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(?ortteU Iniuctatta ffiihtarg 

Strata, Sfem ^nrk 






DA 709.W7T" """"""' '-'"'"^ 

3 1924 028 051 872 

Cornell University 

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the Cornell University Library. 

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the United States on the use of the text. 













B.CL. (OxoN), K.C. 




19 1 9 






Wales after the Conquest: 1282-1542 29 

Grant of a Constitution 65 

Council of the Marches, 1542-1689- 87 

The King's Court of Great Sessions, 1542-1830 128 

The Reformation 195 

Nonconformity - - 259 


The Welsh Language- - - 289 

Amdanaf fy hun, mi allaf ddoedyd er dwyn onof y 
rhan fwyaf o'm byd hyd yn hyn o'm hoes ym-mhell 
oddi wrth wlad Gymry, etto wrth fod ymysg leithoedd 
dieithr, a darfod i mi dreulio f amser a'm hastudrwydd 
mewn pethau eraill, ni bu fwy fyngofal ar fyfyrio, a dal 
i'm cof un iaith, no'r Gymraec ; gan ddamuno allu o 
honof wnenthyr rh3nv ISs ir iaith a'r wlad lie ym ganwyd. 

MORUS Kyffin. 

Ac o'm rhann inheu fyhunan, wrthych oil yr achwsmaf 

na chefais nemor o gyflawn na thymherus adec nac 

amser na chwaith esmwythder na seibiant o'r byd i 

alhu cwplau a pherpheithio y Uyfrau yma yn banner 

cystal ac yroedh fy ewyllys. ^ ■■-> t, 

•' ■^ J J J gjojj Dafydd Rhys. 

Gwnewch a pherpheithiwch y maint a dharfu i mi 

dhechreu : neu (o'r bydh gwelh ganwch) gadewch yr 

eidho fi yn Ihonydh megis ag'y mae, a' mal yn oferbeth ; 

a dychmygwch chwitheu betheu erailh, a' threfneu a 

font gwelh no'r men fi. Canys ny's gwneuthum i etto, 

onyd megys torri'r ia ; ac y sawl a fynno, dUyned yn 

ehofn ; a'r sawl ni fynno, torred yr ia i hun, ac aed 

rhagdho yn enw Duw. ,- ^ ^ 

SioN Dafydd Rhys. 


This book is not intended to be a History of Modern 
Wales, but an attempt to describe the transformation of 
Mediaeval into Modern Wales. No pioneer has blazed 
a path through the untrodden forest before me. Dr. 
Henry Owen, the late Judge Lewis, Mr. Lleufer Thomas, 
and Miss Skeel have done valuable work in reference to 
the Court of the Council of the Marches. Dr. Thomas 
Rees and others have spent much labour over the history 
of Nonconformity. But, except in these directions, I 
have had the benefit of no previous work. These cir- 
cumstances will help to explain why I have apportioned 
so much space to the decay of Catholicism and so little, 
comparatively, to the rise and progress of Noncon- 
formity in Wales ; so much to the Court of Great 
Sessions and so little to the Council of the Marches, 
The story of Catholicism in Wales after the Reformation 
has never before been told, while innumerable volumes 
have been published dealing with the history of Protes- 
tant Nonconformity. No one has ever attempted to 
give an account of the Courts of Great Sessions, im- 
portant though the part was which they played in the 
development of Wales, while Miss Skeel's exhaustive 
monograph on the Council of the Marches has rendered 
the task of writing its history a work of supererogation. 
The difficulty about the last two chapters of this book 
has been to decide what to leave out. I am indebted 


to my friend, Prof. Garmon Jones of Liverpool Univer- 
sity, for several valuable suggestions relating to the 
Introduction and Chapters I., II., III., and IV. ; and 
to my friend, Prof. Sir J. Morris Jones of Bangor 
University College, for kindly looking through and 
making some corrections in Chapter VII. 

March ist, 1919. 




" Freedom and not servitude is the cure of anarchy," 
said Burke in his great speech on " Conciliation with 
America," ^ " the profoundest manual of civil wisdom." ^ 
To statesmen of the " blood and iron school," that 
plangent phrase is a meaningless and dangerous paradox. 
It took the world unnumbered centuries to see even as 
in a glass darkly the truth of that vital principle in the 
government of men. The old-world conquerors, Sena- 
cherib and Nebuchadnezzar, laid desolate the countries 
which they had subdued. They rased to the ground 
the cities which they had taken. They carried the con- 
quered peoples into captivity. The Romans, after long 
years of experience in aggression, discovered a better 
way of turning their conquests to account. At one 
time they were content with the economic exploitation 
of their provinces. They spared the lives and they 
tolerated the religion, the laws, and the customs of the 
conquered, but it was only in order that they might 
wring a heavier tribute from the helpless people. It 
might be said of them, as Macaulay said of the English 

1 Burke's Works (Bohn edit.), vol. ii. p. 487. 
' Lord Morley's Politics and History, p. 35. 

W.M.W. A 


in Bengal during Clive's absence in England after the 
battle of Plassey, that they formed a government as 
" oppressive as the most oppressive form of barbarian 
despotism . . . with all the strength of civilisation." It 
was only when the fierce energy of Rome and Italy had 
been sapped by a long career of success and luxury, 
and the Empire had to rely more and more for its pre- 
servation on the manly vigour of the ruder provincials, 
that better treatment was meted out to the inhabitants 
of Britain and Gaul, of Spain and Africa. But firom 
first to last, the Roman state, after it had once tran- 
scended the hmits of the Seven HOls, was founded on 
force, and to the Gracchi and Brutus and Cato, lovers 
of freedom though they were, as well as to the mild and 
clement emperors, such as Trajan, Hadrian, and Marcus 
Aurelius, Burke's maxim in its application to the vassals 
of Rome would have been but as sounding brass or a 
tinkling cymbal. The mighty fabric of the Roman 
Empire fell before the onrush of the barbarian hordes 
from the wastes and forests of Germany. The flame of 
its civilisation was wellnigh extinguished ; there sur- 
vived only the little spark that was jealously guarded 
through the Dark Ages on the altar of the Catholic 
Church. The rule of unqualified and ruthless force 
returned with the triumph of the barbarians. Alaric 
and Attila, the Saxons who overran Britain, the Northern 
Vikings, and the predatory Danes waged war as piti- 
lessly as Sargon or Tiglath-Pilezer. They made a desert 
and called it peace. When William the Norman de- 
stroyed for ever the Anglo-Saxon nation at Senlac, he 
treated England as a conquered country. He divided 
the land among his warriors, and he and his barons and 
his knights ruled with absolute sway over the subject 


race. It was not until a century and a half ot intimate 
contact had caused the two races to begin to assimilate 
that the rights of the Saxon as well as the Norman came 
to be safeguarded in the Great Charter of English liberty. 
The case was different in countries where the conquered 
race was unable or unwilling to be amalgamated with 
its conquerors. In Wales, for example, the struggle for 
national freedom went on for two centuries after the 
Norman invasion. Scores of skirmishes and some 
pitched battles were fought, but the spirit of the Cymry 
was irrefragable. Castle after castle was built by the 
invader, one square mile after another was conquered, 
the terrors of excommunication were used by an en- 
slaved Church to aid in the subjugation of a devout 
people, and the remnant of the ancient race became 
fewer and feebler one generation after another. Still 
they fought on, and under the two Llewelyns it almost 
seemed as if their stubborn gallantry might yet prevail. 
It was only when Llewelyn the Last fell before the 
might of " the greatest of the Plantagenets " that the 
desperate struggle for national freedom was sullenly 
abandoned. Edward I. by the Statute of Rhuddlan 
endeavoured, with a statesmanship of which no other 
contemporary ruler was capable, to effect a settlement 
of the conquered Principality. He turned the patri- 
mony of the Welsh Princes — Anglesea, Carnarvon, and 
Merioneth in the north, Cardigan and Carmarthen in 
the south — ^into shire-ground. He did not interfere with 
the use of the Welsh language. He appointed a com- 
mission to inquire into the Welsh laws and customs, 
and some of them he allowed to remain in force. But 
he adhered rigidly to one inflexible rule. No Welshman 
was allowed to govern the country, to administer the 


law, or to represent the sovereign authority. The 
Government could be carried on by the King and his 
officers alone. After the Glyndwr rebellion a still more 
rigorous system was introduced. Burke reckoned that 
there were " no less than fifteen acts of penal regula- 
tion " passed by Pariiament on the subject of Wales.^ 
What was the result ? " Wales rid this kingdom like 
an incubus ; it was an unprofitable and oppressive 
burden ; and an EngUshman traveUing the country 
could not go six yards from the high road without being 

It is abundantly clear that by the end of the fifteenth 
century the Edwardian settlement had hopelessly broken 
down. Sir John Wynn, in his History of the Gwydir 
Family, describes the state of lawlessness and anarchy 
which prevailed in Carnarvonshire, one of Edward's 
" shire-grounds," after the close of the Wars of the 
Roses. Private wars went on unchecked, family ven- 
dettas were as rife and as ruthless as they afterwards 
became in Corsica, Ufe and property were insecure, the 
arm of the law was powerless. Sooner than live in 
constant hostility with his hereditary enemies in Car- 
narvonshire, Sir John's great-grandfather Meredydd ^ 
migrated to the wilds of Denbighshire, where he dwelt 
surrounded by outlaws. It was better, he said, to live 
in obscurity in the valley of the Conway than to be at 
continual strife with his kinsmen and neighbours in his 
native county. " I shall find elbow-room," he said, " in 
that vast country among the bondmen, and I had rather 
fight with outlaws and thieves than with my own blood 
and kindred, for if I live in mine house in Eifionydd 
I must either kill mine own kinsmen or be killed by 

1 Vol. ii. p. 485. 2 Meredydd ap leuan died in 1525. 


them." Ysbytty Ifan— the Hospice of the Knights of 
St. John — which was near the exile's new home, was " a 
wasps' nest, a lordship belonging to St. John of Jeru- 
salem, which had privilege of sanctuary." Thieves and 
murderers flocked thither, and the country for twenty 
miles round suffered from their depredations. He could 
not go to church on Sunday without bolting and barring 
his house in Dolwyddelan, and stationing a watchman 
on a rock, whence he could see both house and church. 
He was always guarded by twenty stout archers, but 
even then he never dared return by the way he came 
for fear of ambush. Sir John described, too, the ruth- 
less destruction of the Vale of Conway by the Earl of 
Pembroke during the Wars of the Roses, burning every 
house so that " the very stones of the ruins of manie 
habitations, in and along my demaynes, carrying yet 
the colour of the fire." Later on he says that " in 
those days in that wild worlde every man stood upon 
his guard and went not abroad but in sort and soe 
armed, as if he went to the field to encounter with his 
enemies." ^ Lord Herbert of Cherbury, in his fasci- 
nating fragment of " Autobiography," throws light on the 
condition of Montgomeryshire in the early part of the 
sixteenth century. His great-grandfather, Sir Richard 
Herbert of Montgomery, who died in 1539, was " a 
great suppressor of rebels, thieves, and outlaws," and 
his son Edward Herbert, who continued his work in 
Mid-Wales, is said to have been " noted to be a great 
enemy to the outlaws and thieves of bis time, who 
robbed in great numbers in the mountains of Mont- 
gomeryshire, for the suppressing of whom he went both 
night and day to the places where they were." The 
' History of the Gwydir Family. 


poems of the Welsh bards of the fifteenth century, as 
well as the preambles to the Welsh Statutes of Henry 
VIII. and the numerous references in the State Papers, 
which will require a more detailed notice later on, amply 
confirm the traditions of the Wynn and Herbert 

Here, then, was the oft-recurring problem presenting 
itself in an acute form. A small conquered people, 
numbering probably not more than 6 or 7 per cent, of 
the dominant race, out of sympathy with the law, its 
makers, and its administrators, had been reduced in the 
course of a little over two hundred years to a condition 
of anarchy. But for the fact that literary activity was 
never more pervading and Welsh poetry never burned 
with a brighter flame than in the fifteenth century, one 
would be tempted to describe the state of Wales between 
1400 and 1542 as one of barbarism. In the ordinary 
course of things it seemed inevitable that one of two 
things must happen. Either the stronger nation, stung 
to action by persistent provocation, would enter upon 
a policy of strict and merciless repression against the 
weaker, which would exterminate the one and brutalise 
the other ; or it would leave the weaker to welter in 
fratricidal strife, only interfering when a direct and 
organised attack was made on its own authority. Two 
centuries after the Conquest of 1282, the condition of 
Wales was comparable to the condition of a Balkan 
state under Turkish rule a hundred years ago, or to 
that of Albania at the beginning of this century. Nor 
was its condition materially amended by the accession 
of Henry Tudor to the Enghsh throne. As I shall show, 
there was the same deplorable lack of " governance " 
in Wales fifty years after the battle of Bosworth as was 


bewailed by Llawdden in the middle of the fifteenth 

Lecky, commenting on the effects of the Act of Union 
of 1707 on the national character and social condition 
of the Scottish people, asserts that " there are very few 
instances on record in which a nation passed in so short 
a time from a state of barbarism to a state of civilisation, 
in which the tendencies and leading features of the 
national character were so profoundly modified, and in 
which the separate causes of the change were so clearly 
discernible." * Far be it from me to accept Lecky's 
sharp contrast between the "barbarism" of Scotland 
in the seventeenth and her " civilisation " in the eigh- 
teenth century. Scotland before 1707 had a better and 
more diffused system of education than England, and 
Fletcher of Saltoun was certainly more " civilised " than 
the Squire Westerns of England. Even if by " bar- 
barism " is meant lawlessness, and by " civilisation " 
ordered liberty, it may be doubted if the Scotland of 
the first half of the eighteenth century, with its seething 
Jacobitism, its two Rebellions of 1715 and 1745, its 
Porteous Riot in Edinburgh, and its blackmailing 
caterans in the Highlands, was more law-abiding than 
the Scotland of the seventeenth century. I am, how- 
ever, only concerned to show that Wales is one 
of " the few instances " where the experience of 
Scotland in the points mentioned by the historian was 

" The march of the human mind is slow," said Burke 

1 Ni a roem yr awr yma 

Dreth aur am lywodraeth dda. 
' We would give this hour a gold tax for good government." 
' Lecky, History of England, vol. ii. p. 320. 


in his reference to the precedent of Wales.^ " It was 
not until after two hundred years discovered that, by 
an eternal law. Providence has decreed vexation to 
violence, and poverty to rapine. Your ancestors did, 
however, at length open their eyes to the ill husbandry 
of injustice. They found that the tyranny of a free 
people could of all tyrannies the least be endured ; and 
that laws made against a whole nation were not the 
most effectual methods for securing its obedience. 
Accordingly in the 27th year of Henry VIII. the course 
was entirely altered. ... In the 35th of that reign a 
complete and not ill-proportioned representation by 
counties and boroughs was bestowed upon Wales by 
Act of Parliament. From that moment, as by a charm, 
the tumults subsided, obedience was restored, peace, 
order and civilisation followed in the train of liberty. 
When the day-star of the English constitution had 
arisen in their hearts, all was harmony within and 

This glowing passage, describing the destruction of 
" barbarism " with the brightness of the coming of the 
English constitution, is too roseate for the historian's 
prose. Yet in substance the great orator's account is 
borne out by the facts of the case. Never was there a 
country seemingly more unfit for freedom than was the 
Wales of Henry VIII. ; never was statesmanship more 
speedily and more abidingly justified of a novel, a bold, 
and a generous experiment. Casting aside tradition and 
precedent, turning a deaf ear to the remonstrances and 
protests of his officials, Henry VIII. determined to 
associate the subject people with their own government. 
It was probably the accident of his own descent from a 
> Conciliation with America, vol. ii. p. 486. 


Welsh stock and the fervent personal loyalty of the 
Cymry to the scion of the House of Cadwallader of the 
Golden Torque that inclined him to make the experi- 
ment. But it was no accident that the experiment 
proved a success. It was due, as Burke remarked, to 
an " eternal law," which is as certain in its operation 
as the law of gravitation. 

There was no precedent for such a policy, either in 
ancient or in modem times. Burke cites three other 
instances — Chester, Durham, and Ireland. But the 
cases of the Palatinates of Chester and Durham are not 
parallel, for their inhabitants were not of different blood 
from those of Yorkshire or Warwickshire, and they were 
in no sense a subject race. The case of Ireland is not 
apposite, for the " Welshery " were entrusted with 
responsibilities and endowed with privileges which were 
for many generations denied to the " wild Irish." ^ It 
was not only a policy without precedent, it was contrary 
to all the traditions of English statesmanship and to 
the spirit of the age. Hallam has quoted, with pardon- 
able indignation, the description given by Sir Thomas 
Smith of the attempts made by the Tudors to curtail 
the independence of Trial by Jury—" the standard 
record of primeval liberty." ^ Yet it was at this period, 
when the sanctity of Trial by Jury was being invaded 
by the high-handed interference of the Star Chamber 
and the browbeating of judges — and in the case of Wales 
and the Marches by Statute— that the system was 
extended to the most disturbed portions of what is 
now known as the Principality of Wales. It was an 
age whose tendency was towards the transformation of 

1 See e.g. Lecky's Ireland, pp. 1-4. 

a Hallam, History of England, p. 49 (187 1 edition). 


the limited monarchies of the later Middle Ages into 
absolute monarchies. Representative institutions were 
decaying in Spain and in France ; Henry VIII. was 
more absolute than any Plantagenet.^ But at the 
height of his power he conceded the right of parlia- 
mentary representation, for the first time, to a country 
which as a whole was indifferent to the privilege. The 
experiment was launched at a time seemingly most 
inopportune. The whole fabric of society was tottering 
through the convulsion caused by the Reformation ; 
the old faith, the old learning, the old science were 
passing away " like an unsubstantial pageant faded." 
" The paths trodden by the footsteps of ages were 
broken up ; old things were passing away ; and the 
faith and the Ufe of ten centuries were dissolving like 
a dream." ^ The breach with Rome had become com- 
plete, and by dissolving the monasteries, Henry had, 
with regal insolence, brought home the real meaning of 
the revolution to every part of his realm. Nowhere, as 
we shall see, was the change more unwelcome than in 
Wales, in those days the home of lost causes and im- 
possible dreams. The commons of the North of England 
spontaneously rose against the ruthless king ; for the 
first and only time the throne of Henry was put in 
jeopardy. At the moment when the Pilgrimage of 
Grace was most formidable, Chapuys, the clever Swiss 
who acted as Imperial Ambassador at the Court of 
St. James, assured the Emperor Charles V. that Wales 

' During the later years of Henry VII. and in the reign of 
Henry VIII. up to the fall of Wolsey, Parliament was practically 
powerless. Henry VIII. after 1529 called it together almost 
every year, and treated it with respect. (Pollard's Henry VIII., 
pp. 236-266.) 

' Froude's History of England, ch. i. 


was ripe for revolt. Bishop Rowland Lee, the President 
of the Council of the Marches, was convinced on other 
grounds that Wales was not ready for the grant of a 
constitution. He begged the king " not to allow the 
Statute to go forward." Yet it was at this dark and 
untoward hour that the boon of a constitution was 
extended to Wales. Even the Parliament which granted 
it was sceptical of the result. It gave the king the 
power to repeal or suspend it. That power was never 
exercised. The grant of a free constitution was an 
instantaneous success. The same " wonderful issue " ^ 
attended it in Wales as has since attended it in Canada, 
in South Africa, in every part of the British dominions 
in which it has been tried. 

" A better people to govern than the Welsh Europe 
holdeth not," was the testimony of Sir Henry Sidney, 
whom Queen Elizabeth sent to govern Wales (1559-1586) 
as President of the Council of the Marches. Sidney took 
an intelligent and sympathetic interest in the people 
over whom he ruled. It was owing to his advice and 
active encouragement that Dr. Powel published, in 1584, 
his History of Cambria, and the sumptuous beauty of 
the book attests the generosity of the patron. In the 
preface Dr. Powel bears witness to the change that had 
been wrought in Wales by the legislation of Henry VIII. 
" Concerning the alteration of the estate, there was 
never anie thing so beneficiall to the common people of 
Wales as the uniting of the countrie to the crowne and 
kingdom of England, whereby not only the maladie and 
hurt of the dissention that often happened between the 
Princes of the countrie, which they ruled, is now taken 

' Mr. Balfour's speech on the South African Confederation, 
15th August, 1909. 


awaie, but also an uniformitie of government estab- 
lished, whereby all controversies are examined, heard, 
and decided within the countrie : so that now the 
countrie of Wales (I dare boldly affirm it) is in as good 
order for quietness and obedience as anie country in 
Europe : for if the ruler and teachers be good and doo 
their duties, the people are willing to learn, readie to 
obeie, and loath to offend or displease." 

" Surely those lawes have brought Wales to great 
civilitie for that evill government that was here in ould 
time," wrote another Elizabethan,^ " for it is as safe 
travailing for a stranger here in Wales as in any part 
of Christendome, whereas in old time it is said robberies 
and murthers were very common." In another passage 
he is even more emphatic. " No other country in 
England so flourished in one hundred yeares as Wales 
hath don, sithence the government of H. 7 to this tyme, 
insomuch that if o"" ffathers weare nowe lyvinge they 
would thinke it som straunge cuntrey inhabited with a 
forran Nation, so altered is the cuntrey and cuntreymen, 
the people changed in hertt w'Mn and the land altered 
in hewe w"'out, from evill to good, and from badd to 

Another witness, who knew the country intimately 
and who was by no means too favourably inclined to 
the " Welshery," may be cited. In 1575, Gerard, the 
Vice-President of the Court of the Council of the Marches, 
and afterwards Lord Chancellor of Ireland, prepared a 

1 George Owen's " Dialogue of the Government of Wales " 
(1595). printed in Part iii. of Owen's Pembrokeshire, pp. 91-92. 
Cf. Churchyard's Worthiness of Wales (1587), Introduction, "There 
is neither hewe nor cry (for a robbery) in many hundred miles 
ryding, so whether it be for fear of justice, love of God, or good 
disposition, small robberies or none at all are heard of there." 


memorandum for Elizabeth's ministers, entitled "A Dis- 
course on the State of Wales." He is emphatic in his 
testimony to the good order prevailing in the Princi- 
pality. " At this dale," he wrote, " it is to be affirmed 
that in Wales universallie are as civille people and 
obedient to lawe as are in England. Throughowte 
Wales in every respect Justice embrased and with as 
indifferent trialles executed as in England, during the 
tyme of her Majestes Reigne, except 3'' or 4°"^ petty 
Comers, Noe treason hard of, very seldome murder, 
in vi years togeather, vnneth on Robbery (committed 
by the highe waye) harde of. Stealinge of cattell is 
the chief evill that generall moste annoyeth the 

An even more authoritative and striking testimony to 
the miraculous change which had been effected in Wales 
was borne by the preamble to the statute 21 Jac. i, 
c. XV. The laws of Wales, it is said, were for the most 
part agreeable to those of England, and were obeyed 
" with great alacrity," and the greatness of the " quiet " 
which prevailed was used as an argument against " any 
further change or innovation." 

Almost alone of later commentators, Burke has 
ascribed the credit of this " wonderful issue " to the 
right cause. Gerard, Vice-President of the Court of the 
Marches, in his report to the Council in 1575, with the 
shortsightedness of an alien official, while recognising 
the effect, mistook the cause. He set down all the 
credit to the stern and resolute policy of the " stout 
Bishop," Rowland Lee, who had so terrified the people 
that " within three or four years the fear of punishment 
wroughte firste in theym the obedience theye nowe have 
grown into." Subsequent writers have followed Gerard, 


and Bishop Rowland has come to be regarded as the 
pacifier and civiUser of Wales. But a calm and dis- 
passionate review of the circumstances will set the 
Bishop's achievement in its right perspective. He was 
in office as President of the Council of the Marches for 
less than nine years {1534-January, 1543), and however 
vigorous his administration and ruthless his methods, it 
would require more than nine years of resolute govern- 
ment to change the habits and to transform the char- 
acter of a whole people. Nor should it be forgotten 
that the Bishop's energies were limited to the border 
counties. His letters, still to be seen among the State 
Papers, bear witness to his incessant activities in 
Cheshire and Shropshire, Denbigh and Flint, Mont- 
gomeryshire and Radnorshire, and occasionally Mon- 
mouthshire and Brecknockshire. With the rest of Wales 
he had little or nothing to do. We have no record that 
he ever visited Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, and 
Cardiganshire in the south, or Merionethshire, Carnar- 
vonshire, and Anglesea in the north. He himself states 
that Merioneth and Cardigan, though shire-ground, were 
as disturbed and lawless as the Borderland, and we 
know, from Sir John Wynn's lively narrative, that 
Carnarvonshire was as turbulent as any portion of Wales. 
Whatever effect the Bishop's administration may have 
had in the eastern counties, his influence can hardly have 
extended to the rest of the Principality, which he never 
even saw. But not only those parts which were under 
the Bishop's rule, but the whole of Wales, settled down 
to cultivate the arts of peace after the time of Henry 
Vin. We hear, it is true, of the " Gwylliaid Cochion 
Mawddwy " (the Red Bandits of Mawddwy) in the reign 
of Edward VI. ; one of the king's judges even was slain 


in one of the wild gorges of Merioneth while he was 
going circuit. In Gerard's time there were still three 
or four disturbed and lawless " petty corners," and 
George Owen specifically mentions the north-east part 
of Cardiganshire, and the wild districts of Arwystli, as 
being dangerous to the traveller. But on the whole, 
and speaking generally, Wales became peaceful and law- 
abiding in the second half of the sixteenth century. The 
fact that every part of the Principality showed the same 
tendency at the same time is proof that the influences 
at work were general and not particular, permanent and 
not transient. Wales was transfigured ; the habits, 
customs, and even the character — the " Welshery " — of 
Welshmen were changed, not because of " the fear of 
punishment," but because the grant of free institutions 
had removed the causes which had led to the growth of 
the evils. Dr. David Powel, in his History of Cambria, 
and George Owen, as has already been noted, took a 
sounder view as to the forces which had led to the 
pacification of Wales. 

Wales became, and has ever since remained, a 
loyal, comparatively crimeless, and easily governed 
portion of the British Dominions. In spite of the 
changes which the influx of strangers has wrought in 
the social condition of the industrial districts of 
South Wales, the proud boast of the Welsh poet as 
to the freedom of the people from crime is still 
substantially true.^ 

A minor, but interesting, question has often been 
asked. Who was responsible for initiating and carrying 

1 Pa wlad wedlr, siarad sydd 

Mor Ian a Chymru lonydd ? 

" What land, when all is said, so pure as peaceful Wales ? " 


through the experiment of killing " Welshery " by trust- 
ing Welshmen ? ^ The Statute of 1542 refers to " peti- 
tions " from the people of Wales. One such petition, 
which was obviously composed before the Statute, 27 
Henry VIII., was passed, is set out at length in Lord 
Herbert of Cherbury's History of the Reign of Henry 
VIII. It is not known who the author or authors of 
the petition may have been. In spite of some quaint 
and whimsical passages, it is evident that the writer was 
not only conversant in no ordinary degree with the 
history of his country, but also that he was no mean 
advocate. Nicholas, in his Annals of the Counties of 
Wales, presumably on the authority of Theophilus Jones, 
the historian of Breconshire, states that its author was 
Sir John Price of Brecon. Probably the surmise is 
correct. Price was a protegd of William Herbert, first 
Earl of Pembroke. If Price was the author, that would 
account for the fact that a copy of the document was 
preserved in the Herbert archives. Sir John was the 

1 " It is remarkable that the person by whom this Statute 
(of 1542) was framed or introduced into Parliament is not known. 
The author of the Observations on the Statute mentions the 
names of some persons who, from their character and situation, 
might have been disposed to such a work ; but he mentions 
them merely as conjectures, and states that the Principality 
must ever remain ignorant of their greatest benefactor. " (Oldnall 
Russell's Practice, Introduction, p. xxvii.) If George Owen is to 
be relied on, some alterations in the Statute, as originally drafted, 
were made during its passage through Parliament. For example, 
the districts of Llanstephan, Llanddowror, and Laughame 
were added to Carmarthenshire (" Dialogue " in Owen's Pembroke- 
shire, ii. p. 105), and Haverfordwest was constituted into a 
separate county borough (ib. p. 113) through the machinations 
of Sir Thomas Johnes, M.P. for Pembrokeshire, and the member 
for Carmarthenshire. It would appear, therefore, that repre- 
sentatives from Wales had taken their seats in Parliament 
before the Act of 1542 was passed. 



author of the first book ever printed in Welsh.^ His 
interest in Welsh history is well known. When he was 
a member of the Court of the Marches, he encouraged, 
in his old age, the pubHcation of Dr. Powel's History of 
Cambria. Moreover, he was the foremost Welsh lawyer 
of the age. His close connection by marriage with 
Thomas Cromwell ^ lends colour to the suggestion. If, 
as the Act relates, the impulse came from Wales, it must 
have come from some one who had the ear of Henry's 
ministers, and of all contemporary Welshmen Sir John 
Price stands out as the man who, by his influence in 
high quarters and by his confidence in the political 
capacity and natured generosity of the Welsh people, 
can with some certainty be named as the inspirer of the 
liberal poUcy of Henry VIII. towards Wales. 

To Thomas Cromwell, also, some of the credit must 
be ascribed. His character and career are even more 
mysterious than those of his master, but of his greatness 

1 Yn y Llyvr hwnn, published in London 1546. Reprinted 
(Ed. J. H. Davies, 1902) in the " Guild of Graduate Series " 
(Jaxvis & Foster, Bangor). 

' The following table, taken from J. H. Davies's edition of 
Yn y Llyvr hwnn, shows the connection of Sir John Price with 
the Cromwells : 

William Morgan, Henry Wykes, Walter Cromwell 

Eglwyswen Putney 

Morgan Williams, 
Putney = Catherine 


Richard Williams, 

ancestor of 

Oliver Cromwell 

John WiUiams 
= Joan 

Joan Williams 
= Sir John Price 

= Thomas 

= Morgan 




there can be no question. He was Secretary of State 
in 1534, when Rowland Lee was sent to Ludlow. He 
was almost at the zenith of liis power when the Act of 
Union was passed. He acquiesced in — perhaps even 
suggested — the appointment of Welshmen to be Justices 
of the Peace. Before he fell, in the summer of 1540, 
the Commission which was to prescribe the Umits of the 
counties, to divide them into hundreds, and to appoint 
the county towns in Wales — to complete, in fine, the 
making of Modern Wales — had commenced its work. 
He may not have been the inspirer of the policy, but he 
was, at least, a willing and active instrument in carrying 
it out. Its very novelty and audacity would have 
appealed to that adventurous spirit, whose motto was 
" to make or mar." * 

But no estimate of the forces at work in the regenera- 
tion of Wales would be complete which failed to take 
into account the character and personality of the king. 
To one school of historians ^ Henry VIII. is the very 

^ Though it seems certain that Cromwell became a convert to 
the Uberal policy, it is noteworthy that, as late as 1533, he still 
belonged to the old school. Throughout that year the words 
" the necessity of looking into the state of Wales " constantly 
occur in his Remembrances. The chief memoranda recorded 
were, that according to the old laws no Welshman was to hold 
office in Wales ; that murders committed in Wales and the 
Marches might be tried in the Star Chamber ; that the Justice 
of Chester should not hold his office by deputy ; and that the 
payment of fines and forfeitures should be rigorously enforced 
on Welshmen convicted in the Star Chamber or before the King's 
Commissioners in the Marches. 

* Perhaps it is inaccurate to describe these writers as a " school 
of historians," for their estimate of the character and policy of 
Henry VIII. has long ago been exploded. Fronde's estimate 
of the statesmanship of Henry VIII. is well known, and though he 
was too much of an apologist for even the atrocities of his reign, 
substantially his estimate of Henry's policy has prevailed. 
I cite below Stubbs's penetrating criticism, which ha.s been 


type of a savage and bloodthirsty tyrant, the creature 
of caprice, the slave of passion, incapable of generous 
and far-sighted statesmanship. In their view, Henry 
was so bent on pursuing his personal quarrel with Rome, 
and so taken up with the excitements of his changing 
amours, that he was either blind or indifferent to what 
was passing in the domain of higher statesmanship, and 
that he remained a mere passive and careless spectator 
of events which he had neither the will nor the capacity 
to control and direct. To the other school of historians, 
Henry is the dominant personality of his age, " every 
inch a king," " the majestic lord who broke the bonds 
of Rome " not from passion or caprice but from deep 
and far-sighted design. " The great factor in the whole 
complication," said Stubbs,^ " is the strong, intelligent, 
self-willed force of the king ; that alone seems to give 
purpose and consistency to the eventful poUcy of the 
period ; Henry VIII. is neither the puppet of parties, 
nor the victim of circumstances, nor the shifty politician, 
nor the capricious tyrant, but a man of light and leading, 
of power, force, and foresight, a man of opportunities, 
stratagems, and surprises, but not the less of iron will 
and determined purpose ; purpose not at once realised 
or systematised, but widening, deepening, and strength- 
ening as the way opens before it." He regards Henry 
" as the main originator of the greatest and most critical 
changes of his reign," and asserts that " no minister, 
great or small, after the fall of Wolsey, can claim any- 
adopted by Pollard and Fisher. Even Gairdner, while denounc- 
ing in severe terms Henry's savage and bloodthirsty character, 
especially in his latter years, and^while emphasising the essentially 
selfish nature of his policy, does'nofdenyj^his^far-sighted states- 
manship. (See Lollardy and the Reformation.) 

1 Stubbs, Mediaeval and Modern History, pp. 283, 306, etc. 


thing like an original share in determining the royal 
policy." Such a theory, it is true, necessitates the belief 
in a great development of design and new purpose in 
the king as his reign proceeded, but the historian does 
not shrink from adopting that solution. " From the 
very beginning of his reign he is finding out what he 
can do." He ruled through his ministers and council, 
but " on the whole Henry was his own chief counsellor." 
This estimate of the king's character accords with the 
development of the Welsh policy of his reign. At first 
Wales was ignored. In 1525, when the death of Sir 
Rhys ap Thomas forced the affairs of the Principality 
upon his notice, the king was content merely to revive 
his father's policy by sending the Princess Mary to hold 
her court at Ludlow. As he became aware of the anarchy 
that prevailed, he resorted to stronger measures. He 
sent Rowland Lee to reduce the land to order. But 
with increasing knowledge came a greater grasp of the 
situation and a clearer perception of the dimensions of 
the problem. It may be that he was stirred to unusual 
effort by affection for the country from which the Tudors 
had sprung, and by a belated remembrance of his father's 
dying charge that he should deal tenderly with the land 
of their origin, '^e authorised, even if he did not suggest, 
the grant of a constitution to the distracted country. 
Had he been a mere passive and Ustless spectator of 
events, content merely to register the decrees of his 
ministers, the Welsh policy which was commenced in 
1534 would have ended with the fall of Cromwell in 
1540. By abandoning that pohcy, Henry would have 
followed the line of least resistance. The Lord President 
was reluctant, if not hostile. The other officials in 
Wales viewed it with alarm and dismay. There was no 


member of his Council who cared enough about Wales, 
or who was endowed with sufficient insight and fore- 
sight, to urge upon the king the continuance of his pro- 
gressive policy. It would have been easy for Henry, 
had he so wished, to exercise the powers conferred upon 
him by Parliament to suspend or repeal the Statute of 
1535- The fact that the policy was neither altered nor 
retarded after Cromwell's fall — ^that, indeed, it was con- 
tinued, developed, and completed two years after his 
death — affords the strongest evidence that the king took 
an active, personal, and intelligent interest in its pro- 
motion. It has been said that Henry VIII. was the 
greatest king that ever ruled over England, because he 
always had his own way. In his ecclesiastical policy, 
in his dealings with Scotland ^ and Ireland, in his rela- 
tions with the great powers of the Continent, he was 
invariably fortunate. No Pavia or Innsbriick checked 
his victorious career. But in no department of govern- 
ment was he more successful than in his dealings with 
the land of the Tudors ; in no other direction did he dis- 
play greater qualities of statesmanship. With unerring 
skill he -diagnosed the evils from which the country was 
suffering. With supreme and serene courage he applied 
the remedy. His policy was one of inspired common 
sense, which no statesman, bereft of sympathy and 
imagination, could have conceived. The stage upon 
which he was called to display these great qualities was 
small, and on that account the real magnitude of his 
achievement has been overlooked. EngHsh historians 
have treated it in a superficial and perfunctory manner, 

^ He did not, it is true, actually succeed in bringing about the 
betrothal of the Prince of Wales with Mary Stuart ; but he 
would never have perpetrated the blunder of Protector Somerset's 
" rough wooing " which ended at Pinkie. 


when they have deigned to refer to it at all. The 
measure of the man is brought to an impartial test in 
his Welsh policy. Here at least he was stirred by no 
selfish or ignoble motives, and there can be no question 
about his success. 

There is one feature which distinguishes the Union of 
Wales with England from that of Scotland and that of 
Ireland. It is notorious that the Act of Union of 1801 
was never popular in Ireland. It was passed through 
the Irish Parhament with difiiculty, by wholesale bribery 
and corruption, and it has remained a festering soie in 
the pohtical and social Ufe of the people to this day. 
Nor was the Scottish Act of Union popular at the time, 
or for years after it had become operative, with the 
people of Scotland. Burton has shown how, for one or 
two generations, it was bitterly resented by nearly all 
classes. Smollett, in the middle of the eighteenth 
century, and Sir Walter Scott, in the early years of the 
last century, did not disguise their hostiUty to it. Scot- 
land became reconciled to the Union when the effect of 
the generous commercial clauses came to be experienced. 
" The sacrifice of a nationality," observes Lecky, with 
a dry cynicism only to be found in a utilitarian philo- 
sopher, " is a measure which naturally produces such 
intense and such enduring discontent that it should 
never be exacted unless it can be accompanied by some 
pohtical or material advantages that are so great, and 
at the same time so evident, as to prove a corrective." ^ 

The union of Wales with England was never unpopular 

in Wales, and in the course of the four centuries that 

have since elapsed there has never been a petition from 

the people of Wales for its repeal. The reason for the 

' Lecky, History of England, vol. ii. p. 303. 


instantaneous and permanent popularity of the Union 
in Wales lay in the fact that it did not entail any " sacri- 
fice of nationality," as was to some extent the case with 
Scotland and Ireland. Wales became, for the first time, 
a coherent and organised country ; before that time it 
was not even a geographical expression. It might have 
been expected that Welshmen, whose devotion to their 
mother-tongue has always been profound and passionate, 
would have resented its supersession as the official 
language of the Principality by Enghsh. The reference 
in the preamble of the Act of Union to the Welsh tongue 
is not flattering or even true, and there can be little 
doubt that neither King Henry nor his ministers re- 
garded with any great measure of forbearance the pro- 
longation of its life. On the other hand, we need not 
suppose that the ostracism of the vernacular tongue was 
as complete in official circles as it afterwards became. 
The Justices of the Peace who were entrusted with the 
task of administering the law were probably nearly all 
Welsh-speaking Welshmen, for the gentry of Wales only 
abandoned their native speech in the eighteenth and 
nineteenth centuries. Gerard mentions the fact that one 
of his judicial colleagues on the Court of the Marches 
knew Welsh, and Elizabeth's ministers early became 
impressed with the desirability of having Welsh-speaking 
judges in Wales. Queen Elizabeth, acting under the 
advice of Sir William Cecil, himself the third in descent 
from a genuine old Welsh family — the Seisyllts of AUt- 
yr-ynys — was a patron of Welsh letters. Early in her 
reign the Scriptures were ordered to be translated into 
Welsh. " If it please God once to send them the Bible 
in their owne language, according to the godlie lawes 
alreadie established," wrote Dr. Powel, in his Preface to 


the History of Cambria, " the countrie of Wales will be 
comparable to anie countrie in England." Within a 
few years his pious wish was fulfilled. Bishop Morgan's 
Welsh Bible appeared in 1588. 

Similarly, it might have been expected that Welshmen 
would have preferred to cling to the old laws and customs 
of the country than to adopt a strange system of land 
tenure and a law of inheritance to which they were 
averse. 1 But though the Welsh peasant has never quite 
grasped the conditions of English land tenure or appre- 
ciated the justice or utility of the law of primogeniture, 
there never has been any feeling of hostility to the 
Union because it was accompanied by these changes. 
Never, indeed, was there such a violent change effected 
with so little resistance. The Welsh are essentially a 
conservative race, who are keenly sensitive to the living 
influence of the past. Chapuys, the Imperial Ambas- 
sador, emphasised the distress among the Welsh, " from 
whom, by Act of Parliament, the King has just taken 
away their native laws, customs, and privileges, which 
is the very thing they can endure least patiently." Yet 
they passively allowed King Henry to break with Rome, 
to dissolve the monasteries, and to alter the religious 
services, to place the Welsh language under an official 
ban, to extirpate the old Welsh laws and customs, and 

^ It should be remembered that there had been a gradual decay 
of the tribal system. See, for instance, an account given in the 
Mostyn MSS. No. 158 of the way Sir Rhys ap Thomas treated 
the yeomen. " For I have heard many people from that part 
of the county (lying between the Tawe and the Towy) say that 
within 20 miles around the place where old Sir Rhys ap Thoracis 
dwelt there was not in the possession of the poor yeomen any 
land which, if he fancied it, he did not obtain, either as a gratuity 
or by purchase, without consulting the owners " (Hist. Comm. 
Report on the Mostyn MSS. Intro, p. x.). 


to revolutionise the whole social and political condition 
of the country without a protest or a murmur. The 
reason for this tame acceptance of their sovereign's will 
was twofold. First, there was the passionate loyalty 
to the Welsh dynasty, a far more potent force with 
Welshmen of the sixteenth century than we are some- 
times disposed to credit. " All the waters of Wye will 
not wash away your Majesty's Welsh blood," exclaimed 
Fluellen to Henry V. What was a jest to the play- 
wright was sober earnest to the countrymen of the 
Tudors. Secondly, these changes were accompanied by 
those " material and political advantages " which are 
Said to act as a " corrective " in such cases. Wales, 
even more than England, had suffered from " lack of 
governance " in the fifteenth century, and had materially 
benefited by the change. " Good government," as 
Llawdden said, was what Wales wanted, and it was a 
source of peculiar pride to Welshmen that they obtained 
it from a Welsh dynasty. 

George Owen, who understood Wales and Welshmen 
as few men have done, comments on the paradox of a 
conservative people accepting, with cordial readiness, 
the gravest changes in their estate. In his " Dialogue 
on the Government of Wales " ^ he makes BarthoU draw 
his interlocutor's attention to this singular fact. 

" Bar. : I much marvaile how upon the first alteracion 
of the government of Wales (when King Henry 

^ P. 91, part iii. of Owen's Pembrokeshire. Cf. also ibid. p. 53, 
" Wheras before the sayd statute of Henry VIII wee in Wales 
had no such officers (as J.P.'s), nor any o" man almost of o" 
Nation that bare any authoritye in the common- wealth. But 
such officers as wee had in Wales were for the most part straungers 
of other cuntreys lyving on the spoyle of the poor afHicted 


VIII utterlie abolished the Welsh lawes and 
brought in the EngUsh lawes) the counties re- 
ceived the same quietlie and w"'out great grudg- 
ing and some rebellion ; for new government and 
alteration of auntient lawes is not easily receaved 
into any commonwealth w*''out tumultes, and 
innovation in government is accounted very 
dangerous in a commonwealth. And yet I heare 
not of you y' Wales repined at altering their 
lawes or inducing a new government. 

" Demetus : So it is dangerous to alter anything in 
a well-governed Commonwealth such as Wales 
then was not. But to such as live in bondage 
and slaverie, innovacions and alteracions from 
Crueltie to Justice are sweet and pleasant ; and 
then we y^ poore Welshmen y' were cruellie 
oppressed by o"^ governors, I mean the Strangers 
that were Stewards, Justices, Sherifes and others, 
who had law to judge as pleased them, and not 
to justifie as we deserved, were very glad of those 
new lawes, and embraced the same w* joyfull 
hartes : and this caused those Lawes to be 
receaved so quietlie, wheras in times past many 
a bloudie battaile was fought before they receaved 
the cruell English Lawes and Lawgivers wherew* 
they were oppressed." 

I purpose in the following pages to trace in more 
detail, among other things, the steps in the development 
and success of this poUcy of associating a subject race 
with their own government — a poUcy which we have 
been of late years timorously and tentatively trying in 
India. The experiment was much in advance of any 


conception of government that prevailed before that 
time. It was perhaps fortunate that the experiment 
was not first tried in corj>ore vili, on a people who had 
been rendered sullen and desperate, not only by long 
years of oppression, but by the fact that the reigning 
dynasty was alien in blood and sympathy. Happily in 
Wales, in spite of racial antipathies, there was a real 
attachment to and pride in the Tudor king, " bearing 
his name and blood from us." ^ No doubt that fact 
helped to make for the success of the experiment, but 
the success was none the less due to an inexorable and 
eternal law of human nature, which happened to be 
first put to the test in the case of Wales. Its shining 
success made it come to be regarded in after-times as 
an inspiration, and on the principles upon which Henry 
VIII. proceeded in his pacification of Wales has been 
based the stately edifice of the British Empire. There 
is no finality in human affairs, no rest for " the ever 
climbing footsteps of the world." O'Hagan, one of the 
poets of young Ireland, sang seventy years ago : 

There never lived a nation yet 
That ruled another well. 

The rhetoric of the Irish " Rebel " has become the 
gospel of the League of Nations. 

Even while we contemplate, with pride and thankful- 
ness, the success of the partial experiment which was 
attempted in Wales, it is impossible to shut one's eyes 
to the fact that the result was not an unmixed benefit 
to Wales. In process of time the Welsh language, 
which has the longest literary tradition of any modern 
language in Europe, was dangerously, though happily 

* Petition : set out in Lord Herbert of Cherbury's Life of 
Henry VIII. 


not fatally, wounded in the house of her friends ; the 
self-respect of a proud and ancient race whose " frank- 
ness " in the presence of their superiors was remarked 
on with complacent satisfaction by Giraldus Cambrensis, 
was trodden under foot and almost destroyed ; the 
piety of a devout and religious people was undermined 
by the neglect of their new rulers ; the democratic 
culture, the secular possession and abiding glory of the 
Cymry, wellnigh disappeared under the blight of a 
fatuous policy of AngUcisation ; and the self-reliance of 
men who in Tudor times were of the Royal Tribe, and 
who before those days bore themselves with the proud 
self-esteem of men who had a stake in the land of their 
birth, gave way to unre^oning dififtdence under the 
harsh land laws of the English and the cold indifference 
of the Stuarts and the Hanoverians. I hope, before my 
task is done, to show how, almost without any patronage 
from the State or any assistance from great and wealthy 
personages, but by their own native energy, this 

Ancient folk speaking an ancient speech 
And cherishing in their bosoms all their past, 

have renewed their youth like the eagle and " kindled 
their undazzled eyes at the full mid-day beam " of high 
endeavour and adventure, and restored " the old fair 
treasure of their native speech " to its appropriate 
position, to be the study of the learned, the instructress 
of the young, and the familiar friend and companion of 
her gifted children. 



Before the reign of Henry VHI. the Principality of 
Wales was much smaller and less important than the 
tract of country to which we apply that name. After 
the fall of Llewelyn in 1282 the PrincipaUty was annexed 
to the EngUsh Crown, and divided into the " three 
ancient shires of North Wales," viz. Anglesea, Carnarvon, 
and Merioneth. Flint, which was at one time treated 
as a parcel of the Palatine County of Chester, was finally 
annexed to Wales in the reign of Edward II. Car- 
marthen and Cardigan — ^the patrimony of the Princes 
of Dinevor — alone of the districts of South Wales, 
became shire-ground in the time of Edward I., with 
their own sheriffs and courts. The rest of Wales was 
known as " the Marches," which was under the rule of 
no less than 143 Lords Marcher. The distinctive mark 
of a Lordship Marcher was the castle, for it was the 
badge and symbol that the neighbouring lands had 
been won by conquest. " There is scarce a castle in 
Wales, being in number 143 castles, but is known at 
this day to have been builded by some English lord or 
other." ^ Brevis domini regis non currit in Wallia was 
true of all the Lordships Marcher except the County 

* Owen's Pembrokeshire, pt. iii. p. iii. 


Palatine of Pembroke, " which was counted part of 
England, and therefore called Little England beyond 
Wales. Neither was there any sheriff or other officers 
of y'' king to execute any of y"" kinges writs or pre- 
cepts in Wales. . . . Therefore these lordes themselves 
were forced of necessity to execute lawes of sove- 
raj^e governors over their tenants and people in 
those strange countreys and lordships subdued by 
them." ^ 

Naturally, as there were one hundred and forty-three 
Lords Marcher exercising semi-regal authority in various 
parts of Wales, great diversity of law and practice pre- 
vailed. Primogeniture prevailed in some lordships, 
while in others the old Welsh system of gavelkind sur- 
vived. In some lordships the two systems remained 
side by side, the eldest son inheriting in the EngUsh 
portions of the march, while among the Welsh subjects 
of the land, the old Welsh custom still lingered. In 
other lordships again, though gavelkind prevailed, land 
would pass by feoffment, and not by surrender, and 
these were called " lands of English tenure and Welch 
dole." ^ But " many lordes did utterly extirpat both 
Welsh lawes and Welsh dole, and wrought all as in 
England : and these matters and customs were per- 
mitted or denied in every lordship as pleased y" first 
conquerors thereof." * 

The greatest of the Lordships Marcher were the County 
Palatine of Pembroke and the lordship of Glamorgan, 
which were organised on the same lines as English 

1 Owen's Pembrokeshire, pt. iii. p. 139. 

* "Kyfraith Saesneg ag rhan Kymraig " (Owen's Pembroke- 
shire, iii. 148). 

'Owen's Pembrokeshire, pt. iii. p. 147. 


counties.^ The county of Pembroke was, however, less 
extensive than the English-speaking part of modem 
Pembrokeshire. It did not include Lamphey, Haver- 
fordwest, Walwyn's Castle, Slebech, and Narberth. 
Dewisland was under the Bishop, and Kemmes was a 
separate lordship.^ The Lordship of Glamorgan was 
also smaller than the modem county. The Lordship 
of GoweE was outside its boundaries as well as the 
" Blaenau," the hill districts where the Welsh dwelt 
under their own chiefs and enjoyed their own laws and 
customs. The Lordship, from the time when Robert of 
Gloucester married Fitzhamon's daughter, became an 
appanage of the great western earldom. The Lordship 
proper, the Corpus Comitatus, consisted of thirty-six 
knight's fees which did suit to the castle of Cardiff, 
where the sheriff held his monthly court, and the Chan- 
cellor on the day following for " matters of conscience." 
The " members " consisted of the twelve chief lordships, 
which had hke regal jurisdiction, except that a writ of 
error lay to the Chancery of Glamorgan, and that the 
suitors, and not the presiding officer, were the judges. 
The possessions of the Cathedral of Llandaff and of the 
religious houses were also held of the lord, who even 
claimed to have the gift of the bishopric. Both Palati- 
nates were governed bj' the laws and customs of Eng- 
land.' The old " shire-ground," consisting of the five 
" ancient counties " of North and South Wales, was 
administered, as far as might be, as if it was English 

^ Both Pembroke and Glamorgan were organised as shires 
long before the " Conquest " of Wales in 1282, the former as 
early as Henry I. 

'Tout's "Welsh Shires," Y Cymmrodor, vol. ix. pt. ii. 

3 Dr. Henry Owen, " English Law in Wales," p. 17 ; Y 
Cymmrodor, vol. xiv. 


" shire-ground," though a modicum of Welsh laws 
and customs had been preserved by the Statute of 

The towns were few, small, and of little importance. 
They sprang up around the baronial castle, and partook 
more of the character of English garrisons than of 
centres of trade and commerce. " Although most of 
the inhabitants of those towns are become now more 
Welsh in language and manner of living," wrote George 
Owen, in his " Treatise of the Lordshipps Marchers," 
" yet doe manye retayne y* English names, and most 
places about those townes doe give great libertyes to 
Englishmen of those townes." ^ Some years earlier, in 
1587, John Penry, the first Welsh Nonconformist, said 
that " there is never a market town in Wales where 
English is not as rife as Welsh." They held their 
liberties by charter from their lords, and were governed 
by mayors and bailiffs, or by stewards. 

The existence of so many Lords Marcher, armed with 
such absolute authority, was a source of grave danger 
both to the king's power and to the good condition of 
the people of Wales. So powerful, indeed, did the Lords 
Marcher become, that, to an extent hardly appreciated 
by English historians, they turned the scale in every 
political crisis in England,* and made and unmade 
dynasties at their caprice. Edward L was strong enough 
to maintain some semblance of authority over them. 

* Owen's Pembrokeshire, pt. iii. p. 168. Cf. ibid. p. 103. 

2 Morris, Welsh Wars of Edward I., p. 221. " Such a position 
(as Lord of Glamorgan) influenced the Clare's status as a feudal 
baton of England. A baron who owed to the King the service 
of more than four hundred and fifty knights, in addition to being 
Lord of Glamorgan, simply held the balance of power in any 
crisis against the Crown." 


The first statute of Westminster (3 Edw. I. c. 17) enacted 
that the king who is sovereign Lord over all shall do 
right there {i.e. in the Marches) unto such as will com- 
plain ; and after the death of Llewelyn, he showed that 
he did not intend them to be mere idle words. He 
actively interfered in the dispute which had arisen 
between the Earl of Gloucester as Lord of Glamorgan 
and the Earl of Hereford, and decided it as judge, as if 
the two earls were only ordinary subjects.^ Edward III., 
who had in early life experienced the dangers that might 
arise to the EngUsh throne from the over-grown power 
of the Mortimers and the other Lords Marcher, enacted 
{28 Edw. III. c. 2) that " all the Lords of the Marches 
of Wales shall be perpetually attending and annexed to 
the Crown of England, as they and their ancestors have 
been at all times past, and not to the Principahty of 
Wales." He, like his grandfather, was determined to 
show that the king had more than a mere semblance of 
authority over his subjects in the Marches. In 1331 he 
sent commissioners to inquire into the acts of Richard 
de Peshale and Alinia, his wife, the daughter and heiress 
of WiUiam de Breos, the Lord of Gower. But such 
occasional exercises of feudal suzerainty were not suf- 
ficient to keep the authority of the Lords Marcher 
within bounds. Mr. Justice Stephen ^ aptly compares 
their position to that of " the small rajahs to whom much 
of the territory of the Punjab and North-West Provinces 
still belong." Twenty-one of them sat in Parliament 

* For a detailed and interesting account of Edward's attempt 
to curb the powers and privileges of the Lords Marcher by 
taking advantage of the feud between the two earls, see c. vi. of 
J. E. Morris's Welsh Wars of Edward I. 

* History of Criminal Law. 

W.M.W. c 


in virtue of their Welsh lordships in the reigns of the 
first three Edwards, although, so destructive had been 
their wars, in the time of George Owen, " onlie Aber- 
gavenny att this day still continueth his place and name, 
and in y^ Une and blood of y" first conqueror thereof." ^ 
In the meantime they had played their vigorous and 
decisive part in the affairs of England. The House of 
York derived its chief support from Wales and the 
Marches, where, as heirs to the Mortimers, they were 
not only the most powerful of the Lords Marcher, but 
as the descendants of Gladys Ddu, the daughter of 
Llewelyn the Great, they were regarded with singular 
affection by Welsh bards and people. ^ Henry BoUng- 
broke was not only Duke of Lancaster, and in that 
capacity a Lord Marcher, but as Earl of Hereford he 
owned vast possessions in a district which was largely 
Welsh,^ and which was successfully claimed to be undei 
the jurisdiction of the Court of the Marches until the 
Long Parliament. Warwick the King-maker was head 
of the great Marcher house of Neville ; the Duke of 
Buckingham was Lord of Brecknock as well as chief 
justice and chamberlain of South and North Wales, and 

1 " Treatise of Lordshipps Marchers in Wales," Owen's Pemb. 
iii. p. 170. 

' Cf. Petition in Lord Herbert's Henry VIII. : " For adhering 
to the House of York, which we conceived the better title, we 
conserved our devotion still to the Crown, until your Highnesses 
father's time, who {bearing his name and blood from us) was the 
more cheerfully assisted by our predecessors in his title to the 
Crown, which your Highness doth presently enjoy." 

^ For the survival of Welsh as a spoken tongue in the Golden 
Valley and the Ross district of Herefordshire, see a note by 
Egerton PhilUmore in Owen's Pembrokeshire, vol. iii. p. 264. 
See also Bannister's Herefordshire (Jakeman & Carver, Here- 


his undoing was largely due to his failure to enlist the 
co-operation of Rhys ap Thomas in his adventure ; ^ 
and the later phases of the Wars of the Roses were to 
some extent a contest for supremacy in Wales and the 
Marches of the Yorkist and Lancastrian Earls of Pem- 
broke. In truth, the Wars of the Roses were to an 
unsuspected degree a March quarrel. The political 
motive for their outbreak has always been regarded as 
inadequate. The ambition of Richard of York, and the 
fiery spirit of his son Edward, may account for the part 
they played ; but why should they have succeeded in 
embroiling all England in their rivalry with the House 
of Lancaster ? The key to the mystery lies in the 
politics of the Welsh Marches. There the Barons had 
been accustomed to private wars. After the rebellion 
of Owen Glyndwr, the country had never settled down ; 
the king's authority was shadowy, unreal, and seldom 
enforced ; each Lord Marcher did what seemed good in 
his own eyes. Henry of Lancaster and Richard of York 
were rivals in the Marches, and the Wars of the Roses 
were only March wars on a larger scale. The majority 
of the persons who were prominently engaged in them 
were Marcher Lords, or they held similar positions on 
the Scottish March. The troops employed were very 
largely drawn from the Marches of Wales. The scale 
was finally turned when Welshmen withdrew from their 
traditional loyalty to the House of York and transferred 
their allegiance to Lancaster. Had Prince Edward been 
spared after Tewkesbury, the course of English history 
might have been different. By his death Henry Tudor, 
" Ml Gadwaladr, paladr per," " of the line of Cadwaladr 
of the beautiful shaft," became the representative of the 
' See Gairdner's Richard III., p. 219. 


House of Lancaster. Howel Aerddren, in his " Ode to 
Patrick," i.e. Henry Tudor, sang : ^ 

Thy descent was purer than Baron or Duke's, for it fell from 

a Briton. 
Call the Welsh to thy side, and they will come to thee ; 
Demand England under thee and the despoiling of her men. 

The chance of avenging the Conquest of 1282 and of 
placing a Welshman of the royal line on the English 
throne was sufficient to rally aU Welshmen to the Lan- 
castrian standard. Hitherto they had been fighting for 
feudal lord or baron ; for a Mortimer, for a Neville, or 
a Fitz-alan. At Bosworth they fought for a kinsman of 
Glyndwr, for a prince descended from the royal stock of 
North and South Wales. The force of the popular 
enthusiasm carried the Welsh chiefs and the Lords 
Marcher on its sweeping tide. Buckingham plotted 
against Richard, and fled to his tenants at Brecon when 
pursued by the wrath of the king. Rhys ap Thomas of 
Dineyor, whose grandfather, Griffith ap Nicholas, had 
fallen for the White Rose at Mortimer's Cross,^ cast 
aside the prejudices of his youth and cordially espoused 
the cause of Henry Tudor. No one can read the account 
of the landing of Henry at Milford Haven, of his progress 
through Wales gathering adherents, and of his crowning . 
triumph at Bosworth Field, without being impressed 

i"Ode to Patrick," Brit. Mus. Add. MSS., 14971 fos. 170 b, 
171b. I am indebted for this and other citations from the 
fifteenth century poets to an excellent unpublished paper bv 
Prof. W. Garmon Jones, of Liverpool University, on " Wales in 
the Fifteenth Century." Prof. Garmon Jones has published 
some of his researches in the last volume of the Transactions of 
the Cymmrodorion Society (1917-1918). 

" I am not convinced by Howell Evans's argument in his 
Wales and the Wars of the Roses that Griffith was a partisan of 


with the fact that without the enthusiasm of his country- 
men such an adventure would have been impossible. It 
is estimated that the total number of men whom Henry 
commanded at Bosworth was only five thousand .'^ He 
had had no time to coUect troops in England, even had 
he been able to attract any adherents. The fortnight 
that had elapsed since his landing had mainly been spent 
in Welles. Lord Sianley, though married to Henry's 
mother, took no part in the battle. The desertion of 
Sir William Stanley, the Chamberlain of North Wales, 
which turned the fortune of the day, brought the Welsh- 
men of North Wales to the support of their countryman. 
Sir William's subsequent career shows that he was no 
keen partisan of the Tudor. It is no mere conjecture, 
therefore, that his desertion of Richard was due to the 
temper of his Welsh followers. For years before the 
Welsh bards had been exhorting their countrymen to 
fight for the Tudor. In their mystical " brudiau," or 
rhyming prophecies, they had predicted the victory of 
Henry. He was the grandson of Owen Tudor, and was 
not Owen of the Red Hand to return from overseas to 
deUver liis countrymen ? 
Tame the Saxon, if thou livest, forgive not one single traitor ' 
When the Bull comes from the far land of battle, 
Let the far-splitting spear shed the blood of the Saxon on 
the stubble.' 

' Gairdner's Richard III., p. 235. Of these, according to 
Polydore Virgil, five hundred had joined at Newport (Salop) 
under Sir Gilbert Talbot. What means Henry employed to 
gather Welsh troops may be inferred from a very curious letter 
which he sent to his kinsman John ap Meredith on his landing 
at Milford Haven, and which is given in Wynne's History of the 
Gwydir Family, pp. 55-6. , 

2 " Ode to Patrick," supra. 

' Hist. Comm. Report, Peniarth MSS., p. 408. The contents, 



Such was the spirit of the exhortations which were 
addressed by the bards to their eager countrymen. In 
England Henry Tudor might be accepted as the repre- 
sentative of the Red Rose.^ To Welshmen he was one 
of their own race. One of the three standards * under 
which he fought at Bosworth was the Red Dragon of 
Wales. EngUshmen might regard his marriage with 
Elizabeth Plantagenet as the union of the two Roses. 
Welshmen regarded it as the union of the descendant 
of Lord Rhys of Dinevor with the heiress of Llewelyn 
the Great. ^ Henry himself was careful to foster this 

metre, and authorslaip show that it cannot relate to Llewelyn, 
but to the Tudors. 

1 Modern historians have doubted if the Lancastrians had 
adopted the Red Rose as their badge, but it is asserted that the 
Red Rose was the " Tudor Rose." See Evans's Wales and the 
Wars of the Roses, pp. 7-8. 

^ The first banner was emblazoned with the figure of St. George> 
the second with the Red Dragon of Cadwaladr, " a red fiery 
dragon beaten upon white and green sarcanet " (Hall, 423), and 
the third with the dun cow of the Tudors 

' The following table shows the Tudor descent from Lord Rhys 

Lord Rhys 








= Griffith Vychan 

Owen Gtwndwr 


= (i) Wm. Griffith de La Pole 
= (2) Tudor ap Gronw 


Tudor . 

Owen Tudor. 


idea. He refused to base his title to the English throne 
only or mainly on his Lancastrian descent, or his York- 
shire marriage, or his parUamentary title. He claimed 
the crown of England by right of conquest. Alone of 
English sovereigns he was crowned on the field of battle. 
His first act on entering London was an assertion of his 
title by conquest. " He went first into St. Paul's 
Church, where, not meaning that the people should 
forget too soon that he came in by battle," said Bacon,^ 
" he made offertory of his standards, and had orizons 
and Te Deum sung." Henry's insistence on his title by 
conquest has puzzled English historians from Bacon 
downwards, who have chosen to regard his accession as 
the natural and inevitable outcome of the Wars of the 
Roses. Henry himself never forgot his Welsh blood, or 
the services which his countrymen rendered to him at 
the crisis of his fortunes. After ascending the throne 
he sent a commission to Wales to inquire into and 
pubHsh his Welsh descent. This is said to have been 
due to his sensitiveness to the charge that he was of a 
mean and ignoble Uneage. It is more probable that he 
wished to proclaim to the world that he was descended 
from the Welsh princely Une, and to conciliate the Welsh 
by showing that a descendant of Cadwaladr sat on the 
English throne. Mr. Pollard ^ has revived an old legend 
that the Tudors " were a Welsh family of modest means 
and doubtful antecedents. They claimed, it is true, 
descent from Cadwaladr, and their pedigree was as long 
and quite as veracious as most Welsh genealogies." ^ 
It is, perhaps, little to the purpose to trace in detail the 

1 Bacon's Henry VII., Spedding's edition, vol. vi. p. 32. 

2 Pollard's Henry VIII., p. 5. 
' Ibid. 


Tudor line. Suffice it to say that the Tudors were 
descended, though not in the male line, from the old 
Welsh princes. Mr. Pollard speaks of the worthlessness 
of Welsh genealogies. It is true that in Wales, as in 
England, pedigrees were forged, especially in the six- 
teenth century. But few Welsh scholars, who have 
consulted the genealogical poems of the fifteenth century 
bards, will be found to endorse Mr. Pollard's opinion. 
What is of interest is that Henry should have been 
anxious to proclaim his Welsh descent. He called his 
eldest son Arthur after the Cymric national hero. A 
foreign writer, writing in 1500, said of the Welsh that 
" they may now be said to have recovered their former 
independence, for the most wise and fortunate Henry 
VII. is a Welshman." ^ Henry VII. did not feel secure 
on his throne for many years. Bacon remarks that he 
never slaked in his hostility to the House of York. 
When the impostors, Lambert Simnel and Perkin War- 
beck, invaded the realm, it was to Wales that he mainly 
turned for support. England had become to a large 
extent a settled country. Even the destructive Wars 
of the Roses had hardly affected the common people. 
So little interest was there felt in the quarrel that in 
the decisive and final battle of the war only some ten 
thousand combatants were engaged. But Wales was in 
different case. It was given up to the pursuit of arms 
as a profession. The restrictive acts of Henry IV., 
passed during and after the rebellion of Glyndwr, had 
gradually ceased to be operative. They were in any 
case only meant to apply to the old possessions of the 
Prince of Snowdon. The domains of the Lords Marcher 

^ An Italian Relation of the Island of England, published by 
the Camden Society. 


were untouched by them. It is difficult to decide 
whether the " ancient counties " or the districts under 
the Lords Marcher were the most disturbed and dis- 
tracted in the fifteenth century. In the previous century 
Dafydd ap Gwilym, and even lolo Goch, who became 
the bard of Glyndwr, sang of a peaceful and industrious 
Wales. The rebelUon of Glyndwr, the French Wars, 
and the Civil Wars that followed, had thrown the whole 
country into confusion and anarchy. The History of 
the Gwydir Family describes what took place in Car- 
narvon, which was " shire-ground." In the time of 
Henry VIII. Bishop Rowland Lee complained that 
Cardigan and Merioneth, though shire-ground, were not 
less disturbed than the Marches. In the anarchy that 
prevailed each Lord Marcher had become a semi-inde- 
pendent kinglet, who maintained a large retinue of 
armed followers. A malefactor had only to fly over the 
border of his lordship to be welcomed with open arms 
by a neighbouring Lord Marcher. " The government 
and royall jurisdiction of y^ said Lords Marchers (which 
was in most places executed most injuriouslie by bad 
partiall and covetous ministers) was found to be most 
noysome and rather a cause to urge ye subjects to 
rebell than to preserve and keep in quietness y° country 
people." ^ In England, Henry VII. dealt vigorously 
with great nobles who kept too many retainers. In 
Wales he did nothing. He allowed Rhys ap Thomas 
to Jjecome the most powerful man that South Wales 
had produced since the Lord Rhys.^ Sir Rhys's whole 

1 George Owen, Description of Wales, p. 20. 

» Y Brenhin bia'r ynys 

Ond sy o ran i Sir Rhys. 

Bhys Nanmor. 


force was always at the king's command, whether it 
was to put down a pretender or to aid his sovereign 
overseas. Henry VH. never forgot that Wales was 
the most martial portion of his realm ; he tried to 
attach it to himself by appeals to its racial pride ; and 
" gave in chardge to his soone Prynce Henry that he 
showld have a spetiall care for the benefitt of his owne 
Nation and Countrymen the Welshmen." ^ 


The first attempt to bring Wales into better order was 
made in the reign of Edward IV. True to the Yorkist 
policy of " governance," Edward determined to estab- 
lish a Court in the Marches of Wales which would put 
down lawlessness with a strong hand, and, by bringing 
near to the people something in the nature of a cen- 
tralised government, help to remove some of the evils 
under which the land was groaning. That the people 
of Wales, then as now, were amenable to good govern- 
ment is apparent from the complaints of the bards, who, 
martial though they were, showed that they were yearn- 
ing for the dawn of better days. " Ni fyn un dyn ofni 
Duw," " there is none that will fear God," was the bitter 
complaint of Dafydd Llwyd ap Llewelyn. The story of 
the foundation of the Court of the CouncU of the Marches 
was sketched by Dr. Powel in his History of Cambria in 
1584. Dr. Powel was in touch with Sir Henry Sidney 
and the other officials of the Court, and his account 
must have been derived from intimate contact with 
those who had made a study of its history. At all 

^ George Owen's "Dialogue" in Owen's Pembrokeshire, pt. ill. 
p. 39- 


events it is certain that recent investigations have not 
materially corrected any statements made by the old 
historian, or added appreciably to our information.^ 
" King Edward the Fourth," said Powel, " using much 
the faithfull service of the Welshmen meant the refor- 
mation of the estate of Wales, and the establishment of 
a court within that PrincipaUtie, and therefore he sent 
the Bishop of Worcester, and the Earle of Rivers, with 
the Prince of Wales, to the countrie, to the end he might 
understand how to proceed in his proposed reformation. 
But the trowbles and disquietnesse of his owne subjects, 
and the shortness of his time sufiiced him to doo Uttle 
or nothing in that behalfe." " 

It is now ascertained that the Prince's Court in the 
Marches was first constituted about the year 1471.^ 
But Edward IV. does not appear to have done much 
more than establish the Court at Ludlow. Of real 

' The first attempt in recent times to investigate the story of 
" The Court of the President and Council of Wales and the 
Marches " was made by the late Judge David Lewis, whose 
valuable paper appeared in vol. x i. of the Cymmrodor magazine. 
This was supplemented by the extremely interesting " Further 
Notes " of Mr. Lleufer Thomas in the subsequent volume. 
Dr. Henry Owen's " EngUsh Law in Wales and the Marches," 
which has already been cited (vol. xiv. of the Cymmrodor), also 
dealt with the same subject. StiU later. Miss Skeel has dealt 
exhaustively with the whole history of the Court in her learned 
and careful work entitled The Council in the Marches of Wales. 
Flenley's " Register " of the Council, published in the Record 
Series of the Cymmrodorion Series, provides valuable material, 
though most of it was foreign to the scope of this book. 

^ Powel's History of Cambria, p. 389. Miss Skeel conjectures 
(ch. i) that the Council arose out of the Prince of Wales's Council, 
which may have been in existence from 1284, but though this is 
not improbable, there is no evidence to bear it out. 

' Miss Skeel (p. 20) says : " It was clearly a development of the 
Council attached to the Prince of Wales," which had existed 
since the installation of Edward of Carnarvon. 


power the Court seems to have had Uttle. The youth 
of the prince, the novelty of the undertaking, and the 
indifference of the king, combined to make it of little 
importance in the " reformation of the estate of Wales." 
Henry VII., like his predecessor, " using much the 
faithfuU service of the Welshmen," put into effect the 
design of the Yorkist king. In 1493 he sent Prince 
Arthur to hold his Court at Ludlow, but it was only in 
1501 that he began to develop his policy. In that year 
he sent a remarkable man, William Smyth, Bishop of 
Lincoln, to Ludlow as the first real Lord President of 
the Court of the Council of the Marches. " This Bus- 
hope," said Gerard in his Discourse already cited, " is 
the first Lord President of Walles found in the Recordes, 
who was sent by Henry VII. in the seventeenth year of 
his rajme to be Lord President of Prince Arthur's Coun- 
saiUe in the Principalite of Walles and Marches of the 
same. And so continewed Lord President untill the 
4th yare of Henry VIII. He was the founder of Brase- 
nose College, Oxford." ^ The only record of the powers 
of the Council is to be found in Gerard's Discourse.^ 
" They had instructions geven them which was in effect 
to execute Justice upon all felons and prayers of Cattell 
in thenglishe adjoyning Counties upon all felonies there 
or in any parte of Wales comitted, to suppresse and 
ponishe by ffyne and ymprisonment Rowtes, Riottes, 
vnlawfull assembUes, assaultes, affraies, extorc'ons, and 
exac'cons and to heare the complaintes as well of all 

' His portrait is in the Hall of Brasenose, where he is described 
as " primus Wallie praeses." Miss Skeel (pp. 22-24) states that 
Bishop Alcock of Ely, the founder of Jesus College, Cambridge, 
is really entitled to this honour. The date of his appointment 
is variously given as 1476 and 1478. He died at Wisbech in 1500. 

' State Papers, Dom., Eliz., vol. cvii. No. 21. 


poor welshe personnes oppressed or wronged in any 
cause as to those enhabitinge in thenglish Counties 
adjo5minge. They had aucthoritie by Comission of Oyer 
and ternainer and speciall gaole dehverie throughowte 
Wales and in those Englishe counties adjoyninge." 

