At a Meeting of the Council of the County Borough of Cardiff,
held at the Town Hall, Cardiff, on Thursday 9 November 1893,
it was moved by Mr. Councillor Edward Thomas (in pursuance of
notice of motion previously given), and resolved:—"That this
Council deems it an imperative duty to direct a thorough and
exhaustive investigation into the statements and representations
of the South Wales Daily News on the subject of Cardiff Lands;
and, as a preliminary step, desires the Town Clerk to have
prepared with all convenient speed a précis of all charters, deeds
and documents in the custody of the Corporation relating to
Corporate Lands (excluding lands recently acquired for Water works and Improvement purposes), and of all references to
Corporate Lands or Leases thereof in ancient books and records,
as well as of all charters, deeds and documents the existence of
which may be ascertained by references in other charters, deeds
and documents but which are not now in the possession or
custody of the Corporation, and submit a print thereof to each
Member of this Council; and that a Special Committee be
appointed for the purpose of ventilating, inquiring into and considering the whole subject, and reporting to this Council thereon."
The following Members voted for the Resolution:—The Mayor
(Mr. Councillor W. J. Trounce), Aldermen Jacobs, D. Jones, Sanders,
and T. Rees; Councillors Ramsdale, Riches, F. J. Beavan, W. Lewis,
Thomas, N. Rees, Jenkins, Andrews, White, Munn, Comley, Morgan,
Crossman, John and Good—20. Neutral: Alderman D. Lewis.
It was further resolved that the following gentlemen be appointed a Special Committee for carrying out the above resolution:
The Mayor; Aldermen Jacobs, D. Jones and Sanders; Councillors
Vaughan, E. Beavan, Ramsdale, Shackell, Riches, F. J. Beavan,
Tucker, W. Lewis, Thomas, Jenkins, White, Munn, Morgan and
The Records Committee met for the first time on 22 November 1893, and elected a chairman in the person of Mr. Councillor
Thomas, with Mr. Councillor F. J. Beavan as Deputy-Chairman.
The Committee on 1 December 1893 instructed the Town
Clerk, Joseph Larke Wheatley, Esq., to prepare a list of all charters
and ancient documents &c. in possession of the Corporation, and
submit the same to the Sub-Committee then appointed, consisting of
the Mayor, the Chairman, Alderman Sanders, Councillors White
At the same Meeting the Town Clerk read letters from Mr. John
Hobson Matthews, Solicitor (author of the "History of Saint Ives,
Lelant, Towednack and Zennor, Cornwall"), offering his services to
this Committee; and the Mayor presented to the Corporation the
Minute Book of the Town Commissioners of Cardiff, from 1815 to
1837, which he had obtained from a local gentleman.
On 2 February 1894, the Town Clerk submitted to the
Records Sub-Committee a schedule prepared by him, of charters,
ancient documents, books &c., in the possession of the Corporation.
It was then resolved that an expert be engaged for the purpose of
reading and carefully perusing every document, book &c., contained
in the schedule submitted by the Town Clerk, and preparing a précis
of all documents relating to Corporate Lands, as directed by the
previous resolution of the Council, and carefully extracting all
references which occur in such documents, books &c. in relation
to the River Taff and the Corporation being the Conservators
thereof. It was also further resolved that Mr. John Hobson
Matthews, Solicitor, of Church Street, Cardiff, be appointed for
the purpose of carrying out the above resolution, under the
control of this Sub-Committee and the Town Clerk.
These proceedings were confirmed by the full Committee on 5
February 1894, and it was resolved: "That the Expert (Mr. J.
Hobson Matthews), be instructed to obtain all possible information
and to report to the Sub-Committee, with regard to the rights of
the Corporation in the foreshores of Cardiff."
The Archivist accordingly entered upon his duties on Thursday
15 February 1894, and at once commenced the examining, arranging and transcribing of the public records of the Municipality which
are in the custody of the Town Clerk; and he subsequently spent
several months in London for the purpose of copying documents
relating to Cardiff at the Record Office and the British Museum.
The Archivist's researches resulted in the accumulation of a
large number of ancient documents bearing upon the history of
Cardiff, and the Committee felt that the interests of the cultured
section of the public required that these interesting muniments
should be preserved and rendered accessible by being printed and
published. Mr. Matthews was therefore directed to prepare them
for the press and to edit them with all care and discrimination.
The present volumes contain the published outcome of the
labours of the Corporation Archivist, who, in the accompanying
Editorial Preface, has submitted a statement of the system followed
by him in preparing the Records for publication.
The illustrations have been arranged under the active superintendence of Mr. John Ballinger, the Cardiff Librarian. The head
and tail pieces are reproduced from mediaeval tiles found at Cardiff,
and have been specially prepared for this work by Mr. John Ward,
F.S.A., F.R.I.B.A., Curator of the Cardiff Museum.
The thanks of the Corporation are accorded to all who have
assisted the Records Committee and their Archivist in the work of
getting together the available material: To the Most Honourable
the Marquess of Bute, K.T.; to Oliver H. Jones, Esq., of Fonmon
Castle; and to Miss Talbot, of Margam Abbey, for their kindness
in permitting the Archivist to utilise the muniments in their private
possession. Also to T. Mansel Franklen, Esq., Clerk of the Peace
for the County of Glamorgan, for permission to inspect the Quarter
Sessions Records; to the Rev. Canon Thompson, D.D., Vicar of
Cardiff; and the Rev. F. J. Beck, Vicar of Roath, for allowing their
Parish Registers to be searched; to Clement Waldron, Esq., who
allowed the ancient Wills in the Probate Registry at Llandaff to be
examined; to C. F. Tolputt, Esq., Comptroller of Customs for the
Port of Cardiff (whose recent decease the town has to lament), who
placed the muniments in his office at the service of the Corporation;
to C. B. Fowler, Esq., who placed at the disposal of the Records
Committee his valuable architectural drawings of Saint John's
church, which embellish the initial letters to each chapter; and to
E. Salisbury, Esq., Official in charge of the Literary Search Room
at the Public Record Office, who most kindly facilitated in various
ways the Archivist's work in London. To these and many others,
though not named here, the Committee tender hearty thanks for their
Joseph Ramsdale, Mayor.
Edward Thomas ("Cochfarf"), Chairman.
Ebenezer Beavan, Deputy-Chairman.
James Joseph Buist.
Charles Albert John Ward.
Frederick James Veall.
Members of the Records Committee of the Cardiff County Council.
Joseph Larke Wheatley, Town Clerk.
Town Hall, Cardiff,
31 October, 1898.