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Hereford Cathedral Library


John Duncumb


Reference Section


Collections towards the History and Antiquities of the County of Hereford; Part I of Vol. II [Pub. 1812]

Place name:

Ewyas Lacy


870 - 1812


There follows a transcription of the chapter of John Duncumb’s book, printed in 1812, describing the history, boundaries and principal landowners of the manor and hundred of Ewyas Lacy from around the year 870 AD. Subsequent chapters, not transcribed here, provide detail on the individual parishes of Clodock (called also Longtown), Cusop, Llansilo [Llancillo], St. Margaret’s, Michaelchurch Escle, Rowlston [Rowlestone], and Walterston [Walterstone]. Photographs of these chapters can be found here.

Collections Towards the History and Antiquities Of the County of Hereford


John Duncumb, A.M.

Part I of VOL. II


Printed by EG Wright


[Transcription, 2005]

Ewyas Lacy Hundred



The Hundred of EWYAS-LACY forms the south-west border of Herefordshire; being bounded in that direction by the counties of Brecknock and Monmouth. This district originally constituted a part of Cambria (now Wales), was afterwards included in the Marches*, and at length, 27th Henry VIII. A. D. 1536 was by act of parliament incorporated with the county of Hereford. The word Gwys or Gwias, implies a place of battle in the British language, and justly describes the turbulence and warfare which long prevailed here.—The word Lacy refers to one of its lords as will be noticed hereafter.

Roderick the Great, was Prince of all Wales, about A. D. 870; and dying, divided it between his three Sons, calling the first division Gwynedh (North-Wales), the second, Deheubarth (South Wales), and the third, Powys. In each of these he had prepared a palace for the residence of the prince: that of Deheubarth (the county which included Ewyas), was first fixed at Caermardhyn, but soon afterwards removed to Dinevowr +, and the name of …

*The tract called the Marches, consisted of the disputed frontier between England and Wales, which was at different times granted by the kings of the former to their nobles (who hence acquired the name of lords marchers), to be held under the crown , on condition of their building castles to restrain the hostile incursions of the Welsh. They were the scene of frequent hostilities during several centuries after the Norman conquest.

+ Dinevowr Castle is situated near Llandilo, in the county of Carmarthen, on the right bank of a most beautiful vale intersected by the river Towey. The remains of the castle are still to be seen on the top of a hill covered with venerable oaks; and the whole presents a scene of unusual grandeur and beauty. It gives the title of baron to George Talbot Rice Cardonell, in the right of his mother Cecil, daughter of Earl Talbot, who was created Baron Dinevour, with the remainder to the said Cecil and her heirs male. Cecil, on the death of her mother, assumed her maiden name (Cardonell), and marrying the Right Hon. George Rice, left issue, the present George Talbot Rice Cardonell, Baron Dinevour, married A.D. 1794 to a daughter of Lord Viscount Sydney.



… Deheubarth exchanged for that of the new seat of government. This principality or kingdom of Dinevowr, was bounded on the west by Glamorgan and Brecknockshires on the north by Herefordshire, on the east by Glocestershire, with the river Wye, and on the south and south—east by that of Severn*. The country was divided into many parts and again subdivided into what were termed cantrefs or cantreds, and comots. The first divisions of Dinevowr were called Caredigion, Dyuet, Caermardhyn, Morganwc, Gwent, and Brecheinoc: the subdivisions of Gwent were three cantrefs and ten comots—the cantref named “Iscoed, comprehending the comots Of Rrynbuga, Vwchoed, y-Teirtref, and Erging ac Ewas, now in Herefordshire.” +

“In this part (Dinevour), is the ancient citie of Caerltreon-upon-Usk, where was the archbishop’s see of Wales: here are also divers townes and castels, as Chepstow, Glyn-Strigul , Ros, Tintern upon the river Wye: there is also Newport, called Y Castelh Newdh,  Vysk, called Brynbuga, Grosmont, Raglan, White Castell, Abergeuenny, and manie other. This is a faire and a fertile countrie, of which the gentlemen were neuer obedient to their prince, which was the cause of their own destruction.” #

[AD 940] Roderick the Great was succeeded by his son Anarwd; soon after his death, Howel Dha acquired the sovereignty of all Wales, and “perceiuing the lawes and customes of his countrie to haue …

