Cardiff Council Minutes, 1893–1894.
1893 November 9 Thursday.
Councillor Trounce elected Mayor; salary £350.
Alderman Daniel Lewis, J.P., appointed Deputy Mayor.
Moved by Councillor Thomas (in pursuance of notice of motion
previously given) and
Resolved That this Council deems it an imperative duty to direct
a thorough and exhaustive investigation into the statements and representations of the South Wales Daily News on the subject of Cardiff
Lands; and as a preliminary step desires the Town Clerk to have
prepared with all convenient speed a precis of all charters, deeds and
documents in the custody of the Corporation relating to Corporate
Lands (excluding lands recently acquired for waterworks and improvement purposes), and of all references to Corporate lands or leases
thereof in ancient books and records, as well as of all charters, deeds
and documents the existence of which may be ascertained by references
in other charters, deeds and documents, but which are not now in the
possession or custody of the Corporation, and submit a print thereof
to each member of this Council; and that a Special Committee be
appointed for the purpose of ventilating, inquiring into and considering
the whole subject and reporting to this Council thereon.
Names taken as follows:—For: The Mayor; Aldermen Jacobs,
D. Jones, Sanders and T. Rees; Councillors Ramsdale, Riches, F.J.
Beavan, W. Lewis, Thomas, N. Rees, Jenkins, Andrews, White,
Munn, Comley, Morgan, Crossman, John and Good—20. Neutral:
Alderman D. Lewis.
Resolved That the following gentlemen be appointed a Special
Committee for the purpose of carrying out the above resolution: The
Mayor; Aldermen Jacobs, D. Jones and Sanders; Councillors Vaughan,
E. Beavan, Ramsdale, Shackell, Riches, F. J. Beavan, Tucker, W.
Lewis, Thomas, Jenkins, White, Munn, Morgan and Waring.
Resolved unanimously That the Right Honourable John Crichton
Stuart, Earl of Dumfries (the eldest son of the Most Honourable the
Marquess of Bute, K.T.,) be respectfully and cordially invited to open
the Roath Park on the 25th April 1894.
Special Committee re Records, 22 November 1893. Councillor
Thomas was elected Chairman of the Records Committee, and
Councillor F. J. Beavan Deputy Chairman.
Records Committee, 1 December 1893. Resolved That the
Town Clerk be instructed to prepare a list of all charters and ancient
documents &c. in possession of the Corporation and submit same to
the Sub-Committee mentioned in the following resolution.
Resolved that the following gentlemen be appointed a SubCommittee for the purpose of considering the above list: The Mayor;
the Chairman; Alderman Sanders; Councillors White and Morgan.
Town Clerk read a letter dated 9 November 1893, from Mr. T.
Carr, offering to copy ancient or indistinct documents at 9d. per hour,
or 3d. per folio, and 1d. per folio fair copy; and also letters dated 7,
9 and 13 November, from Mr. J. Hobson Matthews, Solicitor (author
of "A History of Saint Ives, Lelant, Towednack and Zennor"),
offering his services to this Committee.
The Right Worshipful the Mayor, (Councillor Trounce)
presented to the Corporation the Minute Book of the Town Commissioners of Cardiff, from 1815 to 1837, which he had obtained from
a local gentleman.
Resolved unanimously That the best thanks of this Committee be
accorded to His Worship for his valuable and interesting gift to the
Sir E. J. Reed, M.P., forwards the following note:—" The
Secretaries of the Joint Naval and Military Committee (Colonel
Vetch and Captain Prince Louis of Battenberg) are now engaged
in drawing up their report on the defended ports of Great Britain
They visited Cardiff and Barry Docks in April last and, in
company with the local military officers, considered on the spot the
question of the defence of these ports and of the river Severn."
1893 December 11.
General District Rate 1s. 3d. in the £.
Resolved That the honorary freedom of the Borough be conferred
upon General Roberts, on his approaching visit to Cardiff.
Deputation of ratepayers presented to the Parliamentary Committee a memorial praying them to exercise their powers and procure
the removal of the hoardings along the Canal Bank in New Street.
1894 January 8.
Police-Constable Hudson was rewarded for saving the lives of
certain children from a fire which broke out at 56 Janet Street.
"Mount Stuart, Rothesay, Isle of Bute.
Decr. 19th 1893.
Dear Mr. Wheatley,—I beg to offer the Mayor and the rest of
the Council my warm thanks for their very kind proposal as to the
opening of Roath Park. It would gratify me very much that John
should perform the ceremony. At such a distance of time, however,
I feel that it would be too rash to try and bind myself by an absolute
promise; and perhaps also it may occur to you that, for the opening
of a Park, a day somewhat later—say at the end of May or early
part of June, when vegetation is more advanced—might be more
convenient. Unless there be some reason for April 25 which is
unknown to me, there is plenty of time to think about this. Allow
me to take this opportunity of expressing my best wishes for a happy
Christmas and New Year for all at Cardiff. Believe me, Dear Mr.
Wheatley, sincerely yours.
Letter from the High Sheriff of Glamorgan regarding the
inadequate accommodation for Assize business at Cardiff and
Swansea, and stating that, if good accommodation were provided at
Cardiff, no doubt the Assizes would be held at Cardiff exclusively,
unless Swansea took some action as well. (Referred to the Town
1894 January 26.
At 12.30 p m. General the Right Hon. Lord Roberts, G.C.B.,
G.C.S.I., V.C., attended the Council, and was admitted an Honorary
Freeman of the County Borough of Cardiff, the Admission being
witnessed by the Mayor and Town Clerk.
