Clergy of the Old Gwent Parishes J. Daryll Evans Those who feel pressed for time in today's busy world may care to contemplate the varied responsibilities of William Bleddyn, a sixteenth- century Rector of Rogiet. He not only held this office but was simultaneously Bishop of Llandaff, a Canon of both Llandaff and York, Vicar of Bassaleg, the incumbent of Sunningwell in Berkshire and Archdeacon of Brecon. He suggests an image of a cleric galloping frantically between widely dispersed ecclesiastical commitments. The reality was different. As the bishop of a poor diocese, William was allowed to hold additional appointments in order to augment the episcopal income. Assistants would have deputised for him where necessary. The bishop himself was conscientious and hard-working. "More than all others", he wrote, "I have laboured and toiled for years, travelling about at need that I may preach the Gospel". He is one of the many hundreds of Gwent clergy whose names are known to us. They include dedicated pastors, scholars, statesmen, the occasional saint, and one or two rogues. I have published elsewhere all the names for a total of 133 old parishes (Evans 1991). I have taken "old" to mean: established before 1800. The purpose of this article is two-fold. First, I hope to show something of what may be deduced from such lists, considered as entire units. Secondly, I shall look at a few of the interesting priests who stand out from the general becassocked throng. An initial examination of the parish lists is bound to raise the question of their differences in length. Some of them have just a few names, others many more, irrespective of the antiquity of the parishes concerned. One explanation of a relatively brief list is simply that the record is incomplete. The ancient parish of Mynyddislwyn, for example, owns to only a very small proportion of those who have served there. Listed as "Munitislun" in the papal taxation of 1254 and as "Meneduistelan" in that of 1291, in neither case is the parish priest recorded. The first name, John Williams, curate here and at Bedwellty, is found in Kitchin's Report of 1563 (Evans 1989, 1990). Thereafter there is a long gap to the next name, Edward Hyett, in 1744. The historian experiences some additional frustration in discovering that although the church registers date from eighty years before this latter date, the early entries are unsigned. Another reason for a short list is that a church may at certain periods have lacked a resident parson. Bettws Newydd, for instance, is shown by