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Flintshire Record Office
Lewis, John Herbert, Sir, manuscripts

Reference code(s): GB 0208 D/L

Held at: Flintshire Record Office

Title: Sir John Herbert Lewis Papers

Short Title: Lewis, John Herbert, Sir, manuscripts

Creation date(s): 1711-1980s

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 4582 items

Name of creator(s): Sir John Herbert Lewis (1858-1933)


Administrative/Biographical history: The Rt. Hon. Sir John Herbert Lewis (1858-1933) was born on 27th December 1858 at Mostyn Quay, Flintshire. He was the only son of Enoch Lewis (1812-1885), a merchant and ship-owner, and Catherine Roberts (1833-1868), of Plas Llangwyfan, Denbighshire. Enoch Lewis was a nonconformist and Liberal, and took a keen interest in promoting education at all levels. John Herbert Lewis attended the Denbigh Grammar School, briefly at McGill University (Montreal) and at Exeter College (Oxford) where he read law. He continued his legal training in Chester and London before he established the Liverpool practice of Herbert Lewis and Davies in 1885. He was active in local politics from 1886 and was appointed treasurer of the North Wales Liberal Federation. He was elected alderman and first chairman of Flintshire County Council, serving 1889-1893, and was instrumental in implementing the provisions of the Welsh Intermediate Education Act, 1889 and the Technical Education Act, 1889 in the county. Lewis entered Parliament in 1892 as a Liberal, representing Flint Boroughs until 1906, Flintshire until 1918 and the University of Wales, a seat for which he had campaigned, until his retirement in 1922. His persistent advocacy and campaigning led to the establishment of a National Museum in Cardiff, a National Library in Aberystwyth and the obtaining of a Royal Charter establishing the University of Wales in 1893. He became the vice-president of the National Library of Wales in 1907, and its president 1926-1927. He was also appointed a Junior Lord of the Treasury, 1906; Parliamentary Secretary Local Government Board, 1905; Parliamentary Secretary, Board of Education, 1915; Deputy Lieutenant of Flintshire; President of the Library Association of the United Kingdom, 1920-1921; Governor of Aberystwyth, Bangor and Cardiff University Colleges and of the National Museum of Wales; and Constable of Flint Castle. He was awarded the gold medal from the Honourable Society of the Cymrodorion in 1927. Lewis was married twice. His first wife was his cousin Adelaide Hughes (d. 1895). He married his second wife, Ruth Caine (1871-1946) in 1897. She was the founder of the Welsh Folk-Song Society, collecting and recording old Welsh folk-songs that were in danger of being forgotten. In 1921, she was appointed as the first woman magistrate in the country. They had a daughter, Alice Catherine 'Kitty' Lewis (1898-1984) and a son, Dr. Herbert Mostyn (1901-1985). Kitty was educated at University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, 1916-1918. In the 1920s, she spent three years doing missionary work among the Khasai tribe in India. In 1968, she was president of the Caerwys Eisteddfod when it commemorated its centenary. She was married to Idwal Jones (1901-1965), professor of education and head of department for the training of teachers at University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. An accident in Aberystwyth in 1925 ended Herbert Lewis' public work and he died on November 1933 at his home, Penucha, Caerwys, Flintshire. Catherine Lewis was Enoch Lewis' sister. She was married to Charles Hughes, JP, a publisher of Welsh books at Grosvenor Streer, Wrexham. Their daughter, Adelaide, was Herbert Lewis's first wife. Rev. Thomas Jones of Denbigh (1756-1820) was Herbert Lewis's great-uncle. He was a Calvinistic minister and author. He was one of the first to be ordained a minister of the new Methodist Connection in 1811.


Scope and content/abstract: Correspondence belonging to Enoch Lewis, 1841-1885, Catherine Lewis, 1863-1868, John Herbert Lewis, 1868-1936, Ruth Lewis, 1887-1935, Herbert Mostyn Lewis, 1905-1924, Kitty Lewis/Mrs Idwal Jones, c.1900-1985, Idwal Jones, 1936-1961, and miscellaneous correspondence, 1869-1917; Property deeds, 1711-1939; sale particulars, plans, notices, 1812-1958; accounts, 1862-1927; correspondence and miscellanea, 1812-1959; family papers, c.1845-1982; political and official documents, 1841-1978; Welsh education and culture, 1819-1979, including Eisteddfodau, 1886-1971, the National Library of Wales, 1909-1963 and Welsh folk songs, 1819-1979; religious materials on Welsh Calvinistic Methodism, 1716-1975, and Rev. Thomas Jones of Denbigh, 1803-1956; Miscellaneous articles on North Wales, 1770-1978, including local history notes on Caerwys, 1891-1954 and papers of Flintshire Historical Society, 1909-1922; and photographs, 1863-1967.


Language/scripts of material: English, Welsh

System of arrangement: Arranged into the following : correspondence; property; family; political/official; Welsh education and culture; religion; miscellaneous; and photographs.

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 Flintshire Record Office.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records deposited at Flintshire Record Office have been retained.

Accruals: Accruals are possible.

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:



Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Seri Crawley for the ANW project. The following sources were used to compile this description: Flintshire Record Office, Sir J. Herbert Lewis MSS; Who Was Who (London, 2003); Stephens, Meic, The Oxford Companion to the Literature of Wales (Oxford, 1986); Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959). Updated by Steven Davies, Flintshire Record Office, March 2016.

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

Date(s) of descriptions: May 2004

Calvinistic Methodists | Wales
Church of England | Establishment and disestablishment | Wales
Correspondence | Wales | Flintshire
Deeds | Wales | Shirenewton
Education | Wales
Eisteddfodau | Wales
Flintshire (Wales) | Politics and government
Flintshire (Wales). | County Council | Archives
Flintshire Historical Society | Archives
Folk songs, Welsh language
Lewis, J. Herbert | (John Herbert), | 1858-1933 | Archives
Local government | Wales | Flintshire
National Library of Wales | Archives
Wales | Politics and government
Wales | Social life and customs

Personal names
Jones , Kitty Idwal , 1898-1984
Jones , Thomas , 1756-1820
Lewis , Enoch , 1812-1885
Lewis , Herbert , Mrs.
Lewis , J. Herbert (John Herbert) , 1858-1933

Corporate names
Flintshire (Wales) | County Council
Flintshire Historical Society
Merioneth Liberal Association
National Library of Wales

Aberystwyth (Wales)
Caerwys (Wales)
Denbigh (Wales)
Flintshire (Wales)

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