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National Library of Wales
Legonna, John, papers

Reference code(s): GB 0210 JOHNNA

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: John Legonna Papers

Short Title: Legonna, John, papers

Creation date(s): 1928-1978

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 0.155 cubic metres (1 large box; 15 small boxes)

Name of creator(s): John Legonna (1918-1978)


Administrative/Biographical history: John Legonna (1918-1978), farmer, Welsh and Celtic nationalist, and conscientious objector, was of Welsh and Cornish parentage. His family came to Cardiganshire in 1939, and Legonna was educated at Coleg Harlech, the University College of Swansea and Exeter College, Oxford, where he studied law. He married Catherine Irene Thomas and settled in Cardiganshire, farming at Penrhos Fawr and Penlan Mabws, Llanrhystud, and at Ffynnon Gloch and Penparc, Llannarth, resisting conscription into the armed forces because of his nationalist beliefs. He spent much of his life involved in the politics and culture of Wales and the Celtic countries, notably as a founder of the New Nation Group and its magazine, Cilmeri. A selection of his autobiographical essays was published as 'Celtic Odyssey' in 2001. Legonna was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1974, and after an increasingly frustrating struggle with the condition he took his own life with characteristic defiance in 1978.


Scope and content/abstract: Papers of John Legonna, including correspondence with Per Denez, Alan Heusaff, Goulven Pennaod (George Pinault), Harri Webb and others; diaries; poetry; prose; autobiographical notes and personal reflections; farming records; college notes on Welsh and Irish history and law; material relating to Legonna's political views and his activities with Welsh and Celtic nationalist organisations, especially Mudiad Gweriniaethol Cymru (Welsh Republican Movement), the Welsh National Party, and the New Nation Movement and its journal, 'Cilmeri'; printed and cyclostyled ephemera; personal and family records; miscellaneous printed material relating to Christopher Murray Grieve, 'Hugh MacDiarmid'; programmes for local eisteddfodau at Llannon and Llanrhystud; and typescript drafts of unpublished plays.


Language/scripts of material: English and Welsh, with a few in Breton, Cornish, French and Scots Gaelic.

System of arrangement: Arranged into three groups: 1987 Bequest; 1989 Donation; and 2011 Donation.

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 first part of the catalogue is available in Minor Lists and Summaries 1988, pp. 30-35, at the National Library of Wales. The catalogue can be accessed online.

Detailed catalogue


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

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition: Bequeathed by John Legonna and received in July 1987 per his brother, Dr N F Brooks, Sherborne, Dorset; further papers were donated by his sister, Miss Catherine Gordon, Salisbury, in September 1989, and by Ms Juliet Brooks, Shepshed, in April 2011.



Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Seri Crawley for the ANW Project, with additions by David Moore. The following sources were consulted in the compilation of this description: NLW, Minor Lists and Summaries, 1988; NLW, W. W. Price Biographical Index (unpublished), Vol. XX; Stephens, Meic, The Oxford Companion to the Literature of Wales (Oxford, 1986); papers within the archive.

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

Date(s) of descriptions: January 2004 and February 2015

Agriculture | Wales | Ceredigion
Denez, Per | Correspondence
Farmers | Wales | Ceredigion | Archives
Farming | Wales | Ceredigion
Heusaff, Alan | Correspondence
Legonna, John | Archives
MacDiarmid, Hugh, | 1892-1978 | Correspondence
Mudiad Gweriniaethol Cymru | Records and correspondence
Nationalism | Wales
Pennaod, Goulven, | b. 1929 | Correspondence
Webb, Harri, | 1920- | Correspondence

Personal names
Denez , Per
Heusaff , Alan , 1921-1999
Legonna , John
MacDiarmid , Hugh , 1892-1978
Pennaod , Goulven
Webb , Harri , 1920-

Corporate names
Plaid Cymru | Rhanbarth Ceredigion
Welsh Republican Movement


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