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KIDWELLY BOROUGH

April 1847 - A Statement Relating to the former and present condition of the Borough and to the personal character and Mal-administration of the Judicial and Corporate authorities

Contributed by Brian Randell, June 2005 - transcribed from the original document at the PRO


April 1847

The

Corporation

and

Borough Justices

of

Kidwelly

Carmarthenshire

----------------

A Statement

Relating to the former and
present condition of the
Borough and to the personal
character and Mal-administration
of the Judicial and Corporate
authorities

Accompanied with full copy
Charter and Index of Contents

© Crown Copyright

The National Archives, Ref: HO 45/1811

Transcribed by Brian Randell, 3 June 2005

[The original contains a number of minor corrections and
additions to the text - these are incorporated unmarked into this
transcription, which otherwise aims to mirror the layout of the
original. However the brief marginal notes on page 2 (providing
references to the Index to the Charter), and on page 23 (giving
more details about Council vacancies), and also the accompanying
Charter and Index, were not copied and hence have not been
transcribed.
For an interesting account of the background to this document see:
David Williams. The Borough of Kidwelly in the Nineteenth Century.]

Borough of Kidwelly

Statement

Relating to the former and present condition of the Borough
and its Charter of Incorporation, to the Social State and personal
characters of the Borough Justices and Corporate authorities who have
a separate Commission of the Peace extending to all offences except
treason and felony and to their mal-administration and its consequences.
Drawn up with the concurrence of several of the most respectable
Inhabitants with the view of obtaining from her Majesty's Government a
redress of the grievances complained of:-

The Borough the mal-administration of which judiciary, administrative
and financial with its present social and sanatory condition consequent thereon,
several intelligent and respectable Inhabitants desire to bring under the notice
of the only competent authority, was at the time of the granting of the Charter by
James I hereafter referred to a flourishing and prosperous sea port, as appears from
its history and as may be inferred from the comprehensive powers conferred by the
Charter - The members of the Corporate Council appear to have been at that time
respectable individuals and of good standing but in consequence of the Corporation
which is self-elective for life having fallen into the hands of Farmers for the most
part, to the exclusion of more intelligent portions of the inhabitants of the Town, it is
now become quite deteriorated, in fact a decayed, ruinous and unhealthy Town,
the industrial portion of the Inhabitants deprived of all accommodation, and the
Town altogether presenting a wretched appearance - As we may hereafter more fully
notice the Town has now better prospects and it has become most desirable that the
bulk of the Inhabitants should be placed in a situation through the intervention
of Her Majesty's Government the better to take advantage of the prospects now presented
to them

We could enter into a full detail of the several Charters granted by the
former Sovereigns of England to this district, but it would unnecessarily add
to a Statement which will already perhaps be considered to detailed - It is
however hoped that the length of the details will be excused when it is considered
that the parties who have long suffered are now exceedingly anxious to make their
complaints known to those who have the power to relieve them, and that they have
been hitherto kept from despair of receiving any consideration or redress

The Borough of Kidwelly is or was part of the Lordship of Kidwelly forming

[1]


part of the Commotte of that name in Carmarthenshire, and was detached by the
last Charter from any other Lordship, City or Town in Carmarthenshire - It became
severed from the jurisdiction of the ruling Princes of ancient Wales in the time of
William 2nd having been acquired by conquest by a Norman Knight whose descendants
became associated with the Royal House of Lancaster, and it became eventually annexed
to that Duchy, tho' not forming part of its judicial jurisdiction - And since the
accession of Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster afterwards Henry 4th it has
been held by the Crown, but the Crown has long ceased to desire any emolument or
revenue therefrom -

The last Charter but one was granted by Henry 6th in 1444 - The
last under which the Corporate body in its present form is constituted was granted
by James in 1618 - This Charter is of considerable length, we shall abridge it to the
smallest possible compass embracing the material contents:-

The Charter after reciting that the Borough was a very ancient and
populous Borough and that the then Corporation had entreated the King for the
better rule and improvement of the Borough to constitute the Corporation anew into a
body Corporate under the name of the Mayor, Aldermen, Bailiffs and Burgesses of
the Borough of Kidwelly in the County of Carmarthen with the addition of
certain privileges and franchises and that the peace and other acts of good
government might be there the better kept and done Did grant to that the said Borough
should be a free Borough &c. - Mayor &c. to be a body Corporate and politic by the
name last aforesaid with perpetual succession - enabled to have and purchase lands, &c.
and Goods and Chattels and to give grant demises and assign the same respectively -
to plead and be impleaded - to have a common Seal with power to alter or charge
the same - one of the Burgesses to be chosen and called Mayor - two to be chosen and called
Bailiffs - twelve of the better and more responsible Burgesses to be chosen and called
Aldermen - And the like number of the better and more responsible and discreet Burgesses
to be called principal Bailiffs who together with the Bailiffs should be aiding and
assisting the said Mayor and Aldermen - Mayor &c. to make laws for good rule
and government and for letting and demising lands &c. and to limit and provide
pains punishments and penalties by imprisonment or fines - And to levy and receive the
same - such laws to be reasonable - first members of Corporation named - grant to elect
on Monday next after Michaelmas one of the Aldermen to be Mayor de novo for
one year or until another chosen - And to elect at same time two of the principal Burgesses
to be Bailiffs for one year and in case of death or amotion from office for misbehaviour
or any reasonable cause, to elect one or more of the Bailiffs or principal Burgesses to the
office of Aldermen for life - And in the like cases one or more of the Burgesses or
Inhabitants to the office of principal Burgess for life - Power to elect one of the Burgesses
or Inhabitants of the said Borough to be chamberlain during pleasure - Said body
Corporate and Chamberlain to be Inhabitants and residents - Grant that all lands &c.,
within certain 4 ancient crosses to be the circuit of the same Borough, to be its limits,
precincts and bounds separate from any other Lordship, City, &c., in the said County - to elect

[2]


one upright and discreet man to be chief steward of the said Borough and to elect one
upright and discreet man to be learned in the laws of England to be Recorder for life - to
execute the same office by himself or byhis deputy learned in the laws of England -
a Mayor and Recorder and Deputy Recorder in his absence and one of the Aldermen to
be yearly elected to be Justices - such Justices or any two of them, Mayor to be one,
to have power to enquire concerning all Trespasses, Misprisions and other misdemeanours
and inferior offences, defaults and articles whatsoever done or committed within the said
Borough so that they did not proceed in the determination of any Treason, misprision
of Treason, murder of felony - nonintromittant cause as to any other Justice - After
the several Corporate officers and Justices to be sworn will and faithfully to execute the
several offices - To have one prison or Gaol for safe custody of all persons to be attached
there to continue until delivered by due course of law - Bailiffs to be keepers thereof -
Powers for said Justices or any two of them Mayor to be one to send persons attached or found
in the Borough for treason, murder, felony, manslaughter or Robbery done or to be done
or for suspicion of felony to the Common Gaol of the County of Carmarthen there to remain
to be tried by the Justices aforesaid &c. Power for the said Justices or any two of them Mayor
to be one to hold and keep a General Sessions of the peace so that they did not
proceed to the determination of any Treason or felony - Power to elect one upright and
discreet man to be Steward during pleasure - To elect one other upright and discreet
man learned in the laws of England to be Town Clerk of the said Borough during
pleasure - Two Sergeants at Mace to be chosen by the Mayor to be Ministers of the
Hundred Court and Court of Record to execute Processes & To hold the Hundred Court of
Kidwelly before the Mayor and Steward or one of them, to hear and determine plaints &c.
To hold a Court of Record before the Mayor and Recorder or either of them or their
sufficient deputies every fifteen days, to hear and determine by plaint all manner of
debts &c. or Trespass real personnal and mixed arising within the Borough, provided such
debt &c. did not exceed the value of £200 and in defaults of goods to attach the person -
Mayor to be coroner escheator and Clerk of the Market - nonintromittant clause as to
any other former - Mayor to have all waifs and strays and all Goods and Chattels of
felons &c. - And all fines within the said Borough - nonintromittant clause as to any other
Sherriffs, Mayor and Corporate officers and all other Burgesses - not to be impanelled
to appear on juries at the assizes before any of his Majesty's Justices &c. assigned &c. -
Mayor &c. to have the return of all Writs, Executions &c. - Special licenses and power to
purchase, receive and possess manors and lands &c. not exceeding the clear yearly value
of £200 Tolls and Customs payable to the said Mayor for the relief of the poor Inhabitants
of the said Borough and other the charges and expenses thereof with release of all rents
and arrears and then paid - Grant and confirmation of all liberties, franchises, lands
feedings, void ground, Commons, free fishing and warren whatsoever by any Letters
patent or deeds theretofore granted or confirmed which the said Mayor then held
or ought to hold and enjoy yielding therefore to His Majesty by the hands of the
receiver of Kidwelly £13.14.0 1/2 yearly at Easter and Michaelmas

