Items of significant evidential value
A deed in the Willis Collection [2589/G/15] appears to be the sole surviving source (in the Shropshire Record Office at least) for the mediaeval Welsh name for Mainstone. This deed, a conveyance from Sir Robert Howard to Richard Oakeley of Oakeley, in 1652, refers to land in the town fields of Mainstone "alias Llanivan". As the dedication of Mainstone church is to St. John the Baptist, it is quite probable that the correct Welsh form should be Llanieuan, and indeed this form has been found in the Clun Court Rolls as early as 17 January 1397 [S.R.O. 552/1/27], although the transcriber of extracts from the rolls was unable to identify the place [see G. E. A. Raspin, (unpublished) Transcript and Descriptive list of the mediaeval court rolls of the Marcher Lordship of Clun, 1963].
St. Thomas's Chapel in Clun
The approximate location of this mediaeval chapel (for which see Eyton, XI, 235-240) may be inferred from the field-name Chapell Bancke which adjoined the Barrett family's burgage in Newport Street between 1650 and 1700 [2589/D/13-18]. From the evidence of these deeds, it may have been situated on the north side of Newport Street, towards the east end of the street.
The Murder of Roger Law of Clun
Two of the most prominent families of Clun town in the 16th and 17th centuries were Clun and Law. The agreement preserved by Mr. Willis [2589/D/53] is the only extant contemporary record of the murder of Roger Law by John Clun in or shortly before 1520. Later copies of Thomas Fitz-Alan, the Earl of Arundel's pardon of John Clun, dated 21 June 1521, are preserved in the British Museum [Tit.B.1, 215a.], among the Humphrey Llwyd Mss. in the College of Arms, and (derived from the latter) in an 18th century antiquarian's notebook among the Dukes Manuscripts in the former Shrewsbury Borough Library deeds series ["Deed" 6324, printed in T. F. Dukes, Antiquities of Shropshire (1844) pp.120-121, mis-dated]. A marginal note in this notebook gives what may be the embroidery of 200 years of local tradition about the killing: "said to be at the Ch: Door as he was coming out from the Sact., Mr. Clun having concealed a small sword under his cloak for that purpose".
Arundel pardoned Clun only after the intervention of the king.
At the time of this incident (and until 25 March 1546) Clun was within the Marcher lordship of Clunsland, and Thomas Fitz-Alan ruled virtually supreme. Why therefore did Henry VIII apply such pressure to have him pardon one tenant for the murder of, possibly, the leading townsman of Clun? John Clun was in fact a large landowner in mid-Wales and a valuable supporter of the Tudors: he was given livery as a Sewer of the Chamber at the funeral of Henry VII [Letters and Papers Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, vol. I, part 1, pp.119ff.]. He was also one of three gentlemen of the marches who were in favour of the assimilation of the Welsh law to English law [Montgomeryshire Collections, vol.2, p.401]. This could be cause enough for his incurring the enmity of Arundel. The murder of Roger Law is not simply an example of the violence of Marcher society, but provides evidence of friction between a Marcher Lord and the Crown, echoed in friction between their representatives at a lower level.