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National Library of Wales
Bodrhyddan estate, papers

Reference code(s): GB 0210 BODDAN

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Bodrhyddan Estate Papers

Short Title: Bodrhyddan estate, papers

Creation date(s): 1284, 1606-1908

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 0.153 cubic metres (6 boxes, 4 parcels)

Name of creator(s): Bodrhyddan estate


Administrative/Biographical history: The family derives from the ancient seat of the Conways of Prestatyn and Bodrhyddan. The estate descended in the male line until the death of the last male heir, Sir John Conway, in 1721. Sir John's daughter, Penelope, married James Russell Stapleton (d. 1743). They had a daughter, also called Penelope, who, in May 1753, married Ellis Yonge (1717-1787) of Bryn Iorcyn, Flintshire, and Acton Hall, Denbighshire. Ellis Yonge and Penelope had two children, Penelope and Barbara. In April 1777, Penelope Yonge married the Rev. William Davies Shipley, MA, Dean and Chancellor of St Asaph (1745-1826). Their eldest son, Colonel William Shipley, is said to have been killed whilst out shooting at Hyeres in the south of France by the accidental discharge of his servant's gun.

Capt. William Shipley was his heir and it was he who first adopted the surname of Shipley-Conwy. He never married, and on his death, the estate passed to his sister Charlotte. She was married to Richard Thomas Rowley, the second son of Baron Langford of Somerhill, County Meath. Their son and heir was born at Bodrhyddan in January 1841, Conwy Grenville Hercules Rowley-Conwy. In 1869 he married Marion, second daughter of Capt. Frederick Harford of Down Place, Windsor. In November 1869, he assumed the additional surname of Conwy, and in 1895 obtained royal licence and authority that he and his issue might continue to use the surname of Conwy, in addition to and after that of Rowley. His son Rafe Grenville Rowley Conwy, died unmarried in April 1951, leaving the Bodrhyddan estate to his nephew Lord Langford.


Scope and content/abstract: The 1935 deposit comprised the original charter granted in 1284 by Edward I to the town of Rhuddlan (later returned to depositor), records of the manor of Rhuddlan, accounts and deeds relating to the Bodrhyddan, Perkinsey and other estates, and a letter from Sarah Ponsonby, one of 'The Ladies of Llangollen', to Miss Williams Wynn. The manorial records include a copy of the roll of the leet court of Rhuddlan, 1732, accounts of the expenses of leet courts, 1760 and 1765, court books, 1794-1841, the deputation of the stewardship of the manor of Rhuddlan to William Bell of Bodrhyddan, 1861, transcripts of accounts of perambulations, and correspondence in 1908 relating to searches for grants of the manor of Rhuddlan. The deeds, of which there are about fifty ranging from 1606 to 1792, relate to properties in Rhuddlan, Hope, Caerwys and Holywell in Flintshire, Llanrhaeadr yng Nhginmerch and Wrexham in Denbighshire, and London. The account books include rentals and accounts of the Perkinsey estate belonging to Ellis Yonge, Mrs Yonge, Rev. William Davies Shipley (dean of St. Asaph), and Miss Yonge, 1784-1790, and a rental and accounts of the Bodrhyddan estate, 1794.

The 1938 deposit consisted of letters relating to charity schools at Hope and Gwersyllt, 1715-1720; letters to Dean Shipley from Jonathan Shipley, bishop of St Asaph, Edward Edwards, Thomas Erskine, John Morgan, A. B. Madan and J. C. Williams; miscellaneous letters by Amelia Heber, the Ladies of Llangollen, and A. Warren; notes of speeches by Bishop Shipley on American political questions; a vellum pedigree roll of the family of Jones of Vrondeg, compiled by Charles Mathewes, 1685, and fragments of pedigrees of the families of Yonge, Lloyd of Llanarmon and Wynne of Garthmeilio; rentals and accounts of the Aberkinsey, Bodrhyddan, Brynyorkin, Cilcain and Uwchmynydd estates, 1784-1855; surveys of the lands of John Jeffreys of Royton, 1634, and the Bodrhyddan estate, 1780, 1811, 1852, a volume of vellum maps of properties in Cwm, Aberkinsey, Rhuddlan, Bodrhyddan, etc., by John Roberts, 1756, a volume of vellum maps of the estate of Dean Shipley and Mrs Barbara Yonge, by John Evans, 1810 (Dept of Pictures & Maps); accounts and correspondence relating to plantations on Nevis and St Kitts, in the West Indies, 18-19 cent.; and miscellaneous documents.


Language/scripts of material: English, Latin

System of arrangement: The 1935 deposit was arranged into records of the manor and franchise of Rhuddlan, 1794-1877, rentals and accounts, 1784-1794, and deeds and documents, 1284-1830 (Bodrhyddan Documents 1-57).

Transcripts of two bundles of letters from the 1938 deposit were typed up, un-numbered, as Bodrhyddan Correspondence (two vols, c.1940). The transcripts were arranged into letters relating to sugar plantations in the West Indies, 1755-1801 (vol. 1, pp. 1-334), a supplement of West Indies letters, 1762-1802 (pp. 335-385), and miscellaneous letters, 1744-1826 (vol. 2). Work on the 1938 group was presumably then put to one side for the duration of the Second World War, and never taken up again. The supplementary West Indies letters have now been intergrated into the main sequence of West Indies letters, and the bundle numbered Bodrhyddan 58. The bundle of miscellaneous letters has been numbered Bodrhyddan 59, and the transcripts of the letters in the two bundles incorporated into the catalogue.

The remainder of the 1938 deposit remains uncatalogued.

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, Bodrhyddan Documents 1-57 (1 vol.) and Bodrhyddan Correspondence 58-59 (2 vols, comprising transcripts of the West Indies and other letters) are available at NLW and HMC. Further details relating to manorial records within the archive (Bodrhyddan 1-2) can be accessed from


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records deposited at NLW have been retained apart from the original charter granted in 1284 by Edward I to the town of Rhuddlan (Bodrhyddan 11) which has been returned to the depositor.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition: Deposited by Rear-Admiral R.G. Rowley-Conwy in Dec. 1935 and Oct. 1938.


Related material: A volume of vellum maps is in NLW, Map Collections. A larger group of Bodrhyddan papers are the Bodrhyddan MSS in the Department of Manuscripts, University of Wales Bangor Library. Other related papers are the Stapleton-Cotton MSS also held by the Department of Manuscripts, University of Wales Bangor Library.


Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds. Previously called Bodrhyddan Documents and Bodrhyddan Correspondence.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Mair James. The following source was used in the compilation of this description: Nicholas, Thomas, Annals & antiquities of the counties & county families of Wales (London, 2 vols., 1872).

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

Date(s) of descriptions: April 2002

Bodrhyddan Estate (Wales) | Archives
Estate administration | Wales | Denbighshire
Estate administration | Wales | Flintshire
Manorial courts | Wales | Rhuddlan
Manors | Wales | Rhuddlan
Plantations | Saint Kitts and Nevis
Rowley-Conwy family, | of Bodrhyddan | Archives
Sugar growing | Saint Kitts and Nevis

Personal names
Conway family , of Bodrhyddan
Rowley-Conwy family , of Bodrhyddan
Shipley family , of Bodrhyddan
Shipley-Conwy family , of Bodrhyddan
Yonge family , of Bryn Iorcyn

Corporate names
Aberkinsey Estate (Wales)
Bodrhyddan Estate (Wales)
Bryn Iorcyn Estate (Wales)
Rhuddlan Manor (Wales)


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