Cardiff Records: Volume 2. Originally published by Cardiff Records Committee, Cardiff, 1900.
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John Griffiths, of the town of Neath, labourer, was convicted of saying Damno'r Brenhin George y trydidd, myfi a wnaf well Brenhin o Bren Gwernen on'd i giltio fe a baintio fe ai hela fe ir Parlament; which being interpreted signifies: "Damn King George the third, I'll make a better King than him out of an Orl Tree only gilding it, painting it, and sending it to Parliament."
This is how the same matter figures on the Gaol Calendar:— "John Griffiths, Aged 36, Committed 16 February 1800, by Richard Bevan Esq. on the Oaths of William Walter, William Lewis and John Hillard, charged with Damning King George the Third, and that he was no King, and did declare that he would make a better King out of a piece of Arl-wood being first Painted and Gilt, and did also give one Penny to William Walter, for going to Justice Bevan to make known his declaration, and did also declare to Rosser Jenkin, that he had one Thousand if not Thousands of Men of the same opinion as himself." He was imprisoned for two months and bound in recognizances.
Coroner's Inquest taken at Cardiff Guildhall before the Bailiffs, William Prichard and Henry Hollier, on a view of the body of William Hopkin, found that he met his death through injuries received at the hands of Morgan Hopkin, of Cardiff, labourer, who threw a twopenny wheaten loaf at the deceased and thereby inflicted a mortal blow upon his private parts, resulting in death a few days after such assault.
This Bundle contains copious Depositions respecting the death of Rees Rees, late of Neath; which show that the deceased was shot by Allen Macdonald, of Bristol, the guard of the mail coach, as the said coach was being driven through the town of Neath. Rees was running after the coach, and the guard (who appears to have been drunk) took his blunderbuss and fired at him, killing him on the spot.
Among the prisoners under sentence in Cardiff Gaol was James Carrol, aged 19, convicted of obtaining money under false pretences. His punishment was "6 months Imprisonment and twice whipped at Cardiff."
The Jurors present that James Walters, of the parish of Saint Mary in the town of Cardiff, "malster," unlawfully erected a limekiln in the said parish, near divers streets of dwellinghouses, whereby divers noxious smokes and smells do continuously arise, against the peace of our Lord the King, his Crown and dignity.
In this Bundle is a large Presentment, on parchment, of persons residing in the Vale of Glamorgan, who were alleged to have committed perjury at the former Sessions, when giving their evidence in Welsh, concerning certain lands in that neighbourhood. The alleged perjuries are set out in the vernacular.
There is also another big parchment Presentment alleging perjury on the part of certain persons in an action brought by them against the Glamorgan Canal Company, respecting loss which they claimed to have sustained by a stoppage of water at the Melyngriffith tin-works.
In a case recorded in this Bundle, wherein a person alleges false evidence on the part of his opponent at a former Session, the aggrieved party, instead of procuring an Indictment for perjury, obtains a Presentment for libel—the libel complained of being the signed and sworn Deposition of the alleged false witness.
The Jurors present a part of the highway leading from the Castle Gate in the parish of Saint Mary, to Saint John's Church in the parish of Saint John, in the town of Cardiff—namely High Street in the said parish of Saint John—and that it ought to be repaired by the inhabitants of the lastnamed parish.
Bill of Complaint by Samuel Homfray on behalf of himself and his partners, the Penydarran Company, against William Harvey, late accountant in their employ, who had absconded after defrauding the firm of over £140.
Inquest taken at Llantrissent, before Richard Griffiths, Coroner, on view of the body of David William, found that the deceased was murdered by William Williams, of Llantrissent. The murderer (who was only 19 years of age) had stabbed his victim, a boy, and thrown the body into a ditch.
