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which, so far as he knew, had existed from time immemorial, is a laudable one. To some such feeling as this, handed down through generations, do we owe the preservation of most, if not all, of these monuments of a bygone age. Unintelligent and unreasoning it may be, but worthy of respect for its results.
The similarity of ornament on the angles of this stone, and a certain likeness in outline and general character between it and the Llandough Cross, given in Professor Westwood's Lapidarium Walliæ, indicate an identity of purpose at any rate, if not of date and origin.
In the absence of any direct evidence of the age of this monument, or historic reference to it, an opinion upon the subject can only be stated with considerable diffidence. From the general character of the ornamentation as compared with that of other like monuments whose age is better known, and also from the negative evidence given below, I am disposed to assign the earlier part of the eleventh century as the probable date of its erection. In the Liber Landavensis (p. 531) is chronicled the grant of the church of St. Bridget, and certain lands therewith, by Cadwallaun, son of Gwriad, to Joseph, Bishop of Llandaff; and in the statement of the boundaries of these lands mention is made of this spring or well under the name of the “fountain Liss”; but no reference whatever to any cross, as it is reasonably to be supposed would have been had such a monument existed at the time of the gift. The silence of the chronicle in this respect, I think, justifies the assumption that the cross did not exist at the date of the grant. I also infer, from the mention of this fountain by name, that it was one of acknowledged repute ; was, in fact, one of those wells or holy springs around which centred many of the Christian observances of a primitive people; perhaps accredited with healing properties, and therefore held in high esteem and veneration. This granted, what would be more likely than that the Bishop to whom this church and fountain and land were given should signalise the accession of so im
portant an addition to the church by the erection of a Christian symbol such as this, to mark in a twofold manner the sanctity of the spot, and witness its dedication to the see he represented ? For this reason am I disposed to consider this cross as the work of Bishop Joseph, who held the see of Llandaff from A.D. 10221046; and if not by him, by his immediate successor, Herewald, in the earlier years of his episcopate ; for in the later years the architectural form and ornament began to experience the change consequent upon the introduction and spread of Romanesque feeling and design by which the earlier Celtic (commonly called “Runie”) ornamentation was supplanted, and of which this monument is an example.
The well itself (shown on the left of the sketch) is a rudely and massively walled enclosure domed over with large, flat, overlying stones, but bearing no especial indication in its masonry of the antiquity claimed for it. It is situated at some considerable distance from any house, and still shows signs of that periodical whitewashing so prevalent in Wales : a custom in this instance curiously suggestive of the stately and impressive ceremony of “ blessing the wells” practised by the mediæval church, and the still earlier observances enjoined by the laws of Cnut and the canons of Edgar and Anselm.
Let us hope the attention now drawn to the significance of this most interesting relic may rescue it from its present undeserved purpose of a “ rubbing-post", and lead to its restoration to the position originally occupied, which will, I think, be found in the large bank of earth and stones above the well ; and so one more landmark of the pious zeal of the early Christian fathers may the better remain to teach the same old lesson to us and ages and peoples yet to come.
G. E. R.
CAMBRIAN ARCHÆOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION.
ABERGAVENNY MEETING, 1876.
STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS OF LOCAL FUND, 1876.
£ $. d. By subscriptions 27 6 0 To advertising
15 12 6 sale of tickets
18 12 6 „ printing & stationery 10 5 3 admissions 2 96 hire of rooms
4 0 0 ditto, glass cases, etc. 1 15 8 attendants
2 5 0 „ general expenses, as per statement.
8 19 3 balance
5 10 4
BAKER OF ABERGAVENNY. Sir,- The following notes on the pedigree of this family in connection with the town of Abergavenny and the Herbert Chapel, were compiled at the suggestion of your Local Secretary, in view of the Annual Meeting of the Association in 1876, and are now placed at your service.
Without going back to the time of Owen Glyndwr and others, through whom we claim descent, I will begin with my ancestor, Richard Baker, after whom I am named. He was born in the
year 1497, and died in the year 1551, and is commemorated by a curious brass in the Herbert Chapel erected by his son William Baker; and in the same brass and same inscription is also commemorated a son of William Baker's also named Richard, which makes the inscriptiou somewhat difficult to make out. The inscription is in Latin, and the translation is somewhat as follows : “To Richard Baker, his father, and a son of the same name. To the father, once a burgess of this town. To a son in later times his likeness, having 4TH SER., VOL. VIII.
departed this life in peace ; the former aged 54, on the 7th January 1551;
the latter, 7 Oct., aged 41, and in the year of our salvation, 1598. To both. To the father of a numerous family, who deserved well of his country, William Baker, with the respect due from a son to his father, and with the greatest affection for his son, hoping to be partaker of the same happiness in the resurrection of the just, among the eternal spirits in the kingdom of Heaven; intending for himself a tomb between them, being full of years, and wearied of anxiety. Because of his grief for a renowned father and his son, he has placed and dedicated this, such as it is, sacred to their memory." Then follows a Latin verse.
