ANW logo

Archives Network Wales

Search the collections:        Search help | Advanced search   | Browse by repository

Browse the indices: Combined(searchable) Personal names Corporate names Places Subjects



[New to Archives?]

[Family history]

[Admin menu]

List of repositories  |  List of collections at National Library of Wales  |  Repository home page  |  Contact details

National Library of Wales
Penralley papers

Reference code(s): GB 0210 PENLEY

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Penralley Papers

Short Title: Penralley papers

Creation date(s): 1656-1991

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 0.166 cubic metres (14 boxes)

Name of creator(s): Penralley estate


Administrative/Biographical history: James Jones (d. 1774) left the Penralley property in Rhaeadr, Radnorshire, to his nephew, John James (1737-1790), a lieutenant in the Royal Navy. In 1780, John James married Jane Probert (1757-1844), daughter of Evan Probert of Kempsey, Worcestershire, and had eight children. John Jones James (1781-1837) was the eldest child. He was a mate in the East India service in 1812, and later a trader in India in his own right. He married and had a daughter, Catherine Jane James (1828-1908, dsp), who was born at sea off Ceylon. He also had an illegitimate daughter, Cornelia Ludovica Immens of Antwerp. He died at sea and was buried at St Helena.

Horatio James (1789-1850), John James's only other son to survive to adulthood, served in the Royal Navy, rising to the rank of commander. In 1833 he married Sarah Margaretta Symonds (1802-1889), and had two daughters. In 1857 Harriet Frances (1836-1868), the elder daughter, became the first wife of the Rev. Thomas Howel Evans (1832-1915), the son of Rev. Jonah Bowen Evans ('Cattwg', 1806-1876). In 1862 Maria (1843-1914), the younger daughter, married Stephen William Williams (1837-1899, dsp), the county surveyor for Radnorshire, 1862-1899.

Horatio James Evans (1859-1932), the eldest son of the Rev. Thomas Howel Evans, served in the British Army in the Afghan, South African and First World Wars, ending his career as Brigadier-General, 38th Welsh Division. Walter Bowen Evans (1862-1923), brother of Horatio, was a noted explorer, mining engineer and chemist, and member of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales. Francis Howel Evans (1867-1931), another brother, wrote crime stories as Frank Howel Evans and he may have been the inspiration behind Agatha Christie's 'Poirot'.

The family appear to have failed with Horatio's son, Horatio Peter Bowen Evans (1916-1988).


Scope and content/abstract: Correspondence, deeds and papers of various members of the James and Williams families of Penralley, Rhaeadr, Radnorshire, including naval records, 18th-19th cent., the papers of Lieutenant John James RN (1737-1790), Commander Horatio James RN (1789-1850), Brigadier-General Horatio James Evans (1859-1932), and Stephen William Williams (1837-1899), antiquarian and county surveyor for Radnorshire, and the papers of associated families.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement: Arranged by familes and individuals: 'Captain James Jones' (d. 1774); Lt John James (1737-1790); Jane James (née Probert, 1757-1844); John Jones James (1781-1837); Catherine Jane James (1828-1908); Cdr Horatio James (1789-1850), including Mrs Sarah James; Stephen William Williams (1837-1899); Maria Williams (née James, 1843-1914); the James family; Rev. Jonah Bowen Evans (1806-1876); Rev. Thomas Howel Evans (1832-1915); Harriet Frances Evans (née James, 1836-1868); Brig.-Gen. Horatio James Evans (1859-1932) and family (Mrs H. G. Evans, Mrs S. E. C. Evans, the Matthews family, and Cdr Peter Bowen Evans); the Evans Family (Walter, Frank, Gretta, Katie, Minnie and Nellie); the Penry family; the Probert family (Henry, and Emma Bowring (née Probert; 1794-1870)); John Raphael Bowring (1789-1669), including theatricals; George Augustus Bowring (1825-55); and miscellaneous papers.

