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used as a barn. In its north end is a good trefoil-headed loop, in a splayed recess, with a drop-arch ; and below it a larger square window, of eighteen inches opening, within a drop-arched recess. In the east wall is a door, three feet five inches opening, which may be, with the loop, of Decorated date. It has a slightly drop-arched rib in the head, but the jambs are plain. Close south of the door is a plain, chamfered opening, a foot square. This building can scarcely have been intended for a barn, the original door being so narrow. It is possible that the chapel, barn, and parts of the south end of the dwelling-house, may be of Decorated date; and in that case, parts of an earlier building; such as must certainly have existed, and was, no doubt, a regular castle.
The ruins are fast falling to decay. Of the hall, only the fireplace, the east and part of the north walls remain of their original height. The walls of the other rooms are tolerably perfect, but the floors, roofs, and ashlar dressings are gone. The kitchen is a mere ruin, only the fireplace and oven marking its use. The barn seems to have been partially rebuilt; and the dovecote is roofless, and without a floor. The chapel has no roof, and the west wall is broken down. The ashlar dressings from the doors and windows have disappeared.
The parish of St. Athan, or St. Tathan, of which East Orchard forms a part, contains about sixteen hundred statute acres; and in it and the adjacent parish of Gileston are the manors of East and West Orchard, Castle. ton, and Gileston, by which description the property is entitled in the Stradling conveyances.
The Berkerolles estate included part of the parish of Gileston, which is of small extent, and nearly surrounded by St. Tathan's. The manor was in the Giles family, and probably an early subinfeudation.
East Orchard was long the seat of the family of Berkerolles, whose earliest known appearance was in Monmouthshire, near Bassaleg, in the person of William de Bercherola. In the cartulary of St. Peter's of Gloucester is a public declaration as to certain boundaries, by Uch
tred bishop of Llandaff, tested at Basalleg, and afterwards by the whole synod at Llandaff in 1146, in which mention is made of the chapel of St. Gladewis, which Laudomer built upon the river Ebeth (Ebbw), and of the tenths from that river to the Usk, and from the boundary of the land of William de Becherola to the sea. (Cart. ii, 55.)
The next known entry relates to Roger de Berkerol, who held, in the Liber Niger (1165), one knight's fee in Gloucestershire of William Earl of Gloucester (i, p. 163). Gloucestershire, at that early period, was often used to include the Welsh parts of the honour of Gloucester, and therefore much of Monmouth and Glamorgan. Sir Roger de Berkerolles is the traditional ancestor of the family, who is said to have first settled in East Orchard. Roger de Berkerolles, Cecilia his wife, William and Robert his sons, joined in a confirmation to Bassaleg and Glastonbury of the lands given by William de Berkerolles, the father [of Roger). A William de Berkerolles tests a charter by Isabel Countess of Gloucester, 121316, by consent of Geoffrey Earl of Essex, her husband. (New Mon., iv, 634.)
The next entry relates to William de Berkeroles, who appears, 20 Ed. I (1291-2), in an “inquisitio ad quod damnum pro Abbate et Conventu de Clyve.” (No. 108, p. 447.) Probably to ascertain whether the crown would suffer any loss by some proposed alienation by William to the abbey.
It was probably about this time that the family settled in Glamorgan. The Nerbers, whose history has already been noticed in these pages, were the original possessors of Orchard ; and in 1165, by the Liber Niger, William [Philip] de Nerber held four knights' fees under the Earl of Gloucester, which were, no doubt, in St. Tathan’s. Of these fees, one, in 1315, was held by William Berkrolles, who tested a Bonville deed in 1302 (Harl. Ch. 75, B. 22), and who appears as lord of three knights' fees and a half in St. T'athan's at the Spenser Survey of 1320; and that these fees included Orchard is clear from the state
ment in the same place, that in 1578 they belonged to Lords Worcester, Stradling, and Carne, who are known to have held the Berkrolles estates, and with them Orchard. East Orchard, at the above Survey, contained three plough lands. William Berkerolles died in 1327, and was followed by a Sir Roger, who flourished in 1338-51, and in 1349 had three fees and a-half of the annual value of £40. In that year he granted East Orchard Manor to his elder son Gilbert, and died 11 Nov. 1351.
Gilbert, of age in 1349, died vita patris, and was followed by Sir Lawrence, his brother, aged 14, in 1352, and who held the three fees and a-half. He died childless 15 Oct. 1411, holding East Orchard, value twenty marks.
The next and last of the family upon record is Sir Lawrence Berkrolles, who died seized of this and other lands, as shewn in the inquisition on his death 13th H. IV, 1411-12.
