The Llandaff Act Books: Chapter Act Books, volume 2 (1722-1816)

Pages 32-43

Cardiff Records: Volume 5. Originally published by Cardiff Records Committee, Cardiff, 1905.

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In this section

Llandaff Chapter Acts.

Vol. II., 1722–1816.

Folio paper book bound in rough calf. Slightly wormed.

1722 June 28.

"It was alsoe ye same day Ordred by the Chapter that Noe Corps should for ye future be buried in the Cathedral Church or ye Isles thereof or in ye Lady's Chapel thereto adjoyning wthout paying ye Usual ffees for ye Sepulture."

Any member of the Chapter who does not personally appear here on Saint Peter's Day, shall have no share or dividend of the seal-money arising from Leases &c. granted by the Chapter.

The Proctor General is to pay unto Mr. John Watkins, clerk, their curate of Langoven and Penclawdd (now a prisoner in Monmouth gaol) any sum of money not exceeding 20l, towards procuring his enlargement out of prison. (fn. 1)

1726 June 28. The walls of the Cathedral are to be cleaned from all " ivy and other shrubs."

Out of the Chapter stock, the Proctor General shall purchase one ticket in the present State Lottery; the benefit (if any should arise from the same) to be applied in such uses as the Chapter may appoint.

1727 June 28. The Chapter ordered the Proctor General to get the little bell, "w[hi]ch is crazed," to be new cast; and the Schoolhouse, which is lately fallen down, to be rebuilt.

1728 June 28. Lease granted of the rectories of Lantillio Gressenny, Penrose, Lanarth, Bettus, Clitha, Dingestow and Tregare to the Hon. Robert Price, esq., one of the Justices of His Majesty's Court of Common Pleas at Westminster. "And in regard the sd Judge has noe Parke, the sd ArchDeacon and Chapter att his request have Agreed to accept of four Pounds Yearly in lieu of ye Dueties of a Buck & a Doe menc'oned in this Lease."

The Bishop having promised £100 to the repairing of the Cathedral, the Chapter resolve to furnish £200 towards the same object.

1729 July 1. "Quo primo die Julij prd' the Chapter takeing Notice of ye Drunkeness & other Irregularities & ill behaviour of Lewis Giles their Virger & Sexton did for ye same Suspend him from ye Execution of ye sd offices & profitts thereof for one Whole Year."

The Chapter having been at a great expence in new flagging the Lady's Chapel, and being desirous the same should be kept level, order that in future, before any grave be opened for the burial of any deceased person, the sum of £1. 1s. be paid into the hands of the Senior Vicar Choral, otherwise no such grave to be opened.

1730 June 27. The old silver Chapter Seal is to be melted down, and a new one made therewith.

The Bishop and Chapter, taking into consideration the present ruinous condition of their house commonly called the Prebendaries' House, situate in the churchyard, have proposed the granting of a Lease thereof for 21 years to Mr. Thomas Davies, their Chapter Clerk, in consideration of his repairing the same, paying the yearly rent of 1s. and allowing to the members of Chapter the use of the diningroom in the said house, as often as they meet on capitular business.

Lease of a messuage called Ty Hire and 9½a. of lands in Canton, with one cottage or booth called Kaer Castell, and the Green there, to Anthony Maddocks of Kevenydva, gentleman, and Alice Davies, of Ogmore, widow, executors of the Will of Jane Edwards late of Ogmore, widow, deceased; in trust for Jane Broadbear, an infant, to whom they are devised by the said Will.

Order for the purchase of another Lottery Ticket for the Chapter.

The 50l subscribed by the Archdeacon towards the repairs of the Cathedral shall be laid out in new seating and adorning the Lady Chapel according to a Plan now produced.

The order for the Chapter's subscription of £200 to the Cathedral repairs is rescinded, they thinking it more proper and advisable that "every particular Member of this Chapter should prsonally Subscribe for himself" such a sum as he may think fit.

1732 June 28. Mr. Wood, of Bath, is to have twenty guineas for surveying the Cathedral and taking estimates of the repairs thereof, and for journeys made by himself and "some Artifers" from Bath or Bristol on that occasion.

1733 June 28. Payment ordered of £57. 16. 2, the joiner's bill for new pewing the Lady's Chapel, and making a new folding door and frame on the south side of the Cathedral, for the more easy access to the said chapel.

