Bedlinog-uchaf map?

In 1841 Bedlinog Ucha was a 120 acre farm just above where today stands the village of Bedlinog, which has been built mainly on the farmland of Bedlinog isaf farm. Bedlinog uchaf is still shown on the modern OS map under the name Bedlinog Farm. Unlike most of the farms in Gelligaer this farm was held by lease until the mid-17th century. The first recorded mention of the name Bedlinog in relation to this particular farm does not come until 1715. But the name itself predates this, a deed of 1604 mentions a close (large field) called Gwayne vedlinog which probably became part of Coly isaf, and in 1630 the property that became Coly isaf is described as “capital messuage with appertances called Tyr bed llynock” and in a 1688 deed we find Coly isaf described as  “a tenement and lands called Bodloynog alias Tir Coli”. It is probable that the name Bedlinog was originally used of a geographic area of land rather than a specific farm.

In the 1540 Senghennydd Manor survey it has been identified not in the section of freehold lands, but in a section following which lists ‘vacated land’. Even for the owner of freehold land there was an annual rent payable to the lord of the manor, and if this was not paid then the ownership of the land returned to the manor lord. In the 15th and 16th century this had apparently been not uncommon due to changing climatic conditions and the plague. It is not known why the land around Bedlinog became vacated, the entry in the 1540 survey merely records an income of 23s. 4d from “certain vacated land called Tyre Adame ap holl, leased to various tenants”. It is not known who Adam ap Howell was, nor is there any information on the tenants. In the 1570 survey a little more information was given, the entry reads “Tenants of Senghennydd Supra hold certain land called Tyr Adam ap hoell, rent per annum Janken Rosser (8s. 4d.), Morgan Awbery (8s. 4d.), and other tenants for Jevan Colly (7s. 0d.)”. “Bedlinog uchaf” has been identified as the land held by Morgan Awbery; that held by Janken Rosser as “Bedlinog isaf”; and Jevan Colly as “Coly uchaf”. In the 1625/30 manor survey there is a small section at the end headed “Chief rents” and the only item appearing in this says “Item We present that David Jenkine Rosser (8s 4d) and Walter Awbery (8s 4d) of Kelligare holdeth there certain parcells of land called tir Adam ap Howell     16s. 8d.”

In the 1670 Senghennydd Manor survey the two properties were freehold each paying 8s. 4d. The entry for “Bedlinog uchaf” reading “Thomas Lewis for a tenement called Tir William Morgan Awbery, in his own tenure, pays 8s. 4d.”. It must be presumed that at the termination of the leases the leaseholders acquired the land, with the ‘lords rent’ set at the old rent which had been decided by the Assize courts back in the 15th Century. This would appear to be the last time a property in Gelligaer was transferred from the Manor ownership to Freehold with a lords rent. Although some subsequent sales did include an annual payment, the farms were called “fee farms” and were not included in the rentals of the older freehold farms.

Awbrey is a surname and surnames did not come into general use in Gelligaer until the 18th Century; there is no indication of there being anybody in Gelligaer with the name of Awbrey in the comprehensive tax return of 1545, so we can presume that Morgan Awbrey came to Gelligaer sometime between 1545 and 1570 and took out a long term lease on 120 acres of Tir Adam ap Howel. The Awbrey family is well known in South Wales and Morgan seems to have been a family name, this makes it difficult to known exactly who the Morgan Awbrey who came to Gelligaer in the 16th Century was[1]. The earliest reference is in the 1568 Merthyr Tydfil will of John ap Jevan ap Philip where we find at the end of the will that he owes one pound to a Morgan Awbre whom it is assumed is the Morgan Awbrey shown as tenant of “Bedlinog uchaf” in 1570.

The next reference, apart from the 1570 survey, comes in a marriage settlement of 1580 for which the catalogue entry reads

25 June 1580

(1)   William Morgan Aurbrey of Kelligaer co.Glam yeoman.

(2)   John Jenkin of Kelligaer, gent and David Thomas Rosser of Bedwelltie co. Mon. yeoman

Marriage Settlement.

Marriage between the said Wm Morgan Aurbrey and Isabell daughter of Thomas ap Thomas Wylym of Kelligaer.

