government. But most lords lieutenant were tender to local susceptibilities, and found it wiser to add political allies to obtain a desired majority than to remove political opponents. Not so Worcester: between 1674 and 1677 he purged no less than twelve J.Ps. from the benches he controlled in Brecon, Glamorgan and Monmouthshire. As with most things in the area, religious differences lay behind many of the dismissals." Two of those removed were notorious anti-Catholics. John Arnold of Llanvihangel Crucorney and Henry Probert of Penallt had spent much of 1677 attempting to make the Monmouthshire bench enforce the laws against recusants. They had no success. There were several Catholic J.Ps. to thwart them, most notably Henry Milborne of Clytha. Milborne's uncle, also a Catholic and a J.P., was Rowland Prichard of Llanrothal. He was sheriff that year, and supposed to collect fines from recusants and dissenters alike. Of the £ 40 he was due to raise from nine offenders, he produced only £ 4 13s. 4d. from five dissenters. The Catholics were untouched.35 It may seem surprising that there were Catholics on the bench at all in 1677, but the north of the county, particularly the area between Raglan and the Monnow, had always been Catholic, and remained staunchly so under the Somersets' protection. John Arnold, who lived on the edge of this area, and was said by his many enemies to be a republican and to consort with extreme dissenters, was no doubt particularly irked by the number of recusant neighbours. His behaviour over the next few years was so violent that some historians regard him as having carried religious fanaticism to the point of madness.36 Yet it seems to have come upon him rather abruptly. He had known David Lewis, a Jesuit, for seven or eight years before he arrested him, as he admitted himself, and Lewis described him as once a very good friend and acquaintance. Political ambition seems to have been at least partly responsible for the change of mood.37 Ambition may have lain behind Probert's activities, too. His father, Sir George, was M.P. for the borough of Monmouth until his death in 1677. In the subsequent bye-election it was not his son but Worcester's who succeeded him, and Arnold and Probert both made themselves obnoxious to the marquess.38 Worcester may have been 34 K. J. Glassey, Politics and the Appointment ofJPs, 1675-1720 (Oxford, 1979), passim, but especially pp. 37-38. 35 The most comprehensive accounts of the struggles between local J.Ps. are J. H. Canning, 'The Titus Oates Plot in South Wales and the Marches', St Peter's Magazine (January 1923 et seq.); and M.M.C. O'Keefe, 'The Popish Plot in South Wales' (University College, Galway, unpublished M.A. thesis, 1969). 36 John Kenyon, The Popish Plot (London, 1972), pp. 191 and 214. 37 Lewis's own account of his arrest and trial can be found in Canning, op. cit. For Arnold, see D. W.B. and Henning, op. cit., pp. 545-47. 38 Henning, op. cit., p. 292.
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