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which ordained that sons should inherit their father's territory in equal proportions. Such was the theory of the institution, but in practice it was very defective. Feuds always arose about the distribution. Might would overcome right, and as a necessary consequence the divisions were very unequal, and sometimes intermixed with each other. Tracts of country may therefore be found, where the church appears to have been endowed when affairs were in the state described. In the Rural Deanery of Maelienydd in the county of Radnor, which contained the districts of Nantmel, Llanbister, and Llangynllo, the division was regular; but it was otherwise in the Deanery of Builth in the county of Brecon. In the latter, the district of Llanafan includes the continuous parishes of Llanafan Fawr, Llanfechan, Llanfihangel Bryn Pabûan, and Llanfihangel Abergwesin; and also the parish of Alltmawr, which is separated from the others by the intervening parishes of Llanddewi'r Cwm and Builth. The district of Llangammarch includes the parishes of Llangammarch, Llanwrtyd, and Llanddewi Abergwesin, and there is reason to suspect that Llanddulas ought to be added to the number. But what is more surprising, there is documentary evidence* to prove that it formerly included the extensive parish of Llansanffraid Cwmmwd Deuddwrt though divided from it by the interposition of Llanafan Fawr. The parishes of Llanfihangel Bryn Pabûan and Llanafan Fawr intervene between Llanwrthwl and its subordinate parish of Llanlleonfel; and Llanganten is in a similar manner separated
* The authority alluded to is the “Valor Ecclesiasticus” of Henry VIII. under the heads of “Llangammarch” and “Llanseyntffrede.” The connexion is also proved by another authority more ancient; in a Deed of Agreement with the Abbey of Strata Florida, to which the Chapter of Aberg willy was a party, dated March 21, 1339, mention is made of the Prebendary of “ Llangammarch Readr" alluding to the town of Rhayader, in a suburb of which the church of Llansanffraid is situated.
+ The name “Cwmmwd Deuddwr” is restored from a passage in the Valor Ecclesiasticus, where it is said to be a part of the possessions of Strata Florida. (See also the enumeration of parishes in the second Vol. of the My vyrian Archaiology.) It is now generally written “Cwm y Toyddwr.”
by Maesmynys and Llanddewi'r Cwm from its chapelry of Llangynog. When it is added that Llanddewi'r Cwm* is the
mother church of Builth, and Maesmynyst the mother church of Llanynys, all the parishes in the Deanery are enumerated, and the last two districts alone are entirely continuous.
If it be objected that chapelries may have been originally separate benefices which were afterwards consolidated, it may be replied that the extinction of a benefice and its conversion into a chapelry is contrary to the progress of ecclesiastical polity. So far from the fact of churches uniting together to form one benefice, the tendency is the reverse ; chapels are frequently detached from the older church and become independent benefices. Even when the whole tithes of a living were appropriated to a Monastery or Collegiate Chapter, the benefice did not lose its existence and become subject to some neighbouring parish, but it continued its independence under the name of prebend or curacy. Whenever, from the smallness of their value, two rectories or vicarages are consolidated, neither of them merges into the other, or becomes a chapel; but they preserve their original designation as separate benefices, and are only said to be annexed. These points do not depend upon accident, as they affect the interests of every clergyman upon his institution to a living. Churches, which are described as benefices in the survey of Pope Nicholas in the reign of Edward the First, continued to be, for the most part, so described in the surveys of Henry the Eighth, and Queen Anne, and are found to be similar with
* Taxation of Pope Nicholas, and Jones's Brecknockshire, Vol. II. p. 293. + Taxation of Pope Nicholas.
a few exceptions at this present time.* Sometimes, from being a larger edifice or more favourably situated, the chapel may take precedence of the parent church; but this accident does not compromise the integrity of the benefice. It has been the interest of every incumbent to observe that his rights were not infringed upon by his neighbour; and if he held a plurality of livings, they were generally separated upon his decease.
