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"OLD BRECKNOCK CHIPS." A Column of Antiquarian Chit-Chat relating to the County of Brecknock. NOTES, QUEEIES, 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. DECEMBER 4th, 1886. KOTES. THE AWBEEY FAMILY. {Continuedfrom Nov. 19th.) And Buckingham, with standards flashing high, Through yon dismantled arch pass'd forth to die. John Lloyd of Dinas. It is a reverend thing to see an ancient castle or building not in decay, or to see a fair timber tree sound and per¬ fect : how much more to behold an ancient, noble family, which hath stood against the waves and weathers of time.—Lord Bacon. William Awbrey was the son of Thomas Awbrey, of Cantreff, doctor of physic, and Agnes, his wife, daughter of Thomas Vaughan. We read in Wood's Fasti Oxoniensis that he was of AU Souls' College, Oxford (the qualification rendering admission possible being, that " he should be well born, well dressed, and moderately learned ! ") where he took his degree of Bachelor of Law 1549, and was admitted D.C.L. 13th July, 1554. He was afterwards successively Principal of New Inn, the Bang's Professor of the Civil Law in this University, Judge Advocate of the Queen's Army at St. Quintin's in France, Advo¬ cate in the Court of Arches, one of the Council of the Marches of Wales, Master in Chancery, Chan- ceuor to John, Archbishop of Canterbury, through his whole province, and lastly, by special favour of Queen Elizabeth, he was taken to her nearer service and made one of the Masters of Request in Ordinary. To quote Wood's quaint words "A person he was of exquisite learning and singular prudence, and therefore mentioned with honour by Thuanus and others. He was born in Brecknockshire, particu¬ larly as I conceive at Cantre ; wrote divers things, but not printed, among which are several letters to his cousin, Dr. John Dee, concerning the ' Sover¬ eignty of the Seas' (some of which I have seen)." Whether it was the result of his " singular pru¬ dence," or his success in the law, or his being regarded with "special favour" by the Queen, I know not, but we find him increasing his possessions, having considerable grants of large tracts of land in his native county bestowed on him by the Crown, with the advowsons of Cantreff, Llanfigan, and Llanfrynach. He is described by Hugh Thomas as being owner of " Abercynrig, Cantreff, Brynich, and Palleg "; the ancestral home he purchased from his cousin Richard, and Palleg from his kinsman William Awbrey, who was killed at a fair in Brecon in a quarrel, which arose from family disputes. Cantreff was his patrimonial inheritance, and Bry¬ nich was sold to him by one of the Walbeoffe family. On the death of Edward Stafford, last Duke of Buckingham of that creation, Lord of Brecknock, who was executed 17th May, 1521, the great lord¬ ship of Brecknock with the borough, castles, manors, and dependencies, were merged in the Crown, and some of the grants made to Dr. Awbrey were of lands and advowsons belonging to the Duke. It requires no great stretch of the imagination to sup¬ pose, that the dwelling house in Glamorgan-street (now called Buckingham Place) was built by Dr. Awbrey upon land which had belonged to the lord¬ ship of Brecknock before the attainder of its last lord. The tradition still lingers, that the Duke of Buckingham lived here, and that his ghost may still be seen at midnight flitting through his former home ! Possibly he liad a residence on the site, as in the old deeds it is named the " Manor House," but his chief abode, whilst dwelling amongst his people, would have been the Castle, which, in a survey of the manor, taken after his death, is described in the following terms:—"The toune of Breknok is a very proper walled toune, weU buylded and as well paved. With many honest inhabitants in the same, enclosed with the castell, which is a good strongholde, with all houses of offices and lodgginggs buylded after the oold facon, except there is a goodly hall sette in hight oonly with lights in aither end noon upon the sides, and as unto the roof of the said hall, it is newly and costilly made with pendants, after a goodly facon, and into the said castell water is conveid by conduyt, and about the said castell doo goe two rynnyng rivers." But whether it is his ancient home or not which the shade of Buckingham still haunts, as the legend has it, the present house was undoubtedly built by Dr. Awbrey, in the middle of the sixteenth century, and the ivy-covered walls of the old Tudor mansion, after three hundred years of change and destruction, of storm and restoration, still bear traces of their original beauty. Time has dealt more severely with its characteristic features than is the case at New¬ ton, which was built by Sir John Games about the same period, though, on a close examination and comparison, the resemblance between the two houses, architecturally, is very remarkable—the form of the chimney-stacks, the construction of the roof, the stone mullions of the windows, even an oak stair¬ case, which was discovered at Buckingham House the other day with the same carving as one at Newton, all seem to point to their having been built at the same time if not by the same architect. Thomas Churchyarde, the poet, whilst on his travels through Wales in the latter half of the six¬ teenth century visited Brecon, and thus describes it —(the side-notes are worthy of consideration) : The towne is built, as in a pit it were, By waterside, all lapt about with hill: Ye may beholde a ruinous castle there, Maister Gam Somewhat defaste, the walls yet standcth dwelles here. still. Small narrow streates, through all the towne ye have, Doctor Yet in the same are sondrie houses brave : Awberie hath Well built without, yea trim and fayre a house here. within. With sweete prospect, that shall your favour win. This description is as true to-day as when it was written, and the "sweete prospect" is no less fair than when Dr. Awbrey chose the site for his town house on the banks of the river Usk, across whose waters he daily saw the sun sink behind the floreated stone cross on the eastern end of the Awbrey Chapel in the Church of the Dominicans, where his ances¬ tors lay buried. In these days the cross has been removed to the east of the chancel, where The sun with its first smile Shall greet that symbol crowning the fair pile; And the fresh air of " incense-breathing morn " Shall wooingly embrace it: and green moss Creep round its arms through centuries unborn. And morning and afternoon the bell given in 1685 by Lawrence Womock, Bishop of St. David's, calls the present inhabitants of Christ's College—the boys who have succeeded the black-cowled Friars—to Mattins and Evensong. Many landmarks have been swept away, others