All that tenement commonly called Tyr Vergh Adam ap Howell situate in Kelligaer together with its appurtenances, lands, tenements, etc. by ancient mears & bounds well known

The name Thomas ap Thomas is shown as the owner of several properties in the 1570 survey, and it is not possible to identify whether there is just one person or which one is William Morgan Awbrey’s father-in-law. William Morgan Awbrey is presumed to be the son of Morgan Awbrey. There are also references to a John Morgan Awbrey, who in 1595 is a pivotal witness in a court case concerning the ownership of Forest Eglwys Gwladys and who is perhaps kidnapped for a day for his pains.

As mentioned above in 1630 the owner is given as Walter Awbrey, from the name it is evident that he  is related to the previous owners but his exact relationship is not known. He is also shown as holding the tenancy, from Sir Edward Lewis of the Van, of a farm on the opposite bank of the Bargoed Taff river in Merthyr Tydfil called Tir Taldon.

The next information we have comes in a tax of 1660 called the “Free and Voluntary Gift to Charles II”, it acquired its name as it was freely and voluntarily passed by parliament on the return of the monarchy in 1660, for the tax payers it was of course neither a gift nor voluntary. In Garthgynydd Hamlet we find that William Awbrey paid 2s. 6d. This was the highest in Garthgynydd but William Awbrey was the biggest freeholder living in Garthgynydd, and the amount was in line with what other Freeholders in the parish were paying. William Awbrey was evidently the son of Walter Awbrey since in his Will of 1662 he calls himself William Water Awbrey. It is interesting to note that two “surnamed” families came to Gelligaer in the mid 16th Century, the Stradlings and the Awbreys, The Stradlings seem to have very much kept to their surname identity, perhaps because they retained a foothold outside Gelligaer with a property in Llandowe. The Awbrey family on the other hand seem to have married locally and been merging into the local landscape with only the main line attempting to keep the surname and not always being sure of that, as witness the mixture of patronymic name and surname in William Walter Awbrey. This duality was also displayed by the rest of the community. William Walter Awbrey had evidently married a daughter of William Lewis Jenkin whose family was to put together “Heolddu” in Hengoed hamlet. We know this from the various wills of that family which mention his daughter Rachel. It is to be presumed that his wife had died prior to 1651 the date of the first Will, since we never get to know her name. The 1651 Will of Edmond William Lewys mentions “Rachel Awbery, my neece”. A year later the Will of William Lewis Jenkin, Edmond’s father mentions “my grand child Rachell William”. In 1660 the Will of Edmond’s brother Thomas William mentions “Thomas Lewis of Kevenglas …… his daughter Malte and daughter (?) unto his nowe wieffe Ragell Awbrey”. And finally the 1662 Will of Edmond’s mother Isabella Lewis who simply mentioned “the two daughters of Thomas Lewis that is to say Malt and Mary”. We shall see that in later documents Rachel Awbrey alias Rachel William was referred to by the latter name.

As mentioned above William Water Awbrey died about 1662 and left this Will

In the name of God Amen I William Water Awbray of the Parish of Kelligare, yeoman beinge sick in body but of whole and perfect memory Laud and praise be to the almightie god my Maker and redeemer doe make and ordaine this my present testament containing my last Will in manner and fforme followinge, that is to say, I comend my soule to the hands of the almightie god my maker and redeemer and my body to be buried in christian buriall in the Parish Church of Merthyr Tydfil. Imprimiss I give and bequeath to the Cathedral Church of Landaff 6d. Item I give to the Church of Merthyr Tydfil 6d. Item I give and bequeath to my brother Edward Water two oxen and two steers of 4 yeare old. Item I give and bequeath to him on Cow on Mare and on Coult, to my broather David I give and bequeath 2 steers of 4 yeare old. Item I give and bequeath to my nephew Edward David on Cow. Item I give to my sister Mary on Cow. Item I give to my Cozen Lewis Jenkin on heyfer of three yeare old. Item I give to my Cozen William Jenkin on mare of 3 yeare ould. Item I give and bequeath to Rebeck Edward on Cow. Item I give and bequeath to my ness Juan Edward on Cow, I give and bequeath to ye aforesaid William Jenkin on Cow. Item I give to the aforesaid-Edward Water six hopes of oatmeal and three hopes of barly of Cardiff measure. Item I give to the aforesaid David Walter two hopes of oatmill of the same measure, Item I give and bequeath to my Sister Mault Water on backe house, on Close caled yr yerw velen, one other Close caled yn Ca bach, one other Close caled yr wayne yssa, and one other Close caled yr kelly, dueringe her naturall liffe for and after her liffe to my daughter Rachell and to her heires forever Item I give and bequeath to the aforesaid sister Mault the on halfe of the new garden by the barne and the stabell to her Duringe her natural Liffe and after her natural Liffe I doe demisse the aforesaid gardens Lands and houses to my daughter Rachell and to her heires for ever. The Rest of all my lands tenements houses and bildings I doe demisse give and bequeath to my daughter Rachell and to her heires forever. Item I give and bequeath to my Sister Ann Water on Cow two Steers of 2 yeare ould and on heiffer of one yeare ould, Item I give and bequeath to my grandchild Mauld Thomas 2 yearling beast and bequeath to my graunt child Mary Thomas 2 yearling beast … …”