Such are the short outlines of the Charter a full copy of which

[3]


will accompany this paper - It is shaped on the same lines as we presume most of
the old Charters creating other Boroughs, that is upon the self-elective system for life -
it comprehended a heavy machinery for a small population of 1200 Inhabitants a very
small portion of whom were in middling circumstances, the great bulk being composed of the
humbler and industrious classes - It sufficiently indicates the rudeness of the times from which
it emanated and the absence of the due ingredients to constitute a healthy and vigorous state
of local administration -

The ancient limits of the Town as defined by the Charter extended in a circuitous
line embracing the supposed sites for 4 ancient crosses at different points varying from 2 to 6
miles - Such was the circuit intended and contemplated by the Charter, and which embraced
a good extent of country and treble the number of Inhabitants of the present limits of the
Borough - The Earl Cawdor as Lord of the Lordship of Kidwelly claims all this limit without
what are called the Walls of the Borough - the latter has no literal meaning but is meant to
form the present confines embracing a circuit about the Town varying at different points from
1 to 2 1/2 miles - This inner limit is assumed by the Corporate body to form a manor of Kidwelly
of which the Mayor pro tem claims to be the Lord, but from what authority does not appear
clear; and it is said they have in former years held Courts Leet in respect thereof and they
were lately attempted to be revived, but to no purpose - The place with an attractive ruin
of an ancient castle is well situated about three miles from the Carmarthen Bay and the
main south Wales Railway is now about to pass by the Town and a terminus about to
be established

From long abuse and mismanagement the Town and Trades of Kidwelly have
sadly deteriorated and the population diminished, while the members of the Corporate Council
have degenerated and become the more ignorant, reckless and demoralized presenting this
strange phenomenon that while the progressive spirit of the age has pervaded other places
the vicious constitution of this Borough has hemmed it in from the approach of intelligence
and liberal feelings, and generally speaking it may be said to be now in almost as rude as if
not a ruder state than at the time of granting of the Charter - In a Corporate Town once
overflowing and full of Trade and bustle and now capable of progressive advancement with
Corporate resources yielding a goodly revenue that might have been much improved and holding
its Corporate franchises for a period of five centuries we should have expected that the
privileges accorded it would have considerably advanced rather than retarded the prosperity
and government of the place -

To enable you to judge of the social status of this Corporation we shall add
as an appendix to this Report the personal traits of character of each individual member
from the Mayor to the Town Clerk - you will thereby find that generalizing the qualifications
almost all the members are quite illiterate and unprepared - most of them scarcely able
to write their names - but that few of four and twenty can speak and less understand
the English language in which the law of the Country is delivered - But two or three of the
body have copies of the Charter - none of them as we verily believe comprehend or attempt to
make themselves acquainted with its provisions or the duties it enjoins.

We shall now take leave to proceed to examine how far the spirit or the text

[4]


of such Charter has been followed or is capable of being beneficially carried out.

The population of the Borough of Kidwelly are computed at about 12 or 1300 Inhabitants
of all these there are but 100 Burgesses mostly resident within the what are called the Walls of the
Borough and a few without - The system of admission is discretionary with the Council - this right was
as we are inclined to infer derives formerly from the occupancy or ownership of ancient burgages.
the admission is now often exercised capriciously in consideration of gratuity - private bribing or
other covert inducement or that which mostly prevails family ties and connections - no principle
as to admission is laid down or recognized - none bears reference to the eligibility of the inhabitants
generally, while the object appears so disparaged that it is with many of no consideration - The
consequence is that the Corporation books (for no burgess roll is kept) do not contain nearly the
whole of the Inhabitants of the Borough eligible to admission, while it would be of course the
interest of all the respectable portion of the male adults of the place to participate in the Corporate
Government if it were capable of being duly regulated and executed -

The language of the Charter would lead us to think on giving it a liberal
construction that the concurrence of a full majority of the Corporate Council were requisite for
all Corporate acts; but such is not that given to it - Corporate acts for instance emanate from a
majority of a meeting composed of a majority of the members of the Council at which the Mayor
presides; and which may be held to be the legal course; this process as will be perceived enables 7
persons out of the 24 members of the Council to control the Corporation - but even to this
course they have not always adhered, And we are credibly informed that at the election of the
last Mayor at Michaelmas 1845 but 12 members of the Council attended the Corporate meeting
for that purpose and which thus assumed the functions of a majority -

For the year ending Michaelmas 1842 Philip Howell a small farmer and an
Insolvent acted as Mayor and Justice of the peace and acted as Justice for the ensuing year ending
Michaelmas 1844 - John Gower a Working Carpenter acted as Mayor and Justice for that following
Corporate year ending Michaelmas 1844 - after him followed David Williams of Coleman another
small farmer whose mayoralty ended Michaelmas 1845, and for the last year John Williams a
farmer and lately an Innkeeper was elected Mayor at Michaelmas last for the present
year - All these individuals are not only uneducated and unprepared men but most of little
or no substance save what they derive from manual labour in which their time is
wholly occupied save what they devote to indulging themselves at the expense of the
Corporate funds or to the little trouble they take in the routine business of the Corporation.
The present Mayor and Justice may be said to be one of the best substance and the other
one of the least substance of any of the party.

The office of Chief Steward of the Corporation has for a long period been in abeyance
- his duty appears to have consisted in letting Lands, receiving rents paying same over to
the Chamberlain - and auditing and certifying as to the accounts of the latter - An attempt
was lately made to revive the office but to no purpose, and Mr. R. Dunkin the person
appointed assumed to hold a Court Leet under the guidance of Mr. Jeffries the Deputy
Recorder and two Courts Leet were professed to be held at neither of which was any thing
effectively done - The functions of Chamberlain including the duties appertain
to the Chief Steward are discharged by Mr James Prickett one of the Corporate Council, he being

[5]


as such a controul as respects his own accounts - The Charter does not appear to have
contemplated that one of the Corporate Council should have fitted the office of Chamberlain

With respect to the lands where no atttempt was made at improvement the same were
held in common and the Inhabitants generally participated in the benefit of the open Commons
surrounding the Town, but a deplorable change as respects the health and accommodation of the
humbler classes has recently taken place in this respect, which we shall presently notice - For a
long series of years the Corporate Council or the control of the Corporation, has got into the hands
of the farmers encircling the place, whose united policy has been directed to injure the interest of
the Town, so that no stranger might be induced to stay or locate therein -

The district within the Walls of the Borough contained until lately a good deal of
land partly open and partly enclosed - whereon the Burgesses turned and depastured their herds
and Cattle and the open lands were most conducive to health and afforded facilities and approaches
to the Sea about a mile and a half off - The open lands were formerly agisted by the Corporation
in common and the commonable Cattle entitled to agist thereon within the last 50 years were
stinted or limited as to each of the Burgesses -

It is material to notice that all the Burgesses resident or nonresident had
as equal right of stint in this common land - It may be here observed that residence is
a qualification for a Corporate office, but not for the admission of a Burgess, and Burgesses
surcharging the Commons were made liable to a fine which was sometimes irregularly exacted.