Our next document is one of a class which I have not hitherto met with in the Gaol Files of the Court of Great Sessions, though it is very common in the Quarter Sessions records, as will later appear. This document is a printed certificate on parchment, stamped, that a candidate had duly qualified himself for a public office by partaking of the Communion according to the rites of the Established Church, in conformity with the requirements of the Test Act. The record is as follows:—
We the undersigned Minister and Churchwarden of the Parish and Parish Church of Saint John the Baptist in the Town of Cardiff Do hereby Certify That Richard Crawshay of Cyfartha Esquire on Sunday the sixth Day of March did receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper in the Parish Church aforesaid immediately after Divine Service according to the Usage of the CHURCH OF ENGLAND In Witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our Hands the said Sixth Day of March 1808.
|John Jones||Minister of the Parish and Parish Church aforesaid|
|G. Lyndon||Churchwarden [of the said Parish and Parish Church (fn. 1) ] St Mary's Cardiff,|
Do severally make Oath That they did see the said [blank] in the abovewrittten Certificate named And who now present hath delivered the same into this Court Receive the Sacrament of the Lords Supper in the Parish Church aforesaid And that they did see the said Certificate subscribed by the said Minister and Church Warden.
John Jones, otherwise John, aged 22, was committed by James Capper and Thomas Morgan, esquires (Bailiffs and) Coroners of the Town of Cardiff, charged with having given Henry Wheeler, of the said town, divers mortal bruises, in the parish of Saint John the Baptist in the said town. Such is the brief record contained in the Calendar presented to the Court by Thomas Morgan, Gaoler. From the written Depositions in the case we get a few interesting particulars. Thus, at the Coroners Inquest:
Mary Davies sworn saith that abot 20th January last John Jones came into the house of Henry Wheeler to some recruits of the Glamorgan Militia who are now gone to join the regt and there was a great Noise in the room where he was; that Witness heard Wheeler go into the room and told them to keep the Peace . . . . . . upon which John Jones got up and struck him down with his fist. . . . . . . Witness then went out of the room and when she returned in abt 10 Mins or a quarter of an Hour some persons present were then helping Henry Wheeler off the Ground, and John Jones was in the custody of some of the persons then also present . . . . . .
Hannah Wheeler the Widow of the deceased, sworn, says that on the 20th of January last she was in the Kitchen when John Jones of Lantrissent came into the Parlour of her husband's House to look for Mr Jacobs his Master, that he soon after came into the Kitchen with some Man unknown to Witness, that he sat down a few Minutes and then got up and told one of the recruits of the Glamorgan Militia that he had wronged him of 3s. in the Tennis Court & the recruit denied any knowledge of him. John Jones then wanted to fight the recruit and Witness said he shod not beat the boy in her House & she wod call the Constables to him to which he replied he did not care for any Constables at all . . . . . . Her Husband came in & said he would have no noise in his House and he was a Constable. Jones said he did not care and gave deceased a Blow on his left Cheek & he fell; deceased then got up and attempted to lay hold of him in a peaceable manner but Jones struck him down a second time and kicked him in his side, when dece'd cried out Oh Stibbs my ribs are broke . . . . . . Some of the persons present detained the man till the Constables came and took him into Custody . . . . .
The Jurors present that the Rev. William Davies, of Landaff, clerk, has obstructed the highway leading from Cardiff to Lantrissent by depositing stone etc. thereon, within the chapelry of Laniltern in the parish of Saint Faggan's.
John Owen, of Cardiff, yeoman, deposes that Edward Harry came to the house of this examinant, together with two others, to be enrolled in the Local Militia for the county of Glamorgan. That this examinant next morning missed his silver watch, with a gold seal and a metal key fastened thereto by a purple ribband, from off the chimney-piece in his room. Edward Harry, a youth who had lately served with Mr Wyndham Lewis at Cardiff, offered the watch to Mr John Thackwell, of Cardiff, watchmaker, to repair. When first charged with the theft, Harry said the watch had been given to him at the Glove and Shears, by a stout man in a blue coat. On the way from Mr Thackwell's to the Red Lion, the youth confessed that he had stolen the watch. Charles Williams, a Constable of Cardiff, deposed to the identity of the watch. The prisoner was sentenced to one year's solitary imprisonment.
The Jurors present that whereas John Thompson, of the parish of Woollaston in the county of Gloucester, labourer, was at the preceding Gloucester Assizes sentenced to death for stealing a horse, which sentence was afterwards commuted to one of transportation to the coast of New South Wales, or some other of the islands adjacent, the said convict is at large, in the parish of Saint John the Baptist, Cardiff.