The witnesses were Lewis William, Philip Meredith, Lewis William John of kelligare and Harrie Thomas of merthir; there is no Inventory attached to the Will. It can be noted that his brothers and sisters are referred to using the Welsh naming pattern. Although he lived in Gelligaer Parish, his preference is quite evidently for the church in Merthyr  Tydfil. The field names mentioned in the Will were still in use in the tithe schedule almost 200 years later, yr yerw velen as Erw Vellan, Ca bach as Cae Bach, yr wayne yssa as Waun Isha, and maybe yr kelly as Cevan y Cae llwyd; the “backe house” is probably a bake house rather than a back house.

Following the death of William Morgan Awbrey, ownership of “Bedlinog uchaf” descended to his daughter Rachel and her husband Thomas Lewis of Cefn Glas in Merthyr Tydfil parish and as mentioned above the 1670 Senghennydd Manor survey recorded the farm as “Thomas Lewis for a tenement called Tir William Morgan Awbery”. The Hearth tax returns for 1671 and 1672 show a Thomas Lewis paying for a single hearth, somewhat surprising since a farm of this size might be expected to have had more. There is no obvious entry in the 1666 hearth tax return, it is possible the family had continued to live at Cefn Glas.

The next information on the family comes in some deeds relating to a property called Tyr y Quarry mawr in Eglwysilan parish. Today it is called Cwarrau mawr. The first two deed tells us that on 10th June 1692 Thomas Lewis of Kevenglaes, Merthyr Tydvill, gent & Rachell his wife and Lewis Thomas their eldest son sold Tyr y Quarry mawr to William Thomas of Kelligare, yeoman, for £100. The next two deeds dated the 8th and 9th of December 1692 tell us a little more. They are a post nuptial settlement for William Thomas of Kelligare, who is revealed as a son of Thomas Lewis and Rachel, and brother of Lewis Thomas. William’s wife’s name is given only as Joan. As William Thomas is said to be of Gelligaer it seems likely that he was living at “Bedlinog uchaf”, while his family continued to live at Cefn Glas. This is given some credence by the fact that the next information we have is the Will of Thomas Lewis of Merthyr Tydfil. There is no mention of either Cefn Glas or “Bedlinog uchaf” but the people involved suggest it is the Will of Thomas Lewis of Cefn Glas. He mentions his wife Rachel William, and his sons Lewis and William. He also mentions another son John and two daughters Ann and Gwenllian. There is however no mention of the daughters Mault and Mary mentioned in the wills of the 1660s, and it has to be presumed that they had died. It was not unusual for the main property not to be mentioned in a Will of this period as its inheritance would have been decided by a Marriage Settlement. We can assume that “Bedlinog uchaf” passed to the eldest son Lewis Thomas.

The next reference to Bedlinog – in fact the first use of the name Bedlinog with reference this farm – comes in the Will of Edward Lewis of Gilfachfargoed which was written in 1715. In it he set up an educational trust, which gave rise to Lewis School Pengam, and one of the trustees was to be “Mr. William Thomas Lewis of Bedlynog”. This indicates that Bedlinog had by then passed on to Lewis Thomas’ younger brother, probably due to the death of Lewis since we know that Cefn Glas also became the property of William Thomas Lewis. William Thomas Lewis himself died in September 1730, his burial on the 17th September being recorded in the Gelligaer Parish Register, and he left a Will. Once again there is no mention of Bedlinog in the Will, which suggests he had inherited the farm rather than having purchased it, since the former would suggest it was entailed and would automatically pass to his heir. The Will does however mention the property “Quarra mawr in Eglwysilan”, confirming that he is indeed the William Thomas mentioned above. He also mentions his brother John.

