Wilson, Nell Gwyn (London: Muller, 1952), pp. 3-11.

Clifford Bax, Pretty Witty Nell (London: Chapman and Hall, 1932), pp. 4-7.

H. Noel Williams, Rival Sultanas (London: Hutchinson, 1915), pp. 39-42.

Lewis Melville, Nell Gwyn (London: Hutchinson, 1924), pp. 8-23, esp. p. 12.

Peter Cunningham, The Story of Nell Gwyn (New York: Blom, 1923), pp. 18-20, 154-158.

Bryan Bevan, Nell Gwyn (New York: Roy, 1970), pp. 18-23.

William Addams Reitwiesner