Cardiff Records: Volume 4. Originally published by Cardiff Records Committee, Cardiff, 1903.
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Ertracts from Minutes of Council,&c., 1708–1740.
CAREFUL search on the part of the Archivist has failed to bring to light any earlier Minutes of the Cardiff Town Council than those dealt with in the present Chapter. We cannot doubt that earlier records of the proceedings of this body have existed; and, indeed, we have documentary evidence that there were such records dating back to the time in which King James II. left England. Writing in 1824, Town Clerk Wood said: "The oldest book in the Corporation coffers begins in the year 1688"; (fn. 1) and, from one of his quotations therefrom, (fn. 2) it is clear that this was a Minute Book of the Town Council, with entries extending from 1688 to 1710—perhaps a little later.
In March 1894, this book was not to be found among the muniments in the custody of the Town Clerk.
Town Clerk Wood's Memoranda contain various extracts from records of Corporation business, namely, a Presentment dated 8 February 1656 (fn. 3); the proceedings in the election of a Burgess, on 5 March 1688 (fn. 4); the election of a Capital Burgess, 10 August 1692 (fn. 5); appointment of the Constable of the Castle, 23 March &frac1692/3; (fn. 6), and election of Capital Burgesses on 15 December 1707. (fn. 7) The Presentment, however, was by the Grand Jury of the old Borough County Court; the elections of 1688 and 1692 were at a sitting of the old fortnightly Town Court; and the Constable's appointment took place at a meeting of the old Borough Court Leet (or Quarter Sessions.) Only the election of 1707 was the official act of the Town Council and was recorded on the Minutes.
This last record suffices to prove the existence of a Minute Book for that date; but Mr O. H. Jones of Fonmon has kindly placed at the Archivist's service (inter alia) an old copy of a Council Minute dated 22 March 1708, with which our consecutive series of these documents begins. And if further proof were needed of the existence, formerly, of earlier Minute Books, it would be found in the fact that the oldest book now in the Town Clerk's custody bears, on the outside of the cover, the mark "N° 5. F."
As I have already remarked (Vol. III., pp. 405, 406, 443) the Corporation Accounts, prior to 1725, are mixed up with those of the Churchwardens and Overseers. For this reason the early pages of "Cardiff Town Book N° 5" must be read as leading up to the Churchwardens' and Overseers' Accounts set out in Vol. III., which commence with a Churchwardens' Account for the year 1726, at page 463 of that volume. The earliest Bailiffs' Account is for 12 May 1712.
The convenience of the general reader will require many explanatory notes on this and the following chapter, and will be best met by the insertion of such explanations in small type.