Such was the remissness of the Corporation with respect to its possessions that about
26 years ago it suffered about 50 Acres of land to be taken possession of by the late Earl
of Ashburnham, and which has since been embanked by the present Earl, and this though
they were fully cognizant of the appropriation from the commencement - the Mayor
and certain of the members of the Common Council according to ancient custom, personally
perambulating the boundary including the land in question on Whit Wednesday in every
year; a good deal of other land has been lost to the Corporation owing to neglect -

The power of the Corporation became centered in about 5 to 6 members
of the Council who of late years contrived together to surcharge the Common with
impunity - The right of stint was all the benefit derived by the Burgesses in common
while the Corporate body lavished the whole of the revenue in petty expenses principally
in feasting and drinking, no portion being applied to the public improvement of the
Borough

The Corporation lands open and enclosed comprised about 900 acres, about
500 of tolerable quality - Had this land been properly let the returns would be more
than tripled - The ruling object of the ruling party in power in concert was to secure
municipal pickings and cheap and choice holdings to keep strangers away and to divide
the spoil utterly regardless of the rights of other parties and quite indifferent as to the
improvement or the advancement of the district or the good government of the Town -

The clamour against the misappropriation and surcharge of the Common
increasing the Council in the year 1840 entered into a resolution to divide the open
lands among their own body - It was at first pretended the division should be by
lots but the Corporate body covertly contrived to become possessors of the choice pieces

[6]


in the proportion of 4 acres each - the remainder was allotted between certain of
the Burgesses in such division from 2 to 4 acres as was thought expedient or as the
Corporation was influenced by the respective parties or their connections - Leases for 99 years
were drawn out to the parties at a nominal rent of 2/6 an Acre several new burgesses
were therefore admitted so as to come in for divisions of the land - and while several
of the old Burgesses were excluded, these were preferred - About 20 Burgesses residents
and non-residents were excluded from this partition - In the instances of demises to the
members of the Council the parties might be said to be Lessors and Lessees in the
same grant -

The grantees or lessees took possession and now hold these divisions some that
a great many of them have parted with their interest and that in some instances to
members of the Common Council -

This division of the Corporate land has somewhat added to the Corporate
revenue while it has deprived several of the present and all future inhabitants or
burgesses of any benefit therein - the increase to the Corporate revenue is only so much
added to the means of feasting and rioting -

The lands so allotted were of course of much greater yearly value than the
nominal rent reserved and were capable of great and important improvements conducive
to the benefit of the Town and to the health of the inhabitants - These advantages
will now be for the most part lost to succeeding burgesses and in effect to the
Inhabitants generally

While the Council assumed to object to the grants of land to nonresident
burgesses in general there is an instance where one was made in the case of the son of
one of the Aldermen not a burgess - And there are instances we understand in the years
1843-4 where they made orders for grants of lands to other persons not Burgesses -

I will not enter into details in this respect as they would only go to load
this case - we only refer to instances of misdirection or maladministration and it is for
you to consider whether you will require proof in respect thereof with the view as one
would hope to a permanent remedy, or a better system -

This partition of public lands from their original purposes to
individual appropriation or rather spoliation put an end at once to all prospect of the
improvement of the Town of Kidwelly and it moreover inflicted a ruthless and lasting
injury on the bulk of the inhabitants consisting of the humbler classes -

No provision whatever was made or reserved on the general demising
of the said Corporation lands so as to secure footpaths or roadways for the convenience
or recreation of the public or of the Inhabitants, many of the humbler and industrious
classes of whom were in the habit of keeping asses or beasts of burthen and large
quantities of poultry, and which were permitted until the spirit of avarice enclosed and
divided the Common lands to depasture and feed thereon - this deprivation has added
much to the general poverty of the Industrial classes and contributed of course to
destitution and to add to the claims on the parish rates, while at the same time it
has restricted healthful vacation without facilities for which the interest of such classes

[7]


in their native localities becomes proportionally depreciated

All or most part of the enclosed Corporate lands at intervals long before the
general partition were let at an inadequate value and that to members of the Council
and a few of the Corporation generally which so far depreciated the Corporate revenue as
applicable to public purposes

By the Charter of James the Sum of £13.14.0 1/2 is made payable to the
Crown in lieu of all services, customs and demands - The chief rent annually due to the
Corporation in respect to certain Burgages in the Town amounts to £13.13.4 within a
trifle sufficient to cover the quit rent due to the Crown; this has been found out of the Corporation
funds and the chief rent save a late collection thereof has been suffered to sink in
abeyance - but this revenue can never be made available in the hands of the present
Corporation as several of the members of the Council are liable thereto - It is commonly
reported that the owners or the occupiers of the Burgages were formerly entitled to right of
stint or depasture on the common land in respect thereof, but of which they have
been long deprived -

The Town rents and the chief rent for the last few years up to 1842 came to
about £125 per annum - capable of considerably increased - This sum has been
either frittered on small expenses or lavished in public houses and that is not found
sufficient - until lately the lands were preserved in their integrity but the present Council
have advanced on the practice of their predecessors and have lately borrowed a Sum of
400£ on the credit of the Corporate land and revenue to pay among other things
Bills of various amounts aggregating about £100 to the publicans of Kidwelly for drink
and tobacco - The remainder went to pay old debts contracted in dissipation or which
they might have long discharged but for having lavished away the funds -

We think we could satisfactorily show that the Corporation of Kidwelly
out of very limitted and depreciated Corporate funds have expended for Ale and
Tobacco between the years 1838 and the spring of 1845 a sum amounting to very nearly
£300 - We have copies of these accounts to submit if necessary - they contain extraordinary
charges and those too numerous here to specially refer to, but exhibiting the recklessness
and the utter absence of all sense of decency induced by long impunity, that pervades
this Corporation - a Corporation with a separate Commission of the peace, the parallel
of which we do not think exists in the three Kingdoms -

There is one very singular item of money paid for a suit of Cloathes supplied
in November 1842 to Philip Howells the then and late Mayor and Justice of Kidwelly
to attend the funeral of the late Recorder - all the accounts manifest waste and improvidence
unconnected with any useful act or purpose whatsoever on items contracted by the Town
Council of the most trumpery character, and in the indulgence of petty and intemperate
habits -

The Tolls of the Borough were formerly of some amount but are now much
reduced - we believe to about £5 for stallage in the public market, which is paid to one
retained by the Mayor for his own use in addition to a salary of about £5 which he
also receives - No part of the Tolls were ever or are now applied to the relief of the poor

[8]


inhabitants as directed by the Charter

Thus all the Corporate advantages having been converted to private purposes
the Corporation having got into the hands of ignorant uncultivated and rude persons
all united in family connections or alliances it served their contracted interest the better to
keep the Town back and to render it as uninviting except for their own necessary
objects as possible

Little attention has ever yet been paid to the pavement, drains or
sewerage of the place; out of a good revenue proportioned to such a place no part of it
appears to be appropriated to this object - It is under the obligation of maintaining
the roads within the districts of the Town - the County Boards has assumed lately part of
this duty at the extremities of the Town - Its sanatory condition is in a most deplorable
state.

