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expected to exist; but there are no traces and no traditions of either.
On the other side of the question there is the indisputable fact that this village was a corporate town, or, as it is called, city. It had its mayor, recorder, and burgesses, and the usual authority of such potentates. Of its history as a corporation nothing seems to be known, as to whether a corporation was granted by the crown or the lord of the manor; for of the antiquity of the manor there is no question. As the power of the corporation extended over the whole lordship, it would seem that the lord either granted or procured this honour for his own town. The form of an election for mayor is gone through by the burgesses every year at Michaelmas. The meeting is called in the records,“the general sessions of the peace held and kept at the Court House situate at Dinas, in and for the said manor, borough, and city.” The mayor, however, is called the bailiff for the said manor, borough, and city, unless he is a distinct officer from the mayor. The office of recorder is always filled by the steward of the manor of Mawddwy. A jury is summoned in June and November to find and present all nuisances or encroachments on the waste lands within the borough. There are also similar courts for the manor held twice a year before the steward. There is no record of any other proceedings at the borough courts, which appear to be merely formal, as the necessary work is done at the manor courts as regards presentments, etc. The mayor and his colleagues had, however, formerly more extensive powers, although at present the magisterial duties of the mayor are confined to granting beer and spirit licenses within the Dinas. The public stocks (removed within the memory of the present generation) and the great iron fetter, called “Y Feg Fawr," are proofs that he had power to restrain those who misbehaved themselves, or patronised to excess the licensed ale-houses. No record, however, or account of these corrective implements having been used is in existence. The annual election of the mayor seems a mere
formality. Originally the mayor was elected annually, then triennially, and latterly apparently for life; for the late mayor, a respectable farmer, who died a short time ago, held the office for many years.
The only real remains, therefore, of the ancient corporation are the courts they hold, the licensing of public houses,“ Y Feg Fawr,”and a curious mace. These civic insignia, until the present lord of the manor has resided there, used to be kept at the Red Lion Inn; but are now, we hope, in the more desirable custody of Mr. Buckley, the lord of the manor, or at least his steward. By the kindness of Mr. Buckley they were exhibited at Machynlleth during the Meeting of the Association in 1866; and as they are certainly the oldest examples, if not unique badges of their kind, of municipal authority in Wales, Mr. Blight made drawings of them with a view to their appearing in the Journal.
“Y Feg Fawr” is a formidable looking apparatus, measuring twenty inches, and of considerable weight. They were intended to secure the feet ; but may also have been used for the hands, which is not, however, likely. A man secured thus by his feet must have been unable to move, except by very short jumps; and as there does not appear to have been any public prison, they may have been used to secure a person in any ordinarily secured room, until he could be removed to the nearest prison; or they may have been used as stocks prior to the introduction of that contrivance.
The mace, which is of copper, measures sixteen inches and a half, and seems to have lost the upper portion which covered the hollow part. The present cover is of brass, loose, and of much later period, and has the royal arms engraved on it. The mace itself has the characteristics of the fifteenth century, and there is no reason to think that it is later. It should, however, be remembered that the particular character of civic maces seems to have been long continued. Presuming, however, that the right date is assigned to the Dinas mace, it may be, as far as we know, the earliest
evidence of the Dinas mayor and corporation. Welsh mayors and corporations probably had similar insignia ; but few, we believe, have them at present, and certainly none of as early a date as that here mentioned. In Lewis's Topographical Dictionary it is said that the corporation also retains the original standard measure: we presume this is the Winchester standard. If this is the case, it is to be hoped that it will not be separated from the mace and fetter; for whatever may have been the importance of ancient Dinas Mawddwy, its last relics should at least be carefully preserved.
E. L. BARNWELL.
CAMBRIAN ARCHÆOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION.
NOTICE OF MEETING.
The Meeting for this year is appointed to be held at Port Madoc, Caernarvonshire, during the latter part of August. The presidential chair will be taken on that occasion by EDWARD Foster Coulson, of Cors y Gedol, Esq. ; and the precise day of Meeting, with the other arrangements, will be made known in our next number.
The place chosen is accessible by rail from Caernarvon in one direction, and from Barmouth in another ; is in one of the most beautiful parts of Wales ; and is rich in attractions both for the archæologist and the lover of grand mountain scenery.