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National Library of Wales
Gwydir estate (BRA), papers

Reference code(s): GB 0210 GWYBRA

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Gwydir (BRA) Papers

Short Title: Gwydir estate (BRA), papers

Creation date(s): 1616-1886

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 0.086 cubic metres(3 boxes)

Name of creator(s): Gwydir estate


Administrative/Biographical history: The Wynn family of Gwydir claimed descent from Owain Gwynedd's second marriage to Christiana, daughter of Goronwy ap Owain ap Edwin, lord of Englefield. The first of the family to use the name Wynn, twelve generations later, was Morris Wynn (d. 1580), son of John ap Meredydd (fl. 1544-1559). His son Sir John Wynn (c.1553-1626) was created a baronet in 1611, and was the author of The History of the Gwydir Family. His grandson, Sir Richard Wynne (d. 1674), the fourth baronet, was succeeded by his daughter Mary, his sole heiress. The baronetcy devolved to his cousin, Sir John Wynne (1628-1719) of Wattstay (who changed the name of the house to Wynnstay); the baronetcy became extinct on Sir John's death, and the Wynnstay estate passed to his kinsman Sir Watkins Williams (d. 1749) who founded the Watkins Williams-Wynne family of Wynnstay.

In 1678 Mary Wynne married Robert Bertie (1660-1723), 1st duke of Ancaster and Kesteven, and carried the Gwydir estate into that family. The 4th duke dying unmarried in 1779, the Ancaster, Kesteven and Lindsey titles passed to his uncle, while the rest of his titles fell into abeyance between his two surviving sisters, his heirs general, who also received his estate. The elder sister, Priscilla Barbara Elizabeth Bertie (1761-1828), married in 1779, with Peter Burrell (d. 1820), and secured the Gwydir estate, the Grimsthorpe Castle estate in Lincolnshire, and the title of Baron of Willoughby de Eresby. Her husband was created Baron Gwydir in 1796, and acted as his wife and sister-in-law's deputy in the hereditary office of Lord Great Chamberlain of England. His son, Peter Robert Burrell (1782-1865), 21st baron Willoughby de Eresby and 2nd baron Gwydir, married Clementina, daughter and sole heiress of James Drummond, Lord Perth, and took the name Peter Drummond-Burrell.

He was succeeded by his only surviving son, Alberic Drummond-Burrell (1821-1870), 22nd baron Willoughby de Eresby and 3rd baron Gwydir. In 1829, he and his sisters took the surname Drummond-Willoughby in lieu of Drummond-Burrell. He died unmarried and the Barony of Gwydir devolved on his cousin and heir male, while the Barony of Willoughby de Eresby again fell into abeyance between his two surviving sisters, his heirs general. Clementina Elizabeth (1809-1888), the elder daughter, secured the title. She had married in 1827 with Gilbert John Heathcote (1795-1867), son and heir of Sir Gilbert Heathcote, baronet, of Normanton Park, Rutland. In 1872, she took the name Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby in lieu of Heathcote for herself and her issue.

According to the 1873 return of owners of land, the Gwydir estate amounted to an estimated 30,391 acres in Caernarfonshire and 296 acres in Denbighshire, with an estimated rental of £8,521. Baroness Willoughby de Eresby also owned an estimated 24,696 acres in Lincolnshire (£36,520) and 76,837 acres in Perthshire (£28,965), giving her a total of 132,200 acres with a rental of £74,000, and making her the 17th largest landowner (with the 12th largest rental) in the United Kingdom. This is apart from the Heathcote family estate held by her son, Gilbert Henry Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby (b. 1830), second baron Aveland, which consisted of about 17,600 acres (£27,000) in Lincolnshire and 13,600 acres (£20,000) in Rutland.

The Gwydir estate was sold in or about 1895 to Charles Robert Carrington, Baron Carrington of Bulcot Lodge and Baron Carrington of Upton, who was created Earl Carrington in the same year. His mother was Charlotte Augusta Annabella Drummond-Willoughby (1815-1879), the younger surviving sister of Alberic, 22nd baron Willoughby de Eresby, above. In 1880 he changed his name to Carington, and in 1896 to Wynn-Carrington.


Scope and content/abstract: Family and estate papers of the Wynn family of Gwydir, and their successors, the Bertie family, dukes of Ancaster and Kesteven, and the Burrell, Drummond-Burrell, Drummond-Willoughby and Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby families, mainly in Caernarfonshire, Denbighshire and Merionethshire, comprising rentals and surveys, 1667 and 1767, family settlements, 1654-1818, probate records, 1671-1719, deeds, 1625-1886, letters, 1670-1821, legal papers, 1610-1802, and personal, genealogical and miscellanoeus papers, 1616-1866, and estate accounts, 1674-1689, 1780-1789.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement: Arranged into papers and manuscripts. The papers are arranged into the following sections: rentals and surveys, family settlements, probate records, deeds, estate correspondence, Holyhead New Road, legal papers, personal and genealogical papers, and miscellaneous papers. Each section is arranged chronologically. The manuscripts were removed from the archive on receipt at NLW and are now NLW MSS 9719-9720 and 9725-9727.

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 catalogue are available at NLW and HMC. The catalogue can be accessed on-line from


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records donated to NLW have been retained.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition: Donated to NLW by the British Records Association in 1940.


Related material: The most important Gwydir estate papers, 1515-1690, are NLW, Wynn (of Gwydir) Papers (NLW MSS 407, 463-470, 9051-9069). Other Gwydir estate records held at NLW are Llanstephan MS 179, Wynnstay L 1311, R 4/6 and R 4/9, Sir John Williams Deeds and Papers 101-119a. A further substantial group of mainly nineteenth century records are held at Caernarfon Record Office. A group of papers relating to the Gwydir estate which were formerly held at the Lincolnshire Record Office are now in the hands of Lady Willoughby De Eresby.

Publication note: Jones, J. Gwynfor, 'The Wynn family and the estate of Gwydir: their origins, growth and development up to 1674' (unpublished University of Wales PhD thesis, 1974); Scheltinga, J. G. W., 'Gwydir estate, 1814-1914: the management, finances and decline of a landed estate in north Wales in the nineteenth century' (unpublished University of Wales PhD thesis, 1992).


Note: Title supplied from contents and source of fonds.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Stephen Benham. The following sources were used in the completion of this description: Griffith, John Edwards, Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire Families (Wrexham, 1998 reprint); Burke's Extinct Baronetcies (London, 2nd ed., 1841); Complete Peerage (London, 8 vols, 1887-1895), vol. 1, vol. 8; NLW, Catalogue of Gwydir (BRA) Papers.

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

Date(s) of descriptions: August 2001

Gwydir Estate (Wales) | Records and correspondence
Wynn family, | of Gwydir | Archives

Personal names
Wynn family , of Gwydir

Corporate names
Gwydir Estate (Wales)


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