The Town is formed of 6 or 7 main streets running in strings and extent
of about 2 to 3 miles - it has an abundant supply of water - one excellent and abundant
spring at the North extremity - how this supply is made to serve the Town we shall presently
see - In the first place the Streets have been seldom or never swept not even when drenched
or overflowing with rain water in Winter nor when dried up into powder in the heat of
Summer - Dung heaps are gathered up, about a dozen pigsties are situate thereon
and night soil thrown thereto - the scourings from all of which flow into the open gutters
and which with the refuse or waste water run or lodge therein, and what does not run
off through a part of the Town to the South and to the bridge to the West is
suffered to remain or to exude or evaporate or get absorbed - This only applies to one
part of the Town the other part we shall also revert to - Then with respect to the
public supply of water; there is one well to the South at the extreme end of the Town sunk
a depth of about 10 feet at the bottom of a Winch, the water drawn up by hand in
buckets - there is another small open surface well, exhausted in dry weather; at the
end of another street is a hand pump generally out of repair - All these are at or near
the centre - about a quarter of a mile to the North of one extremity is the spring well
of Capel Sūl supplying more than half the Town with Water - This is a full and ample
stream and runs from its spring in open gutters through three of the public streets for
the space of about half a mile to three quarters emptying itself into the river by which
is made a sort of pistle or small cascade whereto a great number of the Inhabitants
particularly the Innkeepers resort or send for water; this supplies the best description of
water but you will be surprised to hear that in its flow through the open streets it is thronged
with swine and poultry - large Dung heaps are formed on its margins, the scourings
from which flow into and mix with the stream and what is still more remarkable
the scourings of several privies and pigsties run into the water as it flows along
whereby it is sometimes so tainted as to be rendered quite unfit for use to the
serious inconvenience and indeed disgust of the Inhabitants of the Town composed
principally of working people who have neither means or opportunity to seek any other
water and to the serious detriment of the public health - Then there are no

[9]


regular pavements in the Town - no conduits or public pumps save the one referred to, and not a
single culvert drain or sewer

The Town situated in a salubrious locality suffers therefore great
deterioration and it may be reasonably inferred that cases of ague, fever and imperceptible
contagions occasionally happen there in consequence of accumulated nuisances, sweepings
standing and putrid water, impure exhalations and generally of the filthy state of the
Town, all of which pass unnoticed by the Corporate authorities and the magistrates of the
Borough, although daily witnesses thereof without the least misgiving on the subject; and it
might from appearances be conceived that they feel innocent of being at all conscious of the
public detriment thus generated, or that they are guilty of any wilful dereliction of
duty on matters in which if they were of competent ability would be among the first if
not the first to occupy their attention -

From what is already stated the Town presents abundant facilities
for a supply of water and for the erection of conduits drains and sewers; generally
speaking it may be kept in a sanatory condition at a moderate cost, which might long
ago have been attended to had the Corporation revenues been properly applied instead of
having been frittered by the Mayor, Justices and the members of the Borough Council in
jobbing in an accumulation of petty and unnecessary expenses, in useless offices and in
low profligacy - This Borough being exempt from County rates much is saved to the
Inhabitants in this respect but then what is saved in a pecuniary view is lost in the
general health - the exemption instead of encouraging vigilance has only led to
negligence and depravity

Then it is to be lamented that there are no public walks about
the Town - that the toiling portion of the Inhabitants have been and are now being
hemmed in amidst unhealthy streets bad and narrow roads and bye lanes, no
due access formed towards the Sea not a particle of land appropriated for the
accommodation of the Working classes, all of which might have been provided but all
neglected without the least consideration in regard of the general mass now suffering
from the deprivation and whose tastes and habits must imperceptibly have become
vitiated by the demoralizing example of the authorities - If the Town were put in a due
and vigorous course of self government, its prospects might recover - the district is most
eligibly situate in respect to internal intercourse to and between it and other quarters,
it stands in an open and most salubrious part of the Coast - the highway to and
from the improving Port of Pembrey and with proper facilities may shortly be the
main highway between the two principal towns in Carmarthenshire: Carmarthen and
Llanelly - the chief transit to and from these places - instead of through another
and more circuitous route - all this might add considerably to the prosperity of
the place and which the South Wales main Railway line about to pass by it may
also materially promote -

We will now look to the state of the district as to the
administration of Justice - to the capacity of the Borough Justices to dispense same -
as to their attention and that of their officers to their duties and as to its policies

[10]


We have seen that by the Charter a Court of Record and an inferior Court called
the Hundred Court to try and implead for debt cases and trespasses with exclusive
jurisdiction are or were intended to be established - Thow the Borough Justices have
power to hold general Sessions of the Peace to hear all matters, businesses and things
save treason and felony within the Borough nonintromittant clauses as to
other Justices - The Charter provides for the election of the Mayor and one of the
Aldermen as annual Justices - We would say that each Mayor is entitled to act as
Justice for two years that is during his Mayorality and the following year, but this
is not and not ever been observed so that there are in the Borough but two
resident Justices - the Mayor and the elected Alderman Justice - Then the Recorder
and his deputy in the absence of the Recorder are Justices but these Gentlemen seldom
if ever attend - Then we have seen by the Charter that a Town Clerk learned in the
laws of England is provided for - The office of Town Clerk is an important one - he is
by virtue of such office Clerk of the Council and has the custody of all the Corporation
books, Clerk of the peace of the general Sessions, Clerk of the Magistrates and Prothonotary
of the Court of Record and Hundred Court; and as the Mayor and Recorder or one
of them may preside in the former and the Mayor and Steward in the latter, the
controul of the Town Clerk therein, if the Courts had not fallen to disuse, would
be considerable - We shall see presently how far the present Town Clerk of Kidwelly
is capable to discharge these functions -

The Magisterial and judicial administration of the Borough is
therefore very disreputable - the whole body of the Council being composed of
unprepared and uneducated men such as we have described, their selection of
Magistrates falls on the usual specimens of the body often on the most eager and
bold aspirants irrespective of any qualifications - on parties known as notorious and
dissolute drunkards - if such be the demeanour of those cloathed with the authority of
the law, what rule of moral conduct are those who are forced to submit to it to
deduce from legalized delinquents?

The present Mayor as before observed is Mr Thomas Thomas farmer
and Maltster quite an uneducated and unprepared person - Mr John Williams the
last Mayor and present Justice is a working Shoemaker and Gardner and occasionally
keeping an unlicenced beer shop or pot house he is continually occupied on his
Trade of shoemaking or mending or of going about the County to vend Garden seeds
and we believe it was his practice even during his late Mayoralty to go about the
streets of Kidwelly with a shoemakers apron before him and with shoes old or new
under his arm - He is a thoroughly ignorant person and just able to write his
name - His late colleague Mr David Williams of Coleman is a person equally
ignorant and if possible more dissipated - Their Town Clerk is well fitted for his
principals - a person who to great want of even ordinary acquirements or proficiency
preserves a very contumelious and repulsive bearing increased rather than modified
by the power he conceives himself to hold - This man is quite incompetent to fulfil
the ordinary duties of his office - has no knowledge of law save what he picked

[11]


up as a Writer in a lawyers office for about a couple of years previous to his
appointment of Town Clerk - And such is the composition in point of incompetency
and ignorance with a very few exceptions and as to dissipated habits of almost the
whole of the Aldermen and the Common Council of the Borough from whom the
Magistrates are to be created - Composed of such ingredients the Administration of public
Justice therein appears a solemn farce - We could adduce instances where parties have
dispaired of finding Justice - others deterred from attempting it, of others disappointed after
seeking it - Riots or disorderly conduct have seldom or ever been suppressed - offences of an
aggravated character have often passed unnoticed or the offenders escaped punishment -
Disorderly conduct and riots assaults or affrays in the public streets have not been
attempted to be suppressed and only ceased by the subsidence of the parties or the interference
of the public or of partisans or their friends - There has not been a constable belonging
to the Corporate body (with one exception lately of a Sailor occasionally and temporarily
at home) capable or will dare intermeddle - and if they do they are conscious the
authorities would not or could not support them - when applicants are desirous to seek
justice through the means of such persons the authorities are often out of the way or from
home - or the opposite parties are supposed through friends or connections or of their own
sinister interest to intrigue or tamper with them so that the administration of justice
becomes often a mere mockery - The Court of Record and Hundred Court are long fallen
to disuse and are now rendered unnecessary by the small debts Bill just passed and there
is little or nothing done at General Sessions and the very outward show of it denotes a libel
on the judgement Seat of Justice - Then no regular special or petty sessions or sittings occur
in the Borough - they are required by statutes to hold special sessions for special purposes
such as ones to appoint overseers of the poor - another to appoint Surveyors of the Highway -
& special Sessions at the least are required to be held for the purposes of the general
Highway Act and a special Sessions once a quarter or oftener to hear and determine objections
to rates, and in other cases - not one of these special sessions are ever appointed or held -
at the last appointment of Overseers the then Mayor and Justice appointed fresh
Overseers in the past instance by affixing a simple cross to two of the names returned
for that purpose at the Vestry meeting.