Location: No's 1-126 (box 1), 127-291 (box 2), 292-530 (box 3), 531-689 (box 4), 690-698 (box 5), 699-749 (box 6), 750-858 (box 7), 859-951 (box 8), 952-999 (box 9), 1000-1069 (box 10), 1070-1146 (box 11), 1148-1199 (box 12), 1200-1220 (box 13), 1221-1249 (box 14), 1250-1266 (box 15), 1267-1292B (box 16), 1293-1415 (box 17), and 1416-1666 (box 18). Stored outside the boxes: 665, 667, 682, 709 and 1003C.

No's 699, 711, 722-723, 754-756, 772-780, 841, 858, 1028, 1068, 1466, 1616 and 1657 are not used.

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 of the 1991 deposit are available at NLW and HMC. The entire archive including the 1991 deposit is currently being catalogued. The catalogue for the 1991 deposit 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: The papers were left over from a sale of the effects at Penralley in 1989. They were listed by Rev. Dr David H. Williams at the Rhaeadr offices of Russell, Baldwin & Bright (now Brightwells), auctioneers and valuers. A number of documents were retained by the Rhaeadr Museum, and the remainder deposited at NLW in October 1991 (see NLW Annual report 1991-92, p.61). The NLW catalogue was largely based on Dr Williams's list, including his numbers and his descriptions of the documents retained by the museum.

The museum subsequently renumbered its papers, with the result that the NLW catalogue's reference numbers no longer corresponded to the museum's call numbers. These papers were transferred to NLW following the closure of the museum. Following the addition of further material by Dr Williams, the whole collection was renumbered and recatalogued. A conversion table between the old and the current reference numbers, and a list of the items deposited by Dr Williams, are included in printed copies of the current catalogue.

Immediate source of acquisition: Deposited by the Rhaeadr Museum, per Rev. David H. Williams, in October 1991, and by Mr T. G. B. Lawrence, Rhaeadr, previously curator of Rhaeadr Museum, January 2004. A further accrual was deposited by Dr Williams in February 2005.


Related material: A letter book of the Rev. Jonah Bowen Evans, 1843-1873, is NLW MS 23056D. Further papers relating to Stephen William Williams are among the Birmingham Corporation Waterworks Records at NLW, and among the records of the Elan Valley Waterworks Committee at Birmingham Public Reference Library, the Powys County Archives Office and the Rhaeadr Museum.

Publication note: The following articles are based in greater or lesser measure on material in the Penralley Papers:
David H. Williams, 'Commander Horatio James, R. N'., Trans. Rads. Soc., vol. 61 (1991), pp. 9-19.
David H. Williams, 'An appreciation of the life & work of Stephen William Williams', Mont. Colls., vol. 80 (1992), pp. 55-88.
David H. Williams, 'A neglected Radnorshire cleric: the Reverend Jonah Bowen Evans, BD ('Cattwg'), vicar of St Harmon, 1845-76', Jnl Welsh Religious History, vol. 1 (1993), pp. 81-111.
David H. Williams, 'Stephen William Williams: the archaeologist & soldier: the man & his family', Trans. Rads. Soc., vol. 69 (1999), pp. 116-142.
David H. Williams, 'A faithful vicar of St Harmon: the Reverend Jonah Bowen Evans, BD', Trans. Rads. Soc., vol. 71 (2001), pp. 104-140.
David H. Williams, 'A clerical son of Radnorshire: the Reverend Thomas Howel Evans & his family', Trans. Rads. Soc., vol. 73 (2003), pp. 163-192.


Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Stephen Benham.
The following source was used in the compilation of this description: NLW, Schedule of Penralley Papers.

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

Date(s) of descriptions: September 2001; revised January 2004.

Evans family, | of Penralley | Archives
James family, | of Penralley | Archives
Penralley Estate (Wales) | Archives
Ship's papers
Williams family, | of Penralley | Archives

Personal names
Evans , Horatio James , 1859-1932
Evans family , of Penralley
James , Horatio , 1789-1850
James , John , ca. 1738-1790 , Lieutenant
James family , of Penralley
Williams , Stephen William , 1837-1899
Williams family , of Penralley

Corporate names
Great Britain | Royal Navy
Penralley Estate (Wales)


List of repositories  |  List of collections at National Library of Wales  |  Repository home page  |  Contact details