Fonds GB 0210 BROTYN - Brogyntyn Estate and Family Records

Identity area

Reference code



Brogyntyn Estate and Family Records


  • 1296-1977 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

4.30 cubic metres (107 large boxes, 4 flat boxes, 5 boxed rolls, 3 outsize volumes, 13 volumes (Clenennau Letters and Papers)).

Context area

Name of creator

Administrative history

Family estate, situated in Selatyn near Oswestry, Shropshire, but incorporating large ancestral estates in North Wales.
The earliest settlement on the site is a motte, supposedly associated with Owain Brogyntyn. By the mid-sixteenth century the owner was John Lacon, whose estate included Constable's Hall at Porkington and Llanddyn near Llangollen in Denbighshire. His daughter, Margaret, was married in 1556 to William Maurice (1542-1622) of Clenennau in Penyfed, Caernarfonshire, eldest son of Moris ap Eliza and Ellen Puleston. Since 1501, when Moris ap John ap Meredudd received a gift of land in Clenennau from his foster-father, Rhys ap Ieuan ap Dicws Foel, the Moris family had accumulated property in Penyfed, Penmorfa, Trefan, Pennant, Clenennau and parts of Merionethshire. William Maurice continued this trend over the next five decades by the further acquisition of lands in Shropshire, Denbighshire and Merionethshire, by leases from the Corporation of Harlech and enclosures in Harlech Marsh. He was widowed in 1572, but remarried twice, in 1576 to Ellen Lewis, widow of John Lewis of Chwaen Wen, Anglesey, and in 1605 to Jane Johnes (nee Puleston), widow of Sir Thomas Johnes of Abermarlais, Carmarthenshire. From 1581 he held several important public offices in the county administration of Caernarfonshire and Merionethshire, and he was knighted upon the accession of James I in 1603. -- Sir William's eldest son, William Wynn Maurice (1559-c.1598) had predeceased him, leaving two daughters, Ellen and Margaret, as coheiresses upon their grandfather's death in 1622. Ellen Maurice (1578-1626), was married to John Owen of Bodsilin and Fernhill, secretary to Sir Francis Walsingham, and eight children were born prior to his death in 1611. She remarried in 1616, to Sir Francis Eure, Chief Justice of North Wales, by whom she had one son, Compton. By then she was living at Constable's Hall, Porkington, where she had the house rebuilt in 1617. Ellen died in 1626, leaving her eldest son, John Owen (1600-1666), as heir to the Clenennau estate, and his brother William (1607-1670), to inherit Porkington. -- Sir John, who was a staunch Royalist, served as Vice-Admiral of North Wales and Governor of Conway Castle. Col. William Owen defended Harlech Castle during the Civil War. Their sister, Margaret, was a forbear by marriage of the Godolphin family of Abertanat. -- John Owen's son, William (1624-1677/8) married Catherine, daughter of Lewis Anwyl of Parc, Llanfrothen in 1648. He inherited both Clenennau and Porkington from his father and his uncle respectively, but he based his family home at Llanddyn. The surviving heir of William and Catherine Owen was their son, Robert (1658-1698). He was knighted in 1678, served as MP for Merionethshire and Caernarfon Borough, and held several other local public offices. In 1683 he married Margaret, daughter of Owen Wynn and heiress to the substantial estates of Glyn, Sylfaen and Ystumcegid. A short time later he also acquired a moiety of Nant in Flintshire by a settlement with his wife's family. Unfortunately, Sir Robert Owen died prematurely in 1698, leaving massive debts. -- The successor to the estate was William Owen (1688-1767), who eased his financial burden by marrying Mary, daughter of Dr Henry Godolphin, Dean of St Paul's and Provost of Eton, in 1730. William Owen's estate was additionally enlarged by the purchase in 1736 of part of the Brynker lands in Dolbenmaen, which he promptly mortgaged to pay for extensive renovations at Porkington. -- The Brogyntyn estate descended to the eldest surviving son, Robert Godolphin Owen (1733-1792), who remained a bachelor. In the absence of male heirs the estate was inherited by his sister Margaret (1738-1806), who married Owen Ormsby of Willowbrook, co. Sligo, 1777. Their daughter, Mary Jane (1781-1869), became heiress to Brogyntyn, Clenennau, Glyn and her father's lands in Ireland. Her wealth enabled her to carry out a complete renovation of Porkington. In 1815 she married William Gore, another Irish landowner, who assumed the additional family name of Ormsby. Considerable additions were made to the estate during his lifetime, the largest being Drenewydd in Whittington, purchased from the Peniarth estate in 1830 for £35,000. A fire caused major damage to parts of Brogyntyn Hall in 1874. -- The title Baron Harlech was first awarded to John Ralph Ormsby-Gore (1816-1876) in 1875 shortly before his death. He was succeeded under a special remainder by his younger brother, William Richard Ormsby-Gore (1819-1904), second Baron Harlech. The latter had followed a military career and held several public offices in Ireland between 1841 and 1876. He married in 1850 to Emily Charlotte, daughter of Admiral Sir George Francis Seymour. By 1883 his estates comprised 57,647 acres in North Wales, Shropshire, Berkshire and Ireland, and they were further increased by the purchase of Pentre-pant near Brogyntyn in 1893. -- George Ralph