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Rent Roll of Carmarthen Corporation 1678

By Major FRANCIS JONES, C.V.O., T.D., F.S.A., Wales Herald Extraordinary

AMONG Lord Dynevor's family muniments preserved in the County Record Office is a rent roll of Carmarthen Corporation for the year 1678, compiled during the mayoralty of Thomas Newsham, mercer. It consists of three membranes, the tops of which have been nibbled by mice, but fortunately, that part of the text, apart from the Christian name of the town chamberlain which went down a mouse's gullet, can be reconstrued without difficulty. The rent-roll is entered on the first two membranes. About 1700 an examination was made of the entries, revealing that a number of properties had been omitted, and the examiner's observations were made on a third membrane which was then sewn on to the others.

As so often the case with rent-rolls, this one, apart from its primary purpose, contains incidental information of considerable value to the historian. Several streets are mentioned, the town wall, the 'Tower', King Street Gate (the cellars of which run beneath Mr Lodwick's Shop), and Wirriot's Tower in the medieval castle which still abuts on Bridge Street, the 'cattle market', the 'Pinfold' (pound for stray cattle), 'The Crosse', and the 'chapel' probably one of the medieval cells, later discontinued, like St Mary's in the street of that name. We are shown that shops and butchers's shambles occupied the arches on the ground floor of the old shire hall, and that there was a Bridewell for the accommodation of less rule inhabitants. Among the places in the vicinity of the town was Gwaun Iago, Job's Well, Morfa Bugail, 'Gwaun y ffynon felys' (the sweet well, probably medicinal), Flander's hill, Pentre hydd, 'Pentre hirvach', the mansions of Ystrad and Rhydygors, the latter mercilessly demolished in 1972. The reference to 'Chettle's Meadow' in the Waun Job area, reminds us of a family that took a prominent part in developing Carmarthenshire's industries, one of whom served as town sheriff in 1705 and mayor in 1724. An association between pint and piety is indicated by the fact that the Bishop of St Davids, no less, held the aptly named Angel inn, which, after all those years, still ministers to parched burgesses.

Among the officials mentioned are the town clerk, serjeant, wafer bailiff, post-master, and prothonotary (probably of the Great Sessions) whose office was over the council chamber in the Shire Hall. One doctor is named, but the main traders were tanners, smiths, butchers, dyers, mercers, tailors, cordwainers, millers, saddlers, and corvisors. The guilds of Tailors, Cordwainers, Tanners, and Glovers, also rented certain properties.

The inclusion of Henry Jones, post-master, in the roll calls for additional comment. At that time there were eight post-towns in the county, the most important by far being Carmarthen. The earliest post-master at the town known to me was a Mr. Vaughan who received a yearly salary of 25 in 1677. In the roll reference is made to 'John Richard post',1 probably the postmaster, since five years later that functionary is described as .... Richard with a yearly salary of 25. He was followed by Daniel Richards who made his will in 1696 in which he is described as "gentleman, postmaster"' and documents of 1702 state that he owed the Crown 73 6 11 derived from his office. We do not know when Daniel resigned or when he died (his will was proved in 1708) but the postmaster of Carmarthen in 1702 was Henry Jones who enjoyed the greatly improved salary of 48. Henry is described as post-master in the third membrane of the roll, holding two lime-kilns. Post-masters were usually men of some substance, and a later post-master of Carmarthen, John Williams, whose will was proved in 1773 is described as 'gentleman'.

It is possible to identify several of the tenants, and in the following transcript I have placed within square brackets some details I have been able to acquire concerning them. There are several well-known burgesses among them whose families had been associated with the town for many generations, like Catchmaid which can be traced to medieval times, the Thomases of Ystrad, the Beynons, Lewis, Pountaine [Pwntan], Bevan, Newsham, Gove, Oakley, and others. The landed gentry are represented by Lloyd of Cwmgwili, Vaughan of Penybanc, Williams of Hafodwen, Philipps of Coedgain, and Edwardes of Rhydygors.

Membrane 1
A Rent Roll of all the Towne Rents made the second of October 1678 ( . . . . Delanoy, Chamberlaine).