The Mayor presented Lord Roberts with the scrip containing the
Freedom; and Colonel Sir Edward Hill, M.P., presented his Lordship,
on behalf of the 2nd Glamorganshire Volunteer Artillery, with a gold
Records Committee, 2 and 5 February. Sub-Committee 2
February, Town Clerk submitted a Schedule as prepared by him,
of Charters, ancient documents, books &c. in possession of the
Resolved That an expert be engaged for the purpose of reading
and carefully perusing every document, book &c. contained in the
schedule submitted by the Town Clerk, and preparing a precis of all
charters, deeds and documents in the custody of the Corporation
relating to corporate lands (&c., as in the first resolution of Council)
and carefully extracting all references which occur in such documents,
books &c. in relation to the river Taff and the Corporation being the
Resolved That Mr. John Hobson Matthews, Solicitor, of Church
Street, Cardiff, be appointed for the purpose of carrying out the above
resolution, at a salary of £4 per week; and that he proceed continuously until the completion of the work.
Records Committee. 5 February.
Resolved That the expert (Mr. Hobson Matthews) be instructed
to obtain all possible information and to report to the Sub-Committee
appointed by this Committee on the 1st December 1893, with regard
to the rights of the Corporation in the foreshores of Cardiff.
1894 February 12.
Parks Committee thank Lord Tredegar for presenting some
"tame wild ducks" to the Corporation.
1894 March 12.
Resolved That the new Park be opened on Wednesday 20 June
next, the Earl of Dumfries' birthday. That the park be named Roath
Park. That a gold key and an address be presented to the Earl, as
the gift of the Parks Committee. That there be a public procession.
That aquatic sports be held on the lake on the opening-day. That six
memorial trees be planted.
Borough Engineer stated that Lord Bute's representatives had
commenced excavating in the bed and foreshore on the eastern side
of the river Taff, a little below the Penarth Road bridge, with the
intention of erecting machinery for pumping water from the river
into the timber-pond adjoining.
Resolved That the Town Clerk and the Borough Engineer report
thereon, and meantime take measures to protect the rights of the
1894 April 9.
£14,400 to the School Board.
"House of Falkland, Falkland, Fifeshire.
April 4th 1894.
My dear Mr. Wheatley,—Pray offer to the Committee my sincere
thanks for the kind thoughtfulness which has dictated their suggestion
that June 20th, being John's birthday, should be the day upon which
he is to perform the ceremony of opening Roath Park. As far as we
are able to foresee, we shall be able, as we shall certainly be most
happy, to be at Cardiff on that day. Believe me, Dear Mr. Wheatley,
Records Committee, 2 May 1894. The Preliminary Report of
the Archivist, Mr. J. Hobson Matthews, was read and was ordered
to be entered upon the Minutes:—
Town Hall, Cardiff.
25 April 1894.
Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Records Committee,
I have the honour to lay before you a Preliminary Report of my
work done in connection with the Cardiff Lands and Records
My duties commenced on the 15th of February last. In detail
they are, as I understand them, the following:—
1. To examine all the Charters, municipal records and documents
of title in the custody of the Town Clerk of Cardiff, in order to
ascertain and report:—
(a) The extent and history of the landed property of the
Mayor, Aldermen and Capital Burgesses of the Borough
of Cardiff; whether the Corporation have been deprived
of the possession of any lands and tenements, and full
particulars of any such deprivation.
(b) What are the respective rights of the Corporation and the
Most Honourable the Marquess of Bute in the soil of
the Borough, in the foreshore, and in the Taff.
(c) The history of the various public charities which are
or ought to be wholly or partially subject to the
(d) The nature and condition of the ancient archives in the
possession of the Corporation; also whether any have
been alienated from their possession, and the whereabouts of all such alienated archives.
2. To examine the local records preserved among the national
archives at the Record Office in London, for the purpose of more
fully elucidating the above questions.
3. To endeavour to trace, search out, examine and report upon
any municipal or other local records which, rightfully or wrongfully,
may be in the possession of private individuals.
4. To furnish you with an exhaustive report upon my work.
The Town Clerk having provided me with a schedule of the
Charters, municipal records and documents of title in his custody, and
allowed me every facility for examining the same, I found them to be
19 Translations of Charters.
83 MS. books of Municipal Records.
5 Bundles of Vouchers, Bonds, miscellaneous old papers and
166 parcels of Title Deeds, Abstracts, Copies, Drafts &c.
6 Maps and Plans, unconnected with deeds.
8 Terriers, Rentals or Schedules of Corporation Property, for
the most part comprised in the books.
I have examined the Charters with their translations, and corrected
the latter in many instances.
I have gone through the whole of the Minutes of Council from
1710 to 1880—i.e. for 170 years consecutively— and have extracted
everything likely to be of use relating to the matters on which
information was desired.
I have also gone through most of the Minute Books of the
various Committees for the same period.
The bundles of miscellanea have been carefully sifted, and all
useful matter extracted therefrom.
The title-deeds have been systematically examined, and particulars of the various properties have been arranged in tabular form
and chronological order.