The Jurors present that Josiah John Guest, gentleman, Thomas John Harry and Evan Evans, yeomen, all of Merthyr Tydvil, and other persons, unlawfully assembled themselves and made an assault upon William Harry and Robert Ward, whom they then and there "unlawfully, riotously and routously did beat, wound and ill treat;" which wrongs were done by them "with an intent unlawfully to assist each other in the opposing and preventing certain persons, servants in the employ of Thomas Homfray, Samuel Homfray, William Forman and Henry Forman, from proceeding in their work as miners, at Merthyr Tydvil aforesaid. ("A True Bill.")
Depositions of George Kibby, Constable of Cardiff. By virtue of a Search Warrant he searched the house of Henry Ridgway, labourer, at Cardiff, and in a drawer there found two Newport and Abergavenny bills, value one guinea each; four Cardiff bills, value one guinea each; one Abergavenny bill, value one guinea; one Cyfarthfa bill, value one guinea; two Cardiff bills, value five pounds each, and two Newport and Abergavenny bills, value five pounds each; the whole being the property of William Rees, maltster (landlord of the Crown and Anchor, Cardiff.)
Jeremiah Williams, labourer, was presented for assaulting William Notter, a Lieutenant in the Navy (a person duly authorised and empowered to impress seamen and seafaring men to serve on board the ships of war of our lord the King) in the due execution of his duty.
Sir, agreeable to your information Taken on Oath before me, as well as the Voluntary Confession of Thos Rees and David Jones, they have been Commited to Cardiff Gaol for the offence stated in your information, in order to take their Trials. But you on hearing that the said Thomas Rees and David Jones had been Commit'd you left this Town to avoid being bound over to prosecute. Such Conduct, I cannot put up with, and you may rest Assured that those Persons that advised you to quit Neath in Order to avoid being bound in recognizance (as well as yourself) shall be informed against, that such proceeding may be had therein, as to the same doth Appertain, and am yours &c.
On my return to Plymouth I find a letter dated the 9th of March from you Addressed to me relative to two young men Confined in Cardiff Gaol for stealing a Draft from the Sloop Commerce Capt. John Willcock. In reply I have to say that Capt. John Willcock was Unfortunately wrecked in the Sloop Commerce on the 22d of Feby last in Tranmore bay near Waterford from which Port she was bound to London with a Cargo of Provisions & it was with great difficulty he saved his life, and as the Cargo &c; is not as yet sold I do not expect to see him this some time yet, but I shall Communicate the Contents of your letter to him by this same post & beg him to write and Acquaint you if he thinks it posable to attend the Sessions at Cardiff or not. I remain Sir your obt Hbl Servt
A True Bill was found against Richard Bevan, J.P., of Neath (see last year's File), for unlawfully accepting a fee of one guinea in the exercise of his magisterial office. (fn. 2)
A Gower man named John Taylor having been arrested on a charge of murder, a Mr John Lucas, J.P., resident in that neighbourhood, wrote a letter to the Judge, bitterly inveighing against the prisoner and his family. The letter, after being read in open Court, was ordered to be filed, and the Judge strongly censured the writer. The accused was convicted of manslaughter.
The Grand Jury desire to return your Lordship their best thanks for your Charge at the present Great Sessions. They condole with your Lordship most sincerely at the Loss of their late most worthy & respected Member, & beg to pay in common with your Lordship, their Tribute of unfeigned Respect & Regard to his lamented Memory and Virtues. They have felt themselves more particularly bound on the present Occasion to consider the personal Disrespect & Insult which has been offered to your Lordship. Your Humanity has put a stop to proceedings which might properly have been instituted. But a sense of Public Duty and an anxiety to support both those Judges who have for so many years and with so much Integrity administered the Laws of the Country, calls upon the Grand Jury to express their Regret at the circumstance, & at the same time to declare a decided opinion, that it can only be attributed to the Insolence of an insignificant Individual, & ought by no means to give you any further uneasiness or Concern.
