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1330, his vast diocese consisted of no less than 502 parishes. This institution was one of great importance, the warden possessing considerable power and authority. Early in the fourteenth century Bishop Henry de Gower appears to have settled two-tħirds of the tithes of this parish on the Hospital of David, leaving only one-third for the vicar. In 1379 the parish of Oystermouth, with all its rights and appurtenances, was appropriated to the Hospital by Bishop Houghton, who was the fourth Bishop of the see in succession from De Gower. There were five wardens, the first being John de Acum, in the year 1334; the last, Richard Rawlins, in 1545.
It was dissolved in the first year of Edward VI, and granted to Sir George Herbert.
I must ask your pardon for having taken up so much of your valuable time in describing the position and details of the present remains, and saying so little relative to its foundation, charters, clerical and lay benefactors; but this history you can read at the Royal Institution, in the works of the late Lewis Weston Dillwyn and Colonel George Grant Francis, gentlemen by whose means and antiquarian knowledge many a Swansea relic has been preserved as a treasure to our town. The time may be at hand when street improvements will rapidly obliterate these few decayed walls and old oak timbers ; but I trust the hand that touches them will be careful to preserve as much as possible. They are but a small legacy from the good and great Bishop Henry de Gower.
1.-Charter of Foundation and Endowment of the Hospital of
Swansea by Henry de Gower, Bishop of St. David's, A.D.
1332. (Harl. MS. 1249, fol. 204.) “In the name of the most glorious and undivided Trinity of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen. We, Henry de Gower, by divine permission Bishop of St. David's, (1), confiding in the goodness of the Supreme Creator of (all) things, and (Giver of all) blessings, and on the grace of the same, who directs and disposes of the vows of departed men according to his own will: feeling truly, after the example of
the Samaritan who mercifully bound up the wounds of the halfdead (man) who fell among thieves, that such an one is to be relieved and succoured chiefly by works of piety; which thing certain Catholic Bishops and other faithful servants of Christ, considering with pious devotion, have in various parts of the world, out of their own estates and possessions, resolved to erect holy places to be for ever set apart for the maintenance of those celebrating divine rites, and of the poor, whose wholesome dispositions, of very truth, divinely inspired, We are, as it becomes us, desirous, with the utmost solicitude, to embrace and steadfastly follow. Lest priests, blind, decrepid, or infirm, and other poor men, in the bishoprick of St. David's be at any time destitute of food, and begging, to the scandal of the clergy and of the Church, We do, with the consent of our Lord the King of England, and of the Lord of the place, out of the lands and possession of our patrimony in Sweynes', and of others acquired, for the safety of our soul (and of the souls of) our predecessors and progenitors, found a certain Hospital to the honour of the Blessed David, Archbishop and Confessor, our Patron, for the support of six chaplains (six after the number six, which is a perfect numeral for the celebration of divine services in the said hospital every day for ever, on behalf of the undermentioned living and deceased persons, and for the support of other poor chaplains and laymen deprived of bodily health, to be maintained in the said Hospital in Sweynes' aforesaid, on the lands, tenements, and revenues undermentioned. First, we give in perpetual and pure alms, and to the said Hospital assign, a tenement for the dwelling of the Master and Chaplains, near to the church of the Blessed Mary of Sweynes' aforesaid. Also thirteen burgages, whereof one was Robert Jordan's, beside the tenement which was formerly Master Walter de Penderton's, heretofore rector of the church of Sweynes' aforesaid ; and another burgage which lies beside the tenement of Robert de Weston; and the half burgage which formerly belonged to Thomas Mareschall, and which lies contiguous to the tenement of Robert de Weston ; and the half burgage which is situate in Fisher Street, beside the curtilage of John de Soper; and two burgages towards Tawey, which formerly belonged to Isabella of Neath; and one burgage which lies outside the gate of Harold, which belonged to the said Isabella ; also one burgage formerly of John Harold, without Harold's Gate; likewise one burgage which was Peter de la Bere's, and which lies without the aforesaid gate; and one burgage which was Henry Jordan's, and which lies without the wall of Sweynes' aforesaid; and one burgage which was of our patrimony aforesaid, towards Tawey ;
and the half burgage which was John Batyn's, and which lies between the curtilage beside the wall of Sweynes' aforesaid ; and the half burgage which was Thomas Dobyn's, without Harold's Gate; and eleven curtilages lying between the tenement which was formerly John Harold's, without Harold's Gate, on the south side; and two acres of William de Lock's on the north side, and abutting the walls of Sweynes' aforesaid, at one end towards the east, and the other end towards the King's highroad, towards the west, which contain three acres of lands, and thirty-two acres of arable land, with two wears in Sweynes' aforesaid, which were of our said patrimony, Walter de Pederton's, Thomas Perkyn’s, Thomas de Sweynes', and Robert Jordan's; also one messuage, one curtilage, with a garden and ten acres of arable land, which were Robert de Weston's, in Penard; and two messuages, sixty acres of arable land, eight acres of mountain meadow, twelve acres of coppice and moor, together with the half of one water-mill in the east, in the parish of Sweynes' aforesaid, which were the said Robert de Weston's and Thomas Perkyn's; and one messuage, fifty-eight acres of arable land, with eight acres of coppice, at Kylnorth, which were of our said patrimony in the manor of Pennard; and twenty acres of arable land at the Cowyke, in the manor and parish of Sweynes', which were the said Robert de Weston's; and sixty acres of arable land, thirty acres of mountain meadow, forty Welsh acres of waste land, which were Peter de la Bere's and Thomas his son's, in Pennilar and in the parish of Llangefelach, with all the rights and liberties which our Lord the King and the Lord of Gower, by the charters to us thenceforth made, for themselves and their heirs, have granted and for ever confirmed in favour and aid of the said Hospital, and of those dwelling in the same, at our instance and suit.