1. John Williams, esquire, 20 closes, parks, or parcels of lands in the Ystrad, and Morva Mill, lying in the Lower Franchess, Cantos house and garden, the close in the Gorse lying in St Mary Street ward, at the yearly rent of 13 6 10. [son of John Williams of Carmarthen by Margaret Atkyns his wife. Junior Sheriff 1669, Mayor 1675, High Sheriff of Cardiganshire in 1666, died May 1710. By his wife Lettice daughter of Rhys Lloyd of Bronwydd, Cardiganshire, he had seven children].
2. David Edwards, gentleman, for certain parcels of lands near Rhydr Gorse, and for a garden near .... mill, yearly rent 3 10 4. Two parcels of commons amongst his own lands of Penybryn, 2s. [son of David Edwardes (Mayor 1651, town sheriff 1640, died 1664) and Elizabeth Jones of Llwynyfortun his wife. David Edwardes lived at Rhydygors, and was town sheriff in 1680, but is mainly remembered as a Deputy Herald of Arms who took an important part in compiling west Wales genealogies which later formed the basis of the Golden Grove MSS. He died in 1690, his will being proved on 31 November of that year. By his wife Elizabeth daughter of David Morgan of Coedllwyd in Clydey, Pembrokeshire, he had no issue. Most of his valuable collection of manuscripts passed to another Carmarthenshire genealogist, William Lewes of Llwynderw in Llangeler].
3. Richard Thomas, alderman, for the commons near his house, 8s. The little lane amongst his own lands leading from Allt y Knapp downwards Rhydr Gorse, 3s. [Son of Thomas ab Owen of Newchurch. He was Mayor in 1635 and 1652, town sheriff in 1640. He was buried on 23 November 1686, and his will proved on 8 January following. By his wife, Anne Davids eventual sole heiress of Ystrad, he had ten children, among whom was Griffith Thomas, tanner (No. 68)].
4. Elizabeth Oakley, widow, for Gweyne Jago and the kill-house adjoining to her house, 2 0 4, and for Parke y Sarne, 13s. 4d.
5. Elinor Davies, widow, for Gweyne Elys, 1 10 0.
6. Thomas Beynon, alderman, for Gweyne y ddoy gay 6s 8d, for the water course to his mill 12s, for the garden in Wirrio Tower 2s 6d, for Morva Biggell 30s, for a parcel of commons by his mill 2s, for the little house in the gorse 6d, for the commons in Funnon thrain about 6 acres, 13s 4d, for the commons in Cumbe bagh, nearly 4 acres, 10s. [Mayor 1664].
7. Margrett Vaughan, spinster, for the commons and mill of Llanlwch, 3 10 0.
8. Mrs Mary Williams, for the Gillvern, l.
9. Robert Lewis, junior, alderman, for Rheed Tawelan, 3s. [Town Sheriff 1653, Mayor 1663 and 1672].
10. George Lewis, gentleman, for a parcel of commons in the Lower Franchess, and Cum du haugh, 15s. [Mayor 1661. Son of Alderman George Lewis by Elizabeth Oakley his wife. He purchased Barnsfield, and married Frances Lewis of Danyparc, Brecon. He died in 1715, leaving two daughters. His brother Morgan Lewis lived at Hengil, Abergwili, and left four sons].
11. John Oakley, alderman, for 2 parcels of commons amongst Sir Hugh Owen's lands, 10d; for the water course to his mill, 4d; for the house whether Owen Marttin now dwelleth, 1. [Son of George Oakley (Mayor 1641); was Town Sheriff in 1653, Mayor in 1662, and was buried at St Peter's on 10 May 1688. By his wife, whose identity is unknown, he had two sons and four daughters. His grandfather, Edward Oakley came from Chastleton, Oxfordshire, and settled at Baily Glas, Carmarthenshire. A John Oakley was Town Sheriff in 1723].
