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National Library of Wales
Brogyntyn Estate, records

Reference code(s): GB 0210 BROTYN

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Brogyntyn Estate and Family Records

Short Title: Brogyntyn Estate, records

Creation date(s): 1296-1951

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 72 boxes, 5 boxed rolls, 3 outsize vols, 13 vols Clenennau Letters and Papers. 89 Manuscripts

Name of creator(s): Brogyntyn Estate


Administrative/Biographical history: The Brogyntyn estate was situated in the parish of Selatyn near Oswestry. The earliest settlement on the site was a motte, supposedly associated with Owain Brogyntyn. By the mid-sixteenth century the owner was John Lacon, whose estate included Constable's Hall at Porkington and Llanddyn near Llangollen in Denbighshire. His daughter, Margaret, was married in 1556 to William Maurice (1542-1622) of Clenennau in Penyfed, Caernarfonshire, eldest son of Moris ap Eliza and Ellen Puleston. Since 1501, when Moris ap John ap Meredudd received a gift of land in Clenennau from his foster-father, Rhys ap Ieuan ap Dicws Foel, the Moris family had accumulated property in Penyfed, Penmorfa, Trefan, Pennant, Clenennau and parts of Merionethshire. William Maurice continued this trend over the next five decades by the further acquisition of lands in Shropshire, Denbighshire and Merionethshire, by leases from the Corporation of Harlech and enclosures in Harlech Marsh. He was widowed in 1572, but remarried twice, in 1576 to Ellen Lewis, widow of John Lewis of Chwaen Wen, Anglesey, and in 1605 to Jane Johnes (nee Puleston), widow of Sir Thomas Johnes of Abermarlais, Carmarthenshire. From 1581 he held several important public offices in the county administration of Caernarfonshire and Merionethshire, and he was knighted upon the accession of James I in 1603. Sir William's eldest son, William Wynn Maurice (1559-c.1598) had predeceased him, leaving two daughters, Ellen and Margaret, as coheiresses upon their grandfather's death in 1622. Ellen Maurice (1578-1626), was married to John Owen of Bodsilin and Fernhill, secretary to Sir Francis Walsingham, and eight children were born prior to his death in 1611. She remarried in 1616, to Sir Francis Eure, Chief Justice of North Wales, by whom she had one son, Compton. By then she was living at Constable's Hall, Porkington, where she had the house rebuilt in 1617. Ellen died in 1626, leaving her eldest son, John Owen (1600-1666), as heir to the Clenennau estate, and his brother William (1607-1670), to inherit Porkington. Sir John, who was a staunch Royalist, served as Vice-Admiral of North Wales and Governor of Conway Castle. Col. William Owen defended Harlech Castle during the Civil War. Their sister, Margaret, was a forbear by marriage of the Godolphin family of Abertanat. John Owen's son, William (1624-1677/8) married Catherine, daughter of Lewis Anwyl of Parc, Llanfrothen in 1648. He inherited both Clenennau and Porkington from his father and his uncle respectively, but he based his family home at Llanddyn. The surviving heir of William and Catherine Owen was their son, Robert (1658-1698). He was knighted in 1678, served as MP for Merionethshire and Caernarfon Borough, and held several other local public offices. In 1683 he married Margaret, daughter of Owen Wynn and heiress to the substantial estates of Glyn, Sylfaen and Ystumcegid. A short time later he also acquired a moiety of Nant in Flintshire by a settlement with his wife's family. Unfortunately, Sir Robert Owen died prematurely in 1698, leaving massive debts. The successor to the estate was William Owen (1688-1767), who eased his financial burden by marrying Mary, daughter of Dr Henry Godolphin, Dean of St Paul's and Provost of Eton, in 1730. William Owen's estate was additionally enlarged by the purchase in 1736 of part of the Brynker lands in Dolbenmaen, which he promptly mortgaged to pay for extensive renovations at Porkington. The Brogyntyn estate descended to the eldest surviving son, Robert Godolphin Owen (1733-1792), who remained a bachelor. In the absence of male heirs the estate was inherited by his sister Margaret (1738-1806), who married Owen Ormsby of Willowbrook, co. Sligo, 1777. Their daughter, Mary Jane (1781-1869), became heiress to Brogyntyn, Clenennau, Glyn and her father's lands in Ireland. Her wealth enabled her to carry out a complete renovation of Porkington. In 1815 she married William Gore, another Irish landowner, who assumed the additional family name of Ormsby. Considerable additions were made to the estate during his lifetime, the largest being Drenewydd in Whittington, purchased from the Peniarth estate in 1830 for £35,000. The title Baron or Lord Harlech was first awarded to John Ralph Ormsby Gore (1816-1876) in 1875 shortly before he died. He was succeeded under a special remainder by his younger brother, William Richard Ormsby Gore (1819-1904), second Baron Harlech. The latter had followed a military career and held several public offices in Ireland between 1841 and 1876. He married in 1850 to Emily Charlotte, daughter of Admiral Sir George Francis Seymour. By 1883 his estates comprised 57,647 acres in North Wales, Shropshire, Berkshire and Ireland, and they were further increased by the purchase of Pentre-pant near Brogyntyn in 1893. George Ralph Charles Ormbsy Gore, third Baron Harlech (1855-1938), followed a distinguished military and public career which included a command of the Welsh Guards and he made a prestigious marriage in 1881 to Lady Margaret Ethel Gordon, daughter of Charles, Marquis of Huntley. Their son succeeded to a depleted estate, for in 1894 the trustees were permitted to sell land in Treflys and in 1911 all the Eifionydd property (over 8000 acres) was sold, except the family's ancestral home at Clenennau. William George Arthur Ormsby Gore, fourth Baron Harlech, (1885-1964), saw active service in Egypt during the First World War and he held numerous public offices including Lord Lieutenant of Merionethshire, Constable of Harlech and Caernarfon castles, board member of several national museums and galleries, and High Commissioner for the United Kingdom in South Africa. In 1913 he married Lady Beatrice Cecil, by whom he had six children. William David Ormsby Gore, the fifth Baron (1918-1985) joined the army in 1939 and after the Second World War he pursued a career in politics. He was also closely involved with the media, being a film censor and chairman of Harlech television. He married twice, in 1940 to Sylvia Lloyd Thomas, and again in 1969 to Pamela Colin of New York. David Ormsby Gore was killed in a road accident in 1985. The eldest surviving son of his first marriage, the current Lord Harlech, is Francis David Ormsby Gore, born in 1954. The effects of two world wars and the burden of death duties led to the sale of Drenewydd in 1939, Llanddyn in 1943 and the eventual abandonment of Brogyntyn. From around 1985 the house stood virtually empty and it was finally sold to developers in 2005.