Dr. Powel adds that among " other wise and expert 
counsellors " the king appointed " Sir Richard Poole, 
his kinsman, which was his cheefe chamberlaine." Sir 
Richard Pole, the father of Cardinal Pole, was the lineal 
descendant of the Princes of Powys,^ and would there- 
fore have peculiar authority over the Welsh of Mid- 
Wales. Bishop Smith, true to Heruy's policy of con- 
ciliating the Welsh, did not resort to coercive measures. 
He rather endeavoured to win the affection of his master's 
turbulent kinsmen by dispensing hospitality on a lavish 
scale at the Prince's Court, and by making the Welsh 
chiefs and the Lords Marcher feel that Arthur was not 
the representative of an alien authority, but was in 

^ As late as 1534 Martin de Comoca reported that the whole of 
Wales was devoted to the house of Pole. {State Papers, vol. vii. 
1040.) The genealogy of the Poles is thus given in the Book 
of Golden Grove, L 1647, now in the Record Ofdce : 
Owen Cyfeiliog 


Sir Gilbert Poole, g.-g.-grandfather of 

David Vaux = Margaret, dau. GrifSth 
I Meredydd Llewelyn 

Geoffrey Poole 

Sir Richard Poole, K.G.= Margaret, Countess 
I of Salisbury 

Lord Montague. Cardinal Pole, etc. 


reality the Prince of Wales. That his administration 
was at least partially successful is evident from the 
increasing loyalty of Wales. " And soe the Government 
of Wales was continued under the Lords Marcher until 
the time of Henry VH.," wrote George Owen, " in whose 
time the Welshmen willinglie submitted themselves in 
hart to his highness being paternallie of their auncient 
princes of the British line, in such sort that they who 
in former times were termede soe disobedient to the 
crowne of England (and against whom the kings of 
England promulged such unnaturall and extreame lawes, 
as never did any prince did the like against his subjects) 
grewe so quiett that King Henry VHL in his tyme did 
well perceave that the people and countrey of Wales 
might be governed by lawes as the subjects of England, 
and not by thraldome and crueltye used by the Lords 

George Owen, however, was speaking after the event. 
There were still many difficulties to be overcome, still 
many ghosts to be laid, before Wales was to be granted 
the boon of equal treatment with England. With the 
death of Prince Arthur, in 1502, King Henry seems to 
have lost his interest in the Court of the Marches. 
Young Henry was created Prince of Wales in 1503, but 
he never visited Wales or held his Court in the Marches. 
Bishop Smith, however, remained at his post till Henry 
Vn.'s death in 1509. He continued, nominally, as 
president till his own death in 1514, but the latter years 
of his life were almost entirely spent in his diocese of 

There was no break of continuity in the tenure of the 
presidency. Bishop Smith was succeeded by Bishop 
Blyth of Lichfield, and Bishop Vescie or Voysey of 


Exeter. Henry VHI., in spite of his father's " charge," 
up to 1525 had paid little attention to the affairs of 
Wales. He had never visited the country, the Statute 
Book was bare even of mention of the affairs of the 
PrincipaUty, the Court of Ludlow became a mere shadow 
and a name. The king during the first years of his 
reign seems to have been content with playing the royal 
part in the national pageant. As he was wiUing to 
allow his foreign and domestic policy to be directed by 
Wolsey, so he was content to allow " Father Rhys," as 
he famiUarly called Sir Rhys ap Thomas, practically to 
rule South Wales. Sir Rhys not only held the enormous 
Dinevor estates, but he was Chief Justice and Chamber- 
lain of South Wales. The rest of Wales and the Marches 
were administered in haphazard fashion as in the days 
of his father. As long as Sir Rhys lived, the power of 
the Court of Ludlow over South Wales was of the most 
shadowy character. But in 1525 Sir Rhys ap Thomas 
died, and with him died the old order. There is nothing 
so remarkable in the history of Henry VHI. as the 
growth of his mind, of his power, and of his statesman- 
like vigour, almost every year after the first dozen 
joyous, careless years of his reign. It was, no doubt, 
the death of Sir Rhys that first directed his attention 
to Wales. He probably knew but little of the internal 
condition of the country. There are no records in 
the earlier State Papers of his reign dealing with the 
Principality. But by 1525 the masterful and jealous 
character of the king had begun to assert itself. Several 
years after, Sir Thomas More addressed a prophetic 
warning to Cromwell about the character of the master 
from whose service More was then retiring. " Master 
Cromwell," he said, " you are now entered into the 


service of a most noble, wise, and liberal prince ; if you 
will follow my poor advice, you shall in your counsel- 
giving to his Grace ever tell him what he ought to do, 
but never what he is able to do. For if a lion knew 
his own strength, hard were it for any man to rule 
him." 1 Ever since the death of Buckingham — more 
rapidly since the fall of Wolsey — Henry was learning 
what he could do. He realised that a despot must ever 
cut the heads of the tallest poppies. Wolsey he trusted 
fully almost to the time of his death ; More at one time 
he loved. All that we know of his bearing towards Sir 
Rhys ap Thomas goes to show that he looked upon him 
as a faithful and necessary minister for the government 
of Wales. But, with Sir Rhys's death, Henry's strong, 
vigorous mind began to address itself to the question of 
Wales. His first act was characteristic. He refused to 
continue Sir Rhys's grandson — a young man who was 
married to a daughter of the second Duke of Norfolk — 
in his offices, but appointed Lord Ferrers of Chartley, 
afterwards the first Viscount Hereford, as his successor. 
He paid a visit in person to Ludlow, accompanied by 
his daughter Mary, who was unofficially styled the 
Princess of Wales. At Ludlow Mary remained till 1528, 
when she was recalled in disgrace owing to the king's 
divorce • proceedings against her ill-fated mother, 
Catherine of Arragon. It may be that the king's only 
intention in and after 1525 was to curb the overweening 
power of the Dinevor family. But there is one refer- 
ence in the State Papers which suggests that already, 
after the installation of the Princess Mary at Ludlow, 
the king was forming other and greater designs. In a 
letter dated 9th January, 1526, Lord Ferrers wrote to 
' Roper, Life of Sir T. More (ed. 1729), p. 69. 


the Lord President of the Council at Ludlow, that— 
" When his Lordship was first admitted Lord President 
of the Princess's Council, my Lord Legate (Wolsey) 
instructed the writer and others of that Council that 
no subpoenaes should be directed into Wales or the 
Marches, but every cause be first tried before the stewards 
and officers there, the appeal to lie afterwards to his 
Lordship and other Commissioners. Subpoenaes are 
now served in Carmarthen and Cardigan, in spite of 
the proclamations, the like of which was never seen 

The writer concludes : " And now both shires saith 
plainly that they will not pay one groat at this present 
Candlemas next coming, nor never after, if any man do 
appear otherwise than they have been accumed, but 
they had liever ryn into the woods." 

It would be interesting to know more of the circum- 
stances attending this complaint. No reference is to 
be found to it later, and it would therefore seem that a 
stop was put to the attempt of the Ludlow Court to 
exercise original jurisdiction in the old counties and the 
Marches of Wales. But the fact that the attempt was 
made, soon after the king's visit to Ludlow, is, perhaps, 
indicative of the ulterior object which the king had even 
then vaguely formed, but which was only destined to 
bring forth fruit after many days. Lord Ferrers was 
not only Chamberlain of South Wales, he was also a 
great Lord Marcher, and his letter breathes a spirit of 
jealousy of the Ludlow Court's interference in the 
Marches as well as in the counties of Carmarthen and 
Cardigan. If Henry had formed any such design, he 
was constrained by the rapid course of great events in 
England to forgo it for the time. After the little flash 

W.M.W. D 


of energy displayed in 1526, the Court of the Marches 
sank once more into lethargy. In 1528, when the un- 
certain position of the Princess Mary had no doubt 
affected the authority of her Council, a petition was 
sent to Ludlow by the bailiff and burgesses of Brecon 
complaining that justice was not kept, that the king's 
tenants were impoverished, and his revenues decayed. 
The reply of the Council, while it indicates that the 
state of things was better than it had been, did not 
attempt to deny the facts mentioned in the petition. 
The circumstances, however, are too obscure to enable 
any conclusion to be drawn as to the powers which were 
vested in the Council over March land such as Brecknock, 
though the fact that the complaint was made to the 
Council indicates that it exercised some power in the 
Marches even in 1528. 

The insurrection of Rhys ap Griffith, the grandson of 
Sir Rhys ap Thomas, at Carmarthen in 1529 served to 
bring home to the king the disorderly condition of the 
PrincipaUty.i It showed, too, that the Council of 
Ludlow was too weak to deal with such cases of tur- 
bulence. Lord Ferrers, as a Lord Marcher, may have 
disliked to enhance the reputation of the Council. It 
is certain at least that, for whatever reason, the young 
chief was sent to answer for his misdemeanours before 
the Star Chamber in London.^ That the Council at 
Ludlow continued to be impotent in the face of the 
growing anarchy in Wales is shown by a letter of one 
Thomas PhilUps to Cromwell, in 1531. It is interesting 

' For an account o1 Rhys ap Griffith's " affray," see the writer's 
article in Y Cymmrodor , vol. xvi. 

' It was, however, the general practice to bring the more 
important offenders before the Star Chamber. V. ch. iii. infra. 


because, with the exception of the letters concerning 
Rhys ap Griffith's insurrection, it is the first intimation 
the EngHsh Government had of the real state of things 
in Wales. In it he pleads that such a Council be estab- 
lished in the Marches, that the best officer in Wales 
should quake if found in default .^ A still more im- 
portant letter, because it pointed out one of the defects 
of the existing system, was sent to Cromwell, in 1533, 
by Sir Edward Croft, an official of the Council, and 
Vice-Chamberlain of South Wales. Wales, he said, was 
" far out of order," and many murders in Oswestry and 
Powys had gone unpunished, because the President, 
being a cleric, had no power to inffict the penalty of 
death. He wished " some man to be sent down to us 
to use the sword of justice where he shall see cause, 
throughout the PrincipaUty. Otherwise the Welsh will 
wax so wild, it will not be easy to bring them to order 
again." * In the same year Thomas Croft wrote that 
" more than a hundred have been slain in the Marches 
of Wales since the Bishop of Exeter was President there, 
and not one of them punished." ' 

The prayers of PhiUips and of the Crofts were speedily 
answered. In 1534 a man was sent to succeed the 
Bishop of Exeter as Lord President of the Council, 
who left the stamp of his personality upon it and its 
work, and who made the terror of his name felt through 
all the Marches of Wales. Rowland Lee, Bishop of 
Lichfield, only held the office of President for nine years, 
no long period in the life of a nation, but so dominant 
was his character and so unresting his energy that he 

1 State Papers, Henry VIII., vol. v. 991. 

' State Papers, Domestic, Henry VIII., vol. vi. 210. 

» Ibid. 946. 


will ever be regarded as the most famous in the list of 
Presidents, and as the administrator who left an abiding 
impress on the history of Wales. Gerard, in his second 
Discourse, describes him as " stowte of nature, readie 
witted, roughe in speeche, not affable to any of the 
walshrie,^ an extreme severe ponisher of offenders, de- 
sirous to gayne (as he did in deede) credit with the king 
and commendac'on for his service." ^ Froude states 
that he was " the last survivor of the old martial pre- 
lates, fitter for harness than for bishop's robes, for a 
court of justice than a court of theology, more at home 
at the head of his troopers chasing cattle-stealers in the 
gorges of Llangollen than hunting heretics to the stake, 
or chasing formulas in the arduous defiles of contro- 
versy." ^ He had come to the fore as Henry's agent 
in the divorce controversy and in the suppression of the 
smaller monasteries. It was believed that it was he 
who performed the marriage ceremony between the king 
and Anne Boleyn. Though he took the king's side 
against the Pope, he was far removed from Protes- 
tantism. One of Cromwell's correspondents calls him 

^ A characteristic story of Lee's treatment of the " Welshery " 
is given in Pennant's Tour in Wales, p. 17. " Before I quit the 
House (of Tremostyn) I must take notice that Thomas ap Richard 
ap Howel ap Jevan Vychan, lord of Mostyn. and his brother 
Piers, founder of the family of Talacre, were the first to abridge 
their name and that on the following occasion. Rowland Lee, 
President of the Marches of Wales, sat at one of the Courts in 
a Welsh cause, and wearied with the quantity of Ap's in the 
lury, directed that the panel should assume their last name or 
the name of their residence, and that Thomas ap Richard, 
etc., should for the future be reduced to the poor disyllabic 
Mostyn, no doubt to the great mortification of many an ancient 

^ State Papers, Dom., Eliz., vol. cvii. No. 10. 

^ History of England, vol. iii. 229. 


" an earthly beast, a mole, and an enemy to all godly 
learning into the of&ce of his damnation — a papist, an 
idolater, and a fleshly priest." The stout bishop laid 
no claim to superior sanctity, or even to any rigid, 
ceremonious observance of the duties of his ecclesiastical 
position. " I was never hitherto in the pulpit," he 
wrote to Cromwell as late as 1534. But if he neglected 
his diocese and his priestly functions, he spent the 
revenues of his see in carrying out the duties of his 
secular office. He was not deterred by the old canonical 
rule that a cleric should not shed blood. His extant 
letters to Cromwell, giving authentic information to the 
Government, betray his qualities and their defects. His 
breezy personaUty, after the course of nearly four cen- 
turies, lives in and through them. He is thoroughly 
human, especially in his love for open-air sport. We 
find him sending to his patron a present of partridges, 
doubtless the prize of his own skill. In one letter he 
records that he has " just killed a great buck." In 
another he begs Cromwell to send to him " a warrant 
for a stag in the forest of Wyer." 

Rowland Lee soon set himself to show the robbers and 
thieves of the borders that he was not afraid to inflict 
the death penalty. In July, 1534, we find him writing : 

" The Walshe above Schroysbury be very besy, and 
as I am informed doo bryne divers howses and doo 
grett disspeles whiche cannot be withowte the consente 
of sum hedes, whose hedes if I may knewe justly the 
trenges I shaU make ake and folew your preceptes, not 
thayreof to fayle, god beyng my good lorde." ^ 

By the following year he was able to report that the 
" Welshmen of Shrewsbury " had been brought " into 
1 State Papers, Henry VIII., vol. vii. No. 940. 


a reasonable staye touching such roberyes and other 
malefacts as were there used," and that he had " hanged 
four of the best blood in the county of Shropshire." ^ 
In December, 1535, his activities ranged from Presteign 
and Hereford to Chepstow and Monmouth. In the 
following month he describes with great gusto the 
hanging of thieves at Ludlow on market day. " If he 
{i.e. the thief) be taken, he playeth his pageant." He 
feels that his stem policy of repression has made him 
a marked man, but he does not shrink from the dangers 
attendant upon his position. " Although the thieves 
have hangid me by imaginacion, yet I truste to be even 
with them shorteley in very dede." In June, 1536, he 
was in Montgomeryshire, where was gathered together 
" a certain cluster or company of thieves and mur- 
derers " whom he was resolved to put down. No doubt 
the rigour of his administration and the summariness 
of his methods have been exaggerated, both by contem- 
poraries and by posterity. But the times were rude, 
and justice was at best but roughly administered. We 
may discount, with Froude, the statement that seventy- ' 
two thousand malefactors suffered the extreme penalty 
of the law in the reign of Henry VIII., but even so 
careful a writer as Stubbs speaks of Henry's " holo- 
causts " of victims.* Similarly we may discredit the 
loose statement of EUis Grif&th, a contemporary soldier, 
who wrote an account of his own times, that under the 
bishop's rule, five thousand men were hanged in the 
Marches of Wales within the space of six years.' When 

^ Nov. 6th, 1535 ; State Papers, vol. vii. p. 529, No. 1393. 

' Stubbs's Lectures on Med. and Mod. History, p. 304. 

' Dr. Gwenogvyrn Evans, Introduction (p. x) to the Mostyn 
MSS. published by the Historical MSS. Commission. 


one remembers that the population of Wales was only 
about one-sixteenth of that of England, ^ and that these 
victims were said to have fallen in less than a sixth of 
Henry's reign, and in only a part of what is now known 
as the Principality of Wales, the number of Welsh male- 
factors who fell victims to the good bishop's sense of 
justice becomes incredible. None the less, it is perfectly 
evident that thieves and murderers were hanged in 
batches, without respect of persons, and without very 
much regard for the forms of law. Lee was enjoined 
by Cromwell that " indifferent justice must be ministered 
to poor and rich according to their demerits." This 
injunction he faithfully obeyed, and for the first time 
since the death of Llewelyn the law began to be re- 
spected in Wales and the Marches. Gerard, in his 
Discourse, written thirty-two years after the bishop's 
death, gives unstinted praise to his administration. 
" They spent their holle tyme in travellinge yeerlie 
eythr throughe Wales or a great parte of the same in 
causes towchinge Civill government, and by that travell 
knewe the people and founde theire disposicon, favored 
and preferred to auctoritie and office in theire countreys 
suche howe meane of l5rvinge soever they were, as they 
founde diligente and wiilinge to serve in discoveringe 
and tryinge owte of offences and offendors. Theye like- 
wise deforced and discountenanced others, of howe 
greate callinge and possessions soever they were, beinge 
of contrarie disposicon. This stoute bushoppes dealinge 
and the terror that the vertue of learninge workethe in 
the subjecte when he perceiveth that he is governed 

' " The whole population of England did not then (1515) in all 
probability much exceed 2,000,000 " (Fisher, Political History 0/ 
England, vol. v. p. 215). The population of Wales, on this 
estimate, would be about 125,000. 


under a lemed magistrate, within iij or iiij yeres generallie 
so terrified theyme, as the verie feare of punishment 
rather than the desire or love that the people hadd 
to chaunge their walshrie wroughte first in theym 
the obedience theye nowe bee grown into. Then 
was this Counsell and theire proceedinges as moche 
feared, reverenced and hadd in estimacion of the 
walshrie as at this daye the Starre Chamber of the 
English." 1 

Without subscribing to every word of this eulogy of 
the bishop and his coadjutors — putting a good deal of 
it down to the natural tendency of the official to magnify 
his of&ce or the institution to which he belongs, and the 
attraction which anything in the shape of " strong and 
resolute government " has for a certain type of mind — 
it bears witness to the indelible mark left by Rowland 
Lee on the administration of Wales. Firm government, 
rigorous administration of justice, and absolute fearless- 
ness in enforcing law and order were indispensable to 
Wales of that period ; and those boons she obtained 
from Rowland Lee. 

The condition of Wales, or of those parts of Wales 
visited by him, as described by the Lord President in 
his letters to Cromwell, was deplorable. In a letter, 
written in the first year of his presidency, he gives a 
graphic illustration of the state of the country. In the 
lordship of Magor alone there were at the time living 
unpunished, under the protection of Sir Walter Herbert, 
five malefactors who had committed wilful murder, 
eighteen who had committed murder, and twenty thieves 
and outlaws who had committed every variety of crime. ^ 

' State Papers, Dom., Eliz., vol. cvii. No. lo. 
^ Wright's History of Ludlow, 383. 


The evils of " Arthel " and " Commortha " were rife. 
Both customs had an honest and legitimate origin. 
They had become a peril to the state. To " arthel " 
or " arddel " a man was to vouch or become surety 
for him or for his good behaviour. It was a recognised 
and indeed highly necessary procedure under the laws 
of Howel Dda.^ It grew to be a gross abuse. The 
Lords Marcher " avouched " murderers and outlaws, 
and so surrounded themselves with a bodyguard of 
lawless ruffians. So deeply rooted and widespread was 
this evil that even the new Lord President found it 
impossible to eradicate it without having recourse to 
legislation. Section 13 of 26 Henry VIII., c. 6, which 
was passed in 1534, soon after Rowland Lee came to 
the Marches, was doubtless enacted owing to the repre- 
sentations of the bishop. 

" And where heretofore upon divers Murthers, Rob- 
beries and Felonies perpetrated and done, as well within 
the Lordships Marchers of Wales as in other places in 
Wales without the same Lordships, the offenders divers 
Times flee and escape from the same Lordship or other 
Place where such offence was committed, and have 
repaired and resorted into another Lordship Marcher, 
and there by the aid Comfort and Favour of the said 
Lord of the same Lordship, or his Officer or Officers, 
have been abiding and resiant, into which Lordships 
the same Lords Marcher have and do pretend a Custom 
and Privilege that none of the King's Ministers . . . 
may enter to pursue apprehend and attach any such 
offender," it is enacted that the officers of the Council 
of the Marches shall have authority to follow the offender 

1 Wade Evans, Welsk Mediaeval Law, at pp. 88, 234, and 325 ; 
Owen's Ancient Laws of Wales, pp. 935-6. 


and bring him back to the jurisdiction of the lord where 
the offence was committed.^ 

The practice of Commortha (cymhorth = help) had its 
origin in the practice of co-aration — a custom which has 
to some extent survived even to otir own times in rural 
Wales. " Cymmorthas are assemblies of people to assist 
a neighbour in any work." ^ It was easy for the lawless 
Lords Marcher to take advantage of the old custom to 
further their own interests, or to make it a cloak to 
conceal an illegal assembly, or, sometimes, to extort an 
illegal exaction. So great had the evil become that by 
section 6 of the statute already referred to it was enacted 
" that no person or persons from henceforth, without 
licence of the said Commnrs. in writing, shall within 
Wales or the Marches of the same, or in any Shires 
adjoining to the same, require, procure, gather, or levy 
any Commorth, Bydale, Tenant's Ale, or other Collection 
or Exaction of Goods, Chattels, Money, or any other 
Thing, under colour of marrying, or suffering of their 
Children saying or singing their first Masses or Gospels 
of any Priests or Clerks, or for Redemption of any 
Murther, or any other Felony, or for any other Manner 
or Cause, by what Name or Names soever they shall be 
called . . . and that no Person or Persons shall hereafter 
at any Time cast any Thing into any Court within Wales, 

' Bowen's Statutes of Wales, p. 62. Cf. Judge D. Lewis to 
Walsingham in 1575 : " The gt. disorders in Wales, specially in 
South Wales, have growen muche of late dales by retayners of 
gentlemen, whom they muste, after the manner of the countrey, 
bare out in all actions be they never so badd. They have also 
foster-brothers, loyteringe and idle kinsmen and other hangers- 
on. . . ." 

" Pennant's Tour in Wales, m. 353. There was one exception 
in the statue to the prohibition of commortha, viz. in the case 
of the loss of property by fire. 


or in the Lordships Marchers of the same, by the Mean 
or Name of an Arthel, by Reason whereof the Court may 
be letted, disturbed, or discontinued for that Time, upon 
Pain of one whole year's imprisonment." 

In spite of this statutory prohibition, so inveterate 
was the custom,^ that one George Matthew of Glamorgan 
obtained, in 1536, greatly to the Lord President's annoy- 
ance, the king's licence to hold Commortha. " He is so 
befriended," commented Lee in a letter to Cromwell, 
" that it wiU run through all Wales to his advantage to 
the amount of one hundred marks." 

The abduction of heiresses, which is always a sign of 
social anarchy, was not uncommon, and was tolerated 
by pubUc opinion.^ Bishop Lee gives an account of the 

' Though it was forbidden to gather a Commorth ' ' under 
colour of marrjdng," it is curious to find that the practice (under 
the name of " taith " or " neithior ") survived down to our own 
days. Judge D. Lewis in his letter to Walsingham (1575) states, 
that the idle kinsmen of gentlemen " when they have offended 
will be shifted to some friendes of theires in another quarter, so 
as they will not be fownde to be ponished when time shall require, 
and in the meanwhile the gentlemen will practize an agreement 
with the partyes grieved, and then because the lojrterers have 
nothing of theire owne the gentlemen must help them to a 
Comortha to satisfye the parties dampnifyed " ; cf. S.P.D. 
Elizabeth, vol. cvii. No. 5, " Consideration of thinges to be 
reformed with the Counsel! of the Marches of Wales." 4. " The 
kymorthas which was wont to be a benevolence is now grown to be 
partUe compulsorie by such as have riotously wasted their 
living, or have been greatUe chargde to win their saftie for 
some heynous murther or felonie to the importunate charge of 
the best sort of men. And therefore worthie to be slaide, lor 
the honest and simple are never relieved therebie." 

2 " This is a vice common to Wales, and for its reformation we 
caused the trial to be made, but all the honest persons we had 
appointed absented themselves" (Lee to Cromwell, 28th February, 
1538). A generation ago it was still customary in some parts of 
Wales for the bride and bridegroom to ride away from Church, 
followed on horseback by their relations and friends — a relic of 
the time when brides were really abducted by the bridegrooms. 


abduction of a widow named Joan ap Hoell from the 
church at Llanwame by one Roger Morgan. In the 
following month the abductor was tried before a jury 
at Gloucester, and, to the bishop's intense chagrin, was 
acquitted.! " When it came to the trial of the Morgans," 
wrote Lee to Cromwell, " the rest of the gentlemen could 
not be found in the town by the sheriff, so were fain to 
take such as remained, who against the evidence 
acquitted the Morgans. . . . Mr. Justice Porte will con- 
fess the premises to be true, as I willed him and his 
associate at the assizes, Mr. Montague, to cess good 
fines upon the gentlemen that departed of their dis- 
obedience." 2 The unwillingness or fear of juries to 
do their duty honestly in such trials was notorious. 
" Though at the late Assizes (at Chester) many biUs, 
well supported, were put into the ' greate enqueste ' 
(grand jury), yet contrary to their duty they have found 
murders to be manslaughters and riots to be misbe- 
haviours." ^ The bishop promptly committed the grand 
jury to prison " for their lightness." He added, to 
defend himself against a possible charge of harshness, 
that if the country was to be kept in order, punishment 
must be inflicted, for by the common law things so far 
out of order could never be redressed — a summary of 
the absolutist doctrine of Tudor and Stuart statesmen. 
Another story, which is given in some detail in the 
State Papers, presents a vivid illustration of the con- 
dition of Wales at the time. It relates to a scapegrace 
scion of a great Norman- Welsh family, Robert Stradling 
of Glamorganshire. His confession, taken at Bewdley 

^ State Papers, Henry VIII., vol. xiii. pt. i. p. 128, Ko. 37. 
^ Lee to Cromwell, ibid. vol. xiii. pt. i. 371 
^ State Papers, vol. xiii. pt. i. 141 1. 


on 28th September, 1535, is thus summarised : " About 
two years ago took part with his father-in-law, Watkyn 
Lougher, who disputed certain lands with Charles Tur- 
bill. Confesses to having kept one Lewes of North 
Wales and one Griffith of Caermarthenshire, who robbed 
and murdered Piers Dere, for five or six weeks in his 
house, and they gave him one royal of Dere's. Killed 
Gitto Jenk5m, who quarrelled with him while coursing 
at the White Crosse, on the said lands in variance. 
Was outlawed, and to escape the search, boarded with 
six persons a balinger of Pastowe in the haven near the 
Abbey of Neath, and made the mariners put to sea for 
three weeks. Did no harm to anyone. Landed at 
Milford Haven, and went to Waterford in the latter end 
of April. Hearing that proclamations were made in 
Wales against him returned." -^ 

Lee was no believer in any policy but that of repres- 
sion. The common law was insufficient, and exceptional 
measures had to be taken. " If one thief shall .try 
another, all we have begun is foredone." ^ He tells 
with glee how he hanged a dead thief on a gallows for 
a warning, and how three hundred people followed to 
see the carriage of the thief in a sack, " the manner 
whereof had not been before." " All thieves in Wales 
quake for fear, and there is but one thief, of name Hugh 
Duraunt, whom we trust to have shortly. Wales is 
brought to that state that one thief taketh another, and 
one cow keepeth another, as Lewis my servant shall 
inform you." * Holding such views of the inadequacy 

» State Papers, Henry VIII., vol. ix. 465. In the end Lee 
recommended him for the king's pardon, because he was " a 
proper man and a good archer and wiUing to pay a reasonable 
fine " {ibid. ix. 126, 150). 

2 Ibid. X. 454 ; I2th March, 1536. ' Ibid. 31. 


of the ordinary law, and of the necessity of stern and 
repressive administration, unhampered by the limita- 
tions of the common law, the Lord President cannot be 
regarded as the inspirer, or even a supporter, of the 
legislation of 1535 and 1542. The spirit and poUcy of 
the bishop are reflected rather in the legislation of 1534, 
which strengthened the arm of the Government in the 
repression of crime, and enlarged its powers to maintain 
law and order. It is beyond question that the bishop 
had no hand in any constructive legislation which had 
for its object the association of the people of Wales with 
the government of their country. 

By 26 Henry VIII., c. 4, it was enacted that as " Divers 
adherents friends and kinsfolk to murderers and felons 
have resorted to jurors, and have suborned them to 
acquit divers murderers felons and accessories openly 
and notoriously known, contrary to equity and justice," 
power should be vested in the Lord President to send 
the recalcitrant jurors to prison ^ — a power which Bishop 
Lee was prompt to use, as we have seen, four years later 
at Chester. 

Lee, so far from wishing to extend the common law 
of England to Wales, was rather disposed, as has already 
been seen, to suspend it altogether. Ellis Griffith ex- 
pressly states that the statute 26 Henry VIII., c. 6 
was passed at the instigation of Bishop Rowland. Its 
preamble describes, in sonorous English, the condition 
of Wales as viewed by him : 

" Forasmuch as the People of Wales and the Marches 

of the same, not dreading the good and wholesome Laws 

and Statutes of this Realm, have of longtime continued 

and persevered in Perpetration and Commission of 

• Bowen's Statutes of Wales, 58. 


divers and manifold Thefts, Murthers, Rebellions, Wilful 
Burnings of Houses and other scelerous Deeds and 
abominable Malefacts, to the high Displeasure of God, 
Inquietation of the King's well-disposed Subjects, and 
Disturbance of the Public Weal, which Malefacts and 
scelerous Deeds be so rooted and fixed in the same people, 
that they be not Uke to cease, unless some sharp Cor- 
rection and Punishment for Redress and Amputation of 
the Premisses be provided, according to the demerits of 
the Offenders," ^ it is therefore enacted that all persons, 
when duly summoned, should appear at the courts 
within the Lordships Marcher upon penalty of a fine ; 
if any officers in the Lordships Marcher illegally im- 
prisoned any person, the Council of the Marches should 
have power to levy a fine of not less than 6s. 8d. for 
every day of wrongful imprisonment ; no weapons 
should be brought within two miles of any court, fair, 
town, church, or other assembly ; no person, without 
the licence of the Council, should levy commorth, etc. ; 
arthel should be discontinued ; felonies committed in 
Wales should be triable in the next adjoining English 
county ; and the ofi&cers of all Lordships Marcher 
should aid in securing culprits fleeing from one lordship 
to another upon penalty of a fine. 

Another enactment of the same year throws a sig- 
nificant hght on the unruly condition of the Welsh 
border. By 28 Henry VIIL, c. 11, Welshmen were 
punished for attempting any assaults or affrays upon 
the inhabitants of Herefordshire, Shropshire, or Glou- 
cestershire, who had been " beaten, mayhemed, griev- 
ously wounded, and sometimes murdered," by one year's 
imprisonment " without redemption." * 

' Ibid. pp. 54-62. * Ibid. p. 63. 


So far we may conclude, even if we had not the positive 
contemporary evidence of Ellis Griffith to the same 
effect, that the legislation relating to Wales was due to 
the initiative of the new Lord President. It was de- 
signed to deal directly and practically with the state of 
lawless anarchy which prevailed in Wales and the 
Marches. Its only object was to repress crime, and to 
punish offenders against the law. It showed no gleam 
of recognition of the fact that the condition of Wales 
was due to any other cause than the inherent viciousness 
of its inhabitants. " Malefacts and scelerous deeds " 
were so " rooted and fixed " in the people that only the 
most vigorous discipline could eradicate the evil. The 
laws to which Wales was subject were " good and whole- 
some," and all that was required was their more effective 
administration. Such, therefore, we may take it, was 
the policy of Bishop Rowland Lee, a strong man, a 
resolute administrator, imbued with a contemptuous 
pity for the " Welshery," honestly desirous of dragooning 
them into a better conduct and condition, but a ruler 
who lacked the higher qualities of statesmanship, not 
endowed with sufficient imagination to penetrate into 
the root and origin of the evils under which the country 
was suffering, or to " know what shall chance in time 
coming," and bereft of that sympathy with the subject 
people without which even justice loses its healing grace. 



In 1535 we notice a new spirit animating the policy of 
the English Government in Wales, a spirit wholly alien 
to the rough, practical, and unimaginative temper of 
the Lord President. Henceforward, in the legislation 
dealing with Wales there are evidences of a larger grasp, 
a more daring statesmanship, a more adventurous spirit 
to " make or mar." 

The first Act of 1535 (27 Henry VIII., c. 5) empowered 
the Lord Chancellor to appoint Justices of the Peace for 
the eight ancient counties ^ of the Principality. The 
justices were authorised to hold their sessions and the 
sheriffs to execute their processes. At first blush this 
would appear to be only the characteristic Tudor remedy 
for the " indifferent ministration " of justice, but in 
reaUty it constituted a very real and even daring advance. 
To allow the law to be administered by Justices of the 
Peace was to allow it to be administered by men of 
Welsh descent and of Welsh sympathies. Up to that 
time, as George Owen points out, there was hardly a 
single Welshman entrusted with authority in Wales. 

'■ The counties mentioned in the Act are Anglesea, Carnarvon, 
Merioneth and Flint in North Wales, and Cardigan, Carmarthen, 
Pembroke and Glamorgan in South Wales. 

w.M.w. 65 E 


The " men on the spot " were filled with dismal fore- 
bodings as to the result that would ensue from the 
Government's rash proceedings. It may be that Bishop 
Rowland Lee was not consulted by the Government as 
to the administration of the law in the ancient shires, 
but he had an opportunity in 1536 of expressing his 
views as to the competence of the " Welshery " to be 
associated with the government of their own country. 
In that year John Scudamore, Sheriff of Hereford, 
wanted to know if he was to consider as shire-ground 
certain Marches of Wales annexed to his shire.* Scuda- 
more, however, was suspect. He was a descendant of 
Owen Glyndwr, and was "dwelling nigh the Welshery 
and kynned and alyed in the same." So far from 
trusting the sheriff, Lee asked Cromwell that Scudamore 
should be put out of the commission.^ " There are," 
the Lord President gravely informed the Secretary of 
State, " very few Welsh in Wales above Brecknock who 
have £10 in land, and their discretion is less than their 
land." By this time still further changes were in the 
air. The Act of 1535 had decreed that the rest of what 
is now called Wales should be turned into shire-ground. 
The good bishop is full of gloomy predictions as to " the 
bearing of thieves " if the statute goes forward. Car- 
digan and Merioneth, he points out, are as disorderly as 
the worst parts of Wales, although they are shire- 
ground.' Even in the ancient counties themselves the 
Government's decision to appoint Justices of the Peace 
was viewed with dismay. Among the State Papers there 
is to be found a document entitled : " Articles proving 
that it shall be hurtful to the commonwealth of the three 

' State Papers, Henry VIII., vol. xii. 1338. 
^ Ibid. xi. 1255. " Ibid. x. 453. 


shires in North Wales, viz., Anglesey, Carnarvon, and 
Merioneth, to have justices of the peace therein." The 
justices will be dangerous, partiality will increase, the 
inhabitants are poor and quarrelsome, and most of the 
gentlemen are " bearers of thieves and misruled per- 
sons." ^ Sir Richard Bulkeley, of Anglesey, was of the 
same opinion, and begged Cromwell to stop the Lord 
Chancellor from appointing any Justices of the Peace 
within the three shires of North Wales. 

The second Act of 1535 (27 Henry VIII., c. 7) aboUshed 
all the old cruel and barbarous forest customs, which 
enabled the Lords Marcher to punish persons who were 
travelling through a forest without a token, and without 
being " yearly tributors," with a " grievous fine or 
reward," and i^ twenty-four feet out of the highway, 
with forfeiture of their money or the loss of one of their 
hands. ^ 

The preamble to the " Act for making of Justices of 
Peace in Wales " (27 Henry VIII., c. 5) stated that it 
was passed " to the intent that one Order of ministering 
of his Laws should be had observed and used in the 
same as in other places of this Realm of England is had 
and used." Henceforth that was the aim of English 
statesmanship. Henry VIII. and his ministers had a 
wholesome belief in the merits of English institutions. 
They had come to the conclusion that what was good 
for England was also good for Wales. They refused to 
credit " the Welshery " with a double dose of original 
sin. Shortsighted administrators and timorous officials 
warned them in vain of the folly of applying institutions, 
which might work well in orderly and civiUsed England, 

1 Ibid. xi. 525, 

* Bowen's Statutes of Wales, pp. 69-72. 


to a disturbed and lawless country like Wales. They 
refused to believe that Welsh gentlemen, when entrusted 
with the powers of '' Justices of the Peace, would prove 
more corrupt, more partial, or more negligent than their 
fellows in England. They showed a robust faith even 
in Welsh juries, in spite of Rowland Lee's sardonic 
comment that to set a Welshman to judge a Welshman 
was to set a thief to try a thief. At a time when the 
Lord President was only at the begiiming of his task of 
repression, when courier after courier brought news of 
the disorderly and anarchical condition of the Princi- 
pality, and when every ofl&cial was calling for a more 
rigorous administration of the existing law, the English 
ParHament passed one of the most Hberal and the most 
courageous Acts which has ever been laid to the credit 
of the British legislature. 

27 Henry VHI., c. 26 (a.d. 1535), which finally incor- 
porated Wales with England, is described as " An Act 
for Laws and justice to be ministered in Wales in like 
form as it is in this Realm." The preamble ran as 
follows : 

" Albeit the Dominion Principality and Country of 
Wales justly and righteously is, and ever hath been 
incorporated aimexed united and subject to and under 
the Imperial Crown of this Realm as a very Member 
and Joint of the same, whereof the King's most Royal 
Majesty of Meer Droit, and very Right, is very Head 
King Lord and Ruler ; yet notwithstanding because 
that in the same Country, PrincipaUty, and Dominion 
divers Rights Usages Laws and Customs be far dis- 
crepant from the Laws and Customs of this Realm, and 
also because that the People of the same Dominion have 
and do daily use a speech nothing like, nor consonant 


to the natural Mother Tongue used withiS this Realm, 
some rude and ignorant People ha^ve made distinction 
and Diversity between the King's Subjects of this Realm, 
and his Subjects of the said Dominion and Principality 
of Wales, whereby great Discord Variance Division Mur- 
miu- and Sedition hath grown between his said Subjects, 
His Highness therefore of a singular Zeal Love and 
Favour that he beareth towards his Subjects of his said 
Dominion of Wales, minding and intending to reduce 
them to the perfect Order Notice and Knowledge of his 
Laws of this his Realm, and utterly to extirp all and 
singular the sinister Usages and Customs differing from 
the same, and to bring the said Subjects of this his 
Realm and of his said Dominion of Wales to an amicable 
Concord and Unity, hath . . . ordained, enacted, and 
estabUshed " that Wales should be henceforth " incor- 
porated united and annexed " to England, and that all 
natives of Wales should enjoy and inherit " all and 
singular Freedoms Liberties Rights Privileges and Laws " 
of liis subjects. 

All laws, including the law of inheritance, " without 
division or partition," were to be henceforth after the 
form of England.! Forty-four of the Lordships Marcher 
were united to English shires ; certain others were 

1 This provision of S. 2 seems to be inconsistent with that of 
S. 35, which enacted that lands " to be departed and departable 
among issues and heirs male shall still so continue." " The 
intention evidently was," says Mr. Ivor Bowen in the Introduction 
to the Statutes of Wales, at p. 59, " that persons who retired upon 
any light under the ancient Welsh system of tenure were caUed 
upon to prove that it existed before the time of legal memory. 
The apparent variance was, however, remedied by the complete 
abolition of Welsh customs and rules of descent in 1542." But 
even after 1542 the Welsh custom of inheritance died hard. 
(See, e.g., 7 and 8 William III,, c. 38.) 


united to the existing Welsh shires ; still others were to 
be " severed and divided into certain particular counties 
or shires," which were then for the first time created, 
viz. Monmouth, Brecknock, Radnor, Montgomery, and 
Denbigh. The boundaries of certain of the Welsh and 
Border counties were altered, and the Lord Chancellor 
was empowered to appoint Justices of the Peace for the 
four newly created Welsh counties. The justices and 
all officials were to use only English in discharging their 
duties, upon pain of forfeiting their offices. 

" No Person or Persons that use the Welsh Speech or 
Language shall have or enjoy any Manner Office or Fees 
within this Realm of England Wales or other the King's 
Dominion, upon pain of forfeiting the same Offices or 
Fees, unless he or they use and exercise the English 
Speech or Language." ^ 

The Lord Chancellor was authorised to appoint Com- 
missioners to divide the shires of Carmarthen, Pembroke, 
Cardigan, Monmouth, Brecknock, Radnor, Montgomery, 
Glamorgan, and Denbigh into hundreds, and another 
Commission to inquire " all and singular Laws, Usages 

^ Though S. 20 has never been aboUshed, and it would therefore 
appear to be illegal to conduct proceedings in a law court in 
Welsh, it has, perhaps, never been rigorously enforced, and of 
late years it has become practically obsolete. Of one Edward 
Davies, Gerard wrote to Walsingham, in 1575 : " He hath been 
the Queen's Attorney in the marches and is well learned and 
can speke the Welche Tonge, but no Welche man. Note that 
it were verie conveniente that one of the Justices of assizes did 
understande the Welche tonge, for now the justice of assize 
must vse some interpretor. And therefore many tymes the 
evidence is tolde according to the mynde of the Interpreter 
whereby the evidence is expounded contrarie to that wch. is saide 
by the examynate, and so the Judge gyveth a wronge charge." 
The practical " convenience " of a Judge being acquainted with 
Welsh has long been recognised in the appointment of County 
Court Judges in Wales. 


and Customs used within the same Dominion and 
Country of Wales," and such as may be thought by the 
King and Council " requisite and necessary " should 
remain. 1 For the first time parliamentary representa- 
tion was given to Wales ^ — one knight to sit for each of 
the shires, except Monmouth, which had two repre- 
sentatives, and one burgess for each shire town, except 
the shire town of Merioneth, which was exempted from 
the privilege. " Such fees as other Knights and Bur- 
gesses of the Parliament have been allowed " were to be 
paid to the new members ; so that the representatives 
of Wales were the first members of Parliament for whose 
payment express statutory provision was made.* The 
rights and privileges of the Lords Marcher were swept 
away, except that they were to continue to hold Courts 
Baron Courts Leet, and Law-days, and to retain certain 
privileges, such as treasure-trove. 

With the usual confidence of Henry VII I. 's ParUa- 
ments in the sovereign, power was granted to the king 
for three years after the dissolution of Parliament to 
suspend or repeal the Act. It is a tribute to the success 
of the Act that the king never used the authority en- 
trusted to him by Parliament. As has already been 

^ No records of these Commissions are extant, though S. 3 of 
the Act of 1542 would seem to imply that, at least, the first set of 
Commissioners did their work. Rowland states, in his Mona 
Aniiqua, copies of the proceedings of the Commissioners were 
deposited in both the chamberlain's and auditor's offices of North 
Wales ; and that Sir W. Griffith of Penrhyn caused them to be 
transcribed by one Jenkyn Gwyn, and that they are intituled 
" the extent of North Wales." 

* Except in two of Edward II. 's Parliaments, in 1322 and 1327. 

^ By 35 Henry VIII., c. 1 1, provision was made for the payment 
of 4s. to every knight of the shire, and 2s. a day " unto every 
Citizen Burgess " from Wales by the Sheriffs and Mayors. 


seen, neither Bishop Lee nor the other officials were 
enamoured of the liberal policy embodied in the Act, 
and they advised the king to postpone the appointment 
of Justices of the Peace. But, as far as is known, not 
even the Lord President went to the length of advising 
the king to repeal the Act, although he had appealed to 
Cromwell not to let " the Statute go forward." In the 
following year (1536) a short Act was passed giving power 
to the king during the next three years to determine 
the limits of the Welsh shires, and to name the shire 
towns (28 Henry VIII., c. 3). For some reason or other 
— partly no doubt owing to the lack of sympathy with 
the poUcy felt and expressed by Bishop Lee and the 
other officials — ^it was found impossible to get the work 
done within the prescribed time. In 1539 it was found 
necessary to extend the time for another three years 
(31 Henry VIII., c. 11), and it was only in 1542 that the 
last of the three Acts which created modem Wales was 

34 and 35 Henry VIII., c. 26 (1542-3), " An Act for 
certain ordinances in the King's Dominion and Prin- 
cipaUty of Wales," marked the passing away of the old 
order and the old school of statesmanship. It did away, 
finally and completely, with the Lordships Marcher, 
and with the abuses which were associated with their 
existence. It gave to Wales the geographical Umits 
which she still retains, and though the institutions which 
it established have now disappeared, they existed, one 
for a century and a half, and another for wellnigh three 
centuries.^ It made the " resolute Government " of 
Bishop Lee unnecessary and anomalous, and Wales 
neither saw nor required his Uke again. The stout 

* Denbighshire was formed out of the Hiraethog district 


bishop's friends and coadjutors did not live to see the 
end of their order. Mr. Justice Englefield, " for lemnige 
and discreete modest behavoor comparable with any in 
the Realme," had died in 1537. Bishop Rowland had 
felt his loss keenly, and begged CromweU to replace him 
with " someone of leming and experience. I shall do 
my part while my rude carcass shaU endure. Remember 
the commonwealth of these parts, which if I have not 
help will decay again." In 1539 Sir Richard Herbert 
died — " the best of his name I know," said Lee. " I 
have as great a loss of him as though I had lost one of 
my arms in governing Powes, Kery, Kedewen, and 
Cloonesland."' Next year he lost Sir William Sulyard 
and Mr. Justice Porte. Nor did the good bishop him- 
self long survive his colleagues. The toil, which he said 
had " brought many honest men to their death," was 
soon to bring his own " rude carcass " to the dust. 
About the end of January, 1543, he died at the College 

between the Conway and the Clwyd, the lordships of Denbigh 
and Ruthin, and Welsh Maelor. 

Montgomeryshire out of Arwystli and Cy veiliog. 

Radnorshire out of Melenydd and Elvel. 

Brecknockshire out of the old lordships of Brycheiniog. 

Monmouthshire out of Gwent, and the Gwjmllwg portion of 
old Morgannwg. 

To the old county of Glamorgan was added Gower ; to Pem- 
broke the Welsh tract (old Dyved) between Haverfordwest and 
the Tivy ; to Carmarthenshire Llandovery and Abermarles in 
the Vale of Towy and Laughame in the West, and Camwyllion 
and Kidwelly in the South ; to Cardiganshire the lordship of 
Tregaron ; and to Merionethshire the lordship of Mawddwy. 

Of the 136 Lordships Marcher mentioned in the Act, Miss 
Skeel computes that 52, as well as Arwystli and C3rveiliog, had 
fallen to the Crown. The most important still in the hands of 
Lords Marcher were Molesdale, Hopedale, and EUesmere in the 
possession of Lord Derby ; Raglan, Chepstow, and Gower in the 
possession of Lord Worcester ; and Powjrsland in the possession 
of Lord Powys (p. 292). 


of St. Chad's, Shrewsbury, of which his brother was 
dean, and was buried in St. Chad's Church. He died 
at the zenith of his fame, when his work was done. He 
had upheld the arm of law and order in a time of anarchy. 
He had carried the terror of his name to the wilds of 
Melenith and Arwystli. He had meted out justice with- 
out favour, if without mercy. By the success of his 
stern administration he had made it possible for the 
far-sighted statesmen of Henry VHI. to apply to Wales 
the healing policy of trust and confidence. Had he 
failed, the concessions of 1535 and 1542 might have 
been made impossible, because they would almost cer- 
tainly have been misunderstood. He had bridged over 
the transition period between chaos and ordered liberty. 
He died at a fortunate juncture for his after-fame. He 
disliked and distrusted the policy of which the Act of 
1542 was the climax and the coping-stone.^ His distrust 
of " the Welshery " was ineradicable, and he was too 
old to learn the lesson which not even the genius of 
Burke or the eloquence of Bright has sufficed to make 
clear to the world : that force is no remedy, and repres- 
sion is "ill husbandry." He had done what he could 
to postpone the day when Wales would be on a political 
equality with England. Had he survived, it may well 
be doubted if he would not have retarded rather than 
expedited the development of Wales into a law-abiding 
and contented portion of the realm. His rough-and- 
ready methods, however admirable in times of anarchy, 

1 The bishop was asked in 1540 to set the Commissioners to 
work on the delimitation of Denbighshire and to give his opinion 
as to the expediency of the change. He sourly replied that he 
was not privy of any such commission, and trusted that his 
opinion would not be required, " for I am not of that perfectness 
to know what shall chance in time comina;." 


would have provoked hostility to the law in the brighter 
days that were about to dawn on Wales. His rude 
justice would have inevitably brought him into conflict 
with those who were to be responsible for the government 
of the new Wales. He had Uttle faith in Justices of the 
Peace or in jurors, and doubtless he would have used 
the supervising powers of the Court of the Marches to 
the utmost in order to restrain what, to him, would 
appear the partiality of justices or the corruption of 
juries. His court at Ludlow was modelled on the 
example of the Star Chamber. For at least a century 
after his death it was, if not popular, at least not actively 
unpopulau- in Wales. Down to the reign of James I. it 
undoubtedly did valuable work in the Piincipality. 
This it was able to do because it was neither meddlesome 
nor mischievous. It worked harmoniously with the 
ordinary courts, and it did not interfere unduly or 
capriciously with the discretion of Justices of the Peace 
and other officers of the law. But with a suspicious 
and scepticEd Lord President at Ludlow, things would 
have fared very differently, and Bishop Rowland would 
probably have involved the Court of the Marches in as 
much unpopularity as afterwards brought about the 
downfall of its exemplar and prototype, the Star 

The Act of 1542 consists of one hundred and thirty 
sections. It recites that it was passed " at the humble 
suit and petition " of the people of Wales, but no record 
of the petition is extant .^ By dividing Wales into 
twelve counties, Monmouthshire, which was and has 
continued to be Welsh in blood, sympathy, and, until 

1 Unless it be the petition already cited from Lord Herbert's 
Lije of Henry VIII. 


lately, to a large extent in language, was excluded from 
the geographical area of the Principality.^ The twelve 
counties of Wales were to consist of the eight ancient 
shires and counties, and the four new shires created by 
the Act of 1535 . The division of the shires into hundreds 
by the Commission appointed under the previous Act 
was confirmed. By section 4, statutory recognition was 
accorded to the Court of the Council of the Marches : 

" There shall be and remain a President and Council 
in the said Dominion and Principality of Wales, and the 
Marches of the same, with all Of&cers, Clerks, and 
Incidents to the same in Manner and Form as hath 
been heretofore used and accustomed ; which President 
and Council shall have Power and Authority to hear 
and determine, by their Wisdoms and Discretions, such 
causes and matters as be or hereafter shall be assigned 
to them by the King's Majesty , as heretofore hath been 
accustomed and used." 

It is true that in previous statutes, such as 26 Henry 
VIII., c. 4, and 26 Henry VIII., c. 6, the Court and the 
Lord President had been mentioned, and to some extent 
therefore their existence and powers had been regu- 
larised. But the Councils of the North and of the West 
(the former of which had been created by the king after 
the suppression of the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1336) had 

* It is curious with what persistence the people of Wales have 
clung to Monmouthshire as a Welsh county. George Owen, in 
his " Dialogue " (Owen's Pembrokeshire, pt. iii. p. 39), speaks 
of Wales as having been divided into thirteen counties. Shake- 
speare makes Fluellen speak of Monmouth as a Welsh town. 
Stephen Hughes, in the preface to one of his publications printed 
in the reign of Charles II., refers (as is commonly done in Wales 
still) to the thirteen counties of Wales. Of recent years, for 
the purposes of educational administration, Monmouthshire has 
been recognised as forming part of Wales. 


been mentioned, together with the Ludlow Court, in 
the Subsidy Act of 1540 (32 Henry VIII.. c. 50, which 
was not enrolled in Chancery). But they were simply 
mentioned as being a source of expense to the king, 
though the existence of the Ludlow Covurt is justified on 
the ground that poor and rich thereby " have undelayed 
Justice daylye administered unto them." But the direct 
and regular recognition in the statute of the Court of 
the Marches, which had been called into existence by 
the exercise of the king's prerogative, placed it in a 
different category from the Council of the North and 
the Star Chamber. It fell, with the other prerogative 
courts, before the reforming energy of the Long Parlia- 
ment ; but. while the others fell to rise no more, the civil 
jurisdiction of the Court of the Marches was revived at 
the Restoration. It was only after the Revolution of 
1688 that it finally passed out of existence. 

Side by side, however, with the Court of the Marches, 
there was created a new system of courts, called " the 
King's Great Sessions in Wales," which will be described 
in further detail in another chapter. Sheriffs for each 
of the twelve counties were to be appointed yearly by 
the Crown out of three names which were to be sub- 
mitted by the President of the Council. The sheriffs 
were to hold their County and Hundred Courts monthly, 
and over their actions the President and the Council 
kept strict observation. Nearly all the Welsh sheriffs 
were members of the Council, and they were bound to 
execute all lawful commands of the Lord President and 
the Council. If we may trust the ' ' Dialogue ' ' of George 
Owen, which contains the best description we have of 
the functions of the Council of the Marches and its 
relations with the other local courts and officials of 


Wales, sheriffs had tried, by placing a wrong construction 
on sections 73 and 74 of the Act of 1542, to erect new 
Hundred Courts for the purpose of extortion. The 
Council had fined sheriffs for such practices, and in 
Brecknockshire, at least, the evil had been nipped in 
the bud. But, up to the last days of the Council, its 
relations with the sheriffs were not cordial, and during 
the presidency of the Earl of Bridgwater (1631) there 
were instances where the sheriffs flatly refused to carry 
out the Council's orders.^ 

By section 53 it was enacted that Justices of the 
Peace and of the Quorum, and one custos rotulorum, 

' George Owen, in his " Dialogue of the Government of Wales " 
(Owen's Pembrokeshire, ii. 63-81), gives a full and interesting 
account of the abuses arising out of the establishment of Hundred 
Courts in Wales. There were, he says, 23 such Hundred Courts 
or " commots " held in the ancient counties of North Wales 
before 1542, but there were no Manor Courts, no Courts Baron 
(i.e. Court of the freeholders of the Manor), or Courts Leet 
(i.e. manorial courts of criminal jurisdiction which were granted 
to particular manors by the Crown) held therein. The intention 
of sees. 72 and 73 of the Act of 1542 was to preserve these ancient 
courts, but to direct that henceforth they should administer 
the English law after the EngUsh usage. Until the end of 
the reign of Mary, no attempt was made to set up Hundred 
Courts in the new Hundreds which had been constituted by 
Henry VHI.'s legislation. In the reign of Elizabeth, however, 
Hundred Courts were set up in the new Hundreds, and as they 
were held every fortnight, whereas the County Courts were 
only held once a month, the Hundred Courts were thronged 
with suitors, whereas the County Courts — which were far and 
away the best of the " base courts " {i.e. courts not of record) — 
were deserted. He describes, as an eye-witness, the evils which 
resulted. The Hundred Courts were presided over by the 
Under-Sheriff, the procedure was imperfect, " embracery " 
(i.e. corruption of juries) was universal, and oppression was 
rife. The Council of the Marches had interfered with good 
results in Brecknock, Glamorgan and Montgomery, and the 
Chief Baron, when on circuit in Monmouthshire, had summarily 
put an end to the abuse in that county. But he complains that 
in the rest of Wales the evil was still rampant. 


should be appointed for each county by the Lord Chan- 
cellor, on the advice of the President and the Council. 
By section 55 the number of such justices was limited 
to eight for each county — ^no doubt "on account of the 
difficulty which was experienced, or feared, of finding a 
greater number of men of substance, position, and 
education to fill such posts. The limitation on the 
number of justices was not removed till 1693 (5 William 
and Mary, c. 4). The Justices of the Peace were to 
hold their sessions four times a year. The Lord Presi- 
dent was, in practice, the Lord-Lieutenant for the twelve 
counties of Wales, and most of the high officials of the 
Council were on the commission of the peace for each 
of the Welsh counties. 

A very salutary jurisdiction was exercised by the 
Council over the various borough courts of Wales. 
George Owen, in his "Dialogue," complains that there 
were too many corporate towns in Wales having private 
courts of record for personal actions to any amount. 
" There are in Wales yet (1594)," he said, " a multitude 
of very meane villages scarce having six houses or 
cottages, and yet are allowed for Corporations and 
Boroughs." As the Council had an appellate juris- 
diction in personal actions, it was able to mitigate the 
evils resulting from the multiplicity of obscure borough 
courts, and in time these courts seem to have entirely 

By section 68 it was enacted that two coroners should 
be elected in each shire as in England, and by section 70 
the Justices of the Peace were empowered to appoint 
two chief constables for the hundred wherein they dwelt. 

Though justice was to be generally administered 
according to the English law, it was thought expedient 


to enact in particular that the old Welsh law should be 
superseded in two points. By section 84 it was for- 
bidden to put a murderer or a felon to his fine, and by 
section 100 private arrangements between parties in 
cases of murder and felony were made punishable by 
fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the President 
and the Council. By sections 91 and 128 gavelkind was 
abolished, and the EngUsh law of descent was specifically 
introduced into Wales.^ 

Such, in its main outlines, was the policy, daringly 
conceived and consistently carried out, which reduced 
Wales, in the course of a single generation, to a state 
of order and obedience to the law. It associated the 
people of Wales with the government of their own 
country. Justices of the Peace under the Tudors were 
invested with far greater powers than they are in our 
own days.2 They formed the permanent and almost 
the only machinery for local government in their coun- 
ties, and though their actions were subject to the super- 
vision of the Council at Ludlow, in ordinary circum- 
stances they were supreme in their own sphere. They 

• The full text of the statute will be found in Bowen's Statutes 
of Wales, pp. 101-133. 

• George Owen in his " Dialogue " (Owen's Pembrokeshire, vol. U. 
p. 60) enumerates the functions of justices of the Peace in those 
days (1593). In their Quarter Sessions (held four times a year) 
they bound persons over to keep the peace, they dealt summarily 
with the lesser felonies and committed the graver felonies to 
the Great Sessions ; they tried cases of trespass, assaults, affrays, 
riots, routs, unlawful assemblies, embraceries {i.e. attempts 
to corrupt juries), maintenance ; they licensed and regulated 
ale-houses ; they punished persons indulging in unlawful games ; 
they took order for servants' and labourers' wages and covenants 
(5 Ehzabeth, c. 14, s. 15), " and a multitude of other matters 
are referred to the hearing and examining of those Justices 
of the]^Peace both in theyr Sessions and out of theyr Sessions 
tending to the good and quyett government of the Cuntrey." 


were not only conservators of the peace, but to them 
was entrusted the duty of appointing local officials, and 
to discharge the functions now vested in County and 
District Councils and Quarter Sessions. Individually, 
also, each had jurisdiction over all minor offences in his 
own district. In the time of Henry VIII. the Welsh 
gentry had not become anglicised either in speech or 
sentiment or habits. Henry VII., who was brought up 
at Raglan Castle under the tutorship of William Herbert, 
first Earl of Pembroke, of the first creation, never lost 
his interest in Welsh poetry, and after he had come into 
his kingdom, he sometimes called in " Welsh rhymers " 
to charm away the brooding melancholy which the cares 
of state cast upon his spirit.^ The Welsh traditions of 
the Herberts survived into the next century. Dr. 
Griffith Roberts of Milan, in dedicating his Welsh 
grammar to William Herbert, the first Earl of Pembroke 
of the second creation, holds him up as an example to 
the other gentlefolk in Wales, and states that whenever 
the Earl met a countryman in court, he always addressed 
him in his native tongue.* In the next century. Lord 

• Polii. Hist, of England, vol. v. (Fisher), p. 150. In Dec. 1485 
Henry granted £20 a year to Philip ap Howsl and his wife " .some- 
time our nurse " of Carmarthenshire. 

2 " Canys e wyr hoU gymru a Uoegr faint ych serch i'r 
fruttaniaith, pryd na ddoedech wrth gymro ond cymraeg, ie, 
ymysg penaduiiaid y deymas " (1565). William Ll^n, in hi$ 
elegy (1570), said of the Earl : 

Pe bair larll pybyr i win 

Oil ger bron Uoegr ai brenin 

Doeded ef a di dafar 

Gymraec wrth Gymro ai gar. 
(Barddoniaeth William Ll>*n, ed. Morice, 1908, p. 73.) Hopcyn, 
in the Introduction to Hen Gwndidau (p. xli.), without, however, 
giving his authority, states that the Earl was himself a poet, and 
composed inter alia two Welsh Triads, one of which was as 

W.M.W, F 


Herbert of Cherbury records that he was sent in his 
youth to hve in Denbighshire in order that he might 
learn Welsh. ^ If the magnates were so Welsh in tongue 
and sympathy, the smaller gentry in the time of Henry 
VIII. may be presumed to have even more Welsh and 
less EngUsh. They were not rich — Bishop Rowland Lee 
exclaimed that from Brecknock to the north there were 
no " Welshery " who were worth £io a year in land.^ 
Alien officials thought that they would be therefore more 
prone to be influenced by corrupt and sinister motives 
in carrying out the duties of administration. They were 
not " educated," in the sense in which the word would 
be used in England. It was indeed an audacious experi- 

follows : " The three things that make a man wise are : the 
genius of a Cymro, the courtesy of a Frenchman, and the industry 
of a Saxon." Sir Owen Edwards {Wales, p. 326) states that 
the only language he knew well was Welsh. Miss Skeel (p. 82) 
goes further, and says that " in the Calais negotiations in 1555 
he was nearly useless " — on account of his imperfect knowledge 
of English — a statement, having regard to the many years spent 
by the Earl in England and France, which is frankly incredible. 
Miss Skeel cites no authority for her statement. 

^ Autobiography, p. 24. 

2 18 Hen. VII. c. 11, recites that some of the Justices of the 
Peace be of small behaviour (substance) by whom the people 
will not be governed nor ruled, and some " for their necessity do 
great extortion and oppression upon the people," and enacts 
that no Justice of the Peace be assigned "if he have not lands 
or tenements to the value of ;£20 by year." Bishop Lee had this 
statute in mind when he said that no Welshmen above Brecon 
had £10 a year. The statute 34 and 35 Hen. VIII., c. 26, s. 56, 
recognised the truth of this observation, and enacted that 
Justices of the Peace shall be of " good name and fame " and 
may exercise their of&ce " albeit they may not dispend ^^20, 
but be learned in the laws of the land." By the end of the 
century, however, so greatly had Wales prospered, that George 
Owen thought the same property qualification could well be 
exacted in Wales and in England. (See " Dialogue " in Owen's 
Pembrokeshire, vol. ii. pp. 56-7.) 


ment to entrust such extensive powers, subject to little 
supervision on the part of the central authority, to such 

Similarly trial by jury was introduced into the whole 
of Wales, into the counties where " malefacts and 
scelerous deeds " were rife as well as into the more 
settled counties of Glamorgan and Flint. 

Last but not least, parliamentary representation was 
given to Wales. It is a proud reflection that Wales is 
England's oldest ally and partner in her resplendent 
career. At a time when Scotland was an independent 
and hostile kingdom, and when the greater part of 
Ireland was given over to the " Wild Irish," and the 
EngUsh Pale, though represented in a Dublin Parlia- 
ment, was enjoying only constitutional privileges as 
limited by Poynings' Law, Wales entered into the full 
inheritance of the Enghsh Constitution. Her sons sat 
shoulder to shoulder with the knights and burgesses of 
England, as they wrought to fashion a new order and a 
new society. With them they faced and solved the 
ever-changing problems and difficulties of a transitional 
era. They helped in the various settlements of reUgion, 
under Henry VIII., under Mary, under Elizabeth, and 
under Charles II. They shared in the anxieties that 
racked this kingdom when Philip II. was preparing to 
launch the invincible Armada. They played their 
valorous part on land and sea 

When lofty Spain came towering up the seas 
This little land to daunt and quell. 

The Members for Wales shared in the great struggle 
for constitutional rights which was the outstanding 
feature of Stuart politics— rights which will soon become 


the common heritage of the world. Most of them, and 
most of their countrymen, took the king's side in the 
Puritan Rebellion ; but if a Welshman was the last to 
hold out for the king at Harlech, if Judge Jenkins of 
Hensol defied the House of Commons at its own bar as 
a den of thieves, responding to the threat to hang him 
by saying that he would hang with the Bible under one 
arm and Magna Carta under the other ; ^ Thomas Wogan, 
Member for Cardigan, and John Jones of Maes-y- 
Gamedd, Member for Merioneth, were among those who 
signed the death-warrant of Charles, and the names of 
Sir Thomas Morgan and Philip " Lord Jones," of Walter 
Cradock, Vavasour Powell, and Morgan Llwyd, of 
WilUam Erbury and Christopher Love, are sufficient to 
prove that not all the best Welshmen were arrayed 
against the cause of Parliament .^ Nor did Welshmen 
abstain from shouldering the burden of colonising the 
New World. In New England and in Virginia there are 
still to be found families who are proud to trace their 
descent from early Welsh settlers. When the illustrious 
Bacon, " the greatest intellect that ever combined power 

' Owen Edwards's Wales, p. 373. 

^ The following Welsh Members were Royalists : William 
Herbert (Cardiff) and Charles Price (Radnorshire), who both 
fell in the war ; John Bodville (Anglesey), William Price of 
Rhiwlas (Merioneth), Richard Herbert (Montgomery), Henry 
Vaughan of Derwydd (Carmarthenshire), Francis Lloyd of 
Maesyvelin (Carmarthen), Sir John Stepney (Haverfordwest), 
Sir Edward Steadling (Glamorgan), Herbert Price (Brecon), 
Richard Jones of Trewern (Radnor), Wm. Thomas of Aber 
(Carnarvon), John Salisbury (Flint), Simon Thelwall of Plas-y- 
Ward (Denbigh), Walter Lloyd (Cardiganshire), John Vaughan 
of Trawscoed (Cardigan),' W. Morgan (Brecknockshire), and 
John Griffith of Cefnamlwch (Beaumaris), who died on the eve 
of the war. 

Sir John Price of Newtown (Montgomeryshire), Hugh Owen of 
Orielton (Pembroke), and Sir Thomas Middleton (Denbigh) gave 


in thought with responsible practice in affairs of State," ^ 
and others formed " a company of adventurers " in 
1610 to colonise Newfoundland, our premier colony, one 
of their most enthusiastic supporters was William 
Vaughan of Torcoed in the county of Carmarthen, poet, 
scholar, and pioneer. He bestowed the names of the 
counties of South Wales ^ on the several districts which 
he had acquired, and on the whole colony, situate on 
the south coast at the head of Trepassey Bay, he con- 
ferred the resounding title of Cambriol. When Oliver 
Cromwell, who was never averse to be reminded of his 
Welsh origin, annexed Jamaica and made it the first 
British Crown Colony, the success of the venture was 
materially assisted by the devoted loyalty of Welshmen 
in the island, the most redoubtable of whom was Sir 
Henry Morgan " the Buccaneer." ^ Representatives from 
Wales — one or two of them in high positions — shared 
in the deliberations of their English colleagues during the 
uncertainties and turmoils attending the Great Revolu- 
tion of 1688. It was the votes of the Welsh members 
that turned the scale in the division lobby in favour of 

fitful support to the Parliamentarians. Henry Herbert, in 
addition to Thomas Wogan and John Jones, was consistently 
against the- king. Sir Nicholas Kemeys, who had represented 
Monmouth in the Parliament of 1628, died in defending Chepstow 
Castle against Cromwell in the Second Civil War (see Owen 
Edwards's Wales, c. xxiii.). Algernon Sidney became Member 
for Cardiff in 1646 ; but he was never returned to Parhament 
after the Restoration and was not, as Sir Owen Edwards seems 
to suppose (Wales, p. 383), a Welsh member when he was tried 
by Jeffreys in 1682. 

* Morley's Politics and History, p. 49. 

' Except Radnorshire. 

" For the origin and career of Henry Morgan, see the writer's 
article in the Transactions of the Cymmrodorion Society 


the accession of the House of Brunswick to the British 
throne. Nearly four centuries have elapsed since Wales 
was granted a constitution, and Welshmen were endowed 
with the full privileges of English citizenship. At no 
juncture during that time have Welshmen proved 
factious or disloyal. In peace and war, in storm and 
sunshine, Wales has been loyal to the partnership. " An 
easier people to govern, Europe holdeth not," as Sir 
Henry Sidney said nearly three hundred and fifty years 
ago. Not that their placidity was due to lack of spirit, 
or that the miscalled " canker of peace " had destroyed 
the virility of the nation. The Great War has proved 
that in Wales, as in the rest of the kingdom, the old 
martial spirit will still respond to freedom's clarion call. 
Wales has been law-abiding, because she has learned to 
respect the law ; she has been loyal, because she has 
been justly and equally treated. With rare vision the 
Enghsh poet predicted — and his prediction has been 
abundantly verified — five years before the war, that 
Wales would not fail in the testing time.^ 

On Europe, East and West, the dim clouds brood. 
Disperse and gather again : and none can tell 
AVhat birth they hold within them. But we know 
That should they break in tempest on our shores. 
You, that with differing blood, with differing spirit. 
Yet fink your fate with ours, with ours your fate, 
Will stand beside us in the hurricane, 
Steadfast, whatever peril may befall. 

1 William Watson, Wales : a Greeting, 1909. 



After 1542 the Council of the Marches entered upon a 
new phase in its history. Hitherto it had maintained 
a precarious existence as a prerogative court, whose life 
and powers were entirely dependent on the will or 
caprice of the sovereign. For years in succession it had 
remained in a state of suspended animation, the mere 
simulacrum of a court or a council. Then again, as 
under Bishop Smyth, it had performed a useful if some- 
what ornamental service in attaching Wales to the 
Crown. Under the strenuous guidance of Rowland Lee 
it had wielded a real power in the State, and had helped 
to introduce law and order into the Marches. But a 
change of ministers or the death of the king might have 
at any moment altered its whole position. After 1542, 
however, its position was assured. For the first time it 
received statutory recognition. Section 4 of the 1542 
Act gave to the President and Council " power and 
authority to hear and determine by their wisdoms and 
discretions such causes and matters as be or hereafter 
shall be assigned to them by the King's Majesty, as 
heretofore hath been accustomed and used." This pro- 
vision was merely declaratory of the position which it 
had hitherto occupied. Parliament empowered it to 
carry out the orders of the king, a sanction which the 
Council of the North, which had lately been set up to 



deal with the aftermath of the Pilgrimage of Grace, 
never obtained. But the Council of the Marches was 
to be henceforward something more than a prerogative 
court. It was given a general concurrent jurisdiction — 
common law and equitable — ^with the Court of Great 
Sessions ; and it was given an appellate jurisdiction in 
personal actions. The appeal in real and mixed actions 
was to tht Court of King's at Westminster.^ 

No local habitation was fixed for it. Bishop Rowland 
was an itinerant justiciar. He fixed his court at will, 
amidst the thieves of Prestdgn Or the outlaws of Llan- 
gollen, or in the stately halls of Shrewsbury or Ludlow. 
Like an Eastern Cadi he dispensed justice sometimes in 
the Open air. Sbmetimes he acted by himself, at other 
times he was glad of the assistance of his colleagues, 
Mr. Justice Englefield and Mr. Justice Porte. When 
Sir Richard Herbert of Montgomery died in 1539, he 
exclaimed to Cromwell that he would sooner have 
lost his arm. The Statute of 1542 did not expressly 
tie the Council of the Marches to one definite locality. 
During the next century we find that the Council met 
occasionally at Hereford, at Worcester, at Gloucester, 
at Tewkesbury, at Hartlebury, and at Oswestry. The 
only place in Wales proper where it is ever recorded to 
have sat was Wrexham. More often it met at Shrews- 
bury, which in those days was more than half Welsh, 
the old capital of Powys before the invaders drove the 
Prince of Mid- Wales from Pengwern to Mathrafal in 
Montgomery, and in those days still the chief town and 
mart in the Marches of Wales. Still oftener it met at 
Bewdley, the " comely " town set on a lull overlooking 

1 After the abolition of the Council in 1689, the appellate 
jurisdiction was transferred to the House 6f Ldrds. 


the Severn, which stirred Leland to admiration. It is, 
he said, " sette on the syde of a hill, soe comely a man 
cannot wish to see a towne better. ... At the rising 
of the sun from the East the whole towne gUttereth, 
being all of new building, as it were of gould." ^ The 
antiquary probably visited Bewdley about 1537, when 
the little township which had sprung up around Ticken- 
hill Manor was indeed new. The Manor House — " a 
fayre manour place by the West of the towne, standinge 
in a goodly parke well wooded, on the very knappe of 
the hill that the towne standeth on " — had been first 
built by Richard, Duke of York and Earl of March, a 
hundred years or so before. It is only a few miles to 
the east of his strongholds, Ludlow Castle and Wigmore. 
When Prince Arthur was sent to hold his court in the 
Marches, the old manor house was transformed into a 
princely palace. Here he was married by proxy to 
Catherine of Arragon in the presence of Bishop Smyth ; 
thither he brought his young bride, and resided for the 
short remnant of his life. After his death in 1502, the 
palace fell into disrepair, but was put in order for the 
reception of the Lady Mary, when her father sent her 
in 1525 to hold her court in the Marches. Half a century 
after, the " house of Tickenhill " was said to be " of 
often resort of the President and Council." " But its 
glory departed with the sixteenth century. The Stuart 
king let it to Sir Ralph Clare, who grudged the expense 
of keeping it in repair, and still more the inconvenience 
of offering occasional hospitality to the President and 
the Council. 

•■ Itin. iv. 183 b. 

• The great Shrewsbury case, o£ which the most complete record 
is extant, was tried at Bewdley (see Skeel, pp. 22$-234). 


One of the complaints made against the Council was 
that suitors never knew for certain where the Sessions 
would take place. ^ The presence of the Council brought 
considerable profit to a town, and there was naturally 
a keen competition for it. It was alleged that officers 
of the Court were bribed to effect such a change, and 
that suitors firom the remote parts of Wales were com- 
pelled to inquire on their way where the Council would 
meet. 2 But, as time went on, Ludlow became more and 
more associated with the Council, and among Welsh 
people it came to be known as " the Court of Ludlow." 

No fitter place could be chosen for the location of a 
court for Wales and the four border counties of Shrop- 
shire, Hereford, Worcester, and Gloucester. It is the 
natural centre of the March counties, and it is within 
easy distance of Mid- Wales. Churchyard describes " the 
towne of noble fame " in his pedestrian verse : 

The towne doth stand most part upon an hill 

Built well and fayre, with streets both large and wide ; 

The houses such, where strangers lodge at will. 

As long as there the Councell lists abide. 

Both fine and cleare the streetes are all throughout. 

With condits cleere and wholesome water springs : 

And who that Usts to walke the towne about. 

Shall find therein some rare and pleasant things : 

But chiefly there the ayre so sweet you have. 

As in no place ye can no better crave. ^ 

The castle, fair and stately even to-day in its ruins, 
commands the township. It was originally built by 
Roger of Montgomery ; it was forfeited to the Crown 
by the attainder of Robert of Belleme. It was one link 

' Lansdowne MSS. 76, pp. 141 b-9. 

^ Ibid. 60, pp. 103-12, arts. 9-10. 

' Churchyard's Worthiness of Wales, first published in 1587. 

