Sunday, April 06, 2008


In my review of the Guto'r Glyn biography, I made the point that bardic poetry can provide us with colourful insights that are often missing from the official records of the period. Of course these records can occasionally provide colour, as for example in E J L Cole's article Clandestine Marriages, The Awful Evidence From A Consistory Court, which appeared in the Radnorshire Society Transactions for 1976.

The Consistory Court was a church court which exercised authority in matters such as marriage and adultery, punishments meted out were based on humiliation, often involving ritual whippings around the local church. Mr Cole quotes some examples from the Hereford diocese involving people from what would become Radnorshire, I believe a couple of these individuals are also mentioned in the Bardic poetry of the period.

Firstly we have Res ap Phelpot of Whitney, a bachelor who associated with a married woman called Joan in Staunton, and who appeared before the court in 1469. There has to be a good chance that this is Rhys ap Phelpod, the subject of this bardic poem by Lewis Glyn Cothi. Rhys appeared before the court claiming to have married Joan in Beguildy but before the matter could be proved, both had left the diocese. Secondly in Eardisland on 26th April 1475, an Agnes Holl of Old Radnor was accused of contracting a secret marriage in Bryngwyn. There has to be a chance that this is Elis Holl, another of Lewis's patrons, see here.

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