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Silurian writer must be allowed the same priviledge: indeed in all parts of Wales they take to much liberties this way, which ought to be censured more than it is. Whilst this is allowed there is but little prospect of our Language ever attaining to that beauty, perfection, and refinement, which it is capable. The Dimetian, Venedotian, and Silurian Dialects, have beauties peculiar to themselves, but each has likewise its blemishes and absurdities; the Classic or Scholastic Dialect should certainly be a compound of what is elegant and commendable in each of the three different Idioms, and care should also be taken to avoid their imperfections. I think there are more English words used in South Wales amongst the vulgar, but North Wales abounds most in Barbarized Welsh words, especially Anglesea. I have often lamented our not having any production in our Language worthy of being the standard of fine or good writing. The Bible considered as a translation is excellent, but it has many Hebraisms and other peculiarities very inconsistent with the genius of our Language. The poets of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries may claim this honour, with the works of Goronwy Owain, Evan Evans, and William Wynne, but these last authors have left us but very few pieces, (tho excellent in their kind) and they take in no more half the extent of our Language. Drych y Prif Oesoedd abounds with Beauties of Language, with too many provincialities, tho' the Bardd Cwsg* excells in fine sentiments, wit, and luxuriant fancy, yet in point of language it is very deficient, being full of the Canting Jargon of the parts where the author lived; in my opinion the Language of our Country was in the meridian of its perfection in the time of our last Princes, but there is but little hopes of ever its being restored to that pitch again-there are but few men living who are perfect critics in the Welsh Language. I have a very high opinion of Mr. Walters's abilities, but he has not had that encouragement that can ever induce him to write anything in Welsh after the completion of his Dictionary.† Had I the abilities of an able writer, I should have no other motive for writing Welsh than merely my own private amusent (? amusement), with that of a few particular friends, but nothing could ever induce me to publish my works: Perhaps I might deposit them in some public Library, trusting to the old Welsh proverb,
A FYNNO GLOD BID FARW.
Perhaps a more grateful posterity would call them from obscurity and oblivion but whoever can well endure disencouragement and ill-natured reflections on his intentions and abilities, let him in this age be a Welsh writer. I hope no Mân that I have the least regard for, will ever be so mad. I think I may safely say that I have the greatest collection of Welsh words of any man living. I shall reduce them to order as soon as I can. I will send them soon, perhaps you will be glad to have them, but you must promise never to give them to any to be published whilst I live, except you should do it yourself. Or give them to Mr. Walters, to whom I have promised them, the whole collection amounts to eight or nine thousand words, mostly from the antient poets, but in my travels thro' Wales I collected a great many local words (some of them excellent,) not to be found in any Dictionary, these I think may be pretty near a thousand. Whatever I have I shall take a great pleasure in communicating it to you, on the above conditions. It is true my most favourite study is still the Welsh Language and Poetry, but not with the least view of ever printing any thing. Perhaps you may call this ill natured, but I call it prudence consequent on disappointment, but call it what you will, I care not, so you believe me always ready to serve you in any thing in my power, and that I shall never behave ill-natured to you. I have lately bought a new book, entitled A Gentleman's Tour thro' Monmouthshire and Wales, which I would have sent you, but the machines are stopped by snow, and the hoys by the frozen rivers, from passing to and from London, but you shall have it the first opportunity. It is not worth buying, being a flimsy thing, tho' the author does not abuse our nation, like the writer of the Letters from Snowdon.||
* Gweledigaethau y Bardd Cwsg (The Visions of the Sleeping Bard), by Elis Wyn of Glas-ynys, Merionethshire.
+ Published in 1794.
A Gentleman's Tour through Monmouthshire and Wales in 1774. By H. P. Wyndhan, London, 1775. A second edition was published at Salisbury in 1781. | Who was the author of this work?