The Jury present a portion of the Newport Road, in the parish of Roath, leading from the end of 100 yards west of Romney Bridge to Lancross House near the turnpike gate on the east side of the town of Cardiff, being the junction of the parishes of Roath and Saint John Baptist, containing one mile in length and five yards in breadth, to be out of repair; and that the same ought to be repaired by the parishioners of Roath.
A similar Presentment of a part of the Cowbridge Road, in the parish of Landaff, leading from King's Castle House to a rivulet of water called Cawsy Cribyn, 3520 yards in length and 6 yards in breadth; and that the same ought to be repaired by the parishioners of Landaff.
Coroner's Inquest taken at Cardiff, before Thomas Morgan, esq., on view of the body of a female child which was found dead on the New Bank of the river Taff in the said town, by the pine-end of Mr Davies' house. The persons who found it were Thomas Stibbs and Elizabeth Millward. "One Molly Powell was going up to the Pump at the time."
A few months ago this Examinant wanted to go to Cardiff to buy necessaries, under the idea that she could purchase them cheaper there than at Newport She went to the wife of Charles George, ostler at the Angel in Cardiff, who she believed was in the habit of passing counterfeit money. Later on the same day she met Michael Leigh near the Castle at Cardiff, who asked her how she did. She replied she had married a good and quiet husband, when he asked her what made her marry a flat. He then told her to go into the Castle Green and he would give her some money. She said "Let us go into a liquor shop first, and have something to drink." They went to a liquor shop kept by a Mr. Dalton. Next morning she met him near the Red Cow public house. Leigh had given the Examinant a forged ten-pound note by mistake for a (forged) ten-shilling note, and offered her a Cardiff pound note for it. She would not give the ten-pound note back, but undertook to get it changed and give him back a portion of the money. He then told her to be very careful how and where she changed it. She, however, returned to Newport with the forged ten-pound note, and, wishing to change it, told her husband she wanted to go to St Mary Hill fair to buy flannel. She changed the note there accordingly, after vainly attempting to do so at Caerphilly fair.
Rachel, wife of Henry Harry, of Llandaff, labourer, was committed for having stolen, at the parish of Saint John Baptist, Cardiff, two prayer-books, three velvet pincushions, three Bibles, one Russia leather purse, one pewter inkstand, one metal inkstand, three Johnson's Dictionaries, two odd volumes of Scientific Dialogues, seven spellingbooks, one metallic pocket-book and pencil, one book commonly called Ready Reckoner, two paper books commonly called the Death of Abel, three Child's Reading Books and the third volume of Young's works; all being the property of John Davies Bird, of Cardiff, bookseller. She had also stolen a number of articles from the shop of John South, ironmonger, of Cardiff.
For conspiracy in uttering forged ten-shilling notes of the Merthyr Bank, John Smith and three confederates were sentenced to two years' imprisonment and to stand in the pillory at Cardiff on two market days.
Depositions signed by David Evans, of Cardiff, landlord of the inn called the Cardiff Boat. He gave a night's free lodging to Hannah Price, but she left the house in the night, secretly, taking with her all the valuables she could lay hands on. She was caught at Newport. The Depositions were taken before Thomas Charles, esquire, J.P. Edward Priest Richards was the Attorney for the King.
Cardiff Town to Wit. Thomas Thomas the Younger of the said Town Yeoman Acknowledges himself to be indebted to our Sovereign Lord the King in the sum of Forty pounds. William Stanley of the said Town Hatter (fn. 3) Acknowledges himself to be indebted to our said Sovereign Lord the King in the sum of Twenty pounds. James Rees of the said Town Publican Acknowledges himself to be Indebted to our said Sovereign Lord the King in the sum of Twenty pounds. Upon Condition that the said Thomas Thomas do personally appear at the next Great Sessions to be held for the County of Glamorgan then and there to answer an Indictment to be preferred against him for a Riot and Assaulting beating bruising and Wounding one Daniel Hooper one of the Constables of the said Town against the peace of our said Lord the King and do not depart the Court without leave then this Recognizance to be void or else to remain in full force. Taken and Acknowledged the Fifth day of May One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighteen Before us
A similar Recognizance for James Phillpotts, yeoman, £40; Nathaniel French the younger, mercer, £20; and William Jenkins, scrivener, £20, all of Cardiff, upon condition that the said James Phillpotts do appear to answer a charge of riot and assaulting Constable Henry Hooper.
