Addenda to Volume 1: Introduction

Pages 48-54

Cardiff Records: Volume 4. Originally published by Cardiff Records Committee, Cardiff, 1903.

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In this section


Further Gleanings from the Record Office.

IN the First Volume of this work will be found, at p. 261, a series of Inquitiones post Mortem; at p. 307 certain Star Chamber Proceedings, and at p. 387 some Exchequer Documents. The Chancery Proceedings relating to the Cardiff district, recorded in the reign of Elizabeth, are printed at p. 69 of our Second Volume. The Records Committee having authorised me, in the year 1901, to make further search in the London Record Office, I have made some important additions to the abovenamed classes of documents. I had hoped at the same time to obtain a good number of extracts from the Close Rolls, to follow the Charters and Patents published in Vols. I. and III. But, inasmuch as the MS. Calendars of the Close Rolls give only the names of the parties chiefly concerned in the grant, without specifying the locus in quo, it was impossible to find the Cardiff documents among them without a greater expenditure of time than could be afforded. I am therefore only able to supply from the Close Rolls the three documents printed in this Chapter. The additions here made to the various classes of records, are the following:—

Miscellanea of the Exchequer, 1211–1320; 12 documents.
Star Chamber Proceedings, 1534–1558; 15 documents.
Close Rolls, 1565–1569; 3 documents.
Inquisitiones post Mortem, 1558–1583; 3 documents.
Chancery Proceedings, 1605–1607; 7 documents.
Exchequer Bills, 1714–1754; 13 documents.

The Miscellanea of the Exchequer are interesting by reason of their great antiquity and the details of mediæval life which they disclose. Some of them are written in Latin, and some in Norman French; the latter I have printed in the original. I have arranged them in chronological sequence, not following the irregular order in which the originals are catalogued. Students of Welsh history will welcome the file of indentures re the beasts and goods forfeited to the King by the men of Glamorgan who rose in revolt under Llewelyn Bren in the years 1314–1316.

In the indenture II. (A.) Payne Turberville, whom the King has appointed Custodian of Glamorgan, acknowledges receipt of arrerages from various officials of the Lordship. Among them is John Odyn, a Prevost of Cardiff, who, a year later, was imprisoned in Cardiff Gaol on a charge of having caused victuals to be conveyed to the insurgent forces. (See Vol. III., p. 17.)

The administration of Payne Turberville having, as it would seem, resulted in provoking a Welsh rebellion, we find him replaced in April 1315 by Sir John Giffard de Brimsfield, a Gloucestershire knight. (II. B.) Yet in May following Turberville is again Custodian. (II. C).

II. (D.) i. & ii. are extremely interesting, as they contain an enumeration of the private effects of Llewelyn Bren. The unfortunate patriot seems to have been a man of refinement and culture; for his belongings include, besides valuable articles of personal adornment, various books written in Welsh and in French—one of the latter being the Roman de la Rose, an allegorical love-tale very popular at that time, and versified by Chaucer. Llewelyn's two table-cloths and eight silver spoons betoken a higher degree of civilisation than one would have expected of a Welsh chieftain in the early 14th century.

II. G. shews that the castles of Glamorgan, in particular those of Llantrisant and Cardiff, were well garrisoned and victualled in the autumn of 1315, in view of the Welsh rising.

From document III. we learn that, by September 1320, Hugh le Despenser the younger had entered into possession of the Lordship of Glamorgan. Within a few years he was to expiate, by an ignominious death, the unjust, unlawful and impolitic execution of Llewelyn Bren ap Rhys, that heroic leader of a Welsh revolt against Norman despotism. Llewelyn's immediate executioner, Sir Richard Fleming, had himself previously been hanged, and buried by the side of his victim in the Grey Friars' Church at Crockherbtown.

Our extracts from the Star Chamber Proceedings comprise all the pieces relating to Cardiff for the reigns of Henry VIII., Edward VI. and Mary. The first, of circa 1534, is the Petition of Robert Lane, of Evesham in the county of Oxford, clerk in holy orders. The late Bishop of Llandaff granted him, in the year 1502, an annuity of forty shillings payable out of the episcopal Manor of Mathern, in Monmouthshire. This annuity the Petitioner enjoyed during 26 years, but the present Bishop would not pay it. Petitioner went to Mathern to distrain for the money, but was resisted by the Bishop's servants. He craves redress.