COUNCIL OF THE MARCHES : 1542-1689 91 

in the chain of sixteen castles that the Normans built in 
the Marches both to stop the incursions of the Welsh 
and to act as citadels whence they could harry their 
enemy over the borders. One of its towers is still called 
Mortimer's Tower, in remembrance of the imprisonment 
in it of Hugh Mortimer by his enemy Joce de Dinan, 
the castellan of Ludlow. In its hall the Sieur de Join- 
ville, whose brother had married Maud, the heiress of 
the de Lacy who owned the castle, feasted with all the 
magnates of the March before he went with St. Louis 
of France on the Seventh Crusade in 1248. Here Gilbert 
de Clare, Earl of Gloucester and Lord of Glamorgan, 
came to meet Prince Edward, who had escaped from 
his imprisonment at Hereford, and made the pact which 
enabled the prince to renew the war with the Barons 
and which led to the defeat and death of Simon de 
Montfort at the battle of Evesham. Here Roger Morti- 
mer, Earl of March, who had married Maud's great- 
granddaughter, brought young King Edward III., and 
sought to efface the foul wrong he had done his parents 
by entertaining him with jousts and tournaments and 
all the diversions famiUar to the age of chivalry. Here 
his descendant, another Roger Mortimer, brought his 
bride, the Lady Philippa, daughter of Lionel, Duke of 
Clarence, and united the blood of the great Llewelyn, 
the representative of the oldest reigning house in Europe, 
with, that of the proud and upstart Plantagenets. Here 
Edmund Mortimer ^ mustered his forces in order to meet 
the fierce onrush of Glyndwr on Melenydd, and it was 

^ Miss Skeel (p. 182) makes one of her rare slips in confusing 
Edmund Mortimer, Glyndwr's son-in-law, who was killed at the 
siege of Harlech in 1409, with his nephew Edmund, who died 
of the plague in Ireland in 1525, aet. 34, leaving his cousin, the 
Duke of York, as his heir. 


from Ludlow that he saUied forth to the fatal field of 
Pilleth. Here Richard, Duke of York, heir to the vast 
Mortimer lordships through his mother, the niece of 
the ill-fated Edmund, gathered for the first time his 
forces in order to commence the bloody welter of the 
Wars of the Roses. Here came young Prince Edward, 
the son of Edward IV., to hold the only court he was 
destined to hold. Here died Prince Arthur. Here the 
Princess Mary, in her youthful prime, spent the happiest 
years of her gloomy and care-worn life. Here Rowland 
Lee stormed and blustered, hawked and hunted and 
feasted and indulged his love of building. But if the 
old town and castle were charged with fierce memories 
Of the wars and tragedies of the past, they were destined 
to enjoy still nobler associations in the future. Sir Henry 
Sidney, scholar, statesman, and warrior, one of the 
greatest Englishmen even in the " spacious days of great 
Elizabeth," was to reside here for the best part of 
twenty-seven years. After his strenuous struggles with 
the O'Neils, the Butlers, and the Rory O'Mores of 
Ireland, he gratefully returned to the government of 
the gentle people of Wales ; to the superintendence of 
the education of his " little Philip " in Shrewsbury 
school ; to the affectionate care of his wife, the Lady 
Mary Dudley, the Earl of Leicester's sister, who sacrificed 
her young beauty by nursing Queen Elizabeth through 
an attack of smallpox and catching the infection her- 
self ; and to adding to the castle buildings which would 
make it fit to be the residence of one who ruled over a 
third of the realm of England.^ When he came to die 

' Over the entrance to the inner court of the castle there still 
remains an inscription recording that it was built by Sidney, with 
the motto " hominibus ingratis loquimini lapides." 

COUNCIl OF THE MARCHES : 1542-1689 93 

in 1586, he directed that while his body should be laid to 
rest in the Parish Church of Penshurst, his heart should 
be interred at Ludlow " for the entire love he bare that 
place." Within the castle grew up the two most won- 
derful children of that wonderful age. Here lived in 
closest affection Philip Sidney, the godson and name- 
sake of the King of Spain, fighting against whom he 
met with a hero's death at Zutphen, " a very parfit 
gentil knight," the mirror of chivalry, " sublimely mild, 
a spirit without spot " ; and his sister Mary Sidney, 
" fair and wise and good," who as Countess of Pembroke 
became the theme of every poet in England, and whose 
death inspired Ben Jonson to write his immortal 
epitaph : 

Underneath this sable hearse 
Lies the subject of all verse. 
Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother, 
Death ! ere thou hast slain another, 
Leam'd and fair and good as she. 
Time shall throw a dart at thee. 

A frequent visitor was Thomas Churchyard, who com- 
menced to rhyme with Lord Surrey in the reign of 
Henry VIII. and continued to write his doggerel verses 
with unabated vigour in the early days of James the 
First. One of the strangest and most incongruous 
figures who ever lived at Ludlow Castle must have been 
Richard Baxter, who afterwards became famous as a 
dissenting divine and the most eloquent of EngUsh 
preachers. The Chaplain of the Council was allowed to 
eke out his stipend of £40 a year by taking in one pupil. 
Young Baxter, then a youth with designs on the ministry 
of the Church of England, came in 1632 to sit at the 
feet of the Rev. Richard Wickstead, Chaplain to the 


Council.^ He remained at Ludlow for one year, being 
left very much to himself by his reverend preceptor, 
but having the free run of the excellent library. In his 
memoirs, written over fifty years after, he recalled the 
temptations of his youth. " About 17 years of age," 
he said, in his Reliquiae Baxterianae,^ " being at Ludlow 
Castle, where many idle gentlemen had little else to do, 
I had a mind to learn to play at tables, the best gamester 
in the house undertook to teach me." There were many 
such " idle gentlemen " about the place, for " the house 
was great, there being four judges, the King's attorney, 
the clerk of the fines, with all their servants and all the 
lord president's servants and many more ; and the town 
was full of temptations through the multitude of persons 
(counsellors, attorneys, of&cers and clerks) and much 
given to tippling and excess." Here on Michaelmas Day, 
1634, came a slender, comely young poet, with soft blue 
eyes — whose brightness did not presage that the all too 
beautiful youth would spend his old age " in the land 
of darkness " — ^his shapely head crowned with a mass 
of auburn hair, not yet out of his twenty-fifth year — 
John Milton — ^to witness the first production on the 
stage of the " Mask of Comus," " the finest production 
of the kind which exists in any language." ^ The Pro- 
logue must have been composed in the castle itself, in 
which he describes how the great hall was thronged 
with guests who had come to see how 

A noble Peer of mickle trust and power 

Has in his charge with tempered awe to guide 

An old and haughty nation, proud in arms — 

1 Sir Owen Edwards is in error (Wales, p. 328) when he describes 
Baxter as Chaplain to the Council. 

^ P. 241. 5 Macaulay's Essay on Milton. 

COUNCIL OF THE MARCHES : 1542-1689 95 

the finest and most exalted compliment ever paid to 
the people of Wales. Samuel Butler, the satirist, spent 
one year of his life in the castle as secretary and steward 
to Lord Carbery, the first Restoration President. It is 
even said that he wrote the first part of Hudibras 
there, though he himself asserted that it was composed 
in the time of the Commonwealth.^ Here, too, in 1684 
came the Duke of Beaufort, the most magnificent noble- 
man of his age, to finish his princely " Progress," and 
to give the last gorgeous feast in the historic banqueting 
hall a few months before the Council was finally abolished, 
and the scene of so much pomp and splendour, of so 
much grace and poetry, of wisdom and wit, was left 
derelict for ever, and " Ichabod " was written over the 

Drain ac ysgall, mall a'u medd, 
Mieri lie bu mawredd, 
Y Uwybrau gynt lie bu'r gan 
Yn Ueoedd y ddylluan. 

The Presidency of the Council of Wales and the 
Marches became the most dignified and ornamental 
office in the gift of the Crown. This is the way in 
which Sir Henry Sidney, who had three times filled the 
post of Lord Deputy in Ireland, regarded it at the close 
of his twenty-seven years of office : " Great that it is 
that in some sort I govern the third part of this realm 
under her most gracious majesty ; high it is for by that 
I have precedence of great personages and by far my 
betters ; happy it is for the goodness of the people whom 
I govern ; and most happy it is for the commodity I 
have, by the authority of that place, to do good every 

^ Early in 1662 Hudibras appeared anonymously, entitled 
" Hudibras : the first part written in the time of the late Wars." 


day." The Lord-Lieutenancy of Ireland was a more 
difficult and thankless post ; Ireland, then as since, was 
the grave of English reputations. The President of 
Wales kept £dmost regal state, and " for the goodness 
of the people whom he governed " it was an office that 
required no great expenditure of energy or display of 
supreme administrative gifts. After the death of 
Bishop Rowland Lee in 1543, the old tradition was 
followed, and Sampson, his successor in the see of 
Lichfield and Coventry, was appointed also to the 
office of President of the Council. The Acts of the 
Privy Council, the storehouse of our knowledge of 
the affairs of the Council, contain few references to his 
tenure of office. Towards the close of his administration, 
however, there are ominous entries as to disputes about 
tithes in 1546.^ In the following year a complaint is 
lodged against him that he was " partially affected " in 
a certain case — probably affecting the rights of the 
Church — which was revoked to the Privy Council. The 
following year, after the accession of Edward VI., and 
the Council had decided on pursuing a more definite 
Protestant policy, the bishop was removed from the 
presidency, and he was succeeded by Robert Dudley, 
the newly-created Earl of Warwick, who was the first 
layman to fill the post. His restless ambition, however, 
was not content with an office which brought him little 
accession of political power. He became more and more 
involved in the intrigues of high politics, and in 1550 he 
gave way to Sir William Herbert, afterwards first Earl 
of Pembroke. In the following year, the Duke of 
Somerset fell, and he was succeeded as the virtual 
governor of England by Warwick, who was now created 
^A.P.C. 531-547- 

COUNCIL OF THE MARCHES : 1542-1689 97 

Duke of Northumberland. In 1553 Edward VI. died, 
and Dudley fell on the scaffold. Lord Pembroke, who 
had been Northumberland's right-hand man, and was 
privy to the conspiracy to place Lady Jane Grey on the 
throne, judiciously left the sinking ship in time, and 
became a prime favourite with Queen Mary. He was 
described by foreign observers as the most powerful 
subject in England, and he had Uttle time to devote to 
the administrative details of a provincial council. In 
1553. therefore, he resigned the presidency, and Mary 
reverted to the old tradition by appointing Heath, the 
Bishop of Worcester, as his successor. Two years later, 
on the death of Heath, Lord Pembroke was for the 
second time appointed President. His multifarious 
duties, however, disabled him from attending the Council 
in person. During his second two years of office he 
does not seem to have been in residence at Ludlow. 
Abuses crept in ; unauthorised persons presumed to act 
as attorneys of the court ; and when complaint was 
made to the queen, Pembroke in August, 1558, offered 
to resign. His offer was promptly accepted, and in the 
following October Gilbert Bourne, the Bishop of Bath 
and Wells, was appointed in his stead. But the Ufe of 
the sorrow-laden queen was drawing to a close. On 
November 17th, 1558, Mary breathed her last, followed 
a few hours later by Cardinal Pole. The reign of the 
Pope in England was over, and the presidency of the 
Popish Bishop of Bath and Wells expired with it. 
Bishop Bourne was the last of the long line of ecclesi- 
astical Presidents of Wales. 

He was succeeded, in February, 1559, by Lord Williams 
of Thame, a near kinsman of Richard WilUams, alias 
CromweU, under whose aegis he had first entered public 


life. Though he was treasurer of the Court of Augmen- 
tations, which was anathema to all good Cathohcs, he 
won Mary's favour by proclaiming her queen before the 
failure of Northumberland's plot was assured. As 
Sheriff of Oxfordshire he had brought Cranmer, Latimer, 
and Ridley in custody to the place of their martyrdom ; 
he had even, in that capacity, attended their execution. 
But when the Princess Elizabeth was placed in his 
custody at Woodstock, he treated her with such excep- 
tional favour that he was removed from his post. The 
Protestant queen, when she came to the throne, over- 
looked his official actions as sheriff, and only remembered 
his personal courtesy to the princess in distress. Though 
ill and hardly able to move, he was appointed President 
of the Council. He reached Ludlow in the summer, but 
in October he breathed his last in the castle. 

His successor was the most illustrious of all those who 
had occupied the ofiice of President. Sir Henry Sidney 
continued to be President, in spite of the ebb and flow 
of Court favour, till his death in 1586. It would have 
been well for the fortunes of the Council and for the 
welfare of the Principality if the gracious and benign 
influence of the President had been at the service of 
the Council without interruption for twenty-seven years. 
But Sidney was too valuable a servant of the State to 
be left in the backwaters of Ludlow. Three times he 
filled the office of Lord Deputy of Ireland, without 
however vacating the Presidency of Wales, viz. 1565- 
1567, 1568-1571, and 1575-1579- In the intervals he 
was not in constant residence at Ludlow. He had many 
enemies at Court, and Elizabeth, with true Tudor in- 
gratitude, too often lent her ear to his detractors. 
Walsingham, whose daughter was afterwards married 

COUNCIL OF THE MARCHES : 1542-1689 99 

to Sir Philip Sidney, once wrote to him a word of warn- 
ing. " Your lordship had neade to walk warily," he 
said, " for your doings are narrowly observed, and her 
Majestie is apt to geve eare to any that shall yll you." 
His greatest offence seems to have been his incurable 
tolerance of " recusancy." At a time when CathoUcs 
were hanged in England for Popery, and Puritans for 
sedition, the record of the Council of Wales is com- 
mendably clear of reproach in this direction, except 
during the two years (1577-1579) when Whitgift, the 
new Bishop of Worcester, acted as Vice-President during 
Sidney's absence in Ireland. There can be no doubt, 
also, that the President's absence gave occasion for a 
crop of abuses to grow. The " instructions " sent to 
the Council by the Privy Council in 1574, 1576, 1577, 
and 1586 show that excessive fees were levied, un- 
necessary of&cials were appointed, an inordinate number 
of attorneys' clerks attended, suitors were delayed owing 
to the absence of counsellors, the place of meeting was 
too uncertain, and there was a constant tendency to 
encroach overmuch on the jurisdiction of the Common 
Law Courts. Sir Henry Sidney strove hard to weed out 
these and other abuses, and his efforts met with a large 
measure of success. George Owen in his " Dialogue," a 
few years after the close of Sidney's tenure of office, 
described the Council as " the very place of refuge for 
the poor oppressed of this country of Wales to fly unto. 
And for this reason it is as greatly frequented with sutes 
as any Court at Westminster whatsoever, the more that 
it is the best cheape court in England for ffees and there 
is great speed made in triall of all causes." The presi- 
dency of Sir Henry Sidney was the golden age of the 
Court of the Council of the Marches. 


Sidney's successor and son-in-law, the second LordPem- 
broke (i586-i6o2),was in indifferent health, and preferred 
the scholarly leisure of life at Wilton Abbey to the dull 
routine, varied by the ceremonial pomp, of official work 
at Ludlow. Under him the Council began to lose repute, 
and he was often engaged in somewhat acrimonious 
controversy with the critics of his administration. 

Lord Zouche of Harringworth, who held office from 
1602-1607, was a man of ancient lineage and small 
possessions. He had been a ward of Sir William Cecil 
and a pupil of Whitgift. In 1586 he had acted as one 
of the judges of Mary Queen of Scots. When in 1598 
he was sent on an embassy to James VL of Scotland, 
he exceeded the powers entrusted to him, and acted so 
superciliously that he gave umbrage to the king and 
was recalled. It is little wonder that complaints were 
made that he brought disgrace upon the office of Presi- 
dent. What particular fault he committed is unknown, 
but Chamberlain gives a hint in a letter which is pre- 
served in the State Papers. " Lord Zouche," he said, 
" plays rex in Wales with both Council and justices and 
with the poor Welshmen." ^ He was removed from his 
ofiice in 1607.^ He survived till 1625, and was buried 

' S.P.D., Ekz., vol. cclxxxv. (Col. 1601-3, p. 249) : " On one 
occasion he threw down the cushion, laid according to usage 
beside his own for the Chief Justice of Chester, with the words 
that ' one was enough for that place." " Harl. MSS. 5353 
(Manningham's Diary, Camden Society, p. 58). It was during 
his term of office that the controversy as to the Council's juris- 
diction over the four border counties arose. It lasted many 
years, it engaged the attention of Coke on the one side and 
Bacon on the other. King James took a keen personal interest 
in it as he believed the royal prerogative was involved, and 
it laid the foundation for the hostility of the popular party to 
the Council, which ultimately ended in its destruction. 

^ It is stated in the Diet, of Nat. Biography that Lord Zouche 
held ofi&ce till 1615, but this is incorrect. 

COUNCIL OF THE MARCHES : 1542-1689 loi 

in the family vault at Hackney. The vault communi- 
cated with his wine cellar, and this gave occasion to 
" rare old Ben's " famous distich : 

Wherever I die, oh here may I lie. 
Along my good Lord Zouche, 
That when I am dry, to the tap I may hie. 
And so back again to my couch. 

Lord Eure's administration lasted from 1607 to 1616, 
during which the miserable controversy about the 
Council's jurisdiction over the four border English 
counties was bitterly pursued. He was followed for a 
short time by Lord Gerard (1616-7), and afterwards 
by the Earl of Northampton (1617-1631). Lord Bridg- 
water (1631-1641), who made his formal entry into 
Ludlow in September, 1634, endeavoured by lavish enter- 
tainments and splendid pomp and ceremony to revive 
the ancient prestige of the Council. The membership of 
the Council was increased to 84, including 24 peers, 11 
bishops, and several justices. It was too late. When 
the Long Parliament met, it appointed on December 
23rd, 1640, a special committee, under the chairmanship 
of Hyde (afterwards Lord Clarendon), to consider the 
jurisdiction of the Council of the Marches. All the 
Welsh members and all the lawyers in the House were 
upon it. On July 5th, 1641, an Act was passed aboHshing 
the Star Chamber, and the like jurisdiction vested in the 
Council of the Marches. Though this left the civil juris- 
diction of the Council untouched, it remained in abeyance 
until the Restoration. 

The Council was revived as far as its civil jurisdiction 
was concerned at the Restoration, and another Welsh- 
man, Richard Vaughan, Earl of Carbery, who had given 
refuge to Jeremy Taylor at Golden Grove, during the 


Commonwealth, was appointed President {1661-1672). 
Carbery seems to have been a grasping and avaricious 
man. He was charged with malversation. Ultimately 
he was removed from his office for maltreating his 
servants and tenants at Dryslwyn, near Golden Grove, 
" some of whom had their eares cut of and one his 
tongue out and all dispossessed." ^ 

He was succeeded by the Marquis of Worcester, after- 
wards first Duke of Beaufort. His ancestor had married 
the daughter and heiress of the second Earl of Pembroke 
of the first creation (afterwards Earl of Huntingdon), 
and his son had succeeded to the vast possessions of the 
Herberts in South Wales and Monmouthshire. He was 
the wealthiest subject in the realm, and he lived in 
almost regal pomp and ostentation. He made a pro- 
gress through Wales, and the record of it, written by his 
secretary, Thomas Dingley, is a valuable addition to 
our knowledge of the state of the Principality at the end 
of the seventeenth century. The great banquet which 
he gave in the hall of Ludlow Castle has already been 
mentioned. After the Revolution, the Earl of Maccles- 
field was appointed President in 1689, but the Act 
abolishing the Council was passed early in that year, 
and the last President does not seem to have had time, 
before its extinction, to attend the Court of the Marches 
at Ludlow. 

The Council of the Marches had two separate and 
distinct functions to perform. On the one side it was 
a law court, set up by section 113 of the Act of 1542, 
whose practice and procedure will be considered more 
in detail in the next chapter. On the other hand it was 
an administrative council, which had received statutory 
' Halton Correspondence, i. 76. 

COUNCIL OF THE MARCHES : 1542-1689 103 

recognition by section 4 of the 1542 Act, and which was 
bound to carry out any royal command, conveyed to it 
through the Privy Council or Star Chamber. In spite 
of the fact that Sir Henry Sidney turned Mortimer's 
Tower into a muniment room and took care, as in 
Dublin so in Ludlow, to ensure the safe custody of 
archives, most of the records of the Council have been 
irretrievably lost.^ " The most complete extant record 
of a suit before the Council appears to be that respecting 
the town toUs of Shrewsbury in 1598-9." ^ The only 
information we have as to the Council's administrative 
work is derived from the Acts of the Privy Council, 
the Register the MS. of which is in the Bodleian Library, 
and certain correspondence preserved in the Bridgewater 
papers. From these it is clear that the Council was 
subordinate to the Privy Council. In smaller matters 
it acted on its own authority, though even in these cases 
it was liable to be supervised and overruled by the 
more august body. The Secretary of State was given 
the special duty of supervising the Welsh Council.^ As 
has been mentioned, it was customary for the Privy 
Council periodically to issue " instructions " to the 
inferior body. Cases were remitted to it for enquiry. 
Sometimes it would be allowed to deal summarily with 

* Flenley's " Register " (publ. Cymmrodorion Record Series, 
1915), a reprint of Bodley MS. No. 904, is a record of the pro- 
ceedings of the Council between the years 1569 and 1591, with 
a few entries of earUer and later date. For the " entry books 
of cases heard before the Council," which are purely legal records, 
see Skeel, pp. viii. 151 seq. Flenley is of opinion that one 
volume of the Dovaston MSS. seems to be a successor of the 
" Register " edited by him. 

2 Skeel, pp. 228-234, where a full and interesting account of the 
case is given, taken from Shrewsbury MSS. No. 2621. 

» S.P.D., Eliz., cclxxiv. 118. 


the offenders ; at other times it was ordered to send up 
the offenders, after a prehminary investigation, to the 
Privy Council for trial. ^ At the same time, the Privy 
Council was careful to safeguard in every way the 
dignity of the Council of the Marches. Occasionally it 
might criticise and even censure its conduct ; but it 
would allow no one else to show it any disrespect. It 
was invested with similar powers to the Privy Council. 
It received its instructions direct from the sovereign ; it 
was responsible to no one else for its administrative acts. 
The " instructions " issued in 1574,^ on the eve of Sir 
Henry Sidney's departure for Ireland, are of importance, 
as they served as a model for later issues. It is a source 
of constant complaint on the part of the Privy Council 
that the instructions were not properly observed. The 
Council was ,to hear and determine all manner of " ex- 
tortions, maintenance, imbraceries, oppressions, con- 
spiracies, escapes, corruptions, falsehoods, and all other 
evil doings, defaults and misdemeanours of all sheriffs, 
justices of the peace, mayors, bailiffs, stewards, lieu- 
tenants, escheators, coroners, gaolers, clerks, and other 
officers and ministers of justice " within the limits of 
their commission, and, if necessary, punish them with 
fine or imprisonment. In a word, the Council was to 
supervise the actions of the officials in Wales and the 
Marches, and the work of administration generally. It 
could issue proclamations at any time it thought fit 
" for the better order and quietness of her Majesty's 
subjects and the repressing of malefactors and misdoers." 
It could compound for all forfeitures arising from breach 

^A.P.C. X. 432, xi. 67. 

" Lansdowne MSS. 155, 222 b-4qb. 

COUNCIL OF THE MARCHES : 1542-1689 105 

of penal statutes and assess fines for any offence of 
which persons were convicted before it. It had the duty 
cast upon it of examining into charges of perjury com- 
mitted by jurors committed within its jurisdiction. It 
could " by all their pollicies, ways and means . . . put 
its good and effectual endeavours to repress all manner 
of murders, felons, burglaries, rapes, riots, routes, un- 
lawful assemblies, unlawful -retainers, regrators, fore- 
stallers, extortioners, conspiracies, maintenances, per- 
juries of what kind soever they be." In one horrid 
particular it was invested with a power from which 
EngUsh Common Law Courts have always been gloriously 
free. Persoiis accused or suspected of treason or felony 
might, at the Council's discretion, be put to the torture 
Another Star Chamber ^ characteristic was the extensive 
power to deal with " seditious tales." If the tales ex- 
tended to treason, the death penalty could be enforced , 
if of less moment^ yet of harmful effect, the offenders 
were to be punished " by the pillory, cutting of the ears, 
whipping and otherwise by their discretions." It was 
specially instructed to safeguard the commons against 
the encroachments of the lords of the manors and others, 
" as the people be not oppressed or lack habitation, but 
that they may Uve after their sortes and quaUties." 

The Lord President was nearly always the Lord- 
Lieutenant of the twelve counties of Wales, as well as 
of the four border counties, and sometimes of Warwick- 
shire as well.* The Lord-Lieutenant was the peculiar 

1 " They resemble much in authority the high and hon"' Court 
of Star Chamber at Westm." (Geo. Owen's " Dialogue " in Owen's 
Pembroke, vol. ii. 22-3. 

' Miss Skeel (p. 252) says that ' the number of counties varied 
considerably — e.g. in 1613 Lord Eure was Lord-Lieutenant of 


creation of Tudor administration, who was specially 
entrusted with providing for the defence of the counties, 
for the levying of troops, and for the nomination of and 
supervision over the Justices of the Peace. As early as 
1552 Lord Pembroke as President of the Council was 
appointed Commissioner for the Lord^Lieutenantship of 
Wales. There are innumerable instances where the 
President is directed by the Privy Council to levy troops 
for Ireland, to make provision for the defence of the 
realm against the invasion of the Spanish Armada,^ to 
enforce the cultivation of the use of the long-bow, to 
supply grain, to settle industrial disputes, to enforce 
statutes dealing with the cloth manufacture, to fortify 
Milford Haven against Moorish or Turkish pirates, and 
to coUect ship-money.^ The Privy Council delegated all 
such matters of administration and government to the 
President, who was in closer touch with the remote 
districts of Wales and the Marches. To the modern 
student one of the strangest incidents that comes to 
hght in the relations of the Council with the superior 
authority in London is the prevalence of piracy on the 
coasts of Wales. It was a part of Elizabeth's policy to 

nine Welsh counties, of Worcestershire, Shropshire, and Hereford- 
shire, while the Earl of Worcester was Lord-Lieutenant of 
Monmouthshire and Glamorganshire. The Earl of Northampton 
was usually Lord-Lieutenant of Wales (eleven counties, Gla- 
morganshire going as before with Monmouthshire) and of the 
four border counties, Warwickshire being sometimes added as 
in 1624. In 1629, however, he was Lord -Lieutenant of eighteen 
counties. In 1640 the Earl of Bridgwater was Lord-Lieutenant 
of the twelve Welsh counties and of the four border counties." 

' A.P.C. XV. 255, xvii. 328. 

^ Skeel, p. 156. An admirable summary of the administrative 
duties of the Council, based on the records found in the " Register," 
is given by Flenley, Introduction, pp. 5-46. 

COUNCIL OF THE MARCHES : 1542-1689 107 

encourage privateering both against Spain and against 
France. She knew that she would have to depend on 
British seamen to guard her shores from foreign aggress- 
ion. By turning a blind eye to the sea-adventurers, 
she thought she could, at no cost to the Treasury, and 
with some profit to herself and her subjects, maintain 
a strong force at sea. But such a policy had its dis- 
advantages. If the Government connived at the doubt- 
ful actions of the Drakes and Horseys, it was inevitable 
that the people would not discriminate too nicely between 
the freebooters of the sea. One of the first instructions 
that were issued to Bishop Sampson in 1546 was that 
he must do his utmost to repress piracy.^ In 1565 a 
" pyrat " was directed to be sent up to London in safe 
custody, and a Scotch pirate in 1566 was ordered to be 
delivered into the hands of the officers of the Admiralty .^ 
Froude remarks that in the years 1576-9 there was a 
recrudescence of the evil of piracy in home waters, and 
the records of the Council show that the Bristol Channel 
was not immune from the pest. In 1576 it is com- 
plained that certain merchants of Haverfordwest were 
taken and robbed by one Phipson, an English pirate, 
and that the cargo was sold in various towns on the 
Welsh coast. But Haverfordwest, though it complained 
when its own merchants were despoiled, had no rooted 
hostility to piracy as such. In 1577 the Privy Council 
apprise the President of Wales of the fact that one John 

^A.P.C. vol. i. 415. 

* Clark's Cartae de Gamorgan, ii. No. 471. " Grif&th, a Welsh 
pirate, is taken at Cork, and his lands, worth /500 a year, some 
say, are given to Lord Grey {Cal. S.P. Dom., 28th Feb., 1603)." 
Query, was this Piers Griffith, son of Sir Rees Griffith ol Penrhyn 
said by Pennant to have fought against the Armada ? (Tour' 
ii. 285.) 


Callice, " a notable pirate," was " lodged and housed " 
in Haverfordwest as an honoured guest. He put out 
to sea, seized a French vessel laden with wine, landed 
at Milford Haven, and disposed of the loot with im- 
punity. In the same year a richly-laden Bristol vessel 
was wrecked. Her cargo was taken by the inhabitants 
of the sea-coast of Somerset and South Wales. The 
Acts of the Privy Council refer to numberless instances 
of persons from South Wales being examined on a charge 
of dealing with pirates. In 1577 Sir John Perrott, 
Fabian PhiUips (a member of the Council), and the 
Mayor of Cardiff were appointed Commissioners to 
examine into matters of piracy in that town. About 
the same time pirates " armed with swords and caUvers " 
landed at Penarth, though their depredations do not 
seem to have been very serious, their spoil only con- 
sisting of " a wether and three copple of conies." The 
last record relating to piracy occurred in 1632. The 
deputy-Ueutenants of Carnarvonshire sent in hot haste 
to Lord Bridgwater for instructions what to do ; because 
" certaine pirates came into a haven of that County and 
threatened to land," in which case the deputy-lieu 
tenants " not knowing what course to take, desired to 
be instructed therein." The Council, " much marveyling 
they should make so strange a demande in a matter 
wherein their own judgments might sufficiently inform 
them," gave the sensible advice that they should prevent 
the pirates from landing, or if they did, to arrest and 
imprison them.^ 

It has already been remarked how honourably averse 

1 Council Register, July 20th, 1632. For directions from the 
Privy Council to suppress piracy from 1569 downwards, see 
also Flenley's " Register." 

COUNCIL OF THE MARCHES : 1542-1689 109 

the Council of the Marches was to religious persecution. 
It is true that in 1578 the Council sent up a complaint 
to the Privy Council that offenders in religion were not 
adequately checked. But that was done when Sir Henry 
Sidney was acting as Lord Deputy in Ireland, and when 
Whitgift, the lately appointed Bishop of Worcester, who 
afterwards as Archbishop of Canteibury, condemned John 
Penry for his share in writing and pubUshing the "Martin 
Marprelate Tracts," was acting as Vice-President. As a 
rule the Privy Council complain of the " slackness " of 
the Welsh Council in proceeding against the recusants. 
In 1590 Lord Pembroke complained that much sym- 
pathy was shown by the members of the Council them- 
selves towards the recusants. Some of them, he said, 
are " coldlie affected in religion," and he asked that 
persons " of good disposicion in religion " may be added 
to their number.^ It was in connection with this " slack- 
ness " that Walsingham wrote the friendly letter of 
warning in 1582 already referred to, in which he en- 
joined Sir Hemy Sidney to " walk warily." It was no 
wonder that the Council hesitated about putting into 
force the Recusancy Acts, especially the stringent ones 
of 1585 and 1593. The whole of Wales was intensely 
Catholic, and the border counties were probably the 
most Catholic parts of England. During the two years 
of Whitgift's vice-presidency active steps were taken 
to put down the adherents of the old faith.^ In one 
case, Whitgift and the Bishops of Bangor and St. Asaph 
were appointed special commissioners to inquire into the 
case of one John Edwards of Chirk, who had been guilty 
of the heinous offence of allowing Mass to be said in 

1 Lansdowne MSS. 63, f. 187 ; cf. 159, t. 50. 

2 Strype's Whitgift, pp. 164-180. 


his house. The Privy Council specially empowered the 
right reverend prelates to inflict torture " whereby the 
very truth of such reconciliations to the Pope, lewd 
practices and assemblies, might be bolted out and known, 
which they were informed to have been very many in 
that country." This amiable intention, however, was 
frustrated by the serene courage of John Edwards and 
his friend Morice. Thumbscrews and the rack had no 
terrors for them. They remained silent under the ex- 
amination of the pinchbeck Torquemadas, and were 
duly cast into prison. Justices of the Peace were 
reluctant to interfere with the priests of the popular 
religion, and left the nasty work to the Judges of Assize. 
The judges in their turn found themselves too busy to 
deal with recusants, and so, at Whitgift's request, the 
Justices of Assize were inhibited from dealing with such 
cases. ^ An ecclesiastical commission was set up, one of 
whose first acts was the examination of John Edwards 
of Chirk. Fabian Phillips, a member of the Council of 
the Marches, was appointed with a roving commission 
to smell out " offenders in religion." ^ Gerard, who 
evidently was not enamoured of this part of the Council's 
duty, caustically describes Phillips as " a yonge man, 
an utter barrister of small experience at the barre or 
benche, of noe knowen lyvinge saving a bailiwick or 
stuardshipe." ^ But the needy barrister evidently did 
his work to the satisfaction of Whitgift, who said of 
him, " For my own part I know not anything whereupon 
he can be justly charged, unless it be because he is stout 
and upright in judgment and not appUable to satisfy 
other men's affections and pleasures, as peradventure 

^A.P.C. ii. 51 (Editor's note). 

' A.P.C. ii. pp. 29, 97, 190 3 A.P.C. xiii. 427-8. 

COUNCIL OF THE MARCHES : 1542-1689 iii 

it is looked for. Truly, my lord, I find him one and 
the same man ; but I see how hard it is for such to 
follow the rules of equity and justice without respect 
to please all men ; and I would to God it were not 
altogether contrary." No sooner, however, had Sir 
Henry Sidney returned, than the old complaint of 
" slackness " was revived. In 1580 the Privy Council 
ordered that another ecclesiastical commission should 
be set up, and the President is warned that the queen 
is offended because nothing had been done for a whole 
year. Two years later complaints are made that re- 
cusancy is on the increase. Justices of the Peace, 
sheriffs, and jurors are alleged to be slack in appre- 
hending and punishing recusants, and the President is 
urged to choose as justices men " who most favoured 
reUgion." ^ In the " instructions " sent to Lord Pem- 
broke, on his entering upon his office in 1586," Art. 43 
mentions " all the actes in sorte ordeyned for unyfor- 
mitie of common prayer, divine service, and for causing 
all persons to resorte to churches to divine service so as 
at the hearing and determyning thereof some of the 
Bishopps of that Counsaill for the better performance 
and due execucion of the said lawes and Statutes as 
apperteigneth." In 1592, again, the Privy Council had 
to press the President to hold an inquiry for Jesuits, 
seminary priests, and other " such lewde and suspected 
persons as do lurke in those remote places." ^ The 
common people in Carmarthenshire * and Pembrokeshire 

1 Lansdowne MSS. 51, ff. 103-14. 
^Lansdowne MSS. 51, ff. 103-14. 
'A.P.C. 22, pp. 543-5- 

* How hard Catholicism died in Carmarthenshire may be 
gathered from the fact that as late as 1700 a priest was prosecuted 


were said still to resort by night to places where in times 
gone by there had been images or offerings. To check 
this practice it was ordered that " superstitious and 
idolatrous " monuments were to be pulled down and 
defaced in both counties. A few years earUer (1588) a 
priest who was being sent to London by the Council for 
trial from Monmouth gaol was forcibly rescued.^ In 
the following year, in the " Articles to be considered for 
the government of Wales," the Privy Council are still 
perturbed by the prevalence of CathoUcism in Wales. 
One of the Articles related that " recusantes do swarme, 
no man but theire owne companies doe know where 
they were married, by whome or in what place, where 
theire children were christened, (where) theire children 
be learned and bred by scholemasters of theire own 
creed, nor who be theire godfathers and godmothers." ^ 
As late as 1609 the Privy Council are assured that 
recusancy is still prevalent in the Marches and South 
Wales. ^ In the later years of Lord Bridgwater's presi- 
dency, Puritanism became active in the Marches. Walter 

at the Great Sessions at Carmarthen for saying Mass at Llandilo. 
In a book of precedents of pleading in the writer's possession the 
indictment is set forth as follows : 

Carmarthen. The jurors present that Samuel Davies of 
Llandilo vawr Chen gent after 17th Nov., 1699, viz : in April 7 . . . 
at the parish of Llandilo vant (vin) now and formerly a popish 
priest said mass in the mansion of John Morgan of Llandilo 
vawr and administered the sacrament to a certain Mary Lloyd 
and Mary Price according to the Roman use, against the statute, 

^A.P.C. 16, p. 95. 

^ Dr. Griffith Roberts, in his introduction to the Drych CHstiono- 
gawl (Milan, 1585), complains, however, that in many districts 
in Wales the people live " like animals," knowing nothing of 
Christianity, but only holding in memory the name of Christ. 

^ S.P.D. Jas. I., xxviii. 122 ; Ixviii. 75. 

COUNCIL OF THE MARCHES : 1542-1689 113 

Wroth in 1639 started the first Independent cause at 
Llanvaches in Monmouthshire. Walter Cradock carried 
his fiery message from Cardiff to Wrexham, converting 
Vavasour Powell in Radnorshire and Morgan Llwyd o 
Wynedd in Denbighshire. After his hegira from Wrex- 
ham, he remained for months with the Harleys at 
Llanfair Waterdine in Shropshire, where the saints 
thronged to him for counsel and instruction. But there 
is no record that the Council of the Marches interfered 
with Puritan activity. It was as tolerant of the new as 
it had always been of the old faith. 

By the Act of 1542 ^ the Council was given a general 
concurrent jurisdiction with the Court of Great Sessions, 
and an appellate jurisdiction in personal actions. It 
was not the intention of the framers of the Act that the 
Council of the Marches should in any way compete with 
the common law jurisdiction of the Great Sessions. 
There is no doubt that the bulk of the equity work from 
Wales was transacted at Ludlow. As will be shown 
later on, the Court of Great Sessions was not specifically 
invested with an equitable jurisdiction. It occasionally, 
and in a few limited instances, acted as a Court of 
Chancery because it could not help itself. But it had 
neither the desire nor the machinery for transacting 
ordinary equity business. The Council of the Marches, 
as long as it existed, was in reality the Chancery Court 
of Wales. At first sight it seems inconsistent that the 
Council should have both an original and an appellate 
jurisdiction in personal actions, and inexplicable why it 

^ Ss. 4 and 113. "The authority and jurisdiction of the 
Counsell are not certainly known, for they are to judge and 
determine of such matters as the Queen shall authorise them 
from time to time by way of Instructions " (George Owen's 
" Dialogue," Owen's Pembroke, vol. ii. 22). 
W.M.W, H 


should have a concurrent original jurisdiction in personal 
and mixed actions, but the intention of the framers of 
the Act of 1542 becomes quite clear in the light of the 
" instructions " which were from time to time issued by 
the Privy Council to the March tribunal. The clearest 
exposition of the real meaning of this seeming anomaly 
is to be found in the " instructions " of i574- The 
original jurisdiction, civil and criminal, vested in the 
Council, is only to be exercised when moved " by any 
poor persons, that shall manifestly appear not to be 
able to sue or defend after the course of the common 
law, or by any person like to be oppressed by mainten- 
ance, riches, strength, power, decree or affinity of the 
parties adversaries." But a caveat was entered against 
the multiplication of such suits, especially for title of 
lands, unless absolutely required. As far as possible, 
they were to be referred to the common law. 

The Act of 1542 introduced the English land law and 
the law of primogeniture (instead of gavelkind) into 
Wales. ^ It was inevitable that such a revolution 
would cause a great disturbance in the relations between 
the occupier and the person who now became by opera- 
tion of law the owner of the land. It is no wonder, 
therefore, that there should have been much litigation 
as to the title of land in the courts. Nor is it strange 
that the poor occupier should fear to submit his title to 
the arbitrament of a local court where it might be both 
judge and jury were amenable to the influence or pressure 
of the lord of the manor. Disputes between the copy- 

^ For the survival of Welsh land tenure in certain localities, 
see Owen's Pembrokeshire, vol. i. 61 n. and vol. iii. p. 146 m. 
For an account of the transition under Elizabeth from the 
Welsh tribal custom to the English land system, see Rhys and 
Jones, The Welsh People, p. 407 seq., writtenjbyj Seebohm. 

COUNCIL OF THE MARCHES : 1342-1689 115 

holder and the lord were, therefore, frequently tried by 
the Council of the Marches rather than by the Court of 
Great Sessions, and, as has been mentioned, special 
instructions were issued to the Council to put a stop to 
the encroachments of lords of the manor on the commons. 
The intention of the promoters of the Act of 1542 in 
vesting this jurisdiction in the Council was both reason- 
able and salutary. But their intention was frustrated 
by the natural tendency of £ill courts of law in those days 
to encroach upon the domciin of other courts. As the 
number of poor and oppressed suitors of the Council 
increased, the number of counsel and attorneys and 
clerks in attendance increased as well. It was to the 
interest of these parasites to augment the number of 
causes, and it soon became a matter of complaint that 
the Council attracted to itself actions that ought more 
properly to be tried in the counties where they arose. 
In 1574 it became necessary for the Privy Council to 
warn the Council of the Marches that suits as to the title 
to lands should, as far as possible, be left to the common 

WiUiam Gerard, who had been a member of the 
Council since 1560, and Vice-President since 1562, was 
appointed in April, 1576, to the great delight of the 
Lord Deputy, Sir Henry Sidney, Lord Chancellor of 
Ireland. He retained, however, his office of Chief 
Justice of Chester, which enabled him stiU to attend the 
meetings of the Council. The affairs of Wales were 
engaging the serious attention of the Government. 
David Lewis, Principal of the newly-founded Jesus 
College, Oxford, and Judge of the Admiralty Court, 
was asked to report on the state of the Principality. 
Probably Gerard was also asked, before departing for 


Ireland, to give his views as to the position and prospects 
of the Council with which he had been so long connected. 
At all events, in 1576, he made a valuable and interesting 
report which he called a " Discourse " to the Council. 
He was not over-complimentary either to the institu- 
tion itself or to its members. He is a laudator temporis 
acti, and contrasts the feebleness of the present officials 
with the strength and vigour of Bishop Rowland Lee 
and Mr. Justice Englefield. " At this day, to be plaine," 
he says, " the Counsell and Courte are neyther rever- 
enced, feared, or theire proceedings esteemed. There 
is not, neyther hathe bene, sithens the Queen's raigne 
anie of the Counsell appointed to continuall attendaunce 
of suche profounde judgement as the place requireth 
or that male be termed profounde, learned, comparable 
with the meaneste of those that have served as Justice 
sithens Englefelde. And as the knowledge hereof 
hathe bredd, the Counsellors at the barre by contemp- 
tuouse carpinge overmuch to deforce contempn and 
discountenance the benche, soe the clientes takinge 
holde of theire disorders and persuaded that everie order 
which passethe against them is eyther throughe ignor- 
ance or wilfullness of the Counsel! and soe doe departe 
wythe repyninge and murmuringe speeches." He goes 
on to say that the members of the Council are too 
numerous,^ for the most part unfit, and have their private 

• Miss Skeel (Council of the Marches, Appx. iii. pp. 288-9) 
gives a list of the officials during the second half of the sixteenth 
century. They were the Lord President, Vice-President, Chief 
Justice of Chester, Secretary, Clerk of the Council (who was 
also Clerk of the Signet and Register), Clerk Examiner (who left 
his work to be done by young " Clerks allowed "), Her Majesty's 
Attorney of the Marches, Her Majesty's Solicitor, Clerk Receiver 
of the Fines, Porter, Sergeant-at-Arms, Remembrancer, " and 
the holder of a new and easy post called Hankie's office, who 

COUNCIL OF THE MARCHES : 1542-1689 117 

ends to serve rather than the good of the country. The 
conclusion he draws is : t 

"It is moste true that the bodie of the comunaltie 
of Wales are pore and theire estate to be lamented of 
everie pitifuU and carefull magistrate, for he that woulde 
but marke the pore simple creatures (I call Gode to witnes 
with greeff and pitie of theire smarte I speak 5H:), whoe 
come and goe to and from that Courts in the yere, and 
the small causes which they travell for when theye come 
to hearinge, meeter for a meane under-stuarde at a 
Leete or lawe dale to be decised, then for a Counsell 
settled for government to be occupied withall, would 
sale to himself, you pore walshe creatures, yt is not you, 
but those appointed to govern you whoe be the causes 
of your beggarie : th' estabUshment is to devise for 
your wealthe that which your maUcious and wilfuU 
disposicions cannot procure to yourselfs." 

He concludes with some pungent descriptions of the 
Members of the Court. The Vice-President ^ (Sir 
Andrew Corbet) was " a verie sicklie man not able to 
take the toyle of that service." Doctor Ellis (i.e. the 
celebrated Ellis Price, LL.D., " y doctor coch ") " of 
XII or XIII yeres countenance, a good mountaigne 

took fourpence a time for writing his name on certain bills." 
The Counsellors at the Bar were by the Instructions of 1586 
limited to eight, and the Attorneys to eighteen, attended by 
eighteen clerks : " but there was a tendency for these numbers 
to be increased in spite of prohibitions." There were also the 
Steward, the Marshal, the two Pursuivants, the Chaplain, the 
Armourer, the Keeper of the Castle, the Keeper of the Leads 
of the Conduit, and the Keeper of the Clock (Lans. MSS. 51, ff. 
103-14 ; 28, ff. 124-5 ; III, f. 16 ; Ashmolean MSS. 824, xxii.). 
See also Flenley's " Register," p. 21. 

'See A.P.C. ix. 66. This shows that the Discourse was 
written after Gerard had ceased to be the Vice-President. 


doctor and seldom called to attendaunce there." ^ 
Powell of Oswaldstree (Oswestry) was a new member. 
He was " weU seene in Welsh stories, in that service 
sitteth like a Zipher." Jerome Corbett was " a yonge 
man, an utter barrister in Court, but soe slowe of dis- 
patche as not meete for that Court." Fabian Phillips's 
description has already been given. He finishes up by 
a very sensible suggestion that one of the Justices of 
Assize should understand Welsh, " for nowe the Justice 
of Assize must use some interpreter. And therefore many 
tymes the evidence is tolde accordyng to the mynde of 
the interpretor, whereby the evidence is expounded 
contrarie to that which is saide by the examynate, and 
soe the judge gyveth a wronge charge," — an observation 
which explains much of the misunderstandings that have 
occurred between English judges and Welsh jurors and 

He gives an interesting account of the law terms, and 
the number of cases tried, which affords a useful standard 
of comparison with the state of business in Lord Bridg- 
water's time. He states that — " there are now four 
termes in the yere, and in every terme, two or three 

1 This somewhat disparaging estimate of Ellis Prys as a 
" mountain doctor " differs widely from the view taken of his 
position by his Welsh contemporaries. William Ll)>n (Morice's 
edition, pp. ii and 48) wrote two poems in his praise, in the 
latter of which he describes him as 

Adail tir Kymry ydwyd 

A Haw gref ynlur Lloegr wyd 

Pann ddeloch penn y ddwjrwlad 

I'r cwrt He mae euro Kad 

Fob iarll hgn pawb eraill is 

A wyr alw Doctor Elis. 
J. C. Morice is wrong in stating that " Doctor Ellis was a noted 
Court Physician," p. 297. The allusion is to his membership of 
the Ludlow Court. 

COUNCIL OF THE MARCHES : 1542-1689 119 

hundred matters appointed to be harde . . . and accept- 
inge like nomber to every of the foure termes in the yere, 
and like expenses in every matter, three or four thousand 
poundes wil be gathered at the leste to be expended by 
yere . . . There are foure moneths in the yere expended 
in terme tymes and thother eighte moneths in vacac'on, 
one weeke with another throughowte the yere, there 
passeth an hundred or two hundred proces, and in 
everie terme there are ended in aftemoone Rules one 
with another by Commission to frendes {i.e. arbitration), 
by wager of lawe, and by dismission upon thanns were 
200 matters . . . From sixe of the clock in the mominge 
until sixe o'clock in the evening (allowing them a dinner 
tyme) before noone and after, the Counsaill sit in 
Cortte." 1 

Miss Skeel,^ who has gone through the entry books 
between the years 1632 and 1642, which are preserved 
among the Bridgwater Papers, states that " the Hilary 
Term began, as a rule, in the second week of January, 
and ended at some time in the last week. Lent Term 
began in the last week in February or the first of March, 
and lasted a fortnight. The length of Trinity Term 
varied a good deal : once it began as early as June 15th, 
1636, and once as late as July 17th, 1635. It was dis- 
tinctly the longest and busiest term, as might be ex- 
pected ; sometimes the sitting went on into August, 
e.g. in Trinity Term, 1635 (July 17th to August 8th). 
Michaelmas Term began in the first week of November, 
or sometimes in the second, and lasted for a fortnight 

1 S.P. Dom., EUz., vol. cvii. No. 21 ; cf. the account given by 
George Owen in his " Dialogue " (Owen's Pembrokeshire, vol. ii. 
p. 23). 

2 Skeel. Council of the Marches, p. 152. 


or three weeks, sometimes longer, as in 1639 (November 
6th to December 3rd). The average thus would seem to 
be a fortnight for the Hilary and Lent Terms, three 
weeks or more for the Trinity Term, and a fortnight or 
three weeks for the Michaelmas Term." 

The returns are incomplete for most of the years, but 
the returns for 1638 show that the number of causes 
entered was 1525 and the amount of fines came to 
£3,971 6s. 8d., and for 1639, 1539 with £4,229 13s. 4d. 
fines. This would seem to show that the popularity of 
the Court, on the whole, had stood the test of time.^ 

Gerard's Discourse seems to have had an imme- 
diate effect. In 1576 the Privy Council issued further 
" instructions." It was ordered that no suits in the 
nature of " replevin, debt without specialty, detinue, 
action upon the case, or account " should be received 
by the Council unless the Bill were signed by two of the 
Council at the least. " Also, if complaint be made of 
trespass or wrongful entering or disturbing of the free- 
hold, or of the possession of any farmer for years or at 
will, within any of the twelve shires of Wales . . . and 
surmise he is not of ability to try the common law in 
the County where the wrong was committed and there- 
fore of inequality prayeth to be heard of that Court, no 
process to be graunted upon any such Bill, except the 
complaint be first exhibited to the Justices of Assize 

1 Miss Skeel, however, makes a somewhat conjectural com- 
parison between the number of case« entered in 1609 and 1633, 
and concludes " that the average number of suits from all Counties 
in 1633 to 1640 was less than half that from the four (border) 
Counties only in 1609-10, which shows how rapidly the Court 
had declined, in spite of all the efforts made to strengthen it." 
But the basis of comparison between the years is faulty, and 
Miss Skeel has overlooked Gerard's estimate in 1575, when 
according to him, the number of suits was excessive. 

COUNCIL OF THE MARCHES : 1542-1689 121 

within that County, where the cause of such suit ariseth, 
and he, by letters and other note of allowance, recom- 
mend the hearing of the same for that cause to this 
Council." In the next place, no title of copyhold was 
to be heard except against the lord, without manifest 
testimony that the complaint could not have impartial 
trial in the lord's Court. Furthermore, no process was 
to be granted for the appearance of any before the 
Council unless the value thereof exceeded 40s. Whitgift, 
the energetic new Bishop of Worcester, was appointed 
Vice-President in the place of the sickly Sir Andrew 
Corbett, a post which he filled for two and a half years 
until the return of Sir Henry Sidney from Ireland. 

Even in those early times the Council had its enemies 
and detractors. Gerard bore witness to the little esteem 
in which it was held at the conclusion of his term of 
service. George Owen, writing in 1593, states that the 
queen had been moved to abolish the Council, and that 
BUls had even been introduced in ParUament to that 
effect.^ The chief causes of complaints were the old 
ones against which the Instructions of 1574, 1576, and 
1586 had been levelled. The causes tried were ' ' trifling, ' ' 
and the costs recovered by the winning party in a suit 
were so small and inadequate that a defendant, even 
when he had a good defence to the claim, felt that it 
was prudent to compromise rather than lose money by 
winning the action. In spite of all efforts to keep down 
the number of attorneys,* there were twenty-four practis- 
ing at the Council, instead of twelve as enjoined by the 
Instructions of 1574 and eighteen by the Instructions of 
1586, " besides divers Attomies Peers {i.e. companions) 
which they call clerkes admitted, who in the absence of 

* George Owen's " Dialogue," Owen's Pembr. vol. ii. p. 24. 


the Attomies, have an Attornie's place and authoritie." 
George Owen indignantly contrasts this inordinate 
number with the two or three attorneys admitted in the 
Star Chamber and the six attorneys in the Court of 
Chancery at Westminster.^ He also complains of the 
number of unnecessary processes at the Court .* In 
spite of these defects, which he considered might be 
easily remedied, he thought highly of the Council of the 
Marches, and did not subscribe to the view of its enemies 
that it should be aboUshed. " Better it were that those 
defects were reformed, than like an evill Phisition, for 
that some parte is grieved, to kill the whole body." ^ 
Even as it was, Owen was of opinion that it had not only 
been of inestimable benefit in the pacification of Wales, 
but that it rendered useful service still. " Generallie," 
he said, "it is the very place of refuge for the poore 
oppressed of this country of Wales to flie unto. And 
for this cause it is as greatly frequented with sutes as 
any one Court at Westm. Whatsoever, the more that it 
is the best Cheape Court in England for ffees and there 
is great speed made in triall of all causes." * 

But though the Council had its enemies in Wales, the 
first effective blow at its jurisdiction came from the 
border counties. From its inception, it met with 
hostility from the EngUsh shires. Early in the reign 
of Elizabeth, Bristol, the chief city in the county of 
Gloucester, was exempted from its jurisdiction. * A few 
years later, in 1569, Cheshire, as a one-time Palatine 
County, was declared not to be subject to it. In 1574 
Worcester petitioned to be placed in the same category, 

' George Owen's " Dialogue," Owen's Pembr. vol. ii. p. 25. 
* Ibid, p 40. ' Ibid, p 25. * Ibid. p. 23. 

^ In 1561, Seyer, Memoirs of Bristol, ii. c. 26, p. 238. 

COUNCIL OF THE MARCHES : 1542-1689 123 

but its petition was rejected.^ In 1604 Farley's case 
brought matters to an issue. Farley claimed to hold a 
piece of land under a lease from a deceased copyholder. 
The widow claimed to re-enter and avoid the lease. She 
obtained from the Court of the Marches a decision that 
she should have possession till the Court of the Manor 
had tried the issue.^ Farley disobeyed the order and 
was imprisoned by the Council. He sued out habeas 
corpus from the King's Bench. The writ was disobeyed 
by the Council, " for that none of that nature had ever 
taken place." Lord Zouche, the President, brought the 
matter before the Privy Council. Coke, the Attorney- 
General, acted for the King's Bench ; Sir John Croke 
and Sir Francis Bacon for the Council. It was ultimately 
decided that the King's Bench had the general right and 
duty of seeing that Courts Uke that of the Marches kept 
within their due limits, but that it was bound to guard 
against abuse of the writ of habeas corpus. 

I refrain from entering into, in minute detail, the 
" tedious business of the shires," which helped to disturb 
English pohtics and to embitter the relations of King 
and Parliament for ten years and more.^ I shall not 
attempt to summarise the learned arguments of Coke, 
the champion of the common law, against the jurisdiction 
of the Council,* nor the equally recondite arguments of 

1 Brit. Mus. Colt. MSS. Vitellius, c. i. ff. 208-9. 

^ Croke's Reports, Trin. Term. 2 Jac. (1604), vol. ii. p. 36, 
case 12. 

2 For a full and detailed account of the controversy the reader 
is referred to Stebbings' Worhs of Francis Bacon, Preface to 
" The Arguments on the Jurisdiction of the Council of the 
Marches," vol. ii. pp. 569-585. See also Skeel, pp. 130-145, who 
supplies some further details. 

* Coke's Inst. iv. 242. 


Bacon, the champion of the prerogative, against the 
shires. Nor will I endeavour to describe the scene at a 
meeting of the Privy Council on November 3rd, 1608. 
The judges attended, but when asked their opinion they 
wisely and prudently remained silent. The king was 
there, and young Prince Henry was with him " seated 
upon a stoole by, but not at, the (Council) Table." It 
would be impossible to do justice to the harangue of the 
British Solomon, with his references to Moses and 
Jethro, the Emperor Constantine, the Picts and Scots, 
and the Heptarchy. He insisted that " all lawe is but 
voluntas regis," and turning round to the poor young 
Prince, seated still on his stool, the " wisest fool in 
Christendom " sapiently exclaimed, "this concemeth you, 
sir, and I hope you will loose no thinge which is yours." 
It was little wonder that the Lord Chief Justice and 
Chief Baron " swelled soe with anger " at this truly 
royal outburst " that teares fell from them." I shall 
not follow the Parliamentary fortunes of the controversy. 
Suffice it to say that on one occasion the House of Com- 
mons carried through a Bill declaring the jurisdiction of 
the Council over the four shires to be illegal, that the 
Bill was dropped in the Lords, and that in the end the 
Commons obsequiously left the whole matter in the hands 
of His Majesty's Grace. The Grand Jury of Hereford 
presented a Bill charging the Council with being a 
nuisance, and in 1610 it is recorded that the processes of 
the Council were contemptuously set at naught in the 
four shires. 

It would appear, therefore, that the jurisdiction of 
the Council in the four border counties was in abeyance 
for some years. In 1617, however, when Lord Compton 
(afterwards the Earl of Northampton) became President, 

COUNCIL OF THE MARCHES : 1542-1689 125 

his Instructions were that no distinction was to be made 
between Wales and the four counties, and that the 
Council should have jurisdiction up to £50. So matters 
continued till the Long Parliament met in 1640. In 
December the House appointed a committee consisting 
of all the Welsh and all the legal members, with Edward 
Hyde, afterwards Earl of Clarendon, as Chairman to 
examine into the jurisdiction of the Council. The report 
was unfavourable, and in July, 1641, a Bill was passed 
abolishing the Star Chamber and the similar jurisdiction 
in the Council of the Marches. The civil jurisdiction of 
the Council was not interfered with, but its jurisdiction 
in the four border counties was declared to be illegal. 
For the next twenty years the work of the Council fell 
into abeyance. Lord Bridgewater, the President, made 
no attempt to keep the Council alive even for legitimate 
purposes, and it almost appeared as if the Council of 
Wales was as dead as its prototype, the Star Chamber. 
With the Restoration, however, the fortunes of the Coun- 
cil revived. A petition, signed by nearly 3,000 persons 
from the English counties, requested its restoration, 
and Herefordshire, which once declared it to be a nuis- 
ance, produced more than half the petitioners. Lord 
Clarendon, who was now Lord Chancellor and the king's 
chief minister, was not forgetful of the conclusions of 
his Committee of 1641. The civil jurisdiction of the 
Council in Wales was revived (but henceforth it had 
no administrative duties to perform), and though it 
continued to reside in Ludlow, its jurisdiction over 
Shropshire and the other border counties was terminated 
for ever. 

For the last twenty-eight years of its existence, there 
is very Uttle material to show the nature and extent of 


the Council's activities. The President became a 
glorified Lord-Lieutenant of the twelve counties of 
Wales. The Castle of Ludlow and Tickenhill Palace 
at Bewdley were restored and newly furnished at great 
expense to the State by Lord Carbery. The Duke of 
Beaufort, the last effective President, made an osten- 
tatious " Progress " through Wales, finishing up with 
lavish festivities at Ludlow. But the Revolution of 
1688 sounded the death-knell of the Council. The 
tendency of the age was towards the centraUsation of 
executive power in London, and the curtailment of aU 
that savoured of the royal prerogative. Less than twenty 
years later Scotland surrendered her national Parlia- 
ment, and the government of " North Britain " hence- 
forth was located in London. The Council of Wales 
had never been very popular. Attempts had been made 
to abohsh it in the early years of Elizabeth. The 
border counties which surrounded it had succeeded in 
liberating themselves from its jurisdiction. There was 
no national feeUng in Wales which would favour its 
retention as an emblem and symbol of the separate 
entity of Wales. The Council was therefore suppressed 
with insult and ignominy, which with all its defects it 
little deserved, by i WilUam and Mary, c. 27 (1689). 
The preamble recites that " the proceedings and decrees 
of that Court have by experience been found to be an 
intolerable burthen to the subject within the said 
Principality contrary to the Great Charter, the known 
laws of the land, and the birthright of the subject and 
the means to introduce an arbitrary power and govern- 
ment " and " all matters examinable or determinable 
before the said Court may have their proper address in 
the ordinary Courts of Justice provided and settled in 

COUNCIL OF THE MARCHES : 1542-1689 127 

the several shires within the said Principality," and it 
is enacted that the Council, which had existed for over 
two hundred years, should be dissolved. When it is 
remembered that the Council since the Restoration had 
existed only as an ordinary court of law, which had been 
set up by the Statute of 1542, and had little executive 
authority, the sonorous denunciation of its unconstitu- 
tional position in the preamble was somewhat beside the 
mark. Its abolition was due, not to any shortcomings 
in itself, but to Whig detestation of its origin. Hence- 
forth, sheriffs were to be nominated, not by the Lord 
President, whose office disappeared with the Council, but 
by the Court of Great Sessions. The other administra- 
tive functions of the Lord President were discharged by 
the Secretary of State. The administrative distinction 
between Wales and England was obUterated. The 
Parliament of George II. was only recognising the true 
facts when it enacted that the term " England " when 
used in a statute should necessarily comprise Wsiles. 
The only distinctive institution that remained to Wales 
was the Court of Great Sessions. But the doom of the 
Sessions was sealed when the Council of Wales was 
abolished. As will be seen, the position of the Court of 
Great Sessions became soon untenable, and EngUsh 
lawyers and statesmen never rested till the last national 
institution of the Principality was destroyed. 



The Act of 1542 set up a complete machinery for the 
government of Wales. As a piece of draughtsmanship 
it was a wonderful achievement. It consisted of one 
hundred and thirty sections, and was therefore one of 
the most comprehensive enactments passed in Tudor 
times. It was described more than 250 years after by a 
competent commentator " as containing a most complete 
code of regulations for the administration of justice, 
framed with such precision and accuracy, that no one 
clause in it hath ever yet occasioned a doubt or required 
an explanation." ^ 

It fixed the geographical limits of Wales, it divided 
Wales into her component counties, it selected its 
capital town for each county, and its work has survived 
practically without alteration to our own days. It 
gave, as has been shown, statutory sanction to the Coun- 
cil of Wales and the Marches, to which also it added 
some of the features of an ordinary court of law. It 
created, however, a new court — the King's Court of 
Great Sessions in Wales. By means of these two courts, 

' Russell's Practice of the Carmarthen Circuit (1814), Intro, 
p. xxvii. citing Observations on the Statute, p. 514, a manuscript 
book of practice then in the po.ssession of the Prothonotary of the 
Carmarthen Circuit. 


COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 129 

English laws and customs were introduced for the first 
time into the whole of Wales, the land laws of England 
took the place of the old system of Welsh land tenure, 
primogeniture superseded gavelkind,^ " arthel " and 
" cjnnhorthau " were extinguished, English became 
the official language instead of Welsh, and the vast 
revolution was effected seemingly without exciting the 
animosity of the proud and sensitive race whose whole 
condition of life was so suddenly transformed. 

The Court of Great Sessions was clothed with wide 
powers. It was directed to hold all manner of pleas of 
the Crown "in as large and ample a manner " as the 
Court of King's Bench in England, and also " to hold 
Pleas of Assizes, and all other Pleas and Actions Real, 
personal and mixt, in as large and ample a manner as 
the King's Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in England, 
and other justices of the same Pleas, or any of them, 
may do in the Realm of England." * It was also given 
complete criminal jurisdiction over offences " of what 
natures, names, and quaUties soever they be," and 
generally " to minister common justice to all and 
singular the King's subjects . . . according to the laws 
statutes and customs of the Realm of England, and 
according to the present ordinance." * 

The Court of Great Sessions had an equitable jurisdic- 
tion, but when and how it acquired it has been a matter 

* But gavelkind still survived in some localities. For notable 
instances see Owen's Pembrokeshire, vol. i. p. 6i m. ; vol. iii. 146 «. 

2 Sec. 12 

* Sec. 13. The addition of the words ' according to the present 
ordinance " was rendered necessary by the fact that some of 
the legal proceedings (e.g. Sec. 15) in the Courts of Great Sessions 
were directed to be carried on after the manner and form which 
had before that time been used in North Wales. 

W.M.W. I 


of controversy. It was certainly not specifically con- 
ferred by the Act of 1542.1 A great deal of our know- 
ledge of the practice and procedure of the Sessions is 
derived from the evidence given by witnesses who were 
examined before the Select Committee which was origin- 
ally set up in 1817 and made its final report in 1821.^ 
One of the witnesses was Mr. Justice Burton of the 
Chester Circuit (i 788-1817). He hazarded the con- 
jecture that the equitable jurisdiction had attached to 
the Welsh Courts in the " ancient counties " long before 
the Statute of Henry VIII., " although it is probable 
that during the existence of the Court of the President 
and Council of the Marches, which was abolished by 
William III., a considerable portion of that equitable 
jurisdiction may have been drawn within the cognizance 
of that Court." * Several circumstances tend to confirm 
this view of the origin of the Court's equitable juris- 
diction. One is that though the Chamberlain of Chester 
continued as before to make his equitable writs for the 
County Palatine returnable before himself, yet he appears 

' " It is said in the Observations on the Statut: that the mode in 
which the Courts of Great Sessions obtained their jurisdiction 
is rather dark, as the Statute most particularly enumerates 
every ofi5cer in the Courts of Law, but does not allude to pro- 
ceedings in equity " (Russell's Practice, Intro, xxx. n. i). 

* The Select Committee was appointed in 1817 with the Rt. Hon. 
George Ponsonby sa Chairman. Its Report (which consisted 
only of evidence) was issued on July 4th, 1817, and reprinted 
March loth, 1818 (v. 107). In 1820 the Committee sat again 
under the Chairmanship of the Hon Frederick Campbell (after- 
wards second Lord Cawdor) and issued a print of the evidence 
the same year (ii. 45). In 1821 it issued its final report (iv. 233). 

' Cf. Geo. Owen in his " Dialogue " (Owen's Pembrokeshire, 
vol. ii. p. 42), " unto every of these three sheeres is theare erected 
a chauncerye and an exchequer, out of wch. chauncerye all 
original writs seald wth. a chauncerye seale." 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 131 

always to have made his equitable writs for the County 
of Flint returnable before the Justice of Great Sessions. 
There was also a Chancery at Carnarvon since the settle- 
ment of Edward I. The Act of 1535 (Sec. 10) enacted 
that " Justice shall be ministered ... in the shires of 
Brecknock, Radnor, Montgomery, and Denbigh (i.e. 
the four new shires) . . . after such form and fashion 
as Justice is used and ministered to the King's subjects 
within the three shires of North Wales." Dr. Nicholas 
gives an account, in Annals and Antiquities of the Counties 
and Families of Wales (p. 244), of the seal of Henry V., 
while Prince of Wales, for the lordship of Carmarthen, 
which he describes as the " seal of the Carmarthen 
Chancery." In 1672 a text-book dealing with the 
practice and procedure of the Courts of Great Sessions in 
Carnarvon, entitled Practica Walliae, was published. 
Its author was Rice Vaughan, a barrister who had 
practised for many years before the Courts of Great 
Sessions. Though the Council of the Marches was still - 
in existence, it is said that the " Courts of Great Sessions 
have a Chancery within themselves and have had power 
to relieve in cases of equity ever since Henry VIII. 's 
time." ^ The Chancery practice was so well estabUshed 
that Vaughan published as an appendix " The certain 
and known Rules to be observed in the proceedings of 
the Chancerjf' Court of the Great Sessions of the counties 
of Anglesea, Carnarvon, and Merioneth." 

Dr. Henry Owen states, without mentioning his 
authority, that " there was at first much doubt whether 
the Courts of Great Sessions had any equitable juris- 

^Vaughan's Practica Walliae, p. 7. In the dedication the 
editor " P. M." speaks of " the late author," and the " dead 


diction, but the point was decided in their favour by 
the King's Bench in 19 Car. II." ^ Two facts tend to 
show that Dr. Owen is mistaken in this view. No case 
is to be found in the Reports in which the legality of 
the Courts of Equity in Wales was brought into dispute 
before the Restoration. In the second place, Vaughan, 
who was an active practitioner in the Courts of North 
Wales at the time, makes no allusion to the decision of 
the King's Bench, but states that the Courts had pos- 
sessed their equitable jurisdiction since the reign of 
Henry VIII. Mr. Justice He3rwood of the Carmarthen 
Circuit agreed with Vaughan. When the Act of 1542 
was passed, he said, the equitable jurisdiction was taken 
away from the Chancellor in the " ancient counties," 
and the Chancery Court was destroyed. But the 
necessity for an equitable jurisdiction in the Principality 
was still found to exist . In the place of a " Chancellor, ' ' ^ 
a Chamberlain was appointed to hold the seal,* but 
he was expressly prohibited from hearing equitable 
causes.* The consequence was that the equitable 
jurisdiction devolved upon the judges. Indeed, in 
the opinion of John Wyatt of the North Wales Circuit 
in 1821, " the legal jurisdiction cannot exist without the 
equitable ; because it may happen that it may be 
necessary to institute suits for injunction, which may be 
necessary to be done on the spur of the moment, in order 
to stop proceedings at law from going on." If this was 
the case in 1821, how much more necessary was it in 

' Owen's English Law in the Marches, p. 25 ; Owen's Pembroke- 
shire, p. 50 M. 

* In sees. 21 and 22 reference is made to " Stewards, Chamber- 
lains, or Chancellors." 

' Sees. 16-20. * Sec. 21. 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 133 

the days of Henry VIII.? The Court of Great Sessions 
exercised equitable jurisdiction because it could not 
carry on its functions without it. As the Chamberlain 
or ChanceUor-^who in later times was known as the 
Cursitor — ^was a Chancery oificial, who was charged with 
the duty which devolved in England on the Court of 
Chancery of issuing . Original Writs, it was probably 
thought that the Legislature had inferentially sanctioned 
an equitable jurisdiction within the Courts of Great 
Sessions. As the Chamberlain was expressly forbidden 
to exercise the jurisdiction, the only persons left who 
could do so were the judges. 

Mr. Justice Heywood, in his evidence before the 
Select Committee in 1821, gave a succinct account of 
the dispute which arose at the Restoration as to the 
equitable jurisdiction. In the year after the Restoration, 
he says that " the question whether the Great Sessions 
at Brecknock had a court of equity annexed to it arose. 
The decision does not appear in the report of either of 
the reporters who notice the case (i Sid. 52 and S.C, 
I Keb. 129).^ The former of them states that North 
Wales had a Court of Equity from time immemorial; 
but whether South Wales had such a court had often 
been disputed, owing to a doubt arising from the Clause 
in 27 Henry VIII., c. 26, which gives " such jurisdiction 
to South Wales " ; and two cases were cited as having 
adjudged, upon solemn debate, in favour of the jurisdic- 
tion, one of them so early as the third year of Charles I. 
In Winn's case (i Sid. 52) the Court of Great Sessions 
of North Wales is said " to be the ancient court of the 
said kingdom, which had been from time whereof," 

1 Siderfin in noticing the case says : " si South Wales poient 
tener pleas in equity ad estre un question soven soits dispute." 


etc., and is confirmed by 27 Henry VIII., "but South 
Wales was subdued by the Lords Marcher, and so divided 
into counties." The question was fairly brought before 
the Court, with respect to the Court of Equity of the 
Great Sessions for the County of Denbigh in the nine- 
teenth year of Charles II., in the case of Pulrath v. 
Griffiths (2 Keb. 259), and the decision in that case seems 
to have settled the dispute. A prohibition was moved 
for, because Denbigh was only a new county, but the 
Court (of Kings Bench) refused to grant it, and said 
" the practice having been always to proceed so, the court 
would not now alter it ; and the words of the Statute 
that justice should be administered as in North Wales 
extends to the Courts of Equity as of law." '^ 

According to the evidence given before the Select 
Committee, the amount of equity work transacted in 
the courts was not heavy Bicknell, the secondary of 
the Carmarthen Circuit, stated that the average number 
of equity cases on his Circuit was three or four Accord- 
ing to Christopher Temple, there was never more than 
one equity cause tried on each Chester Circuit, while Sir 
James Mansfield, one time Chief Justice of Chester, 
stated that in his time there were not three equity cases 
m ten Circuits. Lord Cawdor, in his letter to the Lord 
Chancellor in 1828, says that it appeared " from returns 
made to Parliament in 1823 that the number of Bills in 
Chancery, filed in the various Courts of Great Sessions 
m Wales, during 11 years, from the beginning of 
1812 to the end of the Spring Sessions 1823, amounted 
to 689, or 62 per annum ; the number of decrees 256, 
or 23 per annum; and 7 orders on further directions." 
He gives the average number of equity causes on the 
1 See also i Keb. 10, 100, 129, i68. 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 135 

Carmarthen Circuit as four, and in Montgomery there 
had only been twenty-three equity causes in the eleven 
years .^ 

The reason for the smallness of the number of equity 
causes was that the Welsh Courts had never enjoyed an 
exclusive equitable jurisdiction. By sec. 4 of the 1542 
Act the President and the Council of the Marches were 
given express jurisdiction in " such causes and matteis 
as be or hereafter shall be assigned to them by the 
King's Majesty," and it is certain that down at least to 
1641, when the Council ceased to sit till it was revived 
at the Restoration, the bulk of the equitable work was 
transacted at Ludlow.* The Court of the Council was 
permanent : it sat during four terms, not merely for two 
weeks in the year ; and it had its proper officers for 
canying on the Chancery administration. After it was 
abolished in 1689 most if not all of the equity causes 
were tried in London, where the Court of Chancery 
exercised a concurrent jurisdiction. Indeed, the Courts 
of Great Sessions never seem to have made a serious 
effort to enlarge their work on the Chancery side. Their 
machinery was incomplete ; the secondary of the Circuit 
acted as Master in Chancery ; and there were no means 
of enforcing the decisions of the Court in the vacation. 
The equitable jurisdiction was, however, regarded as 
advantageous because it aided and supplemented the 
common law jurisdiction of the Courts. The equity 
causes consisted nearly entirely of injunctions in cases 
of ejectment and in matters relating to the property 
of infants, bills for account, suits to foreclose, and suits 

I P. 20. 