The maps and plans have been made use of to fix the precise
situations of the Corporation's lands and tenements. (I have, moreover, improved my knowledge of these by personal examination of the
The rent-rolls, of course, have engaged a large share of my
attention. Though few in number, they have been the tie-beams, so to
speak, of the work of investigation, holding together and consolidating
the separate results of my search among the various classes of records.
Out of these materials I am compiling an exhaustive list of all the
lands and tenements which belong to the Mayor, Aldermen and
Capital Burgesses of Cardiff, and of all those which have been in their
possession at any time during the past 150 years; and in some
particulars my information extends to a much remoter period. My
list, though not yet complete, comprises 138 properties.
As a result of this method of dealing with the records, I am in a
position to give a minute and consecutive account of most of the
properties, shewing when and how they came into the possession of
the Corporation, what has been done with them while they have
been in their possession, and, where a property has been parted with
by the Corporation, the date and other particulars of the alienation.
In not a few cases I shall be able to show how the apathy of former
officials, and the designs of interested parties, have brought about the
loss of property.
When the information I have already acquired has been supplemented by a search at the Record Office and by the perusal of archives
which have got into private hands, I shall be able to supply to you the
fullest and most minute particulars of all the property which is, has
been, and ought to be, in the possession of the Corporation.
With reference to the second subject of enquiry, namely the
respective rights of the Corporation and Lord Bute in the Borough, its
river and foreshore, I have collected a large quantity of useful
information, and am in a position to show that the Borough of Cardiff,
at least as first territorially defined, is subject to no manorial overlordship save such as may have vested in the Crown. I refrain from
saying more on this head at present, as the subject requires a
thorough examination in the light of the national archives. I will,
however, just add that I can satisfactorily establish the claim of the
Corporation to be the official Conservators of the river Taff, and
to have been so from the earliest times in the Borough's history.
With regard to the old public charities of Cardiff, my information is not so ample as I could wish; though I have made a useful
summary from the Minutes of Council, &c., of the Corporation's
transactions from time to time in this respect. What there may be
at the Record Office to throw light on the question I cannot say, but
I imagine ample particulars must be obtainable. I gleaned a great
deal of information there with reference to the charities of Saint Ives,
when working upon the archives of that borough.
My final Report to you shall comprise all information as to the
nature and condition of the ancient archives now in the Town Clerk's
custody, as well as of the local records which I shall have been able
to meet with at the Record Office and in the hands of private individuals. I shall have some suggestions to submit to you as to the
preservation of the invaluable historical muniments of our Borough.
This brings me to the very weighty question of the alleged
removal of ancient records from the custody of the Corporation.
Now that I have gone through nearly all the Cardiff documents
which were likely to throw any light upon these enquiries, I am able
to state positively that the Corporation have been deprived of a large
quantity of muniments, including probably some title-deeds, and
certainly many important and highly interesting official records
of various kinds, such as early minute and account books, and even
Charters. I know that there should be at least four earlier Town
Books than the one commencing 1711, which is the oldest in the
Town Clerk's custody; and it is equally certain that the last Charter
granted to the Town of Cardiff (that of King James II.) is missing.
Without having entered upon any investigation into the abstraction of the missing records, I have already received hints from more
than one person as to the present whereabouts of some of them.
There is every likelihood that a thorough enquiry will result in
the tracing of the lost documents, in their being at least perused
and copied by the Corporation, and in some cases of their restoration
to their rightful custodian, the present Town Clerk. Such an enquiry,
moreover, is necessary for the complete elucidation of the facts with
regard to the Corporation's property and the other questions which
form part of my researches.
I may add that, in addition to the muniments submitted to me
by the Town Clerk, I have been able to draw upon a few very
useful documents shewn to me by friends, and upon a mass of notes
in my own private possession, collected from various historical
It appears from the Minutes of Council that the Corporation has
for a century past been agitated, at frequently recurring intervals, with a
desire to sift and examine the questions which you have commissioned
me to investigate. Time after time the Council has resolved that these
matters (their landed property, the Lord's manorial claims, the Taff,
the charities and the records) should be investigated by the Town
Clerk and reported upon, with a view to vigorous action on behalf of
the burgesses; and each time has the question been quietly shelved and
forgotten. This inert policy has resulted in serious pecuniary loss to
the Corporation, as when, in 1838, for want of the necessary information (which was quite available) to lay before their counsel, the
Corporation allowed the late Lord Bute to be recognised by the High
Court as "Lord of the Manor of Cardiff"—a manor which never
existed save on paper and in the imaginations of apathetic burgesses
on the one hand, and interested claimants on the other.
For one week I was occupied in preparing for the Town Clerk a
Supplemental Brief to be used by Defendants' counsel in the action
brought by the Marquess of Bute against the Corporation in respect
of the diversion of the Taff; such supplementary brief being practically
a treatise on the question of the alleged "Manor of Cardiff," in which
I shewed that such a manor had no existence.
I am, Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Committee,
Your obedient Servant.
John Hobson Matthews,
Expert Archivist to the Corporation.
The Committee discussed the sale of portions of the foreshore by
the Crown to Lord Bute and the action of the Corporation thereon,
and it was
Resolved That the Town Clerk present a Report upon the matter
to the Parliamentary Committee.
