Welsh Journals

Search over 450 titles and 1.2 million pages

"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 must be given in confidence, and MSS. must be written legibly, on one side of the paper only. OCTOBER 29th, 1886. NOTES. THE "GREAT BRECKNOCK PLOT." The following abridged account of the plot, formed by the Duke of Buckingham and the Bishop of Ely in the Castle of Brecknock in the year 1483, against Richard the Third, King of England, is taken from an old work entitled The Chronicles of the Kings of England, written by Sir Richard Baker, in the reign of James I.:— On the 18th day of June, Richard took upon himself the Crown, and one of his first acts was to commit to the Duke of Buckingham, Morton, Bishop of Ely, whom he was to keep in custody at his Castle of Brecknock in Wales. In a very short space of time differences arose between the King and the Duke, who attempted to absent himself from the coronation, hut who attended on receiving the message from Richard to the effect that "if he did not come he would be fetched." After attending this ceremony he retired to his Castle of Brecknock, in which Castle the plot was formed between the great Duke and the Bishop against Richard, which in a great measure avenged the murder of the young Princes in the Tower, so that the placing of the Bishop in the hands of the Duke, which was intended for his greater punishment, proved a means of his greater advancement, and later the ruin of King Richard. For the Duke being retired home, and for his own recreation would sometimes converse with the Bishop, with whose discourse (as he was a man of great wit and solid judgement) the Duke was so taken that he grew to delight in nothing more than to be conferring with him. And after assurances from the Duke that their conversation (together with the free remarks of the Bishop) would be strictly confidential, they proceeded with their schemes In a remarkable conversation which has been related, the Bishop stated "that if his remarks came to the ears of the King it would do himself little good, and the Duke less." " My lord," said the Bishop on another occasion, "as for the late Protector, since he is now King in'possession, I purpose not to dispute his title, but for the weal of the realm I could wish he had in him those excel¬ lent virtues which God hath planted in the person of your Grace; and I plainly perceive that this kingdom as it is, under such a King as we now have, must needs decay and be brought to confusion. But one hope I have, aDd that is when I see and daily consider your noble personage, your justice, your ardent love towards your country, and in like manner the great love of your country towards you, I must needs think this realm fortunate that hath such a prince in store. And now, my lord, if either you love God, your lineage, or your native country, you must take upon yourself the crown and imperial diadem of this realm; but if you refuse, I then adjure you by the faith you owe to God to set up the lineage of Lancaster or advance the eldest daughter of King Edward in marriage." The next day the Duke sent for my lord of Ely, and addressed to him the following: " After I found the dissimu¬ lation and falseness of King Richard, and especially after the murder of the two young Princes, to which (God he my judge) I never assented, hut so much abhored the sight and company of him that I retired here to my Castle at Brecknock, to imagine how to deprive this unnatural butcher of his royal dignity." After maturing and designing this plot in aU par¬ ticulars, we read that the Duke had " gotten together a good power of Welshmen, who set out with the Duke to meet Richard" (who had been informed of the Duke's proceedings). The Duke intended to cross the Severn at Gloucester, " but such abundance of rains at that time fell that the Severn was broken out and quite impassable, which alas ! the Welshmen seeing, and taking it for an ill sign, secretly slipt away." So that the Duke Mas left alone. He took shelter under the roof of one Humphrey Bannister, near Shrewsbury, who, hearing that £1,000 was offered, discovered him to John Mitton, High Sheriff of Shropshire, who took him while walking in an orchard behind the house; and from thence to Shrewsbury, where he was at once beheaded without any trial or arraignment by Richard. Thus ended, as far as the Duke himself was concerned, the plot which was laid within the present dismantled Brecknock Castle. Brecon. Hadley Watkins. THOMAS HARPER. — In Notes and Queries, 1862, there is the following note :— In the current book catalogue of James Coleman, of London, is the following item: " The Religion of Protestants a safe way of Salvation," with this note by the bookseller: '' This appears to have been a minister's copy of a parish in Breconshire It has the original register of marriages, baptisms, and burials for the year 1695, in the handwriting of the minister. Thomas Harper's book, 1693." Can any of your readers throw light on this ? Who was Thomas Harper ? Brynych. NEWTON MANSION, BRECKNOCK.— It is not, I believe, generally known that the old carriage way leading to the ancient mansion of Newton, near Brecknock, still exists, in a tolerably perfect state. It is a well-pitched roadway (now much grass- grown), about 9 feet wide, running in a straight line from the house to the north eastern parapet of the Tarall bridge; it cannot be traced further than this point, but as the bridge is a structure of the present century, there can be little doubt but that the course of the drive was con¬ tinued to the verge of the Tarall, and the river crossed by means of a ford on the south-western side of the site of the bridge. This chip may be of interest to those who have a regard for " memorials of bygone days." Cardiff. T. ap W. CAMBRIAN SOCIETY IN GWENT.— A meeting was held December 5th, 1821, in the Town Hall, Brecon, in order to form a