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National Library of Wales
Mostyn manuscripts

Reference code(s): GB 0210 MSMOSTYN

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Mostyn Manuscripts

Short Title: Mostyn manuscripts

Creation date(s): [late 12 cent.]-[early 20 cent]

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 77 volumes.

Name of creator(s): Mostyn family of Mostyn Hall.


Administrative/Biographical history: The Mostyn library at Mostyn Hall, Flintshire, held one of the foremost manuscript collections in Wales. It was founded by Sir Thomas Mostyn (d. 1618). Thomas's great-grandson Roger (1623-1690) was created a baronet in 1660 and his son Thomas (1651-1700?), second baronet, collected many of the most important books in the library. His grandson Thomas Mostyn (1704-1758), fourth baronet, also made important additions to the library at Mostyn. Over the course of time the libraries of other North Wales estates were added to that of Mostyn. The Gloddaeth estate in Caernarfonshire had belonged to the Mostyns since the fifteenth century. Sir Thomas founded a significant library there which was eventually incorporated into the Mostyn library. The fifth baronet, Sir Roger Mostyn (1734-1796), married Margaret Wynn, heiress of Bodysgallen, Caernarfonshire, which had a significant library. In 1791 she inherited the Corsygedol and Nannau estates and their libraries. The direct Mostyn line became extinct with the death of the sixth baronet in 1831, the estates passing to Sir Edward Pryce Lloyd (1768-1854), created 1st Baron Mostyn of Mostyn. The library remained intact until the twentieth century when various groups were sold off or auctioned in 1918, 1920 and 1974.


Scope and content/abstract: Manuscripts, [late 12 cent.]-[early 20 cent], formerly part of the library of the Mostyn family of Mostyn Hall, Flintshire, comprising transcripts and extracts from Giraldus Cambrensis, Geoffrey of Monmouth, Dares Phrygius, Nennius, Gildas, David Jenkins (Judge Jenkins), Sir John Wynn of Gwydir, Lydgate's 'Life of Our Lady', Leland's Itinerary, 'Chroniques de France', historical manuscripts such as Brut y Tywysiogion and Brut y Brenhinoedd, Welsh romances and the Mabinogion; collections of mainly Welsh poetry, among them the seventeenth-century volumes Llyfr Coch Nannau and Llyfr Gwyn Corsygedol, containing poems by Dafydd ap Gwilym, Guto'r Glyn, Tudur Aled, Siôn Cent and others; genealogies, pedigrees and histories; official papers relating to Caernarvonshire; catalogues of the Mostyn and Gloddaeth libraries, 1692-1842; etc.


Language/scripts of material: Welsh, English, Latin, Middle French

System of arrangement: Arranged according to NLW MSS reference numbers: NLW MSS 3020-3076, 21238-21254, 21693B, 23877A.

Conditions governing access: Access to the original manuscripts by authorised permission only. Readers are directed to use surrogate copies.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply.

Finding aids: NLW MSS 3021-3, 3025-44, 3046-52, 3053-61, 3064-67 are described in more detail in J. Gwenogvryn Evans, Report on Manuscripts in the Welsh Language, vol. I (London, 1898).
NLW MSS 21238-21254 are described in more detail in NLW, Catalogue of Mostyn manuscripts.
Descriptions are also available, together with a detailed list of contents, in Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volume I (Aberystwyth, 1943) (NLW MSS 3020D, 3024C, 3045D, 3053D, 3062D, 3068-76 only) and Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volume VIII (Aberystwyth, 1999) (NLW MSS 21238-21254).
The collection is included in the description of the manuscripts of Lord Mostyn contained in the Fourth Report of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, Part I, Report and Appendix (London, 1874), pp. 347-363.
For copies of the various library and auction catalogues, 1873-1975, relating to the Mostyn manuscripts and books see NLW ex 2858.

Detailed catalogue


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

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history: NLW MSS 3021-3076 purchased from Lord Mostyn by Mr A. Cecil Wright in 1918 in order to present them to the Library. Some of the manuscripts purchased by the National Library in 1974 were sold by the Mostyn family at auction in 1920.

Immediate source of acquisition: Donated by Mr A. Cecil Wright, June 1918 (NLW MSS 3021-3076).
Purchased from Messrs E.P. Goldschmidt Co. Ltd., London, March 1931 (NLW MS 3020D).
Purchased at auction (lots 1476, 1480, 1495, 1501, 1504-7, 1509, 1514-6, 1521) at Christie's (Mostyn Sale), London, 24 October 1974 (NLW MSS 21238-40, 21242-6, 21247-54).
Purchased on behalf of NLW, October 1974 (NLW MSS 21241E, 21247E).
Purchased from Quaritch, London, December 1980 (NLW MS 21693B).
Purchased at auction (lot 238) at Sotheby's, London, 13 December 2001, B2002/6 (NLW MS 23877A).


Related material: See also NLW MS 16966B and University of Wales, Bangor, (Bangor) Mostyn Manuscripts. Flintshire Record Office's 'Mostyn manuscripts' are Mostyn estate records.


Note: NLW MSS 3021-3, 3025-44, 3046-52, 3053-61, 3064-67 (i.e. Mostyn MSS 1, 55-56, 87 (wrongly numbered 78), 88, 96, 109-117, 129-136, 143-149, 159-165, 184, 204, 211, 212 and 212b) were fully catalogued for the Historical Manuscripts Commission by J. Gwenogvryn Evans (see his Report on Manuscripts in the Welsh Language, I, i, 1898) and are not described in the NLW MSS Handlist. However, brief descriptions have been included here, with cross-references to Gwenogvryn Evans's Report. Title based on contents of fonds.

Archivist's note: Description compiled by Siân Medi Davies for the retrospective conversion project of NLW MSS, and revised by Bethan Ifan and Rhys M. Jones. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volume I (Aberystwyth, 1943) and Volume VIII (Aberystwyth, 1999); NLW, Catalogue of Mostyn manuscripts; Dictionary of Welsh biography down to 1940 (London, 1959); Oxford Companion to the Literature of Wales, ed. by Meic Stephens (Oxford, 1986).

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

Date(s) of descriptions: October 2005-March 2016

Cors-y-gedol Estate (Wales) | Library
English literature | Welsh authors | Wales
Gloddaeth Estate (Wales) | Library
Latin literature | Wales
Plas Mostyn (House : Mostyn, Wales). | Library
Wales | Genealogy
Welsh literature
Welsh poetry | Early modern, 1550-1700
Welsh poetry | To 1550

Personal names
Lloyd-Mostyn family , Barons Mostyn
Mostyn family , of Mostyn

Corporate names


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