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National Library of Wales
John Bedford Papers

Reference code(s): GB 0210 BEDFORD

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: John Bedford Papers

Short Title: John Bedford Papers

Creation date(s): 1725-1791

Level of description: Fonds.

Extent: 1 box (0.029 cubic metres)

Name of creator(s): John Bedford


Administrative/Biographical history: John Bedford the ironmaster was born c. 1725 in Birmingham, to John Bedford, a cutler, and his wife Sarah. Initially, he worked for a time as a japanner in Birmingham. He purchased an estate at Moseley in 1754, using the property as financial security to instigate a number of future ventures. In the 1760s, Bedford moved from Birmingham to Trostrey, Monmouthshire, where he worked as a manager at an iron forge on the banks of the River Usk. He subsequently secured the lease of the Rogerstone estate where he established his own forge. In 1770 he purchased land at Cefn Cribwr near Bridgend, Glamorgan, with a view to establishing an iron-works there, complete with blast furnace, forge, mines and collieries. The venture, however, was never a commercial success. Bedford retired to Birmingham in 1791 to live with his brother Thomas, where he died in the same year. The iron works at Cefn Cribwr stand in ruins today.


Scope and content/abstract: Papers of John Bedford, 1762-1791, largely relating to his time in South Wales, and deal with iron-making techniques, his interests in experimenting with and improving these techniques, and the state of his own business ventures in forging and quarrying. The papers include notes on iron-making techniques, 1763-1788; management and business papers, 1766-1791; correspondence, petitions and miscellaneous notes, 1766-1789; and quarry notes, 1762-1789.


Language/scripts of material: English, apart from scraps of paper that contain Iolo Morganwg autograph material which are in Welsh and include manuscript music.

System of arrangement: Originally arranged and listed chronologically soon after deposit at NLW, the archive is now arranged according to subject matter into four groups: notes on iron-making techniques; management and business papers; correspondence, petitions and miscellaneous notes; and quarry notes. The notes are in a fragmentary state, as is the archive as a whole, often with only one page of a booklet surviving. Bedford frequently refers the reader to other 'books' of certain dates and it is clear that these have not survived. As pages are not consistently numbered it proved difficult to re-unite fragments, although this has sometimes been possible.

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: Catalogue available online. The original typescript list, arranged chronologically, is now redundant.


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

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history: John Bedford bequeathed his writings, which he greatly valued, to his only son John by his will of 1791. The papers eventually passed from John Bedford the younger to his friend Edward Williams ('Iolo Morganwg' (1746-1826)) following his death in 1814. Iolo Morganwg appears to have re-used some fragments of Bedford's papers for notes, sketches and music writing. The papers remained in the hands of Iolo Morganwg's descendants until they were donated to the National Library of Wales.

Immediate source of acquisition: Donated by Iolo Aneurin Williams, Iolo Morganwg's great-great-grandson, 1953/1954.


Related material: Letters from John Bedford, together with other papers written by him, are held at the Royal Society of Arts, London.

Publication note: Philip Riden has extensively used the archive in his book John Bedford and the Ironworks at Cefn Cribwr (Cardiff, 1992).


Note: Title supplied from content of fonds.

Archivist's note: Description compiled by Talei Rounds, University of Wales Aberystwyth, Archive Administration Course 2002-2003, and revised by Rhian Lyn James. The following source was used in the compilation of this description: Riden, Philip, John Bedford and the Ironworks at Cefn Cribwr (Cardiff, 1992).

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

Date(s) of descriptions: Completed July 2009.

Bedford, John, | ca. 1725-1791 | Archives
Cefn Cribwr Ironworks | History
Forging | Wales | Cefn Cribwr
Forging | Wales | Rogerstone
Forging | Wales | Trostre
Iron industry and trade | Wales, South
Iron-works | Wales | Cefn Cribwr
Iron-works | Wales | Rogerstone
Iron-works | Wales | Trostre
Iron-works | Wales, South | Records and correspondence
Wales | History | 18th century

Personal names
Bedford , John , ca. 1725-1791

Corporate names
Cefn Cribwr Ironworks

Cefn Cribwr (Wales)

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