Translations from Printeo Latin and Welsh Records.
In compiling his materials for the
present work, the Archivist found
it necessary to take into account
certain important historical documents which have been printed
under the direction of the Master
of the Rolls. In the case of one
of these, which is in Welsh, and
of seven in Latin, it seemed worth
while to publish a translation of
such portions as bear reference to
the Cardiff district. I have accordingly translated them, for the
benefit of those readers of the "Cardiff Records" who may not be
familiar with the language of the originals.
The first is the Welsh Brut y Tywysogion, or "Chronicle of the
Princes," my extracts from which range from 1043 to 1172. This
chronicle was written by the learned monk, Caradoc of Llancarvan,
and, according to the description given by the editors of the
"Myvyrian Archaiology" (fn. 1) continues the history of the Kings of
Britain and records "the events which happened amongst those
Britons, who were still independent; but the supreme authority of
whose government was divided, and vested in the hands of chiefs, who
bore the less assuming titles of princes in the different regions of
Wales." The version in the Archaiology differs from that of the Rolls
Series, so both are drawn from here.
The agreement, dated 1126, between Robert Consul and Urban,
Bishop of Llandaff, is one of the most interesting and important
documents contained in the Liber Landavensis—that ecclesiastical
scrap-book which is so indispensable to the local historian. There
had been long disputes between the parties, as to the Bishop's
territorial rights within the Lordship of Glamorgan; and they were
settled by this deed. I have translated literally, leaving some of the
archaic expressions in their antique obscurity; for a treatise would be
needed to fully explain such significant terms as "the Bishop's
Welshmen," "judgments of iron," or the Bishop's "legal dues." To
compress much into a few words, the "men" of the Bishop and of the
Earl were those who owed homage, fealty and suit of court to one or
the other; and it was mainly upon these incidents of vassalship that
the dispute turned. "Judgments of iron" (judicia ferri) were trials by
combat, and the "judiciary pit of water," the place where capital
sentence on women was carried out by drowning. The Bishop's
"legal dues" (rectitudo) were the fees payable to him by the litigants
in the trial by combat. The Earl seems to have founded the chapelry of
Whitchurch, with the Bishop's sanction, but on the three principal
feasts of the year the inhabitants of that village were to resort to
their parish church of Llandaff. There is a mine of historical lore in
this very noteworthy charter.
The extract from William of Malmesbury refers to the dispute
between the Bishops of Llandaff and Saint David's about the boundary
between their dioceses. The "Book of Llandaff" shows that similar
contentions long existed between Llandaff and Hereford. This
confusion was partly owing to racial differences between the Welsh
and English, but chiefly to the peculiarly tribal, monastic and nonterritorial character of the old Welsh bishoprics.
The interesting story related by Giraldus Cambrensis, concerning
the mysterious prophet who exhorted King Henry II. in Shoemaker
Street, Cardiff, in the year 1172, furnishes one of the most picturesque
episodes in our local history. The incident marks the movement in
favour of Sunday's rest which was then in progress in many countries
The Abbey of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, had great possessions at Cardiff, granted to the Abbot and monks by various Lords of
Glamorgan. From the entry of 1221, in the Annals of Tewkesbury, we
learn that, previous to that year, they had a Priory at Cardiff; but
the monks being then recalled to their abbey, the parish church of
Saint Mary was thenceforth served by a secular priest, as vicar under
the Abbot. The office of Prior of Cardiff was, however, continued.
Among the passages from the Papal Registers is one, of the year
1291, in which a Dominican bishop-elect of Llandaff objects to take
upon himself that spiritual charge, on the ground that he knows
hardly any Welsh. This case may be compared with the one cited
ante, Vol. IV., pp. 166, 167.
The Taxatio Papae Nicholai, 1291, gives some useful particulars
concerning the possessions of various ecclesiastical corporations, in
and around Cardiff. The Cistercian Abbey of Caerleon had certain
lands at Llystalybont paying quit rents to a small amount. It is
probable that this land lay at Mynachdy ("the monastery") and was
the site of some very ancient religious house of which no definite
Llewelyn Bren and his wife Lleici are the subject of a couple of
extracts from Matthew Paris.
Further particulars of Church property are supplied by the Valor
Ecclesiasticus of King Henry VIII., drawn up in 1535, when the bluff
monarch had definitely decided that the Church was the King's and
the fulness thereof. Note the headings: "My Bishopric of Landav,"
"My Archdeaconry of Landav," "My Prebend of Wharthacum."
They are significant of great events.