Further Gleanings from the Record Office.
IN the First Volume of this work
will be found, at p. 261, a series
of Inquitiones post Mortem; at
p. 307 certain Star Chamber
Proceedings, and at p. 387 some
Exchequer Documents. The
Chancery Proceedings relating
to the Cardiff district, recorded
in the reign of Elizabeth, are
printed at p. 69 of our Second
Volume. The Records Committee having authorised me, in
the year 1901, to make further search in the London Record
Office, I have made some important additions to the abovenamed
classes of documents. I had hoped at the same time to obtain
a good number of extracts from the Close Rolls, to follow the
Charters and Patents published in Vols. I. and III. But, inasmuch
as the MS. Calendars of the Close Rolls give only the names of
the parties chiefly concerned in the grant, without specifying the
locus in quo, it was impossible to find the Cardiff documents among
them without a greater expenditure of time than could be afforded.
I am therefore only able to supply from the Close Rolls the three
documents printed in this Chapter. The additions here made to
the various classes of records, are the following:—
Miscellanea of the Exchequer, 1211–1320; 12 documents.
Star Chamber Proceedings, 1534–1558; 15 documents.
Close Rolls, 1565–1569; 3 documents.
Inquisitiones post Mortem, 1558–1583; 3 documents.
Chancery Proceedings, 1605–1607; 7 documents.
Exchequer Bills, 1714–1754; 13 documents.
The Miscellanea of the Exchequer are interesting by
reason of their great antiquity and the details of mediæval life
which they disclose. Some of them are written in Latin, and some
in Norman French; the latter I have printed in the original. I have
arranged them in chronological sequence, not following the irregular
order in which the originals are catalogued. Students of Welsh
history will welcome the file of indentures re the beasts and goods
forfeited to the King by the men of Glamorgan who rose in revolt
under Llewelyn Bren in the years 1314–1316.
In the indenture II. (A.) Payne Turberville, whom the King has
appointed Custodian of Glamorgan, acknowledges receipt of
arrerages from various officials of the Lordship. Among them is
John Odyn, a Prevost of Cardiff, who, a year later, was imprisoned
in Cardiff Gaol on a charge of having caused victuals to be
conveyed to the insurgent forces. (See Vol. III., p. 17.)
The administration of Payne Turberville having, as it would
seem, resulted in provoking a Welsh rebellion, we find him replaced
in April 1315 by Sir John Giffard de Brimsfield, a Gloucestershire
knight. (II. B.) Yet in May following Turberville is again Custodian.
II. (D.) i. & ii. are extremely interesting, as they contain an
enumeration of the private effects of Llewelyn Bren. The unfortunate patriot seems to have been a man of refinement and culture; for
his belongings include, besides valuable articles of personal adornment, various books written in Welsh and in French—one of the
latter being the Roman de la Rose, an allegorical love-tale very
popular at that time, and versified by Chaucer. Llewelyn's two
table-cloths and eight silver spoons betoken a higher degree of
civilisation than one would have expected of a Welsh chieftain in the
early 14th century.
II. G. shews that the castles of Glamorgan, in particular those of
Llantrisant and Cardiff, were well garrisoned and victualled in the
autumn of 1315, in view of the Welsh rising.
From document III. we learn that, by September 1320, Hugh le
Despenser the younger had entered into possession of the Lordship
of Glamorgan. Within a few years he was to expiate, by an
ignominious death, the unjust, unlawful and impolitic execution of
Llewelyn Bren ap Rhys, that heroic leader of a Welsh revolt
against Norman despotism. Llewelyn's immediate executioner, Sir
Richard Fleming, had himself previously been hanged, and buried by
the side of his victim in the Grey Friars' Church at Crockherbtown.
Our extracts from the Star Chamber Proceedings comprise
all the pieces relating to Cardiff for the reigns of Henry VIII.,
Edward VI. and Mary. The first, of circa 1534, is the Petition
of Robert Lane, of Evesham in the county of Oxford, clerk in
holy orders. The late Bishop of Llandaff granted him, in the
year 1502, an annuity of forty shillings payable out of the episcopal
Manor of Mathern, in Monmouthshire. This annuity the Petitioner
enjoyed during 26 years, but the present Bishop would not pay it.
Petitioner went to Mathern to distrain for the money, but was
resisted by the Bishop's servants. He craves redress.
