Fonds GB 0210 CROOOD - Crosswood Estate Records,

Identity area

Reference code



Crosswood Estate Records,


  • 1184, 1361-1362, 1572-1940 / (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

4.337 cubic metres (122 boxes, 176 volumes, 10 loose documents, 1 roll)

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

The Vaughan family could claim residence at Crosswood for over six centuries up to 1947. The first member to have claimed to settle there is Adda ap Llewelyn Fychan in around 1200, who married Tudo, daughter and heiress of Ieuan Goch of Crosswood. Their great-grandson, Morus Fychan ap Ieuan is said to have used Fychan, hence Vaughan as his surname. In 1547 the marriage settlement of Moris, son of Richard ap Moris Vaughan of Crosswood, and Elliw ferch Howell bought to the family a large amount of scattered land near Crosswood. Between 1560 and 1585 Moris purchased a number of tenements in the parishes of Llanfihangel y Creuddyn and Llanafan. Therefore, by the end of the 16th century, the family held large tracts of land around Crosswood.

Moris's grandson, Edward, consolidated the family position by arranging a number of shrewd marriages with the younger generations of wealthy and powerful local families. He himself married Lettice, the daughter of John Stedman of Strata Florida. In 1624, he married secondly, Anne Stedman of Cilcennin, the daughter of Sir Thomas Jones of Abermarlais. Edward's eldest son, Sir John Vaughan, married Jane, Anne's eldest daughter. Edward's second son, Henry, married Mary, Jane's sister, whilst his daughter, Jane, married John Stedman, a nephew of Lettice.

In 1630, John purchased 13,000 acres of land covering Hafodwen, Blaen Aeron, Cwmystwyth, Morfa Mawr, Mefenydd, Penarth, Anhuniog and Doverchen from the Earl of Essex for #4,300. In 1674 he bought an estate in Gwerniogyn, Montgomeryshire, from Sir Edward Lloyd of Berthlwyd. John's grandson, John (?1670-1721) was created Viscount Lisburne. He married Malet, the daughter of the second Earl of Rochester, by which the Vaughan family gained estates in West Somerset. However, before John's death, parts of the estate in Somerset and Montgomeryshire had to be sold for #26,000 in order to pay off debts accumulated by his son, John (d. 1741), 2nd Viscount Lisburne. The latter continued to build up further debts after the death of his father.

Following John's death in 1741 the estate passed to his brother, Wilmot (d. 1766), 3rd Viscount Lisburne. In order to restore the family's dwindling fortune, he married Elizabeth, only daughter of Thomas Watson of Berwick upon Tweed, and by this marriage gained a substantial estate in Northumberland and Durham. In 1754, Wilmot's son, Wilmot (d. 1800) married Elizabeth Gascoigne Nightingale of Hanover Square, London. She bought with her a dowry of #4,000 invested in joint-stock capital of the Bank of England and #3,000 invested in a company of merchants trading in the southern hemisphere. In addition, as an only sister, she was entitled to property in London and lands in Mamhead and Aschombe in Devon on the death of her brother. Wilmot was created Earl of Lisburne in 1776.

However, debts continued to mount due to the need to provide for his own children, those of previous marriages and long living dowries. In 1779, Wilmot (1755-1820), 2nd Earl of Lisburne was declared insane. On the death of his father Wilmot in 1800, the estate passed to Wilmot the 2nd earl of Lisburne's half-brother, John Vaughan (1769-1831), who became 3rd Earl of Lisburne in 1820. The estate debt that John inherited was #29,070.10.10. In an attempt to clear this debt, John assigned in 1801 all the lands to two trustees. By 1806 the greater part of the debt had been cleared, chiefly due to the fact that rents during the Napoleonic War had risen by 350%. However, by 1812, the finacial position of the estate was again critical. In 1822, John Vaughan made a new settlement of the estate. All subsisting entails in all the estate were cut off; the Devon and Northern estates were made the primary fund for the payment of debts up to a limit of #100,000 either by sale or mortgage. The Welsh estate formed a secondary fund which would be raised by mortgage. Faced with total debts of #93,592.19.1, part of the Northern estate was sold for #5,100 in 1822, and the Devon estate was sold in 1823 for #106,000.

John Vaughan was succeeded by Ernest Augustus Vaughan (1800-1873), 4th Earl of Lisburne. Some debt still remained and the rest of the northern estate was sold for #35,032. The prosperity of the lead mining industry after 1839 also gave the family increased income. In 1840, Abermâd estate with various other large farms was purchased for #1,800 and later a part of the Hafod estate was acquired for #8,995. However the estate continued to be burdened by family debts. In 1849, the charges on the estate including all provisions made in family settlements came to #67,875. In 1852 the Abermâd estate was sold to Lewis Pugh.

According to the 1873 return of owners of land, The Earl of Lisburne owned 42,707 acres in Wales (all in Cardiganshire and Carmarthenshire), with an estimated rental of #10,619. Towards the close of the 19th century death duties further burdened the estate's finances. In 1876, 675 acres of land were sold, and in 1877 and 1878 other sales bought in #15,360. By 1888 sales of land amounted to a total of #24,430, the process accelerating under Arthur Henry George (1862-1899). Three months after his father's death he sold #14,760 worth of land. In 1890 a further sale added #23,560 and #5,700.

On Arthur's death, the estate and title passed to his only son, Ernest Henry Malet Vaughan (1892-1965). In 1947, the mansion of Crosswood, together with the surrounding park, was handed over to the Welsh Agricultural Advisory Service.

Archival history

Parts of the archive was catalogued by Francis Green whilst still at Crosswood. Green's reference numbers have been retained.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Deposited by the Earl of Lisburne between 1923 and 1964. The 1923 deposit was converted into a donation by the Earl of Lisburne, Virginia Water, in 1962. The deposits between 1946 and 1964 were purchased by NLW in 1986, apart from the records deposited per Ivor Evans in 1949.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Estate and family records of the Vaughan family of Crosswood (Trawscoed), Cardiganshire, later the earls of Lisburne, including deeds, 1527-1940, for lands mainly in northern Cardiganshire, but including also in Devon, Middlesex, Durham, and Northumberland; rentals, 1661-1947, (which run with many gaps), including rentals for Cwmnewidion estate; manorial records, [c. 1560]-1900, including Anhuniog, Blaenaeron, Cwmystwyth, Cwrt, Hafodwen, Mefenydd, Morfa-mawr, Pennardd, and Ysbyty Ystrad Meurig, all in Cardiganshire; lead mining records in north Cardiganshire, [1771], 1839-1930; and Crosswood Hospital papers, 1939-1945.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Action: All records deposited at NLW have been retained.


Accruals are not expected

System of arrangement

Arranged into two chronological sequences.

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 manorial records within the archive can be accessed online from The National Archives Manorial Documents Register.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

A number of maps and plans are in National Library of Wales, Map Collections. Further papers relating to the Crosswood estate are Plas Llangoedmor Deeds and Documents, Roberts & Evans (Solicitors) Papers (uncatalogued), both at the National Library of Wales.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title supplied from contents of fonds.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


GEAC system control number


Access points

Place access points

Genre 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.


  • English



Archivist's note

Compiled by Mair James.

Archivist's note

The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940, (London, 1959); Howells, J.M., 'The Crosswood Estate, 1547-1947', Ceredigion, Vol. III, No. I, (1956); James, Brian, 'The Great Landowners of Wales in 1873', National Library of Wales Journal, XIV (1965-1966);

Accession area