Welsh Journals

Search over 450 titles and 1.2 million pages

was so rich as to be accounted a Royal Mine. A certain Anthony Shepheard had some time previously been granted a lease to raise and refine ores within (among other places) the said parish. He had already worked several mines in the parish, and during the month in question, and afterwards, he had actually raised out of the mines in the common of Esgair Hir five hundred tons 'or some great quantity of rich oare of silver or of oare wherein great and vast quantities of silver were contained of very great value for the use of our Sovereign Lord and Lady' (William and Mary). Shepheard was for several months in quiet possession of these mines, which, it was asserted, still contained great quantities of rich silver ore and should only be gained 'for their Majesties' use or for the use of those that have right under the Crown of England'. However, certain people, among them Sir Carbury Pryse, Bart., Dame Dorothy Pryse, Edward Pryse, Simon Pryse, Evan Evans, Cornelius le Brun, John Lloyd, Thomas John Richard, Thomas Griffith Lloyd, Roger Owen, Richard Price, John Lewis, Jenkin Richard, Evan Beddoe, and John David, had confederated together to avoid and hide their Majesties' right and royal properties in the premises under pretence that the soil where the said mines were located was theirs, and that they had a grant from the Crown of all the Royal Mines within these lands. Even, argued the Attorney General, if the defendants had a grant of the soil of the said common from the Crown, they well knew that the Royal Mines were excepted. In spite of this they had entered the mines and carried away great quantities of ore raised by Anthony Shepheard with- out giving an account of it to any person authorised by the Crown, Furthermore, Sir Carbury and his 'confederates' were charged with preventing Shepheard and his men from further digging at the mines, and with at least threatening to sue them. The Attorney General then applied to the court for a writ of injunction to stay all proceedings at Common law, and the working of the mine until the hearing of the cause by that court. Application was also made for a writ of subpoena to be directed to Sir Carbury and his friends to appear before the court to prove his title to the mineral rights of the Esgair Hir Common.1 The several writs asked for were issued on 12 February 1692 for what was proposed would be the third trial. In answer to the charges contained in the original bill of complaint, three of the defendants, Thomas John Richard, Thomas Griffith Lloyd, and Roger Owen, deposed that to their knowledge the land called Bwlch yr Esgair Hir formed part of the manor of Llanfihangel Genau'r Glyn, and that Sir Carbury Pryse, like his ancestors for several ages before him, was owner and seised of the inheritance thereof, but that Dame Dorothy Pryse at that time held and enjoyed it. In March 1690, some miners, digging at Esgair Hir, discovered what they believed to be common or poor ore. Upon the order of Dame Dorothy Pryse, their mistress, the deponents went along with her to the new mine, and heard her forbid some men carry away the ore which they claimed. Roger Owen further stated that he was several times commanded by Sir Carbury, and Edward Pryse who managed 1P.R.O., Ei 12/768/3.