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, 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. FRIDAY, APRIL 1st. NOTES. MATEEIALS FOR BRECON COUNTY HISTORY. Dear Mr Editor,—I wish with your leave to point out some materials for County His¬ tory, which if utilized by your contributors would give great value to your antiquarian column. Brecon is unfortunate in not possessing an antiquarian society of its own. There is I believe a very distinguished society which honours Brecon by including it in its scope. It publishes transactions, though I believe you may search its pages without finding much special reference to Brecon. It is not sufficient for such a society to hold once in so many years a meeting in your town. There is no merit in picnicing in so charming a place. It is however small blame to the society that it contributes so little to Breconshire History, the result is simply due to the indifference of the Brecon¬ shire folk; or it may be that all the anti¬ quarians among you do not know what abundant matter there is for a History of your county. Twice has your county been so fortunate as to find an historian. It seems from a note in one of your issues that Jones' History is unsound, as good as a bank note to its unhappy owner, but other¬ wise worthless. Of Poole's History let others decide the value. But in neither of these books will an enquirer find, what to my mind is the main point of interest in a County History, namely, a clear account of the descent of land throughout the area des¬ cribed. You, Mr Editor, if anyone, must have considered what the character of a County History should be, and you will agree with me that it was probably the want of material which hindered the earlier, and its abundance the later author, from compiling such a History as I have in mind. When Mr Jones wrote, the National Records were inaccessible to the most zealous as to the most wealthy researcher. Now they are open to all. It has cost Government I know not what sums in cataloguing, printing, and the labor of trained officials to render its muniments accessible to the Nation. To neglect to use these advantages seems to me unworthy the pride of a county with any collective sense of identity at all. Let us admit that it is beyond the power of any one man to utilize them as a whole, even if he devote himself to seeking honor, not reward, I believe, Mr Editor ? as a County Historian. A society might cope with the work ; meanwhile till we have got that society and industrious members to hand, the work may be begun in the column you abandon us. The descent of land and the history of the families who owned it illustrate each other turn by turn, though in the great majority of cases the history of a family is now only recoverable from the official documents which record the transfer or the inheritance of the land. I am not required to discuss the utility of acquaintance with such facts. The case for it stands or falls with the case for all histor¬ ical knowledge whatsoever. Only it is the abuse of a very sacred name to call such genealogies as in some instances appear in Mr Jones' book, History. Compiled from MSS. of doubtful origin, at variance with themselves and with each other, where the art of the historian lies in reconciling two or more incongruous fables, such genealogies illustrate the odium which attaches to Welsh Family History as a thing without truth in it. Personally, I care little for a pedigree at all, except so far as a knowledge of it illus¬ trates the history and developement of a district on the smaller scale, just as on the greater our national history is inseparable from the succession of our Princes and Kings. But it is intolerable our local and manorial history should not be explored, coloured as every fact is with the national Welsh individuality which makes us even at this day a peculiar people. A letter addressed to the President of the Probate Divorce and Admiralty division of the High Court of Justice at " The Principal Probate Registry, Somerset House, Lon¬ don," with " Department for Literary Inquiry" in the corner of the envelope, will secure to any respectable man or woman leave to search all wills proved in the Court of Canterbury from A.D. 1383 to within 100 years of the date of application. Admission to the vast Record office in Fetter Lane is absolutely free. In either place the enquirer will find courtesy and assistance, and for the purposes of Breconshire history abundant material. There are, further, the Breconshire wills now at Hereford. These I have not seen.