A Presentment of Morris Morgan, of Aberavon, for forging several £1 Bank of England notes, contains some beautiful texting— an early example of the modern revival of this art. The prisoner was sentenced to death.
William Mathew, of Llanridian, yeoman, was robbed of his silver watch by two footpads in the White Stile Fields, near Swansea. One of the robbers held a pistol at Mathew's head, and cried "Stand and deliver!" A witness refers to a greatcoat known as a "fear-nothing."
Seven large sheets of parchment containing various documents in connection with the prosecution of John Chitty, of Cardiff, on a charge of forging several Letters of Attorney in order to enable certain persons to receive prize-money due for the services of the late Thomas Simpson, a warrant officer on board H.M.S. "Bucephalus"; William Sellers, a gunner on H.M.S. "Wolverine"; William Willock, a commissioned officer of H.M.S. "Diligence"; and John Beardley Smith, a commissioned officer of H.M.S. "Surinam."
John Bateman Woods, Keeper of His Majesty's Gaol at Cardiff in and for the County of Glamorgan, informs the Judges, in a formal written statement, that the said gaol is insufficient in accommodation. There ought to be separation between male and female prisoners, and between those convicted and those only suspected of felony, and misdemeanants. Also there ought to be separate sick wards for the men and for the women, as also a chapel, baths, &c.
A very long Presentment, on several skins conjoined, to the effect that the abovenamed John Chitty was convicted at the prior Session on the charge of forging, and sentenced to be hanged. And that John Shannon and Charles Thomas Gratiano Millington, both of Cardiff, feloniously caused the said John Chitty to commit the said forgeries.
The Jury present that Walter Williams, of Cardiff, embezzled certain money, bills, notes and securities, the property of his employer, Joseph Davies, of the same town, merchant. [Mr Joseph Davies was proprietor of a well-known timber yard on the river bank, in Saint Mary Street.] The accused was found "Not Guilty."
Nathaniel French, of Cardiff, yeoman, was presented for unlawfully building a certain projecting window, commonly called a bow window, contiguous to and overhanging Angel Street in the said town. At foot of the Presentment is the note: "The Cardiff Street Commissioners prosecute this Bill for our Sovereign Lord the King." The Bill was thrown out. (Some curious entries relative to this matter will be found in a later volume, among the Minutes of the Cardiff Town Council.)
This year for the first time there is appended to the Gaol Calendar a MS. Return of persons who have been sentenced to hard labour, the particular species of labour in which such persons have been employed, the number of hours in a day for which such persons so sentenced have been kept to work, and their behaviour. Four prisoners are named. They were employed eight hours a day, in washing and carding wool—except one, whose behaviour was indifferent, and who was put to break stones. The report is signed by the Governor, John B. Woods, and countersigned by Richard Griffiths, the Visiting Magistrate.
Thomas Hopkins, of Merthyr Dovan, farmer, had his pocketbook stolen by Morgan Williams, in the Market House under the Town Hall at Cardiff. John Hussey, of Cardiff, yeoman, said that he was in the Market in High Street, Cardiff, when he saw the Prisoner running through the crowd; and hearing Mr Hopkins call out "Stop thief," Examinant took the Prisoner into custody, who thereupon threw away the pocket-book. Examinant immediately took it up and, shewing it to the Prisoner, said "Here it is, Mister." Prisoner said "I know nothing of it," on which Examinant replied "Why, man, it came out of your pocket this minute." Prisoner made no reply, but looked as white as the wall.
