Cardiff Records: Volume 5. Originally published by Cardiff Records Committee, Cardiff, 1905.
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The miscellaneous character of the "Cardiff Records," and the lack of arrangement in the manner of their presentation, are, it must be confessed, still more evident in this fifth volume than in its predecessors. The mixed nature of the materials, ranging, as these do, from mediæval charters to 19th-century tombstone inscriptions, and from Diocesan Act Books to the reminiscences of living persons, is not likely to incur the disapproval of the antiquary. It is otherwise with the admitted want of chronological sequence in the ordering of the various classes of records. This defect is one of which any student may reasonably complain. He is asked, however, to hold both the Records Committee and their Archivist excused for this shortcoming, on the ground that the scope of their research, at first restricted within narrow limits, was enlarged to its present range by several successive resolutions of the Borough Council, at considerable intervals of time.
The reader who is more concerned with the monuments of antiquity than with the affairs of yesterday, may begrudge the space allotted in the present volume to recent Minutes of Council, and will perhaps think that as the Minutes were already printed and issued to the general public, it was superfluous to reprint extracts from them in this series. In anticipation of such an objection, I would remark that a person who should refer to the official Minutes of Council for concise information on a particular matter of permanent local interest which happened a few years back, would find his search an arduous one. What I have done in this respect has been to select, from that huge mass of dry reports, statistics and ephemera, just what seemed worth preserving and would increase in interest with the passing years, and to condense the same selections into readable and useful proportions. Some of these excerpts may appear insignificant, but each will be found, on consideration, to involve some point of local history having its distinct value.
The reason for offering translations of certain Latin and Welsh records which were already accessible in the originals is, that I knew of no satisfactory English renderings of those documents, and desired to place before the reader my own versions of such important writings.
In the chapter headed "Documentary Addenda," Thomas Jenkins' Deed Poll of 1608 should be read as following that of Elizabeth and John Hengod, 1606 (Vol. IV., p. 139), relating to the old Almshouse in Church Street.
Turning to the "Reminiscences of Old Inhabitants," the contribution of Mr. Luke Evans is noteworthy, not only for its antiquarian value, but also for the genuine humour of his racily-told anecdotes. In Mr. Evans' stories, Old Cardiff lives again. We see Toby Philpot, the last of the Aletasters, hurrying off (about dinner-time) to execute his onerous official duty at the Glove and Shears. In imagination we join in chasing that hare which, one Sunday at noon, ran from the Blue Bell to the Cardiff Arms, with a posse of church-goers behind it. The Corner House still has its blinds drawn for the good old Squire, whose life has just run out like the choice port from the best cask in his cellar. Long may the aged but hale and vivacious Luke Evans be a familiar figure in Saint Mary Street!
The Schedule of Place-names will, I trust, be found instructive. It will not, however, have fulfilled its author's hopes unless it leads to the perpetuation of interesting Welsh appellations in the nomenclature of new streets, and to the tardy but welcome restoration of "Crockherbtown" and its congeners.
Chapters VIII. to XI. are entirely the work of the gentlemen whose names appear as their authors; the Editor has had no share in their production.
Much care has been expended on the Lists of Officials, but it was impossible to obtain a complete series of any one class. That of the modern Mayors and old Bailiffs is continuous from the year 1684.
The explanations and definitions given in the Glossary are original, save in the few cases where an authority is named.
With the completion of this fifth volume of "Cardiff Records" my duties as Archivist to the Corporation of Cardiff come to an end, after eleven years of arduous but congenial labour. I may be permitted to express in this place my thanks to the Corporation, and in particular to the Records Committee, for the kindness and consideration which have marked their dealings with me all along. I am the first official and salaried Archivist ever appointed in the British Isles; and it ought to be recorded, and not forgotten, that Cardiff was the municipality which led the way in thus recognising an important aspect of municipal affairs.
JOHN HOBSON MATTHEWS,
Monmouth. Saint David's day, 1905.