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The surname Van, not Welsh in origin although it might be considered a Welsh name after all these years.
The Vans, whose name is supposed to have derived from the French De Anne, were living at Marcross in Glamorganshire in the reign of King Edward III (1327-77). Edmund Van moved to Monmouthshire when he married Jane, daughter of Sir Thomas Bowles of Penhow Castle at some time around 1550. The couple had two sons, William who returned to Marcross and Thomas who lived at a house in Marshfield. Joan, his wife, was drowned in her home in the great flood of 1607 when a high tide seems to have overcome the sea defences and flooded a great area along the Monmouthshire coastline. It was reported that "aboave twentie hundred" were drowned. 

The great grandson of this lady, Lewis Van, purchased Llanwern near Newport in about 1630 and the family were were long to be associated with this place. Charles Van was Member of Parliament for Brecon from 1772 to 1778 but apparently spent much of his time at Bath. Although a wealthy man and follower of fashion, Van retained a broad Welsh accent. Because of this and his fervent support for Wales, one of his conversations in Bath is recorded.*

Charles had a son called Thomas Van of Llanwern who died in 1794. His son, Charles John Van died without issue in 1798. The long association with Monmouthshire came to an end.

* A Schizzo on the Genius of Man, E. Harrington, 1793. In this, (pages 65-8) Charles Van argues about the merits of a painting with the artist. The reported argument allows the writer to poke fun at Van's accent.

 John Weston

Welsh surnames.

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