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National Library of Wales
Plas Machynlleth estate, records

Reference code(s): GB 0210 PLAETH

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Plas Machynlleth Estate Records

Short Title: Plas Machynlleth estate, records

Creation date(s): 1604-1923

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 0.693 cubic metres (1 box, 1 parcel, 161 volumes)

Name of creator(s): Plas Machynlleth estate


Administrative/Biographical history: The fist occupant of Plas Machynlleth (or Greenfields) was John Edwards (d. 1789), a Machynlleth solicitor, who purchased the property in the 1750s. He was the third son of Lewis Edwards of Talgarth, Merionethshire. His third wife was Cornelia Owen, daughter and heiress of Richard Owen of Garth, Llanidloes. This marriage bought to the family the Garth estate and the profitable Van lead mines. On the sale of parts of the Peniarth estate he acquired more property along the Dyfi Valley. On the death of his son, Sir John Edwards, in 1850, the estate passed to his daughter, Mary Cornelia.
In 1846 Mary married George Henry Robert Charles Vane-Tempest (d. 1884), second son of Charles William, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry. George succeeded his half brother, Frederick as the 5th Marquess of Londonderry in 1872. In 1873 the Marquess of Londonderry owned an estimated 10,084 acres in Wales (in Montgomeryshire and Merionethshire), with an estimated rental of £6,082. However, although owning estates in Ireland, County Durham and Londonderry House in London, the family made Plas Machynlleth their principal home.
After the death of George, 5th Marquess of Londonderry, Mary continued to reside at Plas Machynlleth until her own death in 1906. Her third son, Herbert Lionel Vane-Tempest, continued to live at Plas Machynlleth until his death in 1921. The estate then passed to Herbert's nephew, Charles Stewart Henry Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 7th Marquess of Londonderry, who did not reside at Plas Machynlleth. This, together with the burden of heavy taxation, forced the sale of most of the estate. In 1948 the 7th Marquess presented Plas Machynlleth and the parkland comprising some 40 acres to the town of Machynlleth. The estate was finally liquidated in 1951.


Scope and content/abstract: Records of the Welsh estates of the marquesses of Londonderry, mostly in the Machynlleth area of Montgomeryshire, 1604-1923. The records include deeds, 1603-1849, rentals, 1848-1921, cash books, 1869-1917, and building and improvement ledgers, 1904-1913; records of the Van Mines, 1869-1914, including Inspectors' report books, 1882-1914, letter books, 1869-1909, and pay books, 1866-1902; records of the Llanidloes Mining and Machinery Company, 1889-1920, including Inspectors' report books, 1889-1916, letter books, 1908-1915, and lead ore weighing books, 1907-1920; records of the Welsh Van Mining Company, 1907-1920; and records of the Nantiago Mines Ltd., 1901-1923.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement: The two deposits were originally catalogued as separate collections, creating the current arrangement, the Plas Machynlleth MSS & Documents, which are arranged by subject, and the Londonderry Collection, which is arranged by property.

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern papers - data protection' form.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply.

Finding aids: Hard copies of the catalogues under the former titles, Plas Machynlleth MSS and Documents and Londonderry Collection are available at NLW. The catalogues under its current title, Plas Machynlleth Estate Records, can be accessed online from


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records deposited at NLW have been retained.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition: Deposited by Charles Stewart-Vane-Tempest-Stewart, seventh Marquess of Londonderry in 1940, and by him again per Mr H. C. C. Wilson, Seaham in July 1952.


Related material: An account book of the estate is NLW, Henry Evans (Machynlleth) Records, 348. Further papers relating to the Marquesses of Londonderry are Durham County Record Office, D/LO; and Public Record Office of Northen Ireland, D/654, D/2846, and D/3099.


Note: Formerly Plas Machynlleth MSS and Documents and Londonderry Collection. Present title supplied from contents of fonds

Archivist's note: Compiled by Mair James.
The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Barfoot, James, Plas Machynlleth: A Historical Guide (Norwich, 1997); James, Brian, 'The Great Landowners of Wales in 1873', National Library of Wales Journal, XIV (1965-66).

Rules or conventions: This description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) Second Edition; AACR2; and LCSH.

Date(s) of descriptions: May 2002

Estate administration | Wales | Machynlleth
Estate administration | Wales | Montgomeryshire
Lead mines and mining | Wales | Montgomeryshire
Llanidloes Mining and Machinery Co. Ltd | Records and correspondence
Nantiago Mines Ltd | Records and correspondence
Plas Machynlleth Estate (Wales) | Archives
Van Mines (Wales) | Records and correspondence
Vane-Tempest-Stewart family, | Marquesses of Londonderry | Archives
Welsh Van Mining Co. | Records and correspondence

Personal names
Vane-Tempest-Stewart family , Marquesses of Londonderry

Corporate names
Llanidloes Mining and Machinery Co.
Nantiago Mines Ltd
Plas Machynlleth Estate (Wales)
Van Mines (Wales)
Welsh Van Mining Co.


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