Welsh Journals

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" Old Brecknock Chips." 32 lished in 1823 (48 pp. demy octavo). We were speaking two or three years back to Mr Thomas Williams, registrar, of Crick- howell, the gentleman who printed " Carn- huanawc's " History of Wales, at his press in the town of Crickhowell, and after show¬ ing us some of Mr Price's manuscript letters, which the old gentleman highly prized, he said he was present at this Eisteddfod in Brecon in 1822, and well remembered the fire and eloquence that lit up Carnhuanawc's beautifully chiselled and expressive face. (Poor Mr Williams, he was laid to rest a year or two ago, over 80 years of age !) We read " that during the Eisteddfod the " Committee behaved with great liberality " towards the Bards, keeping an open table " for them at the Swan Inn, where upwards "of 30 of them dined on Wednesday and "Thursday, and gratuities were given " towards defraying the other expenses." On the day after the Eisteddfod a concert of Sacred Music was held in St. Mary's Church, Brecon, for the benefit of the Widows and Orphans of the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of Brecon. Besides representatives of all the county families of Breconshire, the Eisteddfod gatherings were patronized by Lord and Lady Adare, Hon. Mr Bice, M.P., Colonel Strutt, Hon. Miss Strutt, Hon. Mr Towns- hend, Lady Coffin Greenley (of Titley Court), Sir Wm. Paget, W. A. Madocks, Esq., M.P., and Mrs Madocks ; Walter Wilkins, Esq., and the Hon. Mrs Wilkins ; Serjeant Frere and Mrs Frere, Serjeant Taddy, Colonel Parry, Osborne Yeats, Esq., and Miss Yeats, W. Du Buisson, Esq., J. C. Severn, Esq., and Mrs Severn, Benjamin Hall, Esq. (afterwards Sir Benjamin Hall and subsequently Lord Llanover). The long list of subscribers included 20 guineas from Sir Charles Morgan, Bart., M.P., president; 10 guineas from John Christie, Esq. (of local tramroad renown) ; there were 72 one-guinea subscribers, the total subscription list reaching £130 (for a four-county society, a handsome amount, indeed). We believe the only person now alive who was present at this memorable Eisteddfod is Octavius Morgan, Esq., The Friars, Newport, uncle to the present Lord Tredegar. The National Eisteddfod was held at Brecon in the year 1826, of which we also have some memorials to print in this column. The Editor. FlilDAY, FEBBUABY 17th, 1888. ANCIENT BUBGESSES OF BBECON. [By the Editor] . Perhaps no corporate town in Wales has a more distinguished history than Brecon. At one time the town was the head quarters of Norman feudal kings, and as light shed its lustre on the Dark Ages, we find a highly respectable and reputable class of burgesses arising in our midst—men of substance, too, many of them became—even long before the time when Hugh Thomas wrote and left it on record (1098) that in his day there were twelve, at least, of the burgesses (common councilmen) of "as great for¬ tunes," and some of them of " as great ranks and qualities as any in Wales." Going back to the days of Henry VIII. and Queen Elizabeth, we find numerous trade guilds in full work and association, and meeting in their " chapels," some situated within the Priory Church, and others adjacent thereto. And, perhaps, could we have viewed the scene one hundred years ago the "guild crosses," beautifully in¬ scribed, that decorated the floors of the old unrestored Norman pile would have given us a full history of many burgesses and town families, whose records are now lost almost in oblivion. There were the families of Thomas, of Towers, of Herbert, of Waters, of Boulcott—names that appear oft and oft in the early records of " bailiffs and alder¬ men " that have come down to us. But, alas ! life three hundred years ago taught the same salutary lesson that it still continues to teach : name and fame, estate and worldly wealth, all disappear in the long valley of Time, and leave not a wreck behind. If we were asked our opinion as to how many families survive the wealth and name left them, say at a fixed period, and let that period, for argument sake, be the year a.d. 1500, we would reply after studying the question somewhat minutely, that out of twenty first-class burgesses living in Brecon at that period, a.d. 1500, not more than five survived one hundred years of unbroken family history. " Three generations " seems to be the critical period in family history. Families that have survived three generations have ran on into three centuries, and even longer. It is sadly too true that the third generation squanders lavishly what the first generation amassed by hard toil and indomitable pluck— " by the sweat of the brow." Let us recall some of the old Brecon burgesses, and see " who they were " and " what they were." When quaint old Thomas Churchyarde