Parliament1 to alien the same to the College in mortmain, which licence is expressed in the Roll of Parliament to be granted to Henry Grey, knight, Lord of Powys.

In the year 1447 a tragic occurrence is, on the authority of several passages in the poems of two Welsh bards, said2 to have taken place.

Sir Griffith Vychan, who has been before mentioned, was suspected of holding correspondence with some adherents of the house of York. This being insinuated to the Queen (Margaret of Anjou) and her Council, a Treasury warrant is said to have been sent to Henry Grey Lord Powys for the apprehension of Sir Griffith, and accordingly, under some pretence or other, the knight was summoned to appear at the castle of Pool. He at first demurred ; but, on receiving what he considered to be a "safe conduct," he resolved to confront his accusers; but, as soon as he arrived at the courtyard of the castle,

1 The following is an extract:—

Ooncessimus etiam, auctoritate supradicta Henrico Grey Militi, Domino de Powys quod ipse Prioratum de Kersey in Comitatu Suff., sivo omnia illa domos edificia solum mansiones et possessiones que Prioratus de Kersey nuper vocabautur, una cum omnibus maneriis dominiis terris tenementis, pratis pascuis, pasturis redditibus services piscariis aquis viis semitis boscis, visibus franciplegii cur' let' warennis, feriis, mercatis franchesiis, libertatibus portionibus, pensionibus, apport', feodis militum, advocationibus ecclesiarum, vicariarum, capellarum cantariarum, ac aliorum beneficiorum ecclesiasticorum quornmcumque, ad diet' prioratum sive illa domos edificia solum, mansiones et possessiones predicta, que prioratus de Kersey nuper vocabantur vel aliquam parcellam eorumdem, ac maneria, dominia terr' tenementa et cetera premissa qualitercumque pertinentibus sive spectantibus, dare et concedere possit prefatis Preposito et Scholaribus. Habend' & tenend' sibi & successoribus suis in liberam, puram et perpetuam Elemosinam imperpetuum.

Et eisdem Preposito et Scholaribus, quod ipsi dictum prioratum sive omnia illa Domos edificia solum mansiones et possessiones una cum omnibus Maneriis dominiis [&c] de predicto Henrico Grey recipere et ea sibi et successoribus suis habere et tenere possint in liberam puram et perpetuam elemosinam imperpetuum, auctoritate predicta, similiter licentiam dedimus specialem; dicto statute de terr' et ten' ad manum mortuam non ponend' in contrarium edito iion obstante. (Bat. Pari., v, 94.)

2 The Poetical Works of Lav is Glyn Ootid, pp. 419-420.

he was apprehended, and, in the presence of Henry Grey, Lord Powys, beheaded on the spot "without judge or jury."

The passages in the Welsh poems which favour this conclusion are the following :—

(l). A passage out of an elegy, by Lewis Glyn Cothi, "upon Sir Griffith Vychan of Powys," in which the bard alludes to the distracted state of the country at large, and laments, with the lamentations of Merlin the Wild, the foul deed of which Henry VI, by advice of his Council, was guilty in beheading Sir Griffith, and in which he describes the land of Powys as being in a state of perfect consternation on hearing of the summary manner in which Sir Griffith was despatched. The passage runs this :—

"Ithyvedd oedd ar gyhoedd gwyr,
I Harri a'i gynghorwyr,
Euraw pen oedd nen i ni,
Wedi euraw ei dori!"

Strange it was that publicly before men
Harry and his advisers should
Embellish a head that was a shelter for us,
And after embellishing it, cut it off!

And (2) another passage from a poem by a contemporary bard, Davydd Llwyd, of Mathavarn, Esq., as follows :—

"Am y gwr mwya' gerais,
A'r goler aur, cul yw'r ais.

Od wyd, pa'm na chynneui dan
Yn vyw iach, Gruffydd Vychan?
O'th las, veinwas, heb vyneg,
Dialed Duw dy dal teg!
Nid allai ddyn, k Haw ddig,
Dy ladd, ond diawl o eiddig;
Y' ngharwr ni chynghorais
Ymddiried i ' Signed' Sais.

Truain weddillion Troia!

Ni wyddem dwyll, ammhwyll oedd,

Y Saison er oes oesoedd!

Pentywysog Cymru yn Muellt—

Pen Gruffydd wayw meinrudd mellt,

Vychan lew vach hwyn' a las,

Varchog urddol vraich gwrddwas,

Pen ni werthid er punnoedd,

Pen glan vel pen Ivan oedd:

Pen teg wrth ei anrhegu,

Penrhaith i Bowys vaith vu;

Pen dedwydd, pen Llywydd 11 wryd,

Pen dillyn hyd pan dwyllwyd;

Pand oedd vrwnt y ' Saf Cwndid'

Pan las y pen hwn o lid!