The second document bears the Royal sign manual at the head,
and is countersigned at foot by Thomas Englefield and Sir Thomas
More, the Lord Chancellor. It is directed to Sir William Mathew
and Christopher Mathew, commissioning them to examine and
report upon the Petition.
The third is a letter addressed to the Privy Council by Percival
Pety, clerk, in support of the Petition. The writer testifies that he
knew of the grant, being one of the Canons of Llandaff at the time
it was made. Indeed, he himself paid the annuity when he was
receiver of the duty that Sir William Herbert of Troy paid yearly
to Lord Myllis, late departed (whose soul God pardon). The writer
was his kinsman, his chaplain and overseer of his building at
Mathern, and his executor. He pledges his word as a priest, that
the Petitioner's cause is just.
The fourth paper is the Commissioners' Report to the Council.
They have seen the grant, and can testify that it bears the seal of the
Chapter of Llandaff; though how the seal was obtained they cannot
say, as none of the Canons of that time are now living. The other
seal is much worn, but, as far as they could see, it is the seal of the
Our next Proceeding is a Complaint, dated in 1543, by the
President (fn. 1) and Chapter of Llandaff Cathedral. The subject matter is
a dispute about the burial of one Richard Harry, of Canton, in the
cathedral. We have already noticed this affair, in connection with
the Defendants' Answers. (Vol. I., pp. 308, 313). The Complaint
has been catalogued and filed separately from the Answers, since the
latter were transcribed by me; hence their unavoidable separation in
The next document gives us a graphic picture of the lawless
state of society at Cardiff during the reign of Henry the Eighth. It
is a Complaint by Katherine verch (fn. 2) Dafydd, late the wife of John
Watts, of Llandaff, yeoman, concerning the "enorm injuries and
express wrongs" done unto her by George ap Morgan and others.
Stripped of verbiage, the facts are these: Three Monmouthshire
gentlemen, with their servants and retainers, all in warlike array, are
paying a visit to Cardiff. A Llandaff yeoman charges one of them
with having stolen his spaniel. The others thereupon attack the
yeoman, who runs into a house for protection. Before he can take
shelter his assailants kill him with their daggers, and fly. The
Bailiffs call an Inquest on the body; but the Jury are friends and
relations of the murderers, and return a false verdict. The Bailiffs,
however, summon the original offenders to appear under a penalty.
The Monmouthshire gentlemen come to Cardiff indeed, but accompanied with a host of armed followers, and refuse to answer to the
summons unless their men come too. The officers of the town are
thoroughly overawed. They send to the Monmouthshire gentlemen,
politely requesting them to appear by themselves. The offenders
utterly decline to do anything of the sort, and triumphantly march
home again at the head of their trusty men-at-arms. The injured
widow remains without any satisfaction, and can only ask the King to
compel the impanneling of a new Coroner's Jury. Probably nothing
more was done in the matter.
We now come to a series of papers relating to an ecclesiastical
quarrel in the Vale of Glamorgan at the commencement of the
reign of Edward the Sixth. To narrate events in their proper
order of time: Robert Davies, of Saint Athan's in the county of
Glamorgan, husbandman, abducted the daughter of Christopher
Basset, gentleman. In consequence of this, William Evans, clerk
in holy orders, Official of the Bishop of Llandaff, and parish priest
of Saint Athan's, cited the said Davies to appear before him to
answer for that offence. Davies having failed to appear, was then
first suspended by the said Evans and afterwards by him excommunicated in the parish church of Gilston. Davies presenting
himself at Saint Athan's church on the following Lady Day, Evans
refused to sing Mass and left the church. Later, on Palm Sunday,
when Davies attended church, there was an affray between his
friends and supporters (apparently the people of Sir Thomas
Stradling) and those of Mr. Christopher Basset. At Easter Davies
presented himself at his parish church to receive Holy Communion,
but Evans refused to administer the same to him.
Davies now complains in the Star Chamber, that Evans had
acted illegally in citing Complainant to appear before him. King
Henry had died, and King Edward had not issued a new commission
to the Bishop of Llandaff. Therefore the latter had no authority
to direct his Official to issue the Citation. Moreover, Defendant,
notwithstanding that the new King's Writ had not issued to that
effect, held Chapter Courts at Neath and Cardiff, where the Sheriff
deprived him of his books because of that irregularity.