12. The wife of Nicholas De Lanoy, for the lane in Sir Henry Vaughan's close, 4d.
13. Howell David, for a house and garden near Jobes Well, l0d. [Town Sheriff 1679].
14. William, Lord Bishop of St Davids, for the Angell and for a parcel of commons in his own close near Ffynon dreyne, 10s 6d. [William Thomas, born in Bristol in 1614, son of John and Elizabeth Thomas, and grandson of William Thomas, Recorder of Carmarthen; Bishop of St Davids from October 1677, translated to Worcester in 1683, and died on 25 June 1689].
15. John Bevans, gentleman, for the water course to his mill, 4d.
16. Robert Lewis, junior, alderman, for the water course to the mill, 4d.
17. Thomas Awbrey, for Gorse Goch and Llainbach, 3s 4d, and a parcel of commons lately in Harry Morgan's lands, 9d.
18. John Pountaine, for a parcel of commons being meadow ground, 2s.
19. Joane (? Wms), widow, for a house and garden under Allt y knapp, 2s 6d.
20. William Morris for several small pieces of commons at Nant r Arian, 4d.
21. Howel Morgan, miller, for the garden by the White Mill, 4d.
22. Richard Kendrak for a house and garden at Sarn's end [i.e. Pen sarn], 5s.
23. Henry William for a house there, 2s 6d.
24. John Rider for Gweyn y ffynon vealis, 1. [mercer, Town Sheriff 1676, Mayor 1690].
25. Upon the Taylors for their composition, yearly 15s. 26. Upon the Cordwayners, yearly 1.
27. Upon the Tanners, yearly, 1.
28. Upon the Glovers yearly, 13s 4d.
29. Kathrine Burford for a lane within her house Kinge Street and over head of it, 1s.
30. John Vaughan for the stairs in the back way and Portch, 1s 1d.
31. Richard Woods for 3 several shops and for the Oriell, 3s.
32. Robert Lewis senior, alderman, for the country shambles and tan-house, 3 10 0.
33. John Morgan, esquire, for the house over against the shire hall, 1 4 0, and for the back rooms of his house, 1 6 8, and Park y Brane, 4d.
34. Walter Thomas David, gentleman, for part of his house, 2s.
35. Theophilus Bevans, gentleman, for a store house in the key, 1. [Town Sheriff 1683, Mayor 1698. Third son of Lewis Bevan of Penycoed, near St Clears (High Sheriff 1634) by Joan Lloyd of Bronwydd, Cardiganshire. He was an attorney, and lived in Carmarthen. By his wife Elizabeth daughter of Alderman George Lewis, he had a son William Bevan who succeeded to Penycoed, and a daughter Mary who married Farley Osborne of Leominster].
36. Richard Michell for a lime kill, 6s 8d.
37. John William for a lime kill, 6s 8d.
38. The Prothonotarys for the office over the Counsell Chamber, 1.
39. Robert Evan, Dyer, for his dye house, 1s.
40. George Evan for his dye house, 1s.
41. Richard Wattkin, butcher, for an arch where his 'Chambles' lie, 6s 8d.
42. David Sayse, for the Tower, 2s.
43. For the Board under the Crosse, 2s.
44. Richard Leigh, alderman, for Llangoone house, 100s, for commons near the castle gate, 1s. [Town Sheriff 1655, Mayor 1666].
45. The wife of John ff....e for a garden near her stable, 1s.
46. William Gwyn, esquire, for a stable in Bridge Street and the .... by his door, 5s.
47. Richard Evan, Tanner, for .... his house without consent ....
48. Rowland Phillipps, gentleman, for . . . . leading to Close Mawr (?1). [Of Coedgain. Son of William Philipps by Elinor Don Lee of Pibwrwen. He matriculated at Jesus College, Oxford, on 4 June 1641, aged 16, and married Dorothy Vaughan of Pembrey. He was buried at Carmarthen on 23 January 1692-3].
49. David John for a shop under the hall, 1.

