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National Library of Wales
Gwysaney, manuscripts

Reference code(s): GB 0210 MSGWYSAN

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Gwysaney manuscripts

Short Title: Gwysaney, manuscripts

Creation date(s): [c. 1120]-[1942x1959]

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 54 volumes.

Name of creator(s): Robert Davies; Davies family; Davies-Cooke family


Administrative/Biographical history: The Llannerch estate, near St Asaph, and the Gwysaney estate, Mold, were united in 1631 on the marriage of Anne, daughter of Sir Piers Mytton of Llannerch and Robert Davies (1616-1666) of Gwysaney. Their grandson Robert Davies (c. 1658-1710) of Llannerch, antiquary and book collector, greatly expanded the manuscript collections at Llannerch through purchase, gifts and transcription; the Liber Landavensis came to Llannerch through his wife Letitia.
Robert Davies's great-grandson, John Davies (1737-1785), died childless and in 1789 the two estates were divided between his sisters: Llannerch went to Mrs Letitia Leo and Gwysaney to Mrs Mary Puleston (d. 1802), widow of Philip Puleston of Hafod-y-Wern, Wrexham. Mary Puleston's daughter, Frances, married Bryan Cooke (1756-1821) of Owston, Yorkshire. Their son and heir was Philip Davies Cooke (1793-1854). During the nineteenth century the Davies-Cooke family lived mainly at Owston. However in 1888, due to the ill-health of Philip Bryan Davies-Cooke (1832-1903), the family returned to Wales and made Gwysaney their main home again. Gwysaney was finally sold by the Davies-Cooke family in about 2010.


Scope and content/abstract: Manuscripts, [c. 1120]-[1942x1959], formerly part of the library of the Davies-Cooke family at Gwysaney, Mold, consisting mainly of family papers and manuscripts in Welsh or of Welsh interest. The manuscripts include the Liber Landavensis (Book of Llandaff), [c. 1120]-[c. 1134]; volumes of Welsh pedigrees, [16 cent.], and Welsh poetry, [16 cent.]; Richard Davies's translation into Welsh of St Paul's Pastoral Epistles, [1546x1563]-[1567x1581]; a manuscript of the Brut in English, [1460x1479]; sermons, [17 cent.]-1811; inventories, catalogues and schedules relating to books, deeds and other property at Oulton, Owston, Llannerch and Gwysaney, 1750/1-1801; journals of continental tours by Phillip Davies Cooke, 1815-1824; records of dues for the parish of Mold, 1581-1590; rentals and accounts of the Llannerch and Gwysaney estates, 1730-1843; surveys of the Llannerch and Gwysaney estates, [18 cent.]-[early 19 cent.]; valuations of part of the Gwysaney estate in Flintshire, 1809; and several groups of letters, including transcripts and memoranda, and other papers, relating to the Puleston, Davies, Cooke, Davies-Cooke and other families, 1542-[c. 1850].


Language/scripts of material: English, Latin, Welsh, French, some Greek and Irish.

System of arrangement: Arranged according to NLW MSS reference numbers: NLW MSS 17110-17162, 21608D.

Conditions governing access:

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply.

Finding aids: For catalogues listing the manuscripts in the Llannerch library in 1740 and 1778 see NLW MS 17126D.
Some of the manuscripts are described briefly in John Cordy Jeaffreson, 'The Manuscripts of Philip Bryan Davies Cooke, Esquire, of Owston, co. York, and of Gwysaney, co. Flint, North Wales', in Sixth Report of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts: Part I. Report and Appendix (London, 1877), pp. 418-426.
A detailed list of the manuscripts' contents (as well as those later withdrawn) may be found in NLW, Catalogue of the Gwysaney Manuscripts deposited by Lt.-Col. Phillip Ralph Davies-Cooke, T.D., D.L., Gwysaney (1953), a copy of which is available in the South Reading Room.


