Fonds GB 0210 BADMINTON - Badminton Estate Records

Identity area

Reference code



Badminton Estate Records


  • [13 cent.]-1949. (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

11.695 cubic metres (260 boxes, c.900 vols, mostly outsize).

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

The manors of Crickhowell and Tretower, with the borough of Crickhowell, lying along the valley of the Usk in Breconshire were originally in the lordship of Blaenllyfni, and, from the late 13th century, were held by Hugh de Turberville. On the marriage of his daughter and heiress, they came into the possession of Sir Grimbald Pauncefoot, in whose family they remained until 1461. they were seized by Edward IV and granted by him to William, Lord Herbert in 1463. He became Earl of Pembroke in 1468, and his grand-daughter, Elizabeth, married Charles Somerset, Earl of Worcester.

By this marriage, Charles Somerset assumed in 1504 the title of baron Herbert of Raglan, Chepstow and Gower. He had been made commissioner of array for Wales in 1496, and between 1503 and 1515 he was given the stewardship of the chief Crown lordships in Monmouthshire, Radnorshire, Glamorgan, Montgomeryshire and Ruthin. In 1509 he received the constableships of the appurtenant castles and titles of sheriff of Glamorgan and Morgannwg, to which Henry VII added those of chief forester of Glamorgan, Ruthin and Montgomery in 1515.

Charles's heir was his eldest son, Henry Somerset (d. 1549), 2nd Earl who succeeded to most of his fathers Welsh offices. He extended the family influence further in Wales when he became steward and chancellor of Brecon and constable of the castle in 1523. With the dissolution of the small monastries he received Tintern Abbey in 1537. Henry's heir, William (1526-1589) lost much of the family's influence in Wales. This was caused by the revival of the Earldom of Pembroke in 1551. All their influence in central and North Wales reverted to the house of Pembroke. Most of the South Wales offices passed to William Herbert, 1st Earl of the second creation. However, William's eldest son, Edward Somerset (1553-1628), 4th Earl, recovered parts of the family's Welsh influence. He was put on the Council of Wales in 1590, and with the death of the 2nd Earl of Pembroke in 1601 secured the omission of Monmouthshire and Glamorgan from the commission of Pembroke's successor at Ludlow.

Henry Somerset (c. 1577-1646), 5th Earl and 1st marquess of Worcester, was the eldest surviving son of Edward. He died a prisoner in 1646. His son, Edward Somerset (1601-1667), 2nd marquess outlived his father by only a year. It was during this period that Oliver Cromwell seized parts of the family estate. Edward's eldest son and heir was Henry Somerset (1629-1700), 3rd marquess of Worcester and 1st Duke of Beaufort. In 1650 he sold #1,600 worth of the family estates in Glamorgan to Colonel Philip Jones. He secured the reversion of Cromwell's slice of the family estates, but since Raglan had become uninhabitable, he transferred his principal seat to Badminton, Gloucestershire.

The family continued to hold land in Wales until the end of the 19th century. In fact nine tenths of its land were situated in South Wales, with two seats in Monmouthshire, one in Breconshire, and manorial rights in three counties. Coal and iron were found on the estate in the 17th century which brought the family a steady income. The 5th Duke, Henry Somerset (1744-1803) extended his lands in Monmouthshire by buying the old Pembroke lordships of Usk and Trelech.

According to the 1873 return of owners of land the Duke of Beaufort owned an estimated 32,533 acres in Wales (in Monmouthshire, Breconshire and Glamorgan) with an estimated rental of £32,564.

Henry Adalbert Wellington Fitzroy Somrerset (1847-1924), 9th Duke, sold the Raglan estate, excluding the castle, to the Crown and the manorial rights there to his kinsman, Lord Raglan, grandson of FitzRoy James Henry Somerset (1788-1855), 1st Baron Raglan, youngest son of the 5th Duke of Beaufort.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Deposited by the Duke of Beaufort between 1940 and 1990 and subsequently purchased by NLW in 1994.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Records of the Welsh estates of the dukes of Beaufort, earlier the earls of Worcester and William Herbert, earl of Pembroke (d. 1469), including records for the Breconshire lordships of Crickhowell, from 1382, and Tretower, from 1532; ministers' accounts for Monmouthshire lordships from 1387 and manorial records for the lordship of Chepstow, from 1568, Monmouth, from 1416, Porthgaseg, from 1262, Raglan, from 1364, Treleck, from 1508, and for the lordship of Usk, from 1517; records for the Seignory of Gower and Kilvey from 1366 and for the borough and manor of Swansea, 1657-1835; deeds from the 13th cent.relating to the Badminton estate in Monmouthshire, Breconshire and in Gower, Glamorganshire; records from the 16 cent. relating to the coal and iron industries in Monmouthshire and Glamorgan; and estate management records including rentals, 1638-1933, accounts of rent arrears, 1669-1839, bailiffs, collectors and stewards' accounts, 1652-1858, and registers of leases, 1629-1918.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

All records purchased by NLW have been retained, but some were removed before the 1994 purchase. Records relating to the Gloucestershire estate were transferred to Gloucestershire Record Office in 1972, and those relating to the Wiltshire estate were returned to Badminton in 1988. Typed and manuscript lists of the transferred material are kept with the collection, and also in the hard copy of the catalogue for Badminton Estate Group II in the Reading Room.


Accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Arranged into manorial records by county; deeds and documents; manuscripts and records; and estate management records.

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

  • English
  • Latin

Script of material

Language and script notes

English, Latin.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Further details relating to the extensive manorial records within the archive can be accessed on-line from The National Archives Manorial Documents Register.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Further papers relating to the Welsh portion of the Badminton estate are Glamorgan Record Office, CL/BUTE/XVIII and West Glamorgan Archive Service, D/D Beau. A large archive relating to the Gloucestershire portion of the estate is Gloucestershire Record Office, Fm, D2700 and P20. Further papers are still held by the family in Badminton House. Welsh estate maps are in National Library of Wales, Map Collections.

Related descriptions

Publication note

Owens, B. G., 'Deposited Collections. 15. The Badminton Records', National Library of Wales Journal vol. V (1947-8), pp. 55-6.

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


GEAC system control number


Access points

Place access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

This description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) Second Edition; AACR2; and LCSH


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

May 2002, revised May 2003.


  • English



Archivist's note

Compiled by Mair James.

Archivist's note

The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: The Dictionary of Welsh Biography Down to 1940, (London, 1959); NLW, Schedule of Badminton Manorial Records. Vol.1;

Accession area