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National Library of Wales
Portmadoc (Porthmadog) records

Reference code(s): GB 0210 PORTMADOC

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Portmadoc Records

Short Title: Portmadoc (Porthmadog) records

Creation date(s): 1723-1917 (accumulated [c. 1800]-1917)

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 0.348 cubic metres (7 boxes, 1 folder, 6 volumes, 22 rolls)

Name of creator(s): William Alexander Madocks, Portmadoc Harbour, and Messrs Breese, Jones and Casson


Administrative/Biographical history: William Alexander Madocks (1773-1828), industrialist and philanthropist, was born at Fron Iw, Denbighshire, and educated at Jesus College, Oxford, becoming a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, in 1794. He inherited his considerable wealth from his father, and was Member of Parliament for Boston, Lincolnshire, 1802-1818, and Chippenham, Wiltshire, 1820-1826, advocating radical ideas which included parliamentary reform. As well as politics, Madocks was deeply interested in civil engineering, and, reading the Tours of Thomas Pennant (1726-1798), was inspired by the plans of Sir John Wynn of Gwydir (1553-1627) to enclose Traeth Mawr, Caernarfonshire, between Aberglaslyn and the sea. Madocks subsequently bought Tanrallt estate, Penmorfa, in 1798, and enclosed 1,000 acres of Traeth Mawr in order to build the town of Tremadoc, which he named after himself. In 1806, he obtained an Act of Parliament to construct a harbour at Porthdinllaen, which he hoped would be adopted as a mail packet station for Dublin; he then obtained a further Act in 1807 to raise an embankment (the `Cob') across Traeth Mawr to enclose another 3,000 acres, and built a road alongside it to connect Porthdinllaen with London. The Porthdinllaen plan failed, so Madocks revised his scheme, projecting a shorter road to London through Dolgellau, Welshpool and Worcester, and obtaining another Act in 1821 to make a port - named Portmadoc or Porthmadog (also after himself) - at the end of the Traeth Mawr embankment. In 1831, Samuel Holland (1803-1892) completed Madocks' plans by building a railway along the Cob between Porthmadog and the slate quarries at Ffestiniog. By this time, however, Madocks had lost control of his affairs. He had gone to Paris, and died there in 1828. Porthmadog remained as a vibrant port, exporting slate around the world.


Scope and content/abstract: Papers of W. A. Madocks, including his memoranda books, letters to John Williams (his agent at Portmadoc), 1806-1825, and some materials for his biography in the form of copies of letters from Ebenezer Thomas (`Eben Fardd'), John Thomas, Chwilog, Ellis Owen, Cefnymeusydd, and others; a `statute book' of the `Ancient and Renowned Borough of Tremadoc', 1805-1810, with an account of the Tremadoc Ball and Hunt; together with records from the Harbour Office, Porthmadog, including account books and registers of Portmadoc harbour, 1824-1917. Also included are records of the Festiniog and Blaenau Railway Co., 1866-1883; plans, sections and other records, 1860-1897, of the Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway, the Bala and Festiniog Railway, the Beddgelert Railway, the Caernarvonshire Railway, the Caernarvonshire and Nantlle Railway, the Cambrian Railway, the Corris, Machynlleth, and River Dovey Tramroad, the Corwen and Bala Extension Railway, the Croesor Railway, the Croesor and Portmadoc Railway, the Festiniog Railway, the London and North Western Railway, the Merionethshire Railway, the Portmadoc, Beddgelert and Rhyd-ddu Railway, and the West Midland, Shrewsbury and Coast of Wales Railway; a register of shareholders and minute books of the Festiniog Refreshment House Company, 1878-1890; a minute book and share ledger of the Penrhyndeudraeth Lead Mining Company, 1875-1882; nominal and muster rolls of the Caernarvonshire Volunteers, 1860-1883, and other Caernarfonshire militia records; a minute book and papers relating to collections in Caernarfonshire towards Queen Victoria's Jubilee, 1886-1887; account books relating to slate quarries and to shipping, and miscellaneous Caernarfonshire material, 1723-[19th century].


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement: Arranged into the following: Maddocks family MSS; Portmadoc Harbour MSS; Penrhyndeudraeth Lead Mining Co.; Snowdon Slate Quarries; Ffestiniog and Blaenau Railway; light railways; Carnarvonshire Rifle Volunteer Corps; Carnarvonshire Artillery Volunteers; Penrhyn Volunteers; Cheshire and Carnarvon Volunteer Corps; Flint and Carnarvon Rifle Volunteer Corps; Chester and Carnarvon Artillery Volunteer Corps; Festiniog Temperance Refreshment Houses Co.; Queen Victoria's Jubilee Fund; Caerdeon private chapel; miscellanea; plans, drawings, etc.

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 regulations apply.

Finding aids: A hard copy of the catalogue is available at the National Library of Wales.

Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records deposited at the National Library of Wales have been retained.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history: Many of the papers in the archive appear to have been brought together by Messrs. Breese, Jones and Casson, solicitors, Porthmadog, as they relate to the Porthmadog area but not specifically to either Madocks or the port.

Immediate source of acquisition: Deposited by Adrian Stokes, Porthmadog, Caernarfonshire, in 1937



Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds.

Archivist's note: Compiled by David Moore for the ANW project. The following sources were consulted in the compilation of this description: NLW, Schedule of Portmadoc MSS and Papers; Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959).

Rules or conventions: This description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) second edition, AACR2 and LCSH.

Date(s) of descriptions: March 2003

Great Britain. | Army. | Caernarvonshire Militia and Volunteer Regiments | Records and correspondence
Harbours | Wales | Porthmadog
Lead mines and mining | Wales | Gwynedd
Madocks, William Alexander, | 1773-1828 | Archives
Military service, Voluntary | Wales | Gwynedd
Porthmadog Harbour (Wales) | Records and correspondence
Railway companies | 19th century
Railway engineering | Wales
Railways | Wales | Ffestiniog
Railways | Wales | Gwynedd
Railways | Wales, North
Shipping | Wales | Caernarfon
Slate industry | Wales | Gwynedd

Personal names
Madocks , William Alexander , 1773-1828
Victoria , 1819-1901 , Queen of Great Britain

Corporate names
Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway Company
Cambrian Railways
Carnarvonshire Railway
Corris, Machynlleth and River Dovey Tramroad
Corwen and Bala Extension Railway
Croesor Railway
Croesor and Portmadoc Railway
Festiniog Temperance Refreshment Houses Co.
Festiniog and Blaenau Railway
Ffestiniog Railway
Great Britain | Army. | Caernarvonshire Volunteers
London and North-Western Railway
Merionethshire Railway
Penrhyndeudraeth Lead Mining Co.
Porthmadog Harbour (Wales)
Porthmadog, Beddgelert and South Snowdon Railway Company
West Midland, Shrewsbury and Coast of Wales Railway

Caernarvonshire (Wales)
Ffestiniog (Wales)
Merioneth (Wales)
Porthmadog (Wales)
Tremadog (Wales)

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