Scope and content/abstract: Records of the Brogyntyn estate, home of the Ormsby Gore family, Barons Harlech, 1296-1951. They include estate papers and deeds, legal papers, financial papers, family papers and official administration papers of the Ormsby Gore family, their ancestors, the Maurices and the Owens of Clenennau, the Wynns of Glyn and others, such as Anwyl of Park, Clayton of Lea Hall, Godolphin of Abertanat, Lyster of Penrhos, Mostyn of Nant, and Vaughan of Corsygedol. The three main estates represented in the collection are Brogyntyn, Clenennau and Glyn, the latter constituting a major addition to the existing North Wales holdings of Sir Robert Owen upon his marriage to Margaret Wynn in 1683. The documentation also covers other, subsiduary estates acquired by marriage or inheritance, namely Llanddyn, Sylfaen, Ystumcegid, Nant, Cemais, Penrhos, Abertanat and properties in the west of Ireland. The types of records include title deeds for lands in Caernarfonshire, Merionethshire, Flintshire, Denbighshire, Montgomeryshire, Shropshire, elsewhere in England and Wales, and in the Irish counties of Westmeath, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo and Roscommon, 1296-1838; rentals, accounts and other papers associated with estate administration, [1380s]-1923; manorial records, 1429-1804; household management papers, 1662-[c. 1949]; legal and arbitration papers, 1410-1834; financial papers such as mortgages and accounts, 1492-1876; family settlements, probate records and trusts, 1485-[c. 1862]; private letters, 1582-1950; papers relating to family interests, [14th cent.]-1951; personal papers of family members, 1672-1945; royal appointments and honours, 1795-1948; central government papers, 1581-1887; county administration papers, including items relating to the Civil War, 1518-1904; and administration records of the church, schools and charities, 1598-[1876x1904]. Other component parts of the archive are the important, valuable Brogyntyn Manuscripts, containing mostly literary, historical and genealogical material, and the Clenennau Letters and Papers, which combine personal correspondence with the civil and military administration of Caernarfonshire from the late sixteenth to late seventeenth centuries, and which include important papers relating to the Civil War.