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

Accruals: Accruals are not expected

Archival history: The Gwysaney manuscript collection had its beginnings in the library at Llannerch. This was in existence by the mid sixteenth century but was greatly developed by Robert Davies (c. 1658-1710). As part of the division of the Llannerch and Gwysaney estates in 1789 the library at Llannerch was also divided with a significant portion (at least 37 volumes) being permanently transferred to Gwysaney. At some point during the nineteenth century most of the collection at Gwysaney was removed to Owston Hall; Jeaffreson's catalogue of 1877 lists fifty-six manuscripts at Owston (that is [Gwysaney] MSS 1-49, 51-57; fifty-two of these were in the 1942 and 1947 deposits) as well as other documents later given Gwysaney MS numbers. The collection returned to Gwysaney when the Davies-Cooke family relocated there, by this time supplemented by manuscripts from Hafod-y-Wern and Owston and by more recent manuscripts relating to the Gwysaney estate. A total of eighty-nine manuscripts (numbered 1-94, with gaps) were deposited in the National Library of Wales by Philip Tatton Davies-Cooke of Gwysaney in 1942 (NLW MSS 17110E, 17115E and 17126D) and by his son Major P. R. Davies-Cooke in 1947 (the remaining 86 manuscripts). The manuscripts were withdrawn by P. R. Davies-Cooke in April 1959 in order to be valued and then sold. The Welsh and family manuscripts only (52 in number) were purchased by the Library; the remainder were then sold at auction at Sotheby's in June 1959, with the Library purchasing a single further volume.

Immediate source of acquisition: Purchased from Lt.-Col. P. R. Davies-Cooke, Gwysaney, [May] 1959 (NLW MSS 17110E, 17112-62).
Purchased at auction (lot 202) from Sotheby's, London, 15 June 1959 (NLW MS 17111F).
Purchased at auction (lot 27) from Sotheby's, London, 11 July 1978 (NLW MS 21608D).


Related material: Further papers relating to the Gwysaney estate and the Davies-Cooke family are now Hawarden, Flintshire Record Office, D/GW and D/GW/B. Gwysaney MSS 2, 6 and 19 are now San Marino (CA), Huntington Library MSS HM 19915, HM 19916 and HM 19914 respectively; Gwysaney MS 3 is now New Haven (CT), Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Marston MS 252; Gwysaney MS 4 is now University of Houston, Special Collections, Bs 75 1200 Z; Gwysaney MSS 5, 13 and 16 are now Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Lat. misc. b. 16, MS. Lat. th. c. 24 and MS. Lat. misc. d. 83 respectively; Gwysaney MS 15 is now Sheffield Archives, MD 3414.

Publication note: Hywel D. Emanuel, 'The Gwysaney manuscripts', National Library of Wales Journal, 7.4 (1952), 326-343.


Note: Title based on contents of fonds.
Previously Gwysaney MSS 1, 14, 20, 23-25, 27-29, 34-36, 38, 42, 46-49, 53-54, 56, 59-70, 72-94.

Archivist's note: Description compiled by Rhys M. Jones. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Hywel D. Emanuel, 'The Gwysaney manuscripts', National Library of Wales Journal, 7.4 (1952), 326-343; G. A. Usher, Gwysaney and Owston: A History of the Family of Davies-Cooke of Gwysaney, Flintshire, and Owston, West Riding of Yorkshire (Denbigh, 1964).

Rules or conventions: Description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; and LCSH

Date(s) of descriptions: August 2015

Bible. | Epistles of Paul | Translations into Welsh
Davies Cooke, Philip, | 1793-1853 | Diaries
Davies-Cooke family, | of Gwysaney and Owston | Archives
Gwysaney (Wales: Estate) | Archives
Llannerch Estate (St Asaph, Wales) | Archives
Manuscripts | Wales | Mold | Collections
Manuscripts, Latin (Medieval and modern)
Welsh poetry

Personal names
Davies , Robert , 1658-1710
Davies family , of Gwysaney
Davies-Cooke family , of Gwysaney and Owston

Corporate names

Mold (Wales)
St Asaph (Wales)
Yorkshire (England)

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