- 1284-[c. 1852] (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
4.136 cubic metres (176 boxes, 316 vols, 119 wallets, 6 rolls and 10 loose documents); 1flat box (September 2004); 2 large boxes (October 2004); 332 volumes (February 2005); 1 document (August 2005); 1 vol. (February 2010); 1 vol. (December 2011).
Name of creator
The Myddelton family had been prominent in the affairs of North Wales since at least the fifteenth century. Robert Myddelton, the son of Rhirid ap David of Penllyn (alive 1393-1396), assumed the surname of his mother, Cecilia daughter and heir of Sir Alexander Middleton of Middleton in the parish of Chirbury, Shropshire. Robert's grandson David Myddelton was receiver-general for North Wales, during the reigns of Edward IV and Richard III. David's son Ffoulke Myddelton was governor of Denbigh castle, as was Ffoulke's son Richard Myddelton (c.1508-1575).
Richard's son Sir Thomas Myddelton (1550-1631) was a founder member of the East India Company, and a benefactor of the lucrative expeditions by Drake, Raleigh and Hawkins. His wealth enabled him to buy the castle and lordship of Chirk for £5,000 from St John of Bletsloe in 1595. Sir Thomas had been apprenticed to a London grocer, and became a freeman of Grocers' Company in 1582, surveyor of the outports c.1580 and by 1595 was employed on public business such as the valuing prize cargoes, raising emergency military and naval supplies, and giving advice on currency problems. Sir Thomas was MP for Merionethshire 1597 and lord lieutenant 1599, lord mayor of London 1613, and MP for the city of London 1624-1626. In 1615 he acquired an Essex manor as a country seat nearer to his place of business in Tower Street, and also bought other properties in the Home counties. In 1628-1629 he purchased the crown lordship of Arwystli and Cyfeiliog, which he later resold.
The heir to Sir Thomas's Welsh estates was his oldest surviving son, Thomas Myddelton (1586-1666), who purchased Ruthin Castle in 1632, and acquired the stewardship and lordship of Ruthin in 1635. He entered parliament in 1624 as MP for Weymouth, before changing to Denbighshire in 1625. He was also elected for the Long parliament. He became a Parliamentary commander during the Civil War. After the restoration of the monarchy, Chirk Castle underwent a programme of major building work, during which the family lived at Cefn-y-wern until 1672.
Sir William Myddelton (1694-1718), 4th baronet, died unmarried, when the baronetcy became extinct, and the Chirk Castle estate, with the lordships of Chirk, Chirklands and Ruthin passed to Robert (dsp. 1733), younger son of the 1st baronet. Robert was succeeded by his brother, John (d. 1747). During the 18th century the Myddelton family developed coal mines at Black Park and an iron forge at Pont-y-blew. On the death of John's grandson, Richard Myddelton (d. 1796), the estate was divided between his sisters. The Chirk Castle estate passed to his eldest sister, Charlotte, wife of Robert Biddulph of Ledbury, Herefordshire, who prefixed his surname with Myddelton. The Ruthin Castle estate passed to Harriet, who bequeathed the estate to her sister, Maria (d. 1843), wife of Frederick West (d. 1852), third son of John, Earl De La Warr.
According to the 1873 return of owners of land, Richard Myddelton-Biddulph of Chirk Castle owned an estimated 6,953 acres (all in Denbighshire and Merionethshire), with an estimated rental of £9,128.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
The main group of Chirk Castle estate records was deposited in 1932 by Colonel R. E. Myddelton. A further deposit was made in 1944. The archive was purchased by NLW in October 1974, with a number of items on display at Chirk Castle excluded from the sale. Some at least of these excluded items (E 39, F 2035, F 4474, F 4479, F 6428, F 7383, F 9757 and F 9758) are represented in NLW's collection by photocopies.
A small group of papers (Chirk Castle 1979) was purchased by NLW at Sotheby's, London, in 1979.
Chirk Castle Estate Records: Christie's; London; Purchase; September 2004 (Lot 501 in Chirk Castle Sale, June 2004) and February 2005.
Chirk Castle Estate Records: Castle Bookshop; Llandyssil, Montgomery; Purchase; October 2004.