But it may afford you some entertainment if you have not seen it. I remember you once mentioned to me a collection of Welsh music, by Parry, and prefaced by Lewis Morris, Esq.; I have given orders for it to my bookseller here, but he has been answered from London that there [is no] such book known; if you can let me know where it was published] and sold at London, and what the price of it, that I may [send] for it. Let me also know if the Diddanwch Teuluaidd* is [to] be had. I have never a Welsh book with me, but should be [very]glad to have a few. I should be glad (if you will favour me with a few lines) to have the Englyn all vowels on the silkworm,+ with the account of it given in your manuscript, and let me know the qualifications and terms of admittance of a member of the Cymrodorion. I think this letter long enough in all conscience now. I am sure the reading of it will be more tiresome to you than waiting for it. But I have an unlucky knack of scribling to much as I told you before; but further a little, read and believe that I am, my dear friend, your very humble servant, wishing it in my power to do you all possible service, EDWARD WILLIAMS. At Mr. Charles Drayson's, stone-cutter, Faversham, Kent.-P.S. Do not show my letter to your acquaintance, for I thought it too long to write over a second time, and my first rough copy is always very incorrect. If I am not mistaken it is Daf. ap Gwilym uses llaidd in the same sense as in Glamorgan.
Certh iawn llun carthenau llaidd
Faversham, January 25th, 1776.
The letter is addressed to Mr. Owen Jones, No. 40, Cannon Street, London; and by that gentleman is endorsed I. Gwilym, Faversham, 25th January, 1776. Immediately following this epistle is another to Mr. Owen Jones from the Rev. John Walters, to whom Iolo makes reference above. After announcing the speedy appearance of Dr. Burney's History of Music, and mentioning as subscribers to his own forthcoming English-Welsh Dictionary the names of Dr. Samuel Johnson, Mrs. Thrale, William Siward, Esq., and Dr. Burney, he continues :-"I have not seen Iorwerth Gwilym this pretty while. I am amazed at his not writing to you, and the more so as he always professes the highest esteem and affection for you. I expect to see him every day, and shall be much disappointed if I don't see him soon: whenever I see him, I shall have a serious expostulation with him on the subject; tho' this will not be the first by many that I have had with him on the same. The Bard is a very singular character, I must own; almost as unsteady as poor Ieuan Fardd,‡ who I hope, however, has returned and not suffered his books, &c., to be sold. Oh, that these had been but steady! how useful, and how valuable, they might have been to the community!" This is dated Llandough, January the 29th, 1779.
A REMARKABLE WELSHWOMAN.-The Gentleman's Magazine records that in February, 1808, there died at the age of eighty-nine years, at Rhosllanerchrugog, in Denbighshire, a woman of the name of Elizabeth Rogers, "who had seventeen children, sixty-three grand-children, and thirty-six great grand-children, in all one hundred and twenty one. She was left a widow with a numerous train of infants, without any means of support but her own industry and the assistance of her three eldest children, who all laboured hard at the loom to maintain themselves and the younger branches. For the last thirteen years she practised midwifery with great success and credit; in the space of that time she assisted at the birth of four thousand six hundred and thirty children."
GEO. H. BRIERLEY.
* A volume of Welsh poetry by various writers, selected and edited by David Jones, of Trefriw, first published in 1763, and again in 1817.
† Already given in the Red Dragon.
The Rev. Evan Evans, the author of the Dissertatio de Bardis, better known, perhaps, as Ieuan Brydydd Hir.
