Cardiff Records: Volume 5. Originally published by Cardiff Records Committee, Cardiff, 1905.
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Cardiff Council Minutes, 1894-1895.
Records Committee, 4 December. Resolved That the Town Clerk prepare a list of the whole of the matters relegated to this Committee, and send the same to Mr. Hobson Matthews, with instructions to prepare a report as to what he has done with regard to each matter, and to submit the same to the Chairman, who will thereupon convene a meeting of the Sub-Committee.
Moved by Councillor Harris and Resolved That the time has now come for the Corporation to arrive at a definite decision regarding the weiring of the river Taff in the centre of the Town, and that a Special Committee be formed with that object.
Property and Markets Sub-Committee. The Town Clerk read a letter from Mr. J. Hobson Matthews stating that the fullest information concerning the river Taff and foreshore was contained in the Report which Mr. Matthews had presented to the Committee.
The Committee proceeded to Penarth Road Bridge and inspected the building now in progress to be used as a pumping-station adjoining the river Taff, as well as the refuse which has been tipped into the river at that point. They subsequently visited that part of the Taff adjoining the Clarence Bridge, where a barge had been sunk by the Corporation for the purpose of diverting the river and removing the mud bank.
Property and Markets Sub-Committee. Resolved That Mr. J. Hobson Matthews be requested to prepare, under the direction of the Town Clerk, (fn. 1) a full and comprehensive statement of all the facts now in possession of the Town Clerk regarding the river Taff; such statement to include details as to the action instituted by Lord Bute, as well as that proposed to be commenced by the Corporation against Lord Bute; also a statement of the facts in relation to the Cardiff foreshore.
Councillor G. Beynon Harris brought forward a motion in favor of permitting boating on the Roath Park Lake on Sundays. A Nonconformist deputation attended to protest against the proposal, and the motion was defeated on division. The only members voting for it were Councillors Harris and Waring.
In the action Bute v. Corporation, Plaintiff has taken out a Summons for Affidavit of Documents. A like summons is to issue on behalf of Defendants; and the Borough Engineer is instructed, in pursuance of Counsel's Opinion, to remove the barge near Grangetown Bridge.
Resolved That, in consideration of the unsatisfactory estimates submitted for the ensuing six months by the Finance Committee, a Special Committee be appointed to ascertain and report to the Council, with the object of reducing the rate.
Records Sub Committee, 8 January, Resolved That the Town Clerk be requested to hand to the Chairman, for the use of this SubCommittee, the original Report of Mr. Hobson Matthews regarding the river Taff&c.
Town Clerk reported that, in accordance with the Resolution passed by the Records Committee on 4 December, he had prepared a list of the whole of the matters relegated to the Committee and forwarded the same to the Expert (Mr. J. Hobson Matthews); and Mr. Matthews read his Report thereon.
Resolved that the Town Clerk be desired to place himself in communication with Messrs. Shirley, asking them to afford Mr. Matthews facilities for searching their old papers with a view of any documents relating to Corporation matters being handed over to the Council.
Resolved That Mr. Hobson Matthews be authorized to forward to the Secretary of the Royal Commission on Land in Wales and Monmouthshire the information required by the Commission regarding Manors in and around Cardiff, with their situation and the names of the present Lords.
May 6. A letter was read from Mr. Rhys Williams (Assistant Charity Commissioner) asking permission to inspect any notes and papers relating to the Charities of Glamorganshire in the possession of the Corporation, to assist him in preparing his Report thereon.
Letter was read from Mr. F. S. Tolputt, Collector of Customs, stating there was no objection to the Archivist inspecting any old books in store at his office, provided no extracts were used or published without first submitting a copy to the Board.
Resolved That the Royal Commission on Land in Wales and Monmouthshire be asked to reimburse the Corporation the cost, amounting to about £10, of supplying the information required by the Commission regarding Manors in and around Cardiff.