The second document bears the Royal sign manual at the head, and is countersigned at foot by Thomas Englefield and Sir Thomas More, the Lord Chancellor. It is directed to Sir William Mathew and Christopher Mathew, commissioning them to examine and report upon the Petition.

The third is a letter addressed to the Privy Council by Percival Pety, clerk, in support of the Petition. The writer testifies that he knew of the grant, being one of the Canons of Llandaff at the time it was made. Indeed, he himself paid the annuity when he was receiver of the duty that Sir William Herbert of Troy paid yearly to Lord Myllis, late departed (whose soul God pardon). The writer was his kinsman, his chaplain and overseer of his building at Mathern, and his executor. He pledges his word as a priest, that the Petitioner's cause is just.

The fourth paper is the Commissioners' Report to the Council. They have seen the grant, and can testify that it bears the seal of the Chapter of Llandaff; though how the seal was obtained they cannot say, as none of the Canons of that time are now living. The other seal is much worn, but, as far as they could see, it is the seal of the late Bishop.

Our next Proceeding is a Complaint, dated in 1543, by the President (fn. 1) and Chapter of Llandaff Cathedral. The subject matter is a dispute about the burial of one Richard Harry, of Canton, in the cathedral. We have already noticed this affair, in connection with the Defendants' Answers. (Vol. I., pp. 308, 313). The Complaint has been catalogued and filed separately from the Answers, since the latter were transcribed by me; hence their unavoidable separation in this work.

The next document gives us a graphic picture of the lawless state of society at Cardiff during the reign of Henry the Eighth. It is a Complaint by Katherine verch (fn. 2) Dafydd, late the wife of John Watts, of Llandaff, yeoman, concerning the "enorm injuries and express wrongs" done unto her by George ap Morgan and others. Stripped of verbiage, the facts are these: Three Monmouthshire gentlemen, with their servants and retainers, all in warlike array, are paying a visit to Cardiff. A Llandaff yeoman charges one of them with having stolen his spaniel. The others thereupon attack the yeoman, who runs into a house for protection. Before he can take shelter his assailants kill him with their daggers, and fly. The Bailiffs call an Inquest on the body; but the Jury are friends and relations of the murderers, and return a false verdict. The Bailiffs, however, summon the original offenders to appear under a penalty. The Monmouthshire gentlemen come to Cardiff indeed, but accompanied with a host of armed followers, and refuse to answer to the summons unless their men come too. The officers of the town are thoroughly overawed. They send to the Monmouthshire gentlemen, politely requesting them to appear by themselves. The offenders utterly decline to do anything of the sort, and triumphantly march home again at the head of their trusty men-at-arms. The injured widow remains without any satisfaction, and can only ask the King to compel the impanneling of a new Coroner's Jury. Probably nothing more was done in the matter.

We now come to a series of papers relating to an ecclesiastical quarrel in the Vale of Glamorgan at the commencement of the reign of Edward the Sixth. To narrate events in their proper order of time: Robert Davies, of Saint Athan's in the county of Glamorgan, husbandman, abducted the daughter of Christopher Basset, gentleman. In consequence of this, William Evans, clerk in holy orders, Official of the Bishop of Llandaff, and parish priest of Saint Athan's, cited the said Davies to appear before him to answer for that offence. Davies having failed to appear, was then first suspended by the said Evans and afterwards by him excommunicated in the parish church of Gilston. Davies presenting himself at Saint Athan's church on the following Lady Day, Evans refused to sing Mass and left the church. Later, on Palm Sunday, when Davies attended church, there was an affray between his friends and supporters (apparently the people of Sir Thomas Stradling) and those of Mr. Christopher Basset. At Easter Davies presented himself at his parish church to receive Holy Communion, but Evans refused to administer the same to him.

Davies now complains in the Star Chamber, that Evans had acted illegally in citing Complainant to appear before him. King Henry had died, and King Edward had not issued a new commission to the Bishop of Llandaff. Therefore the latter had no authority to direct his Official to issue the Citation. Moreover, Defendant, notwithstanding that the new King's Writ had not issued to that effect, held Chapter Courts at Neath and Cardiff, where the Sheriff deprived him of his books because of that irregularity.