1734 June 29. Payment ordered of two guineas to Mr. Killin, of Crecklade, Wilts, for his journeys and trouble in surveying the Cathedral and making a draught and model, and drawing up an estimate of the expence of such repairs as the church now wants.

List of benefactors to the repairing-fund, and vote of thanks to them.

A Table of Benefactors is forthwith to be prepared and set up in some conspicuous part of the Cathedral.

Agreement with Mr. John Wood, of Bath, architect, for repairing the Cathedral at a cost of not more than £1,700, including the old materials. The scheme proposed by the Surveyor is first to take off the whole roof and lower it about 6 foot, the walls being so far very defective. In the next place, some of the walls being fallen down, and others much out of perpendicular, he is to draw an estimate of the expence of repairing all the walls upon the old foundation in a decent and substantial manner; as also of putting up a new roof, glazing the windows and new casting the lead.

1735 June 28. Accounts begin now to be entered in a systematic manner, in column.

"To Mr Gray a Carpenter from London for his Journey to Landaffe £3. 3. 0.

"Payd for Oake Timber bought of Robert Jones Esqre by Bill from Mr Thos Davies who agreed for ye same £40.

"Payd Mr Theobald's Bill for ffirr timber bought of him by ye direction of Mr Wood the Surveyor £180. 18s.

"ffor ye ffreight of ye sd timber from London to Cardiffe £50.

"Payd by Mr Davies to Workmen employed in erecting the Scaffolds in the Church £15.

"Payd Mr Killin for two Journeys out of Gloucestershr to Survey the Church & make an Estimate of the repairs thereof £2. 2s.

"Payd James Thomas for Cleaning & takeing off the Ivy from the Church Walls £1. 1s.

"Total of the Disbursemts 292. 04. 00
"Soe that there still remains in ye sd Mr Maddock's hands "to ballance this Account 609. 06. 00"

Whereas, by an Act made the first of July 1729, the Chapter thought fit to suspend Lewis Giles, their Sexton and "Virger," for his drunkenness and ill behaviour, from the execution of the said offices and profits thereof for the space of one year, and afterwards restored him to the same upon his promise of behaving more soberly and orderly for the future; And whereas the said Lewis Giles has, at this present Chapter, been drunk and clamorous in church, and otherwise behaved himself in a very disrespectful manner before the said Lord Bishop and Prebendaries: The said Lord Bishop and Chapter (seeing no hopes of the said Lewis Giles' reformation and amendment) have thought fit, and do by this their Act of Chapter, absolutely remove him, for his said crimes and offences, from the said offices and profits thereof.

1736 June 28. Thomas Charles, clerk, B.A., is appointed Master of the Free School.

Lewis Rosser is appointed Clerk and Sexton.

1737 June 28. At the same time and place the said Lord Bishop and Chapter, in order to preserve the new floors of this Cathedral Church and (as far as in them lies) prevent their being broken up for graves, thought fit to order and decree that no dead bodies be for the future buried in the choir, aisles thereto adjoining, or nave, or in the Lady Chapel, without first depositing the sum of twenty shillings in the hands of the Proctor General or his agent, before any grave be made there. And as soon as conveniently can be after burial in such grave, to close up the same and to make pillars or proper supporters with brick or stone, to hinder the said floors from falling down or sinking in the place where such graves shall be made. And the said Lord Bishop further ordered that the Churchwardens be forthwith put under admonition to repair the churchyard walls belonging to this church, that such of the inhabitants of this parish as shall not think fit to comply with or submit to this Order may bury their dead in the said churchyard.

The Chapter may erect a fives-court for the use of the scholars of the Free School, on the soil near the dwellinghouse in Landaffe leased by them to Robert Jones.

1738 June 28. "At w[hi]ch time & place the sd Archdeacon & Chapter Order'd their Proctor General to cause the Great Bell in the Tower of this Cathedral Church w[hi]ch is now crazed to be new cast w[i]th all convenient speed & that it be made into Such a Tenor, as may cover a Peal of 5 or 6 Bells—

"It was allsoe order'd at the same time that 5 Guineas be payd by the Proctor General to Mr Thomas Omar Joyner for his extraordinary care abt the buildings of this Church, over and above his Wages.