^ In tte Hilary Term, 1633, there were twenty-two equity suits 
before the Council of the Marches (Skeel, p. 154). 


for redemption.^ In strictness, the equitable jurisdic- 
tion, said Mr. Justice Burton, wa? " confined to the 
county where it originates, so that a party is not entitled 
to go into the second or third county, unless the adverse 
party asks some favour." But in practice the rigidity 
of the rule was relaxed, and the equitable jurisdiction 
became ambulatory throughout the circuit.* 

The Select Committee, which reported in 1821, was 
unsparing in its condemnation of the equitable juris- 

" The objections to a local jurisdiction apply with 
greater force to the Court of Equity. The circumstance 
of the Court being open only during three weeks twice 
a year, thereby not affording an opportunity for those 
applications to the Court from time to time, so important 
in the course of a suit in equity ; the rapidity of some 
proceedings and the tardiness of others ; the delay 
which must necessarily arise from the adjournment of 
causes from one session to another, so that during a 
period of ten or eleven months in the year no progress 
can be made, thereby rendering a suit in the Great 
Sessions necessarily more dilatory and prolix than in 
the Courts above ; the want of time for taking accounts 
and executing references during the Circuit ; the want 
of power under which the Court at present labours of 
cairjdng its own decrees and orders into execution ; 
the facility with which a person not resident within the 
jurisdiction may withdraw himself from the consequences 
of a suit which he foresees will have an unfavourable 

1 See the evidence of Mr. Justice Heywood in 1817 and ol 
Wyatt in 1821. 

* Lord Cawdor, in his letter, gives one scandalous case where, 
in 1827, the ambulatory jurisdiction of the Brecknock Circuit 
had been abused. 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 137 

conclusion, while the party residing within the juris- 
diction is bound down and concluded by its decrees ; 
the want of security in some instance for the monies 
paid into court ; the incompatible of&ces united in the 
same person ; the possibility of no decision being given 
in consequence of the division of a Court composed of 
two persons ; and the consideration that there is no 
appeal from its decrees except to the House of Lords : 
all tend to show the imperfect nature of the juris- 

The equitable jurisdiction was undoubtedly imperfect. 
As has been pointed out, however, it was not designed to 
compete with the regular Chancery Courts in London, 
but to be merely ancillary to the common law juris 
diction of the Court of Great Sessions. Even in this 
respect, however, it was imperfect in its machinery. 
Lord Kensington, in the evidence which he gave before 
the Select Committee in 1820, suppUed a somewhat 
startling illustration of this. The Cotirt of Great Sessions 
had granted an injunction against him. He, however, 
ignored it on the advice of Sir Samuel Romilly, who 
pointed out that the injunction could not be enforced 
as the Court only sat for six weeks in the year, and he 
did so with impunity. While, however, the equitable 
jurisdiction of the Court could easily be assailed on 
theoretical grounds, and though there were many cases 
in which Mr. Justice Burton admitted that it could not 
be exercised with utility, there seemed to be a consensus 
of opinion among those who gave evidence before the 
Select Committee that it was advantageous to have the 
jurisdiction. That was the opinion of Mr. Justice 
Burton, who had practised on the Brecknock and 
Carmarthen Circuits before his promotion to the Chester 


Bench. Benyon, the Attorney-General for the Chester 
Circuit, was of opinion that " it was rather expeditious 
than otherwise, particularly when I contrast it with 
what happens in London." Mr. Justice Hey wood 
described it as "a cheaper, more convenient, and more 
satisfactory mode of obtaining the object of parties 
on account of its nearer home than the equity courts " 
in London. Christopher Temple, of the Chester Circuit, 
stated that " the equity jurisdiction of the Court is 
infinitely less expensive than it is in England. Its 
quickness as well as its cheapness are its great recom- 
mendations, in some cases the party is able to obtain 
a decree in one Session, or at all events he is sure of it 
in the next Session." Both Counsel and Judge of 
the Carnarvon Circuit were emphatic in their support of 
the equity jurisdiction. Mr. Justice Leycester pre- 
sented an address to the Select Committee in 1821 from 
the Grand Jury of Anglesea, in which they expressed 
their entire satisfaction with the manner in which the 
law was administered. They went on to say : " When 
we compare the manner m which justice is administered 
here with the hurry of an Enghsh Assize, or with the 
indefinite delay of the High Court of Chancery, when we 
look at the comparative costs in these courts, as well 
as the facilities that are here afforded to compromise, 
we cannot but consider our local judicature as one of the 
most valuable of our privileges." 

The truth, however, was that the abolition of the 
Council of the Marches had made it impossible for the 
Courts of Great Sessions to exercise a full equitable 
jurisdiction. The anomaly of the Welsh Courts exer- 
cising all the powers of the Common Law Courts, without 
possessing the machinery requisite for administering an 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 139 

equitable jurisdiction, rendered them open to deadly 
criticism. Full advantage of this anomalous state of 
things was taken by English lawyers and Welsh 
magnates who, with shortsighted vision, wished to 
amalgamate the administration of Wales with that of 

The forms and methods of English legal proceedings 
were followed in the Courts of Great Sessions. The 
practice was assimilated to that which obtained in the 
Courts at Westminster. The pleadings continued, 
down to the last days of the Court, to be settled in Court, 
as was the custom in Englcind at the time of the passing 
of the Act. The differences in the practice and con- 
stitution of the Welsh and English Courts were few and 
insignificant. They were due in the main to the fact 
that the Court of Great Sessions was a strictly local 
jurisdiction, and its procedure was necessarily adapted 
to the needs of the Principality. 

The Court did not sit during the four legal terms, as 
the Courts did at Westminster. Sees. 5 and 14 of the 
Act of 1542 enacted that the Courts of Great Sessions 
should be held twice a year, and that " every of the said 
Sessions shall be kept and continued by the space of 
six days in every of the said shires at either of the said 
times, as is or hath been used within the said shires 
of North Wales, and that the said Justices shall cause 
open Proclamations to be made in the shire-towns, 
what time they purpose to keep their said Sessions, 
fifteen days at the least before they keep the same." 
This provision was never varied. The Sessions were kept 
in each county town twice a year " about the times of 
spring and autumn," in pursuance of writs of summons, 
made out by the prothonotary, tested by the Chief 


Justice of the Circuit, and directed to the sheriffs of 
the counties within the jurisdiction. ^ Each Session 
lasted six days, but it was held that they were not 
necessarily six successive days.^ The date of the Ses- 
sions was fixed, as Borough Sessions are still fixed, by 
the presiding Judge. Some dissatisfaction was occasion- 
ally expressed at the way the Judges used this power. 
They were practising barristers in the English Courts, 
and were sometimes incUned to fix their Courts, not 
merely in the vacation, but at times inconvenient to 
suitors and jurors, in order to serve their own conveni- 
ence.^ But no complaint on this score was made to the 

' Foley's Pyactice, p. 6 ; Russell's Practice, c. ii. 

^ Cresswell v. Vaiighan, 2 Saund. 41. 

' George Owen in his " Dialogue of the Government of Wales," 
(p. 116) complains of the " inconvenience in keeping the Great 
Sessions of one terme of the Counsell of the Marches yearUe in 
Lent, which you say is a hindrance to the thrift of the Countrie 
and . . . poor husbandmen do most complaine of this, whose 
complaint for the most parte is heard last of all others." In a 
MS. book of precedents of pleading kept, it is thought, by Sir 
Erasmus Williams of Llwynwormood, in the County of Car- 
marthen, now in the writer's possession, there is a curious indict- 
ment dated March 31, 1708. " The Grand Jury of the Great 
Sessions for Carmarthenshire present Philip Neve, Sergeant-at- 
law, and senior Judge of the Circuit, for having on the ist March 
then instant at Abergwilly arbitrarily and illegally appointed this 
present Session for the County to be held on Wednesday fwhich 
according to the usual custom used to be held on Saturday night 
or on Monday morning and continued for the residue of the 
same week) and which being in Passion week is not only to the 
high displeasure of Almighty God when all good Christians should 
be exercised in the discharge of their duty and service to God . . . 
but also a great let and hindrance to His Majesty's subjects 
suitors in the said Court and a great delay of justice for by these 
means His Majesty's subjects cannot begin and have the effect 
of their suits in any one Great Session, but must of necessity 
be retarded to the next ensuing Great Sessions which is near 
the space of one whole year." 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 141 

Committee which inquired into the condition of the 
Courts in 1817-1821.^ 

How the six days were used in the earlier years there 
is no means of knowing. It would appear from the 
language of Sec. 2 of 18 Elizabeth, c. 8 (the Act which 
authorised the appointment of a second judge to each 
Welsh Circuit) as if the Courts were not only busily 
occupied, but were increasing in popularity.^ Never- 
theless, the evidence which is available during the latter 
existence of the Courts of Great Sessions would seem to 
show that the six days allotted were, in most cases, too 
many, though in Carmarthen * and in Chester the time, 
if anjdihing, would be too short for the volume of the 
work to be transacted. When it is remembered that 
there were two Courts sitting during the week, it is clear 
that in the more rural counties there was much waste 
of time.* 

' Unless a solitary staffement by W. E. Taunton, of the Car- 
marthen Circuit, may be held to amount to such a complaint. 
" The time of holding the Great Sessions," he said, " has fluctuated 
according to the convenience of the Judges or the bar." 

^ Sec. 2, " And lor that many great and weighty causes, matters, 
questions, demurrers, and ambiguities in Law do thereupon 
daily arise, increase, and are like daily more and more to increase." 

' " I can hardly get through what I have to do," said Russell, 
of the Carmarthen Sessions. See, also, as to the pressure of work 
in the Carmarthen Court of Great Sessions, George Owen's 
" Dialogue " in Owen's Pembrokeshire, vol. ii. p. iii. 

• Lord Cawdor in his letter to the Lord Chancellor, in 1828, 
states that the number of " bills in Chancery " in South Wales 
for the eleven years preceding 1823 was 689, or 62 per annum ; 
the number of decrees 256, or 23 per annum ; and 7 orders on 
further particulars of Common Law actions ; there were tried 
by writ of concessit solvere 318, or 29 per annum ; of other 
causes 999, or go per annum ; of criminal prisoners 1,107, or 100 
per annum. In Montgomery there had been 105 causes, or 
5 causes per annum for each judge, and 23 equity cases. 


The Justices held ten Courts during the six days — 
three Courts to appear, three to declare, and three to 
plead. 1 Mr. Justice Heywood of the Carmarthen 
Circuit, in his evidence before the Select Committee of 
the House of Commons in 1817, gives an account of how 
the six days were taken up. The first day marked the 
entrance of the Judges into the Sessions town, followed 
by members of the bar. On the second day the Grand 
Jury were charged, motions were heard, and routine 
business transacted. On the third day the Old Issues, 
i.e. the causes in which issue had been joined before the 
first day of the Sessions, were tried. The fourth day 
was given over to the trial of prisoners. On the fifth 
day the New Issues were tried, and on the sixth, miscel- 
laneous work was done. The number of causes entered 
in the Carmarthen Circuit varied from thirty-three in 
1808 to ninety-eight in 1815, though Mr. Justice Hey- 
wood does not inform us how many were tried, and the 
number of prisoners rose from eight in 1807 to twenty- 
three in 1816. Russell gives practically the same 
account.^ The first Court was held on the evening of 
the first day, but neither counsel nor suitors were 
required to attend, as the proceedings were merely the 
reading of the writ of summons, and were then adjourned 
to the first Court of the following day. At the second 
Court, which was held at three o'clock in the afternoon 
of the second day, the charge to the Grand Jury was 
delivered, and motions were made by counsel. Motions 
formed part of the work of every Court, though at the 
last Court they were usually confined to " motions of 
course." The tenth Court was held on the morning of 
the sixth and last day of the Sessions. 

' Foley's Practice, 43. ^ Russell's Practice, c. ii. 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 143 

The Chancery business was carried on at some of 
the Courts, as the other business might permit. The 
Chancery cases were usually heard at the evening Courts. 

All the pleadings in the New Issues were regulated 
by the Court sitting in banc?- When time was required 
for filing a declaration, or for pleading, the Court would 
fix any day in the vacation which they thought proper ; 
but usually time was given to a day called " the common 
day," which in the vacation after the Spring Great 
Sessions was the first day of Trinity term, and in that 
after the Autumn Great Sessions was the first day of 
Hilary term.^ 

Sections 16-19 enact there should be four original 
seals, devised by the King's Highness, for justice to be 
ministered respectively in the three shires of North 
Wales ; in Carmarthen, Cardigan, and Pembroke ; 
in Brecknock, Radnor, and Glamorgan ; in Denbigh 
and Montgomery, which should be in the keeping and 
custody of the Chamberlain of North Wales, South 
Wales, Brecknock, and Denbigh respectively. There 
were thus four groups of counties constituting four 
" Circuits " in Wales. Section 20 enacts that the 
original seal of Chester shall stand for the original seal 
of Flint, and should remain in the custody of the 
Chamberlain of Chester. 

The difference therefore between the practice of the 
Welsh Courts and the Westminster Courts was slight. 

* .Ml pleading was at first oral in open Court in the presence 
of the Judge, who superintended or " moderated the laro ", 
contention. Oral pleading was abandoned temp. Edward III. 
but it is not known when the practice of regulating pleadings 
by the Court, which survived in Wales till 1830, was abandoned 
in England {Stephen on Pleading, pp. 29-30). 

* Foley's Practice, 44. 


The Chamberlain or Chancellor (as he is indifferently 
called in Sees. 21 and 22) issued the original writ, and 
not the Court of Chancery as in England. The Chamber- 
lain was a Chancery officer who became known in later 
times as the Cursitor. He was appointed by the Crown 
for life by letters patent, and his sole function was to 
issue original writs, and to account for the profits of 
his office to the king. 

Section 33 enacts that " all personal Actions, as Debt, 
Detinue, Trespass, Accompt, and such like, amounting 
to the sum of 40s. or above, shall be sued by writs 
original, to be obtained and sealed as is aforesaid, or 
by Bills, at the pleasure of the party suing the same, 
before the said Justices within the limits of their author- 
ities, as is used in North Wales." But all actions real 
and mixt. Attaints, Conspiracies, Assizes, and Quare 
Impedit, Appeals of Murder and Felony, and aU actions 
grounded upon any Statutes, had to be sued by original 
writ,^ while all personal actions under the sum of 40s. 
were to be sued by Bill, " as is used in North Wales." 

In England an original writ {hreve originale) issued 
out of the Court of Chancery under the Great Seal. It 
was in the king's name, it was directed to the sheriff of 
the county where the injury was alleged to have been 
committed, it contained a summary statement of the 
cause of complaint, and it required the sheriff, in most 
cases, to command the defendant to satisfy the claim ; 
and on defendant's failure to comply, then to summon 
him to appear in one of the superior Courts of Common 
Law, there to account for his non-compliance. If the 
defendant did not appear to the original writ, there 
issued other writs, called writs of process. They came 
1 Sec. 32. 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 145 

from the Cotirt of Common Law, not from the Court of 
Chancery, and were not imder the king's seal, but under 
the private seal of the Court. Hence they were called 
judicial writs. All actions commenced with the issue 
of an original writ, unless either the plaintiff or the 
defendant was " privileged," i.e., an officer or a prisoner 
of the Court. In that case, the procedure would be by 
Bill without suing out an original writ. But this pro- 
cedure by BiU related only to personal actions, and not 
to real or mixed actions.^ 

Such was the practice in the English Courts at the 
time of the passing of the Act of 1542. The procedure 
sanctioned by Sees. 33-34 of suing by Bill instead of by 
original writ, at the option of the htigant, was a note- 
worthy improvement on the inelastic Enghsh practice. 

The chief utility of proceeding by Bill seems to have 
been the acceleration of the trial of a cause. 

" If the debt be due within 15 days of the Sessions, 
or the case otherwise lyes (as several wayes it may) so 
that the action cannot be begun by an original writ, 
then there must be a Queritur or a Bill had from the 
Prothonotary's office." ^ 

On the other hand, if a substantial amount was at 
stake, or it was feared that the defendant would remain 
outside the jurisdiction, the plaintiff would prefer to sue 
by original writ in order that he might, in the last resort, 
" proceed to Outlawry against the defendant," which 
he could not do unless he had proceeded by original 

But the most characteristic proceeding in the Courts 
of Great Sessions was the action known as Concessit 

1 Stephen on Pleading, p. 5. 

^ Practica WalHae, 10 ; Jones's Practice (1828), p. 63. 

W.M.W. K 


Solvere. It was well established in the time of Rice 
Vaughan, who describes it with some minuteness. 

"In all or most actions of Debt without Bond or 
Specialty upon simple contracts, there is a far shorter 
and less intricate way to declare, and so ground an 
action, then in the Courts above at Westminster, by the 
ancient custome of North Wales, had and deduced from 
those three Northern Counties that were shire-grounds 
time beyond all memory,^ and are (indeed) rightly and 
properly the very North Wales, which way is by meer 
and plain Concessit Solvere, and no matter expressed 
besides the time and place of the contract, and the day 
of pajmient, whereunto the defendant most commonly 
pleads the afore-mentioned general issue of Nil debet 
per patriam, and at the trial the whole matter and con- 
sideration will be given in evidence, so that thereby the 
plaintili saves what often falls out, by declaring specially 
in an action upon the case for every debt upon small 
contracts, wherein the plaintiff will be more closely 
held to prove all circumstances mentioned in the declara- 
tion, for all actions upon the case are strict, and therefore 
more subject to miscarry, and by several wayes over- 
thrown then those general wayes of Concessit Solvere, 
which are constantly used and approved by the priviledge 
of the Custome aforesaid, which are often beneficial to 
the plaintiff in many things, for the defendant hardly 
(till the trial) knows (if many bargains passed between 
him and the plaintiff) upon which of them the plaintiff 
will produce his proof, and if the plaintiff can make 
proof of but part of the Debt declared, he shall recover 
so much, for the defendant's plea (upon which issue is 

' The three counties of North Wales were made into shire- 
ground by the Statutum Walliae, 1284. 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 147 

joyned) sayes he doth not owe that debt or any part 
thereof, and so it is beneficial in many things else, but 
not in actions upon the case for debt, where the proof 
must be punctual with the Declaration." ^ 

There can be no doubt that the use of a general form 
of Declaration, and the practice of pleading the general 
issue, was highly convenient in days when special plead- 
ing had become a fine art, and demurrers and non-suits 
on technical and subtle points of pleading had become 
general. Nevertheless, the method of pleading in use 
in Concessit Solvere was open to criticism. The defend- 
ant, as Vaughan gleefully asserts, did not know with 
certainty what case he would have to meet, and the 
plaintiff would not know which of some seven or eight 
defences open to him under his plea of Nil debet would 
be relied on by the defendant. These objections pre- 
vailed in England for many years, and it was only in 
the latter half of the eighteenth century that a general 
form of declaration was allowed to be used in indebitatus 
assumpsit. According to Sir N. Tindal it was Lord 
Mansfield who first adopted it.^ Lord Holt had seen 
the utility of it, but had said that he would be a bold 
man who ventured to employ it. The practice was 
brought into general practice by Lord Mansfield's 
authority, and it did much to mitigate the harsh 
rigidity of special pleading. As, however, the defendant 
could obtain particulars of the plaintiff's claim, he 
suffered no inconvenience, but no trace can be found of a 
similar practice in Concessit Solvere. 

Vaughan was, however, wrong in supposing that Con- 
cessit Solvere was peculiar to the Welsh Courts, for it was 

' Practica Walliae, pp. 12-14. 
^ Hansard, vol. xviii. col. 833. 


also known in the Courts of the City of London and of 
Bristol.! ji^g chief characteristic of the process was that 
the plaintiff's claim was for a sum certain, or capable of 
being reduced to a certainty,^ or on a quantum meruit. 
Though it was an action for debt, it was held good for 
attorney's fees, for rent in arrear, or for money recovered 
in the County Court, Court Baron, or Hundred Court, 
or for an amerciament in a Leet or Baron Court. The 
general rule in later days was that a Concessit Solvere 
would lie "in all cases where an indebitatus assumpsit 
will lie in England." ^ 

The defendant in his plea could plead the general 
issue, nil debet per patriam ; or he could wage his law, 
nil debet per legem. The practice of waging the law fell 
into disuse. The last record of it was in 1747.* 

Foley ^ and Russell ^ agree that it was " usual to sue 
out an original writ where it is intended to proceed by 
a Concessit Solvere." ® But elsewhere Russell appears to 
doubt if it was really necessary to sue out an original 
writ.' The truth is that in earlier times it was the 
custom to proceed by original writ, but in latter days 
an original writ was never sued out in Concessit Solvere. 
This was due to the introduction of a process upon plain 
paper called " The New Rule." This was explained by 
Goodman Roberts, attorney, of Ruthin, to the Select 
Committee in 1817 in the following terms : " When you 
proceed in an action of debt against a person, you give 

• I Saund. p. 68, n. 2 ; Pascall v. Sparing, St. 98. 

' Russell's Practice, p. 59. 

° Jones's Practice {1828), p. 63. He states that payment into 
Court could be made in the action. 

* Russell's Practice, p. 60. ^ Foley's Practice, pp. 12-16, 
° Russell's Practice, p. 59. ' See, e.g., note g. on p. 56 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 149 

him this sort of notice upon plain paper, viz., ' Take 
Notice, that an Action of Debt will be brought against 
you, and unless you appear and pay the debt by such a 
day, judgment will be signed against you.' This is the 
summary method." He stated that the New Rule was 
introduced in the North Wales counties in the previous 
year, and presumably it had already been introduced 
into South Wales. Christopher Temple of the Chester 
Circuit, while dwelling on the comparative cheapness of 
litigation in Wales, pointed out that whereas in England 
all actions commenced by writ, in Wales no writs were 
issued, but aU actions proceeded on " the new rule." 
John Evans, the Deputy-Prothonotary of North Wales, 
stated that " whenever a defendant is proceeded against 
by the new rule, the declaration is always in Concessit 
Solvere." The Common Law Commissioners in their 
first Report, issued in 1829, state that the action of 
Concessit Solvere " is commenced by notice instead of 
writ," and they go on to criticise the action on that 
account. For, they said, if the plaintiff, after notice to 
the defendant that he is proceeding with his action, does 
not attend the Court, the defendant cannot get his costs, 
for, as there was no writ, there was no proceeding before 
the Court. Similarly, if the defendant paid before issue 
was joined, the plaintiff would not get his costs. 

After giving fifteen days' notice, the plaintiff attended 
the Great Sessions. If the defendant did not appear, 
the plaintiff would get judgment by default. About 
half the actions brought ended in this way. If the 
defendant appeared, the plaintiff would put in his 
Declaration. The defendant always pleaded the general 
issue, and the plea of the Statute of Limitations and 
other pleas, such as set-off, or infancy, could be put 


in. All the special pleading in assumpsit was available 
in Concessit Solvere?- 

In spite of some obvious drawbacks the action of 
Concessit Solvere retained and even increased its popu- 
larity. In his evidence before the Select Committee in 
1820, James Spencer, attorney, of Hay, said that there 
were ten actions of Concessit Solvere brought for every 
one other action, though the number of trials was about 
equal. An action for rent, for instance, would not be 
by Concessit Solvere, and attorneys " for their per- 
quisites " often preferred to proceed by Capias in actions 
on bonds and notes. Sometimes, too, there was no time 
to give fifteen days' notice, and in that case proceedings 
by Capias would be taken. But, as a rule. Concessit 
Solvere was cheap, speedy, and efficacious. 

Proceedings by Bill in England were more limited 
than in the Welsh Courts. They were at one time con- 
fined to actions in which either the plaintiff or the 
defendant was a privileged person, i.e. an officer or 
prisoner of the Court, or a Member of Parliament. But 
such actions had to be personal actions, and not real or 
mixed. By Sec. 33 of the Act of 1542, all personal 
actions might, and all personal actions under 40s. must, 
be by Bill. The Bill was required to be sealed with the 
judicial seal in the custody of the Justice, and also to 
be tested by the Justice.^ 

After 6 George II., c. 14, the practice of proceeding 
in the actions mentioned in Sec. 32 of the 1542 Act by 
original writ was gradually discarded in the English 

1 See the evidence of Oldnall Russell and Christopher Temple 
before the 1817 Select Committee, and Mr. Justice Heywood, in 

« Sees. 37-38. 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 151 

Courts, and the Welsh Courts adopted the same pro- 
cedure as prevailed in the Common Pleas.^ The new 
practice was to proceed by Capias ad respondendum, 
without suing out an original writ.^ The Capias was a 
judicial or process writ, issuing from the Common Law 
Court upon a supposed original,^ and was obtained from 
the Prothonotary upon delivering a memorandum or 
minute of the attorney's warrant, containing the names 
of the parties prosecuting and defending the suit, of the 
attorney concerned, and the style of the court in which 
the action was brought,^ and delivering also a praecipe 
for the writ.^ The writ had to be tested by the Chief 
Justice, and made returnable on the first Wednesday in 
any month during the vacation, or on the first day of 
the next Sessions.* If it was not intended to arrest the 
defendant, the praecipe ran as follows : 

" Carmarthenshire to wit. — Capias for A.B. 

against CD. late of in trespass (or as the 

case may be) returnable on ." 

If it was intended to arrest the defendant the ac etiam 
clause had to be added after the mention of the cause 

'■ Foley's Practice, p. 25, held that proceedings by capias were 
first established by 6 George II., c. 14. 

' Russell's Practice, c. vi. ; Foley's Practice, p. 6. 

' Russell, p. 67, n., who disagrees with Foley, p. 25. Stephen 
(On Pleading, p. 25) says that capias was originally a process 
writ, but that it became the general practice, in order to save 
time and expense, to resort to it in the first instance, and to 
suspend the issue of the original writ, or even to neglect it 
altogether, unless its omission should afterwards be objected 
to by the defendant. 

* 25 George II., c. 80, sec. 13. 

6 Foley's Practice, p. 7. 

« 13 George III., c. 51, sec. J5. 


of action, i.e. " and also for £ioo upon promises." ^ A 
proper affidavit of the debt had also to be prepared and 
filed with the Prothonotary before or at the time of 
suing out the writ. In the latter days of the Court, all 
the proceedings were by Concessit Solvere or Capias. 

The Act of 1542 enacted that a Justice should be 
appointed for each of the four Welsh Circuits. The 
Justice of Chester was enjoined " to hold Sessions twice 
in every year in the shires of Denbigh, Flint, and Mont- 
gomery, and have nothing but his old fee of an hundred 
pounds yearly for the same." ^ The Justice of North 
Wales was to hold Sessions in Carnarvon, Anglesey, and 
Merioneth at a yearly fee of £50.^ Another Justice, at 
a like salary, was to hold Sessions in the counties of 
Brecknock, Radnor, and Glamorgan ; * and a fourth in 
Carmarthen, Cardigan, and Pembroke.* By the Statute 
18 Elizabeth, c. 8, it was enacted that " forasmuch as 
by the good administration of justice the Principality 
... of Wales and the County Palatine of Chester are 
reduced to great obedience of Her Majesty's laws and 
the same greatly inhabited and manured, and peopled 
. . . and for that many great and weighty matters 
questions demurrers and ambiguities in law do there- 
upon daily arise increase and are like daily more and 
more to increase within the said shires " it is ordained, 
in reply to the most humble petition and suit * of the 
inhabitants of Wales and Cheshire, to have two justices 
learned in the law in each of the several Circuits. From 

' Russell's Practice, pp. 16-17, o* Precedents. But it was held 
in Boyd v. Durand, 2 Taunt., 161, that this was not absolutely- 

= Sec. 6. = Sec. 7. ' Sec, 8. = Sec. 9. 

' No trace of this Petition has been discovered. 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 153 

1576 onwards, therefore, two justices were appointed to 
each Circuit. They sat in separate Courts for the trial 
of jury cases, civil and criminal, but they sat in banc 
for chamber and chancery work. The question was 
raised in the reign of James I. whether they should be 
appointed by letters patent under the great seal or by 
commission. It was referred by the Privy Council to 
the consideration of the twelve judges, who decided that 
the appointment ought to be by letters patent .^ 

The fees or salaries of the justices were at first fixed 
at £50 a year for seven judges, and £100 a year for the 
Chief Justice of Chester ; £30 a year was allowed for 
" diet." During the Commonwealth the salaries were 
fixed at £250 a year. After the Restoration the old 
salary was paid. 

In 1759, 1772, and 1809 the salaries of all the Welsh 
judges were increased by Act of Parliament, so that in 
1830, when the Courts of Great Sessions were abolished, 
the Chief Justice of Chester enjoyed a salary of £1630, 
the puisne Justice of Chester £1250, and each of the 
other six judges £1150.^ The Chief Justice of each 
Circuit received some fees in addition to their salary. 
No pensions attached to the ofiices. 

Much was said from time to time to the disparagement 
of the Welsh judges. Perhaps the oldest complaint 
against them was that they got to know the gentry of 
their Circuit, and became guilty of partial affection when 
any of their friends appeared as litigants before them. 
Among the Bridgwater Papers is a document headed 

1 Coke's 4tt Inst. c. 47, p. 240. 

2 For a more detailed account of the variation in the salaries 
of the judges, see the writer's article on the Court of Great 
Sessions in the Cymmrodor, vol. xxvi. 


" Provisions for a court to be established in|Wales, etc., 
1641," and it states " how little the presence of two 
Justices that be practicers of Lawe at Westminster will 
avayle, to whom the Gentrye can make their owne 
accesse and applicacion." 

The complaint was echoed by Brougham in his famous 
speech in the House of Commons on Legal Reform in 
1828. The judges, he said, always went the same Circuit. 
" And what is the inevitable consequence ? Why, they 
become acquainted with the gentry, the magistrates, 
almost with the tradesmen of each district, the very 
witnesses who come before them, and intimately with 
the practitioners, whether counsel or attorney . . . and 
out of this grow likings and prejudices." But it is to 
be noted that these charges were merely general com- 
plaints which would apply against aU local courts, such 
as County Courts and Police Courts. There was no 
attempt to prove that, in fact, the Welsh judges were 
partial or corrupt. 

Another complaint was better founded. The Welsh 
judges could sit in Parliament, and it was asserted that 
appointments to the Bench were sometimes made for 
political reasons. It is certainly a good rule that a 
judge should be debarred from sitting in Parliament, 
but it should be remembered that Recorders are to-day 
allowed, like the Justices of the Great Sessions, to sit 
in Parliament, and to practise at the Bar even in the 
very towns where they sit as Recorders. Nor should it 
be forgotten that it is only in recent times that the 
Master of the Rolls has been declared incapacitated 
from sitting in the House of Commons. Lord John 
Russell, in a debate in 1820, said that as the Welsh 
judges were eligible for seats in that House, their posts 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 155 

were looked upon as retainers or rewards for the support 
of ministerial measures.^ Lord Bulkeley stated in 1817, 
before the Select Committee, that nearly all the judges 
had beepjn Parliament when appointed. Lord Cawdor, 
in his letter to the Lord Chancellor on legal administra- 
tion in Wales (1828), said that " individuals have been 
selected rather from Parliamentary services than for 
their legal acquirements." But it is worthy of note 
that in 1829 only one of the eight judges had a seat 
in Parliament .2 Certainly the taunt of political pro- 
motion came with a bad grace at a time when — according 
to Brougham — " party, as well as merit, must be studied 
in these appointments (of judges). ... I defy him (the 
Solicitor-General) to show me any instance for the last 
100 years of a man, in party fetters, and opposed to 
the principles of the Government, being raised to the 
Bench. . . . Never have I heard of such a thing, at 
least in England." The system was undoubtedly open 
to grave criticism ; but we should not apply to it the 
higher standard of a later age, and we should not 
forget that no complaint of pohtical partiality was ever 
brought against the Welsh judges even by their bitterest 

The fact that the Welsh judges were also practising 
barristers was another undoubted evil ; but here again 
the practical evil was grossly exaggerated in the interests 
of partisanship. "Often," said Brougham, "these gentle- 
men have left the Bar and retired to the pursuits of 
country gentlemen. ... In some cases they continue 
in Westminster Hall — ^which is so much the worse — 
because a man who is a Judge one half of the year and 

• Owen's English Law, p. 29. 

2 Report of Commission on Common Law, 1829. 


a barrister the other, is not likely to be a good Judge 
or a good barrister." " His acting as counsel in England 
and judge in Wales," said Lord Cawdor in his letter, 
" is a great source of distrust. ... It has also happened, 
I beheve, that cases have been submitted to Welsh 
judges in their capacity as counsel, under feigned names, 
and that when the cause has been tried, the same person 
has given a different decision." Lord Cawdor had 
succeeded Mr. Ponsonby as Chairman of the Select Com- 
mittee. He must have known, therefore, that there was 
no authentic case where the scandal which he " believed " 
had occurred had in fact taken place. The point was 
specifically put to Mr. Justice Burton in 1817, and as 
he had known the Courts of Great Sessions for over 
forty years, his reply is surely worthy of consideration. 

" The Chairman : Is it not in the power of either of 
the parties, previous to commencing a suit in the Court 
of Great Sessions, to obtain the opinion of the Judge, 
in case he is a practising barrister, by putting a case to 
him under feigned names ? " 

" Burton, J. : Frauds of aU sorts may be committed 
in such a manner as to elude the most vigilant person ; 
but all the Welsh Judges whom I have known have 
been peculiarly cautious in guarding against any fraud 
of that description : and I believe no Welsh Judge would 
ever answer a case put in A and B without obtaining 
an absolute assurance that that case did not arise within 
his jurisdiction, and certainly if he had found it out 
afterwards to have arisen within it, he would not take 
part in the trial of the cause, and would take such means 
as he could to censure the parties." 

There was no suggestion that in fact any such " fraud " 
had ever been perpetrated. It would have been more 

COURl OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 157 

satisfactory if the Welsh judges had been prohibited 
from practising at the Bar or sitting in the House ; but 
that is no reason why unproved insinuations should be 
levelled against a body of men who on the whole seem 
to have discharged the function of their office with 

The third and final Report of the Select Committee, 
under the chairmanship of the Hon. Frederick Campbell 
(afterwards Lord Cawdor), stated that " when the two 
Judges differed, there was no decision, and there was no 
appeal except to the House of Lords, and by writ of 
error to the King's Bench." Here, again, there was no 
evidence to support the suggestion that the evil in fact 
existed. Mr. Justice Burton, of the Chester Circuit, was 
emphatic that no such deadlock had occurred during his 
long experience. Mr. Justice Heywood, of the Carmar- 
then Circuit, stated that, so far from any inconvenience 
arising, " I consider it one of the greatest comforts of 
my life to have a co-adjutor on the Circuit. There has 
never been a difference of opinion between myself and 
my learned friend that has in the least impeded the 
business of the Court." The criticism was merely theo- 
retical, and in no sense founded on the actual facts. 
But if there had been any such inconvenience, it could 
have been remedied by forbidding the judges to sit in 
banc, or by reducing the number of judges to the original 

The lack of a retiring pension was also a source of 
hostile criticism. " Consequently," said Brougham, 
" they retain their salaries long after they have ceased 
to discharge properly the functions for which they 
receive them." But it is not only unpensioned officers 
that lag superfluous. County Court judges to this day 


are not entitled, as of right, to a retiring pension. Even 
if this were an evil, the remedy was obvious. 

It was a common reproach in the mouth of opponents 
of the Welsh Courts that, as Brougham said, " in Wales 
you have as Judges, I will not say inferior men, but 
certainly not the very first." It was certainly true that 
the Welsh Bench was inferior to that in the Courts at 
Westminster, exactly as the County Court Bench is 
to-day inferior to the High Court Bench. But that is 
a long way from saying that the Welsh judges were 
incompetent. They seem to have given fairly general 
satisfaction to Welsh litigants, and hardly a practitioner 
wished to change the system.^ Certainly some of the 
most eminent EngUsh lawyers acted at some period of 
their career as Welsh judges. Among them were Lords 
Chancellor Jeffreys and Lyndhurst ; Lords Keeper 
Puckering and Lyttleton ; Keble, Bradshaw, and Willes, 
who served as Commissioners of the Great Seal ; Lord 
Chief Justices of England Ley, Wright, Herbert, and 
Kenyon ; Chief Justices of the Common Pleas Mans- 
field, Arden, Dallas, and Best ; Vice-Chancellors Plumer 
and Leach ; Masters of the Rolls Hare, Jackyll, Verney, 
and Grant ; Chief Barons Brooke, Probyn, Sk3mner, 
Macdonald, Richards, and Gibbs ; and a large number 
of puisne judges of the Common Law Courts. Out of 
the 217 Welsh judges appointed between 1542 and 1830, 
more than one-fourth were promoted to the High Court 
Bench in England.^ 

» See e.g. the eulogy passed by George Owen (Owen's Pembroke- 
shire, vol. ii. 94-97) on all the Justices going the Carmarthen 
Circuit in the reign of Elizabeth. 

^ " Of the 200 Judges of the Great Sessions, scarcely 30 knew 
the language of the people in whose behalf they were appointed " 
(Edwards's Wales, p. 336). 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 159 

The Chamberlain. — ^The original seals were to be in the 
custody of the Chamberlains of North and South Wales 
and Chester, the Steward and Chamberlains of Breck- 
nock and Denbigh respectively.^ In Sees. 21-22 of the 
Act of 1542 this officer is called " Steward, Chamberlain, 
or Chancellor." In the later Practice Books he appears 
as the Cursitor,^ who was properly an officer of the Court 
of Chancery. He held his office by letters patent under 
the great seal for life.* 

The Prothonotary. — Sec. 44 of the Act of 1542 enacted 
that each Circuit should have a " prenotary " or pro- 
thonotary " for the making of all pleas, process, and 
matters of record." To the office was united that of 
the Clerk of the Crown. It was held by letters patent 
under the great seal for life. It was his duty to attend 
upon the justices, to estreat all fines and forfeitures of 
recognizances into the Court of Exchequer for the 
Circuit.* All process, pleas, records, or other proceed- 
ings were filed in his office. It was expressly enjoined 
that the duties might be performed by deputy.^ 

The Secondary was an officer appointed by the Protho- 
notary, and acted as Master, Clerk of the Rules, Clerk 
of Assize and Deputy-Clerk of the Crown. In his office, 
as Deputy-Clerk of the Crown, after an indictment was 
found by the Grand Jury, all subsequent proceedings in 
criminal matters were carried on.* 

The Marshal or Crier was appointed by the 

The Clerk of Indictments was appointed by the Chief 

-Sees. 16-20. ' Russell's Practice, p. 6. 

" See p. 17, supra. * Sec. 52. ' Sec. 44. 

" Foley's Practice, 4. ' Sec. 45. ' Foley's Practice, 4. 


Sheriffs were first appointed in the ancient counties 
of Wales by the Statutum Walliae. The Act of 1542 
directs that there shall be sheriffs appointed by the king 
in every shire in Wales, and that their offices shall be of 
the same duration as in England/ and with the same 
power and authority.^ They were to execute all lawful 
commandments and precepts of the Justices of Wales, 
to be attendant upon them, to assist them, and to obey 
the king's commandments and process from them 
directed.* By i Edward VI., c. 10, sec. 3, they were 
required to have deputies in the Courts of King's Bench 
and Common Pleas to receive writs, in like manner as 
the sheriifs of England. By i WiUiam and Mary, c. 27, 
sec. 3, the Justices of the Great Sessions were to nominate 
yearly three substantial persons for each shire, in their 
respective circuits, to be sheriffs of the same ; and to 
certify their names to the Privy Council crastino ani- 
marum to the intent that the king may appoint one of 
the persons named to be sheriff for that year. Before 
this statute, the President and Council and Justices of 
Wales, or three of them at the least, whereof the Presi- 
dent was to be one, had yearly to nominate.* 

By Sec. 22 of 3 George I., c. 15, the Welsh sheriffs 
were exempted from appearance in the King's Court of 
Exchequer, but they were to account before the auditors 
of Wales. 

The Attorney-General. — ^Each Circuit had its own 
Attorney-General, who had " the power of appointing 

1 Sec. 61. Before 1542 they were appointed for life (Owen's 
Pembrokeshire, i. 156 ; ii. 42 ; Breese's Kalendars of Gwynedd, 
PP- .3I-.33)- 

^ Sec. 62 ; for the sheriff's judicial functions see supra, p. 44. 

s Sec. 65. «Sec. 6r. 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 161 

a deputy, as the Welsh Justices used to have before 
that power was taken away by the 13th of the King." ^ 
The Attorney-General was appointed by patent under 
the Great Seal, and held his appointment during the 
pleasure of the Crown. Benyon, the Attorney-General 
for the Chester Circuit, thought that the appointment 
was probably not made under 34 and 35 Henry VIII., 
but that it was in pursuance of the practice prevailing 
in the ancient Welsh counties previously to that statute.^ 
But the Crown had certainly power under Sec. 119 to 
make such an appointment. In Sec. 34 of the Act of 
1830 (i WUliam IV., c. 70) he is described as " His 
Majesty's Attorney-General." His duties were to sign 
all indictments before submitting them to the Grand 
Jury ; to prosecute prisoners ; and to appear for the 
Crown in every case in which the Crown's name was 
used. He had a fee of 6s. 8d. for signing each indict- 
ment, arid a retaining fee of £8 12s. 4d.^ An attorney, 
who was called the " Crown Solicitor," was appointed 
to conduct all prosecutions at the expense of the county. 
The Bar. — Nothing about counsel is said in the Act, 
but it would appear from the evidence of Mr. Justice 
Burton before the Select Committee in 1817 that all 

1 Mr. Justice Burton's evidence. 

2 Sir W. Owen, the Attorney-General for Carmarthen, stated 
that " the oifice was mentioned in the Statute of Henry VIII., as 
was also the office of Solicitor-General," though, he added, that 
in his opinion " these offices existed before." They are so 
mentioned in Sec. 55 of the Act of 1542, where the Attorney and 
Solicitor are both made ex officio Justices of the Peace. But 
nothing is heard of the Solicitor-General of each Circuit, unless 
he was the deputy who might be appointed by the Attorney- 
General, or he may be the same person as " the Crown Solicitor," 
He is not mentioned in the Act of 1830. 

3 Doddridge, p. 72. 


barristers of the Inns of Court were entitled to practise, 
and a few Chancery barristers attended each circuit.^ 
In later times nearly all the practitioners were members 
of the Northern or of the Oxford Circuit. From the 
care which was displayed to fix the Courts in South 
Wales after the Oxford Circuit, it would seem as if the 
majority of the counsel in the South Wales Sessions 
belonged to the Oxford Circuit. Their numbers were 
small ; between five ^ and ten * attended the Chester 
Circuit, twelve or fourteen the Carmarthen Circuit,* and 
four or five the Brecknock Circuit^ . 

Attorneys. — ^No Attorneys could practise except such 
as were admitted by the Court for each of the districts,' 
after they had been examined by the Judges of the 
Court touching their fitness and capacity.' Such 
Attorneys need not have been admitted as Attorneys of 
any of the Courts of Record at Westminster .^ The only 
difference between them and the Attorneys of the West- 
minster Courts was in the duty to be paid upon their 
contract or clerkship, which was half of the duty paid 
in England, and they only had to serve as clerks for 
five years.^ The Prothonotary was to enrol the names 

' Spencer's evidence, 182T. 

' Mr. Justice Leycester's evidence in 181 7. 

" Benyou's evidence, 1817, stated that twenty counsel attended 
at Chester. 

•Mr. Justice Hey wood in 18 17. 

' Mr. Justice Wingfield in 182:. 

°Mr. Justice Burton's evidence, 1817. 

' 2 George II., c. 23, s. 2. 

* 22 George II., c. 46. s. 13. 

" 2 George II., c. 23 ; 2 George II., c. 46, sees. 5, 12, 13, 15; 
12 George II., c. 13, s. 3 ; 22 George II., c. 46, s. 2, and 30 George 
II., c. 19, s. 75 also dealt with the position of Attorneys. 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1543-1830 163 

of Attorneys, who had to take out their annual certifi- 
cate, however, from the head ofSce of stamps at Middle- 
sex.i All Attorneys, so authorised, could act in their 
own name in the Welsh Courts ; and in the Courts of the 
Counties Palatine of Chester, Lancaster, and Durham 
in the name of any Attorney of those Courts who 
consented. But they could not act in the Courts at 

Complaint was made that admission to the profession 
was so much cheaper in Wales than in England, and that 
litigation was so cheap and plentiful that there was a 
multiplicity of Attorneys. George Owen, in the reign 
of EUzabeth, brought a similar complaint against the 
Ludlow Court. The profession was manned, according 
to Lord Cawdor and others, by an inferior class of person, 
and a Swansea Attorney stated before the Select Com- 
mittee that no Attorney of good standing would dream 
of bringing up his son to the profession, because he would 
have to associate with undesirable persons. Lord Kens- 
ington haughtily said that he never employed a Welsh 
Solicitor. That there was some ground for the com- 
plaint is true, but the evil again was greatly exaggerated 
by the opponents of the Courts of Great Sessions. 
Counsel from the Carnarvon Circuit, in 1821, described 
the Attorneys as " competent," and there were instances 
where Welsh Attorneys were also Attorneys at the 
Westminster Courts.^ It is extraordinary how slight 
the evidence was, when the generaUty and vehemence 
of the allegations are remembered. There was certainly 
a consensus of opinion, though it was somewhat dis- 
counted by the Select Committee, by Lord Cawdor, and 

1 2 George II., 23. ■= 34 George III., c. 14, s. 40. 

' e.g., James Spencer of Hay. 


by the Commissioners in 1829, that litigation was 
cheaper in Wales than in England.^ 

During the first one hundred years of its existence, 
there was little friction between the Courts of Great 
Sessions and other courts. It has been shown how 
there was a constant tendency on the part of the Council 
of the Marches to encroach upon the Common Law 
jurisdiction of Great Sessions. The Privy Council time 
and again censured the Welsh Council for this practice, 
and even as late as 1593 the Council of the Marches was 
instructed " to occupy time in hearing misdemeanours 
rather than cases triable at Common Law." ^ In the 
following year similcir instructions were given more in 
detail. None the less, the relations between the two 
Welsh Courts were on the whole harmonious. The 
reason is not far to seek. The judges of the Ludlow 
Court were drawn from the Bench of the Great Sessions, 
and the Chief Justice of Chester, who was generally the 
Vice-President of the Council, presided when the Council 
sat as a Court of Law.^ 

1 Brougham, though he stated that the Welsh Judicature was 
" the worst ever estabUshed," gave an appalling account of the 
Courts at Westminster and elsewhere, which cannot be paralleled 
by any evidence given before the Select Committees. " I asked 
the Prothonotary four years ago at Lancaster," he said, " to give 
me a. list of 50 verdicts obtained at the Lent .A.ssizes. The 
average was under £14. But if the money recovered amounted 
in all to less than ;£900, the costs incurred certainly exceeded 
^5000." At Westminster, a clergyman's widow brought an 
action for payment of mortgage money. The costs came to 
;£99 14s., and the action lasted two years ! Compare this with 
the statement made in 1830 in the House of Commons by John 
Jones, M.P., who practised on the Circuit, that in Carmarthen 
;£i 3,000 had been recovered in 1829 at the expense of £5. 

' Lans. MSS. 76, ff. 1416-9 ; ib. S. 1416-9 (May 1594). 

' " The Justice of Chester was always the chief working member 
and in various ways exercised supervision over them. . . . Care 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 165 

As long as the Council survived, the Court of Great 
Sessions was not interfered with by the Westminster 
Courts. The Council suspended its sittings from 1641 
to the Restoration. Shortly after the Restoration we 
find for the first time that the equitable jurisdiction of 
the Great Sessions was questioned.^ At first sight it 
would seem as if the disappearance of the Council in 
1689 would strengthen the position and enhance the 
influence of the Courts of Great Sessions. This however 
was not the case. The abolition of the Council made 
the survival of the equitable jurisdiction of the Great 
Sessions somewhat ludicrous in its incompleteness and 
imperfection. The jealousy of the Westminster Courts 
was transferred to the local jurisdiction. Early in the 
eighteenth century they began their attempt to bring 
Welsh litigants into their net.^ The story of the manner 
in which the English Courts usurped a jurisdiction in 
Wales is characteristic, and it undoubtedly led in the 
end to the abolition of the local courts. 

One or two attempts had been made in the early 
Stuart reigns to claim for the King's Bench a concurrent 
jurisdiction in Wales. But such attempts were not 
successful. At the end of Vaughan's Reports, 395, a 
treatise is to be found, in which the late Chief Justice 
of the Common Pleas, tenvp. Charles II., cites a case 

was taken, in issuing instructions to the Council, to provide for 
the absence of the legal members on Circuit. . . . Instances of 
conflict of jurisdictions between the two bodies are not common." 
(Skeel's Council, pp. 277-8, quoting A.P.C. xii. p. 115.) 

* Supra, pp. 72 seq. It is to be presumed that the appellate 
jurisdiction of the Ludlow Court in personal actions was exercised 
during the Commonwealth by the House of Lords, though I have 
found no evidence of this. 

2 " Discourse " (anon.) in Hargrave's Law Tracts, i. 359. 


where all the judges decided that " a judgment, given 
in Wales, shall not be executed in England, out of their 
jurisdiction, and a pari, a judgment, given in England, 
ought not to be executed in Wales." After a lengthy 
and elaborate argument, the Chief Justice concluded 
that Wales was a separate jurisdiction, and that " if 
judgments be obtained in the King's Courts against 
persons inhabiting in Wales, and process of execution 
awarded thither, the judgments will be ineffectual." 
He condemned in strong terms the attempt of the King's 
Bench to steal the Welsh jurisdiction. 

The great authority of Chief Justice Vaughan had 
the effect of securing the Welsh Courts from the en- 
croachments of the Westminster Courts for two genera- 
tions and more. In 1745, however, the attempt was 
renewed in the case of Lamfley v. Thomas, where it was 
argued that a latitat out of the King's Bench could run 
into Wales. ^ It was, however, decided " hrevis Domini 
Regis de latitat (and semble other mesne process between 
subjects) non currit in Wallia." ^ In his judgment in 

1 I Wils. 193, V. ; supra, pp. 18-20. " This great question," 
it is stated in the report, " whether the Court of King's Bench 
have jurisdiction to send a latitat into Wales has been four times 
most learnedly argued at the bar by gentlemen of the greatest 
learning and experience." 

^ The anonymous author of the " Discourse " in Hargreave's 
Tracts says : " I heard the case of Lampley v. Thomas argued. . . . 
This pretence of a jurisdiction in the King's Bench appears to 
me to be not only unwarranted by law or precedent, but clearly 
opposed and contradicted by both." When an action was 
contemplated in the King's Bench against a person not already 
privileged, the course was for the plaintiff to cause him to be 
arrested on a fictitious charge (foreign to the proposed action) 
of a trespass. This was eflfected by virtue of certain judicial 
writs which the Court had power to issue in such cases called 
" the Bill of Middlesex and latitat." Upon such arrest the 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 167 

Mosfyn v. Fabrigas, Lord Mansfield said that " if an 
action is brought here for a matter arising in Wales, 
you must show the jurisdiction of the Court in Wales. 
If there is no other mode of trial, that will give the 
King's Court jurisdiction." Whatever may be said 
of the soundness of that decision, it came short of 
claiming a concurrent jurisdiction for the Westminster 
Courts in actions over which it could be shown , that 
the Welsh Courts had jurisdiction. When, however, 
the words of the Act of 1542 are recalled, in which as 
large and ample a jurisdiction was conferred on the 
Welsh Courts as was enjoyed by the Courts of King's 
Bench, Common Pleas, and Exchequer, it is difficult to 
understand how the contingency contemplated by Lord 
Mansfield could arise.^ 

The case of Lampley v. Thomas has been generally 
supposed to have been overruled by Lloyd v. Jones 

defendant was committed to the prison of the Court, or, according 
to the legal phrase, " to the custody of the Marshal of the Marshal- 
sea." The plaintiff then commenced the action by filing a 
bill against him, which, as he had become a prisoner, was 
authorised. If instead of being committed to custody he gave 
bail, this was considered as of equal effect for the purpose of 
founding the jurisdiction. In process of time it came to pass 
that the defendant was not actually arrested, but was merely 
committed to the custody of the Marshal of the Marshalsea 
" by fiction or intendment of law." in order that the plaintiff 
might begin his proceedings by suing out a " Bill of Middlesex 
and latitat." The anonymous author of the " Discourse 
against the jurisdiction of the King's Bench over Wales by 
process of latitat " roundly describes latitat as " a fraudulent 
contrivance to steal jurisdiction, a lie from the beginning to the 
end " (Hargrave's Law Tracts, i. p. 422). 

1 The writer of the " Discourse " in Hargrave's Tracts retorted, 
" To what purpose will it be for them to harp upon that old 
rule, that their Court is not to be ousted of their jurisdiction 
without negative words, when they never had any jurisdiction of 
which they could be ousted " (p. 409). 


(1769).'^ This case is only mentioned in a note to the 
case of Penry v. Jones (1779),^ which would appear to 
be the case referred to in his evidence before the Select 
Committee in 1817 by Mr. Justice Burton. But Russell's 
account of the case shows that a great deal more impor- 
tance was ascribed to the decision than was warranted 
by the circumstances under which the decision was given. 

" With respect to the case of Lloyd v. Jones, though 
it is said in Douglas that Mr. Justice Yates considered 
the question in that case very particularly, and delivered 
a solemn argument upon it, yet its authority has been 
doubted, and it is to be lamented, if in fact it received 
a grave decision, that no regular report of it has been 
published. Different accounts of it have been given, 
and the author is permitted by Mr. Sergeant Heywood, 
the present Chief Justice of the Carmarthen Circuit, to 
transcribe the following from a MS. in his copy of 
Douglas's Reports : 

" ' The real history of this case, as remembered by Mr. 
Sergeant Walker, Mr. Filmer (who has a fiiU note), and 
Mr. Rudd, is very different from what was stated by 
Mr. Justice Buller, and given in the note to Penry v. 
Jones. Sergeant Hill was to have argued in support 
of the plea ; but being unprepared, the argument was 
postponed ; and Mr. Justice Yates contented himself with 
making a few observations, and expressing his doubts 
whether the plea could be supported. In the next term. 
Sergeant Hill having been left in the same uninstructed 
state, threw down his brief, and refused to argue it, 
and judgment passed sub silentio for the plaintiff.' " ^ 

1 See e.g. Owen's English Law in Wales, p. 25. 

^ Douglas Report, 203. 

^ Russell's Practice, Intro, pp. xxxii.-xxxiii. n. 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 169 

But, however the practice arose, and whatever the 
legal position may really have been, it is certain that 
henceforward numerous cases were proceeded with in 
England which had their origin in Wales. " The trial 
at Hereford," said Mr. Justice Heywood in 1821, " is 
a means of oppression in the hands of a rich plaintiff 
against a poor defendant." This practice, so generated, 
was constantly cited as something to the discredit not 
of the English Courts which invented it, but of the Great 
Sessions which suffered by it. The evil became so 
prevalent that an Act (Rice's Act) was passed in 1773 — 
four years after the disastrous decision in Lloyd v. Jones 
— to discourage the practice by limiting the jurisdiction 
of the English Courts to actions in which £10 or upwards 
were recovered. By an Act of 1824 the limit was raised 
to £50. 

In a note (2) to the case of Dra-per v. Blaney (1680) ^ 
it is said that the Statute, 13 George III., c. 51, seems 
very clearly to recognise the jurisdiction of all the Courts 
at Westminster to hold and issue mesne process against 
parties resident in Wales. It is dif&cult to resist the 
force of this contention, though it did not satisfy Russell, ^ 
who is supported by Tidd's Practice,^ which stated that 
it was a good plea to the jurisdiction of the Court of 
King's Bench in local actions to say that the cause of 
action arose in Wales, or in a county palatine, cinque 
port, or other exempt jurisdiction. 

Another device to steal the jurisdiction of the Courts 
of Great Sessions arose in the eighteenth century. It 

1 2 Saund. 194. The question was whether a fi. fa. on a 
Judgment in the King's Bench ran into Wale.=. As the judges 
were divided nothing further was done. 

8 Intro, xxxii. n. ' Tidd's Practice, pp. 632-3. 


was to remove an action wliich had been started in the 
Welsh Courts to the nearest English county by the 
prerogative writ of certiorari. Lord Mansfield defended 
the practice in cases where it was feared that an impartial 
trial could not be had in Wales ; but writs of certiorari 
were sued out and granted without notice to the other 
party and without inquiry. The evidence given before 
the Select Committee of 1817 clearly showed that the 
sole recison for suing out certiorari was to delay the 
progress of the action. Certain of the Welsh judges 
refused consistently to recognise the vaJidity of certiorari 
and ignored their existence ; but in some of the Welsh 
Circuits the frequency with which these writs were 
granted became a formidable embarrassment to the 
administration of justice. 

The Court of Great Sessions was not, however, blame- 
less in its relations with inferior courts. There were 
three ways by which an action could be removed from 
an inferior court to the Great Sessions : (i) by a writ 
of certiorari, if the inferior court was a Court of Record ; 
(2) by a writ of recordari facias loquelam, when the cause 
depended in the Sheriff's Court, whereby the Sheriff 
was commanded to record the plaint in his fiall County 
Court for the purpose of bringing it up before the Court 
of Great Sessions ; and (3) by a writ of accedas ad curiam, 
when the causes depended in a Lord's Court, whereby 
the Sheriff is commanded to go to the Lord's Court, and 
cause the plaint to be recorded for the purpose of bringing 
it up to the superior court .^ 

The power to remove cases, when they were ready 
for trial, from the inferior courts to the Great Sessions, 

' Vaughan's Practica Walliae, pp. 29, 30, 32, 33 sq. ; Russell, 

C. XV. 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 171 

was abused at an early date.^ It was enacted by 
21 James I., c. 23, that no writ, other than writs of 
error or attaint, sued forth out of the Court of Great 
Sessions to stay or remove any action commenced or 
depending in any Court of Record described in the 
Act, shall be received or allowed by the steward, judge, 
or of&cer of the Court to whom such writ shall be directed 
and dehvered, or prevent his proceeding in the cause, 
unless such writ should be delivered to him before issue 
or demurrer joined in such cause, so as the said issue 
or demurrer be not joined within six weeks next after 
the arrest or appearance of the defendant to such 
action.^ Another grievance was that actions removed 
from an inferior Court of Record to the Courts of Great 
Sessions, and by those Courts remanded to the inferior 
jurisdiction, were oftentimes again removed from such 
inferior court to the Great Sessions. It was there- 
fore enacted by Sec. 3 of the same Statute that, if 
an action, having been removed to the Great Sessions 
from such inferior court, shall by any writ be remanded, 
it shall never afterwards be removed or stayed, before 
judgment, by any writ whatsoever from the Court of 
Great Sessions. Sec. 4 enacted that if in any cause, 
not concerning freehold, or inheritance, or title of land, 
lease, or rent, it shall appear or be laid in the declaration 
that the debt, damages, or things demanded, do not 
amount to or exceed the sum of £5, then such cause 
shall not be stayed, or removed by any writ or writs 
whatsoever, other than writs of error or attaint. 

^ The superior court did not take the cause where the record 
left off, but began the proceedings de novo {Gimn v. MacHenry, 
I Wils. 277 ; Turner v. Bean, Barnes, 345). 

2 Sec, 2. 


By 12 George I., c. 29, sec. 3, it was enacted that this 
should be so, although there might be other actions 
against the defendant wherein the plaintiff's demand 
might exceed the sum of £5. 

19 George III., c. 70, forbade the defendant, except 
on giving sufficient security, to remove any action under 
£10, and 51 George III., c. 124, sec. 4 (which, however, 
was only a temporary Act), increased the sum to £15. 

It should not be forgotten, however, that the Great 
Sessions had stiU the concurrent jurisdiction in actions 
under 40s. which was conferred upon it by Sec. 34 of 
the Act of 1542.^ 

After the aboUtion of the Council of the Marches in 
1689, the position of the Courts of Great Sessions became 
more and more precarious. They continued to be 
popular in Wales, and their friends made continual 
efforts to meet legitimate criticisms by endeavouring 
to remedy their worst defects.^ The three most impor- 
tant of these amending statutes were 13 George III., 
c. 51, which is sometimes denominated " Rice's Act " ^ 
and at other times " the Welsh Judicature Act," 33 
George III., c. 68 and 5 George IV., c. 106. 

Rice's Act was passed after the disastrous decision 
in Lloyd v. Jones (1769), which has already been referred 
to, and which threatened to undermine the whole 
foimdation of the Great Sessions. It recited that " it 
hath been the practice to commence trifling and vexatious 

1 The Courts at Westminster were expressly forbidden by 
6 Edward I., c. 8, from entertaining a suit where the sum claimed 
was under 40s. 

2 A full list of these reforming statutes will be found in the 
writer's article on the Court of Great Sessions which appeared 
in the 26th volume of the Cymmrodor {1916). 

^ So called after its sponsor, the Hon. George Rice, M.P., 
afterwards Lqrd Dynevor. 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 173 

suits in the Courts of Westminster upon causes of action 
arising within the said Dominion of Wales, in order 
that the same may be tried in the nearest adjoining 
English county to that part of Wales in which the 
cause has arisen," and then went on to enact that " in 
case the plaintiff in any action upon the case for words, 
action, or debt, trespass on the case, assault and battery, 
or other personal action, where the cause of such action 
shall arise within the Dominion of Wales, and which 
shall be tried at the Assizes, at the nearest English 
county to that part of Wales in which the cause of 
action shall be laid to arise, shall not recover by verdict 
a debt or damages ... of £10," if the judge certiiies 
that the defendant was resident in Wales, a non-suit 
shall be entered with costs against the plaintiff, unless 
the judge certifies that the freehold or title of the land 
mentioned in the plaintiff's declaration was chiefly in 
question, or that the cause was proper to be tried in 
such English county. A similar provision with regard 
to transitory actions arising in Wales and tried in 
England empowers the Court to non-suit the plaintiff 
if the debt or damages found by the jury did not amount 
to £10.1 

By Sec. 15 it was sought to avoid some of the mischiefs 
that inevitably arose from the fact that the Courts only 
sat for two weeks in the year. It recited that " whereas 
aU writs relating to actions depending in the Courts 
of Great Sessions are returnable at the Great Session 
held respectively for the said counties, and at no other 
time, by which means no action that is commenced 
(except where the defendant voluntarily appears) can 
be brought to issue and tried before the second Session 
1 Sec, 2. 


after such action is commenced at the soonest, which 
is usually near a year, and a great delay to the suitors of 
the said Courts ... it enacts that all original writs, bills, 
and all mesne process whatsoever . . . shall and may 
be made returnable before His Majesty's Justices . . . 
on the first Wednesday in any month in each of the two 
vacations annually between the two Sessions, or on the 
first day of the next Sessions, at the election of the 

The defendant had to enter appearance on the day of 
such return, or within fourteen days next after ; and in 
case of neglect in " bailable actions," the Sheriff should, 
at the request and costs of the plaintiff, assign to the 
plaintiff the bail bond taken for the defendant's appear- 
ance. On the defendant appearing, the plaintiff should 
proceed to file his declaration, and the defendant, in 
case the declaration was delivered seven days before 
the first day of the Session, should be bound to plead 
thereto, before the rising of the second Court. 

Sec. 17 conferred upon the Great Sessions the power 
hitherto enjoyed by the Courts of Westminster alone, 
of trying actions for a penalty, provided the offence was 
committed and the defendant was triable and resident 
in Wales. 

The Act of 33 George III., c. 68, was passed to " remedy 
certain inconveniences attending certain proceedings " 
in the Court of Great Sessions. One of the difficulties 
experienced in the administration of justice in Wales 
was the practice of defendants, against whom judgment 
had been obtained, to remove their persons and effects 
from the jurisdiction. To remedy this, the Westminster 
Courts were empowered to issue writs of execution 
against such persons. 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 175 

The effect of this enactment was to modify the 
practice of the Court in another respect. Formerly, 
when the plaintiff lived outside the jurisdiction, he was 
required to give security for costs .^ It would appear 
that after this statute such security was not required, 
and a rule was refused by Mr. Justice He5nvood in 
Evans v. Morgan under such circumstances.* 

In 1824 (5 George IV., c. 106) the last effort was 
made to reform the practice and procedure of the Courts 
of Great Sessions. The statute was a courageous 
attempt to remedy the defects referred to in the Report 
of the Select Committee as calling " for regulation and 
amendment." The points more particularly mentioned 
by the Committee were : 

(a) The long period of the year during which recoveries 
cannot be suffered, or fines levied ; and the magnitude 
and uncertainty of the expense attending them. 

(6) The inability of the Courts to compel the atten- 
dance of witnesses residing out of their jurisdiction. 

(c) The necessity of moving for a new trial before the 
same judges, within a few hours after they have given 
misdirection to the jury, upon which the application 
is founded. 

(d) The want of sufficient security for the funds 
directed to be paid into Comi, that security depending 
entirely on the personal solvency of the ofi&cers. 

{e) The necessity of the judges and counsel remaining 
the same time at each place of their Circuit, whether 
there may or may not be sufficient business to occupy 

Of these six defects in the Welsh procedure, no less 
than five were dealt with by the Act of 1824. The only 
1 Foley's Practice, 67. ' Russell's Practice, 226. 


matter which the Legislature did not alter was the fixed 
time of six days during which the Sessions must be 
held. But even in this regard it strove to remove the 
grievances of suitors. RusseU, in his evidence, dwelt 
on the expedition with which cases were tried in the 
Welsh Courts. " A party may obtain the whole object 
of his legal proceedings in three weeks or a month." 
But there were two main objections to this expeditious 
procedure. One was mentioned by Mr. Justice Moysey 
of the Brecknock Circuit. " If the people of Wales," 
he said, " who get themselves involved in law-suits 
had time to breathe, and the heat of their litigation to 
subside, they would make up their causes long before 
they came to trial." ^ The other objection was men- 
tioned by Goodman Roberts, attorney of Ruthin, who 
stated that " the time for getting up the case during the 
Sessions is too short, though the parties themselves 
are generally satisfied by the rapidity with which justice 
is administered." It was sought to remedy these 
defects by allowing pleadings to be delivered in the 
vacation,^ by empowering the Courts to take the evidence 
of witnesses on commission,^ and by authorising the 
justices in any county on their Circuit to make any 
rules and orders in any suits within their jurisdiction, 
and not merely in the county where the cause of action 
had arisen,* and to hear motions and petitions in the 
vacation.^ The value of these provisions was ridiculed 
by Lord Cawdor in his Letter. He was certainly right 

' Palmer, of the Carnarvon Circuit, expressly disagreed with 
this view, and stated that compromises were frequent. See also 
the address already cited of the Grand Jury of Anglesea. It 
should be remembered also that at least one half of the actions 
in Concessit Solvere never came to trial. 

'^ Sec. 8. ' Sec. 9. 'Sec. 11. ^ Sec. 12. 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 177 

in his reference to the difficulty of hearing motions, 
etc., in vacation. One of the Carmarthen judges Uved 
in Derbyshire ; the other in London. It would be 
somewhat difficult to bring them together, and there 
was no power to compel them to make a Court. His 
somewhat clumsy ridicule of the other remedies is 
not convincing. The amendments must have sensibly 
relieved both the tension of work during the Sessions 
week, and it gave suitors time to consider their position 
before their cases came to trial. There is no doubt 
that in the purely rural counties a week was then, as 
now, more than sufficient for the work, especially when 
it is remembered that two Courts sat to try jury actions ; 
but the Legislature thought, and rightly thought, that it 
was more urgent to remove the well-founded grievances 
of suitors than to effect a comparatively small economy 
in public expenditure. 

In other respects the Act of 1824 dealt directly and 
specifically with the evils complained of. 

(«) Fines and Recoveries. — ^The evidence clearly sup- 
ported the finding of the Select Committee as to the 
length of time sometimes required to suffer recoveries 
and levy fines, as well as the magnitude and uncertainty 
of the expense. But here, again, the evidence was con- 
flicting. Mr. Justice Burton admitted that recoveries 
could not be suffered except during the Sessions, i.e. 
twice a year. But he added, " no more than they can 
in England, except during the four terms." He was 
constrained, however, to acknowledge that " it would 
possibly be an improvement if recoveries were allowed to 
be suffered at other periods before either of the Justices 
in any place." Rees Goring Thomas, the " com- 
pounder " of Carmarthen, stated that the expense of 

W.M.W. M 


levying a fine in South Wales was double that in North 
Wales, while recoveries cost is. 4d., ad valorem, in 
South Wales as against is. in North Wales. He went 
on to say that the expense was considerably larger in 
South Wales than in England, where the charge was 
so much per messuage and not so much per acre. It was 
mentioned that a recovery which cost only a few pounds 
in Westminster might cost hundreds of pounds in 

Sec. 24 of the Act of 1824 enacted that " the fees to 
be paid on any fine or recovery . . . and the amount 
of the King's Silver to be paid thereon shaU be in the 
same proportion and ascertained and calculated in 
the same manner by the proper officer " as in England, 
and " shall not exceed the same." Sec. 26 directed 
that fines should be levied four times a year after the 
manner and on the dates mentioned in the section. 
Sec. 28 authorised any person entitled to take afiidavits 
as a Commissioner of the Common Law Courts or a 
Master Extraordinary of the Court of Chancery to 
take any affidavit of any matter arising or fines and 
recoveries levied or suffered in the Courts of Great 
Sessions, in the same manner as was done in England. 

In this way the pecuhar grievance of Wales was swept 
away. But in any event the cumbrous and expensive 
system of fines and recoveries was hastening to its 
close. Brougham indignantly inveighed against it in 
his speech on Feb. 7, 1828. 

" Every gentleman knows that if he has an estate 
in fee he can sell it, or bestow it in any way he may 
please, but if he has an estate tail, to which he succeeds 
in the long vacation, he can go, on the first day of 
Michaelmas term, and levy a fine, which destroys the 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 179 

expectant rights of the issue in tail ; or he may, by 
means of a recovery, get rid of those rights and all 
remainder over. . . . But this must be done through 
the Court of Common Pleas at certain seasons of the 
year. And why should there exist a necessity of going 
there ? Why not, if it be necessary, pay the fines which 
are due without going there at all ? Why force tenants 
in tail into court for form's sake ? " 

In the reign of William IV., within a few years after 
the abolition of the Courts of Great Sessions, fines and 
recoveries were done away with. 

(6) The inability of the Courts to compel a witness 
who lived outside the jurisdiction to attend the trial 
was a serious defect, though it is likely that in actual 
practice the inconvenience was not very great. Mr. 
Justice Burton stated that he had never had to try the 
experiment, and had never known any practical incon- 
venience resulting from this want of power. Oldnall 
Russell, though he denied the existence of any " dis- 
advantages," agreed that there should be some means 
of compelling the attendance of a witness resident in 

In order to remedy this state of things. Sec. i enacted 
that on application by one of the parties to the Court of 
Exchequer at Westminster, supported by a proper 
affidavit, a writ of subpoena ad testificandum or subpoena 
duces tecum would issue, directed to such witness, 
whether resident in England or that part of Wales 
outside the jurisdiction of the particular court where 
the cause was being tried. 

(c) The evidence given before the Select Committee 
was not very strong with regard to the alleged incon- 
venience resulting from the necessity of appl5dng to the 


Justices who had heard the case for a new trial. Indeed, 
the experience of our modem County Coiuls, where a 
similar practice prevails, is confirmatory of the statement 
made by Benyon, the Attorney-General for the Chester 
Circuit, that no such inconvenience was in practice 
experienced. Oldnall Russell stated quite truly that 
the motion for a new trial made before the same tribunal, 
which already knew the facts on which the verdict was 
given, made for expedition, " though," he added, 
" another tribunal, if practicable, would be better." 
Christopher Temple gave the only damaging evidence 
against the practice when he said that he had " never 
known a new trial granted in any of the three Welsh 
places with which I am acquainted " (viz. FUnt, Denbigh, 
and Montgomery). His suggestion that the motion for 
a new trial should be heard by four Welsh Judges in 
London, including the Judge who tried the case, was 
not accepted. Sec. 2 of the 1824 Act enacted that 
the Courts of King's Bench, Common Pleas, and Ex- 
chequer sitting in banco should have power, after hearing 
the parties, to order a new trial or to enter judgment 
for either party or to enter a non-suit, as the case might 
be. Even Lord Cawdor, in his Letter, pays a grudging 
tribute to the efficacy of this provision. 

(d) The complaint that a person paying a sum of money 
into Court had no security except the personal solvency 
of the officers of the Court was well founded. No 
witness who gave evidence before the Select Committee 
endeavoured to defend the existing state of things. 
Temple said that " we have no officer of the Court 
with whom money can be safely lodged." Two remedies 
were proposed in 1824. One was that the Justices 
should have full power to dismiss all officers " for 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 181 

peculation, extortion, or other misconduct," unless such 
officer had been appointed by the Crown.^ The following 
section empowered the Justices to " have and take from 
any officer of the Court within three calendar months 
after his appointment and as often after as occasion 
may require, such security as to such Justices shall 
seem proper for and concerning the accounting for all 
and every sum which such officer shall receive in any 
cause." By Sec. 18 the Justices were authorised to 
" order and direct any sum of money belonging to the 
suitors to be paid into the Bank of England, in the 
name and with the privity of the Accountant-General 
of His Majesty's Court of Exchequer at Westminster." 

Lord Cawdor made play with the fact that by 1828 not 
a penny had been so paid into the Bank of England, but 
he does not mention what had been done under Sec. 17, 
and his silence as to this is significant. 

There was one other defect in the jurisdiction of the 
Welsh Courts which needs some attention in connection 
with the Act of 1824, though it has already been referred 
to. 2 That was the iniquitous practice, which had 
grown up in the latter years of the eighteenth century, 
for the Westminster Courts to remove actions com- 
menced in the Courts of Great Sessions to the nearest 
English county by the prerogative writ of certiorari. 
The practice with regard to ceHiorari varied on different 
Circuits. According to Mr. Justice Burton it was 
almost unknown — or at least it was never countenanced 
— on the Chester Circuit. He said : " Although there 
is a maxim that the King's writ does not run into Wales, 
yet this rule is not without exceptions. Prerogative 
writs are those exceptions, and it has been laid down 
1 Sec. i5. ' Supra, p. 94. 


more than once by Lord Mansfield and the Court of 
King's Bench that a certiorari might be granted upon 
motion in court on proof of a sufficient cause, such, for 
instance, as that an impartial trial coidd not reasonably 
be expected in the Welsh county. There is a case 
upon this subject in Douglas's Reports. In point of 
practice I do not immediately recoUect any cause so 
removed from our Circuit, though I do remember some 
improper attempts to remove causes upon certiorari 
unduly obtained, which we thought it our duty to 

Temple's recollection concurred with that of the 
Judge. He stated that he had never known of any case 
being removed from the Chester Circuit by certiorari. 
" I have known," he added, " a certiorari tendered to 
the Judges, but they have themselves had a concurrent 
jurisdiction in all civil matters with the Judges at 
Westminster Hall." He went on to give an instance 
in point in an action brought by Sir Watkin WiUiams 
Wynn against one Hughes, where Mr. Justice Burton 
refused, citing the authority of Lord Kenyon, who 
had been Chief Justice of Chester, to receive a 

But what the Chief Justice of Chester, who may be 
termed the head of the Welsh Judiciary, was able and 
ready to do was not possible on some of the other Circuits. 
Mr. Justice Heywood, of the Carmarthen Circuit, stated 
that on one Circuit twenty-six causes were taken away 
by certiorari, most or all of which might have been tried 
in their course. The motions were always made for 
the purposes of delay. 