In August 1844 the parish agreed to appoint a policeman who
continued in office for about 12 months and upwards when he was discharged on the
ground of expence alone with the best character - We have the minute of that officer
to shew that the then Mayor and Magistrate were guilty of the most disreputable and
debasing habits equally regardless of their public duties and of common decency - It would
be too long to load this statement with it but we have it ready to produce when
necessary or called upon - We are of the opinion that it contains acts of profligacy and
misbehaviour in persons cloathed with the authority of the law such as scarcely
could have been contemplated in a civilized Country; and we respectfully offer to support
the Statements therein contained in all its details provided Mr Dale the late police officer who
has quitted for some part of England about 18 months ago can now be found; but even in his absence
we can substantially support the Statement therein contained, the details are the more

[12]


authentic as having been set down as the circumstances occurred - On a late occasion
when the wife of John Bettws was summoned to answer the application of another woman
to find sureties to keep the peace for that shehad threatened as the Complaint in effect
stated "to pull her guts out" both Mayor and Justice appeared inebriated on the bench
but entertained the charge and ordered the party to enter into sureties to keep the peace
accordingly - The Town Clerk then acting as their Clerk was unable to go properly through
the ceremony or forms of taking the Recognizance and no Recognizance was in fact drawn
out nor totice given the sureties as required by the Statute - this was in the course of the
last Summer - We believe the Town Clerk scarcely ever takes down the minutes of proceedings
judgement or adjudication of the justices when sitting in petty or general sessions or in
their judicial capacity nor is he capable of properly doing nor does he as we believe
keep any minute book for the purposes - We could address many other instances to
shew the inefficacy of entrusting such persons with a Commission of the peace and of
the most indecorous losses and disorderly conduct on the part of the persons filling
the situations and assuming to administer the duties of magistrates when in
execution of their office

Then there are matters appertaining to the poor laws and their due
administration and the Assessment of the Rates which come under their cognizance
and for the treatment of which they are utterly incapacitated whereby irregularities
and complexities occur in the collection and in calling on the parish officers to due
accounting of the funds in their hands - And the parish officers have not to our knowledge
been ever called to duly account to the parish on the expiration of these offices whereby
great losses have occurred to the parish

We have seen by the Charter that it is provided that the
Borough should have a common Gaol for the safe custody of all persons attached in
the Borough and the Justices are empowered by Warrant to send all persons arrested within
the Borough on suspicion of felony to the common Gaol of the County of Carmarthen
with respect to whom the general Sessions of the Borough is precluded from proceeding
to determine - This Gaol is now in utter want of repair and a person not long
ago committed thereto broke out without difficulty and was never punished nor called
to account for the offence although appearing publicly and in the presence of the
Mayor immediately afterwards in open defiance of the law - he was a relation or
connection of one of the Justices - It has been the practice of late years to send
all persons to the Gaol of the County of Carmarthen for misdemeanors as well as felonies.
This course appears to be unwarranted by the Charter and is a device to get rid of
the expense of keeping the Gaol in good repair - it is attended with unnecessary trouble
and expence and goes to shew the inability of the Corporation pr the inadequate state
of the public Gaol - The state of this place called the Gaol is too filthy and
unhealthy to be minutely described - It is important to consider that when the
Railway the Contracts for which are now let out, will be presently in course of formation
a great accession of Mechanics and excavators will domicile and frequent the place
requiring increased efficiency and activity in the local authorities, a vigilant and

[13]


effective police and a secure Station House.

The manner in which the Council of the Borough set about their
duties on what they call Hall days is in the present age extraordinary - a body
of them or a packed number meet at the Pelican Inn hard by in the morning before
proceeding to the Hall and set about drinking and smoking - settle the business amongst
themselves then go together to the Hall - make some entry of the proceedings return
again in the same order and finish the day in drunkenness and uproarious jollity
mere animal excitement seeming to be the end and aim of their labours - sometimes
they make an evening of it after this fashion - A great many of the members are
insolvent or of no substance - most of them quite irresponsible and of advanced age -
one is quite deaf - another is blind - a good number cannot write and know the
English language but very indifferently - And still fewer capable to write a sentence
in the English language correctly - We could shew that it is the common practice when
applicant solicit favors from the members of the Council that these parties must
be propitiated - must be first well treated or feasted and in some cases when
this indulging themselves at the expense of persons who merely sought an ordinary
Act of Justice they have been known to practice deceit and imposture - It has not
infrequently happened to see these good men reeling home after attending Common halls
in an open state of intoxication - And it is asserted on credible authority that on
the occasion of the death of the late Sir W. Nott in January 1845 they met for the
ostensible purpose of instructing the Mayor to attend the funeral and got vociferously
drunk and that late in the evening of the day of the funeral they gave the
exuberance of mellowed grief three Cheers for the defunct - We fear we would be
charged with overdrawing the picture with prejudice or exaggeration did we
venture the expression of our opinion that a more besotted, reckless and corrupt set
of men scarcely meet together in Her Majesty's dominions; long impunity has
emboldened them to excess - We would fain trust that having undertaken the
task to lay their conduct and the state of the Borough under the supervision of
competent authorities that an enquiry will be instituted with all convenient
dispatch and relief afforded to us - the institution of the Charter instead of benefiting
the Town is made the instrument to pervert Justice to lead evil examples and to
deteriorate a very interesting and ancient and important district of Country -

The Town and limits of the Borough of Kidwelly contains a sufficient
number of competent individuals capable to duly discharge municipal functions, but if
that was considered too confined it would be no difficult matter in reconstructing the
Borough, to extend the district -

Our wish is not to destroy the Corporation, for its revenues would in
such case revert to the Crown when they might be made to apply to beneficial local
purposes - Our object would be humbly to solicit Her Majesty's Government to take
the situation of the Town into their favourable consideration and to afford the
Inhabitants such relief as may be deemed meet - We are desirous that the present
Corporation may be done away with and that a fresh Charter better suited to

[14]


work out beneficial purposes and to consult the public wants and wishes
within the action and controul may be granted - in particular ther inhabitants
are desirous that any new modelled Corporation might have the choice of their
Magistrates subject to the approbation of the Government

It has been long said that in all concessions and grants of
franchises there is a tacit condition implied that the persons to whom they are
granted will use them justly and that when a Charter is once accepted the
Corporation undertakes the responsibilities for all its duties - Here the trust is expressly
stated to be for the public good and it demonstrable that it has been grossly perverted
to private perquisites calculated to demoralize and vitiate by its example a whole
district - It is difficult to see in this case anything but as association formed for party
pelf, a combined body who seem to openly disregard their Oath of office imposed by the
Charter and by inactivity and neglect and passive corruption abusing the dispensation
of justice - When the fountains of Justice are foul at their source it becomes incapable
of pure dispensations - in some instances inability is more mischievous than positive
corruption but when inability and corrupt demeanor become associated in the same
parties the evil becomes one of the most calamitous that can be inflicted and its
effects in this instance may be witnessed in the utter indifference manifested by the
Inhabitants generally in respect to the depravity daily perpetrated at their doors - with all
possible deference we presume to observe that this Corporation appears a Chartered
body to pervert benevolent objects not only to private profit but to public profligacy - The
Judgement Seat is consequently derided or held up as an impotent object of contempt - The
occupants appear to have neither ability to discriminate firmness to decide nor
confidence to fortify them even if a sense of rectitude pervaded their deliberations; already
authority cannot be duly asserted - the law vindicated or examples set - And the
Corporate officers entitled according to the present state of things to succeed them do
not appear to be better qualified - The Corporate Council appear to consider the trust
reposed them as a medium whereby to indulge in personal gratification or means of
emolument - they are as unconscious of any accountability as they are incapable
of performing their duties, utterly regardless of that rule that can best conduce to the
prosperity of the Corporation - that in proportion as the resources of a public trust are
or become limited and the calls thereon pressing or extended; should rigid economy,
strict disciplines and wary management be observed - They have taken from the poor
and the toiling their last blade of grass and reduced the Borough generally to a
state of as yet hopeless destitution

It may be thought surprising that this matter of the evil be so rooted
and so old has not been noticed earlier - until the municipal reform Act no one
thought that Corporations could be touched - it escaped being extinguished at that period
through the adroitness of its then Recorder the late Mr J. Jones M.P. for Carmarthenshire
and it were not unlikely that an attempt to neutralize this application would be made
but for the disposition manifested by the present Government to improve the social and
physical condition of the community, and for the due dispensation of public justice

[15]


and which has encouraged this application - The inhabitants having been thus long
supine from despair of relief the onerous and uninviting duty of preparing a case
and of offering to establish its premises has devolved on a few individuals.