* Powell’s Description of Wales, AD 1584 

+ Ibid   

# Ibid



… growne into great abuse, sent for the Archbishop of Menenia, and all the other bishops and chiefe of the cleargie, to the number of 140 prelates, and all the barons and nobles of Wales and caused sixe men of the wisest and best esteemed in euerie comote to be called before him, whome he commanded to meete all together at his house called Y Tay gwyn ar Taf (i. e. the White House on the river Taf). Thither he came himselfe, and there remained with those his nobles, prelates, and subjects all the Lent, in praier and fasting, crauing the assistance of God’s holy spirit, that he might reforme the lawes and customes of the countrie of Wales, to the honour of God, and to the quiet government of the people. About the end of Lent he chose out of that companie twelue men of the wisest, gravest and of the greatest experience: to whome he added one clearke or doctor of the lawes named Blegored, a singular learned and perfect wise man. These had in charge to examine the old lawes and customes of Wales, and to gather out of those, such as were meete for the government of the countrie: which they did, reteining those that were wholesome and profitable, expounding those that were doubtful and ambiguous, and abrogating those that were superflous and hurtful, and so ordeined three sorts of lawes: the first., of the ordering of the king’s or prince’s household and his court: the second, of the affaires of the countrie and commonwealth; the third of the special customes belonging to particular persons and places.”

It was probably under the second of these general heads, that a more particular division of the country was included. By this regulation:-

Four Tenements were to form ………

A Rhandir

Four Rhandirs…………………………

A Ganell or Garell

Four Ganells…………………………..

A Township


                                    COUNTY OF HEREFORD

Four Townships ………………………………  

A Manor

Twelve Manors (with two Townships in
The King’s Demesne) ………………………...  

A Comot

And Two Comots ……………………………..  

A Cantref

Ewias thus divided, continued a part of Wales till the following century, when through the endeavours made by Edward the Confessor and Harold to subdue the Welsh, the boundary between the two states became an armed frontier, varying as the success of war determined it for the time. This district was called “the Marches” and included Ewias, within the limits of which a castle* was erected, to assist in restraining and overawing the Welsh. At the Norman conquest, this castle was given to or seized by Walter de Laci, whose name the whole district still bears. Walter de Laci did homage to the king for these lands, under the title of “Terra de Ewyas.”+ But, notwithstanding all Wales afterwards submitted to Edward I, and was divided into counties similar to those of England, the ground which had been so long disputed, still remained a (kind of) neutral frontier, under the indefinite appellations of “terra,” “Libertas,” “Finis,” or “Regio,” and retained several vestiges of its original customs.

“Ewias Libertas – Theob: Vernon – ubi breve Regis non currit, et infra cujus precintum, omnibus quibus action: com: de transgressionibus faciend: infra libertates, & c. debent consequi justitiam. – Rot. Pl. coram justic  : apud Westm. 20 Edw.I.”

At length the Marches were added to the adjoining counties, and inter alia Ewyas Lacy was incorporated with the county of Hereford, 27th Henry VIII, A.D. 1536. The names of places, …

* In the parish of Clodock, q.v.

+ Powell’s Description of Wales



… however, on this (the right) bank of the river Wye are still frequently found to be of British derivation, and seem with other circumstances to point out that river to have been the most permanent, as it was the most natural boundary, between England and Wales in that direction. Thus the word Llan,* occurs as part of the compound names of the several parishes of Llandinabo, Llangarran, Llanihangle, Llansilo, Hentland, Llanwarn and others, all of which are situated on the south or right bank of the Wye; and is very rarely met with in the opposite district, although it comprehends more than twice the extent of the other. The principal exception (Llan-Lieni, Leominster) is accounted for by the circumstance of the church there being founded, according to some writers, by a regulus of Archenfield (the comot called Erging by Roderick), which is situated on the south of the river, in the hundred of Wormelow, and even to this day retains peculiar privileges of British origin, as will be noticed in the Collections for that district.

The hundred of Ewyas Lacy, in its modern state, consists of the parishes of Clodock (called also Longtown), Cusop, Llansilo, St. Margaret’s, Michaelchurch Escle, Rowlston, and Walterston; also an estate called “the Futhog” and another called “Trewin”, which are situated in the Bwlch, a township attached to this county , although part of the parish of Cwmoye, which belongs to Monmouthshire.

It appears probable that the whole of this hundred (excepting perhaps Cusop), formed, with extensive lands in …

* Llan, originally signified an inclosure, then was particularly applied to the inclosure in which a church was erected – then a church itself – and lastly, in its most extended sense, to any place or thing devoted to sacred purposes.


