Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300-1541: Volume 11, the Welsh Dioceses (Bangor, Llandaff, St Asaph, St Davids). Originally published by Institute of Historical Research, London, 1965.

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'Foreword', in Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300-1541: Volume 11, the Welsh Dioceses (Bangor, Llandaff, St Asaph, St Davids), (London, 1965) pp. v-vii. British History Online [accessed 18 April 2024]


The scarcity of Welsh ecclesiastical records for the period 1300-1541 has been a serious handicap to the compilation of this volume and accounts for the many gaps in the lists of cathedral dignitaries. In Llandaff diocese the bishops' registers and cathedral chapter acts begin in 1660, St Asaph diocese has some fragments of sixteenth-century material, in Bangor diocese the register of Benedict Nicholls has survived for the fifteenth century and there are some thin sixteenth-century registers. St Davids diocese has the register of Guy de Mona and part of that of Henry Chichele for the early years of the fifteenth century, and the registers of Richard Martin, Huw Pavy and Edward Fychan, which cover the years 1482-1483, 1485-1496 and 1509- 1523, but four other registers have been lost since the eighteenth century when Edward Yardley, archdeacon of Cardigan 1739-c. 1770, compiled his book Menevia Sacra. For this work he used the registers of Benedict Nicholls and Thomas Rodburn, 1417-1442, which do not appear to have been seen since his time, and additional volumes of the registers of Henry Chichele and John Hiot, vicar general of St Davids, of the early fifteenth century. Edward Yardley was unusual among antiquarians of his day in that, in most cases, he gave clear references to the folios of the registers which he used, and not the usual vague references to 'an old manuscript which I have seen' or to 'Reg. Cantuar", which are so familiar in the works of some of his contemporaries. Attempt has been made to trace the descendants of Edward Yardley in case the lost registers should be lying about in some forgotten place, but all research of this nature has proved fruitless. Directions given in his will about the disposal of his library were vague: 'Item as to my library either of manuscripts or printed books my mind and will is that if I shall leave behinde me any directions bearing date after this my will and signed with my hand, such directions shall be pursued and followed and that my executors shall be pleased to see them disposed of according to my intention signified thereby' (PCC 30 Jenner). Yardley's library was sold at Sotheby's sale rooms in October 1800 but there is no mention of the registers of St Davids among his manuscripts listed in the sale catalogue. Edward Yardley had few relatives at the time of his death, and the greater part of his money was left to the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge. Work has been done on the archives of this society where there is a lot of information about this aspect of Edward Yardley's career, but no further information about the registers of St Davids has emerged.

A miscellaneous variety of material has been used for the Welsh volume of the Fasti and it has been necessary to search all the English episcopal registers in the hope of finding exchanges of benefices between English and Welsh clergy. Information has come from almost every English diocese, even from York and Durham in the northern province. The papal registers have not been of as much assistance for the Welsh volume as they have been for the other volumes of the Fasti, because, probably owing to the poverty of the Welsh dioceses, only one cardinal held office in Wales during the entire period 1300-1541-Louis Donati, cardinal priest of S. Marcus, who was provided to the 'golden prebend', Mathry, in St Davids, and held it for a few years during the late fourteenth century. In addition to the prebendaries of the four dioceses, canons have been included, as it may subsequently be possible to discover which prebend they held. Bangor cathedral had only two prebends, but a number of persons called 'canons' of Bangor have been found. The two terms, canon and prebendary, appear to have often been used synonymously by contemporary scribes, but in this volume, as far as possible, separate lists have been made; first of prebendaries holding named prebends, secondly of unidentified prebendaries, then of persons holding a canonry with expectation of a prebend in the future, and lastly of persons who occur only as canons. The St Davids list has the further addition of the cursal prebendaries, who are listed before the unidentified prebendaries. (fn. 1)