He had two sons Edmond and Lewis and two daughters Mary and Gwenllian. He had also acquired other farms, although the only one actually mentioned by name, aside from Cwarrau mawr, is Berthllwyd in Llanfabon; the others are described as “all lands etc purchased from Thomas Lewis esq. in the parish of Merthyr Tydfil”, and the lease of Tir y Graig from Thomas Lewis esq. One of the most interesting items comes in the Inventory attached to the Will, where we find the item “study of books £1-10s.”, not unique in Gelligaer but it implies a relatively large collection of books. His son Lewis had the purchased properties, Edmond the leased property and as eldest son inherited Bedlinog itself.

This is confirmed in a short history of the farm Tir Tuppa in Ysgwyddgwyn hamlet written about 1784, in which we learn that “… In 1735 Wm Williams son of Jacob Williams sold it [Tir Tuppa] to Edmond William of Bedlinog. In 1737 Lewis William of Bedlinog, heir at law to his brother, sold it to Thomas Edward his brother-in-law, from him came to Lewis Edwards his son …”.

We might note here that Thomas Edward already owned Ysgwyddgwyn isaf. It is probable that he was married to Mary William who in her father’s will is mentioned as having a son called Lewis Thomas. The presumption being that Lewis Thomas later adopted the surname Edward, his father being Thomas Edward, and thus became Lewis Edwards. But more of him later.

The history implies that in 1735 it was Edmund William who owned Bedlinog but that by 1737 it was owned by Lewis William as heir of Edmund. So Edmund died between 1735 and 1737, and indeed the burial of Edmund William Thos Lewis is recorded on the 16 Jan 1737. The Senghennydd Manor Leet court of May 12th 1737 records the “Death of freeholder Edmond Wm of Gelligare – Thomas Edward & John Jenkin in his stead”. Quite why Thomas Edward and John Jenkin are said to replace him is somewhat of a mystery, although it can be noted that his brother Lewis would already have been a Freeholder from his ownership of the other farms. We do however know that Tir Twppa in Ysgwyddgwyn hamlet was transferred to his sister Mary’s family i.e. Thomas Edward, another property Cefn Glaes in Merthyr Tydfil parish was possibly transferred to John Jenkins at the same time – is it possible that he was connected with the other sister Gwenllian? – perhaps Edmund had expressed such a wish before he died - there is no Will. Lewis his heir still owned Bedlinog uchaf, Cwarrau mawr in Eglwysilan and Berthllwyd in Llanfabon

Lewis William did not long survive his brother, his Will dated 18th October 1739 was given probate 5th December 1739, and in the Gelligaer Parish Register we find “Lewis William of Bedlinog buried 27 October 1739”. In this Will he leaves all his freehold estate in Glamorgan to his wife Cessill Thomas until his son Thomas Lewis reaches the age of 14, after that to be jointly held during the life of his wife. He also appoints his father in law Thomas Harry and the latter’s son Harry Thomas to oversee his Will. There is a marriage licence of April 21 1737 to allow Lewis William bachelor, yeoman of Gelligaer to marry Cissil Thomas spinster of Gelligaer at either Gelligaer, Llandaff or Trevethin; the marriage took place at Llandaff on April 29th. This tells us that his son Thomas Lewis would have been less than 2 years old at the time of his father’s death.

The inventory of his goods was carried out on the 14th November 1739 by Thomas Edward (his brother in law), John Jenkin (?a nephew) and John Thomas (maybe his uncle), and shows him as a typical yeoman freeholder of that time except for his ownership of a smith’s shop.

his wearing apparell - £4;  4 feather beds & 3 chaffe beds with their bedcloaths - £4;  brass and pewter - £2 10s.;  wooden lumber - £6;  100 small sheep - £7;  6 oxen, 7 cows, 3  yearlings, 3 calves - £34;  3 horses - £8;  piggs & poultry - £1 10s.;  implements of husbandry - £1 5s.;  the smiths shop with its implements - £5;  corn & hay - £5;  household provision - £2;       Total:- £80 5s.

