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Stoke Blisse. Al' decimae nuper Prioratui de
Lymbroke. Molend' cum clausis
Dorwalde. Firma voc' Farleis felde prope Capellam de Dorwalde
Dorwalde. Firma Capella1 St. Leonardi in, cum
terr' eidem pertinen'
Lymbroke. Scit' Prior' &c.
Ludlow. Lib' redd' Magistri Hospital' S'ci Johan
nis de Ludlowe pro terr'
Nunneupton. Mess' cum terris &c. infra Paroch'
Clifton. Mess' &c.
Firma terr' voc' the Parsonag landes cum
decimis Clifton. Al' decima
. 1 6 8 7 0
1 5 8
2 13 4."
R. W. B.
1 See account of the discovery of remains, and drawing of Norman doorway, at Deerfold, Arch. Camb., 4th Series, vol. iv, p. 335.
EVIDENCES OF THE
BARRI FAMILY OF MANORBEER AND
WITH OTHER EARLY OWNERS OF THE FORMER,
BY SIR GEORGE DUCKETT, BART.,
Knight of the Order of Merit of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Officer of Public
Society of Antiquaries of Normandy.
NOT the antiquary alone, bent on things pertaining to his favourite pursuit, neither the tourist from Tenby, nor the pedestrian plodding on his way for pleasure or for health, nor even the casual sportsman in search of game, within sight of the walls of Manorbeer, but one and each of these must have regretted, that some more authentic and less brief history of this interesting castle were forthcoming, involving the fortunes and vicissitudes of so many generations. For ourselves, we have looked into every available and recently printed authority dealing with that locality, and discover the same brief and incomplete details repeated in all, reproduced as a réchauffé from one common
In view of elucidating this subject, an attempt was made in vol. xi, 4th Series, of the Archæologia Cambrensis, to furnish some, till then unpublished, particulars respecting the earliest known possessors of that place; and additional evidences were given from the
1 The authorities for this paper are-Giraldus Cambrensis, Anglia Sacra, Documents pertaining to Ireland (Sweetman); Ordericus Vitalis; Smith's History of Cork; Irish Archæological Journal; Annals of the Four Masters; Hoare's Tour in Ireland; Lodge's Peerage of Ireland; Roberts' Calendarium Genealogicum; Inquisitiones post Mortem et ad quod Damnum; Brut y Tywysogion, with other references quoted in loco.
Public Records on the same subject, in a later volume1 of those Collections.
In respect of the actual building or structure, little, if any, further information is derivable from existing evidence, or such as has hitherto come to light. We have simply before us what has already been supplied by different writers, who, copying one from another, have left its early history as much in the dark as ever, spending pages over the etymology of the name of Manorbeer-a matter of very little, if of any consequence whatever.
Of its earliest known possessors, the Barri family, it seems possible to furnish some authentic details, and this will be mainly the purport of the present paper.
Manorbeer lies on the sea-coast between Tenby and Pembroke, and to those who may not have access to Leland, Hoare's Giraldus Cambrensis, or Fenton's Historical Tour through the county of Pembroke, we may supply the gist of their description of it. The latter observes: "The castle remains the most perfect model of an old Norman baron's residence, with all its appendages, church, mill, dove-house, ponds, park and grove still to be traced; and the houses of his vassals at such a distance as to be within call." Indeed, the building is also the most perfect and entire known of any remaining castellated structure. Some description of the seat of the Barri family is given also by Giraldus Cambrensis, who was a cadet of that house, and born at Manorbeer circa 1146.2 His own words, more eulogistic of this his birthplace than quite merited, correspond in most particulars with its still existing features, save and except that certain lakes or fishponds, and enumerated vineyards, no longer exist; though the valley which he mentions and its rivulet still remain. Neither has the structure ever undergone any very material alteration, and was at the outset apparently designed both for residential and defensive purposes. This is to be inferred from the fact that its 1 Vol. xiii, p. 166, 4th Series. 2 Hoare's Giraldus, i, 201.