A WELSH SEVENTEENTH CENTURY PARSON.-The following story from The Gamester's Law (1708) was republished in Notes and Queries for March 2nd, 1878. After speaking of James' and Charles' books of sports of the respective dates of 1618 and 1633, the writer proceeds :-"But tempora mutantur; our Gracious Queen [Anne] and our Reverend Bishops will not Patronize any such Custom or Allowance. And, that the ignorant People were misled, and thought such Pastimes Innocent sort of Mirth, appears by this story of a Welsh parson. John [a poor Boy] was bred up at School, and being a plodding Lad at his Books, used to assist some Gentlemen's Sons that went to the same school. Afterwards John took a trip to the University and got a Degree and Orders; He in process of time, upon some occasion, comes for London in a tattered Gown: One day a Gentleman that had gon to School with him, meets him and knew him; Jack (saith the Gentleman), I am glad to see thee, how dost do? I thank you (Noble Squire), replied Jack. The Gentleman invited him to the Tavern, and after some Discourse of their School and former Conversation, the Gentleman ask'd him where he lived? Jack answered in Wales. The Gentleman askt him if he were Married? The Parson replied he was, and that he had a wife and seven Children. Then the Gentleman enquired of the value of his Benefice. The Parson answered it was worth £9 per annum. Pugh! quoth the Gentleman, How canst thou maintain thy Wife and Children with that? O! Sir, quoth Jack, shrugging his shoulders, we live by the Church yard, my wife sells ale, and I keep a Bear, and after evening Service (my Parishioners being so kind to bring their Dogs to church) I bring out my Bear and bate him, and for about two Hours we are at Heave and Shove, Staff and Tail, till we are all very hot and thirsty, and then we step in to our Joan, and drink stoutly of her Nutbrown Ale, and I protest (Squire), saith he, we make a very pretty Business of it." Cardifj.
GEO. H. BRIERLEY.
THE FEMALE FREEMASON.-Many have heard of the female who, by conceal ment, managed to become acquainted with the secrets of Freemasonry, but it will probably surprise not a few to learn that she was of Welsh nationality. The papers of May, 1802, record her death thus :-"Died, May 18th, aged 85, Mrs. Beaton, in St. John's, Madder Market, Norwich. She was a native of Wales, and commonly called The Free-Mason,' from the circumstance of her having contrived to conceal herself one evening in the wainscoting of a lodge-room, where she heard that secret, the knowledge of which thousands of her sex have in vain attempted to arrive at. She was a very singular old woman, and, as a proof of it, the secret died with her!"
GEO. H. BRIERLEY.
WELSH CRUSADERS.-Vol. i. of Michaud's History of the Crusades (Robson's translation) has a note to the following effect:-"There is extant in Latin an account of the journey of Archbishop Baldwin through the country of Wales, entitled Itinerarium Cambriæ, drawn up by Barry, who accompanied the preacher of the crusade. This journey is curious from the singular prodigies and miracles which are related in it. If this relation may be credited, Archbishop Baldwin neglected no means to induce the people to take the cross; he enrolled one day, says Barry, a great number of men who came to him in a state of nudity, their clothes being secreted by their wives and friends, who wished to prevent their going."
GEO. H. BRIERLEY.
MANSEL OF MARGAM, CO. GLAMORGAN.-The ancient and distinguished family of Mansel of Margam, Glamorgan, and their younger branch, the Mansels, formerly seated at Trimsaran, &c., Co. Carmarthen, derived in direct male line from Philip de Manxel, Maunsel, or Mansel, who is stated to have come over with the Conqueror. It is recorded that Philip de Maunsel, on his settlement in England, married Alice, daughter of Hugh de Montsorrell, which name was derived from his manor or estate of Montsorrell (originally Mountsorrell), so called from the syenite rock overhanging the Soar, in Lincolnshire. The elder son of
