Council Minutes, 1740=1835.
Some crossing and overlapping of dates
notwithstanding, the earliest known
volume of Council Minutes etc.,
transcribed in the preceding chapter,
represents roughly the business
transacted down to the year 1740.
The present chapter comprises the
succeeding volume 6 (2), and the
subsequent one, and then carries on
the records of Council Meetings to
1835, the year of Municipal Reform. Here also, however, there is some overlapping in the original manuscripts; but the only practicable plan for the Archivist
to work upon in preparing these documents for publication was to
follow the order (or rather, disorder) in which the original entries
The legal antiquary will be interested in the Table of Fees
payable to the Town Clerk in the Town Court, about the year 1740,
and the form in which the Town Clerk certified the fitness of
aspirants to the freedom of the Borough, at the same period.
Under date 1729 occurs what is the earliest record known to me
of the appointment of the Town Clerk, who on this occasion was
Edward Herbert, gentleman, a kinsman of the Lord. He was
appointed by deed under the hand and seal of Viscount Windsor,
like other members of the municipal executive; a procedure which
was followed until the Borough was "thrown open" in 1835.
Interesting also are the examples (of which only the few I give are
necessary) of actions in the Town Court. This was the old Borough
Court Leet, or Curia Domini Regis, having jurisdiction in actions for
debt and trespass up to the amount of forty shillings. It was one of
the old Courts of Record abolished by modern enactments. The
Court met regularly every fortnight, but frequently opened and closed
without having any business to transact.
The Freeman's Oath is differently worded when it is to be taken
by (a) a tradesman or (b) a gentleman. The phraseology is quaint,
and was evidently composed in ancient times. The Freeman is not to
"encourage foreigners," by which was meant that he should not deal
with non-burgesses who illegally attempted to trade within the
Borough. The form for gentlemen is much shorter, and couched in
general terms only. Then follow the Oaths of the Mayor, Justice,
Aldermen, Steward (or Recorder), Town Clerk, Assistants (or Capital
Burgesses), Common Attorneys, Serjeants-at-Mace, Constables, Clerk
of the Cross (or Clerk of the Market), Bailiffs, and Aletaster.
The Aldermen are to see the King's peace duly kept, and to
observe the articles comprised in the municipal Charters. The
Assistants (afterwards called Capital Burgesses, and, later, Councillors)
are to assist the Bailiffs and Aldermen. The Common Attorneys are
to collect the Town dues payable as well to the Lord as to the
Bailiffs. The Serjeants (as representing the executive) are to execute
warrants, preserve the King's peace, and apprehend offenders. They
are not to accept of any Alderman as bail or surety. The Constables
are to execute all processes, in the absence of the Serjeants, search
for rogues, and, with their "defensible weapons," attend the
magistrates upon all occasions.
Entered in 1756 is a schedule of Fees for the Admission of
Burgesses, as settled by the Bailiffs. One of the charges is a pound
for a foreigner who marries a Freeman's daughter. This is one of
the payments which Counsel in 1805 held to be probably illegal, as
being in restraint of marriage. Four shillings is due to the Bailiffs
for a "pottle" of wine.
At the close of the 18th century there was much demolition of
old buildings in the town, including the Town Gates; and early in
the 19th the Great and Little Heaths were enclosed—full particulars
of which changes are recorded in the Minutes. In 1803 there was a
great exchange of lands between the Corporation and the Marquess
of Bute; at which time West Street was taken into the grounds of
Cardiff Castle, and the houses were pulled down. The formation of
the Glamorganshire Canal led to much improvement in the commercial
status of Cardiff at about the same period.
With the opening of the 19th century we begin to meet with
records of the public reception of important personages on their
arrival at Cardiff, as well as with addresses presented to Royalty on
behalf of the Corporation.
The latest Minutes for the year 1835 comprise formal thanks to
the Bailiff and Senior Alderman who last held those offices previous
to the radical changes in municipal government introduced by the
Municipal Reform Act.