March 9 Friday. Installation of the new Bishop, Doctor Matthias Mawson. The official record of the ceremony concludes thus :—

"And Lastly to manifest the Premisses the sd William Miles goeing into the Bellfry of the sd Cathedral Church tolled for a Short time one of the Great Bells there in token of his haveing gotten Possession as is Customary upon the Installations of Bishops & ordered it to be tolled for sometime afterwards."

1739 June 28. The Bishop and Chapter admonish Mr. William Morgan, clerk, the Junior Vicar Choral, for having "frequented tipling Houses & been often seen disguised in liquor to ye danger of his Soul & ye Evil Example of all good Christians."

1740 June 28. The remainder of the charge expended last year in repairing Jasper's Tower is to be paid. The windows of the Lady Chapel, now in a tottering and ruinous condition, are to be repaired. The great window at the east end (fn. 2) is to be taken down, a lesser window-frame of good, well-seasoned oak timber put up in the room thereof; a good stone arch made above such window, and the vacant places (both above and on the sides thereof) well walled up. The freestone jambs of the other six windows in the said chapel shall be well repaired, and all those windows new glazed. Further, the deal board partition in the nave, put up as a fence to the new work, shall be new tarred and otherwise secured against the weather.

1743 June 28. Ordered, that the buttresses and other parts of Jasper's Tower be forthwith well pointed and repaired, and the weeds on all parts of the church walls cleaned.

1747 June 29. Lease to Rees Jenkins of Hensol, gent., assignee of Charles Jones, of a mansion house, barn, outbuildings and garden on the churchyard wall in the parish of Pentirch; also ¼a. called Crofft-y-Ffynnon, 2a. called Erw'r Yscolhaig, and 16a. called Tir-y-Coed.

Two locks (instead of the present four) are to be put on the Chapter desk where the Acts, Counterpart Leases, Seal &c. of the Chapter are kept.

The old tower belonging this Church, and the stairs leading to it, shall be repaired by Mr. Cole.

Mr. Morgan is again strictly admonished for drunkennes.

August 13. William Morgan, the Junior Vicar Choral [vicar of Pentyrch] is a third time summoned before the Chapter for being "concerned in liquor." Mrs. Rachel Rosser testifies to having met the reverend gentleman in that condition, returning on horseback from Cardiffe. The accused is once more admonished, and told "that if this Extraordinary Mildness now Shewn to him will not produce the desir'd Reformation in him, he will most infallibly be turn'd out of the Church at the Chapter to be held in January next." [He died in 1753.]

July 9. Lewis Rosser, the Clerk of this church, is appointed to give out the Psalm on Sundays and holydays. He is to have the salary usually paid to the Psalmgiver.

1749 June 28. The Senior Vicar Choral has leave to take away the yew-tree he cut down in the churchyard.

1750 June 30. A small fine is accepted from John Morgan, of Radir, yeoman, for premises in the parish of Llandaff, because the lessee has been at a considerable expence in rebuilding the Mitre inn, part of the property.

1756 June 28. Ordered, that part of the old steeple be pulled down.

1757 March 24. Nathaniel Wells, clerk, M.A., appointed Senior Vicar Choral.

1758 June 28. "Ordered that the crack'd Bells in Jaspers Tower be taken down and sold and the money arising from the sale thereof apply'd to the repairs of the Fabrick."

Licence granted to Mr. John Williams of Coed-y-goras to assign to Mr. Henry Llewellin, of the town of Cardiff, Attorney-at-Law, the sale lease of Lanedern rectory.

"Ordered that Mr Henry Jones, Vicar of St Hilary in the County of Glamorgan, be prosecuted and articled against in the Ecclesiastical Court of the Diocese for his indecent and scandalous behaviour, various complaints being made to the Chapter of his drunkenness and Immorality, and profane cursing and swearing."

1759 June 28. "Ordered that George Nott Bell-hanger do take down the old Bells, and putt up the largest and small one, to find all Timber Wheels and Stocks that shall be deficient, Iron and Brasses and hang them in a workmanlike manner (ropes excepted) and to have all the old materials, exclusive of Bells & ropes, for fifteen Guineas, and the work to be compleated by Mich'mas agreeable to an Article enter'd into with the said George Nott."

Ordered, that a new grate be put in the kitchen of the Prebendal House, and that one of the old pewter dishes be exchanged.

1763 July 1. A messuage, barn and 31¾ acres of land in Canton in the parish of Landaff granted to Jane, widow of Thomas Young deceased.