Property and Markets Committee, 2 May. An Extract from the
proceedings of the Finance Committee held on the 25th April was
read, referring to this Committee an account amounting to £5. 10s. 4d.
from the Trustees of Lord Bute in respect of Town tolls, and
suggesting that enquiry be made as to the purport of this annual
Resolved That the matter be referred to the Records Committee,
and that they be respectfully requested to direct the Expert (Mr.
Matthews) to enquire into the matter, and to furnish all possible
information in reference thereto to this Committee.
1894 May 7.
Resolved That the Town Clerk give notice to the Bute authorities
regarding their action in sinking a well and diverting the course of the
channel in the river Taff at Grangetown, and informing them that
the Corporation object thereto, and require the Bute authorities to
cease their interference with the river at once and restore the premises
to their former condition.
Resolved That the Town Clerk give notice to the Bute authorities,
requesting the removal of the railings brought down from the top of
the embankment to the bed of the river Taff in two places in the
General District Rate 1s. 3d. in the £.
Town's Meeting resolved That this Town's Meeting of the citizens
of Cardiff records its emphatic protest against the unjustifiable attempt,
in the Bill now being promoted in Parliament by the Bute Docks
Company, to obtain compulsory powers of levying tolls on all persons
leaving Cardiff by water.
1894 May 23.
Records Committee, 6 June.
After reading the Report of the Archivist, Mr. J. Hobson
Resolved That Mr. Matthews be authorised to proceed to London
1894 June 11.
On the adoption of the proceedings of the Records Committee of
6 June being moved, it was proposed by Councillor Munn, by way of
amendment, seconded by Councillor W. Lewis, and
Resolved That the paragraph regarding sale of portions of foreshore be rescinded, and that the Town Clerk be desired to send a
printed Report upon this matter to every member of the Corporation;
and that a Special Meeting of the General Purposes Committee be
held on the 25th instant to consider the same.
Letter from the Roath Carlylean Society, forwarding a Resolution
unanimously passed at a public meeting on the 6th instant:—
"That the acquisition of the foreshore by the Bute Authority in
1889, on the supposition that the Marquis of Bute was Lord of the
Manor, should have been strenuously opposed by the Corporation at
the time, and that even now immediate steps should be taken to
recover the rights of the Town in the said foreshore; and that this
Resolution be embodied in a petition to Parliament and the Borough
Proposed by Councillor Thomas, seconded by Alderman Carey,
by way of amendment to a previous motion, That in all future
appointments of officials employed by the Corporation, where the
salary does not exceed £200 per annum—all other things being equal
—the appointments be confined to residents in the Town of Cardiff
or within a radius of eight miles of the Town—the Waterworks
General District Rate 1s. 3d. in the £.
Salaries of the Mace-bearers, Charles Pearce and Jacob Wise,
raised to £52 per annum, and uniform.
Head Constable reported that a prisoner, named William Morgan,
had escaped on the 3rd instant from the yard of the Roath Police
Property and Markets Committee, 20 June. The following
Report of the Archivist was received and ordered to be entered
upon the Minutes:—
Chief Rent of £5. 13s. 7½d.
It having within the last few days been asked in Finance
Committee by what right the Marquess of Bute claims the annual
payment of £5. 13s. 7½d. from the Cardiff Corporation, I have to
lay before the Chairman and Members of the Records Committee
of the Town Council a statement of the historical facts involved in
In the first place I will remind the Committee that not only is this
a very ancient payment, but that the question as to its obligatoriness
has been raised by the Corporation several times within the last
hundred years, as may be seen by the Minutes of Council. And
inasmuch as those Minutes do not record anything beyond the referring
of the matter to the Town Clerk for the time being for investigation,
it is to be presumed that the difficulty was not found capable of
solution in a sense favourable to the wishes of the Corporation.
This annual payment is, as I shall show, in the nature of a feefarm rent, or chief-rent, i.e. a payment made to the Lords of
Glamorgan, from whom the Vill of Cardiff originally received her
privileges, franchises and immunities.
So early as the year 1296 we find in an Extent of the Earl's
possessions and revenues the item "and from the toll of the Burgh
and fairs 100s."
The pair of gilded spurs to be rendered by the Burgesses to
the Lord every Michaelmas, under our earliest extant Charter, that
of 1338, seems to have been an ordinary rent of the land thereby
granted for the erection of their "Booth Hall."
The chief-rent appears again in an Extent of 1350, which has
this statement: "Also the tolls of the Town and of the seas there are
worth by the year 100s."
According to the Charter granted to Cardiff by Richard, Earl de
Beauchamp, in 1421, the Bailiffs and Assistants of the Burgh were to
take their oaths "to govern well and to collect and levy, before our
Constable in our Exchequer of Cardiff, the moneys and customs thenc
due to us sicut de antiquo consuevit, as was the custom from ancien
times." On a comparison of this provision with my other references
it is evident that we have here an allusion to the chief-rent, that i
was derived from the tolls of the Town and was paid into the Lord's
Exchequer by the Municipal authorities, and that it was of ancient
The Charter of James II. reserves to the Crown yearly such fee
farms, rents &c. as were accustomed to be paid, and makes no
mention of the Lord. It must be remembered that the Lordship of
Glamorgan had before this date twice reverted to the Crown, and
that the Lordship of Cardiff Castle and its dependencies was now
held in capite of the Crown by the Earl of Pembroke.
