You have no advanced search rows. Add one by clicking the '+ Add Row' button

King?s Rent Hole, Tyn-yr-ynn, Llanbister

Loading Map
Map ReferenceSO17NE
Grid ReferenceSO1515076380
Unitary (Local) AuthorityPowys
Old CountyRadnorshire
PeriodPost Medieval
Described in the RCAHMW's 1913 inventory of Radnorshire, the King's Rent Hole in Llanbister parish was located on a hillside known as `The Foel? on Tyn-yr-Ynn farm (NPRN 41499). The site consisted of a trench, roughly 9ft (2.74m) long and 2ft (0.61m) wide, sloping downwards from a few inches (several cm) at its beginning to around 1ft (.30m) at its deepest point leading to a roughly oval depression measuring 80in (2.03m) in diameter at its longest axis, roughly 4ft (1.22m) at its shortest axis and around 60in (1.52m) deep, which was cleared yearly in accordance with a local custom.

This custom was the reason why the site was listed in the Radnorshire inventory, in which it was described at length by Thomas Williams of Crossways Farm, who that then eighty years of age:

`From a time when the memory of man runs not to the contrary, there has gathered at this spot on Hilary Monday [the Monday following 13 January], a company of the resident householders within the manor of Melenydd for the purpose of electing one of the occupiers as `Collector of the King's Rent.? From every holding in the manor a small rent is due to the King, who [through His Majesty's Department of Woods and Forests] must yearly receive a total sum of £19 18s. 7d. from these rents. The `Collector? is the man who will take the cess at the lowest figure per head; anything over the total, calculated at the accepted rates, becomes the `Collector's? vails. As the hour of noon approaches, any resident of the manor who proposes to bid for the collection or cess, enters the hole by way of a small sunken track, repeating, as he slowly walks, the formula which has been in use from time immemorial? ?I have come here to take His Majesty the King's rent for one year, the year, at ??? on all married occupiers, half-price on single occupiers and widows and on all bitacks [bye-takes], the occupier living inside the manor, and full-price on all occupiers residing outside the manor.? While repeating this form of offer the bidder has walked the 10 feet of track and reached the centre of the hole, when he turns round to face the audience, Standing bareheaded in the hole, `in the eye of light.? Should another candidate for the collectorship be forthcoming who is prepared to take the poll tax at a lower figure, he goes through the same ceremony. This continues until the exact hour of noon, when he who has offered to collect the cess at the lowest poundage becomes Collector. He is at once called upon to find guarantors in four residents within the manor. These being forthcoming, with a fifth resident as `King's Witness,? all stand in the Rent Hole, and the four bail-men, clasping one another by the wrist, and laying four hands on four hands, agree to go bail that the sum of £19 18s. 7d. shall be duly paid by the Collector to the Official Receiver of Crown rents. The fifth man, the King's Witness, places his right hand on the top of the other right hands, and his left hand beneath them, thus making in all ten hands in the pile. The ceremony is then over, and the company disperses for another twelve months. All is done by word of mouth, there is no writing of any kind, and no case of defaulting has been known Within memory. Some years see a larger attendance than others, especially when there is likely to be a keen contest for the collectorship.?

The ceremony was observed by Edward Owen, the first secretary of the Royal Commission, on 20 January 1913.

After the discontinuation of the custom in 1922, the site was filled and levelled.

(Sources: RCAHMW, An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Wales and Monmouthshire. III. ? County of Radnor (London: His Majesty's Stationary Office, 1913) p. 68; National Library of Wales, MS. 18065E, `Edward Owen Papers: Rough transcripts of miscellaneous documents relating to cos Pemb. and Rad. (St Davids etc.),?; CPAT Regional Historic Environment Record, PRN 3491)
A.N. Coward, RCAHMW, 04.12.2018