Survey of Llystalybont, 1653.
THE Addenda to Vol. II. of the
present work comprise a note
relative to the Manor of Llystalybont, shewing the importance of
this lordship in mediæval times
and suggesting that Llystalybont
may have been, at a still earlier
period, the mansion and court
of the princes of Glamorgan.
Whatever may be thought of this
suggestion, the great antiquity of
the thatched farmhouse by the
canal is beyond question. It is,
therefore, with pleasure that I
place before the reader the following manorial Survey of Llystalybont, taken, as many such surveys were, during the temporary
triumph of republicanism in this country, at a time when feudalism
was receiving its death-blow. For this interesting addition to our
Records the Corporation and the public are indebted to Mr. John
Stuart Corbett, who, in the year 1895, copied the document from
the original in the Record Room of Cardiff Castle (K. Box 83.)
Mr. Corbett writes:—"It is, on the whole, in fair condition; but
portions have been torn out, or eaten away by mice, and other
portions are much stained and defaced."
One is struck by the great extent of the Manor of Llystalybont;
for, although it is probable that some outlying lands were accounted
parcel thereof simply because they belonged to the lord, it is clear that
the lands named in this Survey were truly and originally part of the
manor, and subject to the customs of the same. The Welsh placenames are sadly corrupted, but are included, under their right
spellings, in the topographical schedule which I hope to print in
the last volume of this series.
The Manor of Llystalybont extended into the parishes of Cardiff
(Saint John's), Llandaff, Whitchurch, Roath, Llanishen and Lisvane.
In Sowdrey, the old southern suburb of Cardiff (Saint Mary's parish),
were some tenements reputed parcel of Llystalybont, but probably
only for the reason mentioned above. They are not referred to in
The presentments of the Jury may be epitomised thus:—The
Steward may hold a Court Leet in Spring and Autumn, and a Court
Baron every three weeks. Tenants are admitted by the rod, and
hold by Copy of Court Roll, with homage, fealty, suit and service.
The Tenants and their families have the first refusal of tenements falling vacant. A heriot is payable upon every surrender.
None can be admitted to tenancy until the Homage has made
presentment that he has "right copy" and good title.
The Lord receives waifs, estrays, goods of felons, deodands,
treasure trove, escheats, fines, forfeitures, amercements and perquisites
of Court. He also has a "relief" of double rent on the death of or
alienation or exchange by a Free Tenant. He further takes an
"avowry" of four pence by way of estreat, from every under-tenant
dwelling in a Tenant's house. He receives suit of mill from the
Copyholders, and claims the like from his other Tenants; but the
Jury are uncertain as to the legality of the latter demand.
The Steward, assisted by two Affeerors, may fine and amerce
offenders, from 3d. up to 39s. 11d. He also has jurisdiction in plea
of lands touching copyhold and actions of debt and trespass, up to
the same amount. The fees payable to the Steward, Recorder and
Bailiff are set out in the Survey.
The Lord makes and maintains a pound. The Pound Keeper
receives a penny per head of cattle impounded from a Tenant, and
fourpence from a stranger.
A Tenant may require the holding of a special Court for receiving
surrenders and granting admission of Tenants, but he must pay to
the Steward 6s. 8d. for the privilege.
The Bailiff may be elected by the Lord or by the Tenants; but
whichever party makes the election, must account for the moneys
received from the Tenants. The Bailiff may nominate two of the
Tenants to act as Under Bailiffs.
Edmund Lewis, gentleman, chosen by the Tenants, is now (1653)
Bailiff. The Free Tenants are Sir Charles Kemys, knight and
baronet; William Lewis of the Van, esquire; Thomas Lewis of
Llanishen, esquire; and George Williams of Llanishen, yeoman; but
the Jury do not know what lands they hold, what rents they pay, nor
what services they render.
Then follows the list of Copyholders and Tenants by Grant,
comprising 31 names, and a presentment of the tenements, rents
and services of each.
Notwithstanding the above statement as to the Free Tenants, the
Jury present particulars as to the holdings of Sir Charles Kemys and
Mr. George Williams. The yearly payments in kind to be made by
the various Tenants consist of two fat capons, or several chickens, or
a crannock of coal to Cardiff Castle. The heriots payable are "of
the best," i.e., of the best beast. Suits are to the Court and to the
mill. Services are so many days' ploughing with oxen, or work in
harvest. These customary incidents of tenure vary with the tenement, and in many cases have already been commuted for money
payments. Often they are expressed under the general description of
"suit and services accustomed," "all other services and duties
formerly accustomed and discharged," "all rates and contributions,"
etc. Sometimes a Tenant has "special licence to let and set."
For the history of the Manor of Llystalybont the reader is
referred to Vol. II., p. 18.