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expense of the establishment was a burden to the country, and its authority was frequently set at defiance, by those who resided within its jurisdiction appealing to other Courts, or evading its judgments, particularly in the four shires; so at least said Sir Francis Bacon, when in his capacity of King's Solicitor he argued before the Court of Exchequer in the case of Edward, Lord Zouch, President of Wales, against the jurisdiction of the President and Council over the four shires of Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire and Gloucestershire ; but that Court decided unanimously that these four counties were not within the jurisdiction of the President and Council, though they were included in the Commission issued in the 34th year of Henry VIII, and parts of the Lordships Marchers were annexed to Hereford, Shropshire, and Gloucester.
In 1617 (14 James I), William, Lord Compton, afterwards Earl of Northampton, was President. A copy of the instructions given to him will be found in Rymer's Fædera.? They show the extensive powers the Court was formerly invested with.
The Civil War between Charles I and his Parliament suspended the functions of the Court; but after the Restoration it was re-established, under Lord Carbery as Lord President. He attempted to exercise jurisdiction over the county of Gloucester, by calling upon the sheriff's and justices of that county to put their roads in repair; but they denied his jurisdiction. On March 19th, 1672, Lord Carbery was succeeded by Henry, Marquis of Worcester, whose progress through Wales as the first Duke of Beaufort is the subject of the MS. by Thomas Dineley, which has been already referred to; and in 1689 (i William and Mary), the Earl of Macclesfield succeeded him, and was the last Lord President, the Court having in the same year been abolished : the reason given being that all matters which came within its cognizance might be determined in the ordinary courts
of law :—that the Court had exceeded its jurisdiction; and the multiplicity of suits and necessity of prohibitions at Westminster were chargeable and grievous to the people. It was not a Court useful either to the King or people, but cost the Crown £3,000 a year.
There were abundance of small actions under 40s. ; some were very inconsiderable, such as a hen flying into another's garden. These and several other reasons appear in the evidence given before the House of Lords, to which was appended a petition with 18,000 signatures of inhabitants of Wales -being the earliest monster petition found among the Records-in which, among others, these remarks occur : " From plague, pestilence, and the name of Ludlow Court, Good Lord, deliver us!” And “ The inhabitants of Bigeley and Wariston whose names are subscribed herein, and many more who cannot write, do give their humble thanks to and hearty prayers for, those Hon ble Members of Parliament who are for taking away the Court of Ludlow, many of them having been ruined
The feudal tenures of knights' service in capite of the King, or of any other person, and the fruits and services thereof, had been previously taken away, and all tenures of hereditaments of any estate of inheritance were turned into free and common socage as from February 24th, 1645 ; and thus the Lords Marchers, shorn of their Court and privileges, passed away.
1 Journals of the House of Lords, 1689, 80, and Hist. MSS. Com., Twelfth Report, Appendix, Part vi, p. 105, et seq.
2 By Statute 12 Car. II, c. 24.
ANCIENT FONTS IN GOWER.
BY ALFRED C. FRYER, PH.D., M.A.
(Read April 5th, 1899.)
HE peninsula of Gower is situated at the
south-western end of Glamorganshire, and stretches for about twenty miles into the sea, being separated from the mainland on the north by the Lougher River, and terminating in the promontory known
as Worm's Head. Some have derived the name from Gwyr, meaning luxuriant. However, when a name was given to this district it would be a dense forest and swampy marsh, and the word “luxuriant” would scarcely describe it correctly. The old British word Go-hir, far, long, outstretching, would denote that this peninsula is a narrow neck of land. It has been thought, however, that the true derivation may be found in the word Gwyr, meaning slanting or oblique.
The churches in Gower bear a strong family likeness, and their massive towers, generally loopholed, were evidently designed as strongholds in disturbed times. Several of these towers have overhanging embattled parapets resting on corbels, and saddle-back roofs; and these were ably treated by the late Professor Freeman in his comprehensive paper on the Gower churches.