Charles Ormbsy-Gore, third Baron Harlech (1855-1938), followed a distinguished military and public career which included a command of the Welsh Guards and he made a prestigious marriage in 1881 to Lady Margaret Ethel Gordon, daughter of Charles, Marquis of Huntley. Their son succeeded to a depleted estate, for in 1894 the trustees were permitted to sell land in Treflys and in 1911 all the Eifionydd property (over 8000 acres) was sold, except the family's ancestral home at Clenennau. -- William George Arthur Ormsby-Gore, fourth Baron Harlech (1885-1964), saw active service in Egypt during the First World War and he held numerous public offices including Lord Lieutenant of Merionethshire, Constable of Harlech and Caernarfon castles, board member of several national museums and galleries, and High Commissioner for the United Kingdom in South Africa. In 1913 he married Lady Beatrice Cecil, by whom he had six children. -- William David Ormsby-Gore, the fifth Baron (1918-1985) joined the army in 1939 and after the Second World War he pursued a career in politics. He was also closely involved with the media, being a film censor and chairman of Harlech television. He married twice, in 1940 to Sylvia Lloyd Thomas, and again in 1969 to Pamela Colin of New York. David Ormsby-Gore was killed in a road accident in 1985. The eldest surviving son of his first marriage, the current Lord Harlech, is Francis David Ormsby-Gore, born in 1954. -- The effects of two world wars and the burden of death duties led to the sale of Drenewydd in 1939, Llanddyn in 1943 and the eventual abandonment of Brogyntyn. From around 1985 the house stood virtually empty and it was finally sold to developers in 2005.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Third, fourth, fifth and sixth Barons Harlech; Brogyntyn, Shropshire, and Glyn, Talsarnau, Merionethshire; In 1934 the third Lord Harlech placed thirty manuscripts on deposit at the National Library of Wales. In 1938 a further fifty-nine manuscripts were deposited by the fourth Lord Harlech, together with a large part of the family archives. In 1945 Lord Harlech converted a large part of the deposited collection into a donation. Further groups of estate records were acquired by NLW between 1946 and 1955. In 1993 the remainder of the manuscript collection was purchased from the current (sixth) Lord Harlech. A further addition was acquired through purchase from Bonhams; London; (Lots 376, 386, 387 & 392); 29 March 2017.
The documents comprising the Brogyntyn (Longueville) group were deposited at NLW by Longueville Gittins, Oswestry, between 1942 and 1992.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Records of the Brogyntyn estate, home of the Ormsby-Gore family, Barons Harlech, 1296-1951. They include estate papers and deeds, legal papers, financial papers, family papers and county administration papers of the Ormsby-Gore family, their ancestors, the Maurices and the Owens of Clenennau, the Wynns of Glyn and others, such as Anwyl of Park, Clayton of Lea Hall, Godolphin of Abertanat, Lyster of Penrhos, Mostyn of Nant, and Vaughan of Corsygedol. The three main estates represented in the collection are Brogyntyn, Clenennau and Glyn, the latter constituting a major addition to the existing North Wales holdings of Sir Robert Owen upon his marriage to Margaret Wynn in 1683. The documentation also covers other, subsiduary estates acquired by marriage or inheritance, namely Llanddyn, Sylfaen, Ystumcegid, Nant, Cemais, Penrhos, Abertanat and properties in the west of Ireland. The record types include title deeds for lands in Caernarfonshire, Merionethshire, Flintshire, Denbighshire, Montgomeryshire, Shropshire, elsewhere in England and Wales, and in the Irish counties of Westmeath, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo and Roscommon, 1296-1838; rentals, accounts and other papers associated with estate administration, [1380s]-1951; manorial records, 1429-1804; household management papers, 1662-[c. 1949]; legal and arbitration papers, 1410-1834; financial papers such as mortgages and accounts, 1492-1876; family settlements, probate records and trusts, 1485-[c. 1862]; private letters, 1582-1950; papers relating to family interests, [14th cent.]-1951; personal papers of family members, 1672-1945; royal appointments and honours, 1795-1948; central government papers, 1581-1887; county administration papers, 1518-1904; and administration records of the church, schools and charities, 1598-[1876x1904]. Other component parts of the archive are the Clenennau Letters and Papers, which combine personal correspondence with the civil and military administration of Caernarfonshire from the late sixteenth to late seventeenth centuries. Additional records, comprising Lord Harlech's Game Books (3 volumes), 1882-1933, a journal kept by W. R. Ormsby Gore of the 13th Light Dragoons, May-September 1854, two manuscript catalogues of plays, 1815, and a manuscript catalogue of the library at Porkington, 1809, were acquired in March 2017.
The Brogyntyn (Longueville) group comprises deeds and documents relating to the Brogyntyn estate, 1607-1977, deposited by Longueville Gittins solicitors who provided professional legal services to the estate.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Action: All records deposited at NLW have been retained..


Accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Arranged as seven groups: estate papers and deeds; arbitration and legal papers; financial papers; family papers; government and county administration papers; Brogyntyn (Longueville) and Clenennau Letters and Papers.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions set out in information provided when applying for their Readers' Tickets, whereby the reader shall become responsible for compliance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation 2018 in relation to any processing by them of personal data obtained from modern records held at the Library. = Disgwylir i ddarllenwyr sydd am ddefnyddio papurau modern yn Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru gydymffurfio â Deddf Warchod Data 2018 a Rheoliadau Diogelu Data Cyffredinol 2018 yng nghyd-destun unrhyw brosesu ganddynt o ddata personol a gasglwyd o gofnodion modern sydd ar gadw yn y Llyfrgell. Nodir y manylion yn yr wybodaeth a roddir wrth wneud cais am Docyn Darllen.

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright laws apply.

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

English unless otherwise specified.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A draft version of this catalogue is also available in hard copy. Former schedules to the Clenennau Letters and Papers, Brogyntyn Manuscripts and Brogyntyn (Longueville) 1958 deposit nos 1/1-19/1 are available in hard copy at NLW in the South Reading Room. Further finding aids are stored with the Brogyntyn estate and family papers, comprising: card indexes describing many of the manuscripts, deeds and documents,with the old NLW reference numbers (now redundant, not to be used when ordering documents); copies of the NLW old schedules of Clenennau Letters and Papers, Brogyntyn Library of Printed Books and Brogyntyn Manuscripts and Documents, 1937-1948; NLW Annual Report 1938; Hand-list of Incunabula in tthe National Library of Wales (NLW Journal Supplement 1940); relevant extracts from the NLW Journal, 1948-1953, in a single binding; W.Ll. Davies ‘The National Library of Wales; A Survey of its History, its Contents, and its Activities’ (Aberystwyth 1937).; a Calendar of the Wynn of Gwydir Papers (Cardiff 1926); and Kalendars of Gwynedd (London 1873).

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

The Clenennau Letters and Papers: Available on microfilm, for which see appropriate level description.

Related units of description

The manuscripts donated by and purchased from the Barons Harlech have been catalogued separately, see NLW, Brogyntyn Manuscripts. Related papers from Brogyntyn are at NLW, printed books and pamphlets in the printed books collection; maps and plans in the maps collection; photographs, sketches and postcards in special collections. Additional deeds and documents, collected for legal purposes by Longueville, the Ormsby-Gore family's solicitors, now form part of this catalogue. Other Brogyntyn estate papers are held by Shropshire Archives, D3651, P; Merionnydd Archives, Yale and Hardcastle Papers; and Flintshire Record Office, D/NA..

Related descriptions

Publication note

Rev. George Sandford, 'The house of Brogyntyn', Montgomeryshire Collections, 21 (1887), pp. 89-102.

Publication note

Elinor Namora Williams, 'The Brogyntyn family - a social study' (unpublished master's thesis, Univ. Liverpool, 1951), copy in NLW ex 1649.

Notes area


Title supplied from contents of fonds.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


GEAC system control number


Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

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

January 2008. Revision July 2017 and July 2019..


  • English



The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Griffith, John Edwards, Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire (Wrexham, 1998 reprint); Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959); Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage (London, 1990); Gresham, Colin A., Eifionydd: A Study in Landownership from the Medieval Period to the Present Day (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1973); Williams, Elinor Namora, 'The Brogyntyn family - a social study' (Unpublished master's thesis, School of Celtic Studies, University of Liverpool, 1951), copy in NLW ex 1649; Sandford, George, Rev., 'The House of Brogyntyn', Montgomeryshire Collections, 21 (1887), pp. 89-102.

Archivist's note

Catalogue of the main Brogyntyn estate records compiled by Hilary A. Peters. Catalogue of Clenennau Letters and Papers compiled by others, for which see relevant sub-fonds description.

Archivist's note

Clenennau Letters and Papers revised by Lucie Hobson, September 2021.

Accession area