The boundaries between the respective rights, privileges and
authorities of the Crown and the Lords of Glamorgan had been from
the earliest times very vague and indefinite; but it is certain that,
on the grant of the Lordship by King Edward VI. to the Earl of
Pembroke, the dignity of the new possession was curtailed of much of
its ancient power. This diminution of the old feudal authority of the
Lord was made plain and evident in the reigns of Elizabeth and
James I. by the pleadings and verdict in the celebrated Action brought
by the Earl against one of the burgesses, when it was shewn that he
(the Earl) was not Lord of the soil of the Borough of Cardiff, nor of
a Manor of Cardiff. (fn. 1)
That verdict might have been expected to affect the Earl of
Pembroke's position as the representative in title of the Norman
Barons whose politic generosity first created the Municipality of
Cardiff, and consequently to affect the immemorial payment of the
chief-rent. However, in 1666, in an Inquisitio held at Cardiff on the
Earl's decease, the Jurors declared as follows:—
"For the privileges and liberties held by this Towne Corporate
they say that yesd Corporac'on of Cardiff have held and ought to hold
the same in fee farm for ever according to their Charters and auntient
customs, paying therefore yearly to ye Lord & his L'dship's Auditor
after Michaelmas ye som[m]e of Five pounds thirteen shillings and seven
pence half-penny, for which the Baylifes of ye sd Towne for ye time
being do every yeare respectively account."
It is not clear why the chief-rent, which in 1350 was stated at a
hundred shillings, should in 1666 be £5. 13s. 7½d. as it still is. I
imagine the sum was originally 34 marks, i.e. £5. 13s. 4d.; and that
34 marks, at the same date, was equal to 100 shillings of the money of
that period. A mark is said to equal 3s. 4d. of our present coinage;
but it must be remembered that a penny of early mediæval money
was equivalent to about a shilling of these days. On the whole, then,
the manifold fluctuations in the value of money, and the alteration of
the coinage, are sufficient to account for the discrepancy.
We now come to the Charter of King James II., granted in 1687.
This differs in a very remarkable manner from that of King James
I., in providing an express reservation of the rights of the Earl of
Pembroke. The clause runs thus:—
"Saving always and to the aforesaid Thomas Earl of Pembroke
and also to the Lady Charlotte Herbert daughter and heir of Philip
late Earl of Pembroke deceased their heirs and assigns reserved All
such the like the same and similar rents rights powers customs and
privileges whatsoever as and which the predecessors of the aforesaid
Thomas Earl of Pembroke and the Lady Charlotte Herbert at any
time have used and enjoyed within the Town aforesaid or the limits
or precints thereof."
This clause is so liberal in its wording—reserving, as it does, to
the Earl of Pembroke and his successors all rents &c. which his
predecessors at any time had enjoyed—that it certainly discounts the
effect of the silence of the first Jame's Charter in this respect; but it is
doubtful whether this Charter was ever received by the Town.
To turn to the Corporation's books of minutes and accounts, we
find throughout them constant entries of the payment of the high or
chief rent. The Common Attorneys' Accounts have these items:—
1712 "Paid my Lord Windsor's Auditor £5. 13. 7½."
1714 "Paid Mr Seward my Lord's Rent £11. 14. 11."
1720 "Paid Lord Windsor's Rent £5. 13. 7½."
1724 "Paid Mr Seward my Lord's Rent £11. 14. 11."doubtless
for two years' rent and interest.
The Lord's Rentals, as cited in Mr. Serjeant Talfourd's Brief in
Williams v. Corporation of Cardiff, 1834, show that the same sum was
paid in the years 1730, 1746, 1758, 1759, 1760 and 1799. And to
revert to the Common Attorneys' Accounts, we have these further
1739 "Pd to Lord Windsor a year's rent as p' receipt dated 8th
December 1738: £5. 13. 7½."
1783 December 16 &c. "To Lord Cardiff £5. 13. 7½."
1792 "By Cash paid Right Honble Earl Bute rent £5. 13. 7½."
1819 "Pd Mr John Bird as Agent for the Marquess of Bute
arrears of Fee Farm rents of the tolls of the Market to Michaelmas
1818: £60. 4. 4½."
1820 May 18 "Pd Lord Bute intt of £1060. 3. 3. and for tolls
£58. 13. 9."
By the Minutes of Council for 1825 it appears that the question
of this payment was then raised. The Order runs:—
"Ordered: That the Marquess of Bute be requested to furnish
the Corporation with a copy of the Grant under which his Lordship
claims the Reserved Rent of £5. 13. 7½. from the Corporation."
No further record in relation to this Order appears, so that it is
probable Lord Bute's Solicitor satisfied the Council of his right
to levy the payment; and in 1835 we find the same payment again
1835 July 31. "Paid the Marquess of Bute a year's Rent of
Tolls due Ms. last £5. 13. 7½."
1836. This year an account of Annual Expenditure contains the
item: "Marquess of Bute for Tolls £5. 13. 7½."
(From 1837 to 1842 inclusive, no entry of any such payment
In 1837 the general question of the tolls was brought prominently
forward by an Action at law, in which the Corporation was Defendant.