" I never remember an instance of its being moved on 
the ground that the party was not likely to have a 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 183 

fair trial at the Great Sessions.^ The defendant knows 
that if the verdict is hkely to go against him by the 
judgment of the Sessions, execution would follow 
immediately, and thereupon he removes the cause into 
the King's Bench, which would give him six or eight 
months' delay. The King's Bench could restrain the 
abuse ; but in fact rules for certiorari are obtained 
without any special showing." 

The learned judge did not specify of what Circuit 
he was speaking, but it is fairly certain that he was 
not speaking of his own Carmarthen Circuit, which was 
probably the most important of the purely Welsh 
Circuits. Charles Morgan, Sohcitor and Clerk of the 
Peace of Carmarthen, stated in his evidence that he 
had known of only two instances of rules of certiorari 
issuing, and they had been quashed — presumably in 
the same way as they had been blandly ignored by 
the judges of the Chester Circuit. 

It is difficult to see how the practice arose. Nothing 
in the Act of 1542 warranted the action of the Courts 
at Westminster. Practica Walliae knew nothing of 
such a practice in 1672. It was an abuse which grew 
up in the eighteenth century, when the jealousy and 
hatred, which the Westminster Courts felt of old towards 
the Council of the Marches, were transferred to the 
local Welsh jurisdiction of the Great Sessions. The 
fact that the Chester Justices were allowed to ignore, 

1 I.e. the only cause justifying the grant of certiorari mentioned 
by Lord Mansfield. One case is to be found in the books 
(Daniel v. Phillips, 1792, 4 T.K. 499) where an action for less 
than 40s. damages was removed by certiorari into the King's 
Bench from the Carmarthen Great Sessions on the ground that 
the Excise officers who formed one of the parties could not have 
had an impartial trial in the local court. 


and the Carmarthen Justices to quash, the writ is 
eloquent of the precariousness of the position taken 
up by the EngUsh Courts. But that this power, so 
obtained, should be exercised "without any special 
showing," was plainly intolerable. Sec. 23 of the 
1824 Act enacted that in future " no writ of certiorari 
shall be granted ... to remove any action, etc. . . . 
originated or commenced ... in the Courts of Great 
Sessions . . . unless seven days notice in writing (has 
been given) to the other party . . . and unless the party 
so applying shall, upon oath, show to the Court in 
which application shall be made sufficient cause for 
issuing such writ, and so that the (other) party . . . may 
have an opportunity to show cause." 

Sees. 19-22 dealt with another branch of the same 
evil. 13 George III., c. 51 (Rice's Act) had attempted 
to stay the nuisance and scandal of plaintiffs bringing 
actions against the defendants resident in Wales " in 
the EngUsh county next adjoining," which meant 
Shropshire and Herefordshire. The practice had been 
so abused that, as has been seen, in 1773 it was enacted 
that if a plaintiff recovered less than £10 in a personal 
action in an EngUsh Court while the defendant resided 
in Wales and the cause of action arose there, he should 
be non-suited with costs. The Act of 1824 raised the 
Umit from £10 to £50.^ 

Lord Cawdor cordiaUy disUked this provision, which 
had, according to him, the effect of largely increasing 
the work of the Court of Great Sessions, and of causing 
much congestion of business. 

It became apparent during the latter years of the 
eighteenth century that the doom of the Court of Great 
' Sec. 21. 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 185 

Sessions was sealed. In vain its lovers strove to reform 
its procedure and to correct its abuses. It was pursued 
with relentless hostility. Its process was at least as 
cheap, as speedy, and as effective as that of the Courts 
at Westminster. Its system of pleading was less subtle, 
intricate, and technical. It knew nothing of the sordid 
fictions of the law, which had sprung up in England 
in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, such as 
the latitat of the King's Bench and the quo minus of 
the Exchequer. But, ever since the abolition of its 
sister Court at Ludlow, it had occupied an anomalous 
position. In 1780 Biurke projected a comprehensive 
plan of economical reform. One of the five Bills in 
which his plan was incorporated was one " for the more 
perfectly uniting to the Crown the Principality of Wales 
and the County Palatine of Chester, and for the more 
commodious administration of justice within the same." 
His original plan was not to abolish but to reform 
the Welsh jurisdiction, and to reduce the number of 
judges from eight to three. He modified his plan 
later on. But his campaign was more one of economy 
than of legal reform. In 1798 a Select Committee of 
the House of Commons on the finance of Courts of 
Justice recommended the " gradual consoUdation of the 
four judicatures of Wales into one Circuit ... so as to 
have an additional number of English Judges." Ten 
years later an additional £3200 a year was granted 
in salaries to the Welsh Judges. In 1817 the Com- 
mittee was " persuaded that the present establishment 
of the Welsh Judicature, notwithstanding some imper- 
fections, has much to recommend it, from the cheapness 
and expedition with which it administers justice to 
the inhabitants of the Principality." But the point 


of view was changed by 1821, when it reported : " How- 
ever well adapted these Courts may have been in their 
origin to the circumstances of a country newly subdued, 
in which the English language was at that time almost 
unknown, having Uttle or no means of communication 
with the seats of justice in England, and liable to all 
the jealousies inspired by recent enmity, that the lapse 
of years, and the great changes that have taken place 
in the condition of Wales, have removed most of, if 
not all, the reasons on account of which the institution 
of local jurisdictions were resorted to." 

They repeat some of the points made in the previous 
Report, and they add others. The main defects of the 
Courts have already been dealt with. The Act of 1824 
removed some of the most serious of them. But Lord 
Cawdor returned to the charge in 1828. The three 
remaining defects which he emphasised were : 

(i) The Welsh Judges had too much to do at some 
Sessions and too Uttle in others. 

It is worthy of note that a similar allegation is made 
to-day against the Circuit system. 

(ii) The Welsh Judges were too highly paid for their 

But their salaries had been more than doubled in the 
course of the previous fifty-five years, and if the salaries 
were too high, the remedy was obvious. 

(iii) The cost of the processes in the Welsh Courts 
was very much in excess of the cost of similar pro- 
ceedings at Westminster. 

The evidence given before the Committee did not 
support this allegation. The one exception to the rule 
that Welsh processes were cheaper than English was 
the cost of levying fines and suffering recoveries, but 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 187 

that had been put right by the Act of 1824. It should 
also be noted that Lord Cawdor did not pretend to 
speak from personal experience of the Courts. He had 
only the evidence given before the Select Committee 
to go upon, and that evidence does not bear out his 

Lord Chancellor Lyndhurst, who had himself served 
as Chief Justice of Chester, appointed a Commission * to 
inquire and report upon the judicial system. It was ap- 
pointed as the result of a six hours' speech by Brougham 
on the abuses and defects of the Courts on February 7, 
1828. The first Report of the Commissioners dealt 
chiefly with the Welsh Judicature. It had examined 
no witnesses, but founded its recommendations on the 
Reports and evidence of the Select Committee 1817-1821. 
It recommended the extension of the jurisdiction of 

' E.g. Benyon, Attorney-General for Chester, stated that the 
equitable jurisdiction was " rather expeditious than otherwise, 
particularly when I contrast it with what happens in London. 
The expense of a suit in a Welsh equitable Court was considerably 
less." Heywood said of the equitable jurisdiction that it was 
" a cheaper, more convenient, and more satisfactory mode of 
obtaining the object on account of its being nearer home than 
the equity Courts in this country." Temple said that the 
" equitable jurisdiction of the Court is infinitely less expensive 
than it is in England ; its quickness as well as its cheapness are 
its great recommendations ; in some cases the party is able 
to obtain a decree in one Session, or at all events he is sure of it 
in the next Session." Freshfield, of Kaye, Freshfield and Kaye, 
Solicitors to the Bank of England, stated : " I should prefer 
lending on Welsh security ... on account of the greater facility of 
foreclosure. In Wales we get it in the first Session ; in England in 
five or six years." It was universally admitted that for cheapness 
and expedition it was impossible to surpass the action ot concessit 
solvere. The Select Committee reported in 1817 that the Welsh 
process was cheaper than the English, and the subsequent evidence 
onlv served to support that conclusion. 

' The Commissioners were Sergeants Bosanquet and H. J. 
Stephen, E. Hall Alderson, James Parke, and John Patteson. 


the superior courts of England to Chester and Wales, 
the appointment of three additional judges, and the 
abolition of the Court of Great Sessions.^ 

The Government adopted the principal recommenda- 
tions of the Commissioners. On March 9th, 1830, the 
Attorney-General, Sir J. Scarlett, moved for leave to 
bring in " a Bill for the more effectual administration 
of Justice in England and Wales " embodying the main 
features of the Commissioners' plan. On the same 
night the Hon. Rice Trevor, M.P. for Carmarthenshire, 
presented a petition from the freeholders of the county.^ 
The petition stated that the " Welsh law . . . was in 
fact the old EngHsh law differently, and in some respects 
better, administered." Sir John Owen, M.P. for 
Pembrokeshire, presented a petition from between 
1800 and 1900 freeholders of the County of Pembroke, 
and John Jones, M.P. for the Carmarthen Boroughs, 
a petition from the Sheriff, Magistrates, and Burgesses 
of Carmarthen and Kidwelly, protesting against the 
proposal to aboUsh the Courts of Great Sessions. The 
Member for Carmarthen made the first of a series of 
speeches against the BUI. He trusted that no attempt 

1 Some of the proposals made by the Commissioners would 
never have been made if they had examined witnesses. They 
overrode all national and local divisions. Wales as a legal 
entity was to be eliminated. Part of Montgomery was to be 
attached to the Shrewsbury Court, Denbigh and Flint to Chester, 
Radnor to Hereford, the Glamorgan Assizes were to be taken 
from Cardiff and held at Neath, and South Wales was to be 
added to the Oxford Circuit. Fortunately the Government 
refused to accept these suggestions. 

i'Very interesting reports of meetings held in Carmarthen 
and Pembroke in 1820 are given in the first volume of the Cambto- 
Briton (pp. 396 and 439), which show that while Welshmen were 
fully alive to the defects of the Courts of Great Sessions, they 
desired and demanded their reform and not their abolition. 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 189 

would be made, as had been threatened, to hurry the 
Bill through the House before Easter. He looked 
upon the proposed plan as an untried experiment, of 
which the good was doubtful, and before it was carried 
into execution, he wished that the Bill should be printed 
and circulated in. Wales for at least a twelvemonth. 
The Welsh had not complained of the present system. 
It had been said that whether the Welsh liked the 
measure or not they would have to swallow it. He 
complained that the nature of the Bill had been kept 
as secret from those it was to affect as if it were a State 
mystery. Col. Powell, M.P., presented another similar 
petition from Cardiganshire. 

The motion of the Attorney-General to bring in the 
Bill was opposed by O'Connell as the Bill would be 
useless to the public, and by Sir J. Owen, M.P. for 
Pembrokeshire. John Jones made another strong 
speech against the measure. "It is hard," he said, 
" that the interests of Wales should be made the ladder 
by which ambitious barristers are to climb to such 
preferment as three additional seats on the Bench. It 
is admitted on all hands that the Welsh are attached to 
their present institutions. ... All the petitions except 
one are against the measure." After a brief and per- 
functory debate, the motion was agreed to without a 
division, and the Bill was read a first time." ^ 

The second reading was taken on April 27th. Frank- 
land Lewis, M.P. for Radnorshire, and Col. Wood, 
M.P. for Breconshire, criticised the Bill. The Member 
for Carmarthen made another outspoken attack. He 
accused the Commissioners of being completely ignorant 
of Wales and its inhabitants ; he complained of the 
1 Hansard (2nd series) Par. Deb. vol. xxiii. col. 54. 


unfair treatment of him and other Welshmen who 
had assisted them ; two of the Commissioners were 
Sergeants-at-Law, and were therefore prejudiced ; * last 
year £13,000 had been recovered in the Carmarthen Great 
Sessions at a cost of £5, and he again insisted that there 
was no demand for the Bill in Wales. C. W. Wynn, 
M.P. for Montgomery, was the only Welsh Member 
who spoke for the BiU. The Hon. Rice Trevor urged 
that the Bill would entail great additional expense on 
Welsh suitors. After a short reply from the Attorney- 
General, the Bill was read a second time without a 

The BiU passed speedily through Committee, but was 
recommitted on June i8th. On the same date J. Jones 
presented a petition against the abolition of the Welsh 
Courts, from Welshmen residing in and near London. 
He pointed out that in England it was not worth while 
to sue for less than £50 ; in Wales there was seldom a 
claim over that amount, while the costs were only £1. 
Again, sham pleas were unknown in Wales, because all 
the pleadings were regulated by the Justices, and every 
plea had to be verified on oath. Harvey, M.P., seconded. 
On July 2nd, the Bill went through Committee, and 
on July 17th it was read a third time. It passed through 
the House of Lords in spite of the objection of Lord 
Eldon, and in due course it became law. The preamble 
of I Will. IV., c. 70, does not disguise the object of the 
enactment : 

" Whereas the appointment of an additional Judge 
to each of His Majesty's Courts of Common Law would 

' Because the Sergeants had no monopoly of promotion to the 
judicial bench in Wales as they had in England. It is curious 
that four out of the five Commissioners were subsequently pro- 
moted to the Bench. 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 191 

cause much greater facility and despatch of business 
therein : and whereas it is . expedient to put an end 
to the separate jurisdiction for the County Palatine 
of Chester and the PrincipaHty of Wales." 

The Welsh Judicature fell a victim, not to its own 
defects, which were being gradually remedied, but to 
the desire of EngUsh lawyers to have three additional 
judges on the High Court Bench. Can anyone read 
Brougham's famous speech and contemplate without 
apprehension the substitution of the system which he 
so unsparingly condemned for the Welsh system with 
all its drawbacks ? Additional judges were no doubt 
necessary for England, and fewer judges could do the 
work satisfactorily in Wales with a better arrangement 
of terms. Brougham asked for two additional judges, 
for he said that " the Judges of the Court of Exchequer 
do not sit for more than half an hour some mornings 
and there are hardly ever on the paper more than 6 or 
7 causes for trial after term. A dozen would be con- 
sidered a large entry." But the English Bar demanded 
an additional judge for each of the Westminster Courts, 
and they got them at the expense of the Welsh Judica- 
ture. OldnaU Russell had repHed to the demand in 

"It is said that a benefit would be derived to the 
public from the services of the two or three English 
judges, whom it would be necessary to appoint. . . . 
But it may be doubted whether considerations of this 
kind can properly be brought to bear upon the question. 
... It does not seem too much to assume that the 
present inquiry should be made principally, if not 
entirely, with a reference to benefits and advantages 
to be derived to the people of Wales, to whose suit 


English laws and the Courts of Great Sessions were 
conceded, and amongst whose rights and privileges the 
jurisdiction of these courts, according to their present 
establishment, must be enumerated." ^ 

The Courts of Great Sessions were, however, abolished 
in 1830, and the EngUsh Circuit system took its place. 
Wales and Cheshire were formed into two Circuits, the 
North Wales and Chester Circuit, and the South Wales 
and Chester Circuit. The change was opposed by all 
the Welsh Members of Parliament, with one exception. 
It was protested against by the vast majority of judges, 
counsel, attorneys, and suitors who were called upon 
to give evidence ; with one exception every petition 
presented to Parliament was adverse to the proposed 
aboUtion of the Courts. During the last eighty years 
Wales, from bteing a poor and sparsely populated country, 
has become rich and populous. The introduction of 
County Courts in 1846, the various Summary Juris- 
diction Acts, and the Judicature Act of 1873 have 
effected great and vital reforms in our system of ad- 
ministering justice. It is therefore true to say to-day 
that Wales does not suffer more than other parts of 
the country from the defects of the English judicial 
system. But the economic, industrial and juridical 
revolution which has taken place during the last two 
generations should not blind us to the real nature of 
the danger so recklessly incurred in 1830. They have 
been admirably summed up by a modem historian who 
is also a lawyer.^ 

" For some years the Act inflicted considerable 

^ Russell's Practice, Intro, p. xxxvi. 

' Sir D. Brynmor-Jones, K.C., in Rhys and Jones's The Welsh 
People, at pp. 391-2. 

COURT OF GREAT SESSIONS : 1542-1830 193 

hardship on Welsh suitors. There being no County 
Courts on the modem basis till the Act of 1846 had 
passed, and the local courts having only jurisdiction 
up to 40S.,^ it was necessary to bring an action in London 
even to recover trivial debts, and as the local equitable 
jurisdiction had been determined, the administration 
of the smallest estate had to be effected through the 
medium of the Court of Chancery. The proceedings, 
too, in an action commenced in a Superior Court and 
tried at a Welsh Assize, were much more dilatory 
and expensive than those in a suit of the same kind in 
the Great Sessions. Again, though the Welsh Justices 
were not the equals of the EngUsh Justices in status 
at the Bar, or, as a rule, in legal attainments, they 
came in a little time after their appointments into 
close touch with the people and generally secured their 
confidence. For many years the want of sympathy 
of the English Judges going the Welsh Circuits, their 
ill-concealed assumption that Welshmen were beings 
inferior to Englishmen, their apparent total inability 
to understand that a man who could speak a few words 
of a foreign language in a market place or society might 
decline to give evidence in it in a Court of Justice and 
yet be an honest man, produced very often great popular 
(though in those days not overt) indignation, and 
sometimes grave miscarriage of justice. The establish- 
ment of the modem County Courts, and the gentler and 
more tactful treatment of Welsh witnesses by the Judges 
of the High Court during recent years, have done much 
to remove any grievances special to the people of Wales 
in regard to the administration of justice." 

' But see 12 George I., c. 29, and 19 George III., c. 70, and 
51 George III., s. 124. 

W.M.W. N 


It might be added that in 1830 the practice of the 
EngHsh Courts was unreformed. The terrors of "mesne 
process " so vividly described by Brougham were stUl 
present ; arrest and outlawry still threatened the 
defendant ; all manner of stupid legal fictions pre- 
vailed ; the system of pleading and procedure was 
overrun with technicalities. When the old system of 
the Welsh Courts, so cheap and expeditious, is remem- 
bered, it may be doubted if Wales would not have fared 
better if her historical Judicature had been reformed 
of its defects, instead of being abohshed in order that 
a more cumbrous, costly and technical system might 
take its place. The simpUfication of pleading and 
procedure during the last forty-two years has been a 
notable feature of legal reform, but the attempt made 
in 1873 to amalgamate law and equity has largely 
failed, and even the procedure in our commercial courts, 
direct and non-technical as it is, falls short of the sweet 
simplicity of the old Concessit Solvere. 



It is a commonplace of history that the Reformation 
was not welcomed in Wales. Thomas Cromwell, it is 
true, found ready agents among Welsh lawyers and 
clergy to do his iconoclastic work, but the people looked 
on in sullen anger while the image of Dervel Gadam 
was sacrilegiously torn from its shrine,^ and the altar 
of Dewi Sant was stripped for the benefit of a renegade 
bishop.^ Chapuys, the Imperial Ambassador at the 
Court of Henry VIII., constantly refers to the Princi- 
pality as being passionately loyal to the old faith, ^ and 
CathoUc plotters for two generations invariably took 
into account, in estimating their chances of success, 

1 State Papers, Henry VIII. (1538), vol. xiji. pt. i. Nos. 649, 
863-4 : Ellis's Orig. Letters, ist series, ii. 82 ; 3rd series, iii. 194 ; 
Arch. Camb. 4tli series, v. 152. 

2 Ibid. vol. xiii. pt. i. No. 634 ; Wright's Siippression of the 
Monasteries (Camd. Society), igo, 77, 183, 186, 206, and 187 ; and 
also Edward Owen's Catalogue of Welsh MSS. in British Museum, 
105a and b ; 140, and 167 (a.d. 1611). 

3 " As to the indisposition of the people of Wales, of which 
mention is made ... I understand they are very angry at the 
ill-treatment of the Queen (Catherine) and Princess (Mary) and 
also at what is done against the faith, for they have always been 
good Christians " (State Papers, Henry VIII., Nov. 3rd, 1533, 
vol. vii. No. 1368). 



the unswerving devotion of Welshmen to the See of 

Relics of ancient Catholic practices and beUefs have 
survived to our own days. Mari Lwyd still cheers the 
winter nights of rural Wales, though few know that it 
represents the mystery play of " Holy Mary." Children, 
the truest conservatives, even yet make the sign of the 
cross when seeking to avert an evil omen or taking upon 
themselves a binding oath. The " gwylnos " survives, 
in Puritan setting, to mark the permanence in the human 
heart of that pathetic care for the departed which gave 
rise in ancient times to the practice of saying masses for 
the dead. The beautiful custom of strewing flowers on 
the graves of friends and relatives on " Sul y Blodau " 
testifies to the abiding, if unconscious, influence of 
Catholicism on the faith and practices of Welshmen. 
These are small matters, it may be, but that they have 
survived at all, after two centuries and more of the 
sternest and straitest Puritan discipline, is surely sig- 
nificant of the strong hold which the old faith had taken 
on the Welsh people.^ 

Extreme Protestants as Welshmen have now become, 
it is beyond question that, up to the great Rebellion, 

' Vide, for example. Parsons' letter to the Cardinal of Como in 
1581, where he suggests that Dr. Owen Lewis should be sent 
to raise Wales, because of his influence " with his countrymen 
the Welsh, who can be of much service in this affair, and will 
desire to help from the great afifection which they bear to the 
Catholic faith ; and when the army has reached England, then 
Dr. Owen might be sent to Wales with the great lords of that 
country, who already favour us, to help in raising the people 
of those parts " {S.P.O., " Roman Transcripts, " vol. xv. No. 477). 
Cf. also Acts of the Privy Council, vol. xiii. p. 428. 

" Cf . Life and Letters of Laud ; Erasmus Saunders, View of the 
State of Religion in St. David's (1721) ; Strype's Eccles. Memorials. 
ii- 357 ; J- Lewis (Glasgrug), Contemplation of these Times. 


Wales was the most Catholic portion of Great Britain. 
The whole of Wales only produced three Protestant 
martyrs in the reign of Mary.^ The mass of the people 
were indisposed to accept the new-fangled doctrines 
either of Wittenberg or of Geneva. " The Welsh coun- 
ties tell (the Earl of) Pembroke," wrote the Duke de 
Feria to his master, Philip of Spain, in the first year of 
Elizabeth, " to send no preachers across the marches, 
or they wiU not return alive." ^ John Penry, the pro- 
totype of the strenuous Welsh Nonconformist, was 
brought up on the hillsides of Eppynt in the CathoUc 
religion, and it was only after he had gone to Cambridge 
that he came under the influence of Protestantism.^ 

Catholicism stood for more than the old religion ; it 
stood also for Welsh nationality. Protestantism was an 
alien plant, fostered by English or AngUcised of&cials. 
Men looked back to pre-Reformation days as a time 
when Wales was not a mere part of England, when the 
Welsh language was not tabooed in the courts, and when 
Welsh laws and customs were still observed.* All that 

' Rees's History of Protestant Nonconformity in Wales, p. 3. 
Only one, however. Bishop Ferrar, seems to have been of Welsh 

' Simancas'MSS., quoted by Froude, Hist, of England, vohvi. 190. 

' Born 1559. Vide Rees's History of Protestant Nonconformity in 
Wales, p. 20. In 1569 the Spanish Ambassador said that Wales 
was " for the most part mainly CathoUc " (S.P., Spanish, ii. 147). 
See also Owen's Welsh MSS. in the Brit, Mus. i. 72. 

' " The distress of the people is incredible, and the anxiety 
they have to declare themselves, especially the Welsh, from whom 
by Act of Parliament the King has just taken away their native 
laws, customs, and privileges, which is the very thing they can 
endure least patiently " (Chapuys, Dec. 19th, 1534 ; State Papers, 
Henry VIII., vol. vii. 1534). Cf. the petition sent to the Privy 
Council in 1558 " on the behalf of the inhabitants of Wales and 
the County Pellentyne of Chester for their auntient Ubertyes and 
customes to be allowed," in Acts of the Privy Council, vii. 64-5. 


was best and noblest in Welsh story was intertwined 
with the history of the roofless abbeys, which remain to 
this day monuments of Welsh piety and art. Strata 
Florida and Aberconway, in their ruins, still testified to 
the dream of Welsh independence which had inspired 
the waking thoughts, and directed the policy, of the 
princes who sleep in peace in their solitude ; Valle 
Crucis and Tintem embodied in their deathless beauty 
the finest and most spiritual aspirations of the Cymry ; 
Carmarthen and Talley had given refuge and solace to 
the greatest Welsh bards, when stricken with age and 
poverty ; Margam and Neath, Basingwerk, Cymmer, 
and Strata Marcella — every monastery was a museum 
stored with priceless treasures of Welsh poetry and 
romance.^ Each parish church, called after a native 
saint who had no place or meaning in the Protestant 
economy, led the Welsh mind, with its insistence on the 
living influence of the past, back to the earUest dawn of 
Christian civilisation in the land.^ Everjnvhere within 

^ See e.g. Hen Gwndidau, by Hopcyn and Cadrawd, which 
teems with allusions to the loss sustained by the bards through 
the destruction of the monasteries. Lleision Cradoc bewails the 
destruction of Margam Abbey in the following striking stanzas 
(pp. XX. xxi.): 

Margam, gwae in am ergyd -a gavas 

Mae gofal yn aethlyd, 

Doe bu myned a'i bywyd. 

— Diffodd gardd y ffydd i gyd. 

I'ble 'dda Bardd hardd ei hirddysg -bellach 
E ballawdd nawdd i'n mysg. 
Trwm ar ein iaith ywr trymysg, 
Trais rhyfedd a diwedd dysg ! 

^ Cf. Griffith Roberts's preface toy Drych CrisHonogawl (1585) : 
'■ Mae'n rhaid ir gwledydd eraill enwi y rhann fwayaf oe Heglwysi 
ar henw un or Postolion neu Saint ereill, ny bythont yn perthyn 
idd eu gwlad nhyw ; ond drwy hoU Gymry ni cheir nemor o 
eglwys ond ar enw saint y wlad." 


sound of the monastic bell there had reigned peace and 
contentment.^ The Church had given free education 
to the brightest sons of the poor, it had dispensed its 
kindly charity in the homes of the aged. There was no 
need for free schools, or for the workhouse — that hideous 
creation of Protestant charity. The abbey and glebe 
lands were well tilled by tenants who held on easy terms. 
Divided though Welshmen were, and fierce as had been 
their provincial jealousies, they had all united in one 
common worship, and Dewi Sant was in very truth the 
Patron of Wales, the one common pride and common 
heritage of the whole race. 

Yn. Nyffryn Clwyd nid oes 
Dim ond dam bach o'r groes 
Oedd gynt yn golofn ar las fedd ; 

but that fragment of the cross served to remind genera- 
tions of Welshmen of the link which bound them to 
their historic past. 

With the Reformation came strange doctrines and 
strange laws. Gone were the kindly landlords of the 
monastery, and in their place stood needy adventurers, 
unmindful of the past and uncertain of the future, only 

^ How far this aspect of Catholicism appealed — and still 
appeals — ^to the Welsh mind, finds a curious illustration in the 
lines which Glasynys, one of the most typical Cymric poets of 
the last century, wrote in his beautiful Llyn y Morwynion : 

Mynachlog neu ysbytty, mor swynol swn dy gloch ! 

Mae'n seinio dros y cymoedd 'yn iach, yn iach y boch' 

Mor hyfryd i'r pererin ar ol ei ludded maith 

Fydd clywed clir wahoddiad hon i orffwys ar ei daith ; 

Ceiff yma gartref tawel ; a phawb fydd yma'n frawd 

Yn ceisio dysgu'r naill y Uall i wrthladd byd a'r cnawd, 

Yr oriau gedwir yma i ymbil am y rhad, 

A gluda'r egwan, or mor llesg, i dawel dy ei Dad. 

Ty gweddi, — ^ty elusen — ty cariad, — cennad lor — 

Na foed i'r aberth bythol mwy gael gwawd o fewn dy gor ! 


anxious to make the most of the present. Gone was 
the free education given by the religious houses, and 
it was only inadequately replaced by that of new 
and meagrely endowed grammar schools, called after 
Edward VI. and Elizabeth. Gone, too, was that perfect 
organisation which gave a priest to every parish ; for 
generations, and even centuries, clerical pluraUsts 
devoured the substance of the Church, while " the 
hungry sheep looked up, and were not fed." ^ Nor 
could the married clergy, with heavy domestic claims 
on attenuated incomes, afford to distribute alms with 
the bounteous generosity of the old priests. Church- 
wardens came to be elected to look after the poor ; and 
when compulsory almsgiving in church had failed of its 
purpose, the Parliament of Elizabeth added the Poor- 
Rate and the Poorhouse to our national institutions. 
With the political change which turned the old Welsh 
chiefs into modem English landlords, and drove the 
ancient tongue of Wales out of court and hall, came 
the religious change which transformed Dervel Gadarn 
into a PhiUstine Dagon, and Dewi Sant into a fable of 
the priests or an object of idolatrous worship. 

No one who knows Wales and Welshmen will be 
surprised that such a violent revolution was strongly, 
if tacitly, resented. The Anglicised gentry and inter- 

* Rees's Protest. Nonconformity in Wales, p. 5 ; John Penry's 
Exhortation, p. 31 ; Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, pt. ii. 
Cf . Erasmus Saunders (Dedication of Vieiv of the State of Religion 
in the Diocese of St. David's, p. 6) : " It will be a spectacle 
still more moving, to see as it were the whole frame of our religion 
sinking, to see many parishes without churches, many churches 
without pastors, and many pastors without a maintenance." 
Vide also ih. pp. 53 seq. Saunders, of course, refers to the state 
of the Established Church in the early years of the eighteenth 


ested officials might accede to, though even they did not 
welcome, the change ; but the people silently clung to 
the old faith, and although with each succeeding genera- 
tion their knowledge of Catholic doctrine and practice 
grew less,^ in heeirt and soul they remained, until the 
Puritan movement stirred the profoundest emotions of 
their nature, loyal to the ancient faith of their fore- 
fathers. It is strange that, while this fact is clearly 
recognised by historians, no attempt should have been 
made hitherto to trace the efforts of Welsh CathoUcs to 
keep alive the flame on the altar. The reason for this 
omission is, perhaps, not far to seek. Welshmen, under 
the influence of Protestantism, have been more con- 
cerned to discover the origin and to trace the develop- 
ment of Puritanism, than to ascertain the stages in the 
decay of CathoUcism in Wales. Catholic historians, on 
the other hand, have never, seemingly, been able to 
appreciate the fact that Wales is as distinct from Eng- 
land as Ireland or Scotland.^ The heroic labours of 

^ See, e.g., the description given by Griffith Roberts, in his 
Introduction to the Drych Cristionogawl (1585), of the state 
of ignorance of the younger geDeration : " Myfi a glowa fod 
ami leoedd yn ghymbry, ie, siroedd cyfan, heb un Cristion 
3mddynt, yn byw raai anifeilieid, y rhan fwyaf o honynt heb 
wybod dim oddiwrth ddaioni, ond ei bod yn unig yn dala henw 
Crist yn ei cof." Cf. Rhosier Smith's dedication of his Catechism 
(161 1). See also a curious account given in Baily's Apophthegms 
of the Marquis of Worcester of the life of an old CathoUc Welsh- 
woman, who was living near Strata Florida in 1642. 

* Though this difference is ignored by modern Catholic his- 
torians, it was ever present in the minds of CathoUcs in the six- 
teenth century. Cf. e.g.. Cardinal Sega's report in 1,596, as to the 
Roman dissensions, where he refers to Dr. Morris as a Welshman, 
■' the native of a country distinct from England, and differing 
from it in no slight degree as to manners, characteristics, and 
language " (Foley's Engl. Jesuits, vol. vi.). Cf. also "Causae quare 
scholares Angli tantum abhorrent a regimine D. Mauritii, et 
Archidiaconi Cameracensi, qui quaerunt eis dominari " (1578-9), 


Welsh priests in the mission field, the torture and 
mart5a-dom of some, the life-long exUe of others, have 
not been put down to the credit of Wales, but have 
been indiscriminately reckoned as part of the history 
of English Catholicism. I purpose, in this chapter, to 
make an attempt to trace for the first time the part 
which Welshmen played, and the influence they exerted, 
on what is called the Counter- Reformation. 

In the year 1568, ten years after the accession of 
Elizabeth, there dwelt in the university town of Douay, 
in Belgium, three old Oxford men, exiles for conscience' 
sake. Two of them were Welshmen, the third was an 
Englishman. The oldest of the three was Dr. Morgan 
PhiUips,^ a native of Monmouthshire, who had earned 
for himself the title of " Morgan the Sophister " in the 
halls of Oxford, and who had been Precentor of St. 
David's Cathedral.^ His countryman was Dr. Owen 

which is given in the Appendix to the second volume of Dodd's 
Church History, No. Ux. But if one wants to have an instance 
how the industrious learning of a historian can be used uncon- 
sciously to pervert the real facts (as to the consequences of racial 
antagonism of Welsh and English) I commend the reader to 
Arnold Oskar Meyer's England and the Catholic Church under 
Queen Elizabeth (tr. M'Kee, publ. Kegan Paul, 1916). 

1 Dr. Morgan Phillips matriculated at Oxford in 1533, in 1538 
he was elected Fellow of Oriel College, and in 1546 he became 
Principal of St. Mary's Hall, a post which he filled till 1550, 
when he resigned. He was, like most of the Welsh Cathohcs, a 
zealous supporter of Mary Stuart, and in 1571 wrote a Defence 
of the Honour of Mary, Queen of Scotland, which was published 
in Douay. For further particulars of his life, see Husenbeth's 
English Colleges on the Continent, Wood's Athanae Oxoniensis. 
and Williams's Eminent Welshmen. 

^ Previous to 1840 the Precentor was head of the Chapter of 
St. David's. In that year, a Dean was first appointed. (Vide 
Mr. Arthur Price's article on " Wales," in the Encyclopaedia 
0) the Laws of England.) Phillips was made Precentor in 1553, 
but left for Douay on the accession of Elizabeth. 


Lewis, the son of an Anglesea squire, who had been 
educated at Winchester and New College, Oxford.^ He 
had resigned his Fellowship soon after the accession of 
Elizabeth, and in 1561, being then in the twenty-eighth 
year of his age, he had been appointed Regius Professor 
of Civil Law at the University of Douay. His learning 
and scholarship, his conciliatory temper and sane judg- 
ment, obtained for him speedy promotion, and in a 
short time he became Canon of Cambray and Archdeacon 
of Hainault. The third, whose fame has obscured the 
achievements of his friends, was Dr. William Allen, the 
scion of a good Lancashire family, the pupil of " Morgan 
the Sophister " at Oriel, and sometime Principal of St. 
Mary's HaU, Oxford.^ 

The three were fast friends, and we may be certain 
that they often and anxiously discussed the religious 
condition of England. By 1568 all hope of the conver- 
sion of Elizabeth to CathoUcism had been abandoned. 
Mary, Queen of Scots, the Catholic claimant to the suc- 
cession to the EngUsh throne, had taken refuge from her 
rebellious subjects in England. Nor was the prospect in 
other directions less gloomy. " Never," says a recent 
writer, in reference to the first years of Elizabeth, " had 

' Dr. Owen Lewis weis born in Bodeon, Llangadwaladr (or 
Llanveirian), in Anglesea, on December 28th, 1533. He became 
Fellow of New College in 1553, and graduated B.C.L. in 1558. 
See article, sub tit. (which is incorrect, however, in many par- 
ticulars), in the Dictionary of National Biography ; Williams's 
Eminent Welshmen ; Dodd's Church History, vol. ii. ; Kirby's 
Winchester Scholars, p. 127 ; Boase's Oxford University Register, 
i. 239. 

2 In a letter which Parsons wrote from Rome to Dr. Allen 
at Rheims in 1579, he calls Lewis " the great friend " of Allen 
(Knox, Letters of Cardinal Allen, ii. 74). See also Dr. Allen's 
letter to Dr. O. Lewis, May 12th, 1579. Allen did not finally 
leave England till 1565. 


a church so completely gone down before the first blow 
of opposition. Some 9000 parish priests were content, 
with good or bad consciences, to read the Book of 
Common Prayer, and to preserve their livings. Several 
of their former Bishops were dead, others were in prison 
or on parole or fugitives abroad. There was no attempt 
on the part of Rome to fill up vacant sees or to provide' 
ecclesiastical organisation or government. . . The laity at 
home were left without pastors, guides, or instruction." ^ 
The three exiles at Douay determined to fill this want, 
and to supply the Catholic laity in England with " pas- 
tors, guides, and instruction." In 1568 Dr. William 
Allen founded the famous Seminary of Douay,* for the 
training of priests for the EngUsh Mission, with the 
pecuniary help of Morgan Phillips and the active encour- 
agement — perhaps with the material assistance — of Owen 
Lewis.* It was Phillips that purchased the house where 
the students first met,* and it was through his pos- 
thumous generosity- — he died in 1577, leaving all his 
possessions to the Seminary — that the College was able 

* Law's Conflicts of Jesuits and Seculars, p. 7. 

' In 1578 it was transferred from Douay to Rheims, where it 
remained till 1593. In that year it returned to Douay, and 
remained there till the end of the eighteenth century. 

' Owen Lewis did undoubtedly help the English College at 
Rome in later years. A suggestion is made in a letter written 
from Rome in 1579 to Dr. Allen, in Rheims, by Haddock, one of 
the EngUsh students, which seems to show that Dr. Lewis helped 
the Douay College also with his purse. " When it was said that 
he {i.e. Owen Lewis) would get no Englishmen (to the Roman 
College), he said that you (Dr. Allen) should either send him 
some, or he would send j'ou no money " (Dodd, vol. ii. p. cccl. seq.) 
Cf. his epitaph (Knox, Records, ii. 448) : Ejus in primis oper 
hujus coUegii Duacensis et Rhemensis fundamenta facta sunt. 

^ Dodd, Church History, ii. 100. 


to extend its activity .^ The object of the founders was 
religious and not political. They trained men to save 
souls, not to overturn thrones and dynasties. In the 
first ten years of the Seminary's existence. Dr. Allen 
sent over as many as a hundred priests to England. 
They were quiet, earnest and devoted men, not given 
to blowing of trumpets or to boasting of their good 
work. Some of them, like John Bennett, of Flint,* and 
Robert Gwinn,* went back to labour in Wales. The 
Government did not, except in times of political excite- 
ment, interfere with them, and the early Seminarists were 
free from political taint or suspicion of active disloyalty, 
because the founders of the College of Douay for many 
years kept themselves clear of poUtical intrigues.* 

1 Knox, Records, i. 5, 10 c.d. In 1577 Gregory XIII. granted 
it an annual pension of 1200 gold scudi (Dodd-Tiemey, ii. App. 
No. lii.). 

* Father John Bennett, alias Price, alias Floyd, alias Baker, 
the son of Hugh John Bennett, of Brin Canellan, FUnt, was 
bom in 1548. He went to Rheims in Aug. 1577 (Knox, Records, 
vol. i. 128), and returned to Wales in 1580, " because there were 
few or none that rightly executed the functions of true priests 
in the country of Wales." He was apprehended in 1582, tortured, 
and sent to perpetual banishment in 1583. Two years later 
he went to Rheims, and at length " going from thence, he entered 
into the Society of Jesus " in 1586. He returned to his former 
mission in 1590, and died of the plague in London in 1625. 
This John Bennett should be distinguished from another of the 
same name, also a native of Flint, who was prominent in the 
Wisbeach stirs and Archpriest controversy. See Foley's Jesuits, 
vii. 50 ; Challoner's Missionary Priests, i. 416. 

^ Robert Gwinn (Oxf. 1568, Douay, 1571) is said not only to 
have laboured in Wales, but to have written several books in 
Welsh, and to have translated Parsons' Christian Directory or 
Llyfr y Resolution. Vide Williams's Eminent Welshmen and 
Wood's Athenae Oxoniensis. 

* From 1574 onwards great numbers of Seminarists went to 
England from Douay and the other colleges. That their minis- 
trations were in the main religious, and although sometimes 


The success of the Douay Seminary led to the estab- 
lishment ten years later, in 1578, of an EngUsh College 
at Rome. Some years before, Owen Lewis, now Arch- 
deacon of Hainault, had occasion to go to Rome in 
connection with a lawsuit in which the Chapter of 
Cambray were involved. He speedily gained the con- 
fidence of the Pope, Gregory XIII. Cardinal Carlo 
Borromeo, the saintly Archbishop of MUan, admitted 
him into his intimacy, and when the appointed time 
came for the saint to lay down the burden of his earthly 
Ufe, it was in the arms of the Welsh exile that he breathed 
his last.^ Dr. Lewis naturally became acquainted with 
the Cardinal's chaplain. Dr. Griffith Roberts,^ if indeed 
the two were not friends before, and as we find a Dr. 
Smith also frequently mentioned in connection with the 
two, it is no wUd conjecture to conclude that Rhosier 
Smith * was also numbered among the Archdeacon's 

ignorant and unwise, not political, is seen by the fact that up to 
1 58 1 only three persons lost their lives for Catholicism under 
Elizabeth ; although from 1570 onward all Cathohc propagan- 
dists and " obstinate " recusants were treated as disloyal subjects, 
and imprisoned when caught (Hume's Treason and Plot, p. 84). 
It was only in 1582, after Campion's death and Parsons' return 
from his English mission, that Allen began to concern himself 
with poUtics (Knox, Records, vol. ii. p. xxHi ; see Allen's An 
Apotogie, etc. . . . of the two EngUsh Colleges (Mounts in Henault, 
1581)). But see a letter of Sanders to Allen from Madrid in 1577 
(c. State Papers, Dom., Eliz., vol. cxviii.), which seems to show 
that even as early as that year, Allen was embroiled in political 

^ Knox, Records of English Catholics, vol. i. Intro, p. xxx. and 
p. 430 ; vol. ii. 469. St. Carlo Borromeo died in 1594. 

^ The author of a Welsh Grammar (Dosbarth Byr) published at 
Milan in 1567, and the Drych Cristionogawl (1585). 

' Published several Welsh books on the Continent. Died 1625. 
For an account of Smith, and a facsimile of a letter in Welsh 
written to him in 1596 by Griffith Roberts, see the present writer's 
article in the Transactions of the Cymmrodorion Society for 1902. 


Welsh friends and followers. Almost the first use to 
which Dr. Lewis put his influence in high places was to 
establish another EngHsh College in Rome, where the 
best students at Douay could come to finish their train- 
ing for the missionary field in the mother city of the 
CathoHc faith.i In 1575-6 Dr. Allen, the head of the 
prosperous College at Douay, was summoned to Rome 
to give the Pope the benefit of his advice and experience. 
The result was that the Pope decided to found an Enghsh 
CoUege at Rome. 

There had long existed an English hospital (of St. 
Thomas of Canterbury) for the entertainment of pilgrims 
in the Eternal City. What its origin really was it is, 
with our present information, impossible to say. Accord- 
ing to Enghsh authorities, it was founded in 727 by Ina ; 
it ceased to exist in 1204 ; and in 1362 it was revived 
by John Shepherd, a merchant of London.^ According 
to the Welsh version, it was originally founded by King 
Cadwallader, and the house itself, which, we are told, 
was " both large and faire, standing in the way to the 
Pope's PaUace, not far from the Castle of St. Angelo," ^ 
was once the Palace of the last King of united Wales.* 
Since the conquest of Wales in 1282 it had been thrown 

1 Taunton's Jesuits, p. 34 ; Ely's Brief Notes, p. 73. Meyer 
never even mentions Lewis, but ascribes all the credit for the 
English College to Allen. 

" Taunton's Jesuits, p. 34. 

' The English Romayne Life, imprinted at London by John 
Chorlwoode, Anno 1590, reprinted in Harl. Misc. vol. vii. p. 136. 
The author was A.M., the initials of Anthony Munday. 

* " The Welshmen pretended the first foundation of the College 
to have|bene by a British king, for the perpetuall behoof of his 
countrymen " (L. Lewkenor's Estate 0/ the '^English Fugitives 
in S/>ai«,|printed in London, 1595). "The English Hospital, 


open to the pilgrims of both nations, but its govern- 
ment, it was contended, should still lie in the hands of 
Welshmen. 1 However that may have been, in 1559 a 
Welshman, Sir Edward Came, Queen Mary's ambassador 
in Rome, was appointed Custos or Warden, and two years 
later Dr. GoldweU, the exiled Bishop of St. Asaph. In 
1567 the Bishop seems to have resigned,^ and Edward 
Taylor, Thomas Kerton, and Henry Matthews are men- 
tioned as his successors. In the same year Dr. Maurice 
Clenock — a thin disguise for Dr. Morris of Clynog, in 
Carnarvonshire — ^was appointed Camerarius, and ten 
years later Custos or Warden. 

Morris, who was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, 
where he graduated B.C.L. in 1548, was afterwards 
attached to the household of Cardinal Pole. In the 
Cardinal's will the name of Morris appears as one of the 
attesting witnesses.^ In 1553 he became Rector of 

yea, and this seminarie were in times past the Palace of Cad- 
wallader. Prince of Wales . . who by his last will . . . gave his 
House or Palace ... to bee an Hospital for Welsh pilgrims . . . 
and ordained that certaine priestes of his country should have 
the rule and government of this Hospital for ever," etc. (Lewis 
Owen's Running Register {1626), p. 17). 

' L. Owen's Running Register, p. 17-18. 

' It may have been owing to advanced age, but more probably 
to other activities. In 1580 Goldwell refused to accompany 
Parsons and Campion to England, owing to his age. He was 
then close upon eighty years old. Bishop Goldwell, if Dr. 
Morris's alleged account is genuine, was confined to his room 
at the Hospital in 1578-9 (Dodd's Church History, vol. ii. 171). 
He was born about 1500 (Knox, Life of Goldwell). 

' In Card. Pole's will, which was executed on Oct. 14th, 1558, 
the attesting clause runs : " Preseniibus venerabili fratre meo 
Thomea Episcopo Assavensi ac discretis viris Seth HoHando decano 
Wigorniensi, Mauricio Clenocke capellano et Johanne Francisco 
Stella auditore meis, testtbus ad haec per me specialiter vocatis 
et rogatis " (Wills from Doctors' Commons, Camden Society, 
V- 53)- 


Orpington, in Kent, and Dean of Shoreham and Croydon. 
Ill 1556 he was presented to the sinecure rectory of 
Corwen, and a little before Queen Mary's death he was 
nominated, but was never consecrated, Bishop of Bangor. 
On the accession of EHzabeth he accompanied his friend 
Bishop Goldwell to Rome.^ 

When the Pope determined, in 1578, to found an 
Enghsh College at Rome, it was only natural that he 
should utilise the Hospital which was already existing. 
The College was therefore joined to the Hospital, and 
the Warden of the Hospital became also the first Rector 
of the College. The instruction of the students was 
entrusted to three Fathers of the Society of Jesus, with 
Father Aggazzari at the head.* Immediately the 
College was opened twenty-six students were sent to it 
from Douay ; and in the following year, 1579, the 
Seminary consisted of forty-two students, the Rector, 
the Jesuit Fathers, and six servants.' 

The arrangement seems to have worked badly almost 
from the start. Dissensions broke out among the 

* Dodd, i. 513. He was at Louvain, however, in 1562. 

' " There is at Rome a colony sent from the Douay Seminary 
composed of 26 persons, nearly aU divinity students, some of 
whom Uve in the hospital with the brethren, but the greater part 
in a house immediately adjoining the hospital. . . . Three 
Fathers of your Society are there by command of the Pontiff, 
and at the request of Cardinal Morone, the Protector " (Letter of 
Gregory Martin to Campion in 1578). At first. Father John Paul 
was chief of the Jesuits, but he soon left to take up the rectorship 
of the Jesuits at Sienna, so that in 1579 there were only two 
Jesuit Fathers left in the College. (F. Haddock's letter ; Dodd, 
ii. App. hx.). 

' Gregory Martin to Campion in 1579. For an account of the 
curriculum see Meyer's England and the Catholic Church, p. loi 
seq., and for the statute dated June 12, 1579, ib. Appendix xvi. 
Gregory XIII. gave it 3600 gold scudi a year, and the Abbey of 
San Sabino, which brought in a yearly income of 3000 ducats, 
W.M.W- 9 


students, which culminated in open rebellion against 
the Rector. It may be admitted at once that the 
Rector himself was incompetent for the delicate and 
difficult task he had to perform.^ He was a kindly, 
well-meaning, garrulous old man ; fond of a tale and a 
glass of wine and " good cheer " generally .^ He had 
never had any previous experience of governing students,* 
and the thirty-three English students* resented the 

• Of Dr. Morris's capacity and character there are extant 
several contemporary estimates. In the Vatican papers he is 
described as " a good man, but is no preacher. He is worthy 
of the See of Bangor, to which he has been nominated " (Brady, 
Episcopal Succession, ii. 324). Dr. Allen, in writing to Dr. O. 
Lewis, admits that it was a mistake in the first instance to appoint 
Morris, " because Mr. Maurice, being otherwise a very honest 
and friendly man, and a great advancer of the students' and 
seminaries' cause, had admitted there, sent for, and called for 
two up to the Seminary, some of his own country folks and 
friends, for age, quality and instruction unfit for the study and 
the Seminary." " It was," he adds, " an escape and default " 
on O. Lewis's part, " because you did not dehort Mr. Maurice 
from taking unto him that charge in the beginning for which, 
indeed, no dishonour be it unto him, he was not sufficient " 
(Knox, Records, ii. 79, May 12, 1579). But it must be remembered 
that Allen was prejudiced by his kinsman Haddock and his 
inclinations to the Jesuits. 

2 Anthony Munday tells how he and his " fellow " sat up one 
night with Dr. Morris at the Hospital. " Maister Morris using 
us very courteously, passing away the supper-time with much 
variety of talke, amonge which maister doctor sayde his pleasure 
of divers persons in Englande : which for that it would rather 
checke modestie, then challenge any respect of honestie, I admitte 
it to silence ; the talke being so broade that it would stand as a 
blemish to my booke." 

* Fr. Parsons to Allen, from Rome, March 30th, 1579 : " Touch- 
ing Mr. Morice and his government, I think verily and do partly 
know also, that it was insufficient for such a multitude ; and how 
could it be otherwise, he being alone without help and never 
practised in such a manage before ? " (Knox, Records, ii. 74). 

■• " We (i.e. the English students) were thirty-three in com- 
pany " (Haddock's letter to Dr. Allen ; Dodd, ii. App. lix.). 


open preference which the old Welshman showed for 
the company of his nine compatriots in the College. 
The question of the origin of the College was invested 
with a new importance, and racial passions ran high. 
The petition which the English students drew up is 
evidence of the bitter hatred which had been engendered. 
They appealed to Cardinal Morone, the Protector of 
the College, and the speech of Sherwin,^ the spokesman 
of the Enghsh students, has been preserved by one who 
heard it deUvered. " When any Enghshman," said 
Sherwin, " cometh to the hospitall, if his learning be 
never so good, or his behaviour never so discreet, except 
he (the Warden) be pleased, he shall not be entertained : ^ 
but if a Welshman come, if he be never so vilde a runa- 
gate, never so lewde a person, he can not come so soone 
as he shall be welcome to him ; whether he have any 

' The " author-reporter " of the speech was Anthony Munday, 
who only published it in 1590, or eleven years after. He refers 
to Sherwin as one " whoe was executed with Campion (in 1581), 
being there esteemed a singular schoUer, bothe for his eloquence, 
as also his learning." Sherwin, though executed with Campion, 
was a Secular priest, and not a Jesuit. The report, which tallies 
with the written complaints of the English students, seems to be 
substantially accurate. 

" This hardly agrees with the account which Munday gives 
of the welcome which was extended to himself and his " fellow " 
at the Hospital, " allowing us the eight days entertainment in 
the hospital, which by the Pope was granted to such EngUshmen 
as came thither." Munday, however, says that the proximate 
cause of the students' outbreak was his own treatment at the 
Hospital. He admits that he outstayed his eight days, that 
he refused to become a student, that he had assumed the name 
of a well-known CathoUc family in order to deceive the English 
refugees, that he broke every rule and suffered every punishment 
at the College, and that when he found the English students in a 
rebellious mood because Dr. Morris wanted to eject him, " I 
behaved myselfe more forwardly to Dr. Morris than ever I did 
before : everythinge that I hearde of him I tolde unto the 
schollers, and tarried there, dinner and supper, in spight of his 


learning or no, it maketh no matter, he is a Welshman, 
and he must be permitted.^ Then which of us hath the 
best gowne, he must receive one that is all ragged and 
tome,^ and the new-come Welshman must have the 

nose." Finding it impossible to get rid of the impudent impostor, 
Dr. Morris complained to Cardinal Morone. This, according to 
Munday — whose story in other respects is confirmed by indepen- 
dent evidence — led to the first act of open rebellion on the part 
of the English students, who said " that if Dr. Morris woulde put 
everye Englishman he thought good on out, in short time the 
coUedge woulde be all Welshmen." 

^ Cf. the English students' memorial, " Causae quae scholares 
Angli," etc., cited in Dodd's Church Hist. vol. ii. No. lix. " Nam 
ut illi {i.e. Dr. Morris and Dr. Lewis) augere possent numerum 
Wallorum in seminario, convocavant alluc ex omni loco et ad- 
mittebant Wallos sine commendatione et examinatione, nam 
admiserunt fere senes et ineptos, nulla habita ratione aetatis, aut 
morum, aut literarum . . . qui contrarium spiritum nobis habent, 
et contrarium finem intentioni suae sanctitatis de sublevanda 
patria nostra. Ex contraria autem parte, Anglos nuUos admitte- 
bant, nisi theologos aut philosophos, et variis modis commendatos, 
et eos etiam difficulter." Cf. also Haddock's letter to Allen : 
" Of the Welshmen that we have here, our Fathers do say, and 
so they show themselves, that they be" ineptissimi pro seminario." 
Parsons boasted that the Enghsh students " are descended . . . 
frequently from noble families and wealthy parents . . . and . . . 
that in the three English seminaries of Rome, Rheims, and Valla- 
dolid there are more flowers of nobility than among all your 
clergy at home." (Philopater, par. 214). Probably this was 
not the case with the Welsh students. 

' Cf. Parsons to Allen, March 30th, 1579 (Knox, Records, ii. 
p. 74). " The schoUers also were very evil provided for neces- 
saries sometimes going all ragged and in worse case, some of 
them at least (and those of the principal) as I have seen with 
mine eyes. National partiahties also in distribution of things, 
I think, was not so carefully avoided as ought to have been." 
This is also mentioned in the EngUsh students' " causae," the 
first part of which has already been cited. " Post autem ad- 
missionem in seminarium, iniquissime distribuebant (omnia). 
Nam Wallis Integra cubicula, Anglis arctissima loca : WalUs 
vestem novum et dupKcem pro hieme, Anglis, iisque sacerdotibus 
et nobiUbus multis, nullum hiemis vestitum ; imo cogebant 


best, because he is the Custos' countryman ; and many 
nightes he must have the Welshman in his chamber, 
where they must be merry at their good cheer : wee 
glad to sit in our studies, and have an Ul supper, because 
M. doctor waisteth our commons upon his owne country- 
men : so that we must be content with a snatch and 
away. If there be one bede better than another, the 
Welshman must have it ; if there be any chamber 
more handsome than another, the Welshman must lodge 
there ; in breefe, the things of most account are the 
Welshman's at commande. This maketh many of 
us to wishe ourselves Welshmen, because we woulde 
gladly have so good a provision as they ; and being 
countrymen to our Custos, wee shoulde all be used 
alike : excepting maister doctor's nephew, Morganus 

eos secretiores vestes aestatis praeteritae ferre laceratas, et 
omnino vermibus infectas. Sic cum hospitale Anglorum, ab 
Anglis jam a multis saeculis fundatum, auctoritate suae sancti- 
tatis ad regimen illorum pervenisset, omnes Angli statim ejicie- 
bantur, Walli retinebantur qui ibi prius erant, et extemi etiam 
Walli convolabant statim, omues tanquam ad communem 
praedam, et coquind, ejusque ministris, aliisque omnibus com- 
moditatibus hospitalis sic fruebantur, ut suis propriis ; cum 
interim nullus et Anglis externis, et per civatatem habitantibus, 
similem humanitatem ab illis vel petere auderet vel sperare." 
It is interesting to find what object the English students thought 
Dr. Morris and his friend the Archdeacon were tr5ring to serve. 
" Hinc etiam apparet causa, quare archidiaconus tam vehementer 
laborat retinere D. Mauritium et seipsum in hoc regimine, ut 
quinquaginta tres Walh, qui domi Anglis serviunt, dominentur 
his Romae, et, si forte his temporibus (quod speramus) con- 
vertatur Anglia ad fidem cathoUcam, ipse, per favorem quem 
ambit summi pontificis, et illustrissimorum cardinalium, se 
suosque Wallos ad dignitates ecclesicisticas in AngUa promoveat, 
quod nunquam poterit fieri sine infinita perturbatione illius regni " 
etc. Meyer's criticism of Hume's {Treason and Plot) statement, 
and that it is absurd to attribute to the seminarist " golden 
dreams of mitres, titles, and commands," is, in view of this 
passage, a Uttle beside the mark (p. 353, n. 2). 


Clenokus,^ he must be in his silke, though all the rest 
goe in a sacke."^ 

A little tact and wisdom, opportunely applied, might 
have averted the worst effects of the conflict, but these 
were elements which seem to have been lacking on both 
sides. Dr. Morris was in constant communication, if 
not in daily contact, with Owen Lewis ; indeed, the 
government of the College seems at this time to have been 
largely in the hands of the Archdeacon. Early in 1579, 
a wandering Englishman, half spy, half adventurer, 
and wholly rascal, named Anthony Munday,^ visited 
the Hospital, and in a pamphlet which he published 
eleven years later he gives a very vivid and amusing 
account of the dissensions at the College. Almost 
immediately after his arrival, Dr. Morris took him to 

1 Morgan Clenock was entered as an alumnus at the Roman 
College in 1579, set. 19. He had, therefore, only just arrived 
from Wales. Morgan was sent to England as a missionary 
priest in 1582, and laboured in the missionary field in Carmar- 

- Munday's English Romayne Life, Harl. Misc. vii. 

' This amusing rogue says that it was " desire to see strange 
countries as also affection to learn the languages " persuaded him 
to travel abroad. He confesses that, while in Paris, he assumed 
d. false name, which served as a passport to English Catholic 
circles on the Continent. He was at first a stage-player, then a 
servant to the Earl of Oxford ; and ultimately a messenger of 
the Queen's bed-chamber. Soon after his Roman escapade the 
Jesuits found out that he was a spy, and in 1581 Parsons wrote 
violently against him in his True Reports of the Death and Martyr- 
dome of M. Campion. But this was after Munday had betrayed 
to the English Government the " treasonable practices " of 
Campion. In 1582 he published a book, A Discoverie, in which 
he repeated his charges against the Jesuits. His true character, 
or want of character, is abundantly shown in his own writings, 
but though he wrote with an occasional touch of malice, he 
seems on the whole to be a careful observer and a truthful 


" Doctor Lewes, Archdeacon of Cambra, to whom wee 
delivered his letter likewise, and with him wee staled 
dinner : ignorant whether he were an Englishman or no, 
for that he gave our entertainment in Latin, demanded 
a number of questions of us in Latin, and beside dined 
with us in Latin : whereat we mervayled, tyll, after 
dinner, he bade us walke againe to the coUedge, with 
Doctor Morris, in EngUsh." 

But Owen Lewis seems to have been incensed at the 
time against the English in general,^ and the Jesuits 
in particular. He suspected — and it is impossible to 
deny that there was some foundation for the suspicion 
— that the three Jesuit instructors were fanning the 
flames of strife.^ One of the EngUsh students, named 
Richard Haddock,^ wrote to his relative. Dr. Allen, at 

^ Dr. Allen was told at Paris that Dr. Lewis once said to Leslie, 
the famous Bishop of Ross, " My Lord, let us stick together, for 
we are the old and true inhabiters and owners of the isle of 
Brittany. These others be but usurpers and mere possessors " 
(Knox, Records, ii. p. 82). There is no doubt that he was at 
this time friendly with LesUe (vide Dr. Plowden's Remarks, p. 103), 
who in the later years of his life was Lewis's pensioner (State 
Papers, Dom., Eliz., vol. cclii. 10). 

* In his letter to Dr. AUen, dated Rome, March 10, 1579, Dr. 
Owen Lewis gives expression to his suspicions about the Jesuits. 
The students' " suppUcation was penned better than many of 
them can pen." Dr. Lewis states that he told the Pope " multos 
esse, juvenes et deceptos, qui putabant se vivere in statu peccati, 
si aliis parerent quam Jesuitis," and that, though the students 
nominated Morton and Bavand as their Rector, or else the 
Jesuits, he had recommended Dr. Bristowe (of Rheims) to the 
Pope, and to the Cardinals Morone and Como. 

' Haddock, who was a relative of Dr. AUen (vide Taunton's 
Jesuits, p. 191), was at this time and all through his Hfe a zealous 
adherent of the Jesuits, and a supporter of the " Spanish faction." 
He and Array, one of the other English malcontents, afterwards 
acted as proctors for the Archpriest Blackwell at Rome during 
the " Appellant " controversy, twenty years later (ibid. 251), 
and Mush mentions Haddock as one of Parsons' mercenaru in 


Rheims, giving an account of the disturbances at the 
Roman College. After describing how four of the 
English students had gone to Civita Vecchia to speak to 
the Pope, who told them that non erat tempus nunc, he 
went on to say, " These things being thus, beginneth 
good Mr. Archdeacon to play his part, of whom, by the 
way, you shall understand how (for all his fair words and 
promises) he is affected towards us and our cause. For 
at our being away from home he uttered these words, 
which be all over the town, to his great shame, if he had 
any, to wit, that he had three sorts of enemies, amongst 
whom the first were boys . . . The second are the 
Jesuits, whereas I wonder he is not utterly ashamed, 
and by the which I trust, you will more easily under- 
stand his doings, and orderly and honest proceedings 
against your poor company and scholars ; and for my 
part, I do promise him very hardly the friendship of 
any Catholic Englishman that proclaimeth himself 
enemy unto the Jesuits. But as he useth in all things 
else, he will per ad venture deny that again. The third 
was, as he termed them, charlotorii, that is, tattlers, 
wherein he comprehended all our countrymen in the 
town." 1 

Rome, 1602 (ibid. 262). Mush, who was one of the most pro- 
minent of the malcontents, afterwards became an opponent of 
Parsons and the Jesuits. Parsons described him as one who 
had been rejected by the Society of Jesus on account of his 
impracticable temper, and of an impetuous and resentful dis- 
position. He was " a poor rude serving man " who had been 
received and educated by the Jesuits out of charity {ibid. 
pp. 264, 268). 

1 Haddock's letter of March g, 1579, which is very long and 
detailed, gives an excellent chronological account of the con- 
cluding stages of the " EngHsh revolt " against Dr. Morris 
(Dodd, ii. App. No. lix.) 


The letters of Haddock seem to have carried great 
weight with Dr. Allen, who, in spite of his close friend- 
ship with Dr. Owen Lewis, took the English side in the 
dispute. Probably, " nepotism " — as well as anger 
at the Jesuits and sympathy with his Welsh friend — 
had something to do with Owen Lewis's attitude ; for 
one of the most energetic and fiery of the Welsh faction 
was his nephew, Hugh Griffith,^ afterwards Provost of 
Cambray. " You must temper your cousin Hughes 
tongue and behaviour," wrote Allen to Lewis,* " who 
is of a bitter, odd, and incompatible nature." Hugh 
Griffith, indeed, had no doubts as to the part which the 
Jesuit fathers were playing. 

^ Hugh Griffith is mentioned by all the English writers as one 
of the principal causes of the quarrel. Munday says that one 
day the scholars were called before Cardinal Morone " because 
there was one Hugh Griffin, a Welshman of a hote nature, and 
he woulde many times fall together by the eares with some of 
the schoUers that sometime the blood ranne about their eares " 
(The English Romayne Life). Haddock tells AUen, in his letter 
of March 9, that if the Welsh students " could have their will, 

. they would live here for ever, and do nothing but quarrel ; as 
Griffith never ceaseth. Smith, nor Meredith." Hugh never 
forgave the Jesuits the part they had played. In February, 
1582, Dr. Lewis wrote to Allen from Milan : " nepos mens Hugo 
jam complevit cursum philosophiae. Scripsit dominus Cardinalis 
S. Sixti ad me suadens ut ilium ad me ex urbe revocarem ; quod 
lihenter facerem, si fion esset ad quaedam mea et archiepiscopi 
nostri Cameracensis negotia illic persequenda necessarius. Con- 
queruntur quod multa loquatur contra collegium ; nescio ; sed 
suavi et amica tractatione possent ilium habere amicissimum." 
In the last sentence is to be found probably the secret of the 
ill-success of the Jesuit fathers in their treatment of the Welsh 
students. Allen wrote back advising Dr. Lewis to take his 
nephew away, "ac id quoque esse ad salutem juvenis et collegii pacem 
omniumque animorum reconciliationem " (Knox, Records, vol. ii. 

■ 112 seq.). For proofs of Hugh's lasting animosity to the Jesuits, 
vide Foley's Jesuits, vi. 740 ; Ely's Brief Notes, 12 ; Tierney's ^ 
Dodd, vol. iii., p. Ixxx. ; Spanish State Papers, 1596, p. 628. 

' May 12th, 1579 (Knox, Records, u. p. 82). 


" Hugh writeth to me," said Allen.i " and to Dr. 
Bristowe most plainly that the Jesuits have been and 
shall be proved the council and counsellors of all these 
tumults . . . Item, he saith that the Jesuits have no 
skill or experience of our country's state, nor of our men's 
nature ; and that their trade of syllogising there is not 
fit for the use of our people." 

For a long time the Welshmen held out triumphantly 
against the English students. In vain did the mal- 
contents appeal to the Cardinal Protector and even to 
the Pope. The answer was always the same, " You 
must obey the Rector." At last, the EngUsh students 
in a body left the College, and determined to walk back 
across the Continent on their way to England. When 
they marched out, great was the joy among the Welsh 
students, and hot Hugh Griihth " gave a leap in the 
College hall, and shouted ' Who now but a Welsh- 
man ? ' " 2 But the end was not yet. The English 
students had no money, and for a few days they put up 
at the house of an English resident, named Creed,^ 
while they begged their viaticum. In the meantime, the 
Jesuits spread broadcast the story of their grievances. 
Every Jesuit pulpit in Rome resounded with eulogies 
of the pluck and courage of the English students.* At 

1 Ibid. 

^ Parsons' letter to Dr. Allen, March 30, 1579 (Knox, Records, 
ii. p. 74). 

^ This is the name given both by Munday (English Romayne 
Life) and by Haddock in his letter to Allen. Dr. Lewis, in his 
letter to Allen, states that the students had gone to Dr. Morton's 
house, " credo," but the qualification shows that the Archdeacon 
was only speaking from heaursay (Dodd, ii.). As both Munday 
and Haddock were among the malcontents, their evidence is 

• The accounts given by Munday in The English Romayne 
Life, and by Haddock in his letter, show beyond question that 


last the news came to the ear of the Pope himself — Owen 
Lewis says that he was the informant ."^ The Pope 
became alarmed at the possible effect which the angry 
exodus of so many aspirants to mission work would have 
on the enterprise of converting England. He called the 
malcontents to him, he sympathised with their griev- 
ances, he insisted that he had founded an EngUsh, and 
not a Welsh College,* and he ended up by promising to 
concede all their wishes. He was as good as his word. 

the Jesuit Fathers were supporting the English students. " The 
Jesuits," said Haddock, " began to beg in the pulpits for us, being 
Ash- Wednesday, and the first day of preaching, but without 
naming us. . . . And at Sienna is the Rector of the Jesuits, he 
that was our father the last summer . . . father John Paul, where 
we had 50 crowns appointed for us to be taken by the way. 
. . . The Jesuits were out of their wits almost for us, insomuch 
that they wept, many of them. ..." Then when the news 
of victory came, " our fathers were beside themselves for joy. 
The Jesuits at the colleges were never so amazed and joyful. . . . 
In one word, such a general joy was through the whole society 
for us, as if it had been for themselves. . . The Jesuits admire 
our doings that we durst be so plain in our doings " (Dodd, ii. 
App. lix.). 

1 Lewis to Allen, March 10, 1579. On Ash Wednesday, he 
says, he went to the Cardinal " ante lucem," and got him to tell 
the Pope (Dodd, ii.). " Mr. Archdeacon," says the sceptical 
Haddock, " would make us beheve that he procured our return 
again. But we know he had appointed to have set or to have 
taken himself the house we dwell in, and had appointed of 
Scotchmen and Irishmen in our places " (Dodd, ii.). The 
Cardinal of Como told Lewis that the students did not beUeve 
he had sought to get them reinstated, " quod tamen," said Lewis 
to Allen, " est verissimum " (Dodd, ii. App. Ux.). This is the 
version adopted by the author of A Brief Discovery, and by 
Lewis Owen in his Running Register. 

2 Munday relates that when Sherwin explained the grievances 
of the English students to the Pope, " upon these words the 
pope started out of his chayre. ' Why ' (quoth he) ' I made the 
hospitall for Englishmen, and for their sake have I given so large 
exhibition, and not for the Welshmen.' " But neither Haddock 
nor Lewis confirms this version. 


Dr. Morris was removed from the RectorsMp of the 
College, though he was allowed to retain the Wardenship 
of the Hospital. 1 The students were allowed to nomi- 
nate his successor. The EngUshmen selected the Jesuit, 
Father Aggazzari ; ^ the nine or ten Welshmen nominated 
Dr. Bristowe of Rheims.* But though the Welshmen's 
choice was supported by Dr. Lewis, the English students 
carried their man. Whether the Jesuits had intended, 
from the start, to capture the College or not, in the result, 
that was the issue of the dissensions. They had un- 
doubtedly sjonpathised with the English faction ; they 
had actively supported them ; the Welshmen openly 
accused them of being the root and origin of the mischief. 
Soon after Dr. Morris left Rome. In 1580, he embarked 
at Rouen on board a vessel which was bound for Spain. 
The ship was wrecked, and Dr. Morris was drowned.* 
Once more the Roman Hospital was joined to the College, 
and the large income of the Hospital went to the support 
of the Jesuit College. Owen Lewis retired — some said 
in disgust ^ — to Milan, and there he remained with his 

1 " The Cardinall Morone, because Dr. Morris should not lose 
all his dignity, caused the house to be parted, and so made both a 
seminarye for the students, and an hospitaU for the entertain- 
ment of English pilgrims when they came, whereof Dr. Morris con- 
tinued custos by the pope's appointment" {English Romayne Life) . 

2 As early as Jan. 20, 1578, the EngUsh students had sent 
a petition to the Cardinal Protector, nullum cerium hominem 
petimus, quia absumus in hoc causa ab omni humano affectu : 
solum cupimus . . . ut res committatur patribus societatis Jesu. . ." 
(Dodd, ii. App. Ix.). 

' Lewis to Allen, March 10, 1579. 

* Morris was in Rome in July, 1580. (See Goldwell's letter 
to the Cardinal of Come ; Theiner, Annates, iii. 701 ; Plowden, 
Remarks, p. 105.) 

^ Plowden, Remarks, p. 105. For the dispute between Welsh 
and English, see also H. Morus, Hist, missionis Angl. soc. Jesu. 


friend Cardinal Borromeo for several years. It is quite 
possible, therefore, that he may have read in MS. 
Griffith Roberts's Drych Cristionogawl, which was 
published by Rhosier Smith in Rouen in 1585. 

" Thus was the strife ended," wrote Anthony Munday 
in his flippant way ; but Parsons was wiser in his genera- 
tion. " Thus you see," he wrote to Allen,i " when 
national dissension is once raised how hard it is to appease 
it " ; and Allen deplored to Lewis ^ the racial strife which 
he knew was " much greater and much further spread, 
by that beginning and root there unluckily planted, than 
you there can perceive." But neither Parsons nor Allen 
foresaw the magnitude of the effects of that unlucky 
conflict. Allen thought it was " so honest a thing " 
for the students " to have the fathers for their governors." 
He was of Haddock's opinion that the fathers would 
bring the Welsh students into order, so that " before it 
be long " they would have in Rome " place for a hundred, 
and thereby the gloriousest College of English in the 
world." * He did not agree with Hugh Griffith that the 
Jesuits had " no skill or experience of our country's 
state, nor of our men's nature." * Nor had he noticed 
a phenomenon which had impressed the EngUsh students, 

{1660); Sacchinus, Hist. soc. Jesu. pt. iv. {1652), lib. vii. ; Parsons' 
Memoirs ; and Dodd-Tiemey, vol. ii. Appendix, No. lix. 

* Knox, Records, vol. ii. 74. 

"May 12, 1579 (Knox, Records, ii. 78 seq.). 

' Haddock's letter to Allen, March 9, 1579 (Dodd, ii. App. lix.). 

■1 Quoted in Allen's letter to Lewis, May 12, 1579 (Knox, 
Records, ii. 82). Dissensions soon broke out in the College 
under the Jesuits, whose methods of espionage and angeli custodes, 
and the invidious preference shown to members of their own 
Order, led to further troubles. For an account of their dis- 
ciplinary system, see Meyer's England and the Catholic Church, 
p. 102 seq. 


that Welsh ideals and methods in religion were different 
from their own.^ The Welsh students at the College 
were, in the eyes of their English comrades, " inepHssimi 
pro seminario," because they were older in years and 
more untrained in scholarship than their fellows.* The 
Welsh Rector and his friend the Archdeacon of Hainault 
may well have thought that these men, however short 
they might have fallen of the English standard, were 
yet admirably suited for mission work among their own 
countrjnnen at home. Henceforward there was strife 
between the Welsh Catholics on the Continent and the 
Jesuits. Welsh students were looked upon askance, as 
being breeders of dissension.* They were required to 

' " Sed tamen (Walli) et lingua, et moribus, et loco habitionls, 
et natura etiam multum difEerunt ab Anglis. . . . Itaque Angli 
et Walli, quoad amorem naturalem, se juncta religione Christiana 
quam utraque gens profitetur, ita se plane habent et invicem, 
ut Hispani et Mauri. ..." They complained that Dr. Morris 
had introduced Welsh students into the college " qui conirarium 
spiritum nobis habent, et contrarium finem intentioni suae sanctitatis 
de sublevanda patria nostra " {" Causae quare scholares Angli 
tantum abhorrent a regimine D. Mauritii," quoted in Dodd's 
Church History, vol. ii. App. No. lix). 

