MANORIAL Records are those which,
appertaining to the government of
a manor or lordship, are or have
been in the legal custody of the
Lord or his Steward. They are to
be sought among the private muniments of the landed gentry, or in the
offices of their stewards or estate
agents; but the gradual effacement
of feudal incidents in land tenure
has resulted in the dispersion and
destruction of a vast number of these precious archives, invaluable
as they are to the student of local history.
The documents which compose the present Chapter are a
miscellaneous collection which I have with much difficulty gathered
from various sources. Arranging them in chronological order, I
begin with a Minister's Account of the Lordship of Leckwith, dated
1456. It will be seen that this differs from the Ministers' Accounts
transcribed in the preceding Volume, solely in that the Accounts in
Vol. I. are made to the Crown, while this one is made to the Lord.
Instead of being sent to London, therefore, and of being ultimately
included among the national archives at the Record Office, this
Account must have been originally filed at Cardiff Castle, with
the other records in the Lord's Chancery of Glamorgan. I am
indebted, for permission to copy it, to Mr. R. W. Llewellyn, of
Baglan Cottage; who was also so kind as to lend me four other
documents used in this Chapter. The Leckwith Account is made
by Patrick Crispy, no doubt identical with the Patrick Cryspe
mentioned in the great Lordship Account of 1492 as a former
occupier of land near the "Dawbyngepytts" (Vol. I., p. 183). I
have here, and henceforward, given "Reeve" as the translation of
the Latin Prepositus, rendered "Prevost" in the preceding Volume.
I have retained the literal sense of Messor, translating it "Reaper,"
though that official was probably what would now be termed a
The next document is a Manorial Survey—one of a class of
records which were put forward at certain intervals by the jury
of tenants assembled in the Court Baron of the Lord of the Manor,
mainly for the purpose of renewing and perpetuating an authoritative
declaration of the customs and boundaries of the lordship. This one
is dated 7 September 1666, and was given at Cardiff Guildhall.
Article 1 defines the bounds of the Liberties of Cardiff, as laid
down in the Charter of 1340, and describes the constitution and
powers of the Town Court. It states that the Lord is Constable
of the Castle and has the nomination of a Deputy Constable.
This is important, because, not very long after the date of this
Survey, the Lord of Cardiff Castle appointed a Constable, who
in turn appointed a Deputy to himself. The Article further says
that the Lord has the nomination of the Town Clerk, the swearing
and appointing of the Bailiffs and Serjeants, and the swearing of
the Aldermen. Inferior "ministerials" of the Corporation are sworn
and appointed by the Bailiffs. Every Burgess owes suit of court
to the Lord's Court Leet, or Curia Regis, holden four times a year
in the town (the old Borough Quarter Sessions).
To the second Article the Jurors return a presentment in which
they were directed to declare what were the privileges and liberties
of (a) the Corporate Town of Cardiff, and (b) of the Lord of the
Manor and Borough of Cardiff. They reply that they know nothing
of the latter, but are well acquainted with the former, which they
proceed to specify.
The information which this document affords relative to the
property of individual burgesses within the town renders it an
interesting sequel to the very similar record of 1542, among the
Ministers' Accounts, ante. It is the only document I have met
with which gives adequate particulars of the Manor of Spittal,
for which we have here a separate Survey.
The Jurors conclude Article 6 with a pathetic appeal to Lord
Pembroke to protect them against the usurpations of Squire Lewis
of the Van, who had enclosed sixty acres of the Burgesses' common
land on the Great Heath.
To the 13th Article they say that the inhabitants of Cardiff still
usually grind their corn in the Lord's mill, but they cannot tell
whether this was obligatory or no. They imply that it was not;
and indeed all such feudal incidents had been abolished by Statute
at the beginning of Charles the Second's reign.
The Survey shows that the Earl of Pembroke took escheats of
felons' goods, and had the royalty of fishing in the Taff from
Blackweir to the river's mouth.
This document was, at the middle of the 19th century, in the
custody of Mr. Thomas Dalton, Solicitor, of Cardiff, Clerk of the
Peace for the County of Glamorgan. It was accidentally destroyed
about the year 1860; but a copy of it (printed rather inaccurately)
appeared in the Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian, February 1862.
The present version was copied from that last mentioned, and was
afterwards corrected by an old copy kindly lent to the Corporation
by Oliver H. Jones, Esq., of Fonmon Castle.
The Miscyn Rent Roll of 1666, and that of Clun and Pentyrch
for circa 1670, are interesting from their enumeration of heriots, and
of rents paid in kind—mostly capons, sometimes distinguished as
The next record is a Survey of the Manor of Roath Keynsham,
dated 25 May 1702, derived from the same source as the Cardiff
Survey of 1666. John Morgan of Tredegar, esquire, is presented
as the Lord. The boundaries are laid down with minuteness, though
the Welsh place-names are mutilated until, in some cases, they
are almost unrecognisable. Among the many curious items in
this Survey is the entry concerning the tenement of Mrs. Alice
William, adjoining Gwaun Treoda (Whitchurch Common), the annual
chief-rent payable for which was "a red rose on every Midsummer