Dear Mr. Mayor,—I extremely regret the necessity of withdrawing my acceptance of the Freedom of Cardiff, which was tendered to me by a unanimous vote of the Council some months ago. I gladly accepted it in the belief that every Councillor who voted for it did so as a recognition of past services, and as entirely free from all conditions. I of course understood that it was unanimously tendered on the occasion of my prospective retirement at the end of the present Parliament; and had the presentation been carried through in the spirit in which I understood it to be offered, I should have felt it to be all but impossible—probably quite impossible—to have yielded to any solicitations for a renewal of my candidature for the Cardiff seat in Parliament. But it is one thing to feel and carry out such an understanding in the perfect exercise of that personal freedom which is so dear to us all, and it is quite another to have that understanding formulated, pressed upon you by a public debate, and made the subject of a resolution in the very Council which seemed to be offering a spontaneous, unequivocal and unconditional distinction. That which would have been a matter of just pride and real honour, had the Council carried it through as I had anticipated, would become, in my eyes, a memorial, not of increased freedom, but of freedom sacrificed and lost, were I to accept it after the Council, from within itself and by some of its own members, had been asked to impose upon me conditions with respect to the future. Your Worship is aware that I am here only repeating what I privately wrote to you at the very moment when, on my return from France last week, I became acquainted with the motion made by the Conservative ex-Mayor, and with the debate that followed. If my duty in the matter was clear— as it no doubt was—a resolution of the kind could only have been thought necessary on the presumption that I might possibly violate that duty; and that assumption was greatly out of place, I submit, in connection with the public honour to be conferred by the town. At any rate that assumption, although proceeding from a political opponent and for an obvious political purpose, has quenched within my breast the pride and pleasure with which I had hoped to practically terminate my representation of the great County Borough of Cardiff, with which I have been so closely and happily identified for fifteen years past. Under the circumstances I may be permitted to say that I have received repeated personal honours from the hands of our Sovereign, and similar honours from other Sovereigns; but in no case has the bestowal of the honour been connected with anything but past services, and I should have been amazed indeed had they associated with it reminders of my future obligations! The exMayor's idea was, I believe, an absolute novelty. I therefore beg leave to withdraw my acceptance of the proposed honour, and in doing so to beg you, dear Mr. Mayor, to express to the members of the Council my extreme regret at finding it necessary to do so, coupled with my warmest thanks to your Worship and to them for the kindness in which the matter originated and was being carried out. As I should not like the money of the ratepayers to be wasted on a frustrated attempt to do honour to me, I hope you will excuse me for requesting that I may be allowed to defray such expense as has been incurred. As a last word permit me to add that, notwithstanding my inability to receive an honour which has unhappily become associated with suspicion and distrust, I shall never while life lasts cease to remember the confidence which the people of Cardiff have so abundantly shown to me, not only in giving me a splendid and almost unparalleled series of political victories to look back upon, but likewise at a thousand other times and in a thousand other ways.—I remain, Dear Mr. Mayor, Always yours very truly.
"It appears to have been made at the close of the last century, and has a thick horizontal, oval steel matrix, with a massive ivory handle. The following is a statement of the design on this seal: Quarterly, I.& IV. Argent, a Tudor rose; II.& III. De Clare: Or, three chevronels gules. Supporters: Dexter, a horse bridled. Sinister, a lion rampant. Crest, on a ducal coronet, a demi-lion rampant. Motto: Opibus florens et nomine prisco. ('Flourishing with riches and an ancient name.') Legend around the atchievement: Sigill. Comm: Bailliv: et Burgens. Cardiff. For the last half-century the Corporation have used a seal coeval with the above but much smaller. It has an ivory handle and a round matrix of steel, charged with the Tudor rose as a badge. This device is no doubt a memorial of the time when Jasper Tudor and his royal kinsfolk were Lords of Glamorgan; but there would seem to be no authority or precedent for the Borough's quartering the above coats. A horse bridled is the dexter supporter of the escutcheon of the Marquess of Bute, and a lion (ducally gorged) the sinister supporter of the Earl of Pembroke's shield. The seal lately recovered is undoubtedly a very beautiful piece of workmanship, and the heraldic atchievement thereon is a very sensible and appropriate design. Some people would subject corporate arms to the rules and jurisdiction of the Herald's College. This is an error both of theory and practice. I contend that the chosen devices of Corporations aggregate are from their nature exempt from such jurisdiction, and that the College's claim to authority over them is unwarrantable."
Resolved That Mr. Matthews be instructed to finish his work on the Wills at Llandaff, and on the completion thereof to make accurate copies and translations of the Charters and then to proceed to London to complete his work at the Record Office.
Resolved That advertisements be inserted in the local papers and in the principal antiquarian periodicals, with the object of eliciting information upon the subject of the missing records of the Corporation or on matters affecting the ancient and local interests of the Borough.
Resolved That a memorial be presented to Her Majesty's Government, under the Common Seal, through Sir Edward Reed, K.C.B., M.P., calling the attention of the Government to the cessation of the work of Mr. Gwenogvryn Evans through lack of funds, and to the existence at the London Record Office of a vast quantity of Welsh records, a large portion of which are unarranged and uncalendared, and asking the Government to take steps to have these Welsh records examined, arranged and fully calendared, not only for the benefit of historical science, but also in the several interests of the Local bodies of the Principality.
