A Glint of Silver Throws New Light on Boom Time History of Bustling Medieval Tenby; RESEARCH ON TUDOR HOUSE UNCOVERS A SILVERSMITH
Byline: RACHAEL MISSTEAR
IT was once one of Wales' busiest ports with bustling trade on its streets.
Now a new clue has shed light on Tenby's boom time in the 16th century after it was discovered a previously unknown silversmith was operating in the town.
Research commissioned by the National Trust about the Tudor Merchant's House on Quay Hill led to the amazing find that a silversmith was trading in Tenby in the early 1500s, something that had not previously been suspected.
The research is being conducted to discover the name of the merchant who lived and traded at the Tudor Merchant's House, but in the process new and significant finds about the town's history are being made.
The study of a will made by merchant Walter Rys in 1507 showed that he left to Davy Rys, his second son, "a slate mazer [a bowl] bound with silver-gilt, which I bought in Tenby", and "half a dozen spoons of the making of Tenby."
And to his daughter Agnes "a flat piece with a cover of parcel gilt, which I bought in Tenby".
Dr Charles Kightly, an expert on historic interiors and the preservation of ancient buildings, who has been undertaking the research in London, believes it has not generally been thought that there was a silversmith in Tenby around 1500.
He hopes that further examination of the records will lead to a name.
"We've been trying to discover the name of the merchant who lived and traded at the Tudor Merchant's House," he said. "Although we've not been able to do that so far, it's been fascinating to study the will of Walter Rys and unearth this story."
Records show that merchant Walter Rys moved from Tenby to Bristol where he died in 1508, but still owned several houses in Tenby, mostly on Frog Street as well as a tannery outside the south gate (now known as the Five Arches) and two whole manors in the country.
This year, the Tudor Merchant's House celebrates 75 years of National Trust ownership, and to mark this historic milestone a major project is underway to present the house as it may have looked in 1500, when Tenby was at its peak of trading prosperity. …