David Evans, Constable, demanded toll of a waggon-load of grain
brought into the town by Christopher Williams, and, on being refused,
seized the toll in kind. Williams brought an Action of trespass
against the Corporation, who prepared a case for the opinion of
Counsel. In this case the Town Clerk submitted that the Corporation
had a right to levy toll, the quid pro quo being their maintenance of an
official weigher and of the Market-house and its appliances, and their
immemorial payment of a fee-farm rent to the Lord for the right to
levy tolls. Counsel advised that this Action should be settled, and
that the right to tolls should be vindicated in a new Action, with
the Corporation as Plaintiff. However, I do not find that this was
My opinion is that, as things stand, the annual chief-rent of
£5. 13s. 7½d. is perfectly legal, and that the abundant evidence of its
immemorial exaction by the Lord, and payment by the Burgesses,
precludes the Corporation from successfully resisting the demand in
any ordinary Action at law for customary rent due.
There is, however, a deeper question underlying this. It appears
to me that the first payment of this rent to the Earl of Pembroke,
after the Lordship had been granted to him by King Edward VI., was
illegal. The chief-rent was an incident of the original feudal supremacy
of the Lords of Glamorgan and Morganwg; but when once their
anomalous jurisdiction had vested in the Sovereign, by the extinction
of the ancient baronial house, such a rent-charge as this became the
right of the Crown. For it to have been legally continued as a right
of the new grantee of the Lordship, it should have been expressly
given to him by the Crown. I have not yet seen the full Particulars
of Edward the Sixth's grant—they are at the Record Office—but I
do not believe they comprise a new grant of the chief-rent which had
been anciently payable to the Lords out of the tolls of the Vill of
Cardiff. If I am correct, it would perhaps be open to the Corporation
to dispute the claim to this annual payment, on the ground solely that
it had been demanded and rendered for the past three centuries under
a mistake as to the facts—for no lapse of time is a bar to the rights of
the Crown. No doubt also it would be an easy matter to induce the
Crown to forego its claim to the payment. But to contest the matter
with the Managers of the Bute Estate would be to embark upon legal
proceedings of the most formidable kind.
John Hobson Matthews,
Expert Archivist to the Corporation.
Resolved that the above Report be referred to the Finance
Further Report of the Archivist:—
Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Records Committee,
In accordance with your instructions, I went to the London
Record Office with the object of inspecting the Patent Roll of the
Grant made by King Edward VI. to Sir William Herbert (afterwards
Earl of Pembroke), Lord Bute's predecessor in title, on 7 May 1550.
On going through the Indices at the Search Room, I found that
many grants of lands, revenues, offices and distinctions were made to
Sir William Herbert about that time, as he was a person greatly in
favour at the Court.
I went through the Patent Rolls of that period, but, to my surprise
and disappointment, found no grant of lands at Cardiff, though I came
across the Particulars for the same. The Particulars are a collection
of documents setting forth in detail the precise properties which are
to be granted, drawn up on behalf of, and signed by, the intending
grantee. Mr. E. Salisbury, the courteous Official in charge of the
Search Room, most kindly helped me in my search for the Patent,
and expressed great surprise that it was apparently not to be found.
He suggested that I should return the following day and examine a
class of documents called Ministers' Accounts, among which it was
just possible the grant might be, under another form. Meanwhile I
carefully copied the Particulars for the grant, so far as they relate
to possessions in and around Cardiff. On leaving the Record Office
in the evening, I called on your Chairman at his hotel, and told him
how I had fared. Mr. Thomas then handed me that day's South
Wales Daily News, the leading article of which stated that the grant
in question was really made by Letters Patent; but that, on search
being made for the Counterpart at the Record Office, some years
ago, it was then missing. This confirmed me in the belief that the
document would not be found among the national archives.
Next day I sought for it in vain among the Ministers' Accounts of
1550, and then thought I would have one more look through the
Patent Roll in which this grant ought to have been. I went therefore
through the Roll again. It is some 20 yards in length and about a
foot wide. At the very end of it was an immense blot or smear, as
though the parchment had been daubed over with a house-painter's
brush full of a dark brown pigment. On close examination, I could
see writing under this smudge, and it proved to be the Patent I
wanted. As the document is a long one, you will not be surprised
that it took me the whole day to decipher and copy it; for, in addition
to its ink bath, it is in the peculiarly difficult calligraphy of Edward
the Sixth's time, and in very abbreviated Law Latin. I made a copy
of so much of the grant as concerns the lands around Cardiff. It
includes, beside these, possessions in other parts of Glamorgan,
and in Breconshire, Monmouthshire, Radnorshire, Gloucestershire,
Worcestershire, Wiltshire, Staffordshire, Essex and Middlesex.
The language of this document is, if not ambiguous, provokingly
oracular. Its framer did not foresee the legal questions which were
so soon to arise; and therefore he did not, in such unmistakeable
terms as we could wish, state "Cardiff is" or "Cardiff is not"
a manor or part of a manor. But this very lack of distinctness is
a point in favour of our position. Definite rights and powers must
be granted by definite and precise wording. Our contention, in fact,
is the contention of Morgan William, the Defendant in the great lawsuit of the Earl of Pembroke versus William, which lasted four years
and was decided, in the reign of James I., adversely to the claims
of the Lord over the Town. The Defendant in that Action pleaded
that the Earl "hath not the said seigniory of Glamorgan and
Morganwg granted unto him by the Letters Patent in the fourth
year of Edward the Sixth, by any special or express words."
