Reference code(s): GB 0210 PENIARTH
Held at: National Library of Wales
Title: Peniarth Estate Records
Short Title: Peniarth estate, records
Creation date(s): 1362-1963
Level of description: Fonds
Extent: 1.07 cubic metres (106 boxes)
Name of creator(s): Peniarth estate
Administrative/Biographical history: Between c. 1416 and c. 1441 Griffith ap Aron of Peniarth built up a small estate through purchases of parcels of land by means of tir prid conveyances, a practice continued by his son Rhys ap Griffith ap Aron. The estate then descended from father to son until William ap David Lloyd. He died without issue and the estate passed to his nephew or cousin Lewis Owen who was responsible for the first substantial addition to the Peniarth estate following his marriage, in 1653, to Jane, daughter of Richard Lloyd of Esclusham, Denbighshire, who eventually brought with her the Gelli Iorwerth estate in Trawsfynydd and Llanddwywe. This estate, which measured about 850 acres in 1654, prior to the Civil War belonged to the Royalist Capt. John Morgan. With the Republic established, Morgan's estate was forfeited to the Commonwealth for treason and subsequently sold to Richard Lloyd.
Lewis Owen died in 1691 and he was succeeded by his son Richard Owen (1668-1714). He married Elizabeth Pugh of Aberllefenni and Abergwidol, Montgomeryshire, which expanded the estate to any significant extent outside Merioneth. Later purchases in the eighteenth century meant that by around 1800 this portion of the Peniarth estate measured 3,838 acres, or about 27 acres more than the home estate itself measured in 1871.
Richard Owen was succeeded by his son Lewis who married Margaret, daughter of Sir William Williams of Llanforda, Shropshire, in 1710. Lewis died in 1729, the same year as his only son Richard. The estate therefore devolved upon his eldest daughter, Jane. She married Richard, 5th viscount Bulkeley of Baron Hill, Anglesey, in 1732. Richard Bulkeley died, however, in 1735. Four years later Jane married Edward Williams (c. 1710-1762), son of John Williams of Chester and Bodelwyddan. Edward Williams had already purchased in 1738 from Jane Holland the Friars estate and other lands for £3,000. Four years later he purchased the small Clegyrog estate in Llanbadrig and Llanfechell, Anglesey. Neither the Friars nor the Clegyrog estates remained within the Peniarth estate for long. Friars was sold in 1767 to Sir Hugh Williams in trust for Thomas James, 7th Viscount Bulkeley of Baron Hill; the fate of Clegyrog remains unknown.
Neither of Jane Owen's marriages produced a male heir so that when she died in 1765 the estate passed to her daughter Jane by her second marriage. In 1771 Jane married William Wynne of Wern, Caernarfonshire. Through a combination of judicious marriages and rather injudicious purchases the Wern estate was one of the fastest growing estates in eighteenth century Caernarfonshire and Merioneth. In 1744 William Wynne II (1708-1766) married Eleanor, daughter and heiress of the Rev. Griffith Williams of Llandygwning in Llyn. The Llandygwning estate in its turn had acquired properties in Llanllyfni, Llanfaglan, Caernarfon, including Plas Bowman, and in West Kirby and Woodchurch in Cheshire, the Abercain estate in Llanystumdwy and Cricieth; and the Tanrallt estate in Pwllheli. The Wern estate was considerably enhanced by the purchase of the Parc estate in 1761 and of the Bryncir estate, purchased for £15,000.
The purchases of additional lands, the cost of fighting, unsuccessfully, the Caernarfonshire election of 1768, and over generous jointures and portions proved to be the estate's undoing. William Wynn IV inherited not only a sizeable estate measuring about 4,700 acres in 1747, but also a mass of debts. Six years after his marriage with Jane Williams of Peniarth about 2,000 acres of the Wern estate in both Caernarfonshire and Merioneth was sold for £17,890. This sum was totally inadequate to repay £48,000 due to Sir George Warren, an extremely rich and distant relative of Jane Wynne as she now was. William Wynn had little option but to convey what remained of the Caernarfonshire estate to Warren in lieu of debt. The union then between the Peniarth and the Wern estates proved to be short lived. Practically all the Wern estate title deeds in this archive relate to premises which only formed a part of the Peniarth estate for about ten years. William Wynn's son, William Wynn IV did, however, manage to extend the Peniarth estate by purchasing the Pickhill estate in Flintshire for £1,500 in 1801. Eight years later Pickhill was sold to a Mr Newton of Liverpool.
In September and November 1640 the post-nuptial settlements of Robert Mostyn, fifth son of Sir Roger Mostyn of Mostyn, and Margaret Conway, daughter and co-heiress of Henry Conway of Nant in Prestatyn were executed. As a result of these settlements Robert Mostyn eventually acquired a moiety of the Nant estate to add to his own lands in Hiraddug, Cwm, and Llanasaph. The Nant estate, however, devolved upon Richard Mostyn, third son of Sir Roger Mostyn (grandson of the Sir Roger Mostyn above), and a nephew of Robert Mostyn. In the 1670s Sir Roger made a number of extensive purchases. All the purchases made by Sir Roger were eventually conveyed by him to Richard and his heirs upon his marriage to Charlotta Digby in 1687. These included the Rhydorddwy estate in Rhuddlan, the Brynie estate in Eglwys-rhos, an estate in Llandudno, the Llystynhunydd estate in Cilcain, and, more significantly, the manor and mansion house of Penbedw, purchased in 1675 from Owen Thelwall of Blaen-Ial for £1,360. Later, in the 1680s, Richard Mostyn himself made a number of substantial acquisitions of his own, the most expensive being the other moiety of the Nant estate which he purchased from Sir Robert Owen of Porkington in 1690 for £4,000. In 1770-1 the Penbedw estate measured 3,200 acres with an annual rental of £1,556. Richard Mostyn's heir was his daughter Charlotta who married Richard Williams, third son of Sir William Williams of Llanforda in Shropshire in 1729. Richard in turn devised all his estate in 1759 to his eldest son Watkin Williams.