" Lawrencius Berkerolles Chivaler. Est Norchard manerium et Marthelmaure man. ut de dominio de Kerdiff. Lanfeye man. ut de ducatu Lancastriæ. Coytiff castrum, manerium, dominium. Newcastell, Newland, Lanharry. Maneria et advocationes ecclesiarum. Basseleke manerium.” [I. p.m. .339.]
The Duchy records give an inquisition taken upon the estate of the same Lawrence 1 H. V, when he was found to have held “Lanfey manerium ut de dominio de Ogmore, quarta pars unius feodi militis de seizina capta ex parte regis. [Duc. Lan. I. p. m., i.]
The inquisition itself is given at full length by Mr. Francis in the Topog. and Geneal. [i, 534]. It was taken at Newnham, co. Gloucester, 23 Nov. 1411, and declares that Sir Lawrence held the manors of East Orchard and Merthyr Mawr of Richard Lord le Despencer, then a minor, and in ward to the king, as of the lordship of Cardiff by the service of half a knight's fee, and Lanfey of the king, as of the Duchy of Lancaster, as a quarter fee, each manor being of the clear annual value of seven marks.
Edward Stradlinge, aged 22 and over, and John
Stradlinge, aged 60 and over, were his next heirs. Edward as son of William, son of Wenthelan, sister of Sir Laurence, and John as son of Sarah, the other sister.
Sir Laurence, also held the castle, manor, and lordship of Coytyff, and the manors of Newcastle, Newland, and Lanhary, as an heir of Richard Turberville, Sir Lawrence being son of Katherine, sister of Richard. Other particulars are added of the Turberville inheritors. Coytyff is of the annual value of £84 ; Newcastle of £5; Newland of £2; and Lanhary of 108. Coytiff or Coyty Castle has lately been cleared out at the charge of the dowager Countess of Dunraven, its owner, and there is some hope that its history and description may become the subject of a paper by her accomplished son.
The following charters are from the collection of Mr. Francis of Swansea :
[Michaelmas, 8 R. II, 1384.] Omnibus Christi fidelibus ad quos presens scriptum pervenerit Laurencius Berkerols miles dominus de Cotyf et Elizabet uxor mea salutem in domino Noveritis nos tradidisse concessisse et hoc presenti scripto nostro confirmasse Thome Watkyn totum manerium nostrum de Marthelmaur cum suis pertinenciis in redditibus serviciis consuetudinibus pratis pasturis boscis et vastis dicto manerio pertinentibus Tenendum sibi heredibus vel executoribus suis a festo Sancti Michaelis anno regni Regis Ricardi secundi post conquestum octavo usque ad finem termini octo annorum proximo sequentium plenarie complendorum Reddendo inde annuatim predictus Thomas heredes vel executores sui nobis prefatis Laurencio et Elizabet heredibus assignatis vel executoribus nostris tresdecim libras sex solidos et octo denarios usualis monete ad festa Pentecostem Sancti Michaelis et Natalis domini perequales porciones videlicet iiij 1. viij solid. et x d. ob. ad quemlibet terminorum predictorum et predictus Thomas et heredibus suis vel executores solvent annuatim ballivis comitatus Glamorganie pro wardam castri de Kardiff pro dicto manerio septem solidi et duos denarios Item solvent ballivis de Lanblethian duos solidos vel unum espenuarium et dicti Laurencius et Elizabet dictum manerium in coopertura reparabunt et postquam sit competenter reparatum predictis Thomas et heredes vel sui executores dictum manerium mantenebunt sustentabunt et in adeo bono statu seu meliori d... sumptibus suis propriis et expensis Et si contin
gat quod predictus redditus viginti marcarum a retro esse in parte vel in toto per unam mensem post aliquem terminum assignatum vel dictum manerium extra manus suas proprias alicui traderetur quod tunc bene liceat nobis predictis Laurencio et Elizabet heredibus vel assignatis nostris in predicto manerio cum omnibus suis pertinenciis intrare et retinere imperpetuum sine aliqua contradictione eorum Et nos predicti Laurencius et Elizabet uxor mea totum predictum manerium cum omnibus suis pertinenciis durante termino predicto prefato Thome contra omnes gentes warantizabimus Hiis testibus Johanne Roppert David ap Griffith ap Rees Velyn Griffith ap Janekyn ap Dron' David Yonge et aliis Data apud Marthelmaur die et anno supra dictis In cujus rei testimonium hiis indenturis nos partes predicti sigilla nostra alternatim apposuimus ac eciam quod predictus Thomas habebit meremium sufisiens pro dictis [dictas in orig.] domibus sustentandis et meremium vocatum fraxinum pro carucis (carucas in orig.] suis faciendi et ter brasearet (?) quolibet anno sine amerciamento ponendo.
The deed is indented, the seal in red wax. It is the seal of John Cranlegh, whose name and arms are otherwise unknown in Glamorgan.