You have seen that these Letters Patent purport to grant certain
demesnes, manors and other estates, but that they fail to specify which
are manors. They grant a number of manorial rights (or rights
usually associated with manors), but in general terms and without
particularising which are the manors to which those rights are
incident. They do not say either that Cardiff was, or was not, considered a manor or parcel of a manor. This apparently intentional
vagueness may be disappointing to us, but it must be still more
unsatisfactory to those persons on whom lies the burden of proving
the existence of a Manor of Cardiff.
You also see that in the Particulars themselves, which are drawn
up in careful detail, no such manor as a Manor of Cardiff is named,
nor is it stated that Cardiff was any part of a manor. There are, it is
true, certain rights or dues of a feudal nature, payable by the Town to
the Lord of the Castle, such as the prisage of ale, and the farm of the
tolls—in respect of which last an annual rent is paid to the Marquess
of Bute—but a much greater number of such exactions would not be
proof that the Town which paid them was any part of a manor. (fn. 2)
I should explain that the rents called Castle Ward were chiefrents payable by the tenants of certain manors in Glamorgan, to the
Lord of Cardiff Castle as the representative of the ancient overlords
of Glamorgan and Morganwg of whom such manors were originally
holden. The theory was that the underlords were bound to defend
Cardiff Castle, and to maintain in repair specified portions of the
To sum up, my own view of these documents is that the Patent
itself is far too vaguely worded to prove the existence of a Manor of
Cardiff; and that the Particulars may be held to disprove it, from
their failure to mention such a manor. Certainly neither document
can avail those whose place it is to demonstrate the affirmative.
John Hobson Matthews,
Expert Archivist to the Corporation.
16 June 1894.
Resolved That Mr. Matthews be authorised to proceed to London
forthwith, for the purpose of making such searches as will enable him
to complete his report.
The Committee discussed the rights of the Corporation in the
foreshore prior to the acquisition of portions thereof by Lord Windsor
and Lord Bute, and the matter was left in the hands of the Chairman
and Mr. Matthews to make inquiries and report further thereon to the
Resolved That Mr. J. Hobson Matthews be requested to bring
before this Committee such information, from the Brief he has prepared
for Counsel upon the foreshore question, as will enable this Committee
to form an opinion regarding the rights of the Corporation therein.
1894 July 9.
Resolved unanimously That while this (Parks) Committee
disclaim any responsibility in the matter, they desire most respectfully to express their heartfelt sympathy and sincere condolence with
the relatives of the late William Henry Blakemore, who was
accidently drowned in Roath Park Lake on the 4th instant.
Police-Constables Gretton and Dick are to be promoted to the
rank of Detective Officers and respectively advanced a class, for
meritorious services in arresting burglars on the 4th and 10th
Head Constable received permission from the Watch Committee
to apply for the appointment of Head Constable at Bristol.
A Sub-Committee was appointed to confer with the Head
Constable, with a view to the retention of his services at Cardiff,
and to make a recommendation to the Council on the subject.
Archivist's further Report:—
In accordance with your instructions I have examined and
copied, at the London Record Office, such documents as I thought
would throw light upon the question of the alleged Manor of Cardiff
and the various issues which depend upon the solution of that
In an account of the year 1316 I discovered what will afford, I
suppose, great satisfaction to some people in the Town. (fn. 3) . It is a
unique occurrence of the phrase "Manerium de Kaerdif"—Manor of
Cardiff. Its value as a piece of evidence in favour of the manorial
theory is, however, entirely negatived by the fact that it appears
under the head not of Cardiff, but of Roath, shewing that it was
applied to the Castle and its immediate dependencies, as an appendage
of the Manor of Roath. The heading is 'ROATH,' immediately under
which is the subordinate heading 'Manerium de Kaerdif.' The items
of the account refer to Roath Manor and Cardiff Castle, and not to the
Town, the latter being dealt with under a previous and separate
Of a date early in the reign of Elizabeth I have a curious paper,
headed "Articles objected against the Earl of Pembroke." It is
neither dated nor signed, but is evidently a private communication
sent from some gentleman in Glamorgan, to the Lord Treasurer,
calling his attention to the fact that the Earl was wrongfully claiming
high seignioral rights in this County—rights to which the writer was
strongly of opinion the Earl had no real title. The value of this
document lies in its being the earliest appearance of that long dispute
about the relative rights of the Crown, the Burgesses and the Lord
which, with short intervals, has continued right down to our own
time. The communication was at least deemed of sufficient importance to be docketed and pigeon-holed among the State Papers.
In the year 1571 a certain Rice and others, servants of the
Mansell family (by whom, probably, they were instigated), brought
a suit against the Earl of Pembroke for trespass in connection with
the Shire Hall of Cardiff. Here, evidently, was a test case for the
purpose of trying those much-disputed seignioral rights. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find the Judge's decision of the
matter; but I have copied the pleadings, which are of great interest.
1601. This year died Henry, third Earl of Pembroke, and I have
copied almost in full the Inquisition of his landed property. I was
fortunate to find the very important particulars of his Glamorgan
possessions, for the Inquisitions on the death of the first two Earls
are not at the Record Office—unless they are among the uncalendared
archives from Cardiff Castle, to which I shall refer later. The third
Earl's Inquisition was calendared under Wiltshire, where some of
his ancestral tenements lay. The Search-Room Official did not
think it would comprise the lands in South Wales, though he said
there would be no harm in looking. I therefore got this Inquisition,
and was very pleased to find the Welsh lands fully set out in it.