Language/scripts of material: Mainly English, some Latin and Welsh.

System of arrangement: Arranged as seven groups: estate papers, arbitration and legal papers, financial papers, family papers, official administration papers, Clenennau Letters and Papers, and Manuscripts. (Manuscripts not yet incorporated into main catalogue, since work is still in progress, October 2012).

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern papers - data protection' form. Access to the Manuscripts and Clenennau Letters and Papers is by microfilm only.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply.

Finding aids: A draft version of the main catalogue is available in hard copy at NLW. A card index provides full descriptions of many of the original deeds and documents, together with old NLW reference numbers (now redundant, not to be used when ordering documents). Schedules to the Clenennau Letters and Papers and Brogyntyn Manuscripts are available in hard copy at NLW and may also be accessed in electronic form $u

Detailed catalogue


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

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition: In 1934 the third Lord Harlech placed thirty manuscripts on deposit at the National Library of Wales. In 1938 a further fifty four manuscripts were deposited, together with a large part of the family's archives. In 1945 the fourth Lord Harlech converted a large part of the deposited collection into a donation. Further groups of estate records were acquired by NLW between 1946 and 1955. In 1993 the remainder of the manuscript collection was purchased from the current (sixth) Lord Harlech.


Existence and location of copies: The Clenennau Letters and Papers, 1584-1698, are available on microfilm from Adam Matthew Publications Ltd.

Related material: Related papers at NLW are printed books and pamphlets in the printed books collection; maps and plans in the maps collection; photographs, sketches and postcards in special collections. Additional deeds and documents, collected for legal purposes by the Ormsby Gore family' s solicitors, are NLW, Longueville Papers (not fully catalogued). Other Brogyntyn estate papers are held by Shropshire Archives, D3651, P; Merionnydd Archives, Yale and Hardcastle Papers; and Flintshire Record Office, D/NA.

Publication note: Calendar of Clenennau Letters and Papers, 1584-1698 (NLW, 1949).


Note: Title derived from content of fonds.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Mair James, amended by Hilary A. Peters. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Griffith, John Edwards, Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire (Wrexham, 1998 reprint); Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959); Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage (London, 1990); Nicholas, Thomas, Annals and Antiquities of the Counties and County families of Wales (London, 2 vols, 1872), vol. I,; Williams, Elinor Namora, 'The Brogyntyn family - a social study', (Unpublished thesis), a copy is NLW ex 1649; James, Brian, 'The Great Landowners of Wales in 1873', National Library of Wales Journal, XIV, 1965-1966.

Rules or conventions: This description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) Second Edition; AACR2; and LCSH.

Date(s) of descriptions: April 2002, updated Sept. 2006, and Jan-May 2008.

Brogyntyn Estate (England and Wales) | Archives
Clenennau Estate (Wales) | Archives
Glyn Estate (Wales) | Archives
Great Britain | History | Civil War, 1642-1649
Maurice family | of Clenennau | Archives
Ormsby-Gore family, | Barons Harlech | Archives
Owen family, | of Brogyntyn, Clenennau and Glyn | Archives
Wynn family | of Glyn and Ystumcegid | Archives

Personal names
Maurice family , of Clenennau
Ormsby-Gore family , Barons Harlech
Owen family , of Brogyntyn , Clenennau and Glyn
Wynn family , of Glyn and Ystumcegid

Corporate names
Brogyntyn Estate (England and Wales)
Clenennau Estate (Wales)
Glyn Estate (Wales)

Shropshire (England)
Wales, North ()

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