Should ever such a consolidation, or rather extinction of benefices have taken place; it may naturally be supposed chat it was formed for the purpose of aggrandizing Monasteries, or the dignitaries of collegiate bodies. But the system of subordination is of older date; for the foundation Charters of Abbeys in Wales describe it as already existing. Chapels are enumerated under their respective churches as at present, with the exception, as may be expected, that some of them have since been converted into separate benefices, but this is a proceeding the reverse of consolidation. In Dugdale's Monasticon is a Chartert of Edw. III. confirming a prior Grant made by certain Princes of South Wales in the time of Henry III. to the Abbey of Talley in Carmarthenshire.
* In examining ecclesiastical documents, care must be taken to ascertain whether the word “ecclesia" be used generically or specifically, and irregularities must be rectified by a comparison with other authorities.
+ The information, to be derived from a perusal of documents of this nature, may be demonstrated by another example from the Monasticon, in the words of the original.—"A. D. 1141, Mauritius de London, filius Willielmi de London, dedit ecclesiæ Sancti Petri Glouc, ecclesiam S. Michaelis de Ewenny, ecclesiam S. Brigidæ, cum capella de Ugemor de Lanfey. Ecclesiam S. Michaelis de Colveston cum terris, &c.—ita ut conventus Monachorum fiat.”—The Grant of these churches to the Monastery of St. Peter's Gloucester was made with a view to the establishment of a Priory, subject to that society, at Ewenny in the county of Glamorgan. The church of St. Bridget, mentioned therein, is St. Bride's Major in the same county. The capella de Ugemor was probably
These Welsh Princes were the founders of the Abbey, and in their Grant the churches of Llansadwrn, Llanwrda, Llansawel, and Pumsant are mentioned as chapels under Cynwyl Gaio. Of these, Llansadwrn now forms a separate vicarage, having Llanwrda annexed to it as a chapelry ; Llansawel is still subject to Cynwyl Gaio, and Pumsant is the name of a place in the parish of Caio, where tradition states there was formerly a chapel, of which no vestiges now remain.
The subordination of churches, described as prevailing to so great an extent in Wales, may at first appear surprising; it is however no theory, for it actually exists at this very day, and all that has been done is to endeavour to account for the causes which produced it. The arrangement made will be found intimately connected with the Saints to whom the Welsh churches are dedicated; for if any of them were founded by the persons whose names they bear, they must be those which retain the greatest evidences of antiquity.
in the castle of Ogmore, on the bank of a river of the same name, as the curacy of Wick, now subject to St. Bride's, is too far from the river to merit the appellation, and most large castles had formerly a chapel within their precincts. The chapel of Llamphey must have been situate in the hamlet so called in the parish of St. Bride's, and the omission of Wick affords a presumption that it was founded after the date of the Grant. In those documents, however, where chapels are altogether omitted, it must follow, that if they existed in the time of the record, the name of the mother church was considered sufficient to include its dependencies.
The Subordination of Churches and Chapels considered in reference to
the Saints to whom they are dedicated.
In an enquiry into the question, by whom and at what time the several churches of Wales were founded, great assistance may be derived from the names of the Saints to whom they are dedicated. In forming a classification, two grand divisions immediately present themselves ;-the Saints which have been admitted into the Romish Calendar, and those who are natives of the country, or otherwise connected with its history. The characteristics of both kinds are so different, that they can hardly be conceived to belong to the same people, or indeed to the same religion. In the time of St. Augustin the Monk,* there was already in Wales a Christian Church, furnished with Bishops, Monasteries, stated places of worship, and other appendages of a religious establishment. It refused to submit to the authority of the Pope, and proofs are not wanting to show that it continued its independence for some time afterwards, until, from the intercourse of foreigners, and the gradual subjugation of the Welsh people, it merged into Catholicism. It might naturally be concluded that the native Saints belonged to the primitive Church of the country, and that the places of worship called after their names were of older foundation than those dedi. cated to Saints of the Catholic Calendar. It will not be amiss, therefore, to give the result of an examination of all
* A. D. 600. + Bede's Ecclesiastical History, Book II. Chap. 2,