Personal names have been rendered as far as possible in their Welsh forms: e.g. Vaughan appears as Fychan, Trevaur as Trefor, Griffiths as Gruffudd and Howell as Hywel, etc. Although several of these names appear in anglicised forms in other volumes of the Fasti, e.g. John Trefor as John Trevaur in Hereford, etc., Edward Fychan as Vaughan in St Paul's, London, etc., it is considered that the consolidated index of the volumes for the period 1300 to 1541 will bring together those persons whose names appear in both English and Welsh. Powell, Price, Bowen and similar names have been given in their older Welsh forms as ap Hywel, ap Rhys, ab Owain, etc. The Christian names Hugh and David have been given in both Welsh and English forms, because an attempt has been made to distinguish between Welshmen and Englishmen: e.g. Dafydd ap Gruffudd, Dafydd ab Ieuan ab Iorwerth, but David Stedman, David Oliver. When David occurs as a surname a similar distinction has been made, viz. Dafydd Fychan ap Dafydd, and Madog ap Dafydd Llwyd, but John David and Thomas David. No alteration has been made of the surname Davy. Similarly the name Hugh has been given as Huw when the rest of the name denotes an obvious Welshman: viz. Huw ab Owain, Huw Goch, Huw Morgan etc. but Hugh Alcock, Hugh Cotyngham, Hugh de Welhampton etc. In some cases it is impossible to tell whether a person was Welsh or English and here preference has been given to the English form of the name. For example, although Hugh le Yonge was probably Welsh (Young or Younger =Fychan), he is given here as Hugh and not Huw, as the English form of his surname is used in all sources. David Barret could have been Welsh, of Barry, and similarly David Nuporte and David Newcastle, who occur in Llandaff diocese, were probably local men, of Newport, (fn. 2) and of Newcastle, (fn. 3) but as there is insufficient evidence to prove their Welsh nationality, David has been given in the English form. All Christian names followed immediately by ap or ab are to be found indexed under the initial letter of the Christian name; e.g. the name Llywellyn ap Madog ab Elis will be found under L, not M or E.

Place names have been taken, as in the other volumes of the Fasti, from The Survey Gazetteer of the British Isles, ed. J. Bartholomew (9th ed., Edinburgh, 1950) and the names of the Welsh cathedral prebends from the appropriate diocesan handbooks or from the 1963 edition of Crockford's Clerical Directory. In the index, the Welsh forms of place names have been inserted in brackets after the standard form recognised in the British Isles and have been taken from A Gazetteer of Welsh Place Names, ed. Elwyn Davies (Cardiff, 1957). It has been felt that to give the Welsh form of the place names would narrow the utility of the book considerably, as many of the correct Welsh names are not widely known even in Wales itself and do not yet appear on the Ordnance Survey maps of the areas; e.g. Lampeter is more familiar even in Cardiganshire than Llanbedr pont Steffan, and the name Brecon more widely known than Aber Honddu. As the names of Italian places in the other volumes have been put into English, and Florence and Venice etc. given instead of the Italian form, the same method has been used for Wales.

I should like to thank Professor Sir Goronwy Edwards and Professor Glanmor Williams for their help in reading the typescript of this volume and for their constructive suggestions for its improvement, and Mr. Milwyn Griffiths of the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, for his help with the identification of several Welsh place names.



  • 1. For further discussion of the order of the dignitaries, see Appendix, p. 86.
  • 2. There are two Newports in Wales alone-Pemb. and Mon., and twenty-two other Newports are listed in The Survey Gazetteer of the British Isles, ed. J. Bartholomew (9th ed. Edinburgh, 1950).
  • 3. There are four Newcastles in Wales and the border counties: Newcastle, Mon., Newcastle, Radnor., Newcastle, nr. Clun, Salop, Newcastle, Glam., and also Newcastle Emlyn, Carm., Newcastle Higher, Glam., and several English Newcastles. The difficulty of identifying surnames with place names is shown by these examples.