A dores iarll dau-eiriog,

Harri Grae!—cafed hir grog!"

For the man with the golden collar,
Whom I loved best, the breast is pining.

If, Gruffydd Vychan, thou art alive and well,

Why dost thou not kindle a fire?

If thou art, tall hero, unrecorded killed,

May God avenge thy beauteous brow!

No man with a wrathful hand

Could have slain thee, unless he were a fiend inspired

with jealousy. My friend, I did not counsel Reliance on the sign manual of a Saxon.

Miserable remnants of Troy!

For ages have we known the perfidy

Of the Saxons, were it not for our madness!

The head of the Prince of Wales in Buellt—

The head of Gruffydd Vychan (whose long ruddy lance

was like the lightning),
The firm support (of his country),
A knight with a brave hero's arm—they cut off!
A head that would not be sold for pounds,
A holy head like John (the Baptist's);
A fair head even when it was made a present of;
A head that long gave law to Powys;
A sacred head, the head of an illustrious chief;
A beautiful head, until he was betrayed.

Was not the safe conduct execrable,
When this head was severed in violence!
It was struck off by the double-tongued Earl
Harry Grey! Long may he hang!1

Another circumstance has been suggested as an additional motive for the summary manner in which Sir Griffith Vychan was executed. It'is alleged that his grandmother was an heiress, the fourth in descent from Prince Gwenwynwyn, Prince of Powys, and that Sir Griffith, in consequence of this circumstance, might have spoken arrogantly to some false friends of his right to a portion of the Lordship of Powys, and, this being repeated to Henry Grey, Lord Powys, might have excited him to commit this treacherous and cruel act.2

The only minutes of the Council3 in the year 1447 are of the 19th March, in which the following appears :—. "Item, that letters be written to the constables and others having places in Wales that they see to the safeguard of the said places, as they will answer to the king," but this does not seem to have reference to this melancholy transaction.

On the 1st February,4 26 Henry VI (1448), Henry Grey, knight, Earl of Tankerville and Lord Powys, granted a charter to the burgesses of the town of Llanfyllin confirming the charter of Edward Charleton, Lord Powys, dated at his manor of Mathravel, 20th July, 3 Henry V (1415).

By an ordinance5 of the king, dated 18th August, 27 Henry VI, 1449, it is stated that, "whereas for to aide the king in setting forth of the armies, the whiche the Lord Powys, the Lord Zouches, and Robert Veere, knight, that lede," certain loans had been promised to the king by the Archbishop of Canterbury and others.

1 Rev. D. Silvan Evans has kindly furnished me with the translation.

2 Works of Lewis Glyn CotM, 423, note.

3 Acts of Privy Council, vi, 60.

4 Kynaston Peerage Claim.

5 Acts of Privy Council, vi, p. 86.

In this year1 the war was renewed with the French, who invaded Normandy, which soon fell into their hands. One of the places earliest taken was the castle of Tankerville, which was2 surrendered by the Duke of Somerset in October, 1449, and thus Henry Grey, second Earl of Tankerville, lost his earldom.

Henry Grey does not appear ever to have been summoned to Parliament. Hes married Antigone, natural daughter of Humphrey Plantagenet, Duke of Gloucester, and died on the feast day of St. Hilary, in the 28 Henry VI (1450); seized4 of [inter alia) the manor of Kersey in Suffolk, the manor of Pontesbury, in the county of Salop, and of the castle and manor of Pool, the manor of Mathraval, with the commots of Kereygnon, Maghen Ughcoht, Iscoyd, and Maghenant, in the marches of Wales, leaving Richard, his son and heir, fourteen years of age, with other children, namely, Humphrey, who died issueless, and Elizabeth, married to Sir Roger Kynaston, knight, the lineal ancestor of John Kynaston, Esq., who claimed the barony of Powys in 1732, and of Sir John Kynaston Powell, who also claimed the same in 1800 (of which claims more full particulars are intended to be given hereafter).

The eldest son, Richard Grey, succeeded his father, Henry Grey. "It does not appear," says Nicolas,5 " that this nobleman was ever summoned to Parliament, but strong evidence exists that he sat in that assembly as a baron of the realm in 1455."

The strong evidence here alluded to, it is presumed, is the circumstance that he was present and sitting in Parliament" in the 33 Henry VI by the title of" Dominus de Powes," among the lords who swore fealty to that

1 Hume's History of England, iii, 176.

3 Letters and Payers during the Time of Henry VI, ii, pp 611-627.

3 Burke's Extinct Peerage. l Dugdale's Baronage, ii, p. 284.

5 Burke's Extinct Peerage, quoting first edition of Nicolas's Synopsis of the Peerage.

6 Rot. Pari, v, p. 283.

« PreviousContinue »