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Edited and published by A. Fletcher, P. Randall and D.W.Williams from Plas Tirion, Well Street, Ruthin, Clwyd, LL15 1AW.


[Richard Clough of Denbigh, then living in Antwerp, attended the two-day funeral and described it in a sixteen-page letter to Sir Thomas Gresham, dated 2 January 1556]

"In Brussels. I saw the burial of the late Emperor, Charles V, who died on the 29th of last month, all the streets between the Palace and the Church were full of people. The hearse, covered with a cloth of gold, was placed in the centre of the church.

‘The funeral began about one o'clock, when the mourners came out of the Court in a long procession, the bishops and priests, followed by the judges and clerks, then the councellors and heralds, the lords and earls, the dukes and the princes. Three Knights of the Holy Sepulchre with the Cross of Jerusalem on their breasts. The new King - Phillip II - was dressed all in black in a long robe with the hood pulled Forward over his face.
Then came a ship, about 24 feet long and about twenty tons burthen, which was cleverly made, carved and gilded. The ship was carried by men inside, but it appeared as if it was at sea. Before the ship were two strange monsters, one with a bridle, one with a collar, which were attached to the ship by cords of silk and they seemed to pull the ship forward. The ship was painted from waterline to shrouds with details of the naval voyages and victories of the late Emperor. The sea in which the ship seemed to move was full of banners of the Emperor’s arms standing upright, and among them were banners of the Turks and the Moors fallen and trailing in the "water".

The shrouds and upper parts of the hull were carved and gilded but the masts, sails, and Tops were all in black. Around the stern were painted the arms of all the countries who recognised Charles as Emperor and the flags of all the nations he governed were flying aloft.

Amidships stood an empty throne, on the forecastle sat a maid dressed in brown, holding an anchor. Before the empty throne sat another dressed all in white with a veil over her face holding in her right hand a red cross and in her left a chalice with the sacraments. In the stern stood another maid dressed in red, in her hand a burning heart and from the mainmast hung a banner with a picture of the Crucifixion” 

On the second day, Richard Clough was inside the Church for the Mass after which he describes the following incident:-

"When the service was over. a nobleman who was I believe the Prince of Orange  moved forward to stand beside the hearse, which he struck with his sword and called "He's dead", then stood in silence awhile before saying "He shall remain dead." Again, he paused before saying: "He is dead and there is another risen up in his place greater than ever he was". Whereupon the King's hood was removed from his head. The new King went from the Church in procession with his head uncovered so that all could see his face.

This was the order of the burial of the Emperor and the like has not ever been seen. 'The Lorde give hys solle rest.’

Stan Scoin


Five hundred years ago on 22nd August, 1485, the Battle of Bosworth was fought, the outcome of which placed Henry Tudor on the throne as Henry VII. It was this decisive battle that brought to a close the thirty year long Wars of the Roses.
In his book "Wales and the Wars of the Roses", Howell T. Evans writes:
"In Wales, at least, the name of Grey de Ruthin, was already synonymous with perfidy. There is hardly a more revolting figure in the annals of the war."

The de Grey referred to was Edmund, 4th Baron de Grey of Ruthin who was born around 1420 and knighted in 1440. On 10th July, 1460, at the Battle of Northampton, he turned traitor by joining his forces  with those of the Earl of Warwick. De Grey's men, on the left flank, helped their former enemies attack from behind the King's archers in the centre and the Duke of Buckingham's men on the right flank. The Lancastrians broke and fled and King Henry VI was taken prisoner. Thus, the battle was decided in favour of the House of York. At the Battle of Bosworth, the Stanleys used the same tactics in favour of Henry Tudor.

In 1463, de Grey was made Treasurer of England and on 14th May, 1465, Edmund de Grey was created Earl of Kent by Edward IV, no doubt in recognition of his services at Northampton. When Richard III was crowned in 1483, de Grey carried the second sword at the coronation. Henry VII confirmed the Earldom in 1487


Arms of Edmund de Grey From his Seal 1442

De Grey married Lady Katherine Percy, daughter of the second Earl of Northumberland, by whom he had three sons and two daughters. He died in 1489/90 and was buried in St. Peter's Church, Ruthin at the base of the tower which is now the vestry.

Thomas Churchyard (1520-¬1604), visiting the church in the late 16th century, records in his "Worthies of Wales" the following:-
"A Church there is in Wrythen [Ruthin] at this day Wherein Lord Grey that once was Earl of Kent In tomb of stone amid the chauncel lay…”    
Sadly, the tomb of Lord Grey has long since disappeared, but the site and the remains of the ironwork protecting the tomb can still be seen in the south wall of the vestry. It is probable that the tomb was removed or destroyed during the Civil War or Commonwealth Period as the Royalist Trooper, Symonds, visiting the Church in 1645 refers in his diary to the tomb ‘ … being under an arch, southwall of the belfray There is no record of the tomb after this date.


