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that this description of the borough of Rhosfair is equally applicable to the borough of Caerwys. It is unfortunate that in the case of Caerwys we are without the evidence that has been preserved of the past condition of Rhosfair in Anglesea. Such isolated facts as we are able to glean go to prove that the circumstances of the two places were identical, and we are therefore able to appreciate the reasons why they were similarly treated. I append a copy of the enrolment of a confirmation of the charter of Caerwys, obtained the 9th Henry IV, setting forth the earlier charters to the town. The original of the charter is amongst the Mostyn muniments. The commercial importance thus given to Caerwys was purely factitious, as it also was in the case of Newborough. No exercise of the royal patronage could put them on an equal footing with the towns that were stationed on the direct path of prosperity, and they gradually declined, until it was left to a later generation to wonder at and almost to doubt the existence of their former dignity. Caerwys, like Flint, was regularly farmed at an annual rent, and the amount accounted for among the annual receipts of the Chamberlain of Chester.
We obtain an interesting glimpse of Caerwys in the 31st year of Edward III (A.D. 1357), the full unfolding of which would lead me into digressions altogether beyond the limits of this paper. In that year the temporalities of the see of St. Asaph were seized into the hands of the Black Prince, as lord of the principality of Wales. We accordingly have an account of the revenue accruing from them, drawn up for the year ending 3rd February 1358, by the Prince's officer, Ithel ap Kynwrig Sais. From this we learn that the vill of Bryngwyn, one of the townships of the parish of Caerwys, belonged in equal shares to the Bishop and the Cathedral chapter. This vill was then occupied by the free tribal family of Ithel, and by the tribal family Rhosfair, he persisted in calling it Rhossir (ie., Rhos-hir), as "proceeding from the natural propriety of the place."
of Gwerthnoit (Gwaethvoed), which had once been unfree (nativus) but was then free. The collective members (progenies) of these family holdings (lecti) owed the Prince 22s. 4d. and 25s. per annum, respectively, the difference between the two sums being, no doubt, the extra rent paid by the family of Gwaethvoed upon its emancipation. This "goresgyniad", or "superascension", which is the term used in the Welsh laws for the process by which the unfree ascended to freedom, may have dated from the grant of Edward's charter to the borough, or it may have been the result of a grant, whenever and by whosoever made, of the township of Bryngwyn to the Church. I cannot stay now to enter into the many interesting points of Welsh custom called up by this entry. I will content myself with referring to Mr. A. N. Palmer's History of Ancient Tenures in the Welsh Marches, for an admirable exposition of Welsh social and economic institutions. There is another item, however, to which I must call attention; it is that of 5s., which proceeded from land called Gauelescop (that is, Gavael Escob, the Bishop's holding) in Hendrecayrus. I know not whether the Bishop is still owner of a small piece of land in the parish of Caerwys, nor have I been able to trace the period at which it became part of the temporalities of the see; it was probably before the Edwardian conquest. The term Hendre Cayrus deserves attention. It points to a higher antiquity, and probably also to a superior dignity, to the places in the vicinity; and it is a coincidence of importance in the comparison of Caerwys with Newborough, to note that a part of the latter parish was called Hendre Rhosfair. This lay outside the borough limits; and we may fairly conjecture that the outlying portion of the parish of Caerwys beyond the
1 Three persons whose privileges increase in one day: the first is where a church is consecrated in a taeog trev (captiva villa) with the permission of the king; a man of that trev, who might be a taeog in the morning, becomes on that night a free man. See Dimetian Code (Laws of Wales, vol. i, p. 444).
borough boundary was that known as Hendre Caerwys; this was also that portion of the parish called for fiscal purposes the ringildry of Caerwys, from the circumstance that it was the sphere of a ringild or rhingyll, an officer of whom mention is made in the Welsh Laws, and whose originally legal functions became widened, under the English administration, so as to include the collection of local taxes. It was usual to appoint different officers for the collection of subsidies due from the town, and for the collection of those due from the ringildry. The same two sets of appointments were also made annually for the town of Rhuddlan and for its outlying district; and it is interesting to observe that while a Welsh name is quite exceptional amongst the Rhuddlan town officers, English names are equally absent from the officers of the ringildry of Rhuddlan. But in Caerwys the local officers of the inner and outer districts are always Welsh, and the circumstance proves that the original Welsh families had neither suffered deportation, nor had had their borough invaded by an alien colony.
I have been able to find no direct references to Caerwys, nor to the hospitable mansions that stood within its parochial bounds, in the poems of the mediæval Welsh bards. Allusions to the district of Tegeingl are frequent, and it is hardly possible to doubt that the walls of Maesmynan had not frequently resounded with the songs of Cynddelw, Llywarch ap Llywelyn, and others. One very striking circumstance in the compotus of Ithel ap Kynwrig Sais of the lands of the see of St. Asaph, to which I have already alluded, is that one of the holdings of a free tribal family in the vill of Branan (which is identified by Archdeacon Thomas with Bryngwyn, in Tremeirchion), was known as lectus Prydydd y Môch. This was the appellation of Llywarch ap Llywelyn, one of the most famous bards of the twelfth-thirteenth centuries, of whose poems we have more than thirty pieces preserved in the Myvyrian Archaiology, most of them being in laudation of
the chiefs of Gwynedd, He is the only personage in Welsh history who bore the title of the "poet of the swine"; and there can be no doubt that we shall be perfectly safe in considering that one of his rewards as laureate of Gwynedd was a grant of free tribal land in the township of Bryngwyn, in the parish of Tremeirchion. It is very gratifying to be able to give a local habitation to one of the most eminent names in Welsh mediæval literature.