Nov 12h Sheperd Came to my Stanen and as me what I did gve apound for Shep I anserd Sixpence pound if thay be Very good if not fivepence he said that he node a man that boat som shep at Cerfilly fear and he want to sil them to me if I boy them when Can I take them the wick after nex Nov 23h Sheperd Came ner my house after diner and as me were aney man have boat any Shep that he promes to me here we some then the Sheperd Came into my house and sit down along time then I ask him wich way the Shep wold Com thro Landaff he said that Is the neres way he said I mus go to Croswenn thre is mor do owe me sum Monney i was to methem there said he about [erasure] he broat three shep to my house and we drove to of them in to the stable and one got away from us I went into the Stable and look the Shep over the Sheperd said to I will silthem by hand if you mind what will you have for them thurty three shillen apest no I said I will give you thuty shellens apess and if that shep do tune out well I will give you fore Pounds for them and no more I geve more monney then that for them and the Man Is gone back to Cardaff In som bisnes then the Sheperd went home I kilthen frydey and senthem saterdy by the Lantrishon wagen to Cardaff Market and Cut them up Mr Evenes Came by I ask him to boy a quarter Mutton he said what is the Prise sixpens Pound I said he went away soon after he Come again and paid me for him the Saterday folin he Came againe and told me that he had lost to Wether Shep mark with his name Pichmark the Saterday folen he Came again and he as me where I had aney of that sort of Mutton that I had fornight ago I anserd no he said When Will you have som of it nex Wick Likey he said to me where do you boy your Shep at Lanneden and St Millens he as me where there Mr henery Daves and manay of the formers I want to no where you had them Shep that I had the quarter of this day fornight I had them of Mr Oatridges Sheperd you anserd what is his Name I said I dond no, then Soon after you Com to me again I told you there was no, Mark opon the skens no were and 1 of them was a yeo, no you said I saw to Wethers shep hain on your stanen this Day fornight I Will Swer I said no then you said again I saw to Wethers I Swere and be my shep that I Lost I will swere.
John Westmacott, of Fairwater, deposed to certain suspicious circumstances observed by him when he "went to a Pie" at the house of Anne Evans at Ely, where he saw the two shepherds who are accused of sheepstealing, "drinking together with a China Man and other persons."
At the head of this Bundle is a letter addressed from Ewenny Abbey, 1 August 1826, to Judge Casberd, and signed Richard Turberville Turberville, in which that magistrate defends himself against an allegation of having sent to the Great Sessions a case which ought to have gone to the Quarter Sessions. He excuses his apparent remissness on the ground that he was not bred to the law, and adds "The office of Magistrate is at all times a most unthankful one & I am sure I find it equally troublesome & disagreeable & certainly shd not remain one inst. on the commission was there another Magistrate that wd act in the Hundred."
Mrs Susannah Griffiths, of Oystermouth, widow, passed a very bad night on the 9th April 1826. Shortly after midnight she and her sister, who slept with her, were awoke by hearing their bedroom door smashed in. Then the bed-curtains were pulled apart, and two men with blackened faces and a dark lanthorn began beating on the bed with sticks. When the burglars had sufficiently terrified the poor ladies, they proceeded to ransack the house, which they accomplished in a businesslike and effective manner. Prisoners were convicted, with the exception of one who had turned "King's Evidence."
Grand Jury present a portion of the "highway leading from the Turnpike Road going from the Town of Cardiff to the Town of Lantrissent in the County of Glamorgan towards the parish of Pentyrch and until it adjoins the same parish of Pentyrch," situate in the parish of Saint Fagan's; to be repaired by the inhabitants of the said parish of Saint Fagan's.
Sentence of death is recorded as having been passed on Elias Jones, collier, aged 29, for having broken and entered a shop at Margam and stolen therefrom a piece of brown cloth and various other articles.
A very long Presentment on parchment, alleging perjury on the part of the Hon. William Booth Grey, of Duffryn in the parish of Saint Nicholas, in swearing a certain affidavit against Charles Courtail, of Ely House, near Cardiff, theretofore of the King's Castle, Cardiff, gentleman. It was asserted on the one hand that Frances Ann, wife of Mr Grey, had surreptitiously obtained possession of a certain Lease, at the King's Castle; and, on the other, that Mr Grey had gained possession of the document in Mr Courtail's rooms in Paris. ("No True Bill.")
This is the last parcel in the latest Bundle of Gaol Files of the Court of Great Sessions. In the following year these Welsh Courts were abolished in favour of the English Assize system, after an existence of nearly three hundred years.