Document referenceBC/1/11
Level of description Item
TitleCardiff Charter '13' Charter of Liberties by Letter Patent
Date18 Jul 1608
DescriptionJames I grants a new Charter of Liberties to the town of Cardiff [Very detailed provisions relating to appointment and powers of borough officials, holding of borough courts, with confirmation of various economic and administrative privileges enjoyed by the Bailiffs, Aldermen and Burgesses]: Cardiff to be a free town, governed by a Corporation, to be termed 'The Bailiffs, Aldermen and Burgesses of the Town of Cardiff in the County of Glamorgan', with a common seal; Bailiffs, Aldermen and Burgesses are empowered to purchase, lease and assign property, and to plead, answer and defend, to be impleaded, answered and defended, as any other corporate body; Twelve Aldermen are to be chosen from among the Burgesses, and from these Aldermen shall be elected two Bailiffs; Twelve Capital Burgesses are to be elected; Bailiffs, Aldermen and Capital Burgesses are to form the Common Council; Corporation may enforce its laws by fines and imprisonment; it may have a man of law; to be named the Steward [later Recorder] to assist Bailiffs and Aldermen in the Town Court; Constable, Bailiffs, Steward and Senior Aldermen shall be Justices of the Peace, and they or any three of them (to include always the Constable and Senior Bailiff) shall have full powers as a Court of Justice in the Borough; Bailiffs shall be Coroners and Escheators for the Borough; Burgesses may hold a fair on St. Andrew's Eve and on the Feast of St. Andrew [30 November], together with a Court of Piepowder and all other incidents of the fair; Bailiffs are to hold the Court of Record for the town every alternate Thursday. [Contemporary annotation, by J. Ellesmere, Chancellor, records payment of £4 'finis taxatur' for confirmation of liberties] [Witnessed at Westminster] [The first line of the Charter is finely engrossed, with the royal coat of arms in the margin and with royal emblems and devices above a decorative first line] [Latin] [Endorsed: 'A Corporacon for the towne of Cardiffe ... Cartwright'] [2mm., parchment 33' x 27' and 33' x 18'; seal pendent on faded red silk cords, detached from parchment] Observations on condition of parchment: Brittle. Badly creased and heavily folded. One hole and one small portion missing from right-hand margin of first membrane. Stained and rustmarked. Drawing-pin holes in corners. Number '18' scrawled on dorse in biro. Observations on condition of seal: [Seal repaired at expense of G. T. Clark of Talygarn in 1890.] Heavily repaired; original green wax has darkened to brownish colour little distinguishable from dark wax repair. Seal wrapped in cotton wool within tin box; cotton wool embedded in surface of wax. Seal detached from parchment as silk cords have frayed through. Seal in metal container; cotton wool stuck firmly to base of container.

[Cardiff Records, vol. 1. pp. 50-72 (publ. 1898). Noted as Charter no. XVIII. No observations are made on its physical condition, but an illustration of the Charter suggests that it was in fair condition at the turn of the century.]

[A Charter of James II, 21 Feb. 1686-1687, is cited as Charter no. XIX in Cardiff Records, vol. 1 (publ. 1898). This Charter, issued under the privy seal, is known only from English translations of the original Latin, and was not in the possession of the Corporation of Cardiff in 1898.]
Extent1 parchment
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