^ " Nam ut ilU augere possent numerum Wallorum in seminario, 
convocabant illuc ex omni loco et admittebant Wallos sine 
commendatione et examinatione, nam admiserunt fere senes 
et ineptos, nulla habita ratione aetatis, aut morum, aut literarum ' ' 
{ibid.). In our own times, the wisest thing that the Church of 
England in Wales ever did was to establish a College at Lampeter 
for students for the ministry who in the opinion of Oxford and 
Cambridge would have been " ineptissimi." Who can think 
of Bishop Joshua Hughes and Chancellor Silvan Evans as 
" ineptissimi " ? 

' See a remarkable letter sent by Dr. Richard Barrett, of 
Rheims, in April, 1583, to Father Aggazzari, advising him how 
he should manage the Welsh students, not by contradicting 
and forcing them in his way, but by seeming to humour them. 
" Nam (haeretici in Anglia) excitant quantum possunt Wallos 
contra Anglos, et contra : et in utroque genere hominum incidunt 
aUquando in eos quos facile est commovere. Walli certi dili- 


attain to the English standard before they were admitted 
to the seminaries,^ and as educational advantages were 
few in Wales, and the people were poor, the number of 
Welsh students at the Catholic seminaries became less 
and less, as time went on. Wales was allowed to drift, 
by almost imperceptible degrees, away from the Catholic 
faith. In the next century devoted priests trained in 
the Jesuit schools, such as Robert Jones * and Philip 
Evans,* William Morgan * and David Lewis,^ laboured 

gentissimi sunt et egregii artifices in hac re. Observant mira- 
biliter si quxs querelam aliquam habeat, aut causam aliquam 
alienati animi, ut ilU putant, a superioribus, cujusmodi res 
frequentissimae sunt. Hunc aggrediuntur omni humanitate et 
officio ; dant, si opus sit pecunia ; invitant ad collationem ; 
nunquam relinquunt ; et hoc modo pervertunt saepe multos 
ex Anglis," etc. (Knox, Records, vol. i. 326). " Parsons," wrote 
a spy to Cecil in October, 1601, " is altogether incensed against the 
Welsh, and then said that two Welshmen should never be of 
the College at once during such time as he was Rector, for if 
there were three they would set the house on fire. His reason 

for this cause is that Richard Powell, of Millayne, and 

Bennett, now priest in England, curbed him, and made their 
complaints to the Cardinals of misgovernment of the College " 
(State Papers, Dom., EUz., vol. xxxiv. ; Addenda, n. 42, ii. ; 
Foley's Jesuits, vi. 738). 

^ " And one thing mark — that if you send any Welshman, let 
him be as fit as the others, or else, by any means, hinder him " 
(Haddock to Allen, March 9th, 1579). 

' Robert Jones, " Robertus Hilarius," or Hay, bom, 1564, 
near Chirk, Denbighshire. Alumnus, S.J. at Rome, 1582. 
Succeeded Fr. Holt as Superior of whole Order in England, 1609. 
{Vide Foley's Jesuits, vol. iv. pp. 333-561.) 

» Philip Evans, b. Monmouthshire, 1645 ; educated St. Owen's ; 
entered S.J. 1665 ; South Wales Mission, 1675 ; executed (after 
Gates' plot) July, 1679. 

■• William Morgan, second son of Henry Morgan, FUnt, b. 1623 ; 
entered Engl. CoU. Rome, 1648 ; S.J. 1651 ; Professor at Jesuit 
College, Liege, 1661 ; North Wales Mission, 1670 ; in Oates' list, 
but escaped to Continent, 1679 ; Rector of Engl. Coll., Rome, 
1683 ; Provincial S.J. 1689 ; d. St. Omer, 1689. 

= David Lewis, alias Charles Baker, b. Abergavenny, 1614; 


in various parts of Wales, and with some success.^ But 
though the harvest was plentiful, the labourers were 
few. They had been trained, moreover, after a foreign 
model and they formed part of an alien organisation. 
Their system possessed and reflected none of that 
intense national individuality which has always marked 
the religious life of Wales. ^ The racial animosity and the 
sectarian prejudices, so lightly aroused in Rome in 1579, 
not only paralysed in after years the efforts of the Jesuits 
to win back England to the Papacy, but they led, in 
the long result, to Wales being left derelict, until the 
Puritans came and held before Welshmen a new religious 
ideal, which, whatever be its defects, had the merit of 
meeting the spiritual needs and conforming to the 
distinctive genius of the people of Wales .^ 

Engl. Coll., Rome, 1638 ; priest S.J. 1642 ; South Wales Mission, 
1648 ; apprehended at Llantarnam for alleged complicity in 
Gates' plot, and executed at Usk, Aug. 27, 1679. 

' Vide Reports of Catholicism in Wales in Foley's Jesuits, 
vol. iv. p. 441. In 1636, for example, the various missions in 
South Wales are said to have been attended " with much success,' ' 
which was attributed " to the greater attachment of the common 
people to the ancient faith, and to the absence of luxury." In 
1641-4 there were said to be twenty-seven fathers and two lay- 
brothers in the Mission, and 154 conversions are recorded in South 
Wales. In 1676-7 the return gives only six fathers in South 

^ It is a happy augury for the success of the Disestablished 
Church that in the Church Congress held at Llandrindod Wells 
in June 1919, it was unanimously resolved that Wales should 
be formed into a distinct ecclesiastical province under its own 

■■ Plowden, in his Remarks (1594, p. loi), states that the first 
beginning of the feud was caused by the attempt of Dr. Owen 
Lewis " before the alteration of the English hospital at Rome 
into a college ... in conjunction with his countryman. Dr. 
Maurice Clenock, to introduce a Welshman, of the name of Price, 
as fellow into the hospital ; and he had been foiled in the attempt 


The Society of Jesus had been for some time casting 
longing eyes on the English mission field. The political 
situation was becoming more and more complex. For 
many years the Catholics of England had been content 
to obey EUzabeth as the sovereign de facto, if not dejure.^ 
Most of them were willing to acknowledge her as the 
rightful queen. Her natural successor was Mary, 
Queen of Scots, and Catholics were content at first to 
bide in patience till Elizabeth was removed by the 
process of time. But by 1579, Mary had been for eleven 
years practically a prisoner in Elizabeth's hands. One 
plot after another for her release had failed ; the Ridolfi 
conspiracy had ended disastrously and the Duke of 
Norfolk had lost his head on the scaffold. In vain had 
the Pope, in 1570, launched his Bull of Excommunication 
against Elizabeth.^ There was no one to enforce it, 

through, the opposition of the English chaplains of the house. . . . 
This petty disappointment was not forgotten when a national 
quarrel broke out between the English and Welsh students newly 
admitted into the college." I have, however, found no other 
reference to this dispute, and know not upon what authority 
Plowden based his statement. 

1 Though Kus IV. passed a Bull of Excommunication against 
Elizabeth in 1560, it was not published till 1570 by Pius V. 
The secular sovereigns of Europe were not prepared even then 
to enforce it, and it therefore remained in abeyance. Gregory 
XIII. had to explain away the BuU in 1580 (Meyer, p. 138). 
In 1583 the Bull was renewed. But Sixtus V., on the eve of 
the Armada, refused further to renew it, though he published a 
" broadsheet " reciting the previous Bull {Meyer, p. 323). 

' Dr. Morris of Clynog wrote a letter in Welsh dated May 24, 
1567, from Rome to Sir William Cecil warning him in veiled 
language of the threatened excommunication, which had then 
been decided on, though it was not published till 1570. Pius V. 
had succeeded Pius IV. in 1566, and the ascetic friar, " Brother 
Woodenshoe," as he was nicknamed, early evinced his deter- 
mination to pubUsh the Bull. See the writer's article on " Welsh 
Catholics " in the Cymmrodorion Transactions, 1903, Appendix D, 
where a facsimile of the letter is printed. 
w.M.w. P 


and Philip of Spain, the most orthodox and devoted 
Catholic prince of his age, refused to allow the Bull to 
be published in his dominions. The most Christian 
King of France was anxious to conclude a political and 
matrimonial alUance with the heretic queen. In the 
meantime England was becoming more and more identi- 
fied with the Protestant cause. Her political needs drove 
her to take up the position, which Ehzabeth had not 
sought, of champion and protector of the Protestant 
princes and states of Europe. Her expanding trade and 
her daring sailors brought her into sharp contact with 
the pretensions of Spain. A new generation was grow- 
ing up that remembered no other form of worship except 
that which was estabUshed by law. It was no wonder 
that strenuous and fiery souls should become impatient 
at the long and weary waiting. They longed to be back 
once more in the land of their birth ; they were conscious 
of great talents, which they felt should be directed to 
greater and more enduring objects than intrigue and 
plot. The conversion of England by prayer and preach- 
ing, by moral suasion and Uves of self-sacrifice, seemed 
a dreary if not a hopeless task. By slow stages there 
emerged two parties or factions among the English exiles 
on the Continent. The one may be called the " physical 
force " party, composed of men who were wiUing to 
sacrifice the political independence of England on the 
altar of reUgion. They were ready to hand over the 
throne of England to a foreign prince in order that the 
realm might be regained to Cathohcism. The two most 
prominent champions of this school were Dr., after- 
wards Cardinal, Allen — in the last dozen years of his 
life — and Robert Parsons, the greatest of the EngUsh 
Jesuits. They saw, or thought they saw, that it was 


only by deposing Elizabeth and subjugating England 
that the Catholic religion could be re-estabUshed.^ 
Mary Stuart was powerless and a prisoner. The French 
king was either fighting or conciHating the Huguenots. 
In either case he was in no state to take in hand the 
gigantic task of conquering England. Philip of Spain 
alone remained. He was a bigoted CathoUc ; he was 
the most powerful monarch in Europe. His army was 
the iinest military engine in the world ; the Duke of 
Parma was the first Commander of the age ; the wealth 
of the Indies was at his command ; his fleets covered 
every sea. But PhiHp was not inchned to move as long 
as Mary Stuart was an effective claimant to the English 
throne.^ For thirty years, therefore, Elizabeth was left 
secure. The English refugees perceived that their one 
hope of conquering England in their own lifetime was 
by adopting Philip as their champion. His descent from 
John of Gaunt was paraded ; the fact was recalled that 
in Mary's reign, he had been titular King of England. 
Mary Stuart herself, not long before her death, solemnly 
disinherited her son for heresy, and made Philip of 

1 " Of all the orthodox in the realm there is not one who any 
longer thinks himself bound in conscience to obey the queen ; 
and we have lately published a book especially to prove that 
it is not only lawful, but our bounden duty, to take up arms at 
the bidding of the pope, and to fight for the faith against the 
queen and other heretics " (Allen to the Pope, 1587-8, quoted 
in Simpson's Life of Campion, p. 377). 

^ " Yet, after the death of the Queen of Scots, both Allen 
and Parsons sought to stir up the Spanish king, who never 
could be persuaded to attempt anjrthing against England ; 
and in her Ufetime, objecting that he should travail for others ; 
she being dead, the expectation was increased for the last 
invasion " (Confessions of James Young, priest, in 1592 (State 
Papers, Dam., EUz., vol. ccxlii. 121)). Cf. Neville's letters to 
Cecil, June 27, 1509 (Dam., Eliz., vol. cclxxi. 29). 


Spain her heir. For several years before her execution, 
the Jesuits had worked for the King of Spain ; Mary 
was only used as a convenient tool to further their real 
designs ; and her death was calmly discussed by leading 
Jesuits as having finally removed the only serious rival 
from PhiHp's path.^ 

On the other hand, there was a powerful and numerous 
band of Catholics who hated the Spaniard and dis- 
trusted the Jesuits, who would have no foreign power 
predominant in England, and who looked to the reclama- 
tion of the fatherland by faith and works, by patient 
zeal, and reliance on the invincibility of truth. Some 
of them, indeed, were no contemners of carnal weapons. 
The French and Scotch factions, led by Leslie, the 
Bishop of Ross, and Thomas Morgan, " of a right 
worshipful family in Monmouthshire," ^ the most 
celebrated conspirator of the age, and the trusty friend 
and servant of Mary Stuart, were ready to invade 
and conquer England by armed force, if it would result 
in the immediate or ultimate elevation of the Queen 
of Scots to the EngUsh throne.* But the view of the 

' On June 15, 1587, OUvarez wrote to Philip II. : " They 
{i.e. Allen and Parsons) do their best to convince me that it is 
not only no loss, but that by her death (of Mary, Queen of Scots) 
many difSculties had disappeared." Cf. Hume's Treason and 
Plot, p. 13. 

" State Papers, Dom., Eliz., January, 1589-90. He was bom 
in 1543, and was probably the son of John Morgan of Bassalleg, 
a junior branch of the Morgans of Tredegar. He died about i6n. 
For an attempt to ascertain the origin and career of Morgan, see 
App. G. in the writer's article on " Welsh Catholics on the 
Continent " in the Transactions of the Cymmrodorion Society 

" In the Spanish State Papers for 1590 (p. 565), a document is 
pubUshed containing an interesting account of Morgan's career 
and policy as they appeared to his enemies. The marginal 


Welsh Catholics generally was against such "enter- 
prises." They believed only in the use of spiritual 
weapons. They did not care so much to change the 
government as the reUgion of England. They auned 
at converting, not the ruler, but the people of the 
country. If the people remained Catholic they cared 
not if, for the nonce, the State Church was Protestant. 
They had sufficient faith in their Church to believe 
that what the last three centuries have shown to be 
possible in Ireland was also practicable in England, 
and that the religion of a people was independent of the 
wishes of their rulers. It is surely no mere chance or 
hazard that has led the Celts of Ireland and of Scotland, 
of Cornwall and of Wales, to adopt varying forms of 
religion, which have only this in common — that none 
of them is supported or countenanced by the State. 
And it may well be that that racial instinct led the 
Welsh Catholics of Elizabeth's time to distrust the 
use of force, and to combat with energy and with heat 
the policy of the Jesuit or Spanish faction.^ 

note to A. 9 says : " He began by sowing discord between her 
{i.e. the Queen of Scots) and her advisors, and persuaded her 
that they, and Dr. Allen and the 'Jesuits, aimed at conquering 
England and Scotland for the King of Spain under her name, 
and so succeeded in getting her to forbid anyone to communicate 
with her, except through Morgan and Chas. Paget. He also 
introduced division among the English Catholics, being amongst 
those that maintained that matters might be remedied without 
the employment of foreign forces, the chiefs of which part are 
the bishop of Cassano (Dr. Owen Lewis) in Rome and the bishop 
of Dunblane, and they, with Morgan, persecute Cardinal Allen 
and the Jesuits and others who wish to reduce England by the 
forces of His Majesty (of Spain). He is a partisan of the bishop 
of Cassano against Cardinal Allen and the Jesuits. He (Morga,n) 
frankly confesses that he would be sorry to see his country sub- 
jugated by foreigners, and especially Spaniards." 
1 Cf Rhys's Celtic Heathendom, p 227. 


It would be easy to adduce numerous proofs of this 
essential divergence between the Welsh and the English 
NationaUst Catholics and the Jesuits.^ One bit of 
evidence is worth citing for the interesting gUmpse 
which it gives of Dr. Griffith Roberts in Cardinal 
Borromeo's palace in Milan. Our informant again is 

' It is extraordinary how nearly every Welsh Catholic on the 
Continent in the latter half of the sixteenth century was ranked 
among the opponents of the Jesuits. The attitude of Hugh 
Griffith and Rhosier Smith has already been noted. The part 
played by Owen Lewis and Thomas Morgan will be dwelt upon 
again. A Welshman named Bennett was the leader of the 
anti-Jesuit faction in the Roman College in 1594. But even 
more obscure Welshmen were opposed to the Society of Jesus, 
e.g. one of Cecil's spies writes in 1601 of Ithell, a native of the 
diocese of Llandaff, and a chaplain of Notre Dame, who after- 
wards (if he be the same as Ishell, chaplain of Notre Dame) helped 
John Roberts to found the Benedictine College at Douay : 
" Ithell, about 50 (at Arras), who some time was favoured of the 
Jesuits, is now hated, only because he will not be as fastidious 
as they are " (v. Foley, vi. 740). The career of Dr. Parry, " the 
Jesuit," who made a treasonable speech from his place in the 
House of Commons, and was hanged for having conspired against 
the life of the queen, may appear to contradict this general 
statement. But Parry seems to have been a man of ill-balanced 
judgment, and the crime which he confessed to was both 
mysterious and extraordinary. Though he had designs against 
the queen's life, he not only failed to take advantage of oppor- 
tunities which offered themselves, but he entered Parliament 
with the avowed object of avoiding the necessity of using physical 
force by convincing the House by argument. Parry does not 
appear to have any connection with other Welsh CathoUcs, 
though he stated that he had talked over his designs with Morgan 
in Paris, and he certainly was not connected with any CathoUc 
conspiracy to bring about an invasion of England by a foreign 
power. Vide Froude's Hist, of Engl. xi. 416 ; State Trials, vol. i. 

In 1562 Morris of Clsoiog, then still at Louvain, wrote that 
" they are not to be Ustened to who would persuade us that the 
^hghsh cannot be forced under the yoke of foreign dominions." 
(Meyer's England and the Catholic Church, p. 241). The learned 
and brilliant German puts this down to Welsh prejudice against 
the English, and to still burning resentment of a prelate dis- 
possessed of his See. 


Anthony Munday, who called on Dr. Roberts at the end 
of 1578 on his way to Rome. 

" In the cardinall Boromheo's pallace," he wrote, 
" wee found the lodging of a Welshman, named doctor 
Robert Griffin, a man there had in good account and 
confessor to the aforesayde cardinall. ... On Christ- 
masse day wee dined with the doctor Griffin, where 
wee had great cheere, and lyke welcome. In dinner 
time he mooved many questions unto us, as concerning 
the state of Englande, if wee heard of warres towardes, 
and how the CathoUques thrived in Englande." 

Dr. Roberts went on to tell his guest how three 
Englishmen, who were lodging in the same house with 
Munday, had designed to invade England, and how 
the Pope, " even according as they deserved," denied 
their request and sent them away " without recom- 
pense." " The Pope," added Griffith Roberts, " was 
not to trust to such as they ; he well knowes England 
is too strong yet, and till the people be secretly per- 
suaded (as I doubt not but that there is a good number) 
and more and more still shall be, by the priestes that 
are sent over daylie." ^ 

Here we have, crudely and imperfectly set down by 
a hostile hand, the line of policy which was advocated 
by the Welsh Catholics on the Continent. They wanted 
England to be " secretly persuaded " by priests, not 
subdued by soldiers.* 

1 The English Romayne Life, Harl. Misc. vol. vii. 

* Dr. Roberts in 1596 wrote to Rhosier Smith in Paris a Welsh 
letter (see App. A. oi the writer's " Welsh Catholics " in the 
Cymmrodorion Transactions, 1903) in which he warned him not to 
cross the Alps and brave the Inquisition at Rome, for that would 
be his fate ■' on account of the old feud (cenfigen)." 


In 1579 the " physical force " party was in the ascen- 
dant, in May Dr. Nicholas Saunders landed with 
Spanish troops in Ireland. In September Esme Stuart, 
afterwards Duke of Lennox, returned to Scotland, an 
event which led to the execution of the Regent Morton 
and the temporary ecUpse of the Protestant cause. 
A volcanic energy was agitating the Catholic world. 
The Society of Jesus, the most marvellous organisation 
the world has ever seen, was attracting the fiery 
spirits among the English Cathohcs. Campion, the 
inspired preacher — ^who was soon to seal his testimony 
with his life — and Parsons, the man of restless activity 
and wide-embracing schemes, were already among its 
members. Allen was well-disposed to it. It was bent 
on carrying on a Holy War against heretical England. 
The zeal of the Crusaders animated every member of 
the Society. Hitherto it had sent no missionaries to 
the dangerous field of England. While the Secularists 
could point to their martyrs, the Society of Jesus could 
appeal to no such glorious records of work and suffering 
for the faith in England. It was accused of putting 
its sickle in other men's harvest, and of enlisting in 
its ranks Englishmen who did nothing for their faith 
or their country. Now, however, it determined to 
monopolise the glory of regaining England to Catholi- 
cism. Parsons and Campion were sent to England in 
1580. But it was seen at once that if the Society was 
to capture the English mission field, it would have 
to train up missionaries for the work. The racial 
feud which broke out in the College at Rome happened 
opportunely, and the Jesuits took advantage of their 
chance. Father Parsons, who was in Rome at the 
time, was not the man to miss the real significance of 


the Jesuit victory, or the advantages which the Society 
would derive from the control of the education of the 
English missionary priests. 

During the next eighteen years Father Parsons 
strove to achieve this object. The College in Rome 
being in Jesuit hands, the next step was to capture 
the College at Douay. Dr. Allen, though friendly, was 
too great a man to be used merely as a tool. It was 
necessary, therefore, to remove him from his post. At 
one time Parsons urged that Dr. Allen and Dr. Owen 
Lewis should be sent with the invading army to England,^ 
and with that object in view Dr. Allen was appointed 
Bishop of Durham. But in 1587 a still better chance 
offered itself. Parsons had for years been working for 
the election of an Enghsh Cardinal. In 1587 — ^the 
year before the Spanish Armada — ^Dr. Allen was raised 
to the Cardinalate, through the forceful insistence of 
Parsons * and the influence of the King of Spain,* and 

1 Parsons to the Cardinal of Como, 1581. "It would also, we 
think, be very useful if His Holiness were to summon to Rome 
Dr. Owen Lewis, Archdeacon of Cambrai, an Englishman who 
is at Milan, and is very well acquainted with English affairs. 
If this man were sent from Rome to Spain under some pretext, 
and so went thence with the army to Scotland to meet Allen, who 
might start from here, it would be a great help to the cause ; for 
though this Dr. Owen, on account of the differences which have 
lately arisen between the Welsh and the EngUsh, he being a 
Welshman, does not stand very well with the greater part of the 
English, nevertheless he is a grave and prudent man. If united 
to Allen, who possesses the hearts of all, he would be of no small 
assistance, especially with his countrymen, the Welsh " {S.P.O., 
" Rom. Transcripts," vol. xv. No. 477 ; Taunton's Jesuits, 99). 
Allen was created Bishop of Durham in 1583, but never accom- 
panied any of the expeditions to Great Britain or Ireland. 

' Allen stated, in a letter to Dr. Bayly, that " under Gtod " he 
owed his Cardinal's hat to Parsons (Knox, Records, ii. p. 299c). 
" Proxime enim sub coelo pater Personius fecit me Cardinalem." 

' Knox, Records, ii. pp. 253, 270, 292, 293 ; Taunton's Jesuits. 


in spite of the opposition of the Welsh, Scotch, and 
French factions.^ The Cardinal was succeeded in 
Douay by Dr. Barrett, and afterwards by Dr. Worthing- 
ton — two men who were under the influence of Parsons.* 
Several other EngUsh Colleges or Seminaries were 
subsequently founded by the indefatigable Jesuit in 
various parts of Europe — Valladolid in 1589, Seville 
and Madrid in 1592, and St. Omer in 1594. 

^ T. C, in his article on Owen Lewis in the Dictionary of 
National Biography, says that " little reliance can be placed on 
the story quoted by Wood from The State of the English Fugitives 
(1596) to the efEect that Lewis, as a strenuous foe of the Jesuits, 
headed a faction against Allen, or that Lewis and Allen were 
rival candidates for the cardinalate which fell to the latter." 
But this was the view, not only of the author of the pamphlet, 
but of all his contemporaries. The personal friendship between 
the two men seems never to have been broken or even impaired, 
but it is clear that they were at the head of rival factions. Allen 
said, a Uttle before his death, after a conversation with Dr. O. 
Lewis, " Well, Abraham and Lot were both good men, but their 
shepherds could not agree " (Knox, Records, i. c. iii.). It is 
certain that Lewis was friendly with Leslie, the Bishop of Ross, 
" whose flattering letters to Queen Elizabeth had given great 
dissatisfaction " (Plowden's Remarks), and with T. Morgan, the 
arch-enemy of the Jesuits and the Spanish faction, who according 
to the account given in the English Fugitives, did his utmost 
for Dr. Owen Lewis. For other evidence of Lewis's hostihty to 
the poHcy of Allen and the Jesuits, see Dom., EUz., vol. ccxxxix. 
87 (a.d. 1592) ; ib. 116, vol. ccxlii. 121 (where Lewis is called 
the agent of the Scottish nation) ; ib. 6. It is also certain that 
at Allen's death, the Cardinal's friends supported either Parsons 
or Stapleton, and opposed Lewis. Cardinal Sega, in his Report 
in 1596, confirms Lewkenor's account. " The Bishop of Cassano," 
he said, " deeming the intimate relations of Allen with the Fathers 
of the Society a reflection on himself, proceeded to put himself 
in opposition to Allen, the Fathers, and the Seminaries, and to 
form a faction against them " (Foley's Jesuits, vol. vi.). Vide 
also Dr. Gifiord's letter. Cat. S.P., Dom., Eliz., cclii. 66 ; Ely's 
Briefe Notes, 94-96. 

2 See Worthington's letter to Parsons, Tierney's Dodd, vol. v. 
App. p. iv. 


The Society of Jesus, indeed, seemed to have 
triumphed over all its opponents. It enjoyed a com- 
plete monopoly in the training and education of English 
priests ; its two most persistent opponents, Thomas 
Morgan and Owen Lewis, were poweriess to stem the 
tide of its rising fortunes. Thomas Morgan, after 
languishing for years in the Bastille, was afterwards 
imprisoned by the Duke of Parma in Flanders, at the 
instigation — ^if we may believe a contemporary writer, 
who states that he was in Flanders at the time ^ — of 
the Jesuits. When the death of the Duke opened once 
more his prison doors, he came out a broken man, and 
retired to Rome, to the house of his old friend, Owen 
Lewis, now, since 1588, the Bishop of Cassano in Naples." 
He lingered on for years longer, and was concerned in one 
or two more plots ; but though he was still experienced 
in " driftes of policy," and ready as ever to give his 
enemies " a secret blow," * his old power and energy 
were gone. Owen Lewis, though raised to a Neapolitan 
See in 1588, seems to have lived for the most part in 
Rome and Milan till Cardinal Borromeo's death in 
1594. He was becoming old, and though high in the 
Pope's favour, and ever mindful of old wrongs done 
to him and his nation,* he had to stand aside while the 
Jesuits swept onwards in their resistless progress. 

Fair as their prospects appeared, there were clouds, 
as yet no bigger than a man's hand, on the horizon. 

1 Lewkenor's State of the English Fugitives. 

' Ibid. ' Ibid. 

* The character given him by W. W. in A Sparing Discovery 
(1601), " A milder man lived not, or one more apt to put up with 
and forgive all injuries," can hardly be sustained by what is 
otherwise known of him. 


The Spanish Armada had disastrously failed,^ and a 
staggering blow was dealt to the " physical force " 
party, from which it never wholly recovered. Parsons, 
however, was not discouraged or dismayed. Few 
understood at the time how completely the power of 
Spain was shattered. Parsons in 1594 wrote a book 
to vindicate Philip's title, as a descendant of John of 
Gaunt, to the throne of England.'' His friend. Sir 
Francis Englefield, two years later, still looked to Spain 
for deUverance.' Cardinal AUen, as he came once 
more into intimate contact with his old friend, Owen 
Lewis, began to draw away from the Jesuit faction 
after the failure of the Armada. He never actually 
quarrelled with them, but it is certain that in his last 
days " he began to leave the path " which was mapped 
out for him by Parsons.* But the greatest source of 

' In 1588. ' The Book of Succession. 

" Englefield's letter to Philip II. " Without the support and 
troops of Spain it is scarcely probable that the Catholic religion 
will ever be restored and established in that country (England). 
Even the English seminaries, powerful as they are in preparing 
men's minds for a change, must fail to complete their object 
without the aid of temporal force " (Tiemey's edition of Dodd, 
vol. iii. 49). In 1599, Sir Henry Neville wrote to Cecil : " I find 
there has grown great dissension among our Papists abroad, 
one faction, of which Parsons is the head, depends on the Jesuits, 
and wishes the overthrow of our present state by conquest or 
other means : of the other, consisting chiefly of laymen and 
gentlemen, Charles Paget is the head, as he would not consent 
to conquest by a foreign Prince " (Dom., Eliz., 271, 29). 

* Father Aggazzari's letter to Parsons on Allen's death : 
" When he (Allen) began to leave the path, in a moment the 
thread of his plans and life were cut short together " (Sept. 25, 
1596, Knox, Douay Diary, p. 387). W. W., in A Sparing 
Discovery (p. 34), says : " The most blessed Cardinall Doctor 
AUen ... in the end passed not untouched by the Jesuites, 
because in very deede he daily saw further into them then he 
had done, and therefore not only disliked, but disfavoured divers 


opposition to the Jesuits was the old feud between them 
and the Welsh. The racial dissensions which gave 
the control of the Roman College to the Jesuits in 
1379, made its possession no easy sinecure. Father 
Mush, one of the leaders of the English malcontents in 
the original trouble, stated in after years that in the 
seven years he was there he witnessed as many open 
outbreaks.^ So bitter was the feud in 1582 that per- 
fervid Hugh Griffith had to be taken away by his uncle 
" ad salutem juvenis et coUegii pacem." ^ One Rector 
succeeded another,* but the disturbances continued. 
At the death of Allen in 1594 the dissensions were 
renewed. The leader of the Welsh faction was John 
Bennett,* the author in after days of many anti- Jesuit 

their proceedings, specially towards his latter end. . . . Upon 
the death of this so memorable a person they openly triumphed, 
and . . . sayd that God had taken him away in good time." 
Cf. Paget's Answer, p. 20. 

1 Mush's Declaratio Motuum. Cf. Ely's Briefe Notes,/pp. 73-84. 

2 Letter of Allen to Aggazzari (Knox, Records, vol. ii. 112). 

' From 1579 to 1598 — when Parsons became Rector for the 
second time — the Rectorship was held in turn by Aggazzari, 
Holt, Parsons, Cresswell, Vitelleschi, Fioravanti and Aggazzari (2). 

'Cardinal Sega's Report (quoted in Foley's Jesuits, vol. vi.). 
In addition to Bennett, Wilham Ellis, Erasmus Sanders, Hum- 
phrey Hughes, and Richard Powell are mentioned as among the 
disturbers. One of Cecil's spies, in 1601, stated that " Richard 

Powell, of Myllayne and Bennett, now priest in England, 

curbed him (Parsons) and made their complaints to the Cardinals 
of misgovemment of the College " {Dom., EUz., vol. xxxiv. 
Addenda). Among the students' complaints, according to 
Cardinal Sega, was that " Certain libels were circulated of late 
among the students, which kindled anew the old quarrel between 
the EngUsh and the Welsh." There is no doubt that Hugh 
Griffith, the leader of the Welsh faction of 1579. vas in com- 
munication with Edward Bennett during the continuance of 
the disturbances down to 1598, when Parsons finally appeased 
the factions. {Vide Archpriest Controversy, Camden Society, 


pamphlets, and one of the most pronounced opponents 
of the Jesuit policy in the next century. 

The Jesuits rightly regarded Owen Lewis as their 
foremost enemy. Cardinal Sega, in his report on the 
Roman disturbance in 1596, roundly states that to 
Lewis " we trace all the quarrels and disturbances of 
which the College has been the theatre." ^ He was 
the intimate friend of Thomas Morgan ; he was a 
correspondent of Dr. W. GLfford, afterwards the Arch- 
bishop of Rheims, and Primate of France. Gifford, 
though an Englishman, seems to have had Welsh 
connections, for we find Thomas Vaughan, of Courtfield 
— who died of ill-usage at Cardiff in 1641 — described as 
his nephew." Gifford, also, was of the Bishop's faction, 
and had been introduced into Cardinal Borromeo's 
household by Dr. Owen Lewis,* In 1595, when Gifford 

i. 10 ; Ely's Briefe Notes, p. 156 ; Tierney's Dodd, iii. p. Ixxx. ; 
Taunton's Jesuits, 227.) I have assumed that the leader of 
the Welsh faction was John Bennett, and not his brother Edward, 
though I have no positive proof of the fact. The two " noble 
brothers," as they are called by Dr. Gifford, were prominent 
anti- Jesuits in the " Wisbeach stirs " and the " Appellants 
controversy." {Vide Gillow's Dictionary ; Law's Conflict of 
Jesuits and Seculars.) Dr. Barret, of Douay, in a letter of 
Sept. 26th, 1596, to Parsons, calls one of the brothers " the 
greatest dissembler and most perilous fellowe in a communitie 
that ever I knew " {Douay Diary, p. 386). John Bennett 
published a pamphlet, A Censure upon the Letter which Father 
Parsons writ the gih of October 1599 ; The Hope of Peace, which 
was printed at Frankfort 1601 ; and other anti- Jesuit publica- 
tions. In 162 1 he was despatched to Rome, as agent of the 
clergy, to petition the Pope for a bishop. Edward Bennett 
was nominated in the same year with William Bishop for the 
episcopate, and, on the death of Colleton, became dean of the 
Chapter (Law's Conflict, Introduction, p. xxxvi.). 

^ V. Foley's Jesuits, vol. vi. Cf. A Sparing Discovery, p. 32. 

' V. Challoner's Memoirs ; Austin's Christian Moderator. 

' Sega's Report (Foley, vol. vi.). 


was Dean of Lille, we find him writing from the Nuncio's 
house at Brussels to Throgmorton (another anti- Jesuit) ^ 
after the publication of Parsons' book vindicating 
Philip of Spain's title to the English crown. " I have 
made an abstract of Parsons' book," he says, " and 
given it to the Nuncio, who is mad at Parsons, and bid 
me write to the Bishop of Cassano, and assure him that 
Parsons had ruined himself." ^ 

In the same year appeared an anonymous pamphlet 
describing " The State of the English Fugitives " on 
the Continent. After dividing the exiles into four 
factions,* the writer goes on to say : " But above all 
these there is one over-ruUng faction that hath drawn 
them into mightie partialities and strange extremities 
one against another. The originall whereof sprong out 
of the Romish Seminarie between the English and the 
Welsh ; either partie had for favourer and protector 
a man of great authoritie to which it leaned. Doctor 
AUen for the one, and Doctor Lewis for the other, a 
man verie wise and learned, and by reason of his age, 
gravitie, and long continuance in those parts of great 
authoritie in the Court of Rome, but always a verie 

^ lb. Cf. Cecil's list (Dom., Eliz., vol. ccxxxviii. 181). 

^ Hume's Treason and Plot. 

^ " The one . . . pretend to be great statesmen and deepe 
politicians. There is a second sort, wholy devoted to the follow- 
ing and faction of the Jesuites, serving them as their espials and 
instruments in whatsoever they imploy themselve. . . There 
are others whom the rest generally in derision call by the name 
of patriots. These indeed . . . are men of the greatest temperance 
and best behavior, who howsoever they are in reUgion con- 
trarily affected, yet you shall never heare them speake un- 
reverently of her Majestie. . . But of the rest, the fourth 
and last are the best fellowes, for they flie but a very low pitch, 
being men utterly voide both of learning, wit, and civilitie " 
(pp. 48-9). 


bitter enemie of the Jesuits. In fine eacli nation with 
all vehemencie laboured for the presidentship and 
superioritie one over the other." ^ The writer then 
goes on to describe how inveterate was the racial feud 
which was kindled in 1579, and how it had survived 
till 1595. A letter which Parsons wrote in July, 1598, 
to Father Garnet confirms this estimate of the far- 
reaching effects of the rebellion of the English students 
against Dr. Morris of Clynog. " A third cause also 
there was," he says, dealing with the continued dis- 
turbances in the College, " no lesse important perhaps 
than any of the rest, or more than both together, which 
was a certajme disgust given at the first foundacion 
of the coUedge unto a certayne principall man of our 
nation and his friends then resident in Rome, who 
afterwards . . . was ever eyther in Re or in opinion a 
backe unto them that would be discontented, to which 
was adjoyned in these latter yeres (as appereth by their 
own writings) another fountain of fomentacon ffrom 
fflaunders that nurished this humor and wrought much 
woe to the college wholy." ^ 

Parsons afterwards stated that he would never allow 
two Welshmen to remain together in the College at 
Rome " during such time as he was Rector, for if there 
were three they would set the house on fire." ' And 
as late as 1626, when Lewis Owen, the spy, published 
his Running Register,^ it is plain that his Welsh sym- 

1 lb. p. 50. 

^ Parsons' letter to Garnet, July 12 and 13, 1598. Archpriest 
Controversy, Camden Society, i. 27. 

' Dom., Eliz., vol. xxxiv. Addenda. 

^ Lewis Owen was probably a native of Merioneth {vide the 
dedication to his Unmasking of all Popish Monks) . He entered 
Christ Church, Oxford, in 1590, at the age of eighteen. He left 


pathies embittered and envenomed every reference to 
the Jesuits, while his account of Owen Lewis and the 
other Welshmen is always friendly, if not flattering. 

It was small wonder that, when Allen died in 1594, 
the rival factions should have fought for the vacant 
Cardinal's hat. Owen Lewis, who had once before 
been baulked in his ambition, entered the struggle 
with a keenness which was neither edifying nor 
dignified.! Parsons and the Jesuits did their utmost 
to defeat his candidature. * The action of forty-three 

without a degree and entered the Society of Jesus at Valladolid 
(Athen. Oxon. Wood, ii. 480, though his name does not appear 
on the books). He seems, however, to have taken an intense 
dislike to the Jesuits, which was probably accentuated by the 
hostility of John Roberts to the Society. He was in ValladoUd 
in i6og, in Rome (as a spy) in 1610, and in Switzerland in 1612. 
He was acquainted with French, Italian and Spanish, and in 
his books [Running Register, 1626 ; Unmasking of all Popish 
Monks, etc., 1628 ; Speculum Jesuiticum, 1629) he is not ashamed 
to avow the real nature of his profession. He died in 1629. As 
he pubUshed a book called Catholique Traditions in i6og, it may 
be inferred that he was not a spy at that date. 

' V. Lewis's letter to Dr. Humph. Ely in 1595 (Ely's Briefe 
Notes, p. 95). As early as 1589, Lewis was angling for the 
Cardinalate. He, or Morgan on his behalf, sent the Carthusian 
Prior (John Arnold), " a Welshman," to persuade King Philip H, 
to procure his promotion to that dignity {Dom., Eliz., ccxliii. 6). 
After showing how the Bishop had despatched the Bishop of 
Dunblane to Scotland, and how the Scotch wished for nothing 
for themselves just then, Arnold went on to say : "In the 
meantime they (i.e. the Scotch) only ask your Majesty to forward 
and promote your Bishop of Csissano, and that you will not rest 
content until they have made him a Cardinal, in which position 
he will be the more powerful to serve your Majesty. There is 
no man in and out of England of English birth so worthy, learned, 
virtuous, and dexterous in managing matters of importance as 
he is. Since he was exiled twenty-eight years ago for his faith 
he has always been employed in the ruling of dioceses and 
provinces" (Spanish State Papers, May 26, 1589, pp. 542-3). 

'' Lewis's letter to Dr. Ely, in 1595 (Ely's Briefe Notes, pp. 95-6). 
" We have lost our good Cardinal AUene. He made me executor 
w.M.w. Q 


of the students at the Roman College in 1594 did not 
tend to lessen their opposition. The students sent 
a respectful supphcation to Dr. Lewis, deploring the 
want of bishops or ordinaries in England, and insisting 
on the importance of the distribution of faculties being 
placed in the hands of impartial and experienced persons 
conversant with English affairs, but above all not in 
the hands of the Jesuits. They finally implored Dr. 
Lewis to take the duty on himself.^ Cajetan, the 
Cardinal Protector of the College, seconded their petition 
to the Pope. The petition was unsuccessful, but it 
showed Parsons the danger that threatened the Society 
from the settled hostiUty of the Bishop of Cassano, 
and made him more determined than ever to oppose his 
elevation to the College of Cardinals. Sixtus V. did not 
fill the vacancy, but his successor, Clement VIII., 
decided to offer the Cardinal's hat to Dr. Lewis. Before 
the Consistory, at which the formal election would take 

of his will with three Cardinalls, and we ever have been frends, 
though some evill disposed did seeke to seperat us for their owne 
gaine and ill purposes. And now there is such a stincking stirre 
in Flanders, Spaigne and Rome, to make Father Parsons Cardi- 
nal!, and so by consequente to exclude me, that it is allmost 
incredible. But yet it is so, thoughe it be lick to have no effect, 
but the discovering of Ambition, the blotting of that blessed 
Religion, and discord among our nation and persecution against 
me least I step before and stand betwene them and the fire. 
The doers of this are but two or three of our nation, which tumble 
all up and downe. All the rest, best and wisest, do love and 
honor me. And in this Court it is raerveilled at of strangers 
high and low. They say I am an Italian, that I passe not for the 
Nation, that I am Britannus and not verus Anglus. That I will 
never returne into Inglande if it weare Catholick : false impudent 
Mes and slanders. . . . Indeed I ^m 61 years old, and am not 
therefore Uke to see Ingland. ... I seeke not to be Cardinall, 
because I know not, 'An ille status expediet et saluti animae meae 
conveniat' ." 

^ Vide Law's Conflict, Introduction, p. xxix. 


place, could be held, the Bishop died, in October 1595, 
having just missed attaining the summit of his ambition. 
Death once more had come to the aid of the Society. 
The last obstacle in Parsons' way seemed to have 
disappeared. He was left, the one strong man among 
the Catholic exiles — ^bold, daring, experienced, a firm 
friend and a bitter foe. Another disturbance in the 
Roman College gave Parsons a unique opportunity of 
displasdng his tact and power. He called the mal- 
contents together, he reasoned with some and expostu- 
lated with others. His knowledge of men and affairs 
gave him a dominant advantage over the callow and 
inexperienced youths. They were charmed by his 
courteous manners, his sweet reasonableness, and his 
tactful sympathy. They gladly yielded to his per- 
suasions, and Parsons won a signal personal triumph. 
In 1598 he was appointed, for the second time. Rector 
of the College, a position which he fiUed till his death 
in 1610. 

Parsons, in 1598, occupied a strong and seemingly 
impregnable position. His old foes were dead or 
broken ; he was in Rome, holding an important of&ce, 
and possessing the ear of the Pope and the Cardinals' 
College. He was trusted by the King of Spain, and 
could always depend on his support in an emergency. 
He was the founder of most of the EngHsh Colleges 
on the Continent ; Douay was under Jesuit influence ; 
he himself was Rector of the Roman seminary. The 
avenue to the English mission field lay through the 
Society of Jesus. One thing more was wanted. The 
English students at Rome had deplored, in 1594, the 
lack of bishops in England. Parsons decided on a 
daring and novel experiment. In March, 1598, he 


induced the Pope to appoint Father George Blackwell, 
a man entirely under his influence, Archpriest over the 
Catholic clergy in England. It is not for a Protestant 
writer to dwell on the embittered controversy which 
followed — a controversy whose merits are still to some 
extent in issue among modem Catholics. The " Wis- 
beach stirs," or the dissensions which broke out in 1595 
between the Jesuit prisoners at Wisbeach Castle and 
the Secular priests who were their fellow-prisoners, were 
now repeated and emphasised in the " Archpriest 
controversy," which finally led to the famous appeal 
to Rome of the Secular clergy against the domination 
of the Jesuits. All that need be recorded of these 
squabbles here is that the Welshmen engaged in either 
dispute were invariably arrayed against the Jesuits.^ 

But these efforts of the Welsh Catholics, consistent 
and long-continued though they were, would probably 

' E.g., in addition to the two Bennetts, Roger Cadwallador, 
who was afterwards hanged, in 1610, at Leominster, was one 
of the " appellants " in 1600. One of the most interesting of 
the Wisbeach prisoners was Jonas Meredith, one of the leaders 
of the Welsh faction in the Roman College in 1579 {Dom., Eliz., 
ccxli. 26 ; ib. 1596 ; ib. cclvi. 91). Meredith was committed 
to prison in 1586, and opposite to his name Thomas Philipps 
wrote " worthy to be hanged " (Dom., Eliz., cxcv. 72, Dec. 1586). 
He must have been arrested almost immediately upon landing 
in England, for earlier in the year Thomas Rogers wrote to 
Walsingham from Paris : " Morgan and Paget have sent Jonas 
Meredith, at the Queen of Scots' expense, to Rome to salve their 
credit, impaired lay Arundel and his party. He sent articles to 
get Meredith into the Inquisition " (Dom., Eliz., vol. xxix. p. 167, 
Add.). Meredith seems to have escaped the Inquisition only to 
be imprisoned in England. In 1588, Anthony Bacon begged for 
his release from Walsingham. " Powel and Jonas Meredith of 
Wales," he wrote, " prisoners only for religion " (Dom., EUz., 
vol. XXX. p. 251, Add.). But Meredith was not released, for 
he is mentioned as being at Wisbeach in 1592. Vide also S.P.O., 
Dom., EUz., vol. ccxxxviii. No. 181. 


have been ineffectual, but for the revival of the English 
Benedictine Order in the early years of the seventeenth 
century. The life and labours of John Roberts, monk 
and niart}^:, have at last received something like due 
recognition at the hands of Catholic historians,^ though 
none of them seems to have reaUsed how far racial 
feeUngs and prejudices dictated his course of action. 

John Roberts was bom in 1575 in Trawsfynydd in 
Merionethshire. At St. John's College, Oxford, he was 
contemporary with two men who afterwards became 
famous ecclesiastics. One of them was John Jones, who 
was bom in the same year as Roberts, in Llanfrynach 
in Brecknock, and who was afterwards known " in 
religion " as Father Leander. The other was Jones's 
room-mate,* William Laud, afterwards Archbishop 
of Canterbury. Another of his contemporaries (and 
probably a friend) * at Oxford was David Baker, also 

^ Vide, e.g., Bede Camm's Life ; Downside Review, vol. xiv. 44 
seq. ; Taunton's English Benedictines. 

^ He is mentioned as Laud's " chamber-fellow " in Laud's trial 
{Works of Laud). 

' Baker probably knew Leander Jones — for Llanfrynach is not 
far from Abergavenny. It is certain that they were, in after 
Ufa, intimate friends. As Leander was in the same College as 
John Roberts, and a room-mate of Laud's, it is more than probable 
that the four were familiar at the University, though the three 
were senior in academical standing to John Roberts. Roberts 
matriculated at St. John's in 1595 ; Leander Jones in 1591 ; 
Baker in 1590. Leander, however, became Fellow of the College, 
and was in residence when Roberts matriculated. In spite of 
their English surname, the Bakers of Abergavenny were an 
old Welsh family. Their original name was Sitsilt (Cecil), and 
they were descended, Uke Sir W. Cecil, from Robert Sitsilt, of 
Alltyr5mys. Roger Sitsilt married Anne, the daughter of 
Sir John Scudamore, and the granddaughter of Owen Glyndwr. 
Their son Thomas adopted the name of Baker. {V. Book of 
Golden Grove, c. 655.) Father Augustine Baker was therefore 
eighth in descent from the illustrious Welsh patriot. 


bom in 1575 at Abergavenny, where his father was 
Lord Abergavenny's steward. 

It is curious, and not altogether unprofitable, to 
reflect what influence these four friends exercised on 
each other's subsequent careers. They were, all four, 
men of great capacity and profound learning. As yet 
they were Protestants in name, but Catholic in feeling 
and sympathy.^ Though outwardly conforming, they 
became suspects even in Oxford, tolerant though the 
University has ever been of any leaning towards Rome. 
Leander Jones was sent down from the University on 
suspicion of being a Catholic. Soon afterwards, in 
1596, he met Father Gerard,' the celebrated Jesuit, 
who effected his conversion. He sailed for the English 
College which had recently been established by Parsons 
at Valladolid, but on the way out he changed his mind,* 
and after living in Spain for two years he joined the 
Benedictine Order. 

John Roberts * and David Baker left Oxford to study 
law in the London Inns of Court. Roberts is described 
as " a Lawyer's clerk in FumivaU's Inn," ^ and it would 
seem, therefore, that he intended to be called to the 

^ The Liber Primi Examinis oi Valladolid states that John 
Jones " venit hue 13 Decembris 1596, natus in comitatu Here- 
fordiensi honestis parentibus . . . studuit Oxonii . . . ipse etiam 
semper corde cathoUcus." {V. Camm's Bened. Martyr, p. 286.) 

" Father Gerard at the time was a prisoner in the Chink. 

^ The story goes that while on board the vessel he saw a vision 
which induced him to join the Benedictines. But the story 
cannot be entirely accepted, for Leander arrived at Valladolid 
in Dec. 1596, and only joined the Benedictines in 1598. 

■* Lewis Owen's Running Register. Roberts was only two 
years in Oxford, and therefore left in 1597. Baker commenced 
eating his dinners at Lincoln's Inn (removing thence to the 
Temple) a year or two previously. 

' Lewis Owen's Running Register. 


Bar. In 1598, while on a visit to Paris, he, like his 
friend Leander Jones, was converted by the Jesuits. 
Thence he proceeded to the College at Valladolid.i 
It was not long, however, before he conceived the 
same aversion to the Society of Jesus as nearly all 
the Welshmen of that age seem to have entertained. 
Lewis Owen, the spy,* tells the story with dramatic 
vividness : ^ 

" In the latter end of Queen Elizabeth there was 
but one EngUsh monk living in the world (as the Papists 
themselves do report). . . . And therefore many of the 
English fugitives, residing in forraine countries (who 
were in great hopes to have a full restauration of their 
religion after the Queen's decease), viz.. Dr. Gilford, 
now Archbishop of Rheims in France, Dr. Bagshaw, 
Dr. Smith, Dr. Stephens, and many other Secular 
Priests (who were of a faction against the Jesuits) 
consulted together how to oppose and withstand their 
ambitious encroachments and usurping authoritie. . . . 

' Roberts entered the College at Valladolid on Oct. i8th, 1598. 

* It is certain, from internal evidence, that Lewis Owen was 
friendly disposed to his countryman John Roberts. Dom. Bede 
Camm and Taunton (followed by the D.N.B.) assume that the 
pedigree of John Roberts, of Llanfrothen, given in I-ewis Dwnn's 
Heraldic Visitation is that of the Benedictine monk's father, and 
that John Roberts's son-in-law (the husband of his daughter 
Blance) Cadwallador Owen is identical with Lewis Owen, the spy. 
The assumption is however believed to be ill-founded. The 
identity of John Roberts will be found discussed at length in the 
writer's article in the Cymmrodorion Transactions, for 1901-2, 
App. F. A facsimile letter by John Roberts is also given. It 
is proved that the martjrr had no relationship with John Roberts 
of Llanfrothen, and it is suggested that he may have been the 
grandson of John ap Robert ap Howel of Dol-y-ddwyrid, Festiniog, 
whose pedigree is given in Lewis Dwnn's Heraldic Visitation. 

' Lewis Owen's Running Register, which contains a very full 
and detailed account of the incident. 


They solicited many of the English students that then 
lived in any of the English colleges or seminaries in 
those foreign parts to become religious monks of the 
Order of St. Benet. . . . Whereupon one John Roberts, 
who . . . was then a student at the English College 
at Valladolid, by the perswasions of these men, went 
out of the same college. ..." 

It is perhaps impossible now to discover how far Dr. 
Gifford and the rest were directly responsible for the 
severance of John Roberts's connection with the Jesuits. 
The probabilities are strongly in favour of the statement 
which is roundly made by Lewis Owen. We know 
that Dr. Gifford was keerJy opposed to the Jesuits.^ 
Dr. Smith, as we have seen, was bitterly detested just 
about this time by Parsons.* The Jesuits themselves 
looked upon the English fugitives in Flanders as " a 
fountayne of fomentacon," ^ and later on Parsons 
ascribes the foundation of the Benedictine College at 
Douay to anti- Jesuit machinations.* The fact that the 
two Oxford Welshmen — Roberts and Leander Jones — 
should have left the Jesuits and joined the Benedictine 
Order about the same time ^ is surely not without 

• Vide, e.g., Owen's Running Register and Gifford's letter to 
Throgmorton on March loth, 1595, which has already been cited. 
Gifford had gone to Rome as Allen's chaplain when the latter 
was raised to the Cardinalate in 1587, and had been introduced 
into Borromeo's household by Dr. Owen Lewis. 

' State Papers, Dom., Eliz., vol. xxxiv., Addenda, n. 42, ii. 
" Parsons to Father Garnet, July 12th, 1598 (Archpriest 
Controversy, Camden Society, i. 27). 

* Add. MSS. Brit. Museum, No. 21,203, folio 16, quoted in 
Law's Jesuits and Seculars, cxxv. 

' Roberts joined the Order of St. Benedict at ValladoUd in 1599 ; 
Leander in October of the previous year at St. Martin's Abbey, 


Upon leaving the College, Rolierts took refiige in a 
Benedictine Abbey close by. The Jesuit fathers pursued 
him with complaints against his character. He was 
accused of heinous sins, and the Abbot who had sheltered 
him became alarmed. Roberts assured him that the 
charges were false, and that his accusers would receive 
him back in the College with open arms if he were 
wiUing to return. He was bidden to put his assertion 
to the test. He did so, and was welcomed back with 
gladness. The Abbot was convinced that Roberts 
had been traduced, and when he fled once more from 
the College, the Abbey gates were thrown open to 
him, and he was admitted into the Order of St. Bene- 
dict. Presently the Benedictines determined to send 
missionaries to England. " Whereof Father Roberts 
was the first that had his mission from the Pope . . . 
which made him not a little proud that hee should be 
a second Augustine Monke to convert and reconcile his 
countrymen to the Roman Anti-Christ. ... At length 
(having obtained, or at least usurped — for he was of 
an aspiring spirit — the title of a Provincial^ of the 
English Benedictine Monks then resident in England, 
who were not many) he became very famous among the 
EngUsh Papists." ^ 

But the revival of the Benedictine Order in England 
was soon seen to be impossible so long as all the English 
Seminaries on the Continent were in the hands of the 
Jesuits. Roberts, therefore, with that instinctive ten- 
dency to found a college which marked the Welsh 

' The title of " Provincial " was only used at a later date, and 
John Roberts never actually assumed it {v. Taunton's English 
Benedictines, vol. ii.), but John Roberts probably exercised 
authority over the other Benedictine monks in England. 

" Lewis Owen's Running Register, p. 89. 


Catholics of that age as well as the Welsh Protestants 
of our day, determined to estabhsh a Benedictine 
Seminary at Douay. One of the men who directed his 
attention to this work was John Ithell, a Welshman, 
who was a chaplain of Notre Dame.^ Among his most 
powerful supporters were Dr. Gifford, Dean of Lille, and 
his old college contemporary, Leander Jones. In 1605 
the Benedictine College of St. Gregory's at Douay was 
opened. The effect was great and far-reaching, if we 
may accept the conclusions of modem Catholic writers. 
" The securing of the foimdation of the monastery," 
according to Mr. Edmund Bishop,* " was the breaking, 
the breaking beyond the hope of repair, of the net that 
with steady, long skilled, and inexorable hand, was 
being drawn round the clergy to render them helpless 
captives." " The establishment of St. Gregory's once 
for all broke down," says the most recent historian of the 
EngUsh Benedictine Order, ^ " the monopoly hitherto 
existing, and by degrees the Clergy emancipated them- 
selves " ; and the same writer goes on to say that " in 
the well-nigh three centuries that have passed since 
its foundation, St. Gregory's can point to a past, taken 
all in all, such as many an ancient abbey might envy." * 
That the revival of the Benedictine Order, and the 
establishment of St. Gregory's, were the culmination 
and final embodiment of the Welsh protest against the 

' He is probably identical with the " John Ishell " who is 
sometimes mentioned in CathoUc writings. Ithell was a native 
of the diocese of Llandafi, and was ordained in 1581. Foley, vi. 
730 ; Welldon's Notes ; Taunton's English Benedictines. 

2 Downside Review, vol. xvi. p. 34. 

' Taunton's English Benedictines, ii. 67. 

^ St. Gregory's, Douay, was the predecessor and parent of 
St. Gregory's Downside. 


Jesuit policy is clear. Immediately Parsons heard of 
the project of founding the College at Douay, " he drew 
up a memorial setting forth, as usual, the crimes of 
his adversaries. They were men, he said, who were 
notorious for their share as students in the rebeUions 
and disorders of the Roman College. They had entered 
among the Benedictines only to vex and oppose the 
Jesuits. They had, in England, sided with the Appel- 
lants {i.e. in the Arch-priest controversy), they were in 
treaty with an heretical Government, and one of them 
at least had defended the oath of allegiance." ^ 

When we remember that " the rebeUions and disorders 
of the Roman College " were due to the Welsh and 
EngUsh feud, that the Bennetts — the leaders of the 
Welsh faction at Rome in 1594-6 — ^were active sup- 
porters of the appellants, that the two most prominent 
of the Benedictine converts were Roberts and Leander 
Jones, and that they were also mainly responsible for 
the estabhshment of St. Gregory's, it will be easy to 
understand the settled aversion of Parsons to Welsh 
students at the College at Rome. Nor can there be 
any doubt that the Benedictines were opposed to the 
emplo3?ment of physical force for the conversion of 
England. Lewis Owen, the spy, was perhaps at this 
time in the inner counsels of the monks. His baseness 
had not been discovered, and he was Ukely, as the 
feUow-countryman and neighbour of John Roberts, to 
be entirely trusted. In his Unmasking of Popish Monks 
he says : ^ " Our new upstart English Benedictine 
monks would have the world beheve that their Order 
first planted the Christian reUgion in this land, and 

1 Quoted in Law's Conflict of Jesuits and Seculars, cxxv. 

2 P. 12 (published in i6z8). 


that the monks of their Order were ever godly and 
rehgious men, and therefore not to be ranked with the 
Jesuits, who are great Statesmen, for they (good monks) 
meddle not with matters of state, or with king's affaires." 
John Roberts had done much, but there was one 
thing which he had omitted to do. There was only 
one Benedictine monk left in England at the beginning 
of the seventeenth century, one Buckley, called in 
religion Father Sigebert,^ and perhaps himself a 
Welshman. He was the sole survivor of the West- 
minster Congregation, the last representative of the 
oldest Order, the repository of its storied past, and 
the link which kept unbroken the succession from 
Augustine of Canterbury. Curiously enough, it was 
again a Welshman that came to the rescue — David 
Baker, of Abergavenny, the friend and contemporary 
of John Roberts and Leander Jones at Oxford.* After 
leaving the University, Baker was called to the Bar. 
His uncle, his mother's brother. Dr. David Lewis, was 

^ It is not known where Sigebert Buckley was born. In the 
list of Wisbeach prisoners he is allocated to Staffordshire, but 
that may have only indicated that he was ministering in that 
county. The Buckley family in North Wales gave one or two 
of its members to the work of CathoUc propaganda. 

' Baker's mother was a daughter of Lewis ap John, the Vicar 
of Abergavenny. Baker was educated at Christ Church Hospital, 
London, and Broadgates HaU College, Oxford. He matriculated 
in 1590 ; in 1597 he entered CUfford's Inn and the Inner Temple. 
In early life he was irreligious, and it was only a sudden shock, 
caused by a narrow escape from death, that turned his thoughts 
to religion. He was reconciled to the Catholic Church by a 
priest named Richard Lloyd. In 1619 he went to Rheims, where 
he was ordained by GifEord. He wrote Apostolatus Benedictorum 
in Anglia in Enghsh, and Father Leander turned his notes 
into Latin. He was the author of several other works, dealing 
with asceticism and the history of his Order. He died of the 
plague in London in 1641. 


one of the Judges of the Admiralty, and Baker himself 
became Recorder of his native town. Being converted 
to Catholicism, Baker abandoned his profession and 
gave himself up to a life of prayer and meditation. 
He became known for the rigour of his asceticism, and 
for the depth of his historical learning. Coming across 
Buckley, his legcd training enabled him to realise the 
importance of maintaining the succession of the Order 
of St. Benedict in England unbroken. On November 
2ist, 1607, two secular priests and novices — Sadler and 
Maihew — ^were received by Father Sigebert as members 
of the Benedictine Order, and shortly after David 
Baker was admitted by the old monk. This gave the 
Order a very real advantage over its rivals. It could 
now claim descent from the original converters of 
England. It made it a national English institution. 
It was henceforward no mere foreign body, owing 
allegiance to alien ecclesiastics. It was an English 
Order, and, as such, ready and willing to obey the 
sovereign in temporal matters. It had its roots in the 
past, and its history was the history of religion in 
England. Fantastic and unreal as such a conception 
may appear to be to some Protestants who appeal to 
the individual conscience and not to tradition and the 
authority of the Church, it was one of vital moment 
and direct significance to men whose every instinct 
and training had taught them to attach the gravest 
weight to such considerations. It is not a mere coin- 
cidence that in these memorable matters the Jesuits 
should have been thwarted and checked by the efforts 
of Welshmen.^ Their educational monopoly, and their 

1 The part which Father Augustine Baker played in the pre- 
servation of the succession of the English Benedictine Order 


pre-eminence in England, were irreparably shattered 
by the timely revival of the Benedictine Order ; and 
that revival was primarily and mainly due to the energy 
and foresight of the Welsh Catholics. At first, no 
doubt, the hostility of the Welsh to the Society of 
Jesus was based for the most part on personal con- 

But as time went on, and the policy of the Jesuits 
developed under the forceful guidance of Aquaviva 
and Parsons, that opposition became more enUghtened 
and dispassionate. Welshmen could not and did not 
forget the part which the Jesuit Fathers had played 
in the racial feud which had broken out in the 
Roman College in 1579. Nor can it be supposed that 
they were oblivious of the fact that Elizabeth Tudor 
had Welsh blood in her veins. Just as the Bishop 
of Ross and the Bishop of Dunblane ^ always supported 
the pretensions of the Stuarts to the succession of 

has not been always understood by Catholic writers. Sweeney, 
in his Life of Baker, disagrees with Father Cressy's statement 
(Life of Baker) that Baker was " the chief instrument in bringing 
about the restoration of the English Congregation. He was 
in Italy at the time that Father Preston and Beech were active 
in their labours for this end. He was not admitted to profession 
nor aggregated till some time after Fathers Sadler and Maihew " 
(p. 25). The statement of facts is correct, but Taunton {English 
Benedictines, ii. 72-8) has shown that it was " Baker who had 
first conceived the idea of the continuation of the ancient English 
Benedictine line. ... In spite of difficulties and delays. Baker 
was destined to be the sole direct link, by immediate profession, 
between the old Congregation and the new." Father Augustine 
himself has told how he first conceived the idea by picking up 
" an old printed ' Turrecremata ' upon owr rule . . . among the 
booksellers of Duck Lane " (quoted in AUanson's M.S. History 
of the English Congregation, and printed by Taunton, vol. ii. 
PP- 74-5)- 

' Vide English Fugitives, p. 51 ; Froude's Hist, of England. 


the English throne, whether their representative was 
Catholic or Protestant, so the Welsh CathoUcs insisted 
that the English sovereign should be a descendant 
of the Tudors, whatever his rehgion might chance to 
be. This racial affection for the Cymric dynasty gave 
point and force to the vaguer feeling of distrust of an 
armed invasion and hatred of Spanish rule, which was 
entertained by men like Griffith Roberts and Thomas 
Morgan. As long as Owen Lewis Uved, he was looked 
upon as the embodiment of this feeUng and the leader 
of the Welsh CathoUcs on the Continent. When his 
followers were left, at his death, with no effective 
opponent to Parsons, the genius of three Welshmen 
raised an insuperable obstacle to Jesuit ambition by 
reviving the Benedictine Order. 

Long and glorious though its traditions were, it could 
not rival, however, the Society of Jesus, in recent achieve- 
ments. While the Order of Benedict was represented 
by a few old and broken monks, the vigorous Society 
of Ignatius was sowing the land of Britain with the 
blood of martyrs. From the death of Campion the 
Jesuits were looked upon as the most devoted and 
self-sacrificing of the CathoUcs. The Benedictines had 
a great history, but they had no modem martyrs. 
The culminating glory of John Roberts's services to 
his faith came in 1610. He had been four times im- 
prisoned in England, but he had always been released 
through the intercession of highly-placed friends. He 
had been expelled in 1606, but four years later he took 
his Ufe in his hands and returned. He was arrested 
not long afterwards in Holbom, over against Chancery 
Lane, and on December 8 he was hanged, drawn, and 
quartered at Tyburn. The founder of St. Gregory's 


became its proto-martyr.^ He not only sealed his testi- 
mony with his blood, but he opened a new and noble 
chapter in the annals of his Order. His successor as 
Prior of St. Gregory's was Father Leander, whose name, 
says a modern writer, " will ever be illustrious in the 
annals of the English Benedictines as one of their 
greatest men — one who was a lover of his brethren and 
of his country." ^ For over twenty years he remained 
Prior of St. Gregory's, and Professor of Theology and 
Hebrew at the University of Douay. In 1634 he came 
over to England on the invitation of his old friend and 
room-mate at St. John's, who had by this time become 
Archbishop of Canterbury. Laud was anxious, if 
possible, to secure Catholic re-union by reconciling the 
Church of England with the Church of Rome. To many 
earnest and sincere minds such a consummation seemed 
feasible at the time. No one could be expected to 
have greater influence with Laud than his old friend 
Leander Jones ; no one could be found with a more 
conciliatory temper or with a finer sense of the Umits 
to which concession could go. The last service which 
Father Leander did to his Church was to endeavour to 
arrange the terms of re-union.^ Before a reconciliation 
was, or could be, brought about, Leander Jones breathed 

1 George Gervaise is the only monk of the O.S.B. who is men- 
tioned as having been martyred before Roberts. Gervaise died 
in 1608, Roberts in 1610 (Pollen's Acts of the Martyrs, 381). 
His remains were taken secretly to Douay, with the exception of 
his right leg, which was intercepted on the way and buried in 
St. Saviour's, Southwark, by the orders of Archbishop Abbot, 
and an arm which was buried in his old monastery of St. Martin's 

" Taunton's English Benedictines, ii. 161. 

' For an account of the negotiations, see Taunton's English 
Benedictines, ii. 118-161. 


his last, in London, in December, 1633.1 With him 
perished the last hope of Laud. Events were marching 
rapidly. The tide of Puritanism was rising day by 
day. It had even then reached the shores of Wales. 
WiHiam Wroth, of Llanfaches, was preparing to found 
the first Puritan Church in Wales, in the heart of CathoUc 
Monmouth.2 The death of Father Augustine Baker 
in 1641 closed this most interesting chapter in the 
history of Wales. Other Welshmen after him died 
in the old faith ; but he was the last Welsh Catholic 
who played a large part in the history of Catholi- 
cism in England. For some time to come Welshmen 
remained as sheep without a shepherd. The Great 
Rebellion left few Uving witnesses to the ancient religion 
of Wales ; the restored Monarchy, while it sent Philip 
Evans, the Jesuit, to the scaffold, left Vavasour Powell, 
the Puritan, to rot in the Fleet Prison. But the light 
that was kindled by the early Puritans in Wales was 
never extinguished. It was fanned into fierce flame 
by the Methodist Revival of the eighteenth century. 
For a century and a half Wales has been as uncom- 
promisingly Protestant as it was once devotedly Catholic. 
It is not my function — even if it were possible — to 
adjust praise or blame, to judge, and still less to condemn. 
I have endeavoured to place the facts, not so much on 
record — for that has already been done — as in their 
proper setting. It would not become a Protestant 
writer to take side in Catholic controversies, or to decide 
between the Jesuits on the one hand and the Welsh 

1 He is said to have died " hated by none but by the puritans 
and Jesuits " {Athenae Oxoniensis, ii. 604, Bliss edition). 

2 Though Wroth began to preach in the Puritan fashion about 
1630, he did not actually start a dissenting cause until 1639 
(Rees's History of Protestant Nonconformity in Wales, p. 41). 

W.M.W. K 


Catholics on the other. But Welshmen cannot, at 
least, be denied the satisfaction of pointing out, not 
only that the Welsh policy has been justified in our 
own days,^ but that even in those far-off days of trial 
and exile, their countrymen allowed no personal regrets 
for the land of their birth, no sense of injustice at their 
undeserved exUe, no resentment at the torture and 
execution of some of their noblest compatriots, no 
impatient anger at the waste of their hves, to dim their 
faith in the final inevitable triumph of truth, or to lessen 
their regard for the freedom of the little nation from 
which they were sprung, and the larger kingdom with 
which they had been incorporated. 

1 See, for example, the answers of Father Vaughan, S.J., in his 
action against the Rock Newspaper Company, reported in the 
Times of June 4, 1902. Cf. Simpson's Life of Campion, p. 343 ; 
Froude, Hist, of Eng. vol. xi. c. 63 ; Macaulay's Hist, of Eng. 
vol. i. pp. 355 seq ; Law's Conflict of Jesuits and Seculars. 



The Welsh people, as they gladly welcomed the poUtical 
union with England, notwithstanding the many griev- 
ances which it brought in its train, were equally ready 
to accept the religious settlement which the Tudors 
effected. They clung to the old faith and practices, 
but loyalty to the Welsh dynasty prevented any Pil- 
grimage of Grace, or even a plot, to be organised in 
Wales against the Reformation.^ For over a hundred 
years after the breach with Rome, no Protestant Non- 
conformist Church was founded in the Principality. 
The Established Church had the field entirely to itself. 
Cathohcism decayed and withered through lack of 
priestly ministrations. Dr. Griffith Roberts in 1585, 
in his preface to the Drych Cristionogawl, bewailed the 
ignorance of the younger generation. " I hear," he 
wrote, " that many places in Wales, yea, whole counties, 
have not a single Christian within them, but live like 
animals, most of them knowing nothing of righteousness, 
but merely keeping the name of Christ in memory." The 
wholesale spoliation of Church property led to a scan- 
dalous amount of pluralism. There was no real attempt 
on the part of the Government to force the beneficed 
clergy to maintain curates, though a Plurahties Act was 
passed as early as the reign of Edward VI. Individual 
* Cf. Owen Edwards, Wales, p. 340. 


Churchmen, both lay and clerical, did their best to 
battle against the diificulties with which the Reformed 
Church was confronted. Sir John Price of Brecon 
and William Salesbury translated portions of the Bible .^ 
In 1563 an Act of Parliament was passed, probably at the 
instigation of Dr. Richard Davies, the Bishop of St. 
David's, who had taken refuge in Geneva during the 
Marian persecution, directing the four Welsh Bishops 
and the Bishop of Hereford under penalties to prepare 
a Welsh edition of the Scriptures by 1566. In the 
same year a patent was granted to William Salesbury 
and John Waley for the sole printing in the Welsh 
tongue for seven years of the Bible, the Book of Com- 
mon Prayer, and the Homilies. The translation of the 
Prayer Book was undertaken by Richard Davies, and 
the New Testament by William Salesbury, with the 
assistance of the Bishop and of Thomas Huet, Precentor 
of St. David's. The Prayer Book was issued in 1567 
and was followed in the same year by the New Testament. 
In 1588 appeared Dr. William Morgan's Welsh Bible, a 
monumental work in which he was assisted by Dr. 
David Powel, the Vicar of Ruabon, Archdeacon Edmund 
Prys, Dr. John Davies of Mallwyd, and others. Arch- 
bishop Whitgift and Gabriel Goodman, a native of 
Ruthin, who had been appointed Dean of Westminster, 
rendered pecuniary aid.^ Bishop Morgan's translation 

^ Sir John Price's Yn y llyvyr hwnn (1546) contained transla- 
tions of the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and two 
or three verses from the New Testament. Salesbury's Kynniver 
llith u ban (155 1) consisted of the Epistles and Gospels as they 
are found in the Book of Common Prayer. 

' For a complete account of the various editions of the Welsh 
Bible, see Ballinger's Bible in Wales, prefaced by an excellent 
" Address " by Sir John Wilhams, and an exhaustive " Intro- 


became the canon of Welsh prose, for the Authorised 
Version of 1620, edited by Bishop Parry, was largely 
founded on it. Its stately diction, its scholarly accuracy, 
its pure and idiomatic style, and its sonorous eloquence 
have never been surpassed in any language. Parry 
removed some of the " Hebraisms " which were thought 
to mar Bishop Morgan's text, but modern Welsh scholars 
are by no means certain that the Authorised Version 
was an improvement on its predecessor.^ In 1621, 
Archdeacon Prys published his rhymed version of the 
Psalms, which became at once popular and is even still 
not entirely unknown. In 1630 " the Uttle Bible " ^ was 
published at the expense of two London Aldermen of 
Welsh extraction. Sir Thomas Middleton and Rowland 
Heylin. This was the iirst time that a Welsh Bible 
became available for the people. Bishop Morgan's 
Bible and Bishop Parry's Authorised Version were 
designed only for use in the parish churches.^ Great, 

1 See Chapter III. of Ballinger's Bible in Wales. Parry 
followed the EngUsh Authorised Version of 1611. " Selyf " 
became " Solomon," " Suddas " became " Judas " (the " J " was, 
however, first used by Stephen Hughes), " Caersalem " became 
" Jerusalem," etc. The un- Welsh form of " Yr lesu " (6 'IrjcroOs) 
was adopted in place of " lesu," and the English idiom " efe a 
atebodd ac a ddywedodd " took the place of " efe gan ateb a 
ddywedodd." It is claimed that Bishop Morgan anticipated 
some of the amendments of the Revised Version. 

* For a full and interesting account of the " Bibl bach," or 
" y Bibl coron " (so called from its price being 5s.) see Chapter III. 
of the Bible in Wales. It has been stated that 1500 copies were 
printed and that Cradock and Powel found about 1000 copies 
in the printer's hands in London twenty years later. But I have 
been unable to find any confirmation of this tradition. 

3 Estimates vary as to the number of copies printed. Dr. Rees 
puts the figure of Morgan's Bible at 600 ; Sir John Williams in 
the Preface to the Bible in Wales seems inclined to beUeve 
that 1000 copies of each edition were printed. The number of 


and indeed priceless, as was the value of this work, it 
was all (with the exception of the Authorised Version) 
done through the initiative and piety of individuals, 
not " in consequence of the Act of Parhament, nor of 
commands from the Queen." ^ The only attempt to bring 
the Bible to the homes of the common people was made 
possible through the generosity of two London laymen. 
But the people had, owing to lack of educational 
opportunities, sunk into woeful ignorance. They, for 
the most part, could not read Welsh and they under- 
stood little or no English. Vicar Pritchard's rhymes 
are full of allusions to the contrast between Wales 
and England. 

Pob merch tincer gyda'r Saeson 
Feder ddarllen Uyfrau mawrion 
Ni wyr merched Uawer scweier 
Gyda ninne ddarllen pader. 

Big books can well be read 
By an English tinker's daughter ; 
In Wales a squire's daughter 
Cannot even read her ' pater.' 