Membrane 2
50. Griffith Thomas, junior, Tanner, for the Tan house and the little house to it, 5s.
51. George Catchmaid for Mr Town Clark's Tan house, 13s 4d. [Town Sheriff 1679, Mayor 1691. This family settled in the town in medieval times].
52. Rawleigh Mansel, esquire, for the back room and garden adjoining to his house, 5s. [Son of Edward Mansel of Beaulieu in Llangunnor by Honor Lloyd of Alltycadno his wife. He was of Limestone Hill, Llangyndeyrn, and High Sheriff in 1679. He was thrice married - 1. Alice Middleton of Middleton Hall. 2. Frances, widow of Henry Mansel of Stradey and daughter of Sir John Stepney, by whom he had a son Rawleigh. 3. Mary, widow of Charles Gwyn of Gwempa and daughter of Leonard Bilson of Maple Durham, Hants].
53. The Wife of Richard Thomas, serjeant, for the room under the Council chamber, 13s 4d.
54. Walter Thomas, alderman, for the Key, 5s.
55. Griffith Thomas & Walter Thomas for a garden in Spillmans Street, 4d.
56. Edward David Howell, for his house abutting upon the Town wall, 2d.
57. Jane Rees, widow, for the house over the gate and garden in Spillmans Street, 6s 8d.
58. Thomas Jones, alderman, for the Furzy hill and Gweyne Gorell, 1. [Mayor 1647, a tanner].
59. Edward Vaughan, esquire, for a parcel over the Mill ditch 12d, and one other parcel near Abergwilly bridge, 6d.
60. John Richard for 'the pindfold' in the upper end of Priory Street, 2s.
61. Thomas Newsham, alderman, for quarter of an acre of commons adjoining to his house, 6d. [Mayor 1678. mercer. He had two sons, Alderman Thomas Newsham, John Newsham, and a daughter Anne who married Alderman John Philipps (Mayor 1685) ancestor of the Pentypark family, Pembrokeshire].
62. Thomas William for the 'Towne Beame', 15s.
63. The wife of Richard Harry for 'the Pin fold' the upper end of Llamas Street, 5s.
64. The wife of William Thomas, gentleman, for a parcel of commons at Alte y knapp, nearly 3 acres, 3s. [?William Thomas of Ystrad, Town Sheriff 1668].
65. David Thomas, Taylor, for the house over Kinge Streete gate, 5s.
66. Thomas Franckleyn for commons under Alt y knapp, 2s.
67. Thomas David for the 'Cattle Markett', 3s 4d.
68. Griffith Thomas, senior, Tanner, for his tan house by the bridge, 1s, and part of the half roof adjoining to his house, 4d.
69. Mr Edward Jones, Town Clerk, for a parcel of commons adjoining to his lands at Pentre hydd, 5s.
70. Robert Griffith, sailor (et Nathaniell Morgan, gent1 - interlineated) for a parcel of commons within his new house about 12 foot in length and 20 foot in breadth, 1s.
71. Oakley Leigh, for a house and dye house upon the Town lands, 1 10 0.
72. Thomas Griffith, sadler, for 7 yards square of Town lands [lacuna].
73. Rees Griffith, smith, for a garden under Wiriotts Tower, 4d.
74. Charles de Lanoy, mercer, for a lane leading through his shop, 4d. [Town Sheriff 1676, Mayor in 1685].
75. Dorothy Harries, widow, for the Chappell Close, and garden, 6s 8d.
76. Sarah Leigh, widow, for a garden, 2s.
77. Griffith Lewis, mercer, for a small parcel of commons adjoining to his orchard, 2d; more for a garden at Jobs Well, 4d; more for a smith's forge and garden, 6d. [Town Sheriff 1681].
78. Dawkin Gove, alderman, for his oven in the great Close, 4d. [mercer; Town Sheriff 1636, Mayor 1648 and 1677, a Royalist].
79. Mary David alias Hancock for a lime kill, 6s 8d.
80. John Williams, esquire, for a parcel of commons near Parke y lloi, being one acre or thereabouts, [lacuna].
81. Maud Rees, widow, for a house and garden under Pentre hirvach, 4d.
82. John David, gentleman, for 6 foot breadth of lands in his house in Spillman Street and for a lane through his garden leading to Marva moch ycha towards the orchard [lacuna].
83. Jane Morris, widow, for a little garden of 6 foot in breadth and 12 foot in length [lacuna].
84. Howell David, gentleman, for a small parcel of lands adjoining to the pinnion of his house [lacuna].
85. _Griffith Lewis, gentleman, for a house and garden besides the tan house and garden, and for a way to a close which Thomas Lloyd, gentleman, now holds, and for 6 foot in breadth and 20 feet in length upon the high [way] leading to Abergwilly, 6d.
86. John Richard post for a house and garden at Pen y Sarn, 2s.
87. William Nicholas for the arch under the Town Hall for a shambles, 6s 8d.
87. William Morris, corvicer, for the half roof adjoining to his house, 3s.
89. Dr John Powell for a parcel of town lands adjoining to his garden near the water course by Griffith Thomas junior's tan house, 3s 4d.
90. Griffith Lewis, gentleman, for 5 acres of ground at Weyn Job and for a long strip of ground to Chettle's Meadow, and for another strip of ground adjoining to mid-way house on the way leading to Abergwilly, 1 5 0.
91. Griffith Lloyd, esquire, for an acre and a half of lands in the lower franchise, 5s. [Serjeant-at-law. He was of Cwmgwili which he bequeathed to his grand-nephew Grismond Philipps in 1714].
92. Griffith Humphrey for an arch for a shambles under the Town hall, 6s 8d.
93. Charles John for a vacant place betwixt Mr Anthony Jones's and William Lloyd, hatter, 2s.
94. Oakley Leigh, dier, for a garden in the Gors, 6d.