In 1729 Richard Williams's brother Robert Williams married Meriel Williams of Ystum Colwyn, Montgomeryshire. On this marriage Robert's father, Sir William Williams of Llanforda, settled the Mallwyd estate upon the couple and their heirs. The marriage produced no heirs and the Mallwyd estate devolved upon Richard Williams. The Mallwyd estate, measuring about 600 acres in 1770-1771 with an annual rent of £177. One of the founders of the estate was the renowned Welsh scholar, Dr John Davies. The Mallwyd deeds in this archive shows that he was busy leasing, purchasing and exchanging lands, lending money on mortgages and that he rebuilt the rectory of Mallwyd. One other notable owner of parts of the Mallwyd estate was the regicide John Jones of Maesgarnedd. Eventually all the Mallwyd estate was sold to John Williams of Chester who in turn sold it to his brother Sir William Williams of Llanforda.
After the death of Charlotta, Richard Williams married Annabella Lloyd, heiress of Charles Lloyd of Drenewydd. After she died in 1795 the Drenewydd estate eventually devolved on Watkin Williams or his heirs. Watkin Williams died childless so that his estate now passed to his eldest sister Annabella who had married the Rev. Phillip Puleston of Pickill Hall. After her death the estate passed to yet another daughter, Annabella. She married Sir Edward Lloyd Lloyd of Pen-y-lan, Flintshire, who subsequently altered his name to Williams. The combined Penbedw, Mallwyd and Drenewydd estates were due to revert to W. W. E. Wynne following the death of his aunt Annabella Williams, but Wynne enjoyed little of this estate since a very large part of the estate was sold. Parts of the Mallwyd estate was sold in 1809-1810, but most was sold in 1830. The Nant estate was offered for sale in 1825, whilst the Drenewydd estate was sold in 1830 to William Ormsby Gore for £35,000. The Penbedw estate was eventually partitioned between Thomas Molyneux Williams and W. W. E. Wynne. It appears that after partitioning and some sales all that remained of Wynne's share in 1871 was 614 acres. According to the 1873 return of owners of land, William Watkin Edward Wynne, of Peniarth, Merionethshire owned an estimated 4,456 acres (in Merionethshire, Flintshire and Caernarfonshire) with an estimated rental of £3,391.
The Peniarth archive also includes deeds and papers relating to the Ynysymaengwyn estate in Merioneth, and to the Lloran estate in Denbighshire. The Ynysymaengwyn estate never belonged to Peniarth. Their presence here is a matter of custodial history, not provenance. It appears that the Ynysymaengwyn estate records came into the custody of W. R. M. Wynne of Peniarth following his appointment as trustee for sale and executor of the will of A. J. S. Corbett of Ynysymaengwyn in 1878. His father, the antiquarian W. W. E.Wynne, then 77 years old, may have played some part in securing the transfer of the records from Ynysymaengwyn to Peniarth. He would, no doubt, have taken a keen interest in the records of a neighbouring estate; records which A. J. S. Corbett, Wynne may have reasoned, had no use for since the estate had been or was about to be broken up.
Scope and content/abstract: Estate and family papers of Owen and Wynne families of Peniarth, Merionethshire, 15 cent.-19 cent., including groups relating to Mostyn of Nant and Mostyn and Williams of Penbedw, Flintshire, to Maurice of Lloran, Denbighshire, and to Corbet of Ynysymaengwyn, Merionethshire, including estate papers, 1630-1870, rentals and accounts; deeds, 1361/2-1963, mainly for Peniarth, Aberllefenni, Penbedw, Drenewydd and Mallwyd estates; legal papers, 1539-1848; industrial papers, 1615-1852; county administration, 1468-1874; and non-family trust papers, 1468-1878, mainly relating to the Ynysymaengwyn estate.
Language/scripts of material:
System of arrangement: Arranged chronologically into the following sections: estate administration, deeds, estate correspondence, legal papers, ecclesiastical papers, industrial papers, transport papers, county administration, personal papers, and non-family trusts.
Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern papers - data protection' form.
Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply
Finding aids: Hard copies of the catalogue are available at NLW and HMC. An online catalogue can be accessed from http://www.llgc.org.uk:81/index.htm
Accruals: Accruals are not expected
Immediate source of acquisition: Deposited between 1920 and the 1950's and subsequently purchased in October 1980.
Related material: $n For the Peniarth manuscripts see NLW, Peniarth Manuscripts Collection. Five volumes of estate maps and twenty individual maps are National Library of Wales, Map Collections, Peniarth vols 1-5 and Peniarth Maps, nos 1-20. Other records relating to the Peniarth home estate can be found in the Merionnydd Archives. Some title deeds, 1719-1767, are National Library of Wales, Burdon Deeds.
Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds
Archivist's note: Compiled by Mair James.
The following sources were used in the completion of this description: NLW, Schedule of Peniarth Estate Papers; James, Brian, 'The Great Landowners of Wales in 1873', National Library of Wales Journal, XIV (1965-66).
Rules or conventions: This description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) Second Edition; AACR2; and LCSH.
Date(s) of descriptions: Prior to 23-0-2006