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Parishes in January, 1607 (rude woodcut follows). London : Printed for W. W., and are to be solde in Paul's Churchyarde, at the signe of the Greyhound.” He also wrote and printed “An Account of the
“ Presentation of Colors to the Monmouth Volunteers, by Her Grace the Duchess of Beaufort,” in the year 1799. The last named is, no doubt, one of his most scarce books, and it is highly probable only a limited number were printed to commemorate the event. Of this pamphlet there is no copy in the British Museum, nor have I ever seen it in any of our public libraries, or catalogued by secondhand booksellers, and the only one I have ever seen is that in possession of Mr. Bickerton H. Deakin, of Monmouth, who kindly allowed me to reprint 100 copies in the year 1901.
. The company referred to was a mounted company and was called “The Patriotic Band,” raised by the local gentry when this nation was the subject of menace by our French neighbours. Similar bodies were raised in other towns-one in Chepstow, so Heath tells us. The author has recorded in this pamphlet the names of those enrolled, and it is of immense interest at the present day to note that the ancient Borough still claims residents who are descendants of that patriotic band in the names of Hyam, Prosser, Dyke, Griffin, Tyler, Powell, Powles, Stephens and Tippings, and there may be others I cannot identify for want of local knowledge. Equally interesting too is his account of the state of the roads in and around Monmouth anterior to the coming of the Turnpike Acts. The author yoes on to record that “Mr. Capel Hanbury of Pontypool was the first gentleman of landed fortune who visited Monmouth in his own private carriage and it required a considerable portion of courage to accomplish the undertaking; for such was the state of the roads though the distance was but 21 miles that it occupied from 8 o'clock in the morning till 5 in the evening, attended also by a number of labourers who acted as pioneers to open gates, pull down hedges to make ways to perform the journey.” No less interesting is that of the visit of the immortal Hero of the NileLord Nelson—on the 2nd August, 1802, when he and his party were feted by the Corporation.
Mr. Heath's works ran through a number of editions (thirteen or more) and continue to interest the student of topographical pursuits, but all are now very rare, especially his Monmouth set in 4to, the only copy of which I have ever seen is my own. I am also the fortunate possessor of his Monmouth 8vo, which was the property of Sir Richard Colt Hoare, with an impression of his crest in the binding ; also a copy of his Tintern which was the author's gift copy to the Duke of Clarence (afterwards William IV); and also the reprint of his Tract, Lamentable News, etc., and copies of all his many other works before referred to.
With his delightful quaintness of expression it is sometimes difficult to suppress a smile. All the same his works on the whole still rank amongst the best topographical accounts of Monmouthshire and they always have possessed for me a great fascination.
Much of his information respecting Mr. John Kyrle, “The Man of Ross,” he acquired from a venerable old man named William Dobbs, aged 84, who was a resident of the town of Ross, and who remembered the Man of Ross perfectly well; from Mrs. Prosser, Mr. William Wyrbhall of English Bicknor, and Mrs. Clarke of the Hill, the three last named persons being relatives of the Man of Ross. Mr. Heath enjoyed the friendship also of the late Dr. Griffin of Hadnock, William Jones Esq., of Clytha, Mr. D. Tregoze of Raglan, and a host of other literary residents, and families of distinction in this county, from whom he was able to set on record much that is particularly interesting and valuable of a local character, that would otherwise have died with
Mr. Heath is the only one to my knowledge who has printed that laughable ballad on “ Happy Dick,” the first lines of which run :
“How comes it, neighbour Dick,
Happy Dick was the term by which Richard Jones, Esquire, the owner and the occupier of the Dingestow Court Estate, was familiarly known. Heath goes on to say that “ he was much in appearance of the ancient Yeomanry of England, he was a fine athletic figure, stood 6ft. 3in. high and well proportioned, fond of the amusements of the country, and an excellent shot.” In the latter part of his life he married Miss Milborne of Wonastow, a maiden lady aged 60, with £10,000, whom he survived, and having sold the Dingestow Court Estate to Mr. Duberley, with part of the purchase-money Mr. Catchmayd of Monmouth, Attorney, bought him an annuity
with which he retired from the world and went to live at Usk,” where he built himself a house and, Heath adds, “ No one sang the ballad more lustily than Mr. Jones himself at convivial meetings at Monmouth.” Mr. Jones left an only daughter by a former marriage who was, at the time Heath wrote, resident at Ghent. Mr. Jones died and was buried at Usk, and the following is a copy of the inscription on his tomb :
a “ Underneath lyeth the body of Richard Jones, Esq., late of Dingestow, who died in this Town ye 17th day of July, 1769, in the 67th year of his age.” The Dingestow Court Estate was subsequently sold by Mr. Duberley to Mr. Bosanquet, ancestor of the present Squire. The author of the ballad referred to was a Mr. Gwynn, second Master of the Grammar School, Monmouth. He was also the author of some lines on Sir Charles Hanbury Williams of Coldbrook Park,
6TH SER. VOL. XII.
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." 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.