One of the principal witnesses at the trials of both Fr Philip Evans and Fr David Lewis was a disreputable character named Mayne Trott, of Llanvihangel Crucorny.
Born around 1629, Mayne Trott had been successively Court Dwarf to the Kings of Spain and of England. After the Restoration of the Monarchy, Trott was in the service of King Charles II of England but, because of his unsavoury conduct, he was banished from Court. Trott himself denied this and maintained that he had left Court of his own free will and was still welcome to go there whenever he pleased.
Mayne Trott had converted to Catholicism upon his marriage to a wealthy relative of Fr David Lewis. He soon went through her fortune and after her death he reverted to Protestantism. Having been banished from Court, he had to depend on the charity of others and thus he became a useful tool of the zealous anti-Catholic and priest hunter, John Arnold, and was now a tenant and servant of Arnold’s. Of course, because of his married life as a Catholic, Mayne Trott was able to supply his master with information as to the affairs of the Catholics in South East Wales.
At the trial of St David Lewis, Judge Atkins asked; “Mr Trott, what have you to say of the prisoner? Did you ever hear him read Mass? Was he reputed commonly a Jesuit, or Popish priest?” Trott replied; “Yes, my lord, he was commonly reputed so, and I have heard him often read Mass and I saw him marry Mr Gunter’s daughter to Mr Body.” Fr Lewis, who had trained as a Lawyer, was conducting his own defence and he pointed out to Judge Atkins and the court that, because of Trott’s straitened circumstances, “it is rather poverty and hope of gain, than anything else, that brings him here to accuse me.” To this Judge Atkins replied “Paupertas ad turpia rogat” (poverty leads to dishonesty).
In November 1679, three months after the execution of St David Lewis, there was a Pope-burning in Abergavenny. Instigated by John Arnold and his minions, the spectacle was led by Mayne Trott, armed with a blunderbuss. Shortly after this, 50 year old Mayne Trott dropped dead in a London street.