At the end of the membrane the total is given at 61 14 2, with this note: "There are many particulars in this Rent Rowle for wch there are no sumes ascertained in the margaine"; and another writer has added - Griffith Lewis, labourer, per cottage near Job's Well, 4d.

Membrane 3
The third membrane contains a list of properties and tenants not included in the rent roll, with observations thereon, made after 1692, as follows:

John Williams, esquire, for the piece of Town land near White Mill lately granted him by lease.
John Edwards, esquire, for 2 parcels, one near Flander's hill, and the other lying between his mill and Lanllwch mill by leases.
John Thomas, gentleman, being charged by the old Rent Roll but att or S per annum.
Mr Rogers charged himself but with that and in his arrears he charges him at 1 10 0 per annum for that, so that we must add to this in this Rent Roll per annum.
Observe that Mr Thomas, is in arrears for 1 2s per annum from Michaelmas 1692.
Walter Thomas, aldennan, as Water Bailiff is charged in the old Rent Roll as 5s per annum, and now the widow of Phillipp Jones is charged l0s, so that there is to be added to the Rent Roll, per annum.
Thomas Franklin had a lease upon Killevawr [Cillefwr] for 2, per annum, and now Mr John Williams has a lease upon that, and other land, at 2 l0s, so that there is to be added to the Rent Roll per annum.
Whereas Griffith Lloyd, esquire, was charged by the old Rent Roll at 55 per annum, but pays lOs, therefore to be added to this Rent Roll 5s per (annum) which for 6 years in arrear amounts to 1 l0s.
Mr Morgan Davies, a spot of ground adjoining to the Pinion of his house. [Town sheriff 1699].
The piece of Town land adjoining to Croft's meadow.
The Town lands adjoining to the back part of William Lloyd 'ffelmaker's' house.
Henry Jones, post master, for 2 lime kilns.
David Griffith for a house and garden near Royall Oak.
Memorandum, that John Edwards, esquire, petitions for a small piece of Town lands lying between lime kiln and his docket.
John Jones for Bridwell.
Evan Hughes, turner, is not charged in the old Rent Roll for a new additional strip on the Towm lands.
Zach: Bevans, esquire, is not charged in the Rent Roll for the addition to his cellar in the 'Cay'. [Son of Griffith Bowen of Glasfryn, Llanfihangel Abercywyn, who was younger brother of Lewis Bevan of Penycoed. High Sheriff in 1703, and buried at Laugharne on 26 February 1714. By his wife Sarah Baily (d 1705) he had a son Arthur Bevan of Laugharne, barrister-at-law and M.P., who married Bridget Vaughan of Court Derllys, better known as Madam Bevan].
Thomas Lewis, cooper, for a house at 1s per annum.
Rees John, smith, for a new house.
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