Chirk Castle Estate Records: Mrs A. R. Roberts; Llansilin; Donation; August 2005.
Chirk Castle Estate Records: Patrick King Rare Books; Stony Stratford; Purchase; February 2010 and December 2011.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Estate and family records of the Chirk Castle estate, mainly in Denbighshire, comprising deeds from 1284; manorial records, mainly of the lordship of Chirk and Chirkland, 1322-1853, including receiver's accounts, ministers' accounts, court rolls, etc.; records of the estate's involvement in the coal, iron and lead industries in Denbighshire from 17 cent.; Denbighshire Quarter Sessions records, including order books, 1647-1675, rolls, 1643-1699, and a book of indictments, 1670-1690; Denbighshire militia records, 1602-1797, and related local government records, 1602-1811; business papers of Sir Thomas Myddelton (1550-1631); personal and estate correspondence from c.1600; literary manuscripts, c.1630-1887; and parliamentary election papers for Denbighshire and Denbigh boroughs, 1681-1852, including papers relating to quo warranto proceedings against the mayor and burgeses of Holt, 1739-1743.
Ten designs for stained glass panels, with armorial pedigree of the Myddelton family attributed to A. W. N. Pugin and John Hardman Powell; three hundred and thirty-two volumes relating to the Chirk Castle estates; a collection of miscellaneous volumes and documents relating to the Chirk Castle estates, including an account book of the Nangwrud Slate Quarry, rentals books, account books, volumes relating to the Black Park Colliery, a rabbit account book, and other papers; and an indenture, 1812, relating to Bodlith, Llansilin, part of the Chirk Castle estate were acquired. These remain uncatalogued.
A manuscript account book for Sir Richard Myddelton's properties at Chirk Castle and Soho Square, London, 1686-1700 and 1748-1752.
A manuscript Steward's letter-book relating to Chirk Castle, 183501838.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
All records purchased by NLW have been retained.
Accruals are not expected.
System of arrangement
Arranged chronologically in six sections: manuscripts; Quarter Sessions records; election papers; manorial records; correspondence; and deeds and documents.
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
Further details relating to 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
Pink, William Duncombe, Notes on the Middleton family of Denbighshire and London (Chester Courant Office, 1891)
Milner-Gibson-Cullum, Gery, Pedigree of Middleton or Myddelton of Chirk Castle, Denbigh, Stanstead Mountfichet, Essex, etc. (London, 1897)
Griffiths, G. Milwyn, 'Deposited Collections, 28: The Chirk Castle manuscripts and documents', National Library of Wales Journal, VIII (1953-54), pp. 335-48.
Title based on contents of fonds.
Virtua system control number
GEAC system control number
Subject access points
- Court records -- Wales -- Denbighshire.
- Coal mines and mining -- Wales -- Denbighshire
- Lead mines and mining -- Wales -- Denbighshire
- Iron mines and mining -- Wales -- Denbighshire
- Administration of estates -- Wales -- Denbighshire
- Elections -- Wales -- Denbighshire.
- Elections -- Wales -- Denbigh Boroughs.
- Quo warranto -- Wales -- Holt (borough)
- Manors -- Wales -- Denbighshire
- Manorial courts -- Wales -- Denbighshire
- Denbighshire (Wales) -- Militia
- Denbighshire (Wales: Parliamentary Constituency)
- Denbigh boroughs (Wales : Parliamentary constituency)
Place access points
Name access points
- Chirk Castle Estate (Wales) -- Archives. (Subject)
- Chirkland (Wales : Lordship) (Subject)
- Great Britain. Court of Quarter Sessions of the Peace (Denbighshire) (Subject)
- Myddelton, Thomas, Sir, 1550-1631 (Subject)
- Myddelton family, of Gwaenynog, Denbigh, Chirk and Ruthin, Denbighshire, London, and Essex -- Archives (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: Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959); Burke's Landed Gentry (London, 1972), vol. 3; Griffith, John Edwards, Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire families, (Wrexham, 1998 reprint)
Compiled by Stephen Benham.
Revised by Lucie Hobson, May 2022.