                        COUNTY OF HEREFORD

… Monmouthshire, one great honour or manor, the lord of which, Roger de Laci, held his residence in the castle of Clodock, or as it has been called of late years, Longtown. This Walter, or his successor gave the subordinate manors of Cwmyoye, Walterston, and Newton, to the abbot and convent of Llanthony, together with the rectories and churches of Clodock. Cwmyoye, Llansilow, Rowlston, Walterston and Trewyn, in this hundred. Most of the other subordinate or component manors formed part of the inheritance and royalty of the lords of Burgavenny (now Abergavenny); and have passed with that honour, which was bestowed by Brien of Wallingford (who had it from Sir Hameline Balun, lord thereof), on Walter son of Miles, Earl of Hereford. By his death and his brother’s, it devolved on his sisters, and on the partition it went with Abergavenny and Brecknock, to the Braoses, as appears by the chronicles of the Earls of Hereford. From the Braoses it passed in right of marriage by the Cantilupes to the Hastings, who being Earls of Pembroke, enjoyed it during several descents . At length John Hastings, having no child, devised both it and the Earldom of Pembroke (as far as in him laid), to his cousin Sir William Beauchamp, on condition that he should bear his arms. This was confirmed by his next heir, Reginald Lord Grey, of Ruthin. The daughter and heiress of Richard Beauchamp married Sir Edward Neville, and thus brought Ewyas Lacy into the family of the present possessor, the Earl of Abergavenny: for after a debate of seven days in parliament, A. D. 1655, the barony of “Burgavenny” was confirmed to the Nevilles, but the barony of Despencer, which had been deemed an appertenance to it, was adjudged to the Fanes.



This hundred anciently contained two forests, which adjoined each other, and were called, the one Hene or Ewyas and the other Olchon, or Olphon: they were probably united at one period. The latter, with other undivided parts of the manor of Ewyas, passed by marriage into the Hopton family, and was held by Ralph, Lord Hopton, A. D. 1630. Sir Trevor Williams of Pontrilas, married Elizabeth only daughter of Rachel, eIdest sister of Lord Hopton and Thomas Windham, esq. married Catherine his third sister, and thus brought this property into their husbands’ families, which being afterwards sold to John Jeffries, esq. about the year 1700, descended to the present proprietor Walter Jeffries, of Brecon, esq. who thus shares the manor of Ewyas Lacy with the Earl of Abergavenny.

The following is taken from a survey of this manor, which was begun by Richard Crofts, in the sixth year of the reign of Charles II. and continued till the eighth of the said reign, viz, in the year 1667:—

“The Jurors say and present the boundary of the said manor to be as followeth:- Beginning at Whitewall, near Codepoth, from thence to the lordship of Hay-Ury, or Worrishay, north-east, dividing the lordship of Hinton and Ewyas; from thence to a place called Pen-y-Vagr, north –east, dividing the Mear between Snowdale and Ewyas; from thence to a place called Mynith-bwoth, dividing the lordship of Clifford and Ewyas; and so from thence following the mountain, dividing the lordship of Cusop and Ewyas, north-west, from thence to a place called Forwft Gearlth, dividing the lordship of Hay and Ewyas; and from thence to the mountain called Creeb Cathe, and so passing the mountain Creeb Cathe from the White Stone, to a place called Parkbach, dividing there the countys of Hereford and Brecon, which said mountain of Creeb Cathe by the height of the same divideth two forests, the one called forrest Hene, being the Lord Abergavenny’s, the other called the forrest of Olpho, belonging unto the said Sir Trevor Williams, in right of Dame Elizabeth, his wife, who was the only daughter of Rachel, eldest sister of Ralph, late Lord Hopton; and as to Thomas Windham, esq. in right of his mother, Catherine, third sister of the said late Ralph, Lord Hopton, and from Parkbach aforesaid to the height of the mountain of Hatterell, dividing the lordship of Llanthony, being the lordship of John Arnold.esq. and Ewyas Lacy west, and so following the mountain of Hatterell by the height, to the river Honthy south-west, dividing there the countys of Hereford and Monmouth from the river Honthy, leading over a bridge called Pont-Rees- …



… Powele, through part of the county of Monmouth aforesaid, to the forest or mountain called Keven Coed Ewyas, which said forrest shooteth in with an angle between the said countys of Monmouth and Brecon, and nevertheless is parcel of the lordship of Ewyas, in the county of Hereford, south-west, which forrest or mountain containeth in length about two miles, which is the Mear between the lordship of Llanthony, in the county of Monmouth on one side, and the river Gwyney or Gronow, which runs between the county of Brecon and the said lordship of Ewyas on the other side; and from the river Honthy as aforesaid, the Mear of the lordship of Ewyas joineth to the point of the Haterell, directs into the river or small stream called Grwggy south, dividing the countys of Hereford and Monmouth aforesaid, and so followeth the river Grwggy into the river Monow, joining where John Delahay, esq. now dwelleth, called Alterynis, and so along the said river Monow unto Langua Bridge south-east, dividing there also the countys of Hereford and Monmouth, and so following to a place called Caenewid, and from thence leading to a place called Plash, east, dividing the lordship of Ewyas Harrold, and the lordship of Ewyas, and from thence to the river Dulass, and New Court, north-east and so up along the said river Dulass by the Nether Mesecode, and so up to the upper end of Middle Mesecode, and so along following the wood or common called Upper Mesecode, to Codepoth, to Whitewall aforesaid, where the Mere of the lordship begineth.”

