Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Welsh Rolls: What's in Them

Wales became thoroughly subduded after the execution of Rhys ap Maredudd [Rees ap Meredith] following his capture in 1289 AD. Ordinances for the settlement and incorporation into England of the new counties of Anglesey, Carnarvon, Merioneth, Flint, Carmarthen, and Cardigan were instituted. Ironically, these records became known as the "Welsh Rolls", but were actually the "English" records following this hostile take over. These documents contain all the different items which required the approval of the monarchy, i.e., passed "The Great Seal". Thus, they became the first offical records of the affairs of "The Principality of Wales" and its "Marches".

Extracts from these rolls can be found at the British Museum [Harleian MS. 320, f 42.] An outline of what they contain are as follows:

Grants of castles, lands, and other possessions, and confirmation of former charters,

Letters of protection and safe conduct,

Appointments of justices,

Inquistions of various kinds,

Presentations to churches,

Appointments of constables and governors of castles, and removal from appointments

Grants of freedom,

Committals to prison, and arrests

Grants of wardship,

Writs (orders) to receive money,

Grants to fairs,

Liberty to trade,

Free from toll,

Release from debt,

Exchanges of land,

Orders for dower, for support of children, and for homage,

Appointments to military rank, and

Settlements and other entries.

Wow, a gold mine for the Welsh genealogist!

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