What we propose to charge against the present Corporate body of Kidwelly
as having a separate Commission of the peace and exclusive jurisdiction as grounds for the
the reconstruction and remodelling the Corporate system are:-

For that the Corporate body has disregarded its Oath of Office which
is that each of its members faithfully execute the same, in and by the corrupt
malversation of the public funds from their original purposes and prescribed objects
as being composed of parties who are corrupt or incompetent and who have been grossly
of long and uniform neglect in the dispensation of public justice such as they might
attempt to administer - for that the two acting magistrates thereof the Mayor and present
Justice are incompetent persons for the due or anything like the due discharge of the
Magisterial and Judicial functions and of injurious tendency as regards the public
welfare - And for that the same Justice is quite an irresponsible person -

For having wilfully subverted the provisions of the Charter in the
appointment of inefficient and irresponsible officers of the Council and of the Corporation.

For nonuser of the Borough Courts of Record and the Hundred Court and
of the Corporate office of Chief Steward - an office if efficiently filled that wants to have tended
to check the undue lavishment misappropriation and disposition of the Borough lands
and revenue - And for the consequent misuser of the office of Chamberlain in usurping
the functions of the Chief Steward -

For alienating the lands of the Burgesses in common and directing
the same out of the legitimate channel that is in disparaging and destroying instead
of preserving same and thereby unnecessarily depriving successive members of the benefit
thereof, in having apportioned a considerable part thereof among themselves and others of
the Burgesses at nominal rents and unjustly depriving several of the present burgesses
of any benefit or participation in the common lands of the Corporation and of their ancient and
accustomed privileges -

For having otherwise unduly and collusively lavished that is
misappropriated misapplied and embezzled the funds of the Corporation -

For neglecting the due improvement of the Town and its sanatory
condition or otherwise for having conduced by gross mismanagement and corruption
to render the place very unhealthy -

For gross and intemperate habits or utter incapacity in the major
part of the Council and for generally debasing examples -

For causing by the general conduct by the Justices and authorities the
law to be disregarded and for bringing the administration of justice into contempt and
derision -

For deteriorating the condition of the Town and inhabitants instead
of following up the object of the Charter intended for the advancement thereof -

[16]


For that the Charter is quite unfitted for the present state of the Town the
vicious principle of self election having lamentably reduced it from a once flourishing
place in the stead of advancing its prosperity -

For that the present Town Council are wholly unfitted to fulfil the judicial
functions the Charter imposes, that as much as a body so obtuse must be naturally
jealous of intelligent controul it follows from experience that what has already occurred
will as long as ignorance and profligacy prevail to the end of time to be propagated
and this is not the case of innocuous ignorance but that which has been stimulated
by the secure enjoyment of corrupt gains and abused power until the practice has at last
grown into irretrievable habits -

For that the Charter has not only been violated but not fulfilled for that
the body Corporate has not only committed grave and long continued errors but omitted
their ordinary and essential duties

For that the Town has and is now suffered to be and remain in a very
unclean and unhealthy state and the main supply of water thereto suffered to remain
exposed to filth and dirt - for instance dung heaps lie in the open streets, by lanes and at
the extremities of the Town never noticed by the Justices or authorities altho' under their
daily observations - And which with stagnant waters - cess pools and pigsties also adjoining
and in the Town in some instances fronting the public streets ooze and exude their
scourings into such streets and the open street gutters and into the main watercourse
running in open gutters along the sides of two long public streets, supplying the
inhabitants with water - And whereto great many of the inhabitants daily and openly
throw and empty filth slops washings and rubbish - And wherein they regularly and daily
wash and clean themselves - There is not a single culvert drain or sewer in all the Borough,
although the Corporation has for upwards of 5 Centuries enjoyed most ample funds to
remedy all defects

For that the principal objects of the Charter which as indicated by its
preamble were for the better rule improvement and government of the Borough and to enable
the body Corporate to purchase and demise lands (whereupon grants of extensive wastes
were thereby made) And also to enable the Corporation to make laws for the good rule
and improvement and consequently for advancing the interests of the Town and its
inhabitants And for the letting and demising of lands - with extensive machinery and
provisions for the maintenance of the public peace - for the establishment of a separate
inferior court for the recovery of debts and damages by the Kings writ and plaint, Have
for the most part been neglected abused or deteriorated or made incapable of being
efficiently carried out And for that a considerable function of the Charter and its Machinery
framed for the recovery of debts and damages and now rendered wholly useless by the Bill lately
passed the Legislature and about to be introduced into general operation for the recovery of
small debts and damages

For that the Charter is of no pubic utility in respect to many if not most
of the most important objects it contemplated and on the faith of which it was granted

[17]


For that the present Corporation and its probable future officers and members is
and are and will be incapable of effectively carrying out any of the provisions and objects
even such as are now capable of being carried out

And generally for that the body Corporate have disregarded their Oaths of Office
abused their trusts and thereby forfeited the Charter

----------------

Such are the charges we have made it our duty most humbly and respectfully
to submit to Her Majesty's Government in the earnest hope of redress - We made the
Statement apart from any desire to exaggerate and to test its correctness we beg to invite
the fullest and most searching investigation - In a confined locality a body of about 30
individuals associated and as it were conspiring to together and armed with a good deal of
local power and widely connected possess comparatively speaking extensive influence but we
are prepared under all disadvantages to meet the emergency and therefore entreat to be
permitted to adduce proof to establish our premises - The personal sketches of the Town Council
which we will assay to append to this statement will we are disposed to think present an
exhibition scarcely equalled in the history of defunct rotten Boroughs and as we verily believe
unequalled to the present day

We presume to think that it will not depend so much on the numerical
quantity of signatures or references with a view to the remedy but in the existence and
extent of the mischief - it is not that complaint is not very general but as respects the debasing
influences of bad examples long existing, and as to the introduction of intelligent correct
open and enlightened principles - Many persons in this impoverished locality may not wish
to offend the Council in respect of an application which they consider will be scarcely if at all
entertained and the issue of which in any case they consider at best as doubtful - and many
are become so habituated or accustomed to the present state of things as to be doubtful
that any good will result under any circumstances or that the Corporation is capable of
reformation - Besotted and degraded as is this Corporation there are still very many
individuals in the Borough who would avoid entering into collision with them or voluntarily
incur their displeasure

We would have entered into a fuller array of facts but that it occurred
to us that at the present stage this is not called for and we feel that in taking the present
review we have consumed much more space than we could have wished - The Records
of the Corporation would go far to condemn it but they are sealed Books and will not
be permitted to be inspected - We might have referred to many of the Burgesses but no
separate list of Books being kept wherein the admission or swearing in of the freemen,
burgesses and other members of the Corporation are entered as provided by the Statute - that
is denied to us - We have presumed tosubmit these representations with reluctance and
we feel we have ventured on a novel and arduous task in proposing to contend with
an associated and conspired body who will probably be disposed to make some sacrifices
to screen themselves from obloquy