Rowland Vaughan, Caergai, in the introduction to 
the Ymarfer o Dduwioldef (1630) almost echoed the 
words of the old Vicar .^ 

There were few " preachers of the word." John 

ecclesiastical parishes in the four Welsh sees and of " border 
parishes " in igoi was 1014 (Report of the Welsh Church Com- 
mission, p. 6). It could scarcely have been less than 900 in 1588. 

^ See Note 3, page 142. 

" " Mwyaf peth, sydd yn dyfod yn erbyn ein hiaith ni ydyw, 
anhawsed gan y Cymru roddi eu plant i ddyscu, fel y maen well 
gan lawer dyn fod ei etifedd yn fuwch yn ei fyw na threuho 
gwerth buwch i ddyscu iddo ddarllain ; ac ni cheir yn Lloegr 
nemmawT o eurych (tinker), neu scubwr simneiau na fedro 
ddarUain, ac na fyddo ai lyfr dan ei gessel yn yr Eglwys, neu yn 
ei ddarllain pan fyddor achos." 


Penry never ceases to complain of the " dumb minis- 
ters." ^ It WcLS indeed the settled policy of Elizabeth 
to discourage preaching, lest the existing settlement of 
religion might be disturbed. Whitgift's successors were 
no more favourably disposed to the exercise of what 
might become a dangerous gift. They had always 
before their eyes the awful example of Presbyterian 
Scotland. It is no wonder, therefore, that the condition 
of the people became worse as time went on. Vicar 
Pritchard states that not one in a hundred of his country- 
men could read the Bible. The author of Carwr y 
Cymry (1631) gives an even worse description of the 
condition of Wales. " Yea, give me leave, my dear 
brethren, to teU you (a thing I am sorry to be compelled 
to say) that there can be found in every one of the Sees 
of Wales 40 or 60 churches, with no one in them on 
Sundays in the long summer days, when the roads are 
driest and the weather is mildest." ^ John Edwards, 

'■ George Owen, in his " Dialogue " (Owen's Pembrokeshire, 
ui. p. 98) gives a better account of the state of Pembrokeshire. 
Penry, in his Humble Supplication (1587), had said that " at 
this day we have not 12 in all our country that doe discharge 
theire duty in any good sort." Owen, to " confounde a shameless 
mann," stated that " there is within this sheere eight or ten 
Godly and I^med ministers and Preachers of the GospeU which 
travell and laboure in the Lordes vinearde." PhiUimore [Ecc. 
Law, i. 1023, ed. 1873) says of the clergy of the time of Elizabeth 
that being ignorant and not affected to the Reformation they 
were not allowed to preach without a licence, but were only 
permitted to read the homilies. See also Owen's Pembrokeshire, 
vol. iii. p. 99 n. 

''■ The author is unknown, but as the book was an appeal to the 
Welsh clergy, it has been assumed [e'.g. by Rees, p. 194, and 
Rowlands, p. 210) that he was " a pious clergyman." Rowlands 
in his Bibliography suggests the author was the Rev. OUver 
Thomas of Oswestry, who signed the Covenant in 1647. Dr. Rees 
is wrong in ascribing the publication of the book to the year 1677. 
A second edition appeared in that year. 


in the preface to his translation of the Marrow of Modern 
Divinity (1651), states that " of the home-keeping 
Welshmen, yea, among the scholarly noblemen, yea, 
among the educated clerics, scarcely one in fifteen can 
read and write Welsh." He goes on to say that he 
had never seen more than five printed Welsh books.^ 
In 1646 Cradock, in a sermon delivered before the 
House of Commons, said that " in thirteene counties 
(of Wales) there should not be above thirteene con- 
scientious ministers who in these times expressed 
themselves firmly and constantly faithful to the ParUa- 
ment, and formerly preached profitably in the Welsh 
language twice every Lord's day." ^ In the same 
year, in the preface to his Catechism, The Scripture's 
Concord, Vavasour Powell stated that " having finished 
this httle Catechism in English, it is translated into 
Welsh for my dear and soul-hungering countrymen, 
who have not to my knowledge any, excepting one (if 
one) of this nature, nay, far worse, have not of godly, 
able Welsh ministers, one for a county, nor one Welsh 
Bible for 500 families." ^ Another, writing in 1649, 
witnessed that " among 20 families there can scarce 
one Welsh Bible be found and as for the English Bible, 
in the family where any is, it is but uselesse in respect 
of the generalitie of those which know nothing and 
understand nothing in that tongue." * 

1 The translator of Madruddyn y Difynyddiaeth Diweddaraf 
was a Monmouthshire man who bewails his imperfect knowledge 
of Welsh, because he had been born on the banks of the Severn, 
" where English has the upper hand over the British." 

' The Saints Fulness of Joy, p. 34. 

' Quoted in Rees's Nonconformity, pp. 68-9. 

' " Sail y Grefydd Gristnogawl," quoted by J. H. Davies in the 
Transactions of the Liverpool Welsh Society, 1897-8, p. 67. 


To this condition, then, had Wales been brought 
after one hundred years of the Protestant Reformation. 
The evidence of the degeneration of the people is over- 
whelming in volume, and as it is derived from such varied 
sources, it cannot be Ughtly set aside as exaggerated, 
still less as untrue. The magnitude of the evil, however, 
roused the conscience of earnest men. The day of the 
" hot-gospellers " was about to dawn — some of them 
men trained in the schools of Oxford and Cambridge, 
others " mean fellows " of no great learning, tailors, 
shoemakers, labourers, but all of them fired by genuine 
enthusiasm for the salvation of souls and the glory of 
God. They were rejected by the Estabhshed Church, 
and they were sometimes evilly entreated by their 
countrjmien. But they saved the soul of Wales, and 
wrought a greater miracle than they themselves knew. 

Macaulay, in one of his most incisive passages, con- 
trasts the wise comprehension of the Church of Rome 
with the narrow exclusiveness of the Church of England 
in their dealings with enthusiasts. He describes how 
not infrequently in England a poor tinker or coal- 
heaver becomes " converted," and after emerging from 
the Valley of the Shadow of Death, " there arises in his 
mind a natural desire to impart to others the thoughts 
of which his own heart is fall, to warn the careless, to 
comfort those who are troubled in spirit." But though 
" he has no quarrel with the establishment, no objection 
to its formularies, its government, or its vestments," 
the Anglican Church wiU have nothing to do with him, 
and he is driven into Nonconformity. " Far different 
is the policy of Rome. Place Ignatius Loyola at Oxford. 
He is certain to become the head of a formidable seces- 
sion. Place John Wesley at Rome. He is certain to 


be the first General of a New Society devoted to the 
interests and honour of the Church. Place St. Theresa 
in London. Her restless enthusiasm ferments into mad- 
ness, not untinctured with craft. She becomes the 
prophetess, the mother of the faithful, holds disputations 
with the devil, issues sealed pardons to her adorers, 
and lies in of the Shiloh. Place Joanna Southcote at 
Rome. She founds an order of barefooted Carmelites, 
every one of whom is ready to suffer martyrdom for the 
Church : a solemn service is consecrated to her memory ; 
and her statue, placed over the holy water, strikes the 
eye of every stranger who enters St. Peter's." ^ 

If that be the record of the Established Church in 
England, it is little wonder that in Wales she was even 
less successful. If it be a rhetorical exaggeration to 
describe Wales as "a nation of Nonconformists," it 
cannot be denied that the majority of religious people 
belong to the Free Churches,^ and that the literature, 
education, and culture of Wales for the last two centuries 
and a half have been dominated and even transformed 
by the influence of the dissenting sects.* Yet there 
never has been a reUgious movement in Wales which in 
its origin was consciously Nonconformist. John Penry, 

' Macaulay : Essay on Ranke's History of the Popes. 

- The Royal Commission reported in igio that the number of 
Nonconformist communicants was 550,280, and of Church 
communicants 193,081 (p. 20). 

^ leuan Brydydd Hir, or leuan Fardd ac Offeiriad — as he 
preferred to style himself — and who was by no means favourably 
disposed to Dissenters or Methodists, thus wrote in 1776 : " Y 
mae yn dra hynod for yr ychydig lyfrau Cymreig ag sydd yn 
argrafEedig, wedi cael eu trefnu a'u Uuniaethu, gan mwyaf, 
gan ymwahanyddion, ac nad oes ond ychydig nifer wedi eu 
cyfansoddi gan ein hyffeiriaid ni es mwy na chan mlynedd ; a'r 
rhei'ny, ysywaeth, yn waethaf o'r cwbl o ran iaith a defnydd." 
The late Chancellor Silvan Evans commented upon this passage 


the " poor young man, born and bred in the mountains 
of Wales," who was " the first, since the last springing 
up of the gospel in this latter age, that laboured to have 
the blessed seed thereof sowed in those barren moun- 
tains," and who, in 1593, sealed his testimony with his 
blood, was at first anxious and ready to obtain a com- 
mission from Parliament to preach the gospel " in his 
dear country of Wales." ^ It was only after he had 
been haled before the High Commission for this offence, 
and Archbishop Whitgift had brutally denounced his 
opinions as heretical, that Penry became a bitter oppo- 
nent of the Episcopacy. After the pubUcation of the 
Martin Marprelate tracts (1588-1589), Penry fled to 
Scotland. When he returned in 1592 he was an 
avowed " Separatist." ^ Similarly, the founders of the 
Independent sect in Wales had originally no quarrel 

in 1876 as follows : " Pa fodd y dichon pethau fod yu wahanol, 
tra y mae yr esgobion estronawl, y rhai sydd yn llywodraethu jnr 
Eglwys Gymreig, yn gorthrymu, ac yn erlid, ac yn Uethu pob 
gwr eglwysig a ryiygo wasanaethu ei genedl drwy gyfrwng y 

^ Penry's last letter to Lord Burleigh, cited in Rees's History 
of Nonconformity in Wales, p. 28. Penry in his Supplication 
(1586) anticipated the policy of the Long Parliament and appealed 
to Parliament to employ lay preachers in Wales. His Petition 
was presented to Parliament by Edward Downley, M.P. for 

' In his Exhortation (1588) he wrote, " Away with these 
speeches. How can we be provided with preaching ? Our 
livings are impropriated — possessed by non-residents ! Is there 
no way to remove these dumb ministers but by supplication 
to Her Majesty, and to plant better in their stead ? . . . You 
never made account of your tithes as of your own. For shame ! 
Bestow something that is yours to have salvation made known 
to you." This was a great advance on his original plan two years 
before to get Parliament to subsidise preachers, and himself 
to be a Parliamentary missioner in Wales, as Walter Cradock and 
Vavasour Powell afterwards were during the Commonwealth. 


with the articles, the liturgy, the government, or the 
ceremonies of the Church of England.^ The saintly 
William Wroth had been Rector of Llanfaches for 
thirty-nine years when in 1639, being deprived of his 
living for irregular preaching, he founded the first 
Nonconformist Church in Wales. He had no wish to 
leave the fold of the Church. When remonstrated to by 
Bishop Field of Llandaff about his uncanonical prac- 
tices, he replied " there are thousands of immortal souls 
around me thronging to perdition, and should I not 
use aU means likely to succeed to save them ? " It was 
the reflection that " immortal souls were thronging to 
perdition " that was the compelling force with him, as it 
had been with John Penry, and as it was to be with 
hundreds of devoted men in the years to come. He 
had been in aU ways, except in the matter of irregular 
preaching, a faithful servant of the Church, and when 
he came to die in 1642, he directed that he should be 
buried, not in the meeting-house whose first minister 
he was, but in the chancel of the church where he had 

^ Cf. the Rev. Grififith Jones, himself the son of an Independent 
deacon : "I must also do justice to the Dissenters in Wales, 
and will appeal for the truth of it to all competent judges, and 
to all those themselves who separate from us . . . that it was not 
any scruple of conscience about the principles or orders of the 
EstabUshed Church that gave occasion to scarce one in ten of 
the Dissenters in this country to separate from us at first, what- 
ever objections they may afterwards imbibe against conforming. 
No, sir ; they generally dissent at first for no other reason than 
for want of plain, practical, pressing, and zealous preachings in 
a language and dialect they are able to understand ; and freedom 
of friendly access about their spiritual state. When they come 
(some way or other) to be pricked in their hearts for their sins, 
and find none . . . that will deal tenderly with their souls and 
dress their wounds, they flee to other people for relief, as dis- 
possessed demoniacs will no longer frequent the tombs of the 
dead " {Welsh Piety for 1741, p. 12). 


laboured for more than half his life.^ The second Welsh 
Independent, William Erbery, after acting as a curate 
at Newport, was for ten years or so Vicar of St. Mary's, 
Cardiff. He was proceeded against for irregularities 
at the same time as Wroth in 1634, and he was also 
deprived of his living in 1638. He formed an Inde- 
pendent Church at Cardiff, somewhat reluctantly, out 
of respect (he afterwards wrote) to the advice of Wroth. 
When the Civil War broke out he fled to England, where 
he became Chaplain to Major Skippon's regiment. He 
fell away from the Independents, and adopted strange 
mystical views akin to those of the newly-formed sect 
of Quakers. But he retained to the last his reverence 
for William Wroth. He recalled in 1652 with genuine 
emotion the godly fellowship that gathered round that 
venerable Apostle at Llanfaches. " What Ught and 
labour in the spirit was there ! How heavenly-minded ! 
What holy language among them ! What watching ! 
What prayers night and day in the way they went, in 
the work they did, at their plough ; everywhere in 
private that spirit of prayer and pureness of heart ap- 
peared. Nothing of ordinances was then mentioned." ^ 
Towards the end of his life, he became a real Noncon- 
formist, in the sense that he disbeUeved in the connection 
of any Church with the State. Erbery's curate at 
Cardiff in 1632 was Walter Cradock, who was described 
by Laud in a letter to the king, on the authority of the 

1 Walter Cradock was also buried in the chancel ol the church 
in his native parish, Llangwmucha. 

^ Erbery's Apocripha, p. 8. After his death in 1654 his widow, 
Dorcas Erbery, became a Quakeress. In The Shield Single, 
written by an Independent preacher, Henry NichoUs, Erbery is 
said to have come under the influence of Roger WilUams of Rhode 


Bishop of Llandaff, as " a bold ignorant young fellow." 
His licence was taken away from him in 1633. He spent 
the next six years preaching in various parts of Wales 
and the border counties. For a year he acted as curate 
at Wrexham, and Morgan Llwyd o Wynedd was one 
of his converts. When driven out of his cure, he took 
refuge in Shrewsbury, and found a powerful protector 
in Sir Robert Harley, the grandfather of Lord Oxford, 
Queen Anne's Tory Prime Minister, at Llanfair Water- 
dine. He preached often in Radnorshire and Mont- 
gomeryshire, and one of his earliest converts was 
Vavasour PoweU. In 1639 he became Worth's assistant 
at Llanfaches, but he had to fly to Bristol in 1643, taking 
his flock with him, and on the faU of that city, he went 
to London. Gradually he was driven to adopt more 
advanced opinions. One of his bitterest critics reports 
a sermon which Cradock preached in London, and which 
shows that his views were not unhke those of Roger 
Williams of Rhode Island.^ " In that day," he said, 
" there should be no ordinances to punish men for 
holding opinions : there should be no confession of 
faith ; there everyone should have the liberty of their 
conscience . . . and in that day neither episcopacy nor 
presbytery^ nor any others should intermeddle or 
invade the rights of the saints." ^ But up to the time 
of his death in 1659 he was in receipt of state pay. He 

'■ Roger Williams is often erroneously described as a Welshman, 
who was bom at Maestroiddyn Fawr, in the parish of Caio in 
Carmarthenshire. The error arose through confounding him 
with Rodericus Williams, who was educated at Jesus College, 
Oxford. Roger WilUams was educated at Cambridge, and 
was a Cornishman. 

* Cf. Milton : " New Presbjrter is but old priest writ large." 

' Edwards, Gangraena, part iii. p. 163 (a.d. 1646). 


was a faithful supporter of Cromwell and parted company 
with Erbery, Vavasour Powell, and Christopher Love.^ 
Vavasour Powell was preparing for the Church ministry, 
when he fell under the influence of Walter Cradock. 
In or about 1654 he joined the Baptists, and opposed 
Cromwell's assumption of the title and office of Lord 
Protector. But he, like Cradock, received State pay 
till the Restoration, and in his autobiography, written 
while lodged in the Fleet Prison, where he died in 1670, 
he admits that he had been in constant receipt of tithes. 
Nor was even Morgan Llwyd ^ averse to the connection 
of State and Church. Perhaps in some ways the most 
advanced of the Welsh Puritans was John Myles, the 
founder in 1649 "^ ^^^ Baptist Church at Ilston near 
Swansea,^ and after the Restoration, of a Baptist Church 
in a new Swansea, near Boston, in Massachusetts. But 
throughout the Commonwealth he held the living of 

1 Love (1618-1651) was born in Cardiff, and at the age of 
fourteen was converted by Erbery. He received Presbyterian 
ordination in Scotland, but came back to labour in London. 
In 1651 he was condemned for high treason and executed on 
Tower Hill, Aug. 22nd. He confessed that he had been in 
correspondence with Queen Henrietta Maria and had been 
plotting for the return of the Stuarts. 

' J. H. Davies, in his masterly " Introduction " to the works 
of Morgan Llwyd (pp. 49-50), inclines to the behef that Llwyd 
gave up the incumbency of Wrexham some years before his death 
in 1659. But there can be no doubt but that he was in his early 
years in receipt of State pay. J. H. Davies (p. 44) has rescued 
two stanzas by Huw Morus, not before published, in which Vava- 
sour Powell and Morgan Llwyd are mentioned, evidently as the 
most notable Puritans in North Wales. 

' Dr. Joshua Thomas in Hanes y Bedyddwyr supposes that a 
Baptist cause at Olchon, on the borders of Herefordshire, was 
started in 1633. Dr. Thomas Rees {History of Nonconformity, 
p. 90) states that the Church founded in 1649 at Ilston was 
the first Baptist Church in Wales. For his proofs, see passim. 


I shall not attempt in this chapter to write the history 
of the progress of Nonconformity in Wales. It is suffi- 
cient for my purpose to show that the earliest religious 
reformers of Wales originally had no object in view 
except the saving of souls. If Laud, who wrought 
for a reconciliation with the Roman Church, had ap- 
preciated the wise poUcy of that historic institution, 
if he had striven to retain the services of Wroth, and 
Erbery, and Cradock, with the same zeal which he 
displayed in driving them out, it is conceivable that the 
robe of Christ might have remained seamless. After 
the Civil War, it was perhaps too late, though it is at 
least arguable that even in 1662 a policy of compre- 
hension might stQl have succeeded. After the Act of 
Uniformity, there was no hope of reconciliation. Bishop 
Lloyd of St. Asaph (afterwards of Worcester and London) 
did make a politic and genuine effort to induce Philip 
Henry ^ and other dissenting ministers to conform, 
and the Bishop of Llandaff offered episcopal ordination 
to the illustrious Samuel Jones of Brjmllywarch.^ But 
these and similar attempts came too late, and came to 
nothing. Nonconformity grew in power and strength, 
and the gulf fixed between it and the Establishment 
became wider with the revolving years. 

In spite of the strenuous efforts and the evangelistic 
zeal of the Puritan fathers, the people of Wales did not 

' Philip Henry, the father of Matthew Henry, the commentator, 
was a native of Briton Ferry, Glamorganshire, but spent the 
whole of his ministerial life in North Wales. 

' Samuel Jones was the most erudite of the Welsh Puritans. 
As to the Bishop's offer, see Rees's Nonconformity, p. 232, seq. 
He had been evicted from the living of Llangynwyd in Glamorgan- 
shire in 1662. He founded an academy from which eventually 
emanated the Presbyterian College of Carmarthen. That dissent 
was caused by Church Government, i.e. the refusal to allow 


take kindly to the new faith. Huw Morus bewailed the 
disappearance of the merry old days before the civil 
dissensions.^ In another poem he ridiculed the mockery 
of a religious service held in the parish church by Round- 
head soldiers.^ Dr. Rees, who is not disposed to under- 
estimate the success of the Welsh Puritans, found it 
" impossible to form a correct idea of the number of 
Nonconformists in Wales " at the end of the Common- 
wealth. " The gathered churches," he states, " were 

" irregular " preaching, and not by doctrinal differences is shown 
by the verses by Stephen Hughes which prefaced his 1672 edition 
of the Welshman's Candle. 

Gwir GonSormist oedd dy feistyr 

Ac am hynny ni'th 'sgymunir 

Ni throi'r amat ti yn haerllug 

Waeth dy daclu gan ffanatig. 

Mae d'ail feistyr yntau'n dala 
HoU athrawiaeth y Gymanfa 
O Eglwys Loeger, gan ei thraethu 
Ym mhob tyrfa y del iddi. 

Mae e'n traethu ei hathrawiaeth 
Er na leica mo'i disgyblaeth ; 
Ond nid yw'n cyhoeddi hynny 
Ble mae'n arfer o bregethu. 

1 Pan oeddwn i'n fachgen. My youth it was a. merry 
Mi a welais fyd llawen, time, 

Cyn codi o'r genfigen flin filen Ere came these broils so 

yn fawr vain, 

I ladd yc hen lywydd To kill the King and change 
A dewis ffydd newydd the faith 

Ac Arglwydd afionydd yu And a restless Lord to reign, 

* Gwr gwych 3^0 ei gleddau A red-coated soldier, with 

A chwilia'r 'sgrythyrau sword at his side, 

Ac a fama fel ystus rhwng Mounts the church pulpit the 

beiau ar y bar. scriptures to read, 

A hwn er na ddwedo He sits on the Bench when 

Na phader na chredo offenders are tried, 

A i'r pwlpud i focio'r hen And apes the old Vicar sans 

picar. pater or creed. 


above twenty in number, containing from two to five 
hundred members each." ^ But the importance of the 
Puritan movement in Wales must not be estimated by 
the number of adherents. To the Puritans belongs the 
credit of arresting the steady process of the degeneration 
of the people. It was their work, as it will be shown in 
the next chapter, that stayed the decay of the Welsh 
language. It was owing to their pious zeal that the 
poorer classes of Wales were taught to read the Scrip- 
tures in their own tongue. They did not live to see the 
fruits of their labour. But they were the first to sow 
the good seed which " like the shakings of the ohve 
tree, was destined to new life after many days of 
burial." ^ 

The Restoration brought with it the Uniformity Act 
of 1662, which resulted in the eviction of 2000 ministers 
from their benefices. It is said,^ though the evidence 
is somewhat defective, that over one hundred of them 
were Welsh incumbents. The barbarous penal statutes 
against Nonconformists — the Test Act, the Conventicle 
Act, the Five Mile Act, the Corporation Act — ^bore 
hardly on the tender plant of dissent in Wales. The 
Toleration Act of 1689 revived the drooping cause, and 
Dr. Thomas Rees claims that there was a perceptible 
and even marked increase in the number of members 
of the Dissenting Churches in Wales during the first 
thirty-five years of the eighteenth century.* But the 
energy of these Churches was dissipated by internal 
factions and barren controversies, sometimes about 

^ Hist, of Nonconformity, p. 119. 

" Stubbs, Const. Hist. vol. iii. 

^ Rees, History of Nonconformity in Wales, p. 153. 

* Ibid. pp. 274-280. 


recondite points of theology, sometimes about the 
efficacy of sacraments, sometimes about church govern- 
ment, and again about such ordinances as infant bap- 
tism. The old missionary zeal departed ; and after the 
early Methodists had revived the consuming enthusiasm 
of the " hot-gospellers," the Dissenters were nick- 
named the " senters sychion." ^ They no longer went 
into the highways and bye-ways to compel sinners into 
the way. They were content to hold their disputations 
within doors. They were startled out of their spiritual 
sloth by the portent known as the Methodist Revival. 
Two young men, living in different counties, unknown to 
and unconnected with one another, and with no well- 
defined object in view other than to " labour in the 
Lord's vineyard," — Howell Harries and Daniel Row- 
lands — commenced a new mission in 1735. To Howell 
Harries may be assigned the glory of being the founder 
of Welsh Methodism. Born in Trevecca in 1714, he 
was destined for the ministry of the Church. He spent 
one term in Oxford, but found his work waiting for him 
in his native county and never returned to the University. 
He began to exhort and teach in his native parish. 
His fame soon spread abroad, and zealous Dissenters 
like Edmund Jones of Pontypool and David Williams 
of Watford got into touch with him and invited him 
to come and preach to their flocks."'' Early in his apos- 
tohc career he notes in his Diary that " by this time I 
gained acquaintance with several Dissenters, who kindly 

1 " The dry Dissenters." In South Wales to-day the Welsh 
Independents are known, in common parlance, as " Dissenters," 
a term which is never applied to any of the other Nonconformist 
denominations. At the first Methodist Association at Watford 
in 1743 the Dissenters were charged with " luke-warmness." 

2 V. Rees's Nonconformity, c. v. 


received me into their houses." In 1737 he happened 
to hear Daniel Rowlands, curate of Llangeitho, preach 
in Devynock Church, and his " heart burned with love 
to God and to him. Here began my acquaintance with 
him and to all eternity it shall not end." Powerful as 
was the ministry of Howell Harries, Rowlands surpassed 
him in the splendour of his preaching power. " Though 
I have now been favoured with hearing and reading the 
works of many of God's ministers," Harries records 
in his Diary, " I do not know, so far as I am capable of 
judging, that I have known any so favoured with gifts 
and powers." The two young men, not yet thirty 
years old, became fast friends and comrades in the 
good work. Whitefield wrote to Harries in 1738, John 
Wesley prayed for him, Griffith Jones encouraged and 
stimulated his ardour. In 1743 the first meeting of the 
Welsh Methodist Association was held at Watford, and 
the second was held in May of the same year in Car- 
marthenshire. At the latter they enHsted their most 
illustrious recruit. William Williams of Pantycelyn, 
near Llandovery, was the son of an Independent deacon. 
He was sent to Vavasour Griffiths' academy at Llwyn- 
llwyd to prepare for the medical profession. One 
Sunday, which will ever be memorable in the history of 
Wales, the young student heard Boanerges ^ thunder 
out his flaming message in Talgarth Churchyard to an 
unregenerate people. ^ He threw up the plans that had 

1 Williams, in his elegy, thus described Harries's preaching. 

Yn y daran 'roedd e'n aros, 
Yn y cwmwl 'roedd ei le, 

Ac yn saethu oddi yno allan 
Fellt ofnadwy iawn eu rhyw. 

2 Dr. Rees is wrong in saying (p. 353) that Harries preached 


been made for his future. Henceforth he was resolved 
to be a physician of souls. In 1740 he was ordained by 
the Bishop of St. David's, and for three years he served 
as curate to the Rev. Theophilus Evans at Llanwrtyd. 
But there was little in common between the scholarly 
author of The Mirror of the Early Ages ^ and the fiery 
soul who had already consecrated himself utterly to 
the service of God and man. He joined the Methodist 
Association, and Harries, in a flash of inspiration, bade 
him sing the songs of Zion.^ They were also joined by 
the Rev. Howell Davies, a young clergyman of Pembroke- 
shire. Years after other clergymen of the EstabUshed 
Church, such as Peter Williams (1746), David Jones, 
Llangan (1768), Thomas Jones of Creaton ; and' — the 
greatest of them all — ^Thomas Charles of Bala (1785), 
became associated with them. At the time of the 
" secession " from the Established Church in 1811, there 
were no less than twelve or thirteen ordained clergymen 
among the members of the Association. 

Once again the Church of England in Wales was given 
an opportunity of reconciling herself with the people 
to whom she was supposed to minister. Once again 
the opportunity was lost. Howell Harries, though he 
was refused episcopal ordination, and though he was 

from his father's tombstone. Williams's testimony in his elegy 
is conclusive. 

Dyma'r fan tr'wy' bjrw mi gofiaf 

Gwelais i di gynta' erioed 

O flaen porth yr eglwys eang 

Heb un twmpath dan dy droed. 

'■ Drych y Prif Oesoedd. 

2 After all present at the Llanddeusant Association had tried 
their hands at hymn-writing, Harries is stated to have said 
" Williams bia'r canu." 


guilty of uncanonical conduct in preaching in uncon- 
secrated places without a licence from a bishop, lived 
and died a faithful member of the Established Church. 
As early as 1744 some of the Methodists were in favour of 
seceding. One of the members of the Association has 
left it on record that " the Methodists had once all of 
them agreed to depart from the Church of England 
excepting Mr. Howell Harries, who opposed their design 
with all his might." ^ At the first meeting of the 
Association at Watford in January, 1743, with White- 
field in the chair, it was decided that the brethren should 
continue to receive the sacrament in the Church.^ On 
April 17th, 1744, a resolution was passed by the Associa- 
tion at Glan-yr-afon-ddu in Carmarthenshire to the effect 
that " we agree to communicate in the parish Churches, 
and to advise people to do so." * Daniel Rowlands, 
in spite of his " irregular " practices, remained a minis- 
ter of the Established Church to the end of his days, 
though it is said that he had been inhibited from exercis- 
ing his priestly functions by the Bishop of the Diocese. 
Wilhams of Pantycelyn, a few weeks before his own 
death, thus sets out the doctrinal position of his friend 
and leader. 

Mae ei hoU ddaliadau gloew 
Mewn tair credo gryno glir : 
Athanasius a Nicea 
Yng nghyda'r Apostolaidd wir : 
Hen erthyglau Eglwys Loegr, 
Catecis' Westminster fawr, 
Ond yn benna'r Beibl santaidd 
D' wynodd amynt oleu wawr. 

1 Thomas Morgan's MS. cited in Rees's Nonconformity, p. 367. 
^ Rees's Nonconformity, p. 363. 
' Ibid. p. 366. 


It is evident from the poet's warmth of tone that he 
was in thorough accord with Rowlands. Indeed, 
WiUiams in all his manifold writings — and he was no 
mean theologian — shows himself to be in doctrine an 
orthodox evangeUcal Churchman. The clergymen in 
the Association wielded great influence, and for years 
they successfully resisted the movement of the lay 
preachers towards secession. So meticulous were they 
in their zeal for orthodoxy that in 1792 they expelled 
the venerable Peter WiUiams from the Association, 
because he had, in a note on the first chapter of the 
Gospel of St. John, which had been published twenty 
years before, and never repeated, used an expression 
which was said to amount to Sabellianism.^ The Rev. 
David Jones of Llangan, who presided at the meeting of 
the Association at Llangeitho in August, 1810, lost his 
temper when one of the members proposed that some of 
the preachers should be ordained and ordered him to be 
turned out. A few days later David Jones died, and it 
is more than likely that his death was hastened by 
grief at the prospect of the secession of his brethren from 
the Church which he loved and served so faithfully.^ 
At last, however, in June 1811, the crisis came to a head. 
The fateful step was taken at the meeting of the Associa- 
tion which was held at Bala. Eight preachers, including 
the famous names of John Elias and Thomas Jones of 

1 The Rev. Peter Williams was then seventy years of age, and 
had been a faithful and diligent worker in the Methodist cause 
for forty-six years (Rees's Nonconformity, pp. 385-6). SabelUus 
taught in the third century that there was but one person in the 
Godhead, the other persons of the Trinity being but different 
names of the same person. The heresy was condemned by a 
Council at Rome in 260 a.d. 

^ Rees's Nonconformity, p. 426. 


Denbigh, were ordained ministers by Thomas Charles 
and two of the oldest preachers. Two months later, 
at Llandilo, the Rev. John Williams of Pantycelyn, and 
two or three others, ordained thirteen preachers, among 
whom were included David Charles, Carmarthen, 
Ebenezer Morris, and Ebenezer Richard. The breach 
with the Church became complete. Six or seven of the 
clerical members of the Association joined the secession ; 
six refused to leave their old Church, Thomas Charles 
himself was most reluctant to take the final step.^ But 
there was no help for it. If the Established Church had, 
even at the eleventh hour, held out a helping hand in 
Christian charity to her sorely-troubled sons, she could 
have retained within her fold tens of thousands of the 
most godly and devoted men that ever graced the 
sanctuary of the Christian Church. 

Dr. Thomas Rees states that the reason why this 
momentous step was taken was because " many of the 
societies (for lack of a sufficient number of ordained 
ministers) were kept a whole year without having the 
Lord's Supper administered to them. Under such 
circumstances, they would occasionally go to the nearest 
parish churches to receive the ordinance ; but their 
feelings were often shocked at the idea that the ad- 
ministrators were men of such character as would not 

1 In 1 80 1 Charles drew up the " Rules and Objects " among the 
people called the Methodists in Wales. It is there stated that 
the Methodists " do not designedly dissent nor do we consider 
ourselves Dissenters from the Church of England. So far as our 
doctrinal views are concerned, we agree entirely with the Articles 
of the Church of England. All that appears in our reUgious 
customs as tending towards dissent, has taken place of necessity 
not of choice. The formation of a schism, sect, or party is not 
our object, God forbid ! but our own good and the good of our 
fellow countrymen " (Hughes, Life of Thomas Charles, p. 64). 


be tolerated as members of the connexion : and not 
infrequently they would meet there, at the Lord's Table, 
parties whom they had been obliged to expel from their 
fellowship only a few days before for open immorality." ^ 
No doubt this was one of the considerations which 
weighed with most, if not all, of the seceders. The 
scruple of brethren, however, " to receive the sacrament 
in the church, on account of the impiety of the adminis- 
trators and the usual communicants there," had not 
escaped the attention of the Association at its first 
meeting at Watford in January, 1743-* But, as has been 
said, it was determined that they should " continue to 
receive it in the church, until the Lord open a clear way 
to separate from her communion." The lay preachers 
had for years before the final separation been pressing 
hard for fuU ministerial powers, and the pressure did 
not grow less as the fame of John Elias, Ebenezer Morris, 
and Ebenezer Richard spread throughout the Princi- 
pality. But the clerical element in the Association, led 
at one time by Daniel Rowlands, then by David Jones of 
Llangan, and lastly by Thomas Charles, had proved too 
strong for the preachers. But in 1811, after the death 
of Jones of Llangan, Thomas Charles gave way. What 
new fact, then, had arisen which cleared the way for 
separation in 1811 ? The answer is to be found in 
the Vindication which Thomas Charles published in 
1802. In it he describes in clear and unmistakeable 
terms the course to which the Methodists were being 
relentlessly driven. They looked upon themselves as 
members of the Church of England. They repudiated 
the name of " dissenter." When they met to hear the 
sermons of the " exhorters " or " counsellors," to engage 
' Rees's Nonconformity, pp. 425-6. ^ Ibid. p. 363. 


in public prayer, and to fortify their faith by the exchange 
of religious experiences, they did so, not in a " meeting- 
house " or " conventicle," but in a " chapel," which, 
though unconsecrated by a bishop, was to their mind 
only an annexe or mission house of the parish church. 
They only partook of the sacrament in church or from 
the hands of duly ordained clergymen. They were chris- 
tened and married in church, and they were buried in 
the churchyard by the parson of the parish. They 
held the doctrines of the Church of England. They 
believed in the three creeds, of Nicea, of Athanasius, 
and of the Apostles. They were unsound on none of 
the thirty-nine Articles. In order to come within the 
protection of the Toleration Act, dissenters had to 
register their meeting-houses, and their preachers had to 
take out a licence. But the Methodist fathers refused 
to confess that they were dissenters by taking out a 
licence for themselves or register their chapels. Some 
time before 1802 some ingenious persecutors of the 
Methodistical churchmen, more foolish than even the 
bishops, devised and carried out a scheme which they 
fondly believed would stamp out the pestilent pre- 
cisians. They instituted prosecutions against Methodist 
preachers because they exhorted the societies without a 
Hcence and in unregistered meeting-houses. Some of 
the preachers were imprisoned. Thomas Charles men- 
tions the case of one of them who had been imprisoned 
for six months in Dolgelley gaol. In one year nearly 
£100 had been paid in fines. ^ It was this that made 
the situation intolerable. A cruel choice lay before 

^ " Our steady attachment to the EstabUshed Church," wrote 
Thomas Charles, " cost us in fines, in one year, near one hundred 
pounds : for we scrupled to have our places of worship recorded 
and our preachers licensed as dissenters." Hugh Hughes, in his 


the much-tried brethren. Either they must forgo the 
deUghts of spiritual companionship, the communion of 
saints, the uplifting power of extempore prayer, the 
emotional fervour of passionate preaching, and the 
unspeakable joy of devotional and inspiring confidences 
of soul with soul, or they must write themselves down 
as dissenters. They hesitated much and long. But by 
1802 the choice had been made, and the Welsh Method- 
ists, in self-defence, had been compelled to register 
their chapels as dissenting meeting-houses and to take 
out licences for their preachers as dissenting ministers 
under the Toleration Act. The "Secession" of 1811 
was in truth little more than a formal recognition of an 
already existing state of things. That Thomas Charles 
foresaw clearly in 1802 that the Methodists would be 
driven to ordain ministers of their own is shown clearly 
by his statement ^ " that though to episcopal ordination 
we give the decided preference, and think it very desir- 
able, could it be obtained : but how, we would ask, in 
the present state of things, is it to be obtained by any 
of our preachers, though ever so well qualified in learning 
and abUities ? " Even after the final step was taken, 
however, it required all the unique and unrivalled 
authority of Thomas Charles to force the societies in 
many places to acquiesce in the decision to secede from 
the Established Church.^ In very truth, the Welsh 
Calvinistic Methodist connexion was formed in 1811, 

translation of Charles's Vindication (1894), gives the name 
of the imprisoned preacher as Lewis Evan of Llanengan in 
Montgomeryshire . 

' P. 51- 

2 See, e.g., the refractory conduct of the Llangeitho Methodists 
after the secession, in Rees's Nonconformity in Wales, pp. 427-8. 
See also Hughes, Life of Thomas Charles, chap. v. 


not because Thomas Charles and his fellows wanted to 
create a new " schism," but because the rulers of the 
Church stood idly by while lewd men of the baser sort 
of set policy forced them out of the fold. 

The story of the rise and progress of Nonconformity 
in Wales is a veritable romance, which has no parallel 
in any other country. In Scotland Presb3^erianism 
became in early days the established religion ; in Ire- 
land the CathoHc Church had behind it the authority, 
guidance, and world-wide organisation of Rome ; in the 
United States of America and the Colonies there has 
not been for generations an Established Church. The 
fathers of Welsh Nonconformity were for the most part 
uneducated and unlettered peasants who had to con- 
tend, unaided by State or patrons, with the difficulties 
of their work. Some of their most splendid names 
belong to men who would have been ridiculed by Huw 
Morus. John Elias was a weaver ; Christmas Evans a 
farm servant ; Williams o'r Wern a carpenter.^ Wales 
was a poor and sparsely-populated country. Bad roads 
and inhospitable mountains made traveUing difficult. 
On the other hand, the Established Church contained 
all the rich men, the scholars, the wealthy merchants, 
the officials, and the professional men. Every parish 
had its church, the fabric of which was maintained by 
a compulsory Church rate, and its clerg5mian, who was 
in receipt of tithe. To all outward seeming aU was in 
favour of the Establishment and against Nonconformity. 
As Thomas Charles stated in his Vindication in 1802, 

1 Rhai a ddywed yn dduwiol, mai'r Gof sydd ysbrydol, 
Ac eraill, modd gwrol, a ganmol y Gwydd ; 
A rhai syn deisyfu y Crydd i'w ceryddu, 
A'r Ueill yn molianu'r Melinydd. 

Huw Morus. 


" The Church people have every advantage over us, in 
education, in wealth, in numbers, in favour with the 
great ones of the earth, and in all outward things." 
The poor, insignificant sectarians had to compete 
against wealth and culture, education and officialdom. 
They had to plan, create, develop, and maintain a 
national religious organisation. It was too great a task 
to be accomplished in one generation, or through the 
instrumentality of one man or of one school of prophets. 
It is true that Wales has been blessed with a host of 
heroic men, and that not a single generation, from the 
days of WiUiam Wroth down to our own times, has been 
without its strenuous workers for the good cause. But 
the imresting energy of Walter Cradock or Stephen 
Hughes, the flaming eloquence of Daniel Rowlands, the 
matchless poetry of Pantycelyn, the magnetic genius of 
Christmas Evans, the inspired philosophy of WiUiams 
o'r Wem, and the supreme organising capacity of 
Thomas Charles are not sufficient to account for the 
constant and progressive success of Nonconformity in 
Wales. 1 The chief cause which contributed to this 
success was the fact that Nonconformity taught the 
Welsh people to work out their own salvation. It was 
easy work to kindle the sacred fire on God's altar during 
the mighty commotion and spiritual exaltation of a 
Revival. But this was not enough. The fire had to be 
kept burning on the altar in the years of coldness and 

1 Dr. Thomas Rees estimated the number of communicants in 
Protestant Nonconformist Churches in Wales at 283,500 in 1861, 
and 368,700 in 1882. The Royal Commission in its Report in 
1910 found that in 1905 the number of Nonconformist communi- 
cants in Wales was 550,280, and of Church communicants 
193,081 (p. 20). It also stated that the accommodation provided 
by the Nonconformist Churches was for 74 per cent, and by the 
Church for 22 per cent, of the total population of Wales (pp. 56-7). 


spiritual destitution ; the hungry sheep had to be fed 
in the days of famine. In every parish a number of 
people had to combine together to build a chapel, to 
choose a pastor, to elect officers, to arrange finance, to 
act as a court of discipUne — ^in a word, to perform all 
the duties of self-government. The wonder is that, in 
a country as backward as Wales was until our own age, 
such men were found in every parish from generation 
to generation. These simple folk had one single purpose 
before their eyes in all the sacrifices that they made and 
in all the work that they did. Their only object was 
to save souls. But they built wiser than they knew. 
The life of Wales has been transformed and transfigured 
by Dissent. The preservation of the Welsh language, 
the revival of her literature, the awakening of her 
spirituality, the development of her education, even the 
cultivation of her choral singing — perhaps the most 
striking and distinctive feature of her social life — can 
be traced to the fertilising energy of Nonconformity. 
Wales has worked out her salvation in her own way. 
She has fashioned her Free Churches after her own 
model. She has composed her own hymns and sung 
them to her own airs. She has adopted her own form 
of worship and largely her own system of organisation. 
She has discovered and developed her own peculiar 
and distinctive style of pulpit oratory. Nonconformity 
found Wales dereUct ; it has reared up a new nation. It 
found Wales pagan ; it has made her one of the most , 
reUgious countries in the world. It found Wales ignor- 
ant ; it has so stimulated her energies that by to-day 
Welshmen, largely by their own self-sacrifice, have 
provided for themselves the most complete educational 
system in Europe. It found Wales a nation of no 


account ; it has trained and disciplined her character 
so that to-day she is recognised as one of the component 
nations of the United Kingdom, and one of her sons — 
a characteristic product of Welsh Nonconformity, un- 
aided by the culture of the schools — is the first man 
in the Empire, and one of the arresting figures of the 
world. Even the Church, which cast out the founders 
of Nonconformity, has cause to bless the existence of 
its competitor. As the Church of Rome gained in 
spiritual force, in disciphne, and in authority through 
the Protestant Reformation, so the Church of England 
in Wales has been purged of her old abuses — ^her sloth, 
her indifference, her Erastianism — ^by the success of 
Dissent. From the days of Griffith Jones, Llanddowror, 
and Williams of Pantyceljni she has drawn largely from 
Nonconformity. To-day one of the Welsh bishops is 
the grandson of a Methodist deacon. Another remained, 
until he arrived at years of discretion, a member of the 
Methodist connexion : and in her old age, his mother 
went every Sunday from the episcopal palace to the 
village chapel at the gate — an example of true Christian 
charity which we may hope augurs well for the tolerance 
of a new age. The Church of Bishop Morgan and 
Archdeacon Prys, of Vicar Pritchard and Huw Morus, 
of Griffith Jones and Daniel Rowlands, of Lewis Morris, 
Goronwy Owen, and leuan Brydydd Hir, of Alun, 
Glasynys, and leuan Glan Geirionydd, of GwaUter 
Mechain and Carnhuanawc, and of that noblest and 
most far-seeing of patriots. Dr. Rowland Williams, 
cannot fail, in spite of past errors, to excite the regard 
and even affection of Welshmen. The shortsighted 
prejudices of men in high places and the practice of 
promoting aliens to the thrones of Dewi and Teilo, of 


Deiniol and Cyndeyrn, caused the Church to fail in her 
duty in the past. Now that she has recovered her 
Uberty and her leaders will represent her own soul and 
spirit and not the whim or caprice of an English Prime 
Minister, she may yet become — if she be wisely guided 
and if her members be inspired to throw themselves 
heartily and without reserve into all the activities of 
national life — in truth and in fact, the Church of 


How the ancient speech of the Britons, after battling 
for eighteen centuries against three such powerful lan- 
guages as Latin, French, and English, has survived at 
all is a mystery ; the fact that to-day it is more studied, 
more written, and more read than ever it was before, 
is a miracle. For nearly four centuries after the 
" Claudian " conquest of South Britain, Latin was the 
of&cial language. The masterful race, which succeeded 
in imposing its speech for aU time on the provinces of 
Gaul and Spain, pursued its policy of conquest, penetra- 
tion, and assimilation with equal energy in Britain. It 
intersected the country with its great roads, and Sam 
Helen in Wales is as well marked as WatUng Street in 
England.^ There was no portion of Wales that did not 
fall within the sphere of its civilising influence. Car- 
marthen and Carnarvon were its outposts ; its castella 
were scattered all over the country ; the great camps of 
Chester (Deva) and Caerleon (Isca) were its bases.^ The 
Roman steps over the bleak mountains of Merioneth,' 

1 See Prof. Lloyd's History of Wales, c. iii. 

' In addition to J. E. Lloyd's valuable chapter iii. see Prof. 
Haverfield's paper in the Cymmrodorion Transactions, 1908-9. 

' Some doubt has been recently cast on the Roman origin of 
the steps. But there are other evidences {e.g. Caergai) to show 
that the Romans effectively occupied the wildest parts of Wales. 
w.M.w. 289 T 


and the gold mines (Gogofau) of Caio in a wild part of 
Carmarthenshire, remain as monuments of the thorough- 
ness of the Roman occupation. From Rome the 
Christian faith was brought to Britain and to Wales. 
The language of the new religion ^ was necessarily Latin. 
To this day the speech of the people of Wales betrays 
the extent of Roman influence over the life of this 
remote province. The chief occupation of the Britons 
was agriculture. Many of the agricultural terms used 
in Welsh are derived from Latin. ^ Some of the com- 
monest domestic terms have the same origin.^ Natur- 
ally, Latin supplied the names of military weapons.* 
The divisions of the year into months and days were 
adopted from the Romans ; the Winter and May 
Kalends (calon-gaeaf and calan-mai) still survive in the 
ordinary speech of the people ; and for nearly all the 
months of the year, and for all the days of the week, 
the Latin nomenclature was, and is stiU, used. Jt is 
from Latin MSS. that we derive our earliest knowledge 
of Celtic Britain, and " the oldest examples of written 
Welsh are found between the lines and in the margins 
of Latin MSS." ^ We may well conclude from these 

1 The Welsh word for Church, " Eglwys," is derived from 
ecclesia, a Greek word borrowed by the Romans. The English 
" Church " and Scotch " Kirk " are derived from KvpiaKbv, " the 
Lord's House," the term used in the Greek Church, whence it was 
transmitted to Germany and eventually to Britain. 

^ E.g. " cwlltwr " for ploughshare ; " ffos " for ditch ; " mur " 
for wall ; " pont " for bridge. See Lloyd's Hist, of Wales, vol. i. 
pp. 84-7. " Aradr " (plough), " ceffyl " (horse), " tarw " (bull) 
are. Sir J. Morris Jones informs me, derived from a common root, 
but not direct from Latin. 

' E.g. " fiwrn " for oven, " fienestr " for window, " sebon " for 
soap, " cyllell " for knife. 

' E.g. " castell " for fort, " pabell " for tent. 

' Morris Jones, " Taliesin," vol. xxviii. of the Cymmrodor (p. 6). 


facts that as Latin was the language of government, of 
the army, of religion, of scholarship, of industry, and 
largely of the home, the ancient British tongue was in 
process of being absorbed or eliminated.^ But in the 
early years of the fifth century the Emperor Honorius 
recalled his legions from Britain, and gradually the native 
tongue reasserted itself. 

The story of the next six hundred years is one of 
continual fighting against Saxon and Angle, Jute and 
Dane. Time and again Welsh princes had to do homage 
to the foreign overlord. Shortly before his death Harold, 
the last of the Saxons, harried and devastated Wales 
from end to end. But the struggle against the savage 
invaders only served to intensify the love of the Britons 
for their faith, their land, and their language. In the 
fifth century the coming of Cunedda from North Britain 
brought not only a material accession of strength to the 
Biythonic inhabitants of Wales, ^ but by bringing about 
a closer intercourse with the Britons of the north, made 

The whole essay is an absorbingly interesting account of the 
early literature of Wales, with special reference to the Book 
of Taliesin. It affords convincing proof of the unbroken con- 
tinuity of Welsh literature from the sixth century downwards. 

1 " Welsh contains a very large number of Latin loan-words " 
(Lloyd, Hist, of Wales, p. 84). " The Celts had no native alphabet 
or system of writing " {ib. p. 86). Cf. Morus Kyffin's " Anerch " 
in Diffyniad Ffydd (ed. W. P. Williams, pp. vii, viii.), " ag am y 
geiriau Lladinaidd, pwy nis gwyr nad yw'r iaith Gymraec yn ei 
herwydd ddim amgen onid banner lladin drwyddi. Mi allwn 
pe bae gennyf hamdden wneuthyr Uyfr digon ei faint o'r geiriau 
Cymraec arfaredig a fenthyciwyd ..." For a full treatment of 
this matter, see Professor Loth's Les mots Latins dans Us langues 

» For the obscure story of Cunedda Wledig's " conquest " of 
Wales in the fifth century, see Lloyd's History of Wales, pp. ii8- 
121 ; Rhys' Celtic Britain, pp. 118-121 ; Rhys and Jones's 
Welsh People, pp. 9-10. 


the poems of Taliesin, Mjnrddin, Talhaiam, and Llywarch 
Hen, the great bards of the sixth century, known to 
them, and must have acted as a mighty stimulus to the 
native Uterature.^ The Cymry, as they now came to 
call themselves, kept aloof from the pagan Saxons and 
refused even to attempt to convert them to Christianity. 
As the Cymry were driven further and further into 
the corners and extremities of the island, they retained 
their language uncontaminated with Saxon. In the 
Laws of Howell Dda, which were promulgated about 
the middle of the tenth century in Latin and Welsh, 
there are few evidences of Anglo-Saxon influences on 
the hfe or language of the Cymry.^ With the coming 
of the Normans, however, for the first time since the 
Roman occupation, a foreign language, and that the 
most powerful spoken in Europe at that time, began to 
penetrate into Wales. For three centuries it became 
the language of the Court of England, for three centuries 
and a half the language of Charters, and Assizes, and 
Acts of Parliament, and for over six centuries, at first 
whoUy, and afterwards in part, the language of " plead- 
ing " and of the law courts. The Norman lords-marcher 
erected 143 castles in Wales. They spoke their own 
language, and they administered in it their own laws.' 
But while the speech of this dominant and aggressive 
people, who carried the fame of their prowess fi-om 
Scandinavia through Europe to the islands of the Medi- 

' See Morris Jones's " Taliesin," 28th vol. of the Cymmrodor, 
especially pp. 202-232. 

' Nor did the Welsh laws show much trace of Roman influence. 
The only Welsh law term derived from Latin which I can recall 
is " tyst " (witness). 

' The King's assent to the passing of a statute is given even 
to-day in Norman French. 


terranean, has disappeared from this kingdom ahnost 
entirely, the Welsh vernacular has survived, and shows 
few traces that it existed for so long side by side with 
the language of the Norman lords and the troubadours 
of France.^ After three centuries, the language of the 
Norman conqueror and the Saxon subject became amal- 
gamated. The new speech was ennobled in its early 
days by the genius of Chaucer. From that time onwards 
EngUsh proceeded from strength to strength. The great 
Elizabethans made it the repository of the finest litera- 
ture of the modem world. Milton and Dryden, Addison 
and Swift and Steele, Pope and Gray, and countless 
others added to the vast store of its Uterary wealth. 
The French Revolution found its interpreters in Enghsh 
in the mighty voices of Wordsworth and Shelley and 
Bjnron. The Victorian Age gave fresh lustre to its 
resplendent worth. Bacon and Hobbes, Locke and 
Hume, Bentham and Mill made it the language of 
philosophy. From Newton to Darwin a host of great 
discoverers made it the language of science and of 
invention. Gibbon, prince of historians, forsaking the 
vanity that prompted him to write in French, produced 
in it his masterpiece, which opened a new era in the 
study and writing of history. The prose of the great 
Victorians, of Newman and Ruskin, of Landor and 
Froude has never been surpassed. The genius of Field- 
ing and Sterne, of Scott and Jane Austen, of Dickens, 

1 E.g. the Welsh for " drake " is " meilart," and in South Wales, 
where the Norman influence was strongest, the word " cwtsh " 
(for " lie down " ), " cer i gwtsh " — " go to bed," is probably 
derived from the French coucher. Probably the South Wales 
word for "shoe-horn," " siespin," is derived from the French 
" chausse-pied." But the number of words of French origin 
are surprisingly few. 


Thackeray, and George Eliot has written their immortal 
names on " the Western world's illuminated scroll." 
Englishmen have carried their language to the utmost 
ends of the earth. The great young Republic of the 
West, the rising power of the world, has adopted it as 
its common speech. The 300 million natives of India 
commonly speak a hundred different dialects, but English 
has become the lingua franca used by them even in the 
Indian National Congress. Of all languages known to 
mankind, it is the most aggressive. It has penetrated 
not only into every part of the earth, but into every 
domain of human activity. Bacon sent his Advancement 
of Learning to Prince Charles in Latin, because he feared 
EngUsh books could not be " citizens of the world." 
But Enghsh has by this time " conquered regions Caesar 
never knew." Its flag flies over all the seven seas. It 
sweeps over them 

An argosy with portly sail. 
Like signiors and rich, burghers on the flood 
Do overpeer the petty traffickers. 

The Latin poet proudly boasted, " nihil humanum a me 
alienum puto." That motto might truthfully be inscribed 
over the portals of every fairly representative English 
library .1 For five centuries and more, Welsh has lived 
as the close neighbour of this powerful, all-pervading 
language. It has been divided from it by no range of 
Cheviot Hills, still less by a St. George's Channel. For 
centuries EngUsh has crossed Offa's Dyke, and even in 
the poems of Dafydd ap Gwilym {fl. 1350) there are to 

1 So much, perhaps, may be allowed a Welshman, who has 
not a drop of English blood in his veins, and who learned English 
as a foreign language, to say of English literature without pro- 
voking Lord Morley's " good-natured international smile " 
{Politics and History, p. 60). 


be found many \5rords taken from English.^ Yet to-day 
Welsh not only survives as a spoken tongue ; its litera- 
ture is more versatile, and its students and readers more 
numerous, than ever before. I can only repeat, it is a 

This is all the more wonderful when we remember 
the political history of the two nations. Wales was 
subdued by Edward I. in 1282 ; but in the next century 
Dafydd ap Gwilym sang a new song — new in its themes, 
new in its treatment, new in its metre, new in its careless 
and joyous spirit. When the Wars of the Roses stifled 
the muse of England, Llawdden and lorwerth Fynglwyd, 
Dafydd ap Edmwnd, Lewys Gl}^ Cothi, and Tudur 
Aled kept aUve and maintained at a high level the 
traditions of Welsh poetry. When a Welshman was 
crowned King of England on Bosworth Field, it looked 
as if the triumph of Wales over its secular foes had been 
consummated. We have seen how, in the reign of 
Henry VIIL, such changes were made in the relations 
of the two countries that vast material advantages 
inured to the benefit of the smaller and poorer country. 
But those changes were fraught with peril to the lan- 
guage of Wales. The Act of 1535 aimed a deadly blow 
at it. The preamble explained that it was " nothing 
like nor consonant to the natural mother tongue used 
within this realm," and the language which was spoken 
in Britain before the Saxons had left their German 
swamps was thus officially displaced by a hybrid speech 
not two hundred years old.^ The sovereign's policy was 

1 E.g. " Siopiau Sieb " (the shops of Cheapside), " lawnt " 
(lawn), " Ufrai " (livery), " obit " (habit). 

2 We are too often apt to measure the difference between the 
literary repute of EngUsh in Henry VIII.'s time and that of 


directed to the " extirpation " of Welsh. Any official 
who was guilty of the offence of using it was to forfeit 
his office or fees, and that section of the Act has never 
been repealed. Hitherto, the gentry of Wales habitually 
spoke Welsh, and they had been munificent patrons of 
the bards. In the monasteries learned scribes piously 
copied the treasures of the mediaeval literature of Wales, 
and abbots and priors dispensed bounteous hospitality 
to the " cler," ^ the itinerant poets. But all the price- 
less MSS. were scattered at the Dissolution of the Monas- 
teries in 1536, and the fragments which have survived 
only serve to heighten our regret at the senseless van- 
dalism which destroyed for ever so many evidences of 
ancient Cymric culture. The Welsh gentry, when they 
became officials of the EngUsh Government, speedily 
conformed to the conditions laid down in the Act of 
Union. They made haste, not only to acquire a know- 
ledge of English, but to forget and ignore the verna- 
cular. The Salesburys of Lleweny and Plas Isaf, like 
the Herberts, kept up their acquaintance with Welsh. 
William Llyn in his elegy on Sir John Salesbury, one 
of the Justices of the Court of Great Sessions, said of 
him : 

Y Sessiwn gwyddys eisiau The Sessions will miss ere long 
Eich death fron, a'ch dwy- Your knowledge good of either 
iaith frau ! tongue. 

Welsh with their relative positions to-day. No impartial critic 
would draw a comparison unfavourable to Wales between the 
richness of Welsh literature and the tenuity of EngUsh in 1535. 
" Canys yn fy mam i," wrote Dr. Sion Dafydd Rhys in 1592, who 
was versed in French, Italian, and Latin, as well as in EngUsh 
and Welsh, " ydh ym ni y C5rmry yn gystal yn goreuder a' rhai 
goreu (o un genedl) o'r sydh yn y byd, hyd tra bhom ni yn dha 
eyn cynedhfau." 

'■ Dr. Lewis Edwards's Essays, p. 81. 


The greatest of the Salesburys was the translator, 
William Salesbury, who did more for Welsh and Welsh- 
men than any man of his age. But he complacently 
looked forward to the time when only one speech would 
be used in the whole realm. In the Preface to his 
Dictionary {1647), which was dedicated to Henry VIII., 
he echoes the words of the preamble of the Act of Union. 
" What great debate and strife," he said, " hath arisen 
amongst men by reason of diversity of language. . . . 
Wherefore seeing there is many of your Grace's subjects 
in Wales that readeth the Welsh tongue," and in order 
to enable them to learn Enghsh, he was led to pubHsh 
his Dictionary. The aim of both, the king and Sales- 
bury, was the same ; they only differed in their method 
of attaining their object. King Henry thought that he 
could destroy the language " with the spirit of his 
mouth," and by the force of law. Salesbury beUeved 
that the surest way to bring about its destruction was 
by using it els a means to learn a new language to its 

The effect of the enactment of 1535 soon became 
apparent. The " respectable classes," seeing that Eng- 
lish had become the language of officials and officialdom, 
began to despise and scorn the language of their youth. 
Dr. Grif&th Roberts of Milan, who retained his ardent 
love for Wales and Welsh during the forty years of his 
exile in the land of Midian, ridiculed, in his preface to 

^ Mr. W. Edwards, then Inspector of Schools for the Merthyr 
district, in a paper which he read in 1887 before the Cymmrodorion 
Society, gave vent to a similar opinion. " I feel certain," he 
said, " that the life of Welsh will not be appreciably prolonged 
by its recognition in schools. . . . When every Welshman 
knows English as well as he knows Welsh, and there is no nucleus 
of monoglots to act as a preservative, the weaker language will 
then rapidly die." 


his Grammar in 1567, the advent of the Anglicised Welsh- 
man, whom Jack Glan-y-gors two centuries afterwards 
satirised under the nickname of " Die Sion Dafydd." 
" For you will find some," he said, " that no sooner see 
the river Severn, or the clock-towers of Shrewsbury, and 
hear the Saxon say in his tongue ' good morrow,' begin 
to forget their Welsh and speak it with a foreign accent ; 
their Welsh is Englishfied, and their English, God knows, 
is too Welshy." ^ Some years later (1592) Dr. Sion 
Dafydd Rhys, another " ItaUanate " Welshman, who 
had taken his degree in medicine at Sienna, and who 
had settled down to the practice of his profession in 
Brecon, pubhshed his Welsh Grammar — ^the first pub- 
Ushed in this country .^ In the preface he scornfully 
refers to the AngUcised Welshmen. " But the filthy 
lees of Welshmen, if it be fair to tell the truth, are only 
the dregs and corruption and dross and scum of the 
people, and, as it were, the refuse of the country. And 
in the same sort and throne ought to be placed those 
who wish to destroy the language of the Cymry and put 
the language of the Saxon in its stead." ^ Three years 
later (1595), in the preface to his translation of Bishop 
Jewel's Defence of the Church of England, Moras Kyffin 

1 " Canys chwi a gewch rai yn gytrym ag y gwelant afon 
Hafren neu glochdai'r Amwythig a chlywed Sais yn djrwedid yn 
ei iaith ' good-morrow ' a ddechreuant oUwng eu Cymraeg dros 
gof, a'i ddywedid yn fawr eu Uediaeth. Eu Cymraeg sydd 
Seisnigaidd, a'u Saesoneg, Duw a wyr, yn rhy Gymreigaidd." 

2 Griffith Roberts's Dosharth Byrr (1567) was, the first Welsh 
Grammar printed, but it was pubhshed in Milan. 

' " Eithr nid yw y fursenaidd sorod o Gymru, os teg dywedyd 
y gwir, onid gohihon a Uwgr a chrachyddion y bobl a'i brynteion : 
a megis cachaduriaid y wlad. Ac yn yr un orseddfa a chadair 
y dyUd lleihau a gosod y rhai a fynant ddodi a difa iaeth y Cymru 
a dodi iaeth y saeson yn ei He hi." 


refers indignantly to some " clerical person in an Eis- 
teddfod . . . He said that it was not right to allow 
any Welsh books to be printed, but he wanted all the 
people to learn English, and lose their Welsh, saying 
further that the Welsh Bible would do no good but a 
great deal of harm. . . . Could the devil himself say 
otherwise ? Let all say Amen, and no more mention 
ever be made of him." ^ The " clerical person " was not 
alone in this view, nor was this opinion peculiar to his 
age. Dr. Johnson, who was too good a " Conservative " 
and too cultured a man to view with indifference the 
extinction of the Celtic languages of Britain,* wrote in 
his Tour in the Hebrides with ironical scorn of people of 
the same tribe as Kjrf&n's cleric. " Their language [i.e. 
Gaelic)," he said, " is attacked on every side. Schools 
are erected in which English alone is taught, and there 
were lately some who thought it reasonable to refuse 
them a version of the Holy Scriptures that they might 
have no monument of their native tongue." Stephen 
Hughes, in a preface to an edition of The Welshman's 
Candle (1672), refers to a similar objection urged by the 
opponents of Welsh. " And so (they urge) that it is no 

1 " Rhyw wr eglwysig mewn Eisteddfod . . . Yntau a 
ddoedodd nad cymwys oedd adel printio math yn y byd ar 
lyirau cymreig, eithr efe a fynnai i'r bobl ddyscu saesonaeg a 
cholli eu cymraeg, A allai ddiawl ei hun ddoedyd jm amgenach ? 
Doeted pawb Amen, ac na chlywer byth. mwy son am dano " 
(W. P. Williams's edition, 1908, p. xiv. of the author's 

' See Dr. Johnson's Diary of a Journey into North Wales in the 
year 1774, ed. R. Duppa, pp. 80-81. " After dinner, the talk 
was of preserving the Welsh language. I offered them a scheme. 
... I recommended the republication of David ap Rhees's Welsh 
Grammar." Would that the " scheme " had been elaborated, 
but Johnson never expanded his notes of the Tour through North 
Wales into a book. 


good printing any sort of Welsh books," he said, " to 
keep up the language, but that it was right for the 
people to lose their language and learn English. But it 
is easier to say ' mountain ' than to cross it. True it is 
that it would be a very good thing if everybody in 
Wales knew EngHsh." ^ The same objection was con- 
stantly raised against Griffith Jones's circulating schools, 
where the people were taught to read the Welsh Bible." 
But the reply also was always the same. " Who does 
not know," said Kyffin, " how impossible it would be 
to bring all the people into a knowledge of English and 
to forget their Welsh, and how unreasonable in the 
meantime it would be to lose an innumerable amount of 
men's souls." Stephen Hughes, in the preface already 
referred to, makes some shrewd comments on the folly 

' " At hynny yn bamu nad da printio math yn y byd o lyfrau 
Cymraeg i gynnal yr iaith i fyny, ond ei fod yn weddus i'r bobl 
goUi eu iaith, a dysgu saesneg. Haws dywedyd mynydd na 
mynned drosto. Gwir yw mai da iawn fyddai pe tae pawb yng 
Hymru yn deall saesneg." 

* Thomas Charles, writing about 1811, said, "More than 
150 years ago in Wales, the whole country was in a deplorable 
state with regard to the acquisition of rehgious knowledge. 
For a long time previous, fashionable people had been trying to 
stamp out the language of the country, and to have the children 
taught altogether in EngUsh. Against these people, and against 
this state of universal ignorance, the Rev. Griffith Jones of 
Llandowror was raised up. . . . Sure I am, the Welsh charity 
schools do no way hinder to learn English, but do very much 
contribute towards it ; and perhaps you will allow, sir, that 
learning our language first is the most expeditious way to come 
to the knowledge of another. . . . Experience now proves 
beyond dispute that if it be ever attempted to bring all the 
Welsh people to understand EngUsh, we cannot better pave the 
way for it than by teaching them to read their own language 
first." This counsel of common-sense and experience was, 
however, rejected by " educationaUsts " till the closing years 
of the last century, and even now its truth is only partially 
recognised by many education authorities in Wales. 


of the Anglicisers from the common-sense and practical 
point of view. " And if for many generations there were 
1300 educated and conscientious Englishmen keeping 
school at the same time in the thirteen counties of 
Wales to teach English to our feUow countrymen, 
nevertheless it would not be possible for the common 
people of our country to lose their mother's tongue 
during the following five hundred years if the world will 
last as long. Because only a few of our commonalty 
can afford to keep their children in school. And those 
who can be kept there, after learning EngHsh in the 
school, must speak Welsh at home, else they will not be 
understood, and when they grow up to be heads of 
famiUes themselves, it is known that they will have to 
speak Welsh among their family, and generally in the 
fairs and markets — and how then will the Welsh lan- 
guage be lost ? . . . Though very many in our country 
(thanks be to God) can make use of the EngUsh Bible, 
yet things are different with a third part of all Welsh- 
men,^ and there is no possibiUty in many generations, 
nor for all of them, nor to the greater number of them, 
to learn so much EngUsh as to enable them to under- 
stand the Bible in that language, unless God performs 

It was only natural that the spoken Welsh should 
have deteriorated during the generations succeeding the 
Reformation. The monasteries, the free schools of the 
poor, had disappeared, and their place was inadequately 
filled by the few new Grammar Schools founded by 

1 The 1 89 1 Census showed that there were still over half a 
million monoglot Welshmen in Wales. The proportion of 
monoglots had not, therefore, decreased in the two centuries 
succeeding Stephen Hughes. Now, however, the proportion is 
much smaller. 


Edward VI. and Elizabeth.^ Though these schools 
were designed for the education of poor children, the 
language of the schools was English.^ The inevitable 
result occurred. In a short time the schools were only 
used for the education of the children of the middle and 
upper classes. Moms Kylfin's translation of Jewel's 
Apologia has long been recognised as a Welsh classic' 
But he himself in his " Address " to the reader states that 
he had abandoned all the old obsolete words, and had 
chosen the easiest and most vulgar words, so as to make 
his book intelligible to those who only knew the spoken 
Welsh.* Though the words employed may have been 

^ At Brecon, Abergavenny, Bangor, Cowbridge, Presteign, 
Carmarthen and Ruthin (Edwards, Wales, p. 349). Sir Owen 
Edwards is, however, wrong (p. 350) in sajfing that the Master 
of Ruthin School (1595) had to know Welsh. The Warden of the 
Almshouse for old people was to be able to preach Welsh, but 
there was no such stipulation with regard to the Master of the 

' The only Grammar School founded in Wales where Welsh 
was enjoined to be " the language of the school " was the Welsh 
Institution started in Llandovery in 1847 by Thomas Phillips, 
aided by Lady Llanover {then Lady Hall) and others. Arch- 
deacon Williams, great schoolmaster, great scholar, great Welsh- 
man, was the first Warden. This is the language of the Trust 
Deed. " The Welsh language shall be taught exclusively during 
one hour every school day, and be then the sole medium of 
communication in the school, and shall be used at all other 
convenient periods as the language of the school. The primary 
intent and object of the founder, which is instruction and educa- 
tion in the Welsh language, shall be faithfully observed." Alas ! 
The " Welsh Institution of Llandovery " has long been trans- 
formed into " Llandovery College," and " the primary intent and 
object " of the pious founder has been with impunity ignored. 

' W. P. Williams' edition, Introduction, p. 76. 

' " Mi a dybiais yu oref adel heibio'r hen eiriau cymreig yr rhai 
ydynt wedi tyfu allan o gydnabod a chydarfer y cyfiredin, ag a 
ddewisais y geiriau howsaf, rhwyddaf, a sathrediccaf i gallwn, 
i wneuthyr ffordd yr ymadrodd yu rhydd ac yn ddirwystrus i'r 
sawl ni wyddant ond y gymraeg arferedig." 


only those used in common speech, Kyffin was a scholar 
and a linguist. His idiom is pure and his style is so 
polished that the praise which he bestows on Dr. Grif&th 
Roberts as a writer of Welsh, may well be applied to 
himself.^ If, however, we wish to realise the character 
and quality of the Welsh in daily use. Vicar Pritchard's 
verses afford us better evidence, for Kyffin, though the 
deUght of scholars, has never been accounted a popular 
writer. The " old Vicar's " rhymes, however, attained 
national celebrity. Next to the Bible The Welshman's 
Candle was easily the most popular of all Welsh books. 
It was the avowed design of the Vicar to write in the 
ordinary language of the people. He eschewed all 
attempts at literary grace. He consciously and de- 
liberately refused to foUow SaJesbury, who had striven 
to create a literary language differing from the spoken 
language of the people.* The fact that for two centuries 
The Welshman's Candle maintained its unique popu- 
larity in North ' as well as in South Wales shows that 
it was written, as KjrfiBn tried but failed to write, in 
a language which was " understanded of the people." 

* " Darn o waith . . . mor buraidd, mor lathraidd, ag mor 
odidawg ei ymadroddiad, na ellir damuno dim perffeithiach yn 
hynny o beth." 

^ See the author's " letter to the reader " in Rees's edition 

Am wel'd dwfn-waith enwog Salesbury 

Gan y diddysg heb ei hof& 

Cymrais fesur byw cyn blaened 

Hawdd i'w ddeall, hawdd iV 'styried. 
The editor, however, thinks that the reference is not to William 
Salesbury but to Thomas Salesbury, who brought out at his own 
expense the metrical version of the Psalms by Captain William 
Middleton, after the author's death. 

' Daniel Owen in his finest novel, e.g., makes Rhys Lewis' 
mother in FUntshire quote the " old Vicar." 


The most casual reference to the Vicar's verses will 
show the extent to which Welsh had degenerated. 
There is hardly a page in which the reader will not find 
one or more English words, for which to-day there are 
not, in the ordinary speech of the people, Welsh equi- 
valents. Stephen Hughes, writing a generation later, 
complains that his own Welsh is bad, " for you well 
know that, as I write, so we speak in South Wales." ^ 
He beseeches his readers " to take in good part my 
(his) poor Englishfied Welsh, which differs both in words 
and phrases and terminations from the good Welsh 
they have in Gwynedd." ^ But the Welsh of Stephen 
Hughes is as superior to that of Vicar Pritchard as the 
Welsh of another Carmarthenshire man, WilUams of 
Pantycelyn, a century later, is superior to that of 
Stephen Hughes. 

The deterioration in the language was the necessary 
and inevitable result of the changed condition of things 
in Wales. The age of EUzabeth produced excellent 
translations, dictionaries, and grammars, but Uttle or 
no original prose.' Griffith Hiraethog and Sion Brwy- 
nog, WiUiam Llj)n and Owen Gwynedd, William Cynwal 
and Edmund Prys, Simwnt Fycham and Sion Tudur 
and others carried on the poetic tradition in North Wales, 
and though their themes were trite, and their methods 

1 " Canys chwi wyddoch jm ddigon da mai y modd yr ydwyf 
fi yn scrilennu yr ydym ni yn Uefaru yn Neheudir Cymru." 

2 " I gymmeryd mewn part da fy Nghyraraeg wael Saesnigaidd 
i sydd a gwahaniaeth ynddi, mewn geiriau ac ymadroddion a 
diweddiad geiriau a'r Gymraeg dda sydd ganddynt yng Wynedd." 

' Dr. Morris of Clynog's Atkrawaeth GHstnogawl was the 
first original prose work printed in Welsh, under the auspices of 
Dr. Grif&th Roberts at Milan (1568). A supplement Y Drych 
CHstionogawl by Dr. Griffith Roberts was published by Rhosier 
Smith in 1585. 


of treatment were mere imitations of the old masters 
of an earlier and more original age, they not unworthily 
kept the torch of Welsh poesy flaming, and did their 
best to hand it down to the succeeding generation.^ 
But at the end of the sixteenth century, Edmund Prys 
was left almost alone.^ Dr. Sion Dafydd Rhys, in his 
introduction of his Grammar (1392), bewails the selfish- 
ness, the exclusiveness, and the insensate jealousy of 
the bards, who tried to make a mystery of their craft, 
and so stifled the life of the Welsh muse .* In Glamorgan- 
shire the bards of Tir larll still sang after the manner of 
the school which had refused to obey the rules laid down 
in the Carmarthen Eisteddfod of 1451.* Their produc- 
tions have been published, in recent years, by Hopcyn 
and Cadrawd in Hen Gwndidau and Hopcyniaid 
Morgannwg,^ but though these poems are valuable 

1 It should not be overlooked, however, that little Welsh 
poetry was printed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 
Until the Commonwealth only Edmund Prys's metrical version, 
and Capt. Middleton's rendering of the Psalms were pubhshed. 
The poems of the EUzabethan bards for the most part still remain 
unpubUshed, and even the poems of Dafydd ap Gwilym were not 
printed before 1789. 

