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Flintshire Record Office
Nantlys manuscripts

Reference code(s): GB 0208 D/NA

Held at: Flintshire Record Office

Title: Nantlys MSS

Short Title: Nantlys manuscripts

Creation date(s): 1299-1929

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 1294 items

Name of creator(s): Pennant family of Downing


Administrative/Biographical history: The Pennants are an ancient Flintshire family. The records in this collection include references to them from the 1450s and earlier. They held estates in the Whitford and Holywell areas continuously from that time until the middle of the last century when the direct line of the family died out. The present family are descendants of Philip Pennant Pearson of Castle Camps, Cambridgeshire who was a cousin and godson of the last David Pennant of Downing who died in 1841. His own son, David Pennant the younger, had pre-deceased him leaving an infant daughter, Louisa. She later married Rudolph William Basil, Viscount Feilding, eldest son of the Earl of Denbigh, but died without issue in 1853. The Pennant estates in Whitford and Holywell passed to her husband's family but their properties in the Tremeirchion and Bodfari area went to Philip Pennant Pearson who then adopted Pennant as his surname and settled at Brynbella, Tremeirchion. He built Nantlys in 1874.It has proved difficult to compile an accurate Pennant pedigree. The records in this collection in some cases appear to contradict earlier printed pedigrees (for example that in J.E. Griffith's Pedigrees of Anglesey and Caernarvonshire families) and several contemporary branches of the family used the same Christian names. There are Pennants described as of Bagillt, Bighton, Brynford, Holywell, Downing, Tythyn ucha, Tre Eden Owen and of Whitford and though these may in some cases be interchangeable it is almost impossible to be sure in every case. An attempt has been made to show the main line of descent but the earlier part should not be regarded as complete. Although the collection has been named the Nantlys MSS. Most of the material in it relates to the period when Bighton Hall and Downing Hall were the main seats of the family. However there is an interesting group of medieval deeds for properties in Tremeirchion as well as large numbers of deeds of all periods for Holywell and Whitford. In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries the family was involved in developing the Maes Whitford lead mine on the Downing estate and there are a few accounts and other papers relating to these activities and later to coal mining in Bighton. The estate and family papers are not particularly extensive. There is a small group of papers relating to planting in the gardens at Downing in the 1820s and 30s and an inventory of the goods of Peter Pennant of Bighton in 1623. The papers of Thomas Pennant (1726-98), the well-known naturalist and topographical writer, have been grouped together and, although not numerous, included some interesting items such as a diary of tours to Buxton, Scarborough, Teignmouth and Bristol in 1786-8 and a notebook compiled during a European tour in 1765-6. Several members of the family have served as Sheriff of Flintshire and this is also reflected in the records.


Scope and content/abstract: Records relating to the Downing estate (and not to the Nantlys estate), including deeds relating to the Downing estate in Denbighshire, 1549-1859, Flintshire, 1299-1917, and in England, 1615-1929, including Dorset and Somerset, and deeds relating to coal and lead mining in Flintshire, 1603, 1689-1773; estate papers, including papers relating to Downing garden,[c. 1820]-1839, rentals and surveys, [17 cent.]-1859, accounts and vouchers, 1594-[early 19 cent.], correspondence, 1640-1915, and sale plans and particulars, 1824-1909; and family papers, 1548-1915, including marriage settlements, 1585-1834, wills, 1548-1853, executorship papers, 1594-1915, family settlements and financial papers, 1598-1912, inventories, 1605-1797, papers of Thomas Pennant (1726-1798), 1765-1793, correspondence, 1650-1839 and personal papers, 1580-1866; and legal papers, 1452-1856.


Language/scripts of material: English, Latin

System of arrangement: Arranged chronologically into the following: deeds; lead mining; coal mining; estate; family; office; charities; legal; and miscellaneous.

Conditions governing access: Data Protection Act restrictions will apply to any items less than 100 years old that contain sensitive personal information as defined by the Act.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright regulations apply.

Finding aids: Hard copies of the catalogue are available at the Flintshire Record Office, National Library of Wales and the National Register of Archives.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: Items 823 and 902 have been permanently withdrawn

Accruals: Accruals are not expected

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:


Related material: Further papers relating to the Pennant family are Flintshire Record Office, D/BC (Birch Cullimore MSS - Earl of Denbigh estate papers); Warwickshire County Record Office, CR 2017; National Library of Wales, Downing Estate Deeds, and NLW MSS 2521-2598, 12706-12720, 15421-15436.


Note: Title based on the mansion house built by Philip Pennant Pearson in 1874

Archivist's note: Compiled by Mair James for the HMC/NLW Family and Estates project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Flintshire Record Office, Nantlys catalogue; Burke's Landed Gentry (London, 1952); Griffith, John Edwards, Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire Families (Wrexham, 1998 reprint); Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959); NLW, Schedule of Downing Deeds (1978).

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

Date(s) of descriptions: November 2001

Coal mines and mining | Wales | Flintshire
Deeds | England | Dorset
Deeds | England | Somerset
Deeds | Wales | Denbighshire
Deeds | Wales | Flintshire
Downing Estate (Great Britain). | Denbighshire (Wales) | Records and correspondence
Downing Estate (Great Britain). | Dorset (England) | Records and correspondence
Downing Estate (Great Britain). | Flintshire (Wales) | Records and correspondence
Downing Estate (Great Britain). | Somerset (England) | Records and correspondence
Estate administration | Wales | Denbighshire
Estate administration | Wales | Flintshire
Lead mines and mining | Wales | Flintshire
Pennant family, | of Downing | Archives

Personal names
Pennant , Thomas , 1726-1798

Corporate names
Downing Estate (Wales)

Denbighshire (Wales)
Flintshire (Wales)

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