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National Library of Wales
Williams, John, Sir, deeds and papers

Reference code(s): GB 0210 JOHAMS

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Sir John Williams Deeds and Papers

Short Title: Williams, John, Sir, deeds and papers

Creation date(s): 1324-1926 (accumulated [1840s]-1926)

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 0.601 cubic metres (18 boxes, 4 volumes, 2 pictures, 8 rolls, 2 ceremonial trumpets)

Name of creator(s): Sir John Williams (1840-1926)


Administrative/Biographical history: Sir John Williams (1840-1926), Baronet, doctor, was the first president of the National Library of Wales. He was born in Llangadog, Carmarthenshire, the son of David Williams, farmer and Independent Minister. He was educated at Glasgow University, 1857-1858. At University College Hospital, London, he obtained the degrees of MB in 1866 and MD in 1867. He began practicing medicine in Swansea, then returned to University College Hospital as house surgeon, retiring as Emeritus Professor in Midwifery in University College, London, and consulting Physician in Midwifery to University College Hospital. In 1886 he began to attend members of the Royal Family. He became personal physician to the Duchess of York (later Queen Mary, wife of King George V) and attended her at the birth of the future King Edward VIII. He was made a baronet, 1894, a KCVO, 1902, and a GCVO, 1911. Upon retiring, he returned to Wales, and settled at Plas Llanstephan, Llansteffan, Carmarthenshire. He was one of the prime movers for the establishment of the National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth. He purchased major collections of Welsh books and manuscripts, including the Peniarth Manuscripts, with the intention of giving them to the Welsh nation. He was first president of the National Library, 1907-1926. He became president of the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, in 1913, and was awarded honorary doctorates by four universities. In 1872 he married Mary Elizabeth Anne Hughes (died 1915), daughter of Richard Hughes of Ynystawe, near Swansea. He died on 24 May 1926.


Scope and content/abstract: Personal papers of Sir John Williams comprising notes, essays, lectures and transcripts by him, [19th century]-[early 20th century]; certificates and testimonials, 1858-1915; cards and letters from the children of King George V and invitation cards to royal functions, 1889-1916; documents relating to his various honours, 1894-1911; photograph and stamp albums, 1849-[early 20th century]; other photographs, [1840s]-1905; press cuttings, [c. 1870]-1926; letters collected by Sir John, 1633-1912; letters to him, 1879-1922, the correspondents including members of the Royal Family; deeds and other documents relating to properties in Llangadog, to Plas Llanstephan and to Harley Street, London, 1790-1918; bibliographical material, [19th century]-[20th century]; medical notebooks and other papers, 1855-1900; diaries of Sir John and Lady Williams, 1872-1925; estate and financial records, 1890-[1926]; papers relating to public affairs, 1870-1911; miscellaneous items collected by Sir John, 1795-[c. 1919]; personal possessions, including University and commemorative medals, insignia, medical equipment, and ceremonial trumpets, 1861-1913; and deeds collected by Sir John Williams, 1546-1869, comprising deeds of the Vaughan family of Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, the Penry family of Swansea, Glamorgan, and the Dalton family of Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, 1545-1677, relating to properties in Llangennech and Pembrey, Carmarthenshire; deeds of John Jones, Ystrad, Carmarthenshire, relating to Llansadwrn, Carmarthenshire, 1632-1793, and the borough of Carmarthen, 1611-1869; Wynn of Gwydir deeds, 1352-1797, relating mostly to Caernarfonshire, Merionethshire and Denbighshire; miscellaneous Welsh deeds, relating mainly to properties in Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire, 1451-[c. 1840]; and miscellaneous deeds relating to England (mainly Cornwall and Staffordshire), Ireland, and Scotland, 1586-1896.


Language/scripts of material: English, Welsh, early deeds in Latin

System of arrangement: Arranged as follows: deeds of families of Vaughan of Llanelli, Penry of Swansea, Dalton of Pen-bre; Llansadwrn, Carmarthenshire, deeds; Borough of Carmarthen deeds; miscellaneous Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire deeds; bound volumes of miscellaneous Welsh deeds; Wynn of Gwydir deeds; miscellaneous Welsh deeds; Cornwall deeds; Staffordshire deeds; and miscellaneous English, Irish and Scottish deeds; and Sir John Williams's personal papers: bibliographical; medical; diaries; estate and financial; public affairs; miscellaneous; miscellaneous documents in hand of Sir John Williams; Sir John Williams's personalia; albums of photographs and stamps; albums of press cuttings; correspondence; personal possessions (non-manuscript); photographs.

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. The catalogue is available online.

Detailed catalogue


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

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history: Sir John Williams acquired material belonging to the following: the Penries of Swansea and Llanelli, including Lewis Penry of Llanelli and his son Griffith; Walter Dalton of Pembrey (d 1665/6), Charles his son (d [c. 1707]) and Edward, Walter's grandson (1685-1766); Walter Vaughan of Llanelli (fl. 1626) and his son John. Deeds of the Wynns of Gwydir were acquired by the Rev. John Williams (1760-1826) and were given to Sir John Williams in 1894.

Immediate source of acquisition: Bequeathed to the National Library of Wales by Sir John Williams, 1926.


Related material: Further papers collected by Sir John Williams are NLW, Peniarth and Hengwrt Manuscripts, the Shirburn Library and the Llanstephan Manuscripts; Timothy Lewis Manuscripts & Papers; Sir John Herbert Lewis; and Titus & Elizabeth Evans Manuscripts. Further papers of Sir John Wiliams are University of Wales Aberystwyth, Library, Sir John Williams Miscellanea; Oxford University: Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts, letters to Margot Asquith.


Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Rhys Jones for the ANW project. The following sources were used to compile this description: NLW, Schedule of Sir John Williams' 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: April 2003

Deeds | England | Cornwall
Deeds | England | London
Deeds | England | Staffordshire
Deeds | Wales | Carmarthen
Deeds | Wales | Carmarthenshire
Deeds | Wales | Ceredigion
Deeds | Wales | Llangennech
Deeds | Wales | Llansadwrn (Carmarthenshire)
Great Britain | Kings and rulers | Children
Photograph albums | Wales
Physicians | Wales | 19th century
Postage-stamp albums | Great Britain
Williams, John, | 1840-1926 | Archives
Williams, John, | 1840-1926 | Diaries
Women | Wales | Diaries

Personal names
Dalton family , of Pembrey
Jones , John , 1777-1842
Penry family , of Swansea
Vaughan family , of Llanelli
Williams , John , 1840-1926
Wynn family , of Gwydir

Corporate names
Gwydir Estate (Wales)
Plas Llanstephan Estate (Wales)

Caernarvonshire (Wales)
Cardiganshire (Wales)
Carmarthen (Wales)
Carmarthenshire (Wales)
Cornwall (England)
Denbighshire (Wales)
Llangennech (Wales)
Merioneth (Wales)
Pembrey (Wales)
Staffordshire (England)

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