Thursday, 11 March 2010


This post was prompted by a comment from Pedro at Pedro The Fisherman Blog. The Catholic Church in Abergavenny is in possession of some plate, including a chalice, which was used by St David Lewis. Other than that, the following is all that I can discover about the whereabouts of the confiscated plate of Fr David Lewis.

On Sunday morning, 17th November 1678, Fr David Lewis S J, was preparing to celebrate Holy Mass. Just before daybreak, six of John Arnold’s dragoons arrived at his cottage in Llantarnam. The dragoons were led by Roger Seys, William Bedloe and William James, and they had been sent by the arch priest hunter, Arnold, to arrest the priest. The ultimate destination was Monmouth Gaol but first the party was to stop at the house of Charles Price of Llanfoist. Price was another Justice of the Peace and one of Arnold’s henchmen.

When Fr Lewis was taken from his cottage, those who had arrested him also took away all the altar furnishings, vestments, and anything considered “popish”! A report sent to the Privy Council asked for instructions as to what should be done with “all his robes, crucifixes, wafers, books and several other things”. The reply was that they should proceed according to the law, and all objects were to be burnt, “if they shall find the same to be popish or superstitious.”

The following is a list of items confiscated and kept by Charles Price of Llanfoist;
One large silver and gilt chalice and paten,
One pair of small silver flower pots,
One small thurible and cover,
One small silver plate for cruets,
One silver cruet,
One silver bell for the altar,
One small pair of silver candlesticks,
Several small pieces of silver belonging to a crucifix,
One picture of the Virgin Mary, with a silver and gilt inner frame

Charles Price was a rapacious man, hungry for power and wealth. Despite orders from the Privy Council, he was very loath to part with the plate taken from the home of Fr Lewis. In April 1860, the Treasury ordered Thomas Morgan, the Sheriff of Monmouth, to take delivery of this collection of plate from Price and give it to the constables as a reward for their diligence in priest hunting! However, Price still clung to his booty and, when an enquiry into the matter was conducted after the accession of King James II in 1685, the stolen articles were still in the possession of Charles Price.


  1. Hi Breadgirl,

    Please forgive the lack of greeting yesterday, I completely forgot. According to my information: "In 1686 the Commissioners appointed by James II discovered the altar plate of Fr. David Lewis in the possession of Charles Price of Llanfoist, and they handed it over to Edward Lewis, of Abergavenny, "to be kept for His Majestyes use". .... the entrusting of the altar plate to him clearly indicates relatiobnship to the martyr."

    I have more information and I would be pleased to share it with you.


  2. Hi Pedro
    Thanks for the information. Indeed, I would be delighted with any information you could share with me. As I have said before, my only wish is to spread knowledge of and devotion to St David Lewis. Therefore, I would be thankful for any help I can get. God bless you.

  3. Hi Breadgirl,

    I don't want to take over your blog, so I can think of two other ways of communicating:

    1. I post a comment with my email address and you can respond if you wish.

    2. I belong to the Yahoo Monmouthshire Family History Group:

    You can look at the posts without having to join and give your email address. I can leave posts for you there.

    Or, if you prefer I can go on posting comments here.

    It's up to you.



  4. Hi Pedro
    Sorry it's taken me so long to answer you. Things are a little hectic with me at present. I am grateful for your offer to share information with me. If you would like to post a comment with your e-mail address, I will respond ASAP. Thanks very much and God bless you.

  5. Hello JPT
    Welcome! Thank you for looking in. I am glad you find this interesting. It is all part of our heritage and history, isn't it? Hope to hear from you again soon. God bless you.

  6. Pedro
    I forgot to ask. WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GET THAT BLOG UP AND RUNNING? I am looking forward to it. God bless you.

  7. Hi Breadgirl,

    I was starting to wonder what had happened to you, but I know exactly what you mean about things being hectic, as we have the same problem!

    My email address is:
    The Pedro comes from a very dear friend who died some years ago. He was German and went to work in South America, but the locals could not prononce his name and gave him a Spanish name. So he gave all his friends Spanish names too!




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