Fonds GB 0222 BMSS CROES - Bob Owen Croesor Papers,

Identity area

Reference code



Bob Owen Croesor Papers,


  • c.1690-1955 / (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

243 items.

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Robert Owen, O.B.E., M.A., better known as Bob Owen Croesor was an antiquary and book-collector from Llanfrothen, Merionethshire. Born in 1885, he was employed as a farm labourer and later as a clerk at the Parc and Croesor Slate Quarry. He became a lecturer with the Workers Educational Association and was also a popular radio broadcaster.

His interests lay in local history and Welsh genealogy. He collected manuscripts as well as books, and transcribed parish records. Although an advocate of the study of local history, his own topics of research were far reaching. He was an authority on the history of the Welsh in America in particular.

The obituary of Bob Owen Croesor in The Times reads : It is a mistake to look upon Bob Owen as a mere Welsh book-lover, and an obsessed collector of Welsh books; a perusal of his shelves proved him a true cosmopolitan with its ancient catalogues, bygone price lists, and the basic apparatus of classification schemes. Far from being a clannish Celt, he opened his windows wide to the world. He wielded many, and very variegated weapons of research. He was the most scientific genealogist of our generation in Wales.

He was a contributor to various periodicals, journals and newspapers. He had a popular series of articles in Y Cymro on the subject of the homes of the Welsh, Cartrefi Cymru.

Amongst his publications are Cymru ac addysg America (1957-1958) and Diwydiannau coll : ardal y ddwy afon, Dwyryd a Glaslyn (1943).

He was a truly unique character who died in 1962.


Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The papers were given to the Archives Department by Bob Owen at different times. The photograph of Bob Owen in 1955 was donated by Miss Ruth Roberts.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The collection consists of manuscript material created by Bob Owen, Croesor as well as manuscript material collected by him. -- The work of Bob Owen Croesor consists of essays composed for entry in Eisteddfod competitions. These cover a variety of subjects which touch upon local history, Welsh history and Welsh literature e.g. the history of the harp in Wales; emigration from Wales to London; the famous people of Llanfrothen, Merionethshire; the history of the Presaddfed estate, Anglesey; to list but a few. There are also essay notes and lecture notes for Workers Educational Association (WEA) classes, notes made of sermons and notes for radio talks for BBC Radio Cymru. -- The numerous letters written by Bob Owen to various correspondents reveal the extent of his knowledge of books and periodicals and Welsh literature - they are full of unique phrases and colloquialisms. A great majority of letters are addressed to Thomas Richards, Librarian of the University College of North Wales. Bob Owen writes of his work in collecting his library, and also of such matters as the war, politics, local history and historical research, Eisteddfodau, BBC radio talks, WEA lectures and Welsh emigration to America. -- The collection consists of numerous transcripts made by Bob Owen of parish records and Bishops Transcripts. The records which have been copied cover the following parishes : Betws Gwerful Goch, Dolgellau, Ffestiniog, Llanbedr, Llandanwg, Llandecwyn, Llandrillo-yn-Edeirnion, Llandderfel, Llanddwywe, Llanelltud, Llanenddwyn, Llanfihangel-y-traethau, Tal-y-llyn, Trawsfynydd, Tywyn all in Merionethshire and Aberdaron, Bodfean, Botwnnog, Bryncroes, Cricieth, Dolwyddelan, Llandygwnning, Llangwnnadl, Llaniestyn, Mellteyrn, Penmachno, Treflys in Caernarfonshire and Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr in Denbighshire. -- There are miscellaneous items such as note books and photographs. Items supplied by Bob Owen to the Countryside Exhibits at the Royal Show, Wolverhampton, 1937 as Organiser under the Caernarfonshire Rural Community Council. Also, papers regarding the case between Bob Owen and Crowe's of Wrexham in 1924 regarding the sale of An elegy wrote in a country church yard by Thomas Gray at Sotheby's.-- The manuscript material collected by Bob Owen for his library covers a wide range of topics. The poetical manuscripts date as far back as the late 17th century and were composed by many bards e.g. Robin Ddu, Wiliam Phylip, Rhys Goch Eryri, Dafydd Ddu Eryri, Sion Cawrdaf to name but a few. The other literary manuscripts take the form of note books and letters e.g. a scrap book compiled by Myrddin Fardd. -- Material of a religious nature includes the accounts of the C.M. Chapel in Bala, Merionethshire, 1855-1862 and of Dwyran C.M. Chapel, Anglesey, 1815-1821. -- There are diaries and biographies such as the diaries of Evan Evans of Plas Llandecwyn, Merionethshire, 1846-1847, and a tour of north Wales, 1830 and a guide to Snowdon from Beddgelert in 1845 by Thomas Jones. -- The letters collected by Bob Owen have been divided under the following headings : letters of musicians, letters of famous people, Anglesey matters (from the papers of R.H. Thomas, Pentraeth), letters to Rev. D.D. Williams. -- The miscellaneous material includes the accounts of a boatman, the note book of an excise officer, the vestry book, 1830 and other records of Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr parish, litigation papers regarding the Hendwr estate, Merionethshire and records relating to enclosures and land drainage, roads and transport.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Action: digitized. Action identifier: cymruww1. Date: 2013. Authorization: The Welsh experience of World War One, 1914-1918.


System of arrangement

The papers were received at different occasions and have been scattered throughout the General Collection of Bangor Manuscripts. As a result, there is no apparent system of arrangement although there has been an attempt to arrange the library manuscript material under subject.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Open to all users.

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright conditions apply. Reprographics are made at the discretion of the Archivist.

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Item level typescript catalogues are available at the Archives Department of the University of Wales Bangor. Reference numbers : General Collection of Bangor Manuscripts 366-367A, 401, 761, 986, 1062, 1284, 1550, 1999, 2497, 3007-3008, 4175-4179, 4161, 4232, 4247, 4547, 4672, 4898, 5010-5057, 5257, 5337, 5407-5413, 5437, 5517-5531, 5566, 5580-5592, 5729, 5752, 5778-5779, 5785, 5841, 5869, 5873, 5876-5879, 7289-7293, 7302-7314, 7343-7344, 8154-8161, 8224-8237, 10213-10214, 10368, 10422, 10501, 11599, 11641-11653, 13473-13490, 14087-14097, 14807, 15710-15731, 15743, 18689-18690, 23096, 27510, 32444, 35965.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Bangor University

Existence and location of copies

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Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


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Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

June 2013.


  • English



Archivist's note

Description entered by Wil Williams for The Welsh experience of World War One, 1914-1918 digitization project from data supplied by Bangor University;

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