Skip to main content

THE COUNTY OF FLINT AND THE REBELLION OF OWEN GLYNDWR IN THE RECORDS OF THE EARLDOM OF CHESTER By J. E. MESSHAM, B.A. Part I—THE Coubse of the Rebellion The rising associated with the name of Owen Glyndwr pursued an undulating course over a period of some dozen years from its outbreak on 16 September, 1400. Its vicissitudes varied considerably from locality to locality. As Glyndwr's wife was the daughter of Sir David Hanmer of Hanmer in Maelor, Flintshire is one of the localities whose reactions to Glyndwr's activities are of special interest to the historian. Those reactions are partly recorded and partly reflected in the archives of the earldom of Chester, to which the county of Flint had been attached for purposes of government by the Statute of Wales of 1284. I The records of an alien administration cannot be expected to reveal the inner secrets of the Welshry of the county of Flint; and to this natural limitation is added, for the early years of the Welsh rising, the imperfection and even cessation of the very classes of records which might have been most informative. Among the rolls of the pleas and indictments held by the justice of Chester in the county, there is nothing to be found for the years between 1399 and 1407,1 and of the few extant rolls of lesser courts none belongs to the reign of Henry IV. These deficiencies in the legal records are in part a testimony to the gravity of the Welsh rising in Flintshire, for while it was at its height no courts could be held there. This was not so, however, in the years before 1403, when the justice and other officials conducted their business as usual. The financial records, which are extant for these years, make this quite clear. Yet the most detailed of these, the accounts of the Flintshire mi, isters who answered for the issues of the county in the exchequer at Chester*, are almost mute about the early years of the rising. It would be difficult to infer from them that anything unusual was happening. Of course, these accounts are often uninformative because of the grant or farm of revenues, but their silence in this instance arises chiefly from the fact that rebellion did not in these years seriously disturb the life of the county. The accounts and enrolments of the chamberlain of Chester* are more helpful. As chief financial officer of the earldom, he was responsible not only for the collection of iThe Plea Roll, Chester 30/16, is fragmentary after 1390 and ends in 1399 Chester 30/17 begins in September, 1407. The first of the extant rolls of Indictments held in Flintshire (Chester 26/24) ends m 1399, and the second roll (Chester 26/26) opens in March, 1407. There are inquisitions from these years in Chester 3. 2The Accounts of Divers Ministers of the County of Flint (8.0.6/1090 A 1191). 3Chamberlain's Accounts, S.C. 6/774 A 775. Enrolments are listed as Chester 2/74 f. The have been indexed and partly calendared as the Cheater Recognizance Rolls in the 30th Annual Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records (1875).