In Senghennydd Manor records of 1747 the tenant of the farm is recorded as Cicel Williams widow, this is undoubtedly the widow of Lewis William – she having been recorded with her late husband’s ‘surname’. She is shown as the owner in 1757 when the manor rentals begin to record the owners. Cecil very clearly indicates one of the difficulties of trying to work out who is who at this time. It was during this century that the people of Gelligaer started to adopt surnames and end the traditional patronymic naming. We find Cecil Thomas the daughter of Thomas Harry recorded as ‘Cecil Thomas’ in her 1737 marriage to Lewis William the son of William Thomas Lewis. In his 1739 Will her husband refers to here as ‘Cessill Thomas’, and his son as Thomas Lewis, illustrating that the family were using patronymic naming. Yet in the manor rentals of the mid century she is referred to as ‘Cecil Williams widow’ – being given her husband’s ‘surname’ – interestingly in a document relating to tithes signed by nearly all Gelligaer farmers she signs by a mark which is indicated as being the mark of Cecill Williams. When she marries for the second time in 1749 the marriage is recorded as between Cecil Thomas widow and Thomas Jenkin bachelor, and her burial in December 1766 is recorded as Cecil Thomas wife of Thomas Jenkin. Yet on a family gravestone she is recorded as Ciceley Lewis of Bedlinog buried December 1766. The gravestone was most likely erected by her son Thomas Lewis who no doubt considered Lewis as his surname. Of course the fact that she signs by mark makes it likely that she could not read, so she would have been unaware of all this.

On her death in 1766 Thomas Lewis became the sole owner of Bedlinog uchaf, he also continued to own Berthllwyd in Llanfabon, Tyr y Quarra Mawr in Eglwysilan, Tyr y Nyth in Merthyr Tydfil and according to freeholder lists continues as joint owner of Cefn Glas with John Jenkin, all of which had come down to him from his grandfather William Thomas Lewis. He also came to own Lan uchaf and Lan isaf. So he was a substantial landowner. However, little is known of him. From the gravestone mentioned earlier it is known that his wife’s name was Mary and that she died in 1770 aged 29; the marriage took place by licence in Merthyr Tydfil on 19 May 1758 between Thomas Lewis of Gelligaer, bachelor, a minor and Mary William of Gelligaer, spinster, a minor with the consent of their guardians and with Thomas Jenkin and Henry Thomas as witnesses. Deeds show that in 1775 he sold Tyr y Quarry mawr for £400 to William Richard Powell of Energlyn. The Leet Court of May 1778 records the selling of his Merthyr properties. A court case of 1816 tells us that a marriage settlement was drawn up in February 1782 involving Lewis Edwards the elder (his cousin) which involved the Gelligaer properties Bedlinog uchaf, Tir y Lan isaf and Tir y Lan uchaf, showing that by that date the properties were in the possession of Lewis Edwards the elder. However there appears to be no record of Thomas Lewis’s death – no Will or Administration, no burial record, no Leet Court record – only an undated list of freeholders of the early 1780s which refers to the Late Thomas Lewis. Berthllwyd in Llanfabon becomes the property of the family of John Jenkin – but how these transfers took place is not known.

By February 1782 the Gelligaer properties Bedlinog uchaf (120 acres), Lan uchaf (34 acres) and Lan isaf (38 acres) were owned by Lewis Edwards the elder alias Lewis Thomas Edward son of Thomas Edward and his wife Mary William daughter of William Thomas Lewis of Bedlinog – and so still a descendent of Morgan Awbrey. Lewis Edwards had also inherited from his father the farms Ysgwyddgwyn isaf and Tir Twppa (total 142 acres), so he now owned just over 330 acres in Gelligaer. Lewis Edwards had married Mary David of Gwern Llwyn isaf farm in Merthyr parish. They had a son also called Lewis Edwards. Lewis Edwards the Elder died in March 1785, his burial being recorded under the name Lewis Thomas Edward – buried 20 March 1785.

Meanwhile in 1783 a Lewis Edwards (presumed to be the younger) had bought most of “Bedlinog isaf” (76 acres), and in March 1785 bought the rest, called Llwyn Crwn (28 acres) – so that on the death of his father he had an estate of over 400 acres in Gelligaer. He had married Elizabeth the daughter of William Watkins of the parish of Llanddeti in the county of Brecon.

