Skip to main content

THE FRIARS IN WALES By R. C. EASTERLING. IN the present paper it is proposed to give a general survey of the Mendicant Orders in Wales. Our knowledge of them is less than in the case of some other orders, for two reasons they kept but few records of their own activities, and their poverty in rents and possessions produces a corresponding poverty in documentary evidence, and keeps them for the most part out of the records of the time. Still, a good many scattered facts and references can be collected. The present paper makes no claim to bring forward new, in the sense of hitherto unpublished, material, though an endeavour is made to use all that has lately been made accessible by the search of others. But no apology will perhaps be needed for an attempt to clear the ground by bringing together and sifting information gathered from a variety of sources.1 1 There is special need of care when we wish to pick out allusions to the mendicant orders as distinct from the regulars, in Welsh poets and writers. For instance, the words Brodyr Gwynion seem to be used at least in modern Welsh for "White friars" (Carmelites) and Cistercian monks. (See Silvan Evans" Welsh Diet. s.v. brawd.) It maybe this which leads the Rev. Wm. Hughes (author of "The Church of the Cymry," 1894, a book which has evidently been widely read), first, to place the Cistercians among the mendicants, and incidentally to antedate the arrival of the latter in England by about eighty years, and, second, to place Denbigh Carmelites among the Cistercians. Again, the words Brodyr troednoeth (barefoot brethren) used, in two notable instances at least, of the Brodyr Llwydion," (Franciscans) of Llanfaes "Brut y tywys," R.S., p. 325, "mynachlog troednoeth," and in an elegy by Gr. ap Maredudd, Car glyw llyw llys Benmynydd Cor brodyr troednoeth a'i cudd (Arch. Camb., 1869, p. 293; "Myv. Arch," i, p. 450) seem also