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National Library of Wales
Chirk Castle estate, records

Reference code(s): GB 0210 CHIRK

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Chirk Castle Estate Records

Short Title: Chirk Castle estate, records

Creation date(s): 1284-[c. 1852]

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 4.136 cubic metres (176 boxes, 316 vols, 119 wallets, 6 rolls and 10 loose documents)

Name of creator(s): Chirk Castle estate


Administrative/Biographical history: The Myddelton family had been prominent in the affairs of North Wales since at least the fifteenth century. Robert Myddelton, the son of Rhirid ap David of Penllyn (alive 1393-1396), assumed the surname of his mother, Cecilia daughter and heir of Sir Alexander Middleton of Middleton in the parish of Chirbury, Shropshire. Robert's grandson David Myddelton was receiver-general for North Wales, during the reigns of Edward IV and Richard III. David's son Ffoulke Myddelton was governor of Denbigh castle, as was Ffoulke's son Richard Myddelton (c. 1508-1575).
Richard's son Sir Thomas Myddelton (1550-1631) was a founder member of the East India Company, and a benefactor of the lucrative expeditions by Drake, Raleigh and Hawkins. His wealth enabled him to buy the castle and lordship of Chirk for £5,000 from St John of Bletsloe in 1595. Sir Thomas had been apprenticed to a London grocer, and became a freeman of Grocers' Company in 1582, surveyor of the outports c. 1580 and by 1595 was employed on public business such as the valuing prize cargoes, raising emergency military and naval supplies, and giving advice on currency problems. Sir Thomas was MP for Merionethshire 1597 and lord lieutenant 1599, lord mayor of London 1613, and MP for the city of London 1624-1626. In 1615 he acquired an Essex manor as a country seat nearer to his place of business in Tower Street, and also bought other properties in the Home counties. In 1628-1629 he purchased the crown lordship of Arwystli and Cyfeiliog, which he later resold.
The heir to Sir Thomas's Welsh estates was his oldest surviving son, Thomas Myddelton (1586-1666), who purchased Ruthin Castle in 1632, and acquired the stewardship and lordship of Ruthin in 1635. He entered parliament in 1624 as MP for Weymouth, before changing to Denbighshire in 1625. He was also elected for the Long parliament. He became a Parliamentary commander during the Civil War. After the restoration of the monarchy, Chirk Castle underwent a programme of major building work, during which the family lived at Cefn-y-wern until 1672.
Sir William Myddelton (1694-1718), 4th baronet, died unmarried, when the baronetcy became extinct, and the Chirk Castle estate, with the lordships of Chirk, Chirklands and Ruthin passed to Robert (dsp. 1733), younger son of the 1st baronet. Robert was succeeded by his brother, John (d. 1747). During the 18th century the Myddelton family developed coal mines at Black Park and an iron forge at Pont-y-blew. On the death of John's grandson, Richard Myddelton (d. 1796), the estate was divided between his sisters. The Chirk Castle estate passed to his eldest sister, Charlotte, wife of Robert Biddulph of Ledbury, Herefordshire, who prefixed his surname with Myddelton. The Ruthin Castle estate passed to Harriet, who bequeathed the estate to her sister, Maria (d. 1843), wife of Frederick West (d. 1852), third son of John, Earl De La Warr.
According to the 1873 return of owners of land, Richard Myddelton-Biddulph of Chirk Castle owned an estimated 6,953 acres (all in Denbighshire and Merionethshire), with an estimated rental of £9,128.


Scope and content/abstract: Estate and family records of the Chirk Castle estate, mainly in Denbighshire, comprising deeds from 1284; manorial records, mainly of the lordship of Chirk and Chirkland, 1322-1853, including receiver's accounts, ministers' accounts, court rolls, etc.; records of the estate's involvement in the coal, iron and lead industries in Denbighshire from 17 cent.; Denbighshire Quarter Sessions records, including order books, 1647-1675, rolls, 1643-1699, and a book of indictments, 1670-1690; Denbighshire militia records, 1602-1797, and related local government records, 1602-1811; business papers of Sir Thomas Myddelton (1550-1631); personal and estate correspondence from c. 1600; literary manuscripts, c. 1630-1887; and parliamentary election papers for Denbighshire and Denbigh boroughs, 1681-1852, including papers relating to quo warranto proceedings against the mayor and burgeses of Holt, 1739-1743.


Language/scripts of material: English, Latin

System of arrangement: Arranged chronologically in six sections: manuscripts; Quarter Sessions records; election papers; manorial records; correspondence; and deeds and documents.

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 apart from a small group of papers (Chirk Castle 1979, box) are available at NLW and HMC. An on-line catalogue of the main can be accessed from
Further details relating to manorial records within the archive can be accessed on-line from


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records purchased by NLW have been retained

Accruals: Accruals are not expected

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition: The main group of Chirk Castle estate records was deposited in 1932 by Colonel R. E. Myddelton, and was purchased by NLW during 1974-75. Further deposits were made between 1944 and 1984. A small group of papers (Chirk Castle 1979) was purchased by NLW at Sotheby's, London, in 1979.


Related material: Further papers are National Library of Wales, Longueville & Co. Papers, (uncatalogued), Plas Power Estate Records and Ruthin Estate Records. Papers relating to the Chirk Castle's Burghill estate in Herefordshire, 1849-1862, are National Library of Wales, Chirk Castle (Burghill Estate) Papers. Further records, 1672-1816, and 1717-1832, are Denbighshire Records Office, DD/PP (Plas Power), and DD/CC (Chirk Castle), together with Chirk Castle correspondence and papers, 1648-1808.

Publication note: Pink, William Duncombe, Notes on the Middleton family of Denbighshire and London (Chester Courant Office, 1891); Milner-Gibson-Cullum, Gery, Pedigree of Middleton or Myddelton of Chirk Castle, Denbigh, Stanstead Mountfichet, Essex, etc. (London, 1897); Griffiths, G. Milwyn, 'Deposited Collections, 28: The Chirk Castle manuscripts and documents', National Library of Wales Journal, VIII (1953-54), pp. 335-48.


Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds

Archivist's note: Compiled by Stephen Benham.
The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959); Burke's Landed Gentry (London, 1972), vol. 3; Griffith, John Edwards, Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire families (Wrexham, 1998 reprint).

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

Date(s) of descriptions: January 2002

Chirk Castle Estate (Wales) | Records and correspondence
Coal mines and mining | Wales | Denbighshire
Court records | Wales | Denbighshire
Denbighshire (Wales) | Militia
Election districts | Wales | Denbighshire
Elections | Wales | Denbighshire
Estate administration | Wales | Denbighshire
Great Britain. | Court of Quarter Sessions of the Peace | (Denbighshire) | Archives
Iron mines and mining | Wales | Denbighshire
Lead mines and mining | Wales | Denbighshire
Manorial courts | Wales | Denbighshire
Manors | Wales | Denbighshire
Myddelton family, | of Gwaenynog, Denbigh, Chirk and Ruthin | Archives
Quo warranto | Wales | Holt (borough)

Personal names
Middleton , Thomas , 1550-1631 , Sir
Myddelton family , of Chirk , Denbigh , Ruthin , Gwaenynog , London and Essex

Corporate names
Chirk Castle Estate (Wales)
Chirk Manor, Borough and Lordship (Wales)
Great Britain | Court of Quarter Sessions of the Peace (Denbighshire)


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