1769 June 28. Ordered, that the state of the Prebendal House be immediately enquired into and surveyed by a skilful workman. And that the Proctor General be desired to enquire into the expence of a decent cloth for the Communion table, and cushions for the Bishop's throne and the pulpit, and also a gown for the verger.

The skilful workman reports that the Prebendal House is in a very decayed and ruinous state, "and that the expence of a new Roof and repairing the Walls will be attended with an expence of Sixty Pounds at least."

1771 June 29. Ordered, that Mr. Nathaniel Wells, Senior Vicar Choral, be prosecuted in the Ecclesiastical Court for "divers crimes and enormities said and supposed to be committed by him."

"Whereas the said Mr Wells has been frequently admonished by this & former Chapters respecting his scandalous life and Conversation, without any reformation in Mr Wells from such admonitions. And whereas the said Mr Wells after a serious and pious admonition given him by the said Lord Bishop and Prebendaries assembled at their late Chapter at Peterstide 1770, promis'd to quit and give up the place of Senior Vicar Choral of this Church by him then and now held and enjoy'd, at or before May day last past, and the said Mr Wells having been guilty of a breach of promise and still continuing to hold and enjoy the said Vicar Choralship contrary to his promise made as aforesaid, & without any reformation in his life & Conversation, It is therefore hereby Ordered that from this time he is not to be paid or allow'd any preaching money for the several turns of preaching paid & allow'd by the respective Members of this Chapter."

1773 June 28. James Davies resigned the office of Chapter Clerk or Registrar, and was succeeded by Richard Lewis, Notary Public.

1777 June 28. The Rev. Benjamin Hall (fn. 3), B.D., was appointed Senior Vicar Choral, and is, by virtue of that office, to hold the whole minute tiths of Llandaff and Whitchurch.

Ordered, that the great bell now hanging in the steeple belonging to the said Cathedral Church be taken down and new cast by a bellfounder.

1778 June 27. Ordered by the said Bishop and Chapter, that a new surplice be bought for the Senior Vicar Choral.

The Chapter consent to the taking down and removing of the house annexed to the Prebend of Holy Cross, it being ruinous and incapable of repair.

1779 June 28. Ordered, that for the future no person whatever be permitted to erect any tomb or monument in the churchyard without the consent of the Proctor General and the payment of a fee of 6s. 8d. Also a fee of 6s. 4d. is to be paid for the interment of every non-parishioner.

1781 June 28. "Very reasonable Proposals having been made by the Reverend Benjamin Hall, B.D., Senior Vicar Choral, to the Inhabitants of the Parish of Landaff, of raising his Tyths, which have been rejected on their part unless he acknowledges the Existance of a Modus which from its Rankness cannot ever have existed; the Chapter taking the same into their Consideration, hereby direct the said Benjamin Hall not to come into any Compromise or Agreement with the said Parishioners of Landaff by the Terms of which he acknowledges the Modus claimed to be valid."

1787 June 28. Agreement with William Edward, of the parish of Eglws Ilan, mason, for repairing the steeple of this church, at a cost of £180; he to find all materials, and to be permitted to wall up the upper south window of the said steeple.

1788 June 28. A new folio Prayer Book to be purchased for the use of the Senior Vicar Choral.

1791 June 28. Edward Pearson, Notary Public, is appointed Chapter Clerk or Registrar, in the room of Richard Lewis deceased.

Ordered, that the Chapter Clerk be empowered to employ any proper workman to survey the part of the old tower (fn. 4) which now remains standing, in order to its being taken down, and to repair the cathedral roof.

The room over the Chapter House is to be fitted up for the reception of the Registrar's papers.

Order for the sealing of a Conveyance of lands through which the proposed Canal from Merthir Tidvill to Cardiff will pass.

1794 June 28. The Chapter contributes £50 towards the internal defence of the County of Glamorgan.

1795 June 27. Ordered, that some plain seats be made for the accommodation of the congregation in the Cathedral Church.

1799 June 29. Ordered, that £5 be laid out by the Inspector of the Fabric, towards repairing the pavement and forming screens at the entrance of the Welch Chapel, provided the parish will contribute; and that workmen be consulted on the repairs of the east window, which is now in a very decayed state.

Ordered, that no person whatsoever be permitted to make use of the Prebendal Room for any purpose whatsoever.

Occupation of the Cwm Yard is to be offered to a new tenant.

