Cardiff Records: Volume 1. Originally published by Cardiff Records Committee, Cardiff, 1898.
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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 Waring.
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 and Morgan.
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 valued assistance.