And we also beg to say that we humbly conceive that in case some

[18]


legal succour be not attainable whereby the members of the Corporate Council may be
restrained from further abusing their franchise and the functions imposed by it, from
perverting their trusts and longer assuming for which they appear wholly incapable
and particularly from administering public justice judicially and ministerially and generally
from regulating the officers of an important district of the Country, we may despair for ever
of advancing the welfare of the place - public health will be sacrificed, public accommodation
neglected - education held in ignorant contempt and intemperate and reckless conduct will
prevail - any abortive attempt at obtaining Justice will serve to increase if not to aggravate
the evil

With a duly modified Charter consistent as far as found practicable with the
provisions of the Municipal Reform Act there may be found a sufficient number of competent
individuals within the confines and neighbourhood of the Borough to efficiently conducts its
local affairs - And we firmly believe that with due management of the Corporate property the
prospect of a main line railway passing through the district, the contiguity of the place with
rising neighbouring towns and to a rich mineral district of Iron stone and Coal attracting
the attention of capitalists there would in a very short time be a great accession of
industrious inhabitants and consequently of wealth, and that this at present wretched
Town would again revive and assume some portion of its former flourishing state.
Kidwelly unquestionably under due Corporate management might in process of time
be capable of an increase of revenue and of great advancement in its social and
sanatory condition and comfort

Finally we may observe that the main objects of the last Charter with its
cumbrous machinery seem to have contemplated the appreciation of public funds and
Corporate revenues to beneficial public purposes; and the immediate administration of
justice as regards misdemeanors and the recovery of debts - All of which have failed -
all proving worse than abortive by having been perverted for debasing private purposes
at the expense of grievous public wrong - Even if the local Courts were effective they would
now be rendered unnecessary as partly before referred to by the important Bill passed under
the auspices of Her Majesty's Government for the recovery of small debts - a great if not the
greater portion of the present Charter of this Borough will now be rendered nugatory even
even if it were intended to be followed up - while we have seen that the clauses applicable to
the dispensation of the Corporate revenue - the improvement of the Town and above all the
administration of justice are from the vicious construction of the Charter and that of
the consequent composition of its present Corporate machinery incapable of being carried out

We feel we have no powers of effecting a fitting remedy but conceive such
a power rests with the Crown and we therefore earnestly pray that due enquiry
may be made on the subject and relief afforded, and that at the earliest opportunity

[19]


Appendix

The following is a list of the present members of the self-elective
Corporate Council of Kidwelly with notice of their qualifications,
habits and pursuits in life
N.B. The Borough comprises about 1300 Inhabitants with
a separate Commission of the peace composed of and
constituted from the parties following:

1        Thomas Thomas
Farmer, Maltster and Land Agent
present Mayor
Elected Michaelmas 1846

Understands ordinary English but far from being proficient therein - Being a person in good
business is said to exercise much covert influence with the Council and when he exerts it
to controul their action - The Town Clerk not long since elected Councilman and noticed
at the conclusion is his nephew and may be said to be indebted for his office to this
individual - said to be one of the most active in inducing the spoilation of the
Corporate lands and has selected some of the choicest spots for himself his nephew and
friends - This person has great power to serve the Town and the public and might in
some degree have neutralized the rooted vices of the Corporate body if he had duly
exercised it - Until he gave up the Pelican Inn in Kidwelly a great part of the surplus
Corporate funds for the last 20 years may be said to have been invariably swallowed
up at his place - The last Bill for Ale due to his successor and lately paid off by
means of mortgaging the Corporate lands amounted to not far short of £100

2        John Williams
Late Mayor and present elected Justice of the Borough and alderman
(one of the two justices residing therein)

This person is a Working Shoemaker of no substance or responsibility and subsisting
solely by manual labour in his vocation and in hawking Garden seeds about the
Country for which this locality is noted - His calling affords him no spare time save
for occasional libations - Is quite an illiterate character imperfectly acquainted with
English - cannot write a sentence of it nor indeed of his vernacular tongue - Indulges
occasionally in drinking largely and much given to it during his late Mayoralty and
that very possibly at the expense of the Corporate funds or such is inferred - has been
during his late Mayoralty often seen inebriated in the public streets &c. and once
when acting as Mayor on the bench with Mr. David Williams his then brother Justice

[20]


Has filled the office of Mayor several times before and has according to the prevailing
rule been elected one of the two Justices of this Borough at the expiration of his late office
for the present year - occasionally keeps an unlicensed Beer Shop wherein he and his wife
personally act as vendors - Keeping neither a Waiter or Servant on any occasion - Imployed his Son
a Working Carpenter in doing jobs for the Corporation during his Mayoralty


3        David Williams of Coleman
Late former Mayor and late Justice of the Peace and Alderman for the
Borough

A working farmer of small substance living in the country at an inconvenient distance
from the Town quite illiterate, speaks and writes English very imperfectly can scarcely write
his name - of intemperate habits - has been often seen rolling drunk and heard swearing
aloud about the public streets of the Borough and that during his Mayoralty - Is said
to have been often intoxicated when presiding as Justice on the Bench in the Town Hall.
Is related or connected with almost the whole Council consequently his influence is
considerable - Has often acted as Mayor - was elected Justice for the year ending Michaelmas
1846 on the expiration of his office as Mayor at Michaelmas 1845

4        John Gower
Alderman, a former Mayor and Justice of the Peace for the Borough

A working carpenter and small shopkeeper - of little or no substance - if free from debt
- quite an illiterate person of much influence with the Council and frequently Mayor and
Justice - Imperfectly acquainted with English - can write little beyond his name - Is said
to have subscribed himself at one period in his official capacity as a "Justis" a designation
they usually attach to their names in their official capacity - of intemperate habits - Is said
to have been often seen drunk and heard to swear aloud about the public streets and
Houses especially when filling the office of Mayor or Justice of the Peace - Has been often
heard to swear and been drunk when presiding as Justice on the Bench or at Quarter
Sessions - Was Mayor in 1844 and elected Justice in 1845

5        Philip Howells
Alderman, former Mayor and Justice of the Borough

A small farmer living in the Country and at an inconvenient distance out of Town - Is
to be in Insolvent circumstances - quite illiterate and intemperate habits -
often times Mayor - has been often seen quite drunk about the public streets and it is
reported that he can drink 4 Gallons of Strong Ale at one sitting - Has great influence
and connection with the Council and was the foremost in actively inducing and
facilitating the partition of the Corporate lands to himself and the other members
of the Council to the exclusion of other Burgesses in the time of his last Mayoralty
in the year 1843 - was elected and acted as Justice the succeeding year up to
Michaelmas 1844 - Is said to have often been seen drunk and disorderly when
presiding as Mayor and Justice - was during his last Mayoralty treated by the

[21]


Council with a suit of black to attend the funeral of Mr J Jones the late Recorder
in November 1842.
N.B. These last four persons have often presided as Mayors and Magistrates
of the Borough.