The ancient fonts in Gower are some sixteen in number, and are found at Bishopston, Cheriton, Ilston, Llandewi, Llangenydd, Llanmadoc, Nicholaston, Oxwich, Oystermouth, Pennard, Penrice, Porteynon, Reynoldston, and Rhossily. Like the churches, they too possess a strong family likeness ; nine of the fonts are square or oblong, three are cylindrical, and four are octagonal." The deepest bowl is at Llandewi, and it is 13 ins. inside and 34 ins. outside. The inside measurement of the bowl at Ilston is only 9 ins. in depth, bnt the diameter is 32 ius. The pillar on which the bowl rests at Bishopston has a circumference of 62 ins., while the girth of the pedestal at Ilston and Rhossili is 60 ins.
The date of the Gower fonts is most likely about the date of the churches in this portion of Glamorganshire, that is, about the time of the Norman occupation. Probably many of these buildings replaced British or Saxon churches, and were erected on the same sites. These Norman churches were constructed about A.D. 1150 to A.D. 1200, or thereabouts.
The “chrism,” or consecrated oil blessed by the bishop, and also the "oil of catechumens,” were mingled with the baptismal water. In order to preserve this water the bowls were often lined with lead, and were furnished with a lid secured by a lock. On the rim of the font at Nicholaston are the remains of stout iron rivets, leaded into the stone.
These show that the font was once provided with a cover. By the constitution of Edmund, Archbishop of Canterbury (A.D. 1236), fonts were ordered to be provided with covers and locked. At that date they were most likely little more than flat moveable lids.
The church at Bishopston has a long history, and if the Liber Landavensis may be trusted, it dates to about 480 or 490, that is, to a period before the death of Bishop Dubricius. The Papal bull settling the patronage was given in the year 1130, and it has remained with the Bishop of Llandaff ever since, although the parish is within the diocese of St. David's. The Bishop's Town is an old designation, and there are still portions of the old rectory buildings remaining. “ The church," writes the Rector, “has much Norman work in it, but I think much of the structure is earlier than that.”
i The font at Llanrhidian is not of the same antiquity as many of those given in the above list. It is an octagonal font. The depth of the bowl outside is 11 ins., inside, 9 ins., and the diameter is 26 ins. The pillar is 29 ins. high, with a circumference of 38 ins. Each face of the octagon is 10 ins. by 10 ins.
The font at Bishopston and the font at Rhossili have many points of resemblance. They both rest on short pillars 6 ins. and 5 ins. in height, and these in their turn stand on plinths. The circumference of the one pillar is 62 ins., while that of the other is only 2 ins. less.
The foundation of Cheriton church is evidently not so old as the mother-church of Landimor, for the latter is mentioned in the Taxatio Ecclesiastica of Pope Nicholas IV, A.D. 1291, and the document contains no mention of Cheriton. “We may, therefore,” says the author of the Ilistory of West Gower, “ venture to assume from this that, in 1291, there was no church at Cheriton; and if such were the case, the opinion of those who impute so early a date as the thirteenth century to this church can hardly be correct. It might be the fourteenth, and if so would correspond with the conventual buildings, called the glebe-house, adjoining the churchyard, and supposed to be fourteenth century work.” Professor Freeman attributes this church to the thirteenth century.
The present font is made of freestone, and is octagonal in form. The number eight had a mystical meaning, and St. Ambrose says >
“Octachorum sanctos templum surrexit in usus,
An ancient font lies outside the porch. It has a large piece broken out of it, and is tub-shaped. It has been conjectured that perhaps this ancient font may have belonged to the extinct church of Landimor. There is no tradition when this church was built. Landimor means the church of the sea; and doubtless the encroachments of the ocean not only caused the church to be abandoned, but was the ultimate cause of its ruin. This ancient font must be of considerable age, if it were removed from the church of Landimor and brought to Cheriton for preservation. It is clear that there was a church here in 1230, when Landimor is mentioned in the Confirmation of Bishop Anselm ; and we have already seen that it was used for public worship in 1291, the date of the Taxatio Ecclesi