' Sion Tudur, Simwnt Fychan, and Sion Phylip survived into 
the seventeenth century, and there were other bards of lesser 
note. But all the greater bards may be said to belong to " the 
age of EUzabeth." 

' " GeUir canfod foder ys hirdalmo amser fai mawrarbrydyddion 
a chymreigydhion cymry o barth distriwiad ac aghen yr iaith . . . 
canys cadw a chudhio o' notaynt y rhei hynn, ac ereiU hefyd 
eu Uyfrau a'u gwybodaethau mywn cistieu a Ueoedd dirgel. . . ." 
The whole passage is worth careful study, describing as it does 
how the destruction of many valuable Welsh MSS. came about. 

* Sir John Morris Jones has told in Cymru the real story of 
the Carmarthen Eisteddfod of 1451. The bards of Glamorgan 
withdrew as a protest against the imposition of the twenty-four 
metres of Welsh prosody, and set up the Gorsedd Tir larll. 

* Jarvis & Foster, Bangor. 

W.M.W. u 


as throwing light on the social and religious life of the 
time, as poetry they are not of much account, and not 
a single line which they composed survived in popular 
memory. From 1568 to 1798 no Eisteddfod was held 
in Gwynedd.^ Seven Eisteddfodau were held in South 
Wales in the sixteenth century, but only eighty all told 
attended them. An Eisteddfod was held in Glamorgan 
in 1620, and there were only four present. From 1546 
to 1644 it has been computed that 269 books were 
published by Welshmen or about Wales. ^ Of these 
44 were in Latin, 184 in EngHsh, and 41 in Welsh. Of 
the 41 Welsh books, 37 dealt with religious topics, and 
up to the year 1660, only two original prose works had 
been pubhshed in Welsh, the second being Morgan 
Llwyd's Book of the Three Birds. In the greater part of 
Wales Welsh was being degraded into a mere patois 
which was becoming more and more corrupt, more 
infected with English words and idioms, and sinking 
into the state of inanition that precedes death, because 
it had almost entirely ceased to be the medium of the 
religious aspirations or the literary genius of the people. 
Its retention in that state would have been a real disaster 
to its children. It was of no more benefit to them than 
their rude speech is to the savages of Tierra del Fuego. 
But by the end of the seventeenth century the con- 
dition of things had changed as if by the waving of a 

* This statement is given on the authority of the late Ivor 
James ; but Sir J. Morris Jones is of opinion that some Eistedd- 
fodau were held in taverns in the seventeenth century. 

^ This was the computation of the late Ivor James, sometime 
Registrar of the Univ. Coll. of South Wales, about 1888, in the 
Red Dragon magazine. But so many fresh discoveries have 
since been made that the estimate will have to be revised when 
a new and authoritative bibliography of Welsh books, which is 
long overdue, has been issued. 


magic wand. The language was purified, an appreciable 
number of the people were taught to read, and they 
began to appreciate the value of their opportunity. 
In 1677 a second edition of Agoriad byr Weddi'r 
Arglwydd, " A short introduction to the Lord's Prayer," 
appeared. It had been first pubhshed in 1600. It was 
translated from the English of William Perkins, one of 
the Cambridge Puritans, by the Rev. Robert Holland, 
the Rector of Llanddowror. The producer of the 
second edition (Stephen Hughes), in his " Letter to the 
Reader," explained that he had amended the text 
because " it is nearly 80 years since Mr. Holland's book 
was first printed, and as with Enghsh, so with Welsh, 
the language has been greatly purified since that time." 1 
In the first half of the seventeenth century there was 
practically no market for Welsh books. Only 1500 
copies of the cheap " Uttle Bible " were printed in 1630, 
and, if tradition is to be reUed on, a goodly portion of 
them remained in the publisher's hands twenty years 
later. " Before the year 1654, on the most favourable 
estimate, only 3500 Bibles and 1000 New Testaments 
in addition to that of Salisbury had been published. 
This meant one Bible to every 70 of the inhabitants." ^ 
Of this number, however, the 1000 New Testaments 
were published by Walter Cradock and Vavasour Powell 
in 1646. Only 3500 Bibles therefore had been published 
before the Puritan RebeUion, and 2000 of them were 
designed only for use in the parish churches. But an 
amazing change was to come over the scene. Six 

' It would be interesting to compare the two editions in order 
to ascertain the nature and extent of Stephen Hughes's amend- 
ments. But I have not been able to procure either edition. 

' Sir John Williams's " Address " in the Bible in Wales. 


thousand copies of the Bible and looo copies of the New 
Testament were published during the Commonwealth. 

In 1670 Stephen Hughes published the third part of 
Vicar Pritchard's Welshman's Candle. In the preface 
he stated that after the printing of the first two parts 
(in 1646 and 1659), " multitudes learnt to read Welsh 
and bought Testaments and Bibles : and so knowledge 
and godliness increased in Wales." He went on to say 
that the London pubUshers would not print an edition 
of the Welsh Bible because it would take twenty years 
to dispose of 6000 copies, " and we who Uve by our 
crafts " said they " cannot wait so long without having 
our money back." ^ Two years later, Stephen Hughes 
pubHshed an edition of 2000 New Testaments as well as 
a complete edition of The Welshman's Candle and a new 
edition of Perkin's Catechism. Between 1672 and 
1689 he pubhshed no less than 20,000 copies of the 
Bible and 1000 copies of the New Testament. ^ 

In 1717 the Rev. Moses Williams, Vicar of Dev5mock,' 
edited, and the Society for Promoting Christian Know- 
ledge brought out, an edition of 10,000 copies of the 
Welsh Bible. Ten years later another edition of prob- 
ably 10,000 was issued, the first edition having been 
exhausted.* Though emphasis has been laid on editions 

' Quoted (in English) in Ballinger's " Vicar Pritchard," the 
Cymmrodor, vol. xiii. pp. 9-10. 

' Stephen Hughes died in 1688, and did not see the 1689 edition 
through the press. His friend and neighbour, the Rev. David 
Jones, of LlantyssiUo, an Independent preacher, supervised the 

' " A patriot, to whom we owe an incalculable debt, not only 
for the literature which he suppUed to, but also for that which he 
preserved for, Wales " (Sir John WiUiams, Bible in Wales, p. 11). 

* The third S.P.C.K. edition of 15,000 copies appeared in 1746, 
and the fourth also of 15,000 copies and 5000 New Testaments 
in 1752. 


of the Bible, the range of the new Hterature was not 
limited by the growing religious interests of Wales. 
Charles Edwards in 1671 published Hanes y Ffydd 
ddiffuant, " The History of the unfeigned Faith," and it 
went through three editions in the course of six years. 
In 1703 appeared Gwdedigaethau y Bardd Cwsg, " The 
Visions of the Sleeping Bard," Ellis Wynn's immortal 
work, the fount of Welsh pure and undefiled, which still 
remains the literary gem of the language. In 1716 
Theophilus Evans pubUshed the first edition of Drych 
y Prif Oesoedd, " The Mirror of the Early Ages," an 
imaginative and romantic, but wholly unscientific — 
which makes it all the more delightful — ^history of the 
Cymry from primeval days to the reign of Ilowel Dda. 
Written in nervous and idiomatic Welsh, as full as 
Homer of striking metaphors and apt similes, its vivid 
and dramatic narrative has fascinated seven generations 
of Welshmen and still aifords entertaining reading even 
to those whose faith in the erudition and accuracy of 
the old writet has long been shattered. Early in the 
eighteenth century Griffith Jones, Llanddowror, started 
his circulating schools, where children were taught to 
read Welsh. By 1761, the year of Grifi&th Jones's death, 
according to Pantycelyn, 3000 of these schools had been 
founded, 120,000 scholars had been taught, and 30,000 
copies of the Welsh Bible had been distributed.^ 

Hitherto all Welsh books had been printed in England, 
mostly in London and Oxford. In 1718 Isaac Carter 

1 See Grif&tii Jones's elegy. 

Dacw'r Biblau teg a hyfryd Tair o filoedd o ysgolion 

Ddeg ar hugain filoedd Uawn Gawd yng Nghymru faith a mwy 

Wedi eu trefnu i ddod allan Chwech ugain mil o ysgolheigion 

Trwy ei ddwylaw'n rhyfedd Fu a rhagor ynddynt hwy, 
iawn ; 


set up the" first printing press in Wales at Trefhedyn, 
a suburb of Newcastle Emlyn. In 1721 Nicholas 
Thomas established a press at Carmarthen, where he 
was some years later followed by John Ross, the printer 
of Pantyceljm's Hymns and Peter Williams's Bibles. 
Lewis Morris for a time (1735) set up a press at Holy- 
head, which afterwards found its way to Trefriw. A 
press was established in Pontypool in 1740, in Wrexham 
in 1745, in Bridgend in 1770, and in Brecon in 1772.^ 
During the nineteenth century a stream of pubhcations 
was issued out of the Welsh press. But no town could 
boast of being the metropoHs of Welsh literature. It 
is seldom that an English work is published elsewhere 
than in London or Edinburgh. Far different has been 
the case with Wales. Carmarthen and Carnarvon, 
Llanelly and Bangor, Swansea and Bala, Llandovery 
and Llanrwst, Cardiff and Denbigh can claim no mono- 
poly in the printing of Welsh books. As the demo- 
cratic culture of Wales has been widely diffused, so there 
has been no national centre for publication. Every 
locaUty can boast of its own famous printing press.^ 

Dau argraffiad, glan ddiwygiad, Y goleuni gadd ei enyn 
Llawn, ac isel bris i'r gwan, O Rheidol wyllt i Hafren hir 
Mewn cabanau fe geir Biblau Tros Plinlimon faith yn union 
'Nawr gan dlodion ym mhob Twynodd ar y gogledd dir. 


Sir Thomas Phillips {Wales, pp. 284-6) states that in twenty- 
four years, 150,212 persons had been taught in these schools to 
read the Welsh Bible. 

' Journal of Welsh Bibliographical Society (ed. Dr. Rhys 
Philhps) for December, 1918, p. 125. 

' " Pwy all ddweyd . . . pa un ai yng Nghaerfyrddin neu yng 
Ngharnarfon, yn Llandyfri neu Llanrwst, jmg Nghaergybi neu 
yng Nghaerdydd, yn Abertawe neu'r Bala, yn Llanelli neu yn 
Ninbych, yr argrafiwyd mwyaf o lyfrau Cymraeg ? Mae cariad 
at lenyddiaeth a sel dros ddiwylliant wedi eu gwasgar drwy dair 


This has been of Infinite advantage to a country like 
Wales which from its natural configuration and con- 
formation cannot easily centre its acti\'ities in one spot. 
It enabled the writers of every locality to have ready 
access to the press.* 

In this way the ground was prepared, first by the early 
work of the Puritans in the seventeenth, and then by 
the activities of such men as Moses Williams and Grif&th 
Jones in the eighteenth century, for the sowing of new 
seed by the Methodist Fathers. It is an idle and barren 
controversy to dispute as to who was greatest in this 
beneficent endeavour to rescue the mother tongue of 
Wales from the pit into which she had fallen. All sects 
and all parties contributed to the result. But for the 
abiding work of the Elizabethan clergy, and the shrewd 

sir ar ddeg Cymru, fel nad oes un sir na thre na phentre yn 
gallu ymffrostio yu y flaenoiiaeth " (Rhamant Hanes Cymru, 
p. 5). 

' How important even in our days it is for a writer to be in 
close proximity to the printer will be appreciated by all authors. 
But in days when travelling was difficult and the post unreliable 
and uncertain, it is hardly conceivable how Welsh books came 
to be printed in London or Milan by compositors who knew no 
Welsh. Dr. Sion Dafydd Rhys, in his Preface, makes a sly 
allusion to his sufferings at the hands of the " printer's devil." 
" le (ysgatfydh) chwychwi a dhywedweh 'phy phy ' dyma air yn 
ghhamm, a dyma arall yn ghham ; ac my bydh gennych onyd 
ymgyfarfod a'r camm, a neidio o gamm i gamm : minheu (ony 
bydh gennych swydh a fo gwelh) a gynghorwn ywch ynn eych 
unswydh fynat jm dhiarchen (sef yn esgeirnoeth droednoeth er 
mwyn dwyn eych penyd) hyd yn Ghaer Ludh : ac yno a'ch 
cappieu yn eych dwylo, deisyf o honoch arr y Printydhion wella 
peth ar eu dwylo pryd y printiont dhim cymraec o hynn i maes." 
Stephen Hughes, who was commended by Thomas Charles for 
correcting so many mistakes which had found their way into 
previous editions of the Bible (Hughes says in his preface to 
Canwyll y Cymry (1672) that there were " hundreds " of printer's 
errors in the New Testament of 1648). suffered greatly from the 
mistakes of compositors (see preface of 1672). 


genius of Vicar Pritchard, the task set before the Puritan 
Fathers would have been impossible of accomplishment. 
But for the timely activities of Stephen Hughes and his 
feUow-labourers, the zeal and patriotic energy of Moses 
Williams and Griffith Jones would have come too late. 
But for all that had been done by Churchmen and 
Nonconformists alike, Howell Harries and Daniel 
Rowlands would not have been able to make their appeal, 
with such instantaneous success, to the conscience of 
their countrymen.^ At the impartial judgment bar of 
history, let all who served and sacrificed for Wales and 
Welsh receive their due meed of recognition and of 
praise. If Paul planted, and ApoUos watered, let 
us in grateful humility thank God, who alone gave the 

After, in this strange and haphazard manner, the 
ancient British speech had been rescued from what 
seemed to be its inevitable doom, and a reading public 
began to be formed, a Uterary revival followed. It 
is beyond the scope of this work to trace in detail, or at 
all, the various literary activities of eighteenth century 
Welshmen. Lewis and Richard Morris, Goronwy Owen 
and leuan Brydydd Hir, Owen Myfyr, lolo Morganwg, 
and Dr. WiUiam Owen Pughe, Jack Glan-y-Gors and 
Morgan John Rhys are shining names which the lovers 
of Welsh literature wUl never willingly fo.rget. At 
the end of the eighteenth century, the Eisteddfod was 
revived. Literary Societies, such as the Cymmrodorion 

• Dr. Thomas Rees {Hist, of Nonconformity in Wales, p. 313) 
points out that the first Methodist Revivals broke out in neigh- 
bourhoods where there were already dissenting congregations. 
Anglesea and Carnarvon, where there had been Uttle Puritan 
activity, were the Ijist to come under the influence of the Method- 
ist Revival. 


and the Cymreigyddion, were formed. Thomas Charles 
started the Sunday Schools, where children were taught 
to read, and adults and children were taught to think — 
one of the finest educational institutions in the world. 
Literary coteries began to grow up in the nineteenth 
century even in the most remote comers of the land/ 
so that before ever the State took in hand the education 
of the people in 1870, the peasants and artisans of 
Wales had evolved for themselves a means of demo- 
cratic culture, such as no other country in Europe has 
enjoyed. We hear much of the " RepubUc of letters " ; 
it is the glory of Wales that she has, in spite of count- 
less difficulties, estabUshed such a republic amidst her 
mountains. The range of her literature is not great. 
It is crass folly to compare Twm o'r Nant with Shakes- 
peare, or Hiraethog, potent genius though he was, with 
Milton, or even Islwyn with Wordsworth. Wales has 
as yet had no leisured Tennysons or travelled Brown- 
ings. Her poets and men of letters have nearly all been 
free from " the pedantry of courts and schools," No 
Welsh writer has ever lived by his pen. They are in the 
most literal sense of the word " amateurs," who employ 
their scanty leisure in the literary pursuits which they 
love. Cromwell, in a famous passage in one of his letters 
to the Long Parliament ,~ said that he preferred to gentle- 
men " those russet-coated captains who know what 
they fight for, and love what they know." The russet- 

1 See, e.g., Myrddin Fardd's collection of letters between the 
bards of North Wales, and especially of Carnarvonshire, in his 
Adgof uwch anghof. Myrddin, who is a blacksmith by trade, has 
devoted his life to collecting Welsh books and documents, and 
has also published excellent volumes on the "Folklore" and 
the "Dialect words (gwerin-eiriau) " of Carnarvonshire, and on 
" Welsh Place-names," — a fine illustration of the " democratic 
culture " of Wales. 


coated men of letters of Wales have not made, and 
probably can never make, a " profession " of literature. 
When they are taunted, as too often they have been, 
with the meagreness of their output this should in fair- 
ness be remembered. And who shall say who is the real 
" happy warrior," the man who lives by his pen, or he 
who finds refuge and solace from the work-a-day cares 
of the world in holding communion with the " angel of 
the vale and the muse of the stream." ^ At all events 
such have been the men who have created the beautiful 
literature of Modern Wales. Islwyn was a preacher ; 
Ceiriog, who need fear no comparison even with Burns, 
was a stationmaster ; Dewi Wjm o Eifion was a farmer ; 
Dewi Wyn o EssyUt a miller ; Hiraethog learnt the 
rules of Welsh prosody while tending his father's sheep 
on the mountain-side at Llansannan, Watcyn Wyn 
while working underground in a coal-pit ; Eben Fardd 
was a weaver ; Telynog earned his living before the mast 
when still a child, and during the last four years of his 
all too short Ufe he worked as a colUer at Aberdare ; 
Daniel Owen, our national noveUst, was a tailor ; Thomas 
Stephens, one of the sanest critics and one of the most 
erudite Welsh scholars of the last century, was a chemist. 
The same thing is true of the whole of Welsh national 
life. During the last forty years there has been built 
up a noble structure of national education. It is not 
perfect. We have done some things which we ought 
not to have done, and we have left undone some 
things which we ought to have done. But such 
as it is, it is the handiwork of the people of Wales, 
and the architects who conceived and the builders who 
erected it are discovering what is weak and defective in 
* " Angel y dyffryn ac awen yr afon " — Islwyn. 


its construction. As they had the vision to see and 
the courage to act in the past, so we may hope they 
will not fail to face manfully the new problems which 
confront them and make strong what is weak and com- 
plete what is defective. Most of all, provision must 
be made to ensure that the education of the schools 
shall not " quench the spirit " or stifle the native culture 
of the Welsh people. If this is to be done, the first 
thing to be remembered is that the instrument and 
medium of that culture has been and is the vernacular 
speech. No language can live without a worthy 
literature ; the names which have been mentioned — 
only a few selected almost at random from a " cloud of 
witnesses " who might have been cited — attest the -fact 
that Wales has a native literature, limited it is true in 
range and compass, but within those limits unsurpassed 
by that of any modern nation. But there is a greater 
and more pressing consideration. The native literature, 
as it has been produced by the people, is also read by 
the people, and the circle of readers is as wide to-day 
as — ^perhaps wider than — it ever was. " Some months 
ago," said Sir John Williams in 1904, " I took a parcel 
of books to the binder. They had seen better days, and 
wanted a new suit. They did not look very respectable, 
and I attributed their condition to neglect and abuse ; 
but my eyes were opened to the cause of it by the binder, 
who expressed his admiration for the use which had been 
made of them, adding that he rarely saw English books 
which showed signs of having done such service. Their 
condition was not the result of neglect or ill-treatment, 
as I had supposed, but of the attention which they had 
commanded, and the service which they had rendered. 
I felt proud of my ragged company as well as of my 


countr3m:ien." ^ Some districts of Wales have already 
been Anglicised. Is the Eisteddfod succeeded there by 
a Literary Institute ? Is the well-thumbed Ceiriog 
replaced by a dog-eared copy of Pope or Gray or Moore 
or Scott ? Is Dickens substituted for Daniel Owen ? 
The wisest and most clear-sighted leaders of modern 
Wales have spoken with no uncertain voice on the duty 
of this generation of Welshmen. " Wales," said the late 
Dean Vaughan of LlandafE, " has a patriotic and a 
religious duty still towards the language in which she 
was born. She has, first, to see that it be articulately 
and grammatically formed and shaped in all its par- 
ticulars, so that it be no patois of chance or trick, but 
a language worthy of the respect of other languages, 
worthy to become the study of the learned and training 
speech of the young. Next, that it shall have a hterature 
all its own, a hterature without a knowledge of which the 
education of a scholar shall be confessedly incomplete, 
— a literature unapproachable save through its language, 
and therefore securing to that language the undying 
interest and unstinting effort of all who would think or 
know." ^ The monumental work of Dr. Gwenogfr5m 
Evans, who has, unaided, reproduced diplomatically 
and in facsimile a vast amount of our ancient literature, 
with a skill and a scholarly accuracy which has evoked 
the admiration of all who are most competent to form 
a judgment ; ^ of the late Sir John Rhys, Principal 

1 " Address " prefacing the Bible in Wales, p. 12. 

^ Southall's Wales and her Language. 

* E.g. Sir J. Morris Jones {Cymmrodor, vol. xxviii. p. 39) says 
that " they surpass anything that has ever been achieved in the 
way . of printed texts ; Dr. Evans has developed the art of 
printing in facsimile to a point never before reached." 


of Jesus College, Oxford, most modest and eradite of 
scholars ; and of Sir John Morris Jones, poet, philologist, 
grammarian, and man of letters, has already almost 
satisfied the first part of Dean Vaughan's pious aspira- 
tion. Nor need Welshmen despair of the concluding 
task. Dafydd ap Gwilym, the Mabinogion, and Ceiriog 
are the study and the delight of French, German and 
Russian scholars and hterati. Even EngHsh scholarship 
is beginning to pay attention to the unexplored treasures 
at its door. The young school of Welsh poets, a nest 
of singing birds, bids fair to rival and perhaps to surpass 
the glories of the past.^ But no live literature can be 
produced if the language in which it is written is dead. 
Shilleto's Latin may be as smooth, as idiomatic, and as 
correctly perfect as Cicero's Letters to Atticus ; but while 
Cicero will be read as long as men care for great writing, 
Shilleto is already only a name. The last word on the 
subject was spoken by the late Principal, Thomas 
Charles Edwards, who was the bearer of two resounding 
names in the story of Wales, and who himself was not 
unworthy to bear them. " To permit the people of 
Wales," he said,* " to lose their knowledge of literary 
Welsh, the language of the Welsh Bible, so that they 
will understand no other Welsh than the mongrel patois 
of the streets, is to abandon deliberately the creative 

' It has been claimed that the New School of Welsh Poets 
can challenge comparison with the modern poets of any country. 
Be that as it may, it is certain that the poetry of Gwynn Jones 
and Morris Jones, or W. J. Griffith and Eifion Wyn, or Parry 
Williams and Williams Parry, or Samicol, Wil Ifan, and GwiU, — 
to mention only a few names — shows the ineradicable energy of 
Welsh genius. Nor should one forget the remarkable resurgence 
of the Welsh drama in recent years, under the inspiration of such 
men as D. T. Davies, J. O. Francis, and R. J. Berry. 

' Southall's Wales and her Language, p. 185. 


influences of the past, to break for ever with the 
ennobUng examples of our great men, to throw away 
the heritage of many centuries, in order to start, forsooth, 
from the low intellectual and moral condition of savage 
tribes. Let English come and take possession if it can. 
But let the intellectual and moral life of the future be 
the natural development of the past. This it cannot be 
if we foolishly and criminally neglect ^ to teach literary 
Welsh until we have accomphshed the task of teaching 
literary English. . . . The people must be taught not 
only to read the Welsh of Bishop Morgan, but also the 
Welsh of Goronwy Owen, and to feel in the very depths 
of their being the creative influences of the past that 
should always be present, and of the dead that never 

1 " What if by our neglect of Welsh we are throwing away a 
great gift of Providence ? " (Dr. Rowland WilUams, p. 259 ; 
Lays from the Cambrian Lyre, by Goronva Camlan, 1846). 


Acts of Parliament, King to 
do right in the Marches to 
such as do complain (3 Edw. 
I. c. 17), 33 ; the Lords- 
Marcher annexed to Crown 
of England (28 Edw. III. 
c. 2), 33 ; to aboUsh " ar- 
thel " and " commortha " 
(26 Hen. VIII. c. 6), 57, 62 ; 
to aboUsh forest customs 
(27 Hen. VIII. c. 7), 62, 67 ; 
recalcitrant jurors to be sent 
to prison (26 Hen. VIII. c. 4), 
62 ; to punish Welshmen for 
assaults in border English 
counties (28 Hen. VIII. c. 
11), 63 ; Lord Chancellor to 
appoint Justices of the Peace 
for the eight ancient counties 
of Wales (27 Hen. VIII. c. 5), 
65-67 I union of England and 
Wales (27 Hen. VIII. c. 26), 
68 seq. ; provision for pay- 
ment of Welsh members of 
ParUament (35 Hen. VIII. 
c. 11), 71 n ; King to define 
hmits of Welsh shires (28 
Hen. VIII. c. 3), 72 ; ex- 
tension of time for delimiting 
Welsh shires (31 Hen. VIII. 
c. 11), 72 ; to set up Courts 
of Great Sessions and to pro- 
vide for the government of 
Wales (34 & 35 Hen. VIII. 

C.26), 72 seq., 75 seq.; lim- 
itation of number of justices 
removed (5 W. & M. c. 4), 
79 ; to aboUsh Court of the 
Council of the Marches 
(i Will. & M. c. 27), 126 ; 
second judge appointed to 
each Court of Great Sessions 
(18 Eliz. c. 8), 141 ; to 
prescribe the functions of 
Sheriflfs (i Edw. VI. c. 10), 
160 ; Justices of the Court 
of Great Sessions to nomi- 
nate sheriffs (i W. & M. c. 
27), 160 ; Welsh sheriffs 
exempted from appearance 
in Court of Exchequer (3 
Geo. I. c. 15), 160 ; to 
aboUsh Court of Great Ses- 
sions (i Will. IV. c. 70), 
161, 190 seq. ; to limit 
power of Great Sessions to 
remove actions from lower 
courts (21 James I. c. 23), 
171 ; further limitation (12 
Geo. I. u. 2g), 172 ; further 
limitation (19 Geo. III. c. 
70), 172 ; non-suit of plain- 
tiffs recovering less than 
;fio against defendants re- 
siding in Wales (Rice's Act, 
33 Geo. III. u. 68), 172 seq. ; 
reformation of procedure of 
Great Sessions (5 Geo. IV. 



c. io6), 175 seg. ; to enjoin 
translation of Bible into 
Welsh (1563), 260 ; Tolera- 
tion Act 1689, 274 ; re- 
pressive Acts against dis- 
senters after the Restoration, 

Aggazzari, Father, Jesuit 
priest, instructs English 
students at Rome, 209 ; 
succeeds Dr. Morris as Rec- 
tor of English College at 
Rome, 220 ; Dr. Barrett's 
advice in a letter, how to 
treat Welsh students, 222 n ; 
letter to Parsons on Cardi- 
nal Allen's death, 236 n. 

Allen, Doctor William, after- 
wards Cardinal, founds semi- 
nary at Douay, 203 ; sum- 
moned to Rome to advise 
Pope Gregory XIII. as to 
starting an Enghsh College 
there, 207 ; his estimate 
of character of Dr. Morris 
of Clynog, 210 ; writes to 
Owen Lewis (afterwards 
Bishop of Cassano) about the 
conduct of his nephew, Hugh 
Grififith, 217 ; appointed 
Bishop of Durham, 233 ; 
Cardinal, 233 ; relations 
with Owen Lewis, 234 n ; 
draws away in old age from 
the Jesuits, 236 ; described 
as a protector and favourer 
of the Jesuits, 239. See 
also under Owen Lewis, Dr. 
Morris of Clynog, Robert 

Anarchy in Wales, 4, 5, 6, 41- 

Arthel, or arddel, 57-58 ; abo- 
Ushed, 129. 

Arthur, Prince, elder son of 
Hen. VII., called after the 

Cymric national hero, 39 ; 
holds his court in the 
Marches, 44 ; effect of his 
death, 46 ; dies at Ludlow, 

Attorneys, Welsh, 162 seq. 

Attorney-General, 160-161 ; 
mentioned in i Will. IV. c- 70 
as " His Majesty's Attorney- 
General," 161. 

Augustine, Father, see Father 
David or Augustine Baker. 

Bacon, Francis, Lord, appears 
as counsel for the Court of 
the Marches against the 
Border Shires, 123-124 ; 
sends Advancement of Learn- 
ing to Prince Charles in 
Latin, 294. 

Baker, Father David or Augus- 
tine, Benedictine monk, 245- 
246 ; share in revival of 
O.S.B. 232 seq. ; dies of the 
plague in London (1640), 257. 

Bar, the Welsh, until 1830, 
161 seq. 

Bards, Welsh, and the Tudors, 


Barrett, Dr., succeeds Cardinal 
Allen as Principal of Douay, 
234 ; letter to Parsons about 
the two Bennetts, 238. 

Baxter, Richard, at Ludlow, 
93-94 ; description of Ufe 
at Ludlow in 1633, 94. 

Beaufort, Duke of. President 
of the Council of the Marches 
(1672-1688) ; his Progress, 
95 ; feast at Ludlow, 95 ; 
wealthiest subject, 102 ; 
account of Progress written 
by his secretary, Thomas 
Dingley, 102. 

Benedictines, foundation of 
St. Gregory's at Douay, 250 


seq. ; revival of, in England, 

252 seq. 
Bennett, John, seminary priest, 

205 ; leader of Welsh faction 

in Rome, 237. 
Benyon, Att.-Gen. for Chester, 

on Welsh equitable jurisdic- 
tion, 138. 
Bickwell, on number of equity 

cases in Carmarthen Great 

Sessions, 134. 
Bill, proceeding by, 145. 
Blackwell, Father George, 

Jesuit, Archpiiest, 244. 
Bl3rt;h, Bishop, President of the 

Council of the Marches, 46. 
Bolingbroke, see Henry IV. 
Bosworth, battle of, 36-38. 
Bourne, Bishop, last ecclesias- 
tical President of the Court 

of the Marches. 97. 
Brecknockshire, new hundred 

Courts in, abolished by the 

Council of the Marches, 78. 
Bridgewater, Earl of. President 

of the Council (1631-1641) ; 

relations with sheriffs, 78 ; 

increases number of Council, 


Brougham, Lord, on Welsh 
judges, 154 seq. ; on fines 
and recoveries, 178. 

Buckingham, Duke of. Lord of 
Brecknock, 34 ; failure or 
plot against Richard III., 36. 

Buckley, Father Sigebert, 
last Benedictine monk, 252. 

Bulkeley, Lord, on Welsh 
Judges, 155. 

Bulkeley, Sir Richard, against 
appointment of Justices of 
the Peace in the ancient 
Welsh coimties, 67. 

Burke, Edmund, freedom the 
cure for anarchy, i ; descrip- 
tion of Wales, 4 ; effect of 

Hen. VIII. 's legislation on 
Wales, 7-9. 

Burton, Mr. Justice, on equit- 
able jurisdiction of Great 
Sessions, 130, 137. 

Butler, Samuel, author of 
Hudibras, at Ludlow, 95. 

CaUice, John, a pirate, lodged 
at Haverfordwest, 108. 

Cambriol, Welsh colony in 
Newfoundland, 85. 

Campion, John, Jesuit martyr, 
sent to England, 232. 

Capias, procedure by, 150 seq. 

Carbery, Earl of. President of 
the Council, 95 ; charged 
with malversation, 102 ; re- 
moved from office for mal- 
treating his servants, 102 ; 
restores Ludlow Castle and 
Tickinhill Palace, 126. 

Cardiff, piracy in, inquiry into, 

Carmarthenshire, Catholicism 
in, 111-112 ; Samuel Davies 
indicted in J 699, in ». 

Carnarvonshire, pirates in a 
haven in, 108. 

Carne, Sir Edward, Queen 
Mary's ambassador in Rome, 

Carter, Isaac, .printer at Tref- 
hedyn, 1719, 309-310. 

Catholicism, survival of old 
practices in Wales, 196 ; 
only three Protestant mar- 
tyrs, 197 ; Duke of Feria on 
Catholicism in Wales, 197. 

Cawdor, Earl of, letter to Lord 
Chancellor on Welsh judica- 
ture, 134-135 ; on Welsh 
judges, 155 seq. ; on Welsh 
attorneys, 163 ; on Act of 
1824 to reform Great Ses- 
sions, 176 seq. 


Cecil, Sir William, Lord Burgh- 
ley, Welsh descent, 23 ; 
Welsh letter from Dr. Morris, 

Certiorari, removal of Welsh 
cases to England by, 170 ; 
attempt of Act of 1824 to 
remove grievance, 181 seq. ; 
evidence before Commission, 

Chamberlain, or Cursitor, 159. 

Chapuys, Imperial ambassa- 
dor, states Wales is ripe for 
revolt, 10; distress of Welsh- 
men at loss of native laws, 


Charles, Rev. Thomas, of Bala, 
joins Methodists, 277 ; re- 
luctant to secede from Esta- 
bUshed Church, 280 ; reasons 
which compelled secession, 
280-284 ; contrast between 
position of Church people 
and dissenters in his Vindica- 
tion (1802), 285 ; organising 
capacity, 285. 

Churchyard, Thomas, descrip- 
tion of Ludlow, 90 ; writing 
for sixty years, 93. 

Clare, Gilbert de, meets Prince 
Edward at Ludlow, 91. 

Clerk of indictments, 159. 

Clynog, or Clenocke, Dr. Morris 
of. Warden of Enghsh Hospi- 
tal at Rome, 208 ; witness 
to Cardinal Pole's will, 208 ; 
nominated, but not conse- 
crated, Bishop of Bangor, 
209 ; first Rector of Enghsh 
College at Rome, 208 seq. ; 
Cardinal Allen's estimate of, 
2io«; Parsons's estimate 
of, 210 n ; removed from 
Rectorship, 220 ; drowned, 
220 ; Welsh letter to Sir W. 
Cecil, 225 

Cl3rQ0g, or Clenocke, Morgan, 
nephew of Dr. Morris, 214. 

Colonies, Welshmen share in 
founding, 84. 

Commission, to inquire into 
Welsh laws and customs in 
1535. 70-71 ; to divide Wales 
into counties, 70. 

Commortha, or cymmorthau, 

57. 58> 59- 
Concessit solvere: history, 145 
seq. ; Rice Vaughan on, 146- 
147 ; origin of, 146 ; not pecu- 
har to Wales, 148 ; pro- 
cedure, 148 ; original writ 
not necessary, 148 ; New 
Rule, 149; criticism of, by 
Common Law Commissioners 
in 1829, 149 ; popularity of, 


Corbet, Sir Andrew, Vice- 
President of the Council, 117. 

Corbett, Jerome, member of 
the Council, Gerard's sketch, 

Coroners, two for each county, 

Court of the Council of 
the Marches : origin, 42 
seq. ; established in 1471, 
42 ; revived by Hen. VII., 
44-47 ; complaint against 
encroachment by Lord 
Ferrers, 48-49 ; complaint 
by baiUflE and burgesses of 
Brecon, 50 ; complaint by 
Thomas Phillips, 50-51 ; 
complaint by Sir Edward 
Croft, 51 ; recognised by 
Act of 1542, 76 ; legal posi- 
tion contrasted with that 
of the Council of the North 
and the Star Chamber, 77 ; 
development of, 87 seq. ; 
effect of Act of 1542 on 
its position, 87 ; legal juris- 


diction, 88; met at Here- 
ford, Worcester, Gloucester, 
Tewkesbury, Hurtlebury, 
Oswestry, Wrexham, Shrews- 
bury, Bewdley, and Ludlow, 
88-89 ; its " Star Chamber 
jurisdiction " abolished in 
1641, loi ; civil jurisdiction 
in abeyance till Restoration, 
loi ; most of the records 
lost 103 ; relation to Star 
Chamber, 103 ; functions, 
104-106 ; President nearly 
always the Lord Lieutenant 
of the twelve counties of 
Wales, 105 ; its tolerance 
of recusancy, 109 ; no inter- 
ference with Puritans, 113 ; 
not specifically an equity 
court, 113 ; the real court 
of equity for Wales, 113 ; 
not intended to be a rival 
to Court of Great Sessions, 
114; but the Court of the 
poorer litigants, 114 ; en- 
croachments by it on juris- 
diction of Great Sessions, 
115 ; ofi&cials too numerous, 
116; procedure 1 18-120 ; 
instructions of Privy Council 
in 1516, 120-121 ; do. in 
1586, 121 ; motion to 
abolish it in 1593, 121 ; 
objections to, 121-2 ; the 
court of the poor, 122 ; 
enmity of border counties, 
122-124 ; Bristol exempted 
from jurisdiction, 122 ; case 
of Farley, 122 ; jurisdiction 
trial attended by James I., 

124 ; adverse report in 1641, 

125 ; civil jurisdiction re- 
sumed at Restoration, 125 ; 
aboUtion of, 126-127. 

Court of Great Sessions : 
history, 128 seq. ; same 

jurisdiction as English 
courts, 129 ; equitable juris- 
diction, 129 seq. ; incom- 
pleteness of it, 134 seg.; effect 
of abolition of the Court 
of the Marches, 138-139 ; 
procedure and forms of, 
after English model, 139 ; 
differences from English 
Courts 139 seq. ; uncer- 
tainty as to time of sitting, 
140 ; popularity of, 141 ; 
waste of time, 141 ; sittings 
explained by Mr. Justice 
Hey wood, 142 ; equity 
cases when tried 143 ; 
pleadings settled in court 

143 ; seals 143 ; Chamber- 
lain a Chancery official 144 ; 
function of Chamberlain, 

144 ; actions sued by bill not 
by original writ, 144 ; judges, 
152 seq. ; Chamberlain, 159 ; 
prothonotary, 159 ; secon- 
dary, 159 ; marshal, 159 ; 
clerk of indictments, 159 ; 
attorney-general, 160-161 ; 
the Bar, 161-162 ; attorneys, 
162-164; cheapness of, as 
compared with English 
Courts, 164 and n ; little 
friction with Court of the 
Marches, 164 ; no inter- 
ference by Westminster 
Courts till Restoration, 165 ; 
jealousy of English Courts, 

165 ; decision of judges 
that judgment in England 
cannot be executed in Wales, 

166 ; decision in Lampley v. 
Thomas, 166 seq. ; Lord 
Mansfield's judgment in 
Mostyn v. Fdbriges, 167 ; 
Lloyd v. Jones, 167 ; Penry 
v. Jones, 168 ; how decision 
in Lloyd v. Jones was 


obtained, i68 ; effect of 
decision, 169 ; Rice's Act, 

169 ; Russell on effects of 
Rice's Act, 169 ; supported 
by Tidd's Practice 169 ; 
Welsh cases taken to nearest 
English county by certiorari 

170 ; relations with inferior 
courts, 170 seq. ; attempts 
to reform by legislation, 172 
seq. ; effect of Rice's Act, 
172 ; last effort to reform 
procedure in 1824, 175 seq. ; 
fines and recoveries, 177 
seq. ; witnesses from outside 
jurisdiction, 179 ; new trials, 
179-180 ; no security for 
money paid into court, 182 ; 
report of Select Committee 
of House of Commons, 185 ; 
report of Committee of 181 7, 
185 ; report of Commission 
of 1821, 185-6 ; criticism of 
Report of 1821, 186-7 .' ''^^' 
port of Commission of 1828, 
187 ; Welsh M.P.'s against 
abolition, 188-190 ; petitions 
against abolition, 188 ; act 
to abolish passed without a 
division, 190 ; why it was 
passed, 191-192 ; OldnaU 
Russell on abolition, 192- 
193 ; dangers attending 
abolition, 192 ; opinion of 
Sir D. Brynmor-Jones, K.C., 

Cradock, Walter : few preachers 
in Wales, 264 ; curate at 
Cardiff, 269 ; described by 
Laud as a " bold ignorant 
young fellow," 270; con- 
verts Morgan Lloyd and 
Vavasour Powell, 270 ; pro- 
tected by Sir Robert Harley, 
113, 270; became Wroth's 
assistant, 270 ; his liberal 

views on feeedoni of con- 
science, 270 ; no scruple 
about accepting State pay, 

Creed, entertains English stu- 
dents at Rome, 218. 

Croft, Sir Edward, Vice-Cham- 
berlain of South Wales, 51. 

Croft, Thomas, 51. 

Cromwell, Oliver, 313. 

Cromwell, Thomas, Earl of 
Essex, II ; Welsh connec- 
tions, 17 ; character, 17 ; 
More's advice, 47. 

Davydd ap Llewelyn, 42. 

Davies, Bishop Richard, trans- 
lates Prayerbook, and helps 
W. Salesbury to translate 
New Testament, 260. 

Da^'ies, Samuel, of Llandilo, 
priest, indicted at Carmar- 
then for saying mass, 112 n. 

Dere, Piers, murder of, 61. 

Dervel Gadaru, image of, 195. 

Dewi Sant, 195. 

Douay, college of, 203 seq. ; 
founded by Dr. Allen, 204 ; 
helped by Morgan Phillips 
and Owen Lewis, 204 ; Bene- 
dictine seminary, founded by 
John Roberts, aided by 
Leander Jones, 250 seq. 

Dudley, Robert, Earl of War- 
wick, President of the Coun- 
cil of the Marches, 96. 

Edward I., Welsh policy, 3, 4, 
29 seq. ; when Prince meets 
Gilbert de Clare at Ludlow, 

Edward III., policy towards 
Lords Marches, 33 ; with 
Roger Mortimer at Ludlow, 


Edward IV., established Coun- 
cil of the Marches in 1471, 

Edwards, Charles, author of 
Hanes y Ffydd Ddiffuant, 309. 

Edwards, John, of Chirk, exa- 
mined by Whitgift for allow- 
ing Mass in his house, 109 ; 
tortured, no; cast into 
prison, no. 

Edwards, Principal Thomas 
Charles, on the preservation 
of Welsh, 317-8. 

Elias, Rev. John, ordained at 
Bala, 279 ; growing fame, 
281 ; a weaver, 284. 

Elizabeth, Queen, attitude to- 
wards Wales, 23. 

Englefield, Mr. Justice, death, 


Englefield, Sir Francis, letter 
to Philip of Spain after 
Armada, 266 n. 

Erbery, Rev. WilUam, Vicar 
of St. Mary's, Cardiff, reluc- 
tance to sever connection 
with Established Church, 
269 ; relations with Wroth, 

Eure, Lord, President of the 
Council (1607-1616), loi. 

Evans, Dr. Gwenogvryn, 
Mostyn MSS., 54. 

Evans, John, on Concessit 
Solvere, 149. 

Evans, PhUip, Jesuit, 223. 

Evans, Chancellor, Silvan, in- 
fluence of dissenters on Welsh 
literature, 266 n. 

Evans, Rev. Theophilus, author 
of Drych y Prif Oesoedd, 277 ; 
estimate of merits of work, 

Evans, Rev. Christmas, farm 
labourer, 284 ; his genius, 

Farley, case of, in reference to 
jurisdiction of the Court of 
the Marches over border 
shires, 123. 

Ferrers, Lord, of Chartley, 
appointed Chief Justice and 
Chamberlain of South Wales, 
48 ; letter to the President 
of the Council of the Mar- 
ches, 48 ; quarrel with Rhys 
ap Griffith of Dinevor, 50. 

Fines and Recoveries, 177- 
179 ; costlier in Wales than 
in England, 178 ; effect of 
Act of 1824, 178 seq. ; 
Brougham on, 178. 

Flenley, Register of the Council 
of the Marches, 43 n. 

Gavelkind, aboHshed, 80, 129. 

Gerard, William, Vice-Presi- 
dent of the Court of the 
Marches, afterwards Lord 
Chancellor of Ireland, esti- 
mate of Bishop Rowland's 
administration, 53 ; Dis- 
course on the State of Wales, 
12-13, 116; origin of the 
Council of the Marches, 44 ; 
complains in 1576 that 
Council has deteriorated, 
116; too many officials, 116; 
character sketches of mem- 
bers of the Court of the 
Marches, 117-118 ; is of 
opinion that one of the 
judges should know Welsh, 
48 ; procedure of the Court, 
1 18-9. 

Gerard, Lord, President of the 
Council (1616-7), loi. 

Gifford, Dr. WilHam, Dean 
of Lille, afterwards Arch- 
bishop of Rheims, 238 ; 
introduced to Borromeo's 
household by Owen Lewis, 


238 ; supporter of Bene- 
dictine Seminary of St. 
Gregory's at Douay, 250. 

Glasyuys, on monastic life, 
199 n. 

Goldwell, Bishop, of St. Asaph, 

Griffith ap Nicholas, a Lan- 
castrian, 36. 

Griffith, Ellis, statement that 
Bishop Rowland Lee hanged 
5000 men, 54. 

Griffith, Hugh, nephew of 
Owen Lewis, 217 ; letter to 
Allen about Jesuits in Rome, 
218 ; joy at EngUsh students 
leaving College at Rome, 
218 ; in communication with 
Bennett, leader of the Welsh 
faction in Rome in 1594, 
237 «. 

Gwinn, Robert, seminary 
priest, 205. 

Haddock, Richard, account of 
racial dissensions between 
Welsh and EngUsh at Rome, 
212, 214. 

Harries, Howell, starts Metho- 
dist Revival, 275 ; works 
with dissenters, 275 ; hears 
Daniel Rowlands preach for 
first time, 276 ; converts 
WiUiams of Pantycelyn, 276 ; 
an EvangeUcal Churchman 
throughout his life, 277-278 ; 
against separating from the 
Established Church, 278. 

Heath, Bishop, of Worcester, 
President of the Council, 

Henry VII., 37-40 ; claims the 
throne by conquest, 39 ; 
descent, 39-40 ; pride in 
Welsh descent, 40 ; revives 
Council of the Marches, 44 ; 

death, 46 ; entertained by 
Welsh rhymers, 81 ; grant 
of ;£20 a year to his Welsh 
nurse and her husband, 
81 n. 

Henry VIII., Welsh poUcy, 
8 seq., 11-13, 27, 49 ; char- 
acter, 18 seq., 47 seq. ; created 
Prince of Wales, 46 ; em- 
powered to suspend or repeal 
Act of Union, 71. 

Herbert, Lord, of Cherbury, 
autobiography, 5 ; History 
of the reign of Henry VIII., 
16, 27 ; sent in his youth to 
Denbighshire to learn Welsh, 

Herbert, Sir Richard, death of, 

Herbert, Sir William, first Earl 
of Pembroke of the second 
creation, 56 ; speaking 
Welsh in Court, 81 ; Griffith 
Roberts's tribute, 81 ; 
William Llyn's elegy, 81 « ; 
reference in Hen Gwndidau, 
81 « ; Miss Skeel and Owen 
Edwards, 82 n ; President 
of the Council, 96 ; second 
term of office, 97 ; most 
powerful subject in England, 


Heylin, Alderman Rowland, 
defrayed part of expenses of 
publishing in 1630 " the 
little Bible," 261. 

Heywood, Mr. Justice, on 
sittings of Great Sessions, 
142 ; on equitable juris- 
diction of Great Sessions, 

132-3, 134-8- 
Holland, Rev. Robert, trans- 
lates A Short Introduction 
to the Lord's Prayer, 307 ; 
2nd edit., pubUshed by 
Stephen Hughes, 307. 


Holt, Lord, was the first to 
see utility of general declara- 
tion, 147. 

Howel Aerddren, 36. 

Hughes, Rev. Stephen, in 
agreement with doctrine of 
Church, 273 ; on preser- 
vation of Welsh, 299 sej. ; 
on purification of Welsh 
307 ; publications, 308. 

leuan Br/dydd Hir, influence 
of dissenters on Welsh litera- 
ture, 266 n. 

James I. attends inquiry into 
jurisdiction of the Council 
of the Marches, 124. 

Jamaica, Vfelshmen help in 
colonising. 85. 

Jesuits, connection with English 
College at Rome, 209 seq. ; 
side with EngUsh students 
against tie Welsh, 218 ; 
control tie College, 220 ; 
few Welsh, 223, 230 n ; at- 
tract English Catholics, 232 ; 
capture coatrol of English 
mission field, 225, 232 ; 
physical face party, 226 ; 
support Philip of Spain, 227- 
228 ; oppcsed by Welsh 
Catholic exiles, 228 seq. ; 
230 n ; oppjsed by Owen 
Lewis, 234 r, ; at zenith of 
success, 235; favoured by 
Cardinal Allen, 239 ; Welsh 
students at Rome opposed 
to, in 1594, 242. See also 
Owen Lewis, Cardinal Allen, 
Robert Parsons, Dr. Morris, 
Thomas Morgan, Archbishop 

Joan ap Hoel, widow, ab- 
ducted, 60. 

Johnson, Dr. Samuel, attitude 
towards preservartion of 
Celtic languages, 299 ; 
scheme for preserving 
Welsh, 299 n ; suggested re- 
publishing Sion Dafydd 
Rhys's Grammar, ib. 

JoinviUe, Sieur de, visits his 
brother at Ludlow, 91. 

Jones, Rev. David, of Llangan, 
joins Methodists, 277 ; pre- 
sides at Llangeitho Associa- 
tion in 1810, 279. 

Jones, Rev. Edmund, of Ponty- 
pool, co-operates with H. 
Harries, 275. 

Jones, Father John, alias Lean- 
der, Benedictine monk, birth 
and education, 225 ; cham- 
ber-fellow of Laud at St. 
John's College, Oxford, 245 ; 
converted by Father Gerard, 
the Jesuit, 246 ; goes to 
Valladolid to the Jesuit 
College, 246 ; forsakes the 
Jesuits and joins the Bene- 
dictines, 246 ; helps John 
Roberts to found St. Gre- 
gory's College at Douay, 
250 ; succeeds Roberts as 
Prior in i6io, 256 ; comes 
to England in 1634 at Laud's 
invitation 256 ; dies in 
London Dec. 1635, 257. 

Jones, John, M.P. for Carmar- 
then, opposes abolition of 
Court of Great Sessions, 188- 

Jones, Robert, Jesuit, 223. 

Jones, Rev. Samuel, of 
Brynllywarch, decHnes 

episcopal ordination, 272. 

Judges, Welsh, 152 seq. ; num- 
ber of, doubled, 152-153 ; 
salaries of, 152-153 ; criti- 
cism of, 153 seq. ; Brougham 


on, 154 seq. ; Lord John 
Russell on, 154 ; Lord 
Bulkeley on, 155 ; Lord 
Cawdor on, 155 ; no pen- 
sions for, 151-158 ; in- 
feriority of, 158 ; eminent 
English lawyers as, 158 ; 
one fourth of, promoted to 
High Court Bench, 158. 
Judicial writs, 145 ; capias, 


Juries, refuse to convict, 60. 

Justices of the Peace, first 
appointed in Wales, 78 seq. ; 
number limited to eight for 
each shire. 79 ; limitation 
removed, 1693, 79 ; powers 
of 80, 81 ; no property 
qualification required in 
Wales, 82. 

Kensington, Lord, on equitable 
jurisdiction of Great Ses- 
sions, 137 ; on Welsh attor- 
neys, 163. 

Kerton, Thomas, Warden of 
English Hospital at Rome, 

Kyffin, Morus, translator of 
Jewel's Defence of the Church 
of England, 298 ; indignant 
with cleric who was against 
translating the Bible into 
Welsh, 298. 

Land laws, Enghsh, introduced 
into Wales, 114; effect of, 

Leander, Father, see Father 
John Jones. 

Lecky, Scottish Act of Union, 
7, 22-23. 

Lee, Bishop Rowland, Presi- 
dent of the Council 1534- 
1543), II, 13. 41 ; character, 
51 seq. ; treatment of 

" Welshery," 32 m ; vigorous 
administration, 53 seq. ; in 
pulpit for first time, 53 ; 
passed death penalty, 53 ; 
punishes juries for refusing 
to convict, 60-61 ; inspires 
coercive legislation, 62 seq. ; 
distrust of Welshmen as 
Justices of the Pea,ce, 66 ; 
against Act of Union, 72 ; 
death, 73-74 ; buried at 
St. Chad's, Shrewsbury, 74 ; 
character and value of his 
work, 74-7.5. 

Lewis, David, ali^s Baker, 
Jesuit, 223. 

Lewis, Dr. Owen,i Canon of 
Cambrai, Archdeacon of 
Hainault, and , Bishop of 
Cassano (Naples) ; birth and 
education, 203-204 ; helps 
Allen to start Douay College, 
203 ; goes to Rome, 206 ; 
friendship witt St. Carlo 
Borromeo and Dr. Griffith 
Roberts, 206 ; with Dr. 
Morris, 214; 'talks Latin 
to Anthony Muuday, 215 ; 
incensed against English and 
Jesuits, 215 ; Utters to Allen 
about dissensibns in Rome, 
215 ; relations with his 
nephew, Hugh Griffith, 217 ; 
intervenes in (jspute between 
Enghsh and 'Velsh students 
at Rome, 219 ; retires to 
Milan, 220 ; parsons's esti- 
mate, 233 M ;; relations with 
Cardinal Allei, 234 ; opposes 
Jesuits, 234« ; promoted 
Bishop of tassano, 235 ; 
lives in MilantiU Borromeo's 
death in 159^, 235 ; Cardi- 
nal Sega's esamate of, 238 ; 
introduces Dr. W. Gifiord 
into Borromfo's household. 


238 ; said to be hostile to 
Jesuits, 239-240 ; aspires 
to Cardinalate, 242 ; one 
of executors to Cardinal 
Allen's will, 241 n ; Parsons 
opposes him, 242 Ji ; stu- 
dents at Rome implore him 
to destroy Jesuit monopoly 
in education, 242 ; offered 
Cardinal's hat, but dies 
before formally elected, 242. 

Leycester, Mr. Justice, on 
equitable jurisdiction of 
Court of Great Sessions, 138. 

Lloyd, Bishop, of St. Asaph 
(afterwards of Worcester and 
London), tries to reconcile 
Rev. Phihp Henry to the 
Established Church, 272. 

Llwyd, Morgan, o Wynedd, 
in receipt of State pay, 171 ; 
author of second original 
prose work printed in Welsh, 

Lordships, Marcher, 29, 44 seq., 
57 ; some joined to EngUsh 
shires, 69 ; some to Welsh 
shires, 70 ; rights and privi- 
leges swept away, 71. 

Lougher, Watkyn, 61. 

Ludlow, 43, 49, 50 ; usual 
place of meeting for Council, 
90 ; Churchyard's descrip- 
tion, 90 ; historical events 
at, 90 seq. ; one of a chain 
of sixteen castles to guard 
the Welsh March, 91. 

Macaulay, Lord, EngUsh in 
India, i ; contrast between 
Roman and AngUcan Church 
in dealing with enthusiasts, 

Macclesfield, Earl of, last 
President of the Council, 
appointed 1689, 102. 

Magor, five malefactors living 
safely at, 56. 

Mansfield, Sir James, on num- 
ber of equity cases in, 
Chester, 134. 

Mansfield, Lord, first to adopt 
indebitatus assumpsit, 147 ; 
defends certiorari to remove 
Welsh cases to England in 
certain events, 170. 

Mari Lwyd, " Holy Mary," 
mystery play, 196. 

Marshal of Court of Great 
Sessions, appointed by the 
Judge, 159. 

Mary, Princess, afterwards 
Queen, at Ludlow, 48, 92. 

Mathew, George, 59. 

Matthews, Henry, Warden of 
the English Hospital at 
Rome, 208, 

Meyer, Arnold Oskar, England 
and the Catholic Church 
under Queen Elizabeth, cited 
in notes, 209, 213, 221, 225, 

Middleton, Sir Thomas, de- 
frayed part of expense of 
printing the " little Bible " 
in 1630, 261. 

Milton, John, witnesses pro- 
duction of Comus at Ludlow, 
94 ; compliment to Welsh 
nation, 94-95. 

Monasteries, the Welsh, 198 ; 
bards against dissolution of, 
198 n ; education in, 199 ; 
dispensing charity, 199 ; as 
landlords, 199 ; Glasynys 
on, 199 n. 

Monmouthshire, always re- 
garded by Welshmen as a 
Welsh county, 76 n ; Catho- 
Ucism in, 112. 

More, Sir Thomas, advice to 
Cromwell, 47. 


Morgan, Sir Henry, the Bucca- 
neer, 85. 

Morgan, Thomas, conspirator, 
228 ; hostility to Spain and 
Jesuits, 228-229 ; ill Bastile, 
235 ; imprisoned by Duke of 
Parma in Flanders, 235 ; 
retires to Rome to house of 
Owen Lewis, 235. 

Morgan, Roger, abducts widow, 

Morgan, William, Jesuit, 223. 

Morgan, Bishop William, 24 ; 
publishes in 1588 Welsh 
Edition of the Bible, 260 ; 
its merits, 261 ; Bishop 
Parry's attempt to amend 
it, 261 n. 

Morus, Huw, bewails dis- 
appearance of merry old 
days, 273 n ; ridicules 
Roundhead soldiers in pul- 
pits, 273 n ; satirises Puri- 
tan preachers, 284 n. 

Morris, Lewis, sets up printing 
press at Holyhead, 310. 

Mortimer, Hugh, imprisoned at 
Ludlow, 91. 

Mortimers, the, 34 seq. 

Mortimer, Roger, Earl of 
March, brings Edward III. 
to Ludlow, 91. 

Mortimer, Roger, marries 
Philippa of Clarence, 91. 

Mortimer, Edmund, fights 
battle of PiUeth, 91. 

Munday, Anthony, in racial 
dissensions at Rome, 210 
seq.; career of, 214 «; de- 
nounced by Parsons, 2 1 4 « ; 
welcomed by Dr. Griffith 
Roberts at Milan, 231. 

Mush, Father, one of the 
discontented English stu- 
dents at Rome, 215, 
216 n. 

Myles, Rev. John, founder of 
first Baptist Church at II- 
ston, 271 ; in receipt of 
tithe, 271 ; emigrates to 
Swansea, Massachusetts, at 
Restoration, 271. 

Myrddin Fardd, an example of 
Welsh democratic culture, 

Newfoundland, Welshmen help 

to colonise, 85. 
Nicholas, Dr., Annals of Wales, 


Nonconformity, in Wales, 257 
seq. ; first dissenting cause 
in 1639, 257 n ; factions 
among dissenters after 1689, 
274-5 ; story of, a romance, 
284 ; its difficulties, 285 ; 
its influence on national life 
and character, 286 seq. 

Northampton, Earl of. Presi- 
dent of the Council (1617- 
1631), lOI. 

Owen, George, Government of 
Wales, 12, 25-26, 32, 34, 41, 
46, 78, 79 ; description 
of the Council of the 
Marches, 77 ; on number of 
attorneys at Ludlow. 163 ; 
reply to John Penry's com- 
plaint, 263 n ; a motion to 
abolish Council of the Mar- 
ches, 121. 

Owen, Dr. Henry, English 
Law in Wales and the 
Marches, 43. 

Owen, Lewis, the spy, 240-241 ; 
on difierence between Jesuits 
and Benedictines, 251-252. 

ParUament, Welsh M.P.'s paid. 
71; representation of Wales, 
71, 83 seq. ; Welsh members 


for and against Charles I., 
84 n. 

Parry, Dr., Jesuit, 230 «. 

Parry, Bishop, translator of 
Authorised Welsh Version of 
the Bible, 261 ; some de- 
fects, 261 n. 

Parsons, Robert, Jesuit, on 
Welsh loyalty to the old 
faith, 196 B ; estimate of 
Dr. Morris, 210 k ; on racial 
dissensions at Rome, 212 w ; 
sent as missionary with 
Campion to England, 232 ; 
attempts to monopolise for 
Jesuits the training of 
English missionaries, 233 ; 
supports Allen for the Car- 
diualate, 233 ; book to- vindi- 
cate Philip of Spain's title 
to the English throne, 236 ; 
GifEord's comment on Par- 
sons's Book, 239 ; on effect 
of the racial dissensions at 
Rome, 240 ; hostility to 
Welshmen, 240 ; opposes 
Owen Lewis for the Car- 
dinalate, 242 n ; Rector for 
second time of the EngUsh 
College at Rome, 243 ; death 
in 1610, 243 ; advises ap- 
pointment of Arch-priest in 
England, 243 seq. 

Pembroke, Mary (Sidney), 
Countess of, at Ludlow, 
93 ; Ben Jonson's epitaph, 


Pembroke, first Earl of Pem- 
broke, see Sir William Her- 

Pembroke, second Earl of 
Pembroke, President of the 
Council (1586-1602), 100 ; 
Council begins to lose repu- 
tation, 100. 

Pembrokeshire, Catholicism 

in, no ; see also George 

Penarth, pirates land at, 108. 

Pennant, Tour in Wales, 52, 

Penry, John, Nonconformist 
and martyr, on Welsh towns, 
32 ; bred a Catholic, 197 ; 
complains of " dumb mini- 
sters," 263 ; George Owen's 
reply, 263 n ; anxious for 
commission from Parliament, 
265 ; became a separatist on 
return from Scotland, 267. 

Peshale, Richard de, 33. 

Petition, for Act of 1542, 

Phillips, Thomas, complaint 
against Council of the Mar- 
ches, 50. 

Phillips, Fabian, member of 
the Council, employed by 
Whitgift to smell out recu- 
sants, no ; appreciation of 
his services by Whitgift, iio- 
in ; Gerard's description 
of, 118. 

Phillips, Dr. Morgan, Pre- 
centor of St. David's, sup- 
ported Douay College, 202- 

Phipson, an English pirate, at 
Haverfordwest, 107. 

Piracy, in Bristol Channel, 106- 

Pole, Sir Richard, descent 
from Princes of Powys, 45 ; 
member of Prince Arthur's 
Council, 45. 

Population of Wales in 1515, 

Porte, Mr. Justice, 60, 73. 
Powell, Dr. David, Vicar of 

Ruabon, author of History 

of Cambria, 11-12, 15, 42-43, 



Powell, of Oswestry, member 
of the Council, Gerard's de- 
scription of, 1 1 8. 

Powell, Rev. Vavasour, scar- 
city o| religious teaching in 
Wales, 264 ; preparing for 
Church ministry when con- 
verted by Cradock, 271 ; 
death in Fleet Prison, 271. 

President of the Council, Lord 
Lieutenant of Welsh coun- 
ties, 79. 

Press, the printing, spread of, 
in the eighteenth century, 
309 ; publication of Welsh 
literature widely difEused, 

Price, Sir John, of Brecon, 
his birth and career, 16-17 • 
translates portion of Scrip- 
tures, 260. 

Price, Ellis, Y doctor Cock, 
Gerard's description, 117; 
Wilham Llyn, 118. 

Pritchard, Vicar, of Llando- 
very, contrasts education in 
Wales and England, 262 ; 
few Welshmen able to read 
the Bible, 263. 

Procedure, comparison of 
Welsh and English procedure 
in 1830, 185 seq., 192 seq. 

Prothonotary, or prenotary, 
functions of, 159. 

Prys, Archdeacon, helps Bishop 
Morgan to translate Bible, 
260 ; publishes rhymed 
Welsh version of the Psalms, 
Pulrath v. Griffiths, case on 
equitable jurisdiction of 
Great Sessions, 134. 

Recusancy, reluctance of Jus- 
tices of Assize and of the 
Peace to interfere with 

Catholic priests, no, in ; 
in Carmarthenshire and 
Pembrokeshire, 111-112 ; 
prevalent in 1609, 112 ; 
priest rescued in Monmouth, 
112. See also Reformation. 

Red Dragon, one of Henry 
VII.'s banners, 38. 

Rees^ Dr. Thomas, estimate of 
numerical strength of Puri- 
tans during Commonwealth, 
273-274 ; increase in number 
of Nonconformists after 
1689, 274 ; estimate of 
numerical strength of dissent 
in nineteenth century, 285 n. 

Reformation, the, 195 seq. ; 
not welcomed in Wales, 195 ; 
Chapuys on Wales's hostility 
to, 195 ; social and economi- 
cal effect of, 199-200. 

Rhys ap Griffith, grandson of 
Sir Rhys ap Thomas, not 
appointed to grandfather's 
of&ces, 48 ; affray at Car- 
marthen, 50 ; tried by Star 
Chamber, 50. 

Rhys ap Thomas, Sir, K. G., 
death of, 20, 28 ; espoused 
cause of Henry Tudor, 36 ; 
most powerful man in Wales, 

41. 47- 

Rhys, Sion Dafydd, on com- 
parative wealth of Welsh 
literature, 296 ; his scorn of 
AngUcised Welshmen, 298. 

Roberts, John, Benedictine 
monk and martja, birth and 
education, 245 ; joins Fumi- 
vall's Inn, 246 ; converted 
by Jesuits in Paris, 247 ; 
enters Jesuit College at 
Valladolid, 247 ; leaves 
Jesuits and joins O.S.B. at 
Valladolid, 247 ; share in 
revival of O.S.B. in England, 


249 ; founds St. Gregory's 
College at Douay, 250 ; 
arrested and hanged in 1610, 
255 ; remains taken to 
Douay, 256 n. 

Roberts, Dr. Griffith, of Milan, 
on Welsh practice of dedi- 
cating parish churches to 
native saints, 198 ; on de- 
generation of Catholicism in 
Wales, 201 ; friendship with 
Owen Lewis, 206 ; chaplain 
to St. Carlo Borromeo, 206 ; 
Munday's account of his 
conversation and opinions, 
231 ; letter in 1596 to 
Rhosier Smith, 231 ; Wales 
sinking into paganism, 259 ; 
ridicules Anglicised Welsh- 
men, 259. 

Rome, English College at, 206 
seq. ; dissensions between 
Welsh and English students, 
210 seq. ; curriculum at, 
209 n ; revenue of, 209 n ; 
English students on causes 
of dissension at, 211 seq. ; 
Parsons on dissensions, 2 1 2 w ; 
efEect of dissensions, 221 

Ross, John, printer, Carmar- 
then, 310. 

Rowlands, Rev. Daniel, helps 
to start Methodist revival, 

275 ; Howel Harries 's esti- 
mate of his preachingpowers, 

276 ; never disagreed in 
doctrine with EstabUshed 
Church, 278-279 ; his elo- 
quence, 285. 

Russell, Lord, John, on Welsh 
Judges, 154-155- 

Salesbury, Sir John, Justice 
of the Great Sessions ; 
William Llyn's elegy ex- 

tolling his knowledge of 
Welsh, 296. 

Salesbury, William, translates 
portion of Bible, 260 ; is 
given patent for printing of 
Welsh Bible for seven years, 
260 ; attitude towards 
Welsh, 297. 

Sampson, Bishop of Lichfield, 
President of the Council, 96. 

Scotland, effect on, of Act of 
Union with England, 22-23. 

Scudamore, John, Sheriff of 
Herefordshire, 66. 

Secondary, functions of, at 
Great Sessions, 159. 

Seville, Jesuit College founded 
at, 234. 

Sheriiis, how appointed in 
Wales, 77 ; duties of, 77 ; 
wrongly setting up Hundred 
Courts, 78 ; relations with 
Lord Bridgewater, 78 ; first 
appointed by Statutum 
Walliae, 160 ; provisions ol 
Act of 1542 as to, 160 ; 
functions of, 160 ; nomi- 
nated by President and 
afterwards by Justices of 
Great Sessions, 160 ; ex- 
empted from appearance in 
Court of Exchequer, 160. 

Shires, di^-ision of Wales into, 

70. 73- 

Sidney, Sir Henry, President 
of the Council {1558-1586), 
tribute to Wales, 11 ; at 
Ludlow, 92 ; heart interred 
at Ludlow, 92 ; description 
of office, 95-96 ; tenure of 
office, 98 seq. ; religious 
tolerance, 99 ; weeds out 
abuses, 99. 

Sidney, Sir Philip, at Shrews- 
bury School, 192 ; at Lud- 
low, 93 ; godson of Philip 


of Spain, 93 ; death and 

character, 93. 
Skeel, Miss, author of The 

Council of the Marches in 

Wales, 43 ; list of officials, 

ii6w; procedure of, 119- 

Smith, Rhosier, 206. 
Smyth, Bishop William, first 

President of the Council, 

44 seq. 
Solicitor-General, mentioned in 

Act of 1542, but not in Act of 

1830, 161. 
Stanley, Lord, Henry VII. 's 

stepfather, 37. 
Stanley, Sir William, desertion 

from Richard III., 37. 
Stephen, Mr. Justice, on Lords 

Marcher, 33. 
St. Omer, Jesuit College, 

founded, 234. 
Stradling, Robert, 60. 
Sulyard, Sir William, 73. 

Taylor, Edward, Warden of 
EngUsh Hospital at Rome, 

Temple, Christopher, on equity 
cases at Chester, 134-138 ; 
on cheapness of Welsh pro- 
cedure, 149. 

Thomas, Rev. Oliver, supposed 
author of Carwr y Cymry 
(1631), 263 n ; growth of 
paganism in Wales, 263. 

Thomas, Nicholas, printer, 
Carmarthen, 310. 

TickinhiU Manor, description 
of, 89 ; Prince Arthur at, 
89 ; falls into disrepair, 

Torture, Whitgift empowered 
to use, no. 

Trial by jury, extended to 
Wales, 83. 

Valladolid, Jesuit College 
founded at, 234. 

Vaughan, Chief Justice, 
treatise on Welsh jurisdic- 
tion, 166 ; condemns at- 
tempt of English Courts to 
steal Welsh jurisdiction, 166. 

Vaughan, Dean, of LlandafE, 
on the necessity for pre- 
serving Welsh, 316. 

Vaughan, Rice, author of 
Practica Walliae, 131-132 ; 
on Concessit solvere, 146-147. 

Vaughan, Rowland, of Caergai, 
contrast between education 
in England and in Wales, 

Vaughan, William, of Tor- 
coed, helps to colonise New- 
foundland, 85. 

Vescie or Voysey, Bishop, 
President of the Council, 46. 

Wales, government of, after 
Conquest, 29 seq. ; popula- 
tion of, in 1515, 55 n. 

Wars of the Roses, a March 
quarrel, 35. 

Warwick, Earl of, the King- 
maker, -34. 

Watson, Sir William, Wales 
a Greeting, 86. 

Welsh, excluded from official 
use, 70, 129 ; fortunes of, 
289 ; influence of Latin, 
289-291 ; of Anglo-Saxon, 
291-292 ; of the Northern 
Britons under Cunedda, 291 ; 
of French, 292-293 ; of 
English, 293-295 ; during 
Wars of the Roses,295 ; efEect 
of Act of Union on, 295 ; 
dissolution of monasteries 
leading to dispersal of Welsh 
MSS., 296 ; gentry forget- 
ting, 296 ; William Sales- 


bury's attitude, 297 ; views 
of Dr. Griffith Roberts, 
29S ; of Dr. Sion Dafydd 
Rhys, 298 ; of Morus Kyffin, 
299 ; of Dr. Johnson, 299 ; 
of Stephen Hughes, 299, 
301 ; of Griffith Jones, 
Llanddowror, 300 ; of 
Thomas Charles, 300 ; de- 
terioration after Reforma- 
tion, 301-302 ; not taught 
in Elizabethan grammar 
schools, 302 ; Vicar Pritcb- 
ard's rhymes as evidence 
of deterioration of, 303 ; 
Stephen Hughes's Welsh 
better than Vicar Pritchard's 

304 ; Pantycelyn's Welsh 
better than Stephen 
Hughes's, 304 ; httle origi- 
nal Welsh prose under 
Tudors, 304 ; little Welsh 
poetry published, 305 ; the 
Glamorgan poets, 305 ; few 
Welsh books published (1546- 
1644), 306 ; purification of 
language, 307 ; small cir- 
culation of Welsh Bibles, 

307 ; great increase during 
and after Commonwealth, 

305 ; Moses Williams's work, 

308 ; influence of circulat- 
ing schools, 309 ; the print- 
ing press in Wales, 309 seq. ; 
no monopoly in printing 
Welsh books for any town, 
310 ; all sects and parties 
contribute to Welsh litera- 
ture, 311 ; Cymmrodorion 
and Cymreigyddion Societies, 
312 ; influence of Sunday 
Schools, 313 ; the Welsh 
Republic of letters, 313 ; 
no Welsh professional men 
of letters, 314 ; Sir John 
Williams's ragged company 

of Welsh books, 315 ; work 
of Dr. Gwenogvryn Evans, 
Sir John Rhys, and Sir J. 
Morris Jones, 316-317 ; the 
young school of Welsh poets, 
and dramatists, 317 » ; 
Principal T. C. Edwards on 
preservation of, 317-318. 
Whitgift, Bishop of Worcester, 
afterwards Archbishop of 
Canterbury, appointed Vice- 
President of the Council, 
109 ; activity against 
Catholics, 109 ; inquires into 
case of John Edwards of 
Chirk, 109. 
William I., the Conqueror, 

treatment of Saxons, 2. 
Williams, Rev. David, of Wat- 
ford, co-operates with Howell 
Harries, 275. 
Williams, Lord, of Thame, 
kinsman of Richard Williams 
alias Cromwell, 97 ; career, 
98 ; appointed President of 
the Council, 98 ; dies at 
Ludlow, 98. 
Williams, Rev. Moses, Vicar of 
Devynock, publishes edi- 
tions of Welsh Bible in 1717 
and 1727, 308. 
Wilhams, Rev. Peter, joins 
Methodists, 277 ; expelled 
for heresy, 279. 
Wilhams, Dr. Rowland, on the 

neglect of Welsh, 318 m. 
Williams, Rev. William, of 
Pantycelyn, early life and 
conversion, 276 ; ordained 
curate to Rev. Theophilus 
Evans at Llanwrtyd, 277 ; 
an evangelical Churchman, 
278 ; poetry of, 285. 
Williams, Rev. William, o'r 
Wern, carpenter, 284 ; in- 
spired philosopher, 285. 


Wisbeach, dissensions among 
Catholic prisoners at, 244 ; 
Welshmen side with secular 
priests, 244. 

Worthington, Dr., succeeds 
Dr. Barratt at Douay, 234. 

Writ, judicial, 145 ; original, 
145 ; capias, 150 seq. 

Wroth, Rev. WilUam, of Llan- 
vaches, starts first Indepen- 
dent cause in Wales, 113, 
257 « ; reluctance to leave 
Church of England, 268. 

Wyatt, John, on equitable 
jurisdiction of Great Ses- 
sions, 132. 

Wynn, Sir John, History of the 
Gwydir Family, 4, 5, 41. 

Wynn, Elis, author of Y Bardd 
Cwsg, 309. 

York, Richard Duke of, 35 ; 
builds Tickinhill Manor, 8g ; 
gathers his forces against 
Lancastrians at Ludlow, 92. 

Zouche, Lord, of Harring- 
worth. President of the 
Council (1602-1607), 100 ; 
discourtesy in Scotland and 
at Ludlow, 100 ; Ben Jon- 
son's distich, loi.