6         William Mansell the elder
Alderman

Has been several times Mayor and elected Justice of the Peace - An aged and decrepit
farmer of small substance very deaf for about the last 15 to 20 years - quite illiterate - cannot
speak or write English - seldom attends the Borough Council - quite unfitted for business -
Has been frequently until he became deaf Mayor of the Borough

7        Edward King
Alderman

Has been several times Mayor and elected Justice of the Peace - A farmer of small
substance living out in the Country infirm and aged - quite illiterate and very
imperfectly acquainted with English - can scarcely write or speak it - Has been frequently
Mayor and Justice of the Borough

8        John Bowen
Alderman

A farmer of some substance living in the Country - imperfectly understands English
much given to drinking if not an absolute drunkard and that at all opportune times
at the expense of the Corporation - said to aspire to be Mayor

9        David Williams (Farmer Maesgwenllian)

Has been once Mayor and afterwards elected Justice of the peace
Alderman
A farmer of some substance - a person quite illiterate - can scarcely speak English,
and very imperfectly understands it spoken - Is merely a passive member of the Council
and save as to personal benefits and participating in the occasional carousals of
the Corporate Council meetings takes no interest in their proceedings - This Mr Williams
is in other respects a worthy and harmless character - Has acted as Mayor

10        David Anthony
Farmer - Alderman

A farmer of moderate substance quite illiterate - cannot write or speak English, nor
scarcely understand it spoken - with difficulty writes his name - Is a staunch supporter
of the rights of theCorporation to old or prescriptive abuses - old customs
"yr hen sheol" is his undeviating motto - a ready and willing instrument of
Mr Thomas (Pelican) - Ever steady at his post

[22]


11         William Williams
Farmer - Alderman

A small farmer and quite an illiterate person - can scarcely speak English, or write -
grossly ignorant and a sturdy supporter of the prevailing abuses

12        James Prickett
Alderman and Chamberlain
and Working Shoemaker

He has the chief controul of the Corporation lands - very illiterate but otherwise a
well disposed person but of necessity pliable - His accounts were allowed by the Town
Council - Is said to have become almost blind
N.B. each of the Aldermen is eligible to be elected to the office of Mayor and
Justice

13        William David
Common Councilman

A very aged man - a labourer living in the Country and at an inconvenient distance
from the Town - Is quite illiterate - can scarcely read or write English - of little or
no substance save a few Cattle

14         John Lewis
(no business) Councilman

Quite an aged decrepit old man and for about the last 10 years quite blind supported
by the Allotment of the Corporation and a public charity for the benefit of the blind at
Bristol, cannot write speak or understand English - Is almost deaf

15        David Job
Councilman

A small farmer in the Country - quite an ignorant person - Can scarcely speak or write
English, and so reduced in circumstances as to be a defaulter of parish rates but
appointed notwithstanding to be Overseer of the poor by the Borough Justices in March
last - Is said to seldom, or ever attend unless when private or personal objects in
view
N.B. Is now gone to live from the Borough, and therefore liable to amotion
under the provisions of the Charter

16        William Mansell (the younger)
Councilman

The Son of Mansell the Elder No 6 a labourer - can scarcely deliver
himself in English - Can write a little in other respects qute ignorant
and of much the same Character for intemperate habits as his father - Never

[23]


lets slip an opportunity to carouse with the Council.


17        William Jones (Councilman)

A small farmer very aged - an ignorant and drunken person - often of very intemperate
conduct in the public Streets

18        Thomas Thomas (Pendre)
Councilman

A farmer of some substance - does not speak or understand English - seldom and very
cautiously joins the Council - Is otherwise a very respectable man

19        William Gower
Councilman

A Butcher attending the Llanelly and Kidwelly Markets - a staunch supporter of the
Council - Does not write English - understands it a little

20        Evan Gower
Councilman

A small farmer quite illiterate - does not speak or understand English - much given to drinking

21        Evan Williams
Councilman

A farmer living in the Country - never acts with the Council and has tendered his
resignation which has not yet been accepted - understands English - He is a very
respectable man and is said to have openly expressed his disinclination to be associated
with the Council

22         John Griffith
Common Councilman

A small farmer - quite ignorant out of his own business - does not understand English
nor speak it and never understood that a Corporation meant any thing else than a
body of people met to enjoy themselves at the public expense

23        John Thomas
Councillor and Town Clerk &c. i.e, Clerk of the Council Clerk of the peace of the
General Sessions of the peace and Prothonotary of the Court of Record and Hundred
Court and Magistrates Clerk

This person is a Nephew of Mr Thomas Thomas the present Mayor - Being Town Clerk of
the Borough he fulfills ex-officio the various offices above enumerated, he has to draw up
and enter the proceedings of the Council and we would say he can just enter or omit
what he considers might best suit him - often treating the members with palpable

[24]


rudeness - This might be the most useful, and important municipal officer within the
Charter - he has charge of all the public Records of the Borough - His Salary is subject to the
dicta or regulated by the Council - the Charter which the Council have been sworn faithfully
to execute requires that the Town Clerk should be a discrete man learned in the laws of
England, but save that this person has by means of having for about a couple of years been
a writer in an Attorneys office and thereby having acquired ordinary English and a proficiency
in hand writing and to cast accounts he appears unprepared and inefficient for the due
discharge of his duties - Is considered very inattentive even to the routine of public
business - Instead of facilitating, his demeanour has conduced to retard delay or obstruct
public justice; even such as such Magistrates have it in their power to dispense - He
appears incapable to properly draw up or make due entries or records of judicial
proceedings &c - His conduct at the Quarter Sessions and we understand at Council
Meetings and as Magistrate's Clerk has been on some occasions full of coarse assumption;
But with characters such as this Corporation and as we have described assurance passes for
ability - We do not know that he is a person of substance or responsibility - we believe not

N.B. The Aldermen are elected for life out of the Councilmen or principal
Burgesses only and the principal Burgesses by a majority of the Corporate
Council indiscriminately

N.B. For five Centuries has this Corporation existed with no other effect than to
demoralize its Members and as will the locality by its corrupt and profligate example
whose only business seems to have been to contrive how best to dissipate and lavish resources
capable of much public good and to deteriorate and greatly to ruin the place if not to
make it a very nest of poverty - such are the Characters on whom devolves the public
government of this devoted Borough

----------------

P.S. Vide marginal observations p 23 ante - David Job Councilman No. 15
referred to on p 23 has been lately amoved by the Council for non-residence and the
vacancy in Council thereby created and another previous one caused by death were in
January 1847 filled up by the Council by the election of the following persons -


15        Daniel Mansell
Councilman

Another Son of William Mansell the elder Alderman No. 6 and brother of William
Mansell the younger Councilman No. 16 - He farms a small quantity of land and lives
with and is working on the farm of his father in law William Jones Councilman
No. 17 - allied to almost all the Council - Writes reads and understands
English imperfectly

[25]


24        Henry Anthony
Councilman

Nephew of David Williams No. 3, William Mansell No. 6, and David Anthony No. 10 and
Cousin to William and David Mansell Councilmen - Is a small farmer and working
occasionally on the farm in the occupation of his mother adjoining his own land - speaks
and understands English tolerably - writes it imperfectly

The following is
A Sketch or Table
of the present chartered body Corporate of Kidwelly,

under the old Borough system of close self-election, denoting by the connecting lines
the propinquity of the several parties to each other through affinity and blood; whereby
it would appear they are allied from top to bottom:-

Table

By this table it can be made out two of the Aldermen of the Borough John
Williams Shoemaker and William Mansell farmer are connected through blood and affinity
with fourteen members of the Council - that is each with seven - And that these same
several parties may thereby command including their own Sixteen votes, or more than a
full majority of the whole Council - but as thirteen members assembled comprise a full
Town Council Meeting - And as its proceedings are controuled by the concurrence of the major
part of the number present the governance of the Corporation may resolve half into the
controul of seven only - thus each of these two individuals may through their relatives
command a majority of the Council on the plan described and so it may be managed
by any number of their respective families as interest address or feeling may operate - And

[26]


again Thomas the present Mayor may be said to command these two families independent
of other Members of the Council under his influence by which it may be inferred how readily
he may work his machinery and govern the whole Corporation - Then he may the more
especially now he is a Mayor and with the assistance or connivance of his Nephew the
Town Clerk partly dependent on him effectively command a surreptitious or packed Town
Council Meeting by merely causing a short written notice to be temporarily affixed on
the Town Hall door, three days before the professed meeting (which parties may never see
and care not to see - a good many living in the suburbs) And by sending special invitations
to favoured or special adherents and connections And thus it would be to the end of time -
for as the old members die off the fresh aspirants to office in the persons of their sons and
immediate relatives all brought up to similar pursuits and habits spring forward as
we see in the two last instances of the persons just elected into Council.

We are inclined to think it will on investigation turn out that no cause
of amotion, forfeiture or vacancy appears on the books to ground the election of these parties
to office

[27]


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