Caerwys continued to retain its Welsh sympathies. In the troublous times of Owain Glyndwr, Flintshire declared warmly for the last of the Welsh chieftains, but the centre of the disturbance was soon removed further westward, and the county settled down into dulness once more.
I will not enter upon the connection of Caerwys with the great Eisteddfod of Queen Elizabeth's reign. I need only say that the position occupied by the town both before and immediately after the English conquest appears to me to bring the bardic congress of Gruffydd ap Cynan within the bounds of historical probability, though there is no direct evidence on the point.
Confirmation of the Charter of Caerwys.
(Record Office, Patent Roll, 9 Henry IV, p. 2, m. 5.)
Rex omnibus ad quos, etc. salutem.
Inspeximus quasdam litteras patentes Domini Ricardi, nuper Regis Anglie, secundi post conquestum factas in hec verba :
[RICHARD II.] Ricardus, Dei Gratia, Rex Anglie et Ffrancie, et Dominus Hibernie, omnibus ad quos presentes littere pervenerint salutem.
Inspeximus cartam quam Dominus Edwardus, nuper Princeps Wallie, Dux Cornubie et comes Cestrie, patris nostri, fieri fecit in hec verba :
[THE BLACK PRINCE.] Edwardus, illustris Regis Anglie filius, princeps Wallie, dux Cornubie et comes Cestrie, episcopis, abbatibus, prioribus, comitibus, baronibus, militibus, justiciariis, vicecomitibus, et omnibus ballivis et fidelibus suis salutem.
Inspeximus cartam, quam celebris memorie Dominus Edwardus, quondam Rex Anglie, proavus noster, fecit Burgensibus ville nostre de Cayrus in hec verba :
[EDWARD I.] Edwardus, Dei Gratia, Rex Anglie, Dominus Hibernie, et Dux Aquitanie, archiepiscopis, episcopis, abbatibus, prioribus, comitibus, baronibus, justiciariis, vicecomitibus, prepositis, ministris, et omnibus ballivis et fidelibus suis, salutem.
Sciatis nos concessisse et hac presenti carta nostra confirmasse hominibus ville nostre de Cayrus in Wallia quod villa illa decetero liber Burgus sit, et quod homines eundem Burgum inhabitantes liberi sint Burgenses, et quod habeant gildam mercatoriam cum hansa, et omnibus libertatibus et liberis consuetudinibus ad liberum Burgum pertinentibus, quales videlicet habent liberi Burgenses nostri de Aberconewey et Rothelan in Burgis suis vel alii Burgenses nostri in Wallia. Quare volumus et firmiter precipimus, pro nobis et heredibus nostris, quod villa predicta decetero Liber Burgus sit, et quod homines eundem Burgum inhabitantes liberi sint Burgenses, et quod habeant gildam mercatoriam cum hansa, et omnibus libertatibus et liberis consuetudinibus ad liberum Burgum pertinentibus, quales videlicet habent liberi Burgenses nostri de Aberconewey et Rothelan in Burgis suis, vel alii Burgenses nostri in Wallia sicut predictum est. Hiis testibus venerabilibus patribus, R. Bathon' et Wellen', D. Dunelmen', et W. Elien' episcopis, Gilberto de Clare, comite Gloucestr', Johanne de Warennia, comite Surreia, Henrico de Lacy, comite Lincoln', Reginaldo de Grey, justiciario Cestr', Johanne de Sancto Johanne, Willelmo de Latimer, Petro de Chaumpnent, Petro de Chauumpaigne et aliis. Datum per manum nostram apud Kyngesclipston' vicesimo quinto die Octobris anno regni nostri decimo octavo [A.D. 1290].
Et quia in carta predicta prefatis Burgensibus concessa aliqui diverse mete limites sive bunde ad quas precinctia dicti Burgi d'extendere, et infra quas libertates ipsius Burgi exactionari debeant non specificant' proprie quod dicti Burgenses super libertatibus eis concessis...... ut accipimus fuerunt inquietati et eciam impetiti Nos eorum indempnitati providere volentes in hac parte similiter et quiete concessimus pro nobis et heredibus nostris iisdem Burgensibus quod diverse mete et bunde Burgi predicti et libertates ejusdem decetero teneantur et observentur infra limites et loca subscripta et per diversas metas et bundas Burgi predicti habeantur et teneantur imperpetuum, et quod libertates Burgi predicti infra eadem loca et limites et usque ad ea juxta vim et formam concessionis de eisdem libertatibus per predictum Dominum Regem proavum nostrum dictis Burgensibus facte absque impedimento nostri vel heredum nostrorum, justicii camere nostri, vicecomitum, escaetorum aut aliorum quorum ministrorum nostrorum aut heredum nostrorum perpetuis temporibus existeantur, videlicet, a via juxta Crucem vocat Crosse Wyaun que ducit versus Marian Croyken, et sic per