RECORDS of proceedings in the
High Court of Chancery, even
when they relate to private property, are often of great interest
to the local historian. An
example of their value may be
found in the document printed in
this chapter, under the reference
"Bundle 146, No. 110, 1559."
It may be summarised as follows:
Complaint by William, Earl of
Pembroke, that, whereas from
time immemorial the inhabitants
of the Lordship Royal of Glamorgan have been charged with payment of a mise of 1,000 marks,
at every succession of a new lord (apportioned and levied by
arrangement made between Commissioners appointed by the lord
and Assessors chosen by the inhabitants), Thomas Mathewe, gentleman, and others, inhabitants of Miscyn and Glynrhondda, parcels of
the said Lordship of Glamorgan, refuse to pay their proportion of
the mise due to the said Earl at his succession to the said Lordship
under the grant of the late lord, King Edward the Sixth. He craves
a Writ of Subpæna compelling the defaulters to appear before the
Court and answer the premisses.
Morgan Mathew, and others of the Defendants, answer that
the payment of mises was instituted as a commutation for certain
oppressive taxes anciently levied by the Lords of Glamorgan.
King Henry the Eighth abolished all those Marcher customs,
including the mises, except that the lord may levy one mise on
succeeding to his ancestor. They do not admit that the late King
granted the Lordship Royal of Glamorgan and Morganwg unto
Complainant; for the truth is that the seigniory of the said Lordship Royal remained continually in the said late King Edward VI.,
and from him descended to the late Queen Mary, and is since
descended to Queen Elizabeth, and still remains in her, "ungiven
or granted." Wherefore the inhabitants owe the mise to the Queen
only, as Lady of Glamorgan in succession to Queen Mary.
Bundle 18, No. 80, relating to the Prebend of Saint Andrew's,
is one of several documents concerning Church property at Llandaff,
out of which a number of enterprising people (including the Bishop)
were busily extracting as much ready money as possible. It will be
noticed that the Bills of Complaint almost invariably, towards the
conclusion, state that the Defendant has wrongfully got possession
of deeds whereby the Complainant is kept out of his rights. This
technicality was a legal device for obtaining "discovery of
A good deal of curious interest attaches to Bundle 55, No. 69,
the Complaint of Reynold David, servant to the Earl of Pembroke
(inter 1570—9). Anthony [Kitchener], late Bishop of Llandaff,
granted the Registrarship of the Episcopal Court to John Lloyd,
who conveyed the same unto William Powell. The records of the
Registry have got into the hands of William Evans, clerk, and
others. The Complainant prays they may be ordered to restore
William Evans answers that, being Chancellor of the diocese,
he had to send to Complainant for the Register Book. Complainant
was from home, but his concubine, Jennet Griffith, handed the book
to this Defendant's servant. He keeps it because it is necessary to
him in his office of Chancellor.
Complainant replies by offering to prove that, although Chancellor Evans permits, for bribes, a great number within his jurisdiction
to live incontinently, Jennet is his (Complainant's) wife, not his
concubine. Evans craftily got possession of the Register because
it contained evidence of his (Evans') evil living and of his Popish
Defendant William Evans rejoins by denying that, since the
accession of Queen Elizabeth, he has committed any papistical
offences or forborne to receive the Communion in the Established
Church. On the contrary, he upholds "her Majesty's godly acts
and proceedings in that behalf."
We have a long series of suits about lands in the Manor of
Roath Dogfield, and other places in the neighbourhood of Cardiff.
They are valuable for their enumeration of old place-names; but as
I have, for the most part, greatly condensed in making my copies,
there is no need to enlarge upon the documents here.
The Complaint of Peter Samyn (of an old Cardiff family), inter
1617—21, is worded with amusing quaintness. The premises in
question, Parc-Coed-Marchan, were, I believe, parcel of the Manor
of Pentyrch. It is interesting to note that they comprised a deerpark.
The Chancery Proceedings here printed (except the last three)
are of the reign of Elizabeth, and form a complete set for that reign,
so far as concerns the Cardiff district. The Elizabethan Proceedings
are, however, only a section of the whole series at the Record Office.