Herefordshire Records Office
Abstract of Title to Copyhold and Freehold lands
The following transcript relates to an undated and apparently unofficial statement concerning a copyhold interest and a freehold interest in Michaelchurch Escley. From remarks in the text, it was probably drafted in the third quarter of C17th. The freehold interest appears to relate to land now comprising Bank Farm and part of Firs Farm east of the Escley Brook. The copyhold interest is not yet identified.
Grateful thanks are extended to Dewi Bowen Williams BA for his valuable assistance in interpreting the text of the statement and Welsh names contained therein.
The statement reads;
Concerning the Coppy Holds
[written top left] Ewyas Lacy Ex p[ar]te [Sir?] Roberti Hopton Ar[miger]
Robert Hopton Esq at his Courte held 20th day of May 27 of the rayne of Queen Elizabeth  granted unto Henry Thomas Powell by Copy of Courte roll 26 Acres of customary
land lying in Michaelchurch Eskley for and during the tearme of 35 years at the yearly
rent of 6s 6d:- £16 13s 4d fine and 20s herriott
The said Henry Thomas Powell, by his surrender the 29th October in the 32 year of Queen
Elizabeth  did convey and graunt the said 26 Acres of Customary lands unto David Thomas gent his heirs and Assigns for and during the remaining tearme unexpired in the said coppy at and under the rent and services therein contained Except soe much of the said lands which the said Henry surrendered heretofore to the use of one Wm app Howell
Gwillim David and to the said Wm was presented
Yett notwithstanding this surrender unto the said David Thomas and the said exception
therein made of soe much of the said lands mentioned in the surrender to be to the use of the said Wm app Howell Gwillim David; The said David Thomas does relinquish by his Act and deed any claim or interest in or to many other pcells of the said lands containing in the whole about 36 English Acres Acknowledging the same to be to the use of the said Henry Thomas Powell Gwenllian his wife and their Children during the tearme and period in the said Coppy. And upon the expiration of the said yeares therein mentioned the said Henry his wife or any of their children to purchase the same to him her or them without any claims by title to be made by the said David Thomas his heirs or Assigns.
Soe there is onely 13 Acres of Welsh measure assigned unto the said David Thomas by the said Henry Thomas Powell the remainder being reassured unto the said David Thomas to be to the use of the said Henry his wife and children and for such alsoe as was expressed by the surrender as aforesaid to be to the use of the said Wm ap Howell Gwillim David and that the said David Thomas paid only 3s yearly for the said 13 Acres being the one moyety of the rent reserved in the original coppy [last few words illegible].
After the expiration of the yeares mentioned in the said Coppy Leison Thomas Esq sonne
and heir of the said David Thomas after the decease of the said David Thomas held
the same att £9 p Annum part rent and the said Leison did Appoint George Parry gent
being then one of his tenants for the paym’t of the said rent; the Coppyhold lands or the
greatest part thereof lying in the possession of other persons Att A certaine rent
which was duly paid unto the said Leison
After the decease of the said Leison Thomas, Michaell Thomas his sonne and heir not
knowing what the said lands was or where itt lay or by whom the same was held in possession or what rent was paid for the same, wrongfully permitted the said George Parry to pay the said rent of £9 yearly it being of him demanded although the possession lay in other men; who concealed the said lands ever sithence the decease of the said Leison Thomas from the said Michaell his said sonne and heir as aforesaid until in the time of the late warr Lewis Guilbert then Bayliffe under the then Ld finding it concealed as aforesaid obtained a coppy of the said lands or most part thereof for one James Brace at a certain rent at the fine of £30 the Lord not receaving any Account from the said Lewis Guilbert concerning the said fine, yett notwithstanding the said Michaell Thomas and Edmond his sonne and heire have pd the said rent yearly of £9 for above 30 years last past as by severall Accquitances will Appeare. Examine the said James Brace how many pcells and how many Acres of the said concealed lands he hath now in his posson or by what name or title itt is now or heretofore it hath beene called.
[written alongside] James Brace he will prove three parcels of lands in his poss’n Examine how many acres are there in rent.