I consider this as valuable a find as any I have made. It lends no
support to the theory of a Manor of Cardiff, still less to the Lord's
exercise of manorial rights within the ancient liberties.
The action at law to which I have so often adverted, entitled
"The Earl of Pembroke versus Morgan William," lasted four years and
was terminated in 1604. This was almost the first thing I looked for
at the Record Office. The pleadings and documents therein are very
lengthy; but I thought it necessary to copy the whole, in view of its
importance. It seems to have been another test case for the settlement of the endless questions as to the Lord's rights in the Town.
The Defendant was sued for damages for defamation of title. The
victory was nicely divided between the contending parties, leaving
the dispute with life enough to carry it through another couple of
centuries. I hope you will set it at rest once and for all.
In 1607 I have the pleadings in a curious action for slander,
brought by one branch of the Herbert family against another. I at
first thought this referred to Glamorgan, but found its greatest
interest lay in shewing that the Welsh language was at that time
commonly spoken in the immediate vicinity of the city of Hereford.
Lastly, under date 1609, is a long bill sent to the Lord Treasurer
by one Jordan, a Customs Officer at Cardiff, for expenses consequent
on his being imprisoned by the Bailiffs of Cardiff for having seized to
the King's use a cargo of hides which the Countess of Pembroke
claimed as her escheat—another dispute arising out of the great question
of the Lordship. The series of Ministers' Accounts and Inquisitions
will be fairly complete when I have finished copying and translating
those printed in Clark's "Cartae." Those referred to in this Report
(with one exception) are, I think, not comprised in the "Cartae."
Apropos of Mr. Clark's admirable work, I ought to mention that
I have found some inaccuracies in his copying of our Municipal
Charters. In particular he has erred so far, and in such an important
point, as to completely mistranslate the wording of the ancient
liberties of the town, as defined in the Charter of 1430. The reason
Mr. Clark's editor fell into that mistake evidently is, that he had
preconceived the idea that the liberties must be within the walls,
whereas, in fact, they extended far beyond them. He therefore
translates in parte boreali ("towards the north") as if it were in
porta boreali ("at the North Gate"), and so on with the three other
gates. (fn. 4) In the fact that the burgesses' liberties extended beyond
the walls lies the strength of our position against more than one
line of legal attack.
On the whole, after reading the documents I have found in
London, I feel more satisfied than ever in my own mind, not only of
the comparatively insignificant fact that there is no such manor as a
Manor of Cardiff, but of the more important one that the liberties of
our Borough cannot rightly be affected by any claim on the part of the
representatives in title of Sir William Herbert, the successful courtier
of Edward and Elizabeth.
It is, of course, for the Town Clerk, as your legal adviser, to say
whether you will be safe in accepting this view of the facts and in
giving practical effect thereto.
On enquiry at the Record Office I learned that the records of the
old Chancery and Exchequer of Glamorgan, which were sent up from
Cardiff some thirty years ago, are still uncalendared, though placed in
some kind of order for searching. These documents must be a mine
of wealth for anyone desiring information on the past history of the
Town and Lordship, and would, probably, tell us more of what we
want to know than any other records in existence. But their
uncatalogued state would make the work one requiring more than an
ordinary amount of patience.
I am, Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen,
Your obedient servant.
John Hobson Matthews.
Cardiff. 25 July 1894.
An extract from the proceedings of the Council was read,
referring to this Committee for consideration the Report of the
Town Clerk upon the foreshore.
Resolved that the same, with Mr. Matthews' Report, be referred
to the Sub-Committee.
1894 August 13.
Public Meeting of Ratepayers protests against the proposal to
run trams and buses on Sundays, and a deputation of prominent
Nonconformists attended the Council and urged a like protest.
Corporation Inspector (Joshua Davies) appointed under the Shop
Hours Act; salary 30s. per week. He is to act under the direction
of the Medical Officer of Health.
Special Theatres Committee refuse to take action with regard to
certain pictorial placards known as the "Don Juan" posters, at the
instance of the Cardiff Social Reform Council.
1894 September 10.
A motion in favour of running trams and buses on Sundays was
defeated in the Council.
Drapers' Company of London vote £350 for five years to the
South Wales University College.
1894 September 24.
Among the premises declared free from swine-fever is Tyn-ycoed Farm, in tenure of H. Chandler.
1894 October 8.
£14,000 to the School Board.
Police-Constables Walter Canning and Edward Townsend are
dismissed the Force, they having been committed for trial on a charge
of stealing a belly of bacon, value 11s. 6d., from the shop of Mr.
Guy, 43 Salisbury Road.
1894 October 29.
General Purposes Committee Resolved unanimously That this
Meeting of the Town Council of Cardiff desire to express extreme
sorrow at the untimely death of His Majesty the Czar of Russia, and
to put on record their sympathy and condolence with the Russian
Court and nation in their great and irreparable loss; and that a copy
of this Resolution be forwarded to the Russian Consul at Cardiff.
New Councillors elected:—W. Evans, Central Ward; T. Morel,
South Ward; H. White, Cathays Ward; E. Beavan, Park Ward;
J. Munn, Adamsdown Ward; F. J. Beavan, Riverside Ward; George
David, Roath Ward; J. Comley, Splott Ward.