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Ruthin’s Unique Memorial to an Early Postmaster

Charles I was responsible for opening up the royal postal service to the public in 1635. he prosperity which Ruthin enjoyed prior to the Civil War had evaporated and for a period afterwards the castle and the town went into decay However by the end of the 17th century the glove and cloth industries had survived as also had the major Guilds such as the Company of Mercers, Glovers, Tanners and Tailors. It was the only borough in North ales that had these Guilds, a free grammar school and regular quarter sessions along with a large number of gentlemen's seats. Indeed some historians regard the town of Ruthin as being one of the most successful towns in Wales of that period. No doubt this was the major reason that  necessitated the appointment of an official Postmaster. The appointment of Ruthin as a post town is confirmed in Thomas Gardiner's survey of posts published in 1682. In 1702 a Richard Winn was in office as a  memorandum in official records shows that he owed the Post Office the sum of £124-11-6—an exceedingly large sum for those days. This also confirms the business prosperity of the town. In that year also a Thomas Owen took over and he must be unique in the records of salaries paid to Post masters in that his salary was a quarter of all receipts from letters. All other postmasters had a stated salary each year. The authorities were not going to allow Ruthin postmasters to
catch them out a second time!! He, in turn, was followed by one Richard Foulkes. As an individual he must have stood out among his fellow men as there is a memorial tablet to him at the Collegiate and Parish Church of St. Peter. It is to be found on the north wall of the north nave of the church. Perhaps he is the same Thomas Foulkes, gent, made a burgess of Ruthin on 25th September 1699 and sworn Alderman on 16th October 1701 for the ensuing year, and who was Alderman again twice for 1707-8 and 1709-10. This tablet, which carries important postal history information was according to the late Mr P H Randall—an authority on St Peter’s Church, was carved by the classical stonecutter Robert Wynne, whose workshop was in Well Street and who is known to have prepared the major memorials for the Sir Watkin Williams Wynn family. As can be seern he 'dy'd' on the 1st April 1712 aged 47 years. This tablet is regarded by the writer to be one of the earliest if not the earliest in the country to an official concerned with the day to day carrying of mail and therefore unique to our town of Ruthin!
Gwynne Morris recorded fitting tributes in December 2009 and June 2011