When his Eldest son (Lewis Edwards III) married, the properties in Ysgwyddgwyn were settled on him. In 1805 Lewis Edwards II settled Lan isaf & Lan uchaf on his second son Thomas and made provision for £300 for each of his three daughters. Lewis Edwards II died in 1815 and in his will left all his properties to his wife during her life and then to his son Thomas. He also made further provision for his daughters and £500 for his third son William who was born after the 1805 settlement. His eldest son Lewis Edwards III who as stated had already received Ysgwyddgwyn isaf and Tir Twppa was not mentioned. In 1817 he took the rest of his family to court claiming that he had discovered a settlement of 1782 made on the marriage of his parents which entailed the Garthgynydd properties on him. The court case implies that he had married against his parents’ wishes. His mother Elizabeth Edwards and brother Thomas denied that the marriage settlement existed. The court case dragged on through both the Chancery court of the Great Sessions in Cardiff and the Chancery court at Westminster. On the 2nd of August 1827 agreement was reached in Chancery that all the properties would go to Lewis Edwards III who agreed to pay £1400 to his family within 6 months. On December 2nd 1828 he made the payment to Elizabeth Edwards of Mynyddislwyn, Thomas Edwards of the same gent., William Edwards of the same gent., Margaret Edwards of the same spinster, and Ann Edwards of the same spinster. So Bedlinog uchaf, Bedlinog isaf, Lan isaf and Lan uchaf become the property of Lewis Edwards III. It is not known what subsequently became of his brothers and sisters.

In order to pay the £1400 he was forced to take a loan from his solicitor William Meyrick of Merthyr Tydfil. But then in order to repay the loan he had to sell Ysgwyddgwyn isaf and Tir Twppa to William Meyrick. Later he came to realise that he had sold at the wrong moment, the advent of the railways and demand for coal had made the properties more valuable. So he took William Meyrick to Court to try to regain the properties. The case attracted the attention of The Times law correspondent who reported it on 22 July 1842 as follows

EDWARDS V. MEYRICK.

This was a suit to set aside a sale of two farms, named Tyr Twppa and Yscwddgwyn, situated in the parish of Gellygare in Glamorganshire, which was made by the plaintiff to the defendant in the year 1825. The plaintiff, according to his own description of himself, and the description which his witnesses were called to prove, is a Welsh hill-farmer, illiterate and unacquainted with business, except within the scope of his daily avocations; but, according to the account given of him by the defendant and the witnesses on his behalf, is one of the most important persons in the parish in which he resides - a substantial farmer, frequently holding the office of overseer, a guardian of the union under the Poor Law, a leading man in parochial and county business, the habitual adviser of the less literate of his neighbours, and a gentleman of liberal taste, having for many years kept hounds for hunting. The grounds upon which the plaintiff claimed the relief which he asked were, that the defendant Mr. William Meyrick, of Merthyr Tydvill, was for many years his solicitor; that in 1815 Meyrick discovered the draught of a settlement made upon the marriage of the plaintiff's grandfather that had been suppressed, but under which the plaintiff was entitled to considerable property then in the possession of other members of his family: that to establish this settlement and recover the property for the plaintiff a bill was filed in the Court of Great Sessions, in Wales, against the parties in possession : that this proceeding led to various others in the Court of Chancery and at common law, which ultimately terminated in the year 1829, when, partly by his success in the legal proceedings and partly by a compromise, the plaintiff obtained quiet possesion of the settled property: that in 1823, while these proceedings were going on, Mr. Meyrick pressed the plaintiff to pay him the costs which had been incurred, and the plaintiff to secure payment of the amount of a bill made out by Mr. Meyrick, amounting to £1,109 executed a mortgage to him of Tyr Twppa and Yscwddgwyn for that amount : that is 1825 the plaintiff was desirous of selling these farms, and Meyrick was instructed to offer them for sale on his behalf; but, instead of selling them to another party, he became himself the purchaser, at the price of £2,100. The purchase-money, the plaintiff alleged, was made up by the payment of £697., due on a prior mortgage, £1,224 on the mortgage to the defendant, and £175 in cash, of which £100 only was then paid.  The plaintiff alleged that the relation of client and solicitor between himself and Mr. Meyrick did not cease until 1835: that he soon afterwards gave notice of his intention to redeem the farms in question, and in 1836 he filed his bill to annul the sale.  Much evidence was entered into on both sides as to the circumstances of the sale, the alleged impropriety of charges in the bill of costs, and the value of the property: on the part of the plaintiff one of the witnesses stated the value at the time of sale to have been £3,000, another said £2,800, and another £2,600.  It appeared that the rent at that time was £70. a-year; some time after the sale it was raised to £90 a-year.  An act of Parliament for making a railway through that district passed in May, 1825, by which the value of the property was said to be affected, and mines of coal under the land were expected to become valuable

