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The Commonplace Book of John Gwin of Llangwm (c. 1615 - c. 1680)
John Gwin lived at Llangwm near Usk in the middle years of the seventeenth century. One of the county’s lesser gentry, he worked for the high-profile Catholic Marquess of Worcester: but he had friends and relatives among the county’s leading Puritans. He was insatiably curious, a keen fruit farmer, interested in scientific and medical developments, a devoted family man, an energetic churchwarden. All this is reflected in his commonplace book, the notebook in which he jotted down things he wanted to remember. This has been edited with a scholarly introduction describing Gwin’s life, background and interests.
The commonplace book is a treasure trove of medical remedies, snippets of local and family history, notes on the management of the Worcester estates, poetry by the leading Puritan William Wroth, advice on the choice of marriage partners, tips on good husbandry, and details on the ownership of church pews and the repair of the churchyard wall. It offers us an unparalleled insight into the cultural and intellectual world of south-east Wales in a period of civil war and continuing religious and political upheaval.
All three editors have published widely in their respective fields. Madeleine Gray is a Professor Emerita of Ecclesiastical History at the University of South Wales. Former Gwent County Archivist Tony Hopkins edited one of our previous volumes. He edits The Monmouthshire Antiquary and Gwent Local History and also co-edited the medieval volume of the Gwent County History series. Alun Withey is a senior lecturer in history at the University of Exeter. John Gwin's commonplace book was the topic of his undergraduate dissertation.
South Wales Record Society publication no. 35
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