Early Modern Crime and the Law

Edward Mason, manslaughter of Lewis Rowland

Cardiganshire 1785

National Library of Wales, Great Sessions gaolfiles 4/903/3
9-10: Examinations at coroner's inquest, 13 December 1785

James Humphrey of the said parish of Llanbadarnvawr and county of Cardigan aforesaid on his oath saith that he being at Ystimtean in the parish and county aforesaid working as a miner on Tuesday the eighth day of November last one Mary John Morris (a washerwoman of ore in the said mineworks) came to the top of a mineshaft there and directed David Evan and Morgan Powell two miners belonging to the work, to clear the flooring of the ore lying thereon and which they and others had put there as bargaintakers, whereupon said David Evan and Morgan Powell told said Mary John Morris that she should not remove or touch their ore at her peril, whereupon she immediately went to the flooring and removed the ore of the above bargain takers and laid on the flooring ore belonging to Edward Mason, Richard Hugh, John Mason and others, bargaintakers in the said work and thereupon she began washing the same, when said David Evan and Morgan Powell returned to their work; That in about half an hour afterwards the deceased Lewis Rowland and one Thomas Rowland came towards the shaft and the deceased ask'd David Evan how he could suffer Mary John Morris to remove the ore from the flooring to which he answered that she had got too many for them; That thereupon the deceased, with his brother, said Thomas Rowland and said David Evan went to the flooring where said Mary John Morris [the]n was when said deceased began throwing about the ore on the flooring, upon which deponent went to his work at the pump; that in a short time afterwards deponent was called upon by said David Evan to haul up the miners then at work under ground & desire their immediate assistance to prevent the people above ground from fighting[;] when the miners under ground were immediately landed who with deponent went to the washing floor where the deceased Edward Mason and John Mason were fighting, and as the deceased was not able to stand he was carried home on a sledge but deponent cannot of his own knowledge say who was the cause of the deceased being in that situation. The reason deponent first quitted the flooring was to go to the pump to prevent the work from being drowned. ...

John Robert of the parish of Llanbadarnvawr in the county of Cardigan miner on his oath saith that he was at Ystimtean minework on Tuesday the eighth day of November last washing of ore, That he saw the deceased Lewis Rowland & his brother Thomas Rowland coming to the work when a dispute happened between Mary John Morris and them about a washing place for the ore, That the time Edward Mason and John Mason (two sons of the said Mary John Morris) came there and asked the deceased how he came to abuse their mother whereupon the deced told John Mason he would do the same by him and he immediately struck said John Mason when a fray issued; That deponent then saw Edward Mason giving the deceased a blow with a piece of wood used by miners and by them called an overlay, when the deceased was carried off on a sledge in appearance dead, the deceased having previously struck the said Edward Mason two several times. ...

Rice Williams of Aberystwith in the county of Cardigan surgeon on his oath saith that he was applied to go on the tenth day of November last to one Lewis Rowland of the parish of Llanbadarnvawr who had been dangerously beat & bruised in a fray between him & other miners at Ystimtean minework, That on his coming to his house deponent found Lewis Rowland in a state of insensibility, and on examining him he found a depression of the skull on the back part of the head, whereupon deponent thought it necessary to trepan said Lewis Rowland which deponent did the following morning, saith that on his taking out part of the bone he found it no only depressed but fractured which deponent thinks must have been done by a heavy blunt instrument.


4/903/3.16: indictment of Edward Mason for murder, found guilty of manslaughter; 4/903/3.2: calendar of prisoners, prayed benefit of statute, fine of 1s. and 1 month imprisonment

Note: the 'bargain' was the agreement or contract between miners (thus 'bargain-takers') and the owner of the mine (OED)