this Philip de Maunsel and his wife, the heiress of Montsorrell, was John de Maunsel, or Mansel, whose wife's name is not given in the MS., but who is said to have married and had issue a son and heir, John Mansel, whose wife is recorded as a Luttrell of Irnham, in Lincolnshire, by whom he had, with others, two sons, Henry (of whom presently), and Herbert Mansel, who was brought up to the monastic order, and who became ultimately Abbot of Kelso in 1221, resigning in 1236, but being compelled by the legate Otho to resume that sacred office and dignity, he did so in 1239, though it is said he died soon afterwards. The elder brother of Abbot Herbert of Kelso, namely, Henry Mansel, succeeded his father, and witnessed a Sussex charter in the reign of Richard I. He married (but this lady's name is also omitted) and had with other issue a son, John Mansel, who it would appear was unusually well educated, and was highly gifted and accomplished in those days, becoming in due course a distinguished statesman. It is said he began his early career as a soldier, and highly distinguished himself as Sir John Mansel. It is also recorded of him that he married twice, became the father of several children, and that after the death of his second wife, serious reflection induced him to take holy orders. He was afterwards the trusted and faithful counsellor of Kings John and Henry III., more particularly the latter, by whom he was created Provost of Beverley, Treasurer of York, and Chancellor of St. Paul's, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Keeper, Lord Chancellor, and several times Ambassador to Foreign and Scottish Courts. It has also been stated that he was Justiciary or Chief Justice of England at one time under Henry III, and that he entertained and feasted at his house at Totehillfield two Kings and two Queens with their retainers and dependents, seven hundred messes of meat scarce serving for the first dinner. (See an account of this Knight in Weaver's Funeral Monuments, page 70.) Sir John Mansel married Joan, daughter of Simon de Beauchamp, seventh Baron of Bedford, in the seventh of Henry III., who died 3.p.m. ante 1263. By this lady Sir John Mansel (who had been appointed by Henry III., in 1252, one of the executors under his will, but who died in exile abroad in 1268) left issue several children, of whom his two elder sons sided with the Barons against their Sovereign and their own father, namely:-(1) Sir Thomas Mansel, Knight Banneret, who, according to Hollingshed, was taken prisoner at the battle of Northampton (forty-eighth Henry III.), and (2) Henry Mansel, slain in the same engagement. The third son, William Mansel, married, and became, it is said, ancestor to the Maunsels or Mansels of Chicheley. The said elder son Sir Thomas Mansel, K.B., married (wife's name not given in the MS.) and left issue a son, Henry Mansel, who, some state, took refuge in Wales in those troublous days; under happier circumstances he returned to England (temp. Edward I.) He married, but the name of the lady is not mentioned, and was succeeded by his said son, Sir Walter Mansel, who having visited, with Prince Edward, the Holy Land as a crusader, was Knighted, and afterwards held of his Sovereign Edward I. in capite the manor of Missenden, in Bucks. He married (the match not given) and had issue. This Walter lies buried in the church of St. Botolph, in London. It is stated that this Walter is the first witness to the charter of Peter de Lukemond, whereby he gave lands to the Abbey of Tickfield, Hants, as well as to a confirmation charter to the Priory of Tickfield, Bucks, by Gervase de Paganal. Not having the dates, however, I cannot determine whether or not he is the same individual. His son Robert (through, it is said, the death s.p. of his elder brother Vincent) succeeded his father Sir Walter, and was Knighted and became Sir Robert Mansel of Missenden, Bucks. He married Burga Langeton or Langton, a Gower heiress, daughter of Sir William Langeton, Knight, Lord of Henllys and Langrove, in Gower, by his wife Eva, daughter of William (Gam) de Broase, Lord of Gower, and his wife Isabel, daughter of Richard de Clare, Earl of Hertford. By the said Burga Langton (a co-parcener, it is said, with her sister Joan Langton, wife of Peter Barret, feudal Lord of Pendine, Co. Carmarthen, who had as part of her portion the mansions and demesne lands of Henllys and Langrove), who thus became a co-heir through the death issueless of Sir John Langton, her brother, who bore a "chevron Ermine, inter three Lions rampant or," Sir Robert Mansel left issue, with others, a son and heir, Richard Mansel (though some authorities state he was the son of Robert and grandson of Sir Robert) of Missenden, Bucks. By some he is called the tenth in succession, though others state he was the eleventh from the first Philip the Norman, known as Philip de le Mans, from that district upon the Sarthe in the upper province of Marne. This Richard also married a Gower heiress, and
