Fonds GB 0210 MSGWYSAN - Gwysaney manuscripts

Barddoniaeth Gymraeg Liber Landavensis Epistolau bugeiliol St Paul.

Identity area

Reference code



Gwysaney manuscripts


  • [c. 1120]-[1942x1959], 2007 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

58 volumes, 3 rolls, 1 framed document.

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

The Llannerch estate, near St Asaph, and the Gwysaney estate, Mold, were united in 1631 on the marriage of Anne, daughter of Sir Piers Mytton of Llannerch and Robert Davies (1616-1666) of Gwysaney. Their grandson Robert Davies (c. 1658-1710) of Llannerch, antiquary and book collector, greatly expanded the manuscript collections at Llannerch through purchase, gifts and transcription; the Liber Landavensis came to Llannerch through his wife Letitia. Robert Davies's great-grandson, John Davies (1737-1785), died childless and in 1789 the two estates were divided between his sisters: Llannerch went to Mrs Letitia Leo and Gwysaney to Mrs Mary Puleston (d. 1802), widow of Philip Puleston of Hafod-y-Wern, Wrexham. Mary Puleston's daughter, Frances, married Bryan Cooke (1756-1821) of Owston, Yorkshire. Their son and heir was Philip Davies Cooke (1793-1854). During the nineteenth century the Davies-Cooke family lived mainly at Owston. However in 1888, due to the ill-health of Philip Bryan Davies-Cooke (1832-1903), the family returned to Wales and made Gwysaney their main home again.

Name of creator

Biographical history

Robert Davies [IV] of Gwysaney and Llannerch.

Name of creator

Archival history

The Gwysaney manuscript collection had its beginnings in the library at Llannerch. This was in existence by the mid sixteenth century but was greatly developed by Robert Davies (c. 1658-1710). As part of the division of the Llannerch and Gwysaney estates in 1789 the library at Llannerch was also divided with a significant portion (at least 37 volumes) being permanently transferred to Gwysaney. At some point during the nineteenth century most of the collection at Gwysaney was removed to Owston Hall; Jeaffreson's catalogue of 1877 lists fifty-six manuscripts at Owston (that is [Gwysaney] MSS 1-49, 