enceinte or main enclosure, in respect of this last, is furnished with no openings save loop-holes or similar apertures for the discharge of missiles, and that all its habitable apartments look inwards, facing an interior court. This conclusion as to the design of the edifice is probably correct; but one fact still remains unexplainable, save on very questionable grounds, how, namely, throughout the stormy ages of its existence, and centuries of civil commotion, the building has escaped the ravages as well of warfare as of time; and this last fact as to its existing condition' tends much to the supposition that its defensive character could not have been a primary consideration. Its gateway and entrance, nevertheless, point somewhat to the contrary, being strongly protected by flanking-defence; whilst, on the other hand, the fact that the church, though only a moderate distance from the castle, was even detached at all from it, and that no oratory, so usually concomitant with feudal strongholds in the earliest pre-Reformation times, has been discovered within its enclosure, tends more to the supposition of a residential rather than of a defensive structure in its character. In this church there still remains a recumbent monumental figure of a knight in chain-armour, the crossed legs of which, whilst denoting the crusader, point, by the shield charged with the Barri coat, to a member of that house. The connection of the Barri family with the Princes of the House of Dinevor may have contributed to its almost miraculous escape from ruin and overthrow, but its maintenance and preservation must have been the result of care on the part of succeeding holders.
1 This condition may also, possibly, be attributable to what is recorded in the Cambrian Register, ii, 96, from a MS. of George Owen of Henllys: "The buildings of the antient castles (of Pembrokeshire) were of lyme and stone, soe verie strong that none of the masons of this age can doe the like; for although all, or most of them, have endured for diverse hundred yeares past, yet are they in such wise knit together as if the lyme and stone did incorporate the one the other, and it were easier to dig stones out of the mayne rock then to pull down an old wall."
It is probable that the Barris, in the absence of proof to the contrary, were the original founders of Manorbeer, and that its erection may be ascribed to William de Barri in the early part of the twelfth or end of the eleventh century, being the first of whom we have any reliable record. An earlier founder might, we think, be sought in Gerald de Windsor, which would place the era of its foundation in the eleventh century, a generation earlier. He had married Nesta, daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr (Theodore), and it was her daughter whom William de Barri then had married. William de Barri is, however, the first known or recorded possessor of Manorbeer, after arriving in Wales in the train of Arnulph de Montgomerie, as one of his associates.
1 The MS. of George Owen of Henllys (Camb. Reg., ii, 102) attributes the erection of all the first castles and strongholds in Wales to this very era of Strongbow: "Onely one general note I think good to give in this place, that all the castles and tounes of this country for the most part were built by our conqueror, Erle Strongbowe, and his Knights to whom he gave the land."
2 Arnoul or Arnulph de Montgomeri was a younger son of Roger de Montgomeri, Comte de Bellême, the well-known Norman follower of the Conqueror, who made him Earl of Shrewsbury and Arundel. He had a sort of "roving commission", as one may say, from the King to conquer and obtain what he could by the sword, in South Wales, for as early or earlier than King Stephen, even in the time of Rufus, and in the following reign of Henry I, the chieftains who had established themselves in the west of England sought (as an addition to their pay) the license of conquest in the contiguous country of Wales. (Gesta Stephani Regis, p. 940.) Many obtained regular permission, many gave themselves permission, to invade the Welsh territory with or without "letters of marque". The former case is thus recorded by Giraldus Cambrensis (Itiner. Wallie), "invadendæ Cambria facultatem petiverunt"; and again, "cui Rex dedit licentiam conquirendi super Wallenses" (Mon. Angl.). To Arnoul de Montgomeri is attributed the erection of Pembroke Castle, from which he was sometimes named Earl of Pembroke; and the appointment of Gerald de Wyndesore, one of his Anglo-Norman adherents, as Governor or Lieutenant thereof. When Arnoul de Montgomeri joined in rebellion against Henry I, that King transferred the government of Pembroke to Gerald de Windsor, the husband (as observed) of Nesta, the King's late concubine. Whether Arnoul then fortified his Castle of Pembroke, as is said, on 5TH SER., VOL. VIII.