Dear Sir,—On my arrival home I find a notice of a Meeting of the Finance Committee for this afternoon. I take the first opportunity of asking you to attend that Committee and officially to tender my resignation as Chairman. I have for over twenty years given an honest effort to serve the town to the best of my ability, how successfully I must leave a discerning public to judge. I must now congratulate the Corporation on the financial ability which it has so suddenly developed, and I only wish that the town's finances may be managed even as well as they have been by the present Committee, handicapped as it has been.—I am, dear Mr. Town Clerk, yours faithfully.
Colonel Goldsmid, of the 1st Battalion Welsh Regiment (late 41st Foot), writes the Mayor that this corps, on its march across South Wales from Pembroke Dock, will encamp in the Barrack Field, Cardiff, for a few days (previous to embarking for Plymouth).
Resolved unanimously That the Council of this ancient and loyal Borough of Cardiff, the chief town and first seaport in the Principality of Wales, desire to place on record the great gratification with which they and the patriotic inhabitants of Wales have received the intimation that His Royal Highness Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, K.G., has graciously accepted the position of Chancellor of the National University of Wales. The Council also wish to assure His Royal Highness that they will give him the heartiest welcome whenever, in the discharge of his duties as Chancellor, he may think fit to visit Cardiff.
Signor A. Durando, the Italian Vice-Consul at Cardiff, writes enclosing a letter in which the Minister of Marine in Rome regrets he cannot accept the Corporation's invitation to the Italian squadron to visit Cardiff.
The Corporation, in agreeing as above, admit Plaintiff's claim to the sole ownership of the bed of the river Taff and Cardiff foreshores, but do not abandon their claim to be considered Conservators of the river Taff. The Plaintiff, who denies the validity of such claim, is not on account of this settlement to be deemed to have in any way admitted or acknowledged the same.
Records Committee, 26 July. Letter from Rhys Williams, esq., of the Charity Commission, Whitehall, thanking the Committee for permission to inspect the Archivist's notes and papers relating to the Charities of Cardiff and Glamorgan.
"I regret having to state that in my opinion the Treasury would by no means sanction the payment of a fee to Mr. Hobson Matthews for the preparation of his valuable Memorandum on Manors. I venture to submit to your consideration the suggestion that it was to the interest of the Corporation of Cardiff to have the Commission supplied with information concerning the manorial rights exercised in the neighbourhood of Cardiff, so as to enable them to see whether they could include in their Report any reference to the management of this kind of property. I may also state that, when I originally invited Mr. Matthews to favour the Commission with a list of Manors, I presumed that he had all the necessary material in hand, and that it would simply mean a re-arrangement of his notes. The Commission had in this way previously obtained gratuitous assistance of gentlemen in other parts of Wales interested in historical and antiquarian matters, in preparing memoranda on Manors in their own respective districts. The Corporation of Cardiff, through yourself, was good enough to assent to the request that Mr. Matthews should lend the Commission a similar kind assistance, but, as you will remember, nothing was then said as to any expected remuneration. I much regret that anything in the nature of a misunderstanding has arisen; and I think I might say that if the Commission had control of funds without requiring the sanction of the Treasury, they would probably mark their appreciation of Mr. Matthews' work by the offer of some honorarium."
Chairman reported that he had purchased on behalf of the Corporation, from Mr. Alcwyn Evans, of Carmarthen (through Mr. Williams) for six guineas a MS. book, one page missing, relating to Cardiff and containing copies of Charters and Counsel's Opinions, and had paid Mr. Williams a commission of ten shillings for his trouble in the matter.
Resolved That the Council be desired to express their appreciation and thanks to Sir William Harcourt for his action in granting the the sum of £20,000 towards the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire.
On 28 September Sir Edward James Reed, Knight Commander of the Bath, attended the Council and was admitted an Honorary Freeman of the Borough of Cardiff. The Mayor (Alderman W. P. Carey, J.P.) then presented Sir Edward with the scrip of the Freedom, enclosed in a gold casket. Sir Edward suitably replied, expressing his gratitude for the honour done him.
Captain F. J. Parry, Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary, inspected the Police Force of the County Borough of Cardiff, and expressed himself perfectly satisfied with the general physique of the men, their proficiency in drill,&c.
Borough Engineer reported that for some time past the river Taff had been infringing upon the north-east corner of the western abutment of the Clarence Bridge, thereby scouring out the bed of the river against the abutment. He had, however, assured himself that no danger was impending to the bridge until last week, when he discovered that the scour had reached a depth level with the bottom of the foundation; whereupon he had the hole filled up with stone.