The magnificent carved ceiling of 408 panels over the north nave of St. Peter's Church was probably commenced by Edmund de Grey shortly after Bosworth as one of the panels over the inner  vestry is carved with a crown and thorns. [Latest research suggests it was begun earlier c.1460s’1470s] On another panel over the organ pipes, a hand grasping a dagger has been carved. Could a Tudor carpenter have carved this panel as a reminder to future generations of the treachery of this "revolting figure", Edmund de Grey of Ruthin, 1st Earl-of Kent?      

Within the hallowed walls of St. Peter's Church. lies one of the controversial field commanders of the Wars of the Roses. May he continue to rest in peace.

PDR [Peter Randall]



There has been a 'town and gown' relationship with Ruthin School probably since Dean Goodman endowed the school. An enigmatic character in this relationship in the nineteenth century was Edward Barnwell. He was the third child of Charles Frederick Barnwell and Jane Lowry. They were a fairly wealthy family. He was a Fellow of Caius College, Cambridge, and his maternal grandfather was the first cousin to the Earl of Belmore. They were a Norfolk family and E.L. Barnwell returned to this part of the country when he married Matilda, daughter of Rev. C.J. Chapman of St. Peter's Bancroft, Norfolk. At that time he had been at Ruthin for seven years since 1839.

Barnwell had a brilliant academic career. He went to Balliol College, Oxford, and in 1834 took a first in maths. He was invited to sit for classical honours but declined. In 1836, he took a scholarship to Jesus College and was ordained a Deacon by Bagot, Bishop of Oxford. Later, in 1837, he was ordained a priest by Bishop Carr of Worcester and became curate a Malvern Wells.

In 1839, Ruthin School was in no great shape and by some chance this brilliant young curate was appointed Master. The School had 23 pupils, 4 boarders, 8 paying day boys and 11 free day boys. In fourteen years clearly Barnwell made a success for in 1853, the governors stated that as long as he was at the school, he alone had the right to appoint the under master. Further, that two-thirds of the net income of the school endowment was his and the under master was to receive the remaining third.

The right to appoint the under master had some interesting repercussions for when the Ruthin Council complained to the Bishop that Barnwell had appointed a man who had twice failed his entrance examination to Oxford, the Bishop rightly stated it was none of his business and the Council should deal directly with Barnwell. It was when the Council wrote and asked him whether he would receive a deputation from them that we get a glimpse of the autocratic nature of Barnwell. He agreed to receive the deputation only on the condition that he chose the members of that delegation.

There is plenty of evidence to show that there was little love lost between Barnwell and the Wests at the Castle. A close friend of Frederick West was James Maurice who was Mayor of Ruthin several times during the 1850/60s. Maurice, making a speech at the British School said:
"We have heard of children being cruelly punished, of masters who stop to take breath and start again…this does not happen at this school."

In the speech, there is no mention of the Grammar School or of Barnwell but he clearly thought Maurice referred to him for he issued a writ against Maurice. Perhaps the regime at the Grammar School was harsh for the matter was dropped before it came to court and Maurice did not retract the statement.

In the 1857 Parliamentary election, Barnwell was the chairman of the campaign to elect the right wing Whig candidate, Townsend Manwaring. He was accused by the Ruthin Bakers, Trehern & Son of pressurizing them into voting for his candidate. They sued him under the Corrupt Practices Act and claimed that he had threatened to withdraw his custom and that of a charity he controlled unless they voted for Mainwaring. It may be remembered that the secret ballot did not come into effect until1878. In his defence, Barnwell claimed that he had withdrawn his custom because "they were dangerous and unworthy of credit." It is interesting to note that James Maurice paid the baker's costs when they lost the case.

At Oxford, Barnwell had become interested in history and  he joined the Oxford Heraldic Society so that it is not surprising that he supported Rev. Henry Longueville Jones when he published Archaeologia Cambrensis in 1846. Besides financially supporting the Society in ts early years, he played an active part in the affairs of the Society. He became local secretary for Denbighshire in 1852 and then he was General Secretary for twenty one years. When he retired from this post, he was made Vice-President of the Society. The number of letters. articles and papers he wrote for "Arch. Camb." is truly amazing. His first published paper in the journal appeared in 1855 and the last in 1884 (the year of his death). During this time, there were 83 papers published, a phenomenal contribution to a major historical journal.

In 1865, he resigned his post at Ruthin School and retired to Melksham in Wiltshire. It was here that we get a glimpse of yet another facet of this remarkable man. The parish was widely scattered and in the remote corner of the parish where he had settled, the old and the infirm could not get to the parish church. He generously had a church built to meet their needs and he endowed it.

He died in 1884 and was survived by his two children. Rev. Charles Edward Benedict Barnwell. B.A., Vicar at Devizes, and a daughte,r Mary Elizabeth. A brilliant, generous man who might, like us all, have had a darker side to his nature.

A.F. {Alan Fletcher]

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