“Collation, moreover, of the said mastership and deputy mastership, when the same shall become vacant, being reserved to us and to the bishop for the time being, our successors, or to the chapter of our church of St, David's, the episcopal see being vacant. We will also and by these presents appoint that the said master or warden of the said Hospital and the chaplains for the time being, and the other poor persons dwelling therein, as aforesaid, do celebrate (services) for the soul of our late Lord David, Bishop of St. David's, and of others our predecessors, and for our welfare and for that of our successors, whilst we shall survive, and for our souls when we shall have departed from out this life; also for the welfare of our Lord Edward, by the grace of God King of England, and of our Lady his Queen Consort, also for the souls of his progenitors; for the Lord Johın de Mowbray, Lord of Gower, and for the soul of Lady Alina, his mother, and of others, their progenitors; for the Lord John de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, his brothers, and predecessors; for the Lord Robert de Penrys, Richard de Penrys, their children and progenitors; for Robert de Weston and Lucy his consort, and their progenitors ; for Robert, son of Nicholas Martyn; for Peter de la Bere, Agnes his wife, Thomas de la Bere, their son, and their other children ; and for all other benefactors of the said Hospital who in the foundation, construction, and support of the same Hospital, and of those dwelling therein, have laid helping hands; and that in their masses and suffrages of devotion they shall specially pray and fervently commend the same to God whilst they shall have dwelt in the said Hospital, or shall have been supported of the funds thereof, in future times for ever; and in like form and devotion, for the souls of Galfridus Don and Isabella of Neath, his sister; and for the souls of all the faithful departed do in fit manner continually implore the mercy of our Redeemer.
“ In testimony of all which aforesaid matters, our seal, together with the common seal of the Chapter of St. David's, and of the said Hospital of the Blessed David of Sweynes', are to these presents appended.
" Witness these noble persons: the Lord John de Bohun, Earl of Hereford; the Lord John de Mowbray, Lord of Gower, Edward de Bohun, Barons; Robert de Penrys, John de Longeton, Knights; Richard Wolfe, Richard de Penrys, Robert de Weston, Peter de la Bere, John de Mare, and others.
“Given at Sweynes', the kalends of August in the thirteen hundred and thirty-second year of our Lord, in the sixth year of the reign of King Edward the third after the Conquest, and fifth year of our consecration.”
II.—Charter of the Master and Chaplains of the Hospital of
St. David at Swansea, to found a Chantry for the Souls of the Earl of Hereford and his Relatives. Dated A.D.
1334, Mu. Duc. of Lanc. (1.) “ To all the faithful in Christ to whom these present letters shall come, John de Acum, Master of the Hospital of the Blessed David of Sweynese, in the diocese of St. David, and the Chaplains of the same place therein celebrating divine observances, eternal salvation in the Lord.
“Know ye that we, with the unanimous assent and consent, license and authority of the venerable Father in Christ our Lord Henry, by the grace of God Bishop of St. David's, Founder of our said House, and Diocesan of the same, do grant, and by these presents are held bound, to the noble Lord John de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, to found one chantry for the Earl himself, his progenitors, and of those near of kin, in the chapel of the said Hospital, by one fit chaplain of our choir to be celebrated for ever. To the which chantry to the said Earl and his kinsfolk aforenamed, for the period of their lives, and for their souls when they shall have departed hence, and for the souls of all the faithful deceased in the said Hospital, faithfully, as aforesaid, to be made, we bind ourselves and our successors to the compulsion and correction of the aforesaid Lord Bishop of St. David's and his successors for the time being, as often as and whensoever we or our successors in the said Hospital, without lawful hindrance, shall cease or leave off the chantry beforenarned.
“In testimony whereof I, John de Acom' aforesaid, have put to these presents my seal; and because my seal is unknown to many, I have procured the seal of the Lord Bishop of St. David's to be affixed to these presents; and we, Henry Bishop of St. David's aforesaid, at the urgent and personal request of the said Sir John de Acom', Master of the said Hospital house before mentioned, and of the chaplains, his companions aforesaid, have caused our seal to be affixed to these presents in testimony of the aforesaid.
“Given at Sweynes' the twelfth day of September in the thirteen hundred and thirty-fourth year of our Lord.”