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National Library of Wales
Thomas, Mansel, music manuscripts

Reference code(s): GB 0210 MANSLT

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Mansel Thomas Music Manuscripts

Short Title: Thomas, Mansel, music manuscripts

Creation date(s): 1927-1986

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 0.114 cubic metres (8 boxes); 1 box (July 2014); 2 boxes (December 2014); 5 boxes (June 2015)

Name of creator(s): Mansel Thomas


Administrative/Biographical history: Mansel Thomas was a composer, conductor and, for many years, the BBC's principal music representative for Wales.
He was born in Pontygwaith, in the Rhondda Fach, in 1909. At the age of 15 he won the Rhondda Scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he studied composition and piano. During his studentship he won a number of prestigious awards and prizes, and graduated in 1930.
Having worked as a free-lance musician in London for a number of years, he joined the BBC in Cardiff in 1936 as a music producer and assistant conductor of the BBC Welsh Orchestra. In 1939 he married the cellist Megan Lloyd and they had two daughters, Grace and Siân. Following the evacuation of the BBC departments during the war years, he worked in Bristol (with the BBC Singers and Chorus) and Bangor (with the BBC Variety Department) prior to war service, mainly in Belgium.
In 1946 he returned to the BBC as principal conductor of the BBC Welsh Orchestra and in 1950 succeeded Idris Lewis as Head of Music, BBC Wales. He always supported contemporary Welsh composers and during this period encouraged the performance of their music. Taking early retirement in 1965 in order to devote his time entirely to composition, he and his wife moved to Treadam in Gwent. During this period he also gave lectures to students of the Music Department at U.C.W., Aberystwyth, and was elected an Honorary Fellow of the University in 1972. He suffered a major stroke in 1979 and wrote little else of significance up to his death in 1986.
Mansel Thomas wrote or arranged a large and varied range of music - vocal, choral and instrumental, of both a sacred and secular nature. However, he is best remembered for his songs, part-songs and major choral works, both for mixed voices and male voices. Almost all his works have been published, the majority by the Mansel Thomas Trust. He was awarded the OBE and FRAM for his services to British music and the John Edwards Memorial Award for his outstanding service to music in Wales.


Scope and content/abstract: The music manuscripts, 1927-1986, of Mansel Thomas, comprising music for male voice choirs, mixed choirs, youth and female voices, solo songs and instrumental compositions. They consist mainly of Christmas music, hymn-tunes, liturgical music, arrangements of Welsh traditional melodies, secular music and solo songs, the majority of which have been published by the Mansel Thomas Trust.


Language/scripts of material: Some compositions contain English text, others Welsh or both languages, and some contain Latin text. Some have no text.

System of arrangement: The arrangement imposed on the fonds by Mr Terence Gilmore-James on behalf of the Mansel Thomas Trust, prior to its transfer to the Library, has been retained by NLW. Arranged into six groups: Christmas music; music for male voice choirs; music for choirs of mixed voices; music for youth choirs and female voices; works for solo voice; orchestral and band music [a seventh group, consisting of instrumental pieces, remains uncatalogued].

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions noted on the 'Modern papers - data protection' form issued with their Readers' Tickets.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply.

Finding aids: The catalogue can be accessed online.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All of the manuscripts donated to NLW have been retained.

Accruals: Accruals are expected.

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition: Donated by Mrs Megan Mansel Thomas, Monmouth, October 1994 and December 2003; donated by Grace and Terence Gilmore-James, Ponthir, July 2006, July 2014, December 2014 and June 2015; donated by Ms Sian Cobb, Ponthir, December 2014.


Related material: Manuscript scores are also NLW MS 9457E; NLW, John Haydn Davies Papers, T/1; and in NLW, Papurau Owen Bryngwyn.


Note: Titles of fonds, sub-fonds and series levels are based on a working list prepared by Mr Terence Gilmore-James. Titles of files are the original titles of the manuscript scores.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Barbara Davies.
The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Terence Gilmore-James, Teyrnged i Mansel Thomas = A Tribute to Mansel Thomas (1989); the Mansel Thomas Trust website; Welsh Music, vol. 8, nos 2 and 10 (1986); and published versions of the composition.

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

Date(s) of descriptions: May 2008

Composers | Wales
Conductors (Music) | Wales
Instrumental music | Wales | 20th century
Music | Wales | 20th century
Musicians | Wales
Thomas, Mansel, | 1909-1986 | Archives
Vocal music | Wales | 20th century

Personal names
Thomas , Mansel , 1909-1986

Corporate names


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