Page images

Abergavenny, the courtier and great wit of his day, commencing with the lines:

"These are the toys and the baubles of boys."

Mr. Heath was twice Mayor of Monmouth (1819, 1821), and possibly the "Caxton" of Monmouth. His shop was that now occupied by Mr. Bevan, grocer, Agincourt Square. At this distance of time, it is impossible to speak as to what was Charles Heath's personal appearance or disposition, and I do not suppose any person who was his contemporary survives. It would be interesting to know who (if anyone) succeeded him in business, and what became of his MSS. and correspondence, as he must have been the recipient of many interesting letters from notable persons, for he tells us himself that "Lord Nelson wrote him a letter, after his memorable visit to Monmouth, with his own hand."

[ocr errors]

Mr. Heath died, not in affluent circumstances, at Monmouth, and his remains lie within a few paces of the gate leading to the Parish Church from Church Street, the spot formerly having been denoted by a small flat slab, so that a stranger unaided would have looked in vain to find it, until some few years ago (and to their praise be it said) some of Monmouth's sons erected over their deceased worthy a more becoming tomb of Forest stone. The inscription, on a brass plate fixed thereon, is as follows:

"To the Memory of CHARLES HEATH, Bookseller and Historian, Antiquarian, Author of a History of Monmouth, and other Descriptive Works, by which were first brought into the notice of tourists the antiquities, scenery and numerous objects of attraction in the neighbourhood of MONMOUTH. This Memorial was erected by his grateful and admiring fellow townsmen and neighbours. He died January 7th, A.D. 1831, Aged 70.”

He died leaving issue two daughters only, Margaret and Elizabeth, neither of whom was married. The former was an inmate of the Abergavenny Lunatic

Asylum at the time of her death, and the latter died at Monmouth, where both were buried.

Since the meeting of the Cambrian Archæological Association at Monmouth', Colonel Bradney informs. me, on the authority of the late Miss Kane of Monmouth (whose mother knew Charles Heath personally), that he (Heath) had to quit his paternal home in consequence of his revolutionary principles. If we accept this statement, we must also admit that his after life is a lasting testimony how completely he had renounced those wild ideas and that he became a most loyal subject.

He also states that Heath's narrative of the marriages of Richard Jones is not strictly accurate, and adds his first wife, Margaret (née Perkins, daughter of Edward Perkins of Pelston, Esquire), was at the time of her marriage to Mr. Jones not a spinster, but the widow of William Milborne of Monmouth, Gent., who was the son of George Milborne, a younger son of John Milborne of Wonastow, Esq., and on her death Mr. Jones married Mary Throgmorton, by whom he had issue, viz., Richard Jermyn (who died in infancy) and the daughter, Mary, referred to in an earlier part of my paper, who afterwards became a nun at Ghent. It will be noticed that Colonel Bradney transposes the order of his marriages as recorded by Heath but, when it is remembered that Heath wrote some 70 years after the events referred to, the mistake is to some extent pardonable.

Miss E. C. Tyler, of Newton Court, Monmouth, also writes me a most interesting letter, in which she says there is still living in the almhouses an old lady named Mrs. Highley who remembers Heath, and adds, "She has a very good memory, but cannot describe his appearance except his boots, which were Coburgs; he and his daughters were very kind, and he was quite a gentleman. He used to come into our Mr. Haines' paper was taken "as read" at the Monmouth meeting, 1908.

24 2

shop in his dressing-gown and slippers." She further adds that a miniature of Heath (the gift of Mrs. Mitchell, of Llanfrechfa) is in the Rolls Hall, Monmouth, in a case.

A correspondent to the Beacon also writes that a small oil-painting, on the back of which is written, "C. Heath, the Historian of Monmouth," is in the possession of the Working Men's Institute, Monmouth, and there is a companion picture of a lady, believed to be his wife.




NOT far west from Pentrevoelas were Plas Iolyn and Gilar, the old-time residences of two families of the

[graphic][merged small]

name of Price, the former mansion being associated with Dr. Ellis Price, and the latter with Baron Robert Price. Plas Iolyn is situated in the township of Tre Brys, and the name of Price is preserved in the words Garn Brys, Bryn Prys, Hendre Brys, Bwlch Prys, Aelwyd Prys, all in that township.

All that now remain of Plas Iolyn (Fig. 1) are traces of the foundations, the ruins of a square tower

and, adjoining, a large barn (narrow, but very long), supposed to have been used for tennis or some other game. The masonry looks very old; the walls were built with "mortar poeth," hot mortar. Both the tower and the barn are built upon high ground; the tower is of three storeys, and from it Dr. Price could get a good outlook over the surrounding country. The basement of the tower was used as a dungeon, and the


Fig. 2.-Quadrangle, looking to the House, Gilar
(Photograph by A. H. Hughes)

room on the ground floor contains a recess and a fireplace.

About half a mile from Plas Iolyn is Gilar, now a farmhouse, the birthplace of Baron Robert Price, who lived about 100 years later than Dr. Ellis Price.

Gilar is in a sheltered spot, with fertile soil, and situate under the northern slopes of Garn Brys, and its name is very descriptive of its position, Cil ar = arable recess. The mansion is placed at one end of a quadrangle (Fig. 2), not quite rectangular, 130 ft. long

« PreviousContinue »