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Welsh History Review


Vol. 1, nos. 1-4 1960

Monmouthshire schools and education to 1870. Book review.

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ments at the Public Record Office belonging to the year 1542. He also
states that the first known appointment of a clerk of the peace for the
county is dated 1540. It would seem, therefore, that the Monmouthshire
Court of Quarter Sessions was functioning and that justices of the peace
had begun their work in the county before the passing of the Act of
34 & 35 Henry VIII, c. 26 (1542). But the extant Quarter Sessions records
begin only in 1719 and intensive searches have so far failed to discover any
earlier ones. Still, the experience of one or two other Welsh counties
offers a hope-admittedly a slender one-that early Quarter Sessions
records may turn up in the muniment room of some great family or in
a solicitor's office. The extant Quarter Sessions records are preserved and
arranged according to the accepted principles of archive classification.
Other main groups of archives described are those of the Lieutenancy,
Coroners' Courts, and County Council. There is also a very extensive
group of deposited records. This includes records of the now-defunct
borough of Usk and some of the records of the borough of Monmouth.
A much larger sub-group consists of manorial records, relating to fifty-five
manors and dating mainly from the sixteenth century and later, though
there are a few fifteenth-century documents among them. The last sub-
group contains the wide range of private records deposited, among which
the business archives are especially noteworthy.
The Monmouthshire Archives Committee is warmly to be thanked for
making available to the public so useful a publication. To the researcher,
whether his interests are confined to Monmouthshire or embrace a wider
field, this Guide will be invaluable. Mr. Baker's clear, concise and effective
work renders a valuable service to the county of Monmouth and to the
study of Welsh history generally.
Monmouthshire SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION TO 1870. By Canon E. T.
Davies. Published by Starsons Ltd., Newport, Monmouthshire, 1957.
Pp. 150. 10s. 6d.
The treatment of this subject is uneven because the source material
is uneven. 'There is only one reference to a place of learning in Mon-
mouthshire before 1543', we are told, which may be a surprise to the
present sons of Gwent, proud as they are of their contribution to leader-
ship in politics, in trade unionism, in the learned professions, and in
music, and conscious as they are of the link between this and the free and
varied system of education now existing in their county.
Because of the scarcity of material in the earlier part of the book, the
reader is taken on an interesting tour of historical speculation. Was there
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