- 1258-1972 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
0.694 cubic metres (13 boxes, 58 volumes)
Name of creator
The Williams family of Aberpergwm was an old family with a very long association with the upper Neath Valley. The family pedigree can be traced back to one Morgan ap Caradoc ap Iestyn, the 12th century lord of Nedd-Afan. The family made Aberpergwm their home in the 16th century, and continued there until the 1950s. The estate consisted in the main of a large area in the parish of Cadoxton-juxta-Neath, principally in the hamlets of Neath Higher and Neath Middle, in the manor of Neath Ultra and Cilybebyll, and adjacent areas in Breconshire. Several members of the family were instrumental in cultivating Welsh poetry and music in the Neath Valley, and the house once contained many important Welsh manuscripts.
The Williams family were deeply involved in the coal industry, encouraging the growth of the industry to such an extent that Morgan Stuart Williams is described in 1889 as colliery owner in preference to the usual esquire.
William Williams (1788-1855) married Matilda Susannah Smith, only daughter and sole heiress of Col. Thomas Smith of Castellau, Glamorgan, and Rosamund, daughter of John Bush of Buscot, Oxfordshire. Matilda Susannah married secondly, Edward Lloyd of Ty'n-y-Rhyl, Flintshire, which may explain the presence of papers of the Lloyd family of Castellau and Aberpergwm.
According to the 1873 return of owners of land, Morgan Stuart Williams (1846-1909) of Aberpergwm, Glamorgan, owned an estimated 3,917 acres in Wales (in Glamorgan and Breconshire), with an estimated rental of £3,690. He purchased the St Donat's Castle estate in 1899. His eldest son and heir, Godfrey Herbert Joseph Williams, sold St Donat's Castle in 1922.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Deposited by Mr Godfrey Williams, Aberpergwm, per Mr R. Bernard Bowran in 1939; the Trustees of the Aberpergwm Estate in 1949; Major Idris M. Williams, per Messrs Ashurst, Crisp & Co., London, between December 1964 and March 1965, and in July 1965; Major Idris Morgan-Williams, St Helier, Jersey, in 1991; and donated by Messrs Pennington Lewis & Lewis, London, per The British Records Association in 1979.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Deeds of the Aberpergwm estate in Glamorgan, Monmouthshire, Breconshire, and Carmarthenshire, 1258-1919; rentals and general account books of the estate (including some colliery accounts), 1791-1870, account books and balance sheets of the Aberpergwm colleries, 1794-1972; documents relating to Treferig Valley railway, 1874-1884; and personal papers, including letters to the Williams family of Aberpergwm and the associated families of Smith of Castellau, Llantrisant, Lloyd of Castellau and Aberpergwm and the Bush family of Durcot, Oxfordshire, 1760-1909; Castellau estate papers, 1867-1879; and papers, mainly 18th century, relating to the claims of inhabitants in the Forest of Dean.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
All records deposited and donated to NLW have been retained.
Accruals are not expected.
System of arrangement
Arranged by date of deposit and into letters and manuscripts arranged chronologically by record type (the 1940 deposit); deeds and documents arranged chronologically (the 1965 deposit); and arranged chronologically by record type (the 1991 deposit).
Conditions of access and use area
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.
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Hard copies of the catalogues, entitled Aberpergwm Deeds and Documents, Aberpergwm Letters and Manuscripts, and Aberpergwm Papers are available at NLW and HMC. The BRA donation remains uncatalogued.
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
Title based on contents of fonds.
Virtua system control number
GEAC system control number
Place access points
Name access points
- Treferig Valley Railway (Subject)
- Aberpergwm Estate (Wales) -- Archives (Subject)
- Aberpergwm Collieries Co Ltd (Wales) (Subject)
- Castellau Estate (Wales) (Subject)
- St. Donat's Castle Estate (Wales) (Subject)
- Aberpergwm Estate (Wales) (Subject)
- Williams family, of Aberpergwm -- Archives. (Subject)
- Smith family, of Castellau -- Correspondence (Subject)
- Lloyd family, of Castellau and Aberpergwm -- Correspondence (Subject)
- Smith family, of Castellau (Subject)
- Lloyd family, of Castellau and Aberpergwm (Subject)
- Bush family, of Durcot (Subject)
Genre access points
Description control area
Rules and/or conventions used
Description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; and LCSH
Level of detail
Dates of creation revision deletion
The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: West Glamorgan Archive Service, Catalogue of the Aberpergwm Estate Papers, James, Brian, 'The Great Landowners of Wales in 1873', National Library of Wales Journal, XIV, (1965-66); Collis, Kim, The West Glamorgan Archive Service: A Guide to the Collections, (West Glamorgan Archive Service, 1998); Burke's Landed Gentry, (London, 1952).
Compiled by Mair James.