Glamorgan Plea Rolls: Introduction

Pages 51-52

Cardiff Records: Volume 3. Originally published by Cardiff Records Committee, Cardiff, 1901.

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Glamorgan Plea Rolls.

In our second volume we have a large number of records of the Court of Great Sessions for the County of Glamorgan, viz., Calendar Rolls, Gaol Files and Miscellaneous Papers. We have now to consider the Plea Rolls of the same Court. These comprise the pleadings in the civil actions, and a few records of Gaol Delivery. The Plea Rolls, though voluminous and complete, contain comparatively little of sufficient general interest to be included in this work. The matters it records are for the most part of little importance to anyone except the parties concerned, and are entered in so condensed and technical a style as to make but the driest of reading. Diligent examination of the rolls resulted in some few finds of interesting matter, which is here set out; but in view of the great expenditure of time involved in going through the Plea Rolls, and the comparatively insignificant literary profit, I have not felt justified in continuing the search later than the year 1574. From the first two rolls I have given a couple of samples of the abbreviated Latin in which the originals are drawn up, together with translations.

These documents will perhaps be of greater use to students of Glamorgan genealogies than to any other class of readers. The various branches of the Mathew family figure very largely here, and instances occur of the practice (for which genealogists are so grateful) of challenging jurymen on the ground of kinship with the opposite party to an action—a legal usage which resulted in recording a number of long and perfectly authentic pedigrees.