From a 17th-cent. MS. of Welsh odes, it appears that William Evans, Registrar, Official and Chancellor of Llandaff, Bachelor of Law and a Justice of the Peace, was an Evans of Llangatoc Feibion Afel in the county of Monmouth (desc. from Herbert of Itton in the same county.) A cywydd to him by Giles ap Sion begins: "Y gwr llwyd o gôr a llan." An ode in his praise, recited by Meredith ap Rosser at the Llandaff Eisteddfod, begins: "Pwy wr gwineu pyr gynnydd." Another by the same bard was composed in allusion to the injury Evans received at the hands of the Registrar (See Vol. III., pp. 70, 92, 93, 94.) Yet another cywydd was written in his honour by Dafydd Benwyn, beginning : "Y lien ir llawen araf." Dafydd y Fan made a funeral ode on Thomas ap Jenkin Herbert of Panterys, grandfather to the said William Evans. (Llanover MSS.) According to another account, William Evans, L.L.D., rector of St. Tathan's and forty years Chancellor of Llandaff, was son of Jevan, son of Hywel ap Ieuan Gwyn of Glyn Ogwr by a daughter of Thomas ap Ieuan ap Dafydd ap Tomos Ddu of Tal-y-garn &c., the Chancellor's mother being Isabel, daughter of Richard Adams of Castleton. ("Glamorgan Genealogies.") It is certain that Chancellor Evans was greatly esteemed by the Welsh people, and also that he was of those ecclesiastics who cherished Catholic sympathies while conforming to Protestantism in order to save their emoluments and preferments.

The last set of papers refers to a Complaint by Sir Thomas Stradling against William, Earl of Pembroke. The Earl had directed a commission to his kinsman, William Herbert the elder, of Cogan Pill, esquire, to muster the tenants and friends of the said Earl for the King and Queen's service in the wars. "Black Will," it appears, took advantage of this circumstance to levy a heavy tax upon the inhabitants of his lordship, under colour of providing armour for a hundred foot-soldiers. This tax was rigorously enforced, neither widow nor orphan being spared. Those who could not or would not pay, were distrained upon, until the Earl had raised an enormous sum, and the country was impoverished. The Depositions include statements by several aldermen and burgesses of Cardiff, and show that the Earl received considerable sums of money by way of bribes for allowing men to stay at home.

Our first Close Roll, dated in 1565, is a Settlement of lands and hereditaments in Glamorgan and Monmouthshire (including the town of Cardiff,) made between William, Earl of Pembroke, and George, Earl of Shrewsbury, on the marriage of the former's son and heir, Henry, Lord Herbert, with the Lady Katherine, the Earl of Shrewsbury's daughter.

The next, dated in 1568, is a Bargain and Sale by William Bawdripp of Penmark to William, Earl of Pembroke, of certain pasture lands, parcel of the Manor of Splot in the parish of Roath, as security for payment of one hundred pounds.

The third, dated in 1569, is a Bargain and Sale by Edward Nevett of Cardiff to Hugh Griffith, of a burgage in Saint Mary Street, Cardiff, for 220 pounds.

We now come to the Inquisitiones post Mortem for the reign of Elizabeth. This class of records has been described and explained in Vol. I., p. 261. We need note only the first of the present series of Inquisitions. It was taken in 1559, on the death of Sir George Mathew of Cornton, and describes the devolution of that manor from 1435. Sir George was also seised of many other estates in Glamorgan, including the Manor of Glaspool (otherwise Plasturton), near Cardiff; (fn. 3) which, it is curious to observe, was holden of Sir Rice Mansel as of his Barton of Llantrithyd. This document is of great importance to students of the history of Glamorgan.

Of the Chancery Proceedings, the first, in 1605, relates to the lands in Glamorgan and Monmouthshire which belonged to the Prebend of Warthacombe, attached to Llandaff Cathedral. Warthacombe, or Warthacum, is an otherwise obsolete name for Llangwm Isaf in the county of Monmouth. The suit seems to be an attempt to recover Church lands alienated from the See of Llandaff by a former Prebendary, at the Reformation.

The proceedings dated in 1607 relate to the landed estates of Edmond Mathew of Radyr, and possess considerable genealogical interest.

The Exchequer Bills call for no special remark. Half of them are concerned with disputes about tithes.


  • 1. At this time it was a moot point whether the title "Bishop" should not be formally abolished in the State Church, in favour of the term "President." The alteration seems to have been sometimes made, in practice.
  • 2. The Welsh word merch (in mutation ferch) means "daughter of," and is the feminine of ap or ab.
  • 3. See Vol. 2, page 30.