The William Baker who erected the above was steward to Lord Abergavenny, a post I still hold. So that for nearly three hundred years (with occasional breaks), this office has been held in my family. William Baker's mother is stated, in Wood's Athence Oxonienses, to have been a daughter of Dr. David Lewis, Judge of the High Court of Admiralty ; but this is not correct, as she was a daughter of Lewis ap John (alias Walys), vicar of Abergavenny, and sister of Dr. David Lewis.
Dr. David Lewis, who was of All Souls College, Oxon., and afterwards Principal of Jesus College, Judge of the High Court of Admiralty, Master of St. Catherine's Hospital, and one of the Masters in Chancery, was buried in the Herbert Chapel, and is commemorated there by a tomb still very striking, although greatly injured. His will, proved 11 May 1584, is very voluminous, and amongst other items contains the following: "Item. I doe give to my loving sister, Maud Baker, the wife of William Baker, and to her assigns, all my state, tytle, and interest, yet to come in the Lord of Aberge'ney's mills, and now occupied, by my sufferance, by my brother William Lewis. Item. I doe give to my said sister a standynge cup of silver with a cover thereupon, gilt”, etc.
William Baker had two sons, Richard, who was a barrister (or, as then called, a counsellor at law), and who is commemorated by the brass erected by his father, as already stated; and David.
David Baker, afterwards Dr. David Baker, or Father Augustine Baker, was born at Abergavenny, 9th Dec. 1575. He was educated at Christ's Hospital, London, where he was sent at the age of eleven years. He reached London on the day of the execution of Mary Queen of Scots. In 1590 he went to Broadgate Hall, Oxon. (now Pembroke College). In the Ashmolean Library there is a manuscript life of him. His manuscript works are also preserved; some at Pembroke College, and some at the Convent of the Perpetual Adoration, near Rugeley. He was a barrister, and held the office of Recorder of Abergavenny, then a corporate town; and resided in the house occupied by the late Captain Molyneux Batt, and now called Old Court, but formerly called “ Bailey”, or“ Bailiff Baker", from the original name and office of the owner.
1605 he became a Roman Catholic, and took the habit of St. Benedict, at the same time relinquishing his profession of the law. A sketch of
In the year
his life is given in Wood's Athence Oxonienses. There is also a life written by Cressy, and a recent one (1861) by the Very Rev. N. Sweeney. Father Baker's theological writings are numerous, and are, I am told, still in use. He died on the 9th August 1641, of a disease closely resembling the plague which ravaged London a few years later, and was buried, it is believed, in the vaults of St. Andrew's Church, Holborn.
Richard Baker, commemorated by the brass, and David Baker's brother, had, amongst other children, two sons, William and Henry.
William Baker, afterwards Sir William Baker, married Joan, daughter of Henry Vaughan of Bredwardine Castle, Herefordshire, and was Recorder of Abergavenny and Sheriff of the county in 1630. In the Commission of Impress during the civil wars he was ordered to raise one hundred men for the king's service, and maintain them three months, namely July, August, and September. I have a lease of the Castle Meadow to him, dated 1637, for three lives, namely, a daughter of Roger Vaughan of Bredwardine (his niece by marriage), and Richard and Charles, sons of his brother Henry. His widow erected a monument to him in the Herbert Chapel, the inscription on a brass being as follows: “Here, resting in Christ, William Baker, Armiger, magistrate, maintainer of justice, of unspotted integrity, of renowned judgment and eloquence, asserter of the orthodox faith, waits for the resurrectiou of the just. He changed life for immortality, 30th Oct., in the year of our salvation 1648, of his age 64, and of a happy marriage, 42. His wife, Joan, the daughter of Henry Vaughan of Bredwardine Castle, and an old family, and lord of the territory of Hereford and Brecon, of illustrious memory. Therefore she, sorrowful and grieving, caused this monument to be erected.”
It was this Sir William Baker who presented the bell which lately hung in the old Market Place, to the town of Abergavenny, the inscription being “Bayliff Baker, 1640". On the occasion of the erection of the new Town Hall this bell was taken down, recast at the expense of my brother, John Baker Gabb (it having become cracked), and again presented by him to the town, August 1868.
Henry Baker, brother of Sir William Baker, died 1681, being at that time chief magistrate of the town, and is also buried in the Herbert Chapel. He married Anne, daughter of Humphrey Baskerville of Pontrilas, who was heiress to the Baskerville family, her brother Walter (who married Ann, daughter of Sir Thomas Aubrey) having died without issue. Amongst the Baker records is a very curious letter written by Henry Baker to Lady Mary Bergevenny, dated 19 April 1670, she being at that time guardian to her son who was under age. It is directed“19 April 1670. Mr. Baker of Abergaveuny. For the Right Honorable the Lady Mary Dowager Bergevenny at Eridge in Sussex. Leave this at Mr. Lõe's House, next doore to the Coleyard in Drury Lane.” In the letter he prays for a lease of the lands called the “Great Byfield”, and lands called “Cunduit” and “Skerid Fields”, both having been in the Baker