1801 June 27. Ordered, that the additional sum of two guineas be given to the person who furnishes the Chapter entertainment, on account of the extraordinary dearness of provisions.

1807 June 27. A clock is to be purchased and set up in the tower of the Cathedral, at a cost of forty guineas.

1808 June 28. Ordered, that the Proctor General be empowered to treat with Thackwell, clockmaker in Cardiff, for the sale of the clock lately purchased by Dr. Hall for the use of this Cathedral.

1809 June 28. Ordered, that the Chapter Clerk do attend when that part of the Parish of Pentirch is perambulated that adjoins to the Parish of Lantwit Vairdre, in order to ascertain the boundary between the said Parishes.

1817 January 15. Edward Stephens, Notary Public, appointed Chapter Clerk or Registrar.

Besides the Act Books above cited, the Chapter Clerk has in his custody an octavo book of seven folios of vellum, newly bound in calf, lettered "Oratio Episcopi Landavensis Præbendariis in Capitulo congregatis. Consuetudines et Ordinationes Ecclesiæ Landavensis (fn. 5), 1575."

At f° 1 d begins the Latin oration. It is texted in Italian script, and headed thus:—" Oratio reuerendi in Chr'o patris ac Dn'i Willi'mi Blethin permissione diu'na Landauen[sis] Ep'i Prebendariis suis in Cap'lo Landauen[sis] congregatis." (fn. 6) This document has been printed, from a copy, in Arch[ae]logia Cambrensis, July 1854. It will suffice to note, in this place, that the Bishop laments the miserable condition to which the very ancient Church of Llandaff has been reduced, and contrasts it with the Cathedral's former splendour and the wealth with which the See was anciently endowed. While allowing the necessity for purging the Church of her old Popery, he bewails the neglect, destruction and robbery which has deprived her of her magnificent ornaments, vestments, books and choral offices. He points out that even pigs are allowed to roam the sacred precincts. He exhorts the Prebendaries to aid him in restoring to Llandaff Cathedral some portion of her former dignity, and hopes that what she was under Bishop Urban and Pope Honorius, she may again be under Bishop Blethin and Queen Elizabeth.

The Oration is followed by certain Articles taken from the ancient and now lost manuscript known as the "Textus Ecclesiae," or "Textus Capituli." They consist largely of regulations for the Prebendaries, Vicars Choral and Annuellaries; which last term originally meant chantry-priests engaged in the cathedral, for a year at a time, to sing Masses, Obits, Dirges &c for the souls of deceased founders. Bishop Blethin adapted these Articles to the requirements of the Reformation, but was evidently anxious to preserve as much of the flavour of antiquity as was consistent with the new order of things.

Not the least interesting document in this little volume is that which is written on the first page. Though it seems to have been purposely effaced, its meaning can be made out with a magnifyingglass and a good light. The document is in Latin, and dated at Westminster 20 January 1527. It is an Exemplification of a Dispensation granted by Thomas, Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of England, Chancellor of England and Legate a latere of His Holiness the Pope, and operating by virtue of the Papal delegation, unto Roland ap Moglon and Blanche Vaghan, of the Diocese of Llandaff, to marry nothwithstanding that they were within the prohibited degrees of relationship. The record is signed by "Jo. Hughes" and "W. Clarburg, Datarius," and is certified a true copy. It recites that "our most holy lord the Pope" has granted unto the Archbishop of Canterbury, for the time being, power to dispense in such matrimonial causes, and declares that his Grace, by virtue of the Apostolic authority, consents to the humble prayer of the parties and allows them freely to contract marriage without incurring any penalties.



  • 1. The unfortunate gentleman seems to have been the victim of a suit in the Exchequer, brought by Walter Churchey of Usk, esq., lessee of the rectories of Llangoven and Penyclawdd, touching the payment of the curate's salary.
  • 2. Antiquaries with weak nerves had better skip this paragraph.
  • 3. He was a Hall of Daisyback in the parish of Gumfreston, Pembrokeshire, and was grandfather to the first Lord Llanover.
  • 4. The south tower.
  • 5. Oration of the Bishop of Llandaff to the Prebendaries in Chapter assembled. The Customs and Ordinances of the Church of Llandaff.
  • 6. An Oration of the Reverend Father in Christ, the Lord William Blethin, by divine permission Bishop of Llandaff, to his Prebendaries assembled in the Chapter of Llandaff.