Dear Mr. Wheatley,—I cannot leave Cardiff to-day without conveying to the Mayor through you, to you yourself, and to the Committee who regulated the business of yesterday in which I was so much concerned, and no less to the entire Council, and to the ratepayers whom you all represent, my formal but very earnest thanks for the manner in which I was yesterday admitted to the civic honours and privileges of the town of Cardiff. I know well how much thought and labour, as well as hearty good will and generous feeling, must have been at work for weeks and months past to bring about such results, and I beg you to make yourself the channel of my gratitude to all concerned. The banquet of last evening, which so happily crowned the ceremonies of the day, was beyond all expression gratifying to me, and to my son, who was present on behalf of Lady Reed and our family. At the table were not only some of my oldest and dearest political friends and supporters, men of the highest repute and honour, but in even larger numbers the leading men of the political party to which at all times I have been opposed, together with the acknowledged heads of the party which in 1886 found it necessary, in their belief, to withdraw from or oppose me; all conferred upon me in no measured terms the honour of their praise, apart from politics, for the manner in which I had for fifteen years endeavoured to serve the town. I doubt if such a demonstration of friendly and generous feeling, following a General Election and a great political convulsion, ever took place in any town before.—Believe me, Dear Mr. Wheatley, Yours very truly.
Daniel Lewis, J.P., Richard Cory, J.P., Thomas Vaughan Yorath, Thomas Windsor Jacobs, J.P. (Deputy Mayor), Andrew Fulton, David Edgar Jones, M.D., J.P., David Jones, J.P., William Saunders, J.P., Thomas Rees.
William John Trounce, J.P. (Ex-Mayor), Ebenezer Beavan, J.P., Joseph Ramsdale, J.P., Thomas Morel, J.P., Samuel Arthur Brain, Tom Hurry Riches, Edward William Shackel, J.P., Francis John Beavan, J.P., James Tucker, James Herbert Cory, J.P. Edward Thomas, J.P., Noah Rees, John Jenkins, J.P., Thomas Andrews, J.P., William Evans, Henry White, James Munn, Jacob Comley, Robert Hughes, Morgan Morgan, William Smith Crossman, Benjamin John, John Mathias Gerhold, Robert Johnston, Charles Edward Waring, Alfred Good, George Beynon Harris, Charles Albert John Ward, George David,
To prevent games in the streets. No person shall in any street play at ball, the throwing of stones, or other offensive or dangerous game likely to cause any injury to persons, animals or property. (Penalty not exceeding £5).
Records Committee, 23 October. Town Clerk read letters from the Archivist (Mr. John Hobson Matthews) who is now in London engaged in examining documents relating to Cardiff at the Record Office, giving the following account of work done from week to week:—
18 September. Since he came to London had been copying Inquisitions post mortem of 13th, 14th and 15th centuries, which state the various territories and public and private rights in and around Cardiff. The first is dated 1296. Corporation have no copies. Large portion of the MSS. very faded.
1st October. Could not estimate less than two months for this work. If he were authorized to search the uncalendared records of the old Cardiff Court, the Committee would be conferring a service upon Wales at large. Just possible authorities in London would be willing to contribute portion of expense.
5th October. Copied long Account of Duchy of Lancaster possessions in and around Cardiff; it covers 14 sides of demy and is very interesting. It sets forth in great detail the memorial and municipal particulars of Cardiff, Roath&c., so far as they concern the Lord, and contains such curious matters as Owain Glyndwr's rebellion. The date is 1493.
"I have enquired of Mr. Salisbury whether, as a favour to the Corporation, he would allow me access to the uncalendared records of the Cardiff Court which were sent to London about thirty years ago. Mr. Salisbury has promised to allow me to see them and to give me every facility for copying them. As I understand it is the wish of the Committee that I should leave London at the end of this month, it will not be possible for me in the meantime to have anything like an adequate search among these uncalendared records; but I will next week have a sort of preliminary look over them, so as to be able to form some idea of their nature.
"I lately spent an evening at the British Museum Library, being in possession of a reader's ticket. A couple of hours at the Catalogue of MSS. revealed the fact that there are scores, if not hundreds, of MSS. relating to Cardiff, extending over several centuries. I will have two or three days among these, so as to form an idea of their general contents; but there will not be time to copy much. I trust that the Committee will think well to let me pay another visit to London at a later date, as there is such a wealth of material here. It is not necessary to print everything I copy; but the more I obtain the better choice can be made of matter for printing."
Resolved (1) That the Chairman (Councillor E. Thomas, J.P.), Councillor White and the Town Clerk be authorized to proceed to London in order to examine the work already done by Mr. J. Hobson Matthews, and to take such steps as may be necessary for bringing Mr. Matthews' labours to a close on the ninth of November next, so far as the collection of material is concerned. (2) That the Council be respectfully requested on or after the 9th November next to authorize this Committee to instruct Mr. Matthews to prepare and present a report upon his work and researches to date, with a view to publication thereof in book form should the Committee so decide.