From a 17th-cent. MS. of Welsh odes, it appears that William
Evans, Registrar, Official and Chancellor of Llandaff, Bachelor of
Law and a Justice of the Peace, was an Evans of Llangatoc Feibion
Afel in the county of Monmouth (desc. from Herbert of Itton in the
same county.) A cywydd to him by Giles ap Sion begins: "Y gwr
llwyd o gôr a llan." An ode in his praise, recited by Meredith ap
Rosser at the Llandaff Eisteddfod, begins: "Pwy wr gwineu pyr
gynnydd." Another by the same bard was composed in allusion to
the injury Evans received at the hands of the Registrar (See Vol. III.,
pp. 70, 92, 93, 94.) Yet another cywydd was written in his honour
by Dafydd Benwyn, beginning : "Y lien ir llawen araf." Dafydd y
Fan made a funeral ode on Thomas ap Jenkin Herbert of Panterys,
grandfather to the said William Evans. (Llanover MSS.) According
to another account, William Evans, L.L.D., rector of St. Tathan's
and forty years Chancellor of Llandaff, was son of Jevan, son of
Hywel ap Ieuan Gwyn of Glyn Ogwr by a daughter of Thomas ap
Ieuan ap Dafydd ap Tomos Ddu of Tal-y-garn &c., the Chancellor's
mother being Isabel, daughter of Richard Adams of Castleton.
("Glamorgan Genealogies.") It is certain that Chancellor Evans was
greatly esteemed by the Welsh people, and also that he was of those
ecclesiastics who cherished Catholic sympathies while conforming to
Protestantism in order to save their emoluments and preferments.
The last set of papers refers to a Complaint by Sir Thomas
Stradling against William, Earl of Pembroke. The Earl had directed
a commission to his kinsman, William Herbert the elder, of Cogan
Pill, esquire, to muster the tenants and friends of the said Earl for
the King and Queen's service in the wars. "Black Will," it appears,
took advantage of this circumstance to levy a heavy tax upon the
inhabitants of his lordship, under colour of providing armour for
a hundred foot-soldiers. This tax was rigorously enforced, neither
widow nor orphan being spared. Those who could not or would
not pay, were distrained upon, until the Earl had raised an enormous
sum, and the country was impoverished. The Depositions include
statements by several aldermen and burgesses of Cardiff, and show
that the Earl received considerable sums of money by way of bribes
for allowing men to stay at home.
Our first Close Roll, dated in 1565, is a Settlement of lands and
hereditaments in Glamorgan and Monmouthshire (including the town
of Cardiff,) made between William, Earl of Pembroke, and George,
Earl of Shrewsbury, on the marriage of the former's son and heir,
Henry, Lord Herbert, with the Lady Katherine, the Earl of Shrewsbury's daughter.
The next, dated in 1568, is a Bargain and Sale by William
Bawdripp of Penmark to William, Earl of Pembroke, of certain
pasture lands, parcel of the Manor of Splot in the parish of Roath, as
security for payment of one hundred pounds.
The third, dated in 1569, is a Bargain and Sale by Edward
Nevett of Cardiff to Hugh Griffith, of a burgage in Saint Mary
Street, Cardiff, for 220 pounds.
We now come to the Inquisitiones post Mortem for the reign of
Elizabeth. This class of records has been described and explained in
Vol. I., p. 261. We need note only the first of the present series of
Inquisitions. It was taken in 1559, on the death of Sir George
Mathew of Cornton, and describes the devolution of that manor from
1435. Sir George was also seised of many other estates in
Glamorgan, including the Manor of Glaspool (otherwise Plasturton),
near Cardiff; (fn. 3) which, it is curious to observe, was holden of Sir
Rice Mansel as of his Barton of Llantrithyd. This document is of
great importance to students of the history of Glamorgan.
Of the Chancery Proceedings, the first, in 1605, relates to
the lands in Glamorgan and Monmouthshire which belonged to
the Prebend of Warthacombe, attached to Llandaff Cathedral.
Warthacombe, or Warthacum, is an otherwise obsolete name for
Llangwm Isaf in the county of Monmouth. The suit seems to be
an attempt to recover Church lands alienated from the See of
Llandaff by a former Prebendary, at the Reformation.
The proceedings dated in 1607 relate to the landed estates of
Edmond Mathew of Radyr, and possess considerable genealogical
The Exchequer Bills call for no special remark. Half of them
are concerned with disputes about tithes.