Symud i'r prif gynnwys

"OLD BRECKNOCK CHIPS.' A Column of Antiquarian Chit-Chat relating to the County of Brecknock. NOTES, QUERIES, AND REPLIES, on Subjects inter¬ esting to Breconshire, must be addressed to EDITOR Brecon County Times, Brecon. Real names and addresses mnst be given in confidence, and MSS. must be written legibly, on one side of the paper only. FJRIDAY, APKIL 15th, 1887. NOTES. A REVIEW. (From Oswestry Adveetisee and Montgomebyshibe Meecdey, April 6th, 1887). The Illustbated Histoey and Biogeaphy of Bbecknockshibe by Mr Edwin Poole, an Oswestrian, now settled at Brecon as editor of the Beecon County Times, is a closely printed quarto of 500 pages, and a mere glance at the work makes us wonder how a busy journalist can have found time to collect and compile the materials of this bulky volume. It is well printed at the author's own press, and Mr Poole, who is his own publisher, was fortunate enough to secure a goodly list of subscribers (with the Prince of Wales at the head of it) to reward his courage in undertaking and his great perseverance in carrying out so large and arduous a venture. For ten years Mr Poole was gathering information, but ten years would have been altogether insufficient in the absence of Theophilus Jones's Histoey of Beecknockshiee, ■which forms the groundwork of part of Mr Poole's publication ; to which he has added entirely new features in the shape of a Military History of the county, a Biography of famous natives and residents, and a History of the Rise and Progress of Nonconformity. The present work must not be confounded with such undertakings as those of Jones and Meyrick, for it professes to be a " Popular County History," and Mr Poole has not attempted to do what they did, or to assume the position of a county historian who spends the best part of a lifetime in finding facts, and welding them into a work of literary craft which almost becomes a classic. The general historian and the antiquary wiU want to know more than can be found here; but on the other hand, is it not rather absurd to write the "history " of a Welsh county and ignore, as Theophilus Jones did, the rise and progress of Nonconformity? In one respect, at any rate, Mr Poole has the advantage of the older historian, in throwing aside all thoughts of sect and party; and it may be taken for granted that the modern religious life of the community is at least as important as surmises connected with '' Druidical worship." Speaking of the Druids, it was perhaps scarcely worth while even to mention the monstrous and exploded notion that the top-stone of a cromlech was once used for the sacrifice of living victims ; but the story of " the destruction of the finest cromlech in Brecknockshire" (on the Brecon road, near Crickhowell), was well worth telling, to show how even antiquaries have taken part in the lamentable work of demolition. It is related that Sir Richard Hoare and Sir William Ouseley attached teams of horses to the stones and pulled them down to see what was underneath ! They found nothing worth finding for their pains, and the world lost a valuable monument of antiquity. To give some notion of the contents of the book, we may say that Part I, pp. 1-24, is devoted to a rapid sketch of the general history of the county down to the CromweUian wars; Part 2, pp. 25-84, to the town of Brecon; Part 3, pp. 85-269, to families, castles, churches, mansions, and antiquities; Part 4, pp. 270-290, to an account of the Military; Part 5, pp. 291-329, to biography, and Part 6, pp. 330-377, to the history of Nonconformity ; and there are useful appendices containing annotated lists of Lord-lieutenants, Sheriffs, M.P.'s, Magistrates, Population Tables, books printed in the county, agricultural returns, &c. Last, but not least,, there is an index of considerable length, so that we close the book with the renewed conviction that Mr Poole has spared no trouble in the execution of his heavy task. Brecon¬ shire is a county full of interest, and Brecon is a comely and has been a flourishing town. Whether the tradesmen of these days enjoy the good fortune of their predecessors^we cannot say, but in the 17th century the historian says :— For the trade of this town it is such that there is hardly a shopkeeper in it of any continuance but that has an estate, or is in a fair way to purchase, and that considerably. The grandfather of the Hon. Sir William Lewis, of Llangorst, Bart., was a mercer of this town; so was the grandfather of our late worshipful and truly worthy Colonel John Jeffreys, of Aberkunrick ; whose great estates were chiefly purchased by their trades. And Brecon boasts one stately building, the Priory Church, of which Mr Freeman, whose description is quoted, says "it is unquestionably the third church in Wales, and may even put some claim to be considered .the second"—St. David's Cathedral being the indisputable' first, and LlandafE the doubtful second. \ Mentioning Mr Freeman reminds us that Mr Poole has made plentiful use of many authorities, ^and quotes fully throughout, in one place from this great historian, in another from a gossiper like the Rev. Kilsby Jones. In such a portly volume it is almost unnecessary to say that a number of old customs, legends, and amusing stories are recorded. The tyranny which prevailed in the days of the Lord Marchers is illustrated by the rule of the Lord of Crickhowell:— All the tenants that helde their land of the saide prince [the king] ought to acknowledge the lords by the words followinge, that is to saie, ffirst he ought to come before the lord, kneelinge, and acknowledge to hould of the lord of Crughowell such rents and lands by service of homage, and ought to close his handes within the lorde's, deposeinge truly, on his faith by Cod and the holy Evangelists, that with his whole heart and soul above all things he shall love his lord, and in aU places of any dread, shaU stand up by his lord, him to defend, and his bodie well and truly, and without fraude and guile against his enemyes keep. All this done the lord shall command him to stand upp from his kneelinge,