Welsh Journals

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THE PRYSE FAMILY OF GOGERDDAN II Although Wales had no regular representatives in the English parliament until well into the reign of Henry VIII, yet we have an occasional record of Welshmen being invited to attend Parliament before 1536. During the reign of Edward II, for example, a writ addressed to Edmund, Earl of Arundel, then Justiciary of Wales, directed that twenty-four discreet and able men be chosen to represent South Wales (and a like number for North Wales) at the parliament soon to be held at York. It was not, however, until the passing of the much maligned Act of Union of 1536 that the Principality gained equality with England in the matter of parlia- mentary representation. Section 15 of the Act decreed that 'the lordships, towns, parishes, commotes, hundreds, and cantreds of Tregaron Geneur Glyn and Llan- ddewibrefi in the said country of Wales shall be united, annexed and joined to and with the County of Cardigan thus completing it as an administrative unit for the purposes of central government. Following upon this, Section 29 ordained 'That for this present Parliament, and all other Parliaments to be holden and Kept for this Realm, one Knight shall be chosen and elected to the same Parlia- ments for every of the Shires of Brecknock, Radnor, Montgomery and Denbigh, and for every other shire within the said County or Dominion of Wales, and for every Borough being a Shire Town within the said County except the Shire Town of the County of Merioneth, one Burgess; and the election to be in like manner, form and order, as Knights and Burgesses of the Parliament, be elected and chosen in other Shires of this Realm Accordingly, Cardigan, as the shire town, alone had the right to return a Member of Parliament, although other boroughs within the county were liable to contribute towards his wages. This injustice was remedied by a succeeding Act (35 Henry 8, Caput 11) which gave the sheriffs of each of the twelve shires in Wales 'full power and authority to gather and levy the Knights' fees and wages of the Inhabitants of the said twelve shires which ought to pay the same; and the same so gathered shall pay or cause to be paid to every such Knight or Knights, within two months after the King's Writ De solutione feodi Militis parlia- menti shall be delivered to any such sheriff'. Likewise, 'every Mayor and Bailiff and other head officers of Cities, Boroughs and Towns, in every the said twelve shires' were held responsible for levying, and collecting, and paying such fees as were due within their particular jurisdictions, while Section 3 of the same Act bestowed the right to vote at elections upon the burgesses of all the contributing boroughs and towns.