And also Caer y brynn containing 6 Acres; Caer brynn ycha 5 Acres; Caer Ewon 4
Acres; Caer y maine 2 Acres; Caer Lloyne 2 Acres. Examine the persons hereafter
mentioned whether they know any such lands and where the same doth lye and what
rent is and hath beene paid for the same and in whose possession and whether Cicill
Phillipp did not pay rent unto the said Leyson Thomas for the said several pcells of
land before mentioned
et uxor ejus [and his wife]
Tho. Dd [Thomas David] Maddock
And Richard Charles
Two of the Jurors sworne
And after that one Joane Griffith widow deceased did upon her death bed confess and testify that Care y Goff now laid claim to, was not now is not any part of the Coppyhold now in question, and that Mr Thomas was very much wronged concerning the same to her own knowledge and remembrance, and she then spoke many other words to that purpose to pve [prove] which.
[written alongside] Jonett Powell Jo: Davies & Jane Lewis
Richard Charles now one of the Jury Sworn will prove that he knows most if not all of the lands soe concealed and before nominated and that he was present when Mr Ralph Hopton and the said Leison Thomas did bargain and Agree for the said lands att a part rent viz £9 p annum as aforesaid, And that the said Richard Charles remembers that he brought the horse or horses of the said Leison Thomas out and from some parcells of the said lands now concealed and detained from the said Michael Thomas and the said Edmund Thomas his said sonne.
[written alongside] Richard Charles
The said Cicill Phillipp will alsoe testify that she paid unto John Price gent then Bayliffe under the then Ld the rent of 3s 6d p annum for pte of that land then in her possession.
Jane Lewis will alsoe pve [prove] that a close of ground called Cay bach containing 2 Acres and dimid and Cay yr bannall containing by estimation 7 Acres lying and being in the possession of James Pitt to be likewise pte and parcell of the same lands granted unto the said Henry Thomas Powell and concealed as aforesaid.
[written alongside] Jane Lewis
The said James Brace does also say that he paid £30 fine for the land now in his poss’on and 12d rent yearely and that they are three pcells in the whole mentioned in his copy containing [illegible/blank] Acres and that the parcels of land before mentioned called Care y brynn and Care y brynn ysha are in the possession of Leison Beavan sonne in law unto the said Mrs Cicill Phillipp who concealed the said lands ever sithence the decease [illegible last line ending ] Leison Thomas.
[written alongside] James Brace
The deeds of purchase between Roger Morgan and David Thomas gent deceased beareth date the 24th day of April in the 22nd yeare of Queene Eliz.  the said Roger and Maud his wife in consideration of the sume of £240, did bargaine sell and convey unto the said David Thomas Etc.: All that those two messuages and tenem’ts with their Appurtenances sett lying and being in Michaelchurch Eskley and then in the possession of Lewis Appris John Griffith, the one called tire David Ddee and Tiere pant y gigvraine All which descended unto the said Roger Morgan by right of inheritance from Morgan William father of the said Roger And do lye in length between the brook or river called Eskley and the land of Thomas Powell heere of the one end and the common or forrest called Mescoed on the other end; And in breadth betweene the lands of Wm Phillippe Harry and the lands of Gwillim Powell Thos Maddocke on the one side and the lands of Evan Gwillim David and the lands called Errow Kaer Vynnen on the other side.
To have and to hold Etc:
Two antient deeds do meare and bound the freehold more particularly vizt. Morgan ap John Phellipp Vyghan did release unto William ap Howell ap Evan his heirs and assigns all his right title etc. in one messuage and 48ty acres of welsh measure lying in Ewias Lacy in the parish of Michaelchurch Eskley in length between the river called Eskley unto an ancient common or forrest called Mescoed in breadth between the land of Thomas ap Gwillim Vighan unto Gwerne Ivor Isa 9d etc. Dat apud Ewias In crastino post festinu Bati Johannis baptista Anno R Regis Henrice oct. post conquestum sexto (1514).
The other deed is successively from the above named William ap Howell ap Evan unto Morgan William father unto the said Roger Morgan son unto the said William of 48ty acres of land Welsh measure meared and bounded as the former and dat. xxviijth Feb. in the first year of Edward the 6th (1547) which is conceived to be ancienter then any record of court roll within the manor aforesaid.
This statement of transactions, whilst catalogued as an Abstract of Title, does not form part of any known legal document but appears to have been written around 1650-1670 as a record of prior transactions.
From analysis of the freehold transactions, it is initially concluded that tire David Ddee is Bank Farm and Tiere pant y gigvraine is Gigfran Farm. The 1580 transaction may not have related to the full 48 Welsh acres of the 1514 and 1547 transactions which are believed to comprise both Bank Farm and land immediately to the north which subsequently formed part of Firs Farm.