Another survey of this manor was taken in the Year 1701, and accurately states the present boundaries, & c.

“MANOR of EWYAS LACY – At a Court Baron with a Court of Survey held under the said Lord for the Manor aforesaid, on the ***** day of November, in the thirteenth year of the reign of William, the Third King of Great Britain, & e. and in the year of our Lord 1701, before Bennett Delahay, gent. Steward there:- James Nicholls, William Harris. Thomas Smith, Thomas Jenkines, Joseph Simones, William Rogers, Thomas Harper, Howell Watkines, William Prosser, William Price, Johannes Watkines, James Watkines, Charles Nicholl, Thomas Eustance, Nathan Lewis, William Watkines, Jurors.

 “To the first article the said Jury do, upon their oath, say and present the boundaries of the said manor of Ewyas Lacy to be as followeth, viz.—Beginning at Whitewall, near Coed Poth, from thence to the lordship of Hay Urey, or Worrish Hey, north-east, dividing the lordship of Hinton and Ewyas, to a place called Pen-y-Vagr, north-east, dividing the mear between Swowdle and Ewyas, by the meare of the parish of Michael Church Escle, and the parish of Peter Church, and from thence by and along the mear dividing between the said parish of Michael Church Escle, and the parish of Dorston, to a place called Crose-y-Killogee, there dividing the meare between the parish of Cloduck and the parish of Cusop, north-west, from thence to a place anciently called Forrest Yearlth, to the meare dividing the lordship of the Hay and Ewyas, thence to the White Stone, being the meare dividing there the counties of Hereford and Brecon, and thence to a place called Park Bach, to the meare also dividing the said counties of Hereford and Brecon, and from Park Bach aforesaid, to the height of the mountaine of Hattrell, dividing the lordship of Llanthony and Ewyas, by the fall of the water of the said mountaine, west, and so following the height of the said mountaine to and through the meare dividing the parish of Old Castle, and the parish of Cloduck, to the river of …



… Munnow, and so following the said river of Munnow down to a certain prill of water, dividing or mearing between the said parish of Old Castle and the parish of Cwmyoy, and so leading to the top of the said mountain of Hattrell, to the meare dividing there the said counties of Monmouth and Hereford aforesaid, to the river of Hothney, south-west, and so along the said river of Hothney to the middle of a certain bridge called Pont Rees Powell, and from the middle of the said bridge through part of the county of Monmouth aforesaid, to a forrest or mountain called Hefen Coed Ewgar, so along the top or height of the said mountain dividing there the lordship of Llanthoney aforesaid in the said county of Monmouth on one side, eastward, to a certain place called Quar-y-Van, and thence along a certain piece of water called Nant-yr-Erith to the river of Growney or Gronow, which runs there between the said counties of Brecon and Hereford, westward, and divides between the said county of Brecon and manor of Ewyas on the other side to a certain place called Pont-y-skil, south-west, and from thence leading along the Comb called Wiggin Dee, through a certain place, called Coed-y-Kerrig, to a certain place called Pen-y-Gare, dividing there the counties of Monmouth and Hereford aforesaid, which said forrest of Ewyas containeth in length two miles, and half a mile in breadth; and further the said lordship of Ewyas meareth from the said bridge called Pont Rees Powell, along the meare dividing the counties of Monmouth and Hereford aforesaid, to a little prill of water called Loygee, alias Gwrgy, and so following the said prill unto the river of Hothney aforesaid, and thence along the meare dividing the lands of James Springer, esq. in the county of Monmouth, and the lands of Thomas Delahay, gent. in the said county of Hereford, unto the said river of Hothney, and from thence along the said river of Hothney into the river of Monow, and from thence along the said river of Monow, to a certain bridge called Llangua Bridge, south-east, dividing there also the said counties of Hereford and Monmouth, and from thence to a place called Ca Newith, and from thence leading to a place called the Plash, east, dividing between the lordship of Ewyas Harrold and the said lordship of Ewyas, and from thence along the meares mearing between the parishes of Cloduck and Dulas, to the river called Dulas, and so up along the said river of Dulas to Nether Mescoed, and from thence following the meare dividing between the hundred of Webtree and the Hundred of Ewyas Lacy to Whitewall aforesaid, where the mear of the said lordship of Ewyas Lacy beginneth.”

“And the said jury do further say, that all fines, perquisites of court, issue, amerciaments, herriots, waifes, estrais, treasure, trove, felon’s goods and deodands, happening within the said manor, together with the royalties of hawking, hunting, fishing, and fowling doe of right belong to the lord of this manor, and do also say, that they do not know of any person or persons that have intruded or incroached upon the said manor, or any of the said franchises, liberties and privileges belonging thereto.”



Duncumb’s book is also available in Hereford Public Library [reference section] on request

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