Friday, 11 June 2010


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.

*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”. *
This Edward Lewis was very likely a relative of the martyr.

If this post seems familiar to some of you, it is because it was originally posted on 11th March 2010. I reposted it because ‘Pedro’ very kindly gave me a little *snippet of information I had not known* and I want to get as much information as possible out there about St David Lewis, the LAST WELSH MARTYR. Thank you, Pedro. I wonder where the plate is now. Could it be the chalice, etc, which is kept at the Catholic Church in Abergavenny?


  1. Hi Sarah

    A 'Dragoon' is a cavalry soldier. I assume they were always armed and in this instance I know they were definitely armed!

    Thanks for looking in and God bless you.


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