became possessed of the castle and manor of Scurlage with his wife Lucy, daughter and heiress to Philip de Scurlage (corrupted afterwards into Scurlock), the feudal lord thereof, and of Nicholaston, Barry, and Stembridge, whose arms are given in MS. as "Argent three bars gules." They appear to have had issue, with others, four sons :-(1) Hugh, the heir; (2) William; (3) Robert; (4) John. The elder son succeeded his father and became Sir Hugh Mansel, Knight, of Missenden and of Gower, etc., in Wales. He bore the paternal arms of his family: Argent a chevron inter three Maunches sable impaling (as was customary in those days), the quarterings of the several heiresses, viz. :-Montsorrell, Beauchamp, Langton, Scurlage, etc. He also married, like his immediate progenitors, a Gower heiress, with whom he obtained a considerable manorial estate, the lady being Isabel, daughter and heir to Sir John Penrice, Knight, Lord of the Castle and Manors of Penrice, Oxwich, Llandymore or Llandremore, and Port Eynon. By this lady (who was thus the descendant and representative of the De Penrices, and, through female lines, of the de la Mares, of Oxwich, and the De Braoses or De Bruces of Llandymore) descended from the marriage of Joan de Bruce, the heiress, with Sir John de Penrice aforesaid, which Joan was a daughter of William de Bruce by his wife Agnes, daughter of Edmund de Sully, and grand-daughter of John de Bruce, Lord of Llanrhidian or Llanhinoc (for both names are given), younger brother of William de Braose, Lord of Gower, who married Eva, the daughter of William le Mareschal, the great Earl of Pembroke. This alliance brought several more quarterings to the shield armorial of the Mansels of Missenden, Bucks, and Gower in South Wales. The issue of the said Sir Hugh Mansel, who flourished from 1360 to 1390, and Isabel de Penrice, his wife, was an elder son and heir, Richard Mansel, of Missenden, the twelfth or thirteenth in succession, and next in descent, and according to the MS. the first of his family who became resident at Oxwich manor house, in Gower, temp. Henry V., circa 1415. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Gilbert Turbeville, of Penlline Castle and Tythegston Manor Court, Co. Glamorgan, who bore chequy or and gules a fesse ermine. With this lady it is said Richard Mansel had in free marriage gift half a fee in Knelston. Through these several marriages with heiresses and others the Mansels of Missenden and Gower in Wales became very extensive landed proprietors. Thus in the person of this Richard, who first became seated at Oxwich, in Gower, A.D. 1415, was founded that great influence which was afterwards perpetuated in his family and line in the county of Glamorgan. The issue of the said Richard Mansel, of Oxwich, and Elizabeth Turbeville, his wife, according to the MS., was two sons:— (1) John, the heir; (2) William Mansel, who became of Manselfield (afterwards called Mansfield), and Pitton, who is recorded as having married a daughter of Thomas ab Evan Gwyn, of Priscedwyn, by whom he had a son, Morgan Mansel, of Mansfield and Pitton, He married Joan, daughter and heiress to Walter Bussie, or Bussy, by whom he had, with other issue, David Mansell, of Mansfield, or Manselfield, and Pitton, who married Catherine, daughter and heiress to Cradock of the Cheriton line and lineage of Einion ab Collwyn, and their daughter and heiress, Elizabeth Mansel, married Rhys ab Evan, of Ynys y Meirdy, and had a son, Leyson ab Rhys, of Britton Ferry, who married and had issue a daughter and co-heiress, Jane, wife of Arthur Mansel, Esq., father by her to, with other children, Bussie Mansel, Esq.
Relative to this line of Mansel it is conjectured that some of the younger children in the first or second generations took for their surname the abbreviated form of this estate of Manselfield, thus changing their old patronymic of Mansel into Mansfield. The elder son and heir, John Mansel of Oxwich, succeeded his father in his great manorial estates. He is said to have married Cicely, daughter of Gwilym ab Llewelyn, of Peyton Gwyn ab Howel Vychan, derived through the celebrated Einion Sais, of Castell Eynon Sais, from the line of Bleddyn ab Maenach, last Cymric Regulus of Brecknock, through his marriage brother-in-law to the Sovereign Prince of South Wales, Rhys ab Tewdur. By this lady, who was paternally niece to Sir David Gam, the renowned knightbanneret at Agincourt, he had a son and heir, Philip Mansel, who succeeded his father at Oxwich and his other manors, and was the fifteenth in generation from Norman Philip de Mansel or le Mans. Philip Mansel married Mabel, daughter of Griffith ab Nicolas of Dynevor, of the line of Urien Rheged-before noticed in the Red Dragon - by his third wife Jare, daughter and co-heir to Jenkin ab Rhys ab David of Gilfachwen, Cardiganshire, of the sept of Cadifor ab Dyfnwal,