Mr. Sharpe and Mr. James, for the plaintiff, insisted on the principle that an attorney cannot sustain a purchase from his client without showing that he had been in every way put upon his guard, and without being prepared to prove in the most distinct manner that no advantage was taken of the situation, in which the parties stood; that here it appeared that the conveyance had been taken at an inadequate price, whilst the plaintiff was under a sense of obligation to his solicitor for enabling him to recover his property, and upon an erroneous statement of what was due to the solicitor for his costs. The Court would therefore treat the deeds as a mortgage only, and direct the bills of costs to be taxed.

The Solicitor-General and Mr. Girdlestone, for the defendant, denied the existence of any rule of equity by which an attorney was precluded from purchasing property from his client. They said that upon the answer and evidence it appeared the plaintiff had actually another solicitor acting on his behalf in the transaction of the sale; that there was no exercise of influence; the proposal to sell had proceeded from the plaintiff himself, and not from the defendant; that no circumstance relating to the property appeared to be known to the defendant that was not equally known to the plaintiff; and that the evidence as to the value totally failed in proving that the farms were purchased at an undervalue.  If the bills of costs were settled without taxation, it was a common mode of settlement; and the mere fact that an item or two might have been struck off if the bills had been taxed could not invalidate the whole transaction. They added that the claim of the plaintiff was now brought forward, when, from the death of the clerk of the defendant by whom the business was conducted, he would be under increased difficulties in proving the amount of his bills.

Mr. Romilly, on the same side, has yet to be heard.

The properties remained with William Meyrick. However Lewis Edwards’ family continued to hold the Garthgynydd properties. In the Return of Owners of Land compiled in 1873 Lewis Edwards of Bedlinog, his son, is shown as owning 258 acres, and the family continued to own the land into the 20th Century. Margaret Edwards the last known member of the family living in Bedlinog and a descendent of Morgan Awbrey, died towards the end of the 20th Century.


[1] T.V.Davies in ‘Farms and Farmers of Senghennydd Supra’ does produce an ancestry but it appears to be speculative rather than factual.

Data Sources

1519 Deed : Gwent Archives Hanbury JCH 1738

1540 Senghenydd Manor Survey : National Archives SC6/HENVIII/7493

1570 Senghenydd Manor Survey : National Library of Wales Bute S1 & S2

1580 Marriage Settlement : Gwent Archives :  Hanbury Archives D8/1 JCH1034

1630 Senghenydd Manor Survey : National Library of Wales Bute M37/39

1650-1663 Wills : National Library of Wales :  LL1651-16; LL1652-18; LL1660-23; LL1663-27

1662 Will : National Library of Wales :  LL1662-34

1670 Senghenydd Manor Survey : National Library of Wales Bute M37/41 & S11

1692 Marriage Settlement/Deeds : National Library of Wales Bute D245/1 - 4

1696 Will : National Library of Wales :  LL1606-145

1730 Will : National Library of Wales :  LL1730-71

1739 Will : National Library of Wales :  LL1739-62

1747-1840 Senghennydd Manor Rentals : National Library of Wales Bute R6/2-5 & 32

1763-68 Land Taxes : National Library of Wales Tredegar 85/2230++

1773-1809 Local Taxes : National Library of Wales, Bute G11

1783-1831 Land Taxes : Glamorgan Archives Q/D/LTA/CAE

1782 Settlement : see National Library of Wales : Great Sessions/11 94 & 95

1805+ Deeds : National Library of Wales : Bute D127

1817 Chancery case : National Library of Wales : Great Sessions/11 94 & 95

1841 Tithe Schedule : Glamorgan Archives P/1/2/13

 

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