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St. Hilary's Chest.

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St. Hilary's Chest. NO. I. Br PHILIP SIDNEY.' Llan Hilarcy,' to give Llanilar its earlier name, has a parish chest full of the most interesting anti- quarian, and archaeological treasures, which, so far as I can tell, have never been even partially de- scribed. It was my good fortune lately to be permitted to examine its contents, and in company with the Rev J. Francis Lloyd, vicar, the most conscientious of custodians, to find out some matters of more than erdinarv interest in the long past of this old-world parish. The communion plate alone would make this chest of unique value, of this portion of St. Hilary's treasures, I will speak later on, after deal- ing briefly with its magnificent series of Llyfrau Gwynion," or White Books." Theme are fire in number, the first which is alas but a remnant—though a priceless remnant—begins on Lady Day, 1743, and contains entries which throw a flood of light upon the events in the daily life of the parish in the earlier part of the eight- teenth century. The very first entry would seem to imply that no "White Book previously existed in this parish:- We present a White Book to be bought at the ex- pense of the said parish to enter ye parish ac- counts." This was duly done, and in the first balance sheet entered on the next page is the entry For a White Book to enter ye parish accounts 2s. 9d." No matter seemed too important or too insigni- ficant to be overlooked by the parishioners. They Wanted a post for the church dial, and so they got «ne:—" For a dial post 2s 6d, and for making and fixing it, 3s 6d." The clmncel needed repairs, so they hint it to the Vicar as politely as they? can: We present ye Chansel to be out of repair." The grave digger wanted a shovel and the parishioners turn directly from the Chancel to the spade and gravely record that:—" We present new shovel to be wanted and be bought by the fcew Church-wardens at ye expense of ye parish." The second White Book begins at Christmas, 1788, and is in a fairly good condition. Ale was consumed in large quantities at these ¡ Vestry-meetings, in fact one is inclined to wonder Whether the men could have been able to leave in a lober state A comparison between the numbers Present—whose names are generally recorded at ¡ the end of the proceedings of every vestry—and of the amounts entered as paid for the ale would leem to suggest this theory. Here are some drink bills:—" Paid cash for Ale at several Vestries tl 3s Od." this was in the year I 1797. In 1801 the amount was more Paid Ale I at Vestry £1 12s 6d by 1805 the thifgt was still greater, though there is no record that tie numbers present were more than in former years:—"Paid for Ye ale £2 15s Od," more than double the amount of that but eight years earlier Oh thirsty Llanilar!! Good is it that you have So greatly improved in recent years. But Here are two entries on which I should be glad of some light:—"1797 Paid Supplementary Militia Man's Wife 3s." What Militia was this? Why 44 supplementary ? Again, in 1805, paid for going to Aberystwyth for Volunteer 3' money Is 3d," One would also like to know more about this item. Homely, every day matters tel. their own tale in such entries as :—" Flannen shirt for Betty Marsh 2s Id "A Shroud for the wife of William John ETan 7s 9d Coffin for Richard Thomas daughter 4a"; The Coffin for Morgan Jenkin wife 6s." Llanilar Bridge then as now had to be repaired, though the parish got out of it for a smaller sum 1801 paid repairing Llanilar Bridge, £ 8 2s 5*d." s' As is but natural in a purely rural and agri- 1 cultural parish as this dedicated to St. Hilary there are numerous entries referring to vermin and their destruction. In the year 1801, ravens were evidently a source of trouble for one Richard Evans was paid for lihoting Rafens 2s." In the same year tte poultry must have been in danger owing to the plentitude of foxes; but to ne reared in a hunting district this entry has an ill savour Paid for killing foxes 7s aJ." Killing foxes," by any means other than hunt- ing them was not long tolerated in the parish, for 1n 1804-5, we read how payment was made to Harry Morgan for Hunting Dogs Victuals 118 9d. Ten years later the Castle Hill family evidently £ *tne to the rescue in the matter of foxes, for on 82 February, 1815—Waterloo Year—there are two Entries of singular interest. "At a vestry legally held this day between the Inhabitants of Llanilar, agreed that the Fox founds that are to be brought here, for the use of billing Foxes in this parish are to be kept at the Expense of this Parish." Furthermore it was agreed this date at a llblick Vestry between the Inhabitants of Llanilar that John Nathn Williams of Castle Hill, Esquire, should be paid £ 1 10s 0d a week for keeping Fox bounds, for a time, at the expense »f the parish. And also the expense of the person to attend the •atne to be paid by the parishioners, and to pay John Nathl. Williams, Esquire, on the 21 March 4ext 1815. Signed John Nath Williams, John levies, Lewis Lewis, Morgan Davies, &-c." (T" b. continued.)

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