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MONMOUTHSHIRE ANTIQUARIAN…

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MONMOUTHSHIRE ANTIQUARIAN ASSOCIATION. THE ANNUAL MEETING AT CHEPSTOW. The annual meeting and pic-tiic of the members of this association were held at Chepstow Castle, on Tuesday last, when there was a large attendance, and the weather, happily, was to the last degree auspicious for an out-of- door gathering. Among those present were-Mr. Oc- tavius Morgan, M.P., (president); Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Lee, (The Priory, Caerleon); Sir Gerald Codrington Mr. T. G. Clark, (Dowlais); Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Nicholl, (The Ham); Mr. and Mrs. Long; Mr. Munday; Mr. and Mrs. F. J. Mitchell, (Llanvrechva Grange) The Misses Rolls, (Hendre); Rev. J. D. and Mrs. Harding; Mr. T. Cordes; Mr. Clarke, (Malpas); Mrs. Firbanks; Rev. Canon Hawkins, Mrs. and Miss Hawkins, (Newport1*; Mrs. Augustus Morgan, (Machen Rectory) Rev. T. Prothero, Mrs. and Miss Prothero, (Malpas Court); Mr. E. J. Phillips, (Mayor of N. wport); Mr. J. Latch, (New- port) Mr. E. M. Curre, (Itton Court) Mr. T. Brown, (Hardwiek House); Rev. J. W. C. and Mrs. Lindsay, (Llanvaches); Mr. D. Harrhv and Miss FTarrhy, (New- port) Miss Lewis, (Tydee) Rev. A. M. and Mrs. Wvatt, (Raglan); Mrs. Oakley, (Lydart) Rev. J. Oukley, (Llan- isuen); Mrs. R. Oakley, (Cwmcarvan); Rev. W., Mrs., and Master Oakley, (Snakescroft); Rev. James Gwynne Rev. Rankin Hall and party, (Shirenewton); Rev. J. C. Proper, (Devauden); Rev. E. T. Williams, (Caldicot); Mr. G. Cave and party Mr. W. D. Evans, (Newport); Rev. Mr. and Mrs. Hope, (Caldicot) Captain Tyler; Rev. Mr. Stock; Rev. E. C. and Mrs. Saunders, (Magor) Rev, Mr. and Mrs. Jones, (Llanvrechva); Mr. King, (Chep- stow), &c., &c. The President having offered a few words of congratu- lation upon the numerous assembly, the Secretary, Mr. J. E. Lee, read the report, as follows:- The Committee in making their annual report have, in the first place, to congratulate the Association on the additional in- terest which is shewn in the county respecting it. The number of subscribing members is now 140, which clearly shows that the Society is appreciated. Since the last meeting at Grosmont the volume on Pencoyd and the neighbourhood has been distri- buted to the members. This publication, from its containing a photograph, has been one of the most expensive printed by the Society, so that the funds have been drawn upon rather more than usual, and in consequence the publication for this year, which may probably be on Penhow Castle, will necessarily be a small one. Annexed is the Treasurer's account. The small balance in hand, it will be seen, is all that the Society has to meet the cost of the book for this year, the expenses of the pre- sent meeting, and some repairs which are unfortunately essen- tial in the roof of the Museum, and which are in progress at the present moment; so that the Committee cannot congratulate the Society much on the state of its finances. The Museum has lately received a donation of coins from Mr. William Oakley, of Snakescrolt; the head of a Roman emperor from Mr. W. H. Nicholl, probably brought from Sicily, and a curious carving of a dog and other things, probably of Roman work, found at Caerleon, and presented by Sergeant Povall. Respecting this sculpture Mr. F. J. Mitchell will say a few words at the present meeting. The thanks of the Society have already been conveyed to the respective donors by the Secretary. The Committee ven- tare to hope that any gentleman finding antiquities on his estate, and not having a private collection, will kindly deposit them in the museum. Celts both of stone and bronze are occa- sionally found, and it would be highly desirable to form a local collection of them. The report was adopted, and the following gentlemen appointed the committee for the ensuing year: Mr. O. Morgan, M.P., (president); Mr. Iltyd Nieholl, Rev. T. Prothero, Rev. Canon Hawkins, Mr. T. G. Clark,Rev. H. P. Edwards, Mr. G. W. Nieholl, Mr. F. J. Mitchell, Mr. J. E. Lee, (secretary and treasurer). Mr. F. J. Mitchell then produced a full-sized lithogra. phic chalk copy of the bas-relief of a dog, referred to in the^r^port, and concerning which he remarked that the original, which was at present in the museum at Caerleon, bad lately been found, forming the cover of a tank, eight feet below the surface of the ground, in a garden occupied by Police-Sergt. Povall, at Caerleon; it was cut in a slab of fine sandstone, and was, he conceived, of Roman work- manship, the artistic manner in which theVork was exe- cuted, and the natural position of the animal, stamping it as a work of art of a superior character. From the prespnee of a small portion of a lion's head and paws, it was sup- posed the carving represented a dog standing against a tree, at bay, before a lion, by which it had been pursued. Diligent search had been made for the remaining portion of the lion, but without success. It was thought that the slab bad been originally a mural ornament, probably for the interior or a house, as it did not bear the appearance of being a: all weather-worn. In support of the theory that the carving was of Roman workmanship, Mr. Mitchell said the dog much resembled* one carved on a tomb in the St. John Lateran Museum, at Rome, not only in its genera! appearance, but also in the kind of collar round its neck and, further, it was well-known that the Romans made frequent use of dogs of various kinds in their sculp- ture, instances of which he related. It was generally con- sidered (the speaker continued) that the greyhound, the bull-do?*, the terrier, and the large slow hound, were natives of and on some imitation Samian ware, which had been found in London, were represented some dogs very similar to the one in question-apparently across between a greyhound and a shepherd's dog. At the conclusion of his remarks, Mr. Mitchell observed that the name grey. h und was derived from dogs of that kind being used for iiu-uing grays," or badgers. L question was raised whether there were now any badgers in this country, but it was replied by several gen. tlemen that there weve. Mr. Lea produced drawings of some curious old fonts at the museum at Cologne, and which were examined with much interest. He also exhibited a drawing of a curious cannon irom Drusus Tower, on the Rhine. It was partly wrought and partly cast iron, with an iron clip to hold it tu the wooden stock. 'i I The party then repaired to the luncheon tent, and jus- tice having been done to the excellent viands there spread, they aeain assembled outside, and The President read a paper by Mr. Wakeman, on "Chepstow Castle and Town." He prefaced it, however, by expressing regret at Mr. Wakeman's absence, and re- markiag upon the varied store of information which that gentleman possessed in memoranda and notes, from which he had long wished they might have compiled a history of the county, which was much required. They had what were called histories; but what was wanted was a detail of ihe manors, parishes, and families, with all the alterations in the proprietors of the estates, from the earliest period to the present time. The president also alluded, with regret, to the absence of Mr. Ormerod, and then proceeded with Mr. Wakeman's paper, from which we gathered that the Castle of Chepstow was stated in the Domesday sur- vey to have been built by William Fitz-Osborne, a near relative and one of the principal advisers of William the Conqueror, who, immediately after the conquest, conferred upon him the Earldom of Hereford, in which was com- prised the whole of Gwent eastward of the Usk, which he ruled under the title of Prince of Gwent." This noble- man was killed in Flanders, four years after the battle of Hastings, so that it was probable the building erected by him formed a very inconsiderable portion of the structure as it afterwards stood, and it seemed evident that that portion occupied a very insignificant position at the western extremity of the present ruins. Yet, although it did not appear by the survey that there was a fortified position at Chepstow prior to the erection of this structure, it was highly probable that such was the case, for it seemed very unlikely that the Britons themselves or tbeir succes- sive invaders should have left unguaided a place of so much importance, it bein^ th^ only aafe passage of the river that occurred for many miles. Besides, an Ancient British camp was still to be seen on Hardwiek Rock, in the vicinity of the town, and in the part of the castle called the chapel-though perhaps erroneously so termed-seve- ral rows of Roman bricks maybe detected. The paper then went on to shew that the road from the Roman station at Gloucester into Gwent, of which distinct traces had been found at Lydney, Siroat, (no doubt a corruption of strata —the street, as the road was called), near Wirewood's Green, in the parish of Tidenham, and at other places on the right bank of the Severn, crossed the river, a short dis- tance above the castle, by means of a bridge, the founda- tions of which the writer remembered to have seen at low water; and the roadway, through what now forms part of the Piercefield estate, could be traced near "The Alcove," to the present day. This the writer considered a sufficient refutation to the opinion,expressed by some eminent anti- quarians that the ancient bridge occupied the site of the present one. In referring to a tradition, mentioned by Cose, that the Roman portion of the castle was built by Julius Caesar, Mr.Wakeman expressed his opinion that the tradition arose from the confounding of the name of the great emperor with that of Julius Frontinus, who was in command of the Roman forces in Britain, in the year 71, A.D., and conquered the Silures in 76, A.D., and whom he (Mr. W.) considered was the builder of the bridge and also of that part of the castle in which the Roman bricks were seen, and which was afterwards incorporated in the Norman building. The paper further went on to shew that on the death of William Filz-Osborne, his estates passed to his son Roger, but upon the latter being con- demned to imprisonment for life, in 1075, they were granted to William de Ou, in whose possession they were at the time of the Domesday survey, about the year 1083. In 1096 the estates were anain forfeited to the crown, when they cama into the possession of the De Clare family, and after tracing the descent to Gilbert De Clare, the grand- father of the celebrated Richard Strongbow, Mr. Wakeman took leave of the subject. The company then proceeded to an inspection of the ruins, during which the President pointed out the various points of interest. His observations were singularly in- teresting and full of information; but for the most part, if reproduced, would require to be accompanied by illustra- tive drawings. He traced the descent of the castle from William Fitz-Osborne to Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, who, in the middle of the 15th century, sold it to William Her- bert, Earl of Pembroke, from whom, by a marriage con- tract between the families, it came into the hands of the Somersets, with whom it had since remained. The Presi- dent agreed with Mr. Wakeman that before the castle was built by Fitz-Osborne, there had been some Roman works, and gave his reasons for that opinion. He also remarked that there had been various additions to the original castle, and it WHS difficult to describe it precisely; but much of the building was Norman. The proceedings were closed with votes of thanks to the President and Mr. Wakeman.

USK.

RAGLAN.

ABERGAVENNY.

BLAENAVON.

PONTYPOOL.