« PreviousContinue »
the Treaty of Montgomery the King granted Llywelyn and his heirs the Principality ; but he was to pay 24,000 marks by way of indemnity. David's lands were also restored, and the treaty was ratified by Papal authority
From a letterin 1267 addressed by Llywelyn to Edward, King of the Romans (brother of King Henry), it would appear that Llywelyn was unable to pay the indemnity, and in lieu thereof "offered a sum of money to my lord the King, and also the comot in which is Gannoc, and also the Castle' of Dissard, in the coniot of Prestaclune.
1 Rymer, 843, says 25,000 marks, and Matthew of Westminster, 32,000.
2 Letters of Hen. III, ii, 312-313. Rymer, i, 473.
KEY TO PLAN ON PAGE 277.
A. Guard-room, Chapel over.
MM. Wooden Cloister.
N. Inner Courtyard.
Outer Court. Y. Site of Gre Stables, etc. 2. Moat and Vallum.
WELSH MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY,
ARTS AND ANTIQUITIES, CARDIFF.
BY JOHN WARD, F.S.A.
In view of the approaching visit of the Cambrian Archæological Association to Cardiff, the Editor requests me to write about the Welsh Museum of Natural History, Arts and Antiquities—a long title, which is usually clipped to Welsh Museum,' but which well expresses its aims and the nature of its contents. To write now is in one sense inopportune, for museum matters in Cardiff are in a state of flux, but perhaps for this very reason a short description will be of peculiar future interest. The collections, under my charge as keeper, are still the property of the City Corporation, but steps are now being taken for their early transfer to the authorities of the National Museum of Wales. The site originally intended for a new municipal museum, and the fund accumulated towards defraying the cost of its erection, have already been transferred. On that site, the basement of the National Museum is making rapid progress, and in one of the quadrangles of the City Hall a small hall, which will serve as a temporary museum pending the completion of that building, is almost finished.
Until 1893, when the Corporation adopted the Museums and Gymnasiums Act of 1891, the Museum was a department of the Public Library. Both were the outcome of a correspondence in the local press in 1858 ; but it was not until 1861 that the movement took definite shape, when a subscription list was opened and a temporary room was rented in the Royal Arcade as a news and reading room. This
proved a success, and the following year the Corporation took over the undertaking, and enlarged its scope by the addition of a small lending and reference library. Three years later, the infant institution was removed to more commodious rooms in the old headquarters of the Young Men's Christian Association in St. Mary Street, where a back room on the top floor was allocated for a museum. Little can be gleaned as to what this room contained, but the fact that £50 were voted for glass - cases implies a collection, and the report of the following year notes with pleasure the considerable number of gifts thereto. The collection seems to have consisted of fossils and other naturalhistory objects, but it is not clear whether it was opened to the public at stated times. Perhaps to no one was the Museum more indebted in these early days than to Mr. Philip S. Robinson—the ‘Phil Robinson’ of several popular works on natural history - who was librarian in 1867-8; and to him in great measure is due the founding of the Cardiff Naturalists' Society, one of the Chief aims of which was the development of the collection. In 1871, it monopolised the whole storey and was opened to the public two evenings a week. A few years later, the need for more commodious premises became urgent, and this led to the erection of the older portion of the present Central Library in Trivity Street, which was opened in 1882 as a Free Library, Schools of Science and Art, and Museum, the latter again occupying the top floor. This was in every way a change for the better, and was almost immediately followed by the important Menelaus Bequest of paintings, which, with Vicat Cole's Ncon on the Surrey Hills,' already presented by the late Sir Edward Reed, M.P., formed a grand nucleus for a fine art collection. A substantial beginning, too, was made for the collection of Nantgarw and Swansea porcelain, which is now a notable feature.
At the time it was confidently expected that the new building would be an ple enough for many years,
but the phenomenal growth of Cardiff in the ‘eighties' soon proved the contrary. Within a few years, each
, department called for more accommodation, and the increasing urgency of the call compelled the Corporation to far-reaching measures. First, the Schools were removed. Then, with a view to the early removal of the Museum, the Museums and Gymnasiums Act was put into force, and, equipped with an income derived from a d. rate, it was created a separate department; and, in order to provide increased temporary accommodation, much of the space vacated by the Schools was allotted to it. But eveu so, it was evident that the entire building would fail to meet the needs of the Library, and this resulted, in 1895, in an extension covering a larger area than the original building
Meanwhile the rate had been doubled, and a site in Park Place purchased for a new museum.
Plans and designs were prepared, and after considerable delay all was ready for building operations, when, in 1897--an eventful year for Cardiff-the Corporation requested the Committee to stay its hands pending negotiations, which had a successful issue, for the acquisition of the Cathays Park as a site for a new town hall, museum, and other public buildings. Viewed in the light of subsequent events, the abandonment of the Park Place scheme was fortunate, for during the following ten years the collections grew at a rate probably not surpassed in any other provincial museum. În 1893, the top storey of the present building sufficed to bold all that the Museum possessed, but within six or seven years the lower rooms were so crowded that nearly half of the basement of the whole block had been requisitioned for storage purposes. A few later, additional accommodation had to be sought elsewhere. The top storey of a neighbouring business premises was rented as a zoological work and store room, and this was followed by a corridor and eleven police cells in the new Law Courts and three large
6TH SER., VOL. XII.
A few years
rooms in the new City Hall. It is beyond question that, had the proposed Park Place museum been built, the Corporation would, at the present moment, be confronted with the need of further accommodation in the near future; and apart from this, the building would have been of little use for a national institution.
Coincident with the acquisition of the Cathays Park, the movement for a national museum for Wales gathered strength. In the preparation of new plans, the possibilities of the future in this respect were kept steadily in view. The site was large enough for any contingency. The first portion to be erected of the proposed building was designed on a scale which would befit it to form part of a national museum, but it was impossible to carry it out with the means at the disposal of the Committee-hence further delay. Here again Fortune smiled behind a frowning mask, for when the decision went forth in 1905 that the national institution should be at Cardiff, the noble site in the Cathays Park was still untouched, and thus allowed of the erection of a building designed outright for a national museum, and with ampler means for its realisation. The Welsh Museum, it may be mentioned here, is managed by a Corporation committee under the chairmanship of Alderman Illtyd Thomas, J.P., and an advisory body, consisting of gentlemen selected for their special knowledge, with Dr. C. T. Vachell, J.P., for their chairman. The staff consists of a curator, zoologist, general assistant, two week-day and two Sunday attendants, and a messenger.
The present Museum is far from being an ideal one. The rooms are small and congested, and many of the glass-cases in their turn are overcrowded with objects. Under these difficult and trying conditions, it is impossible to arrange the collections in a systematic manner or to display them to full advantage, and few of them can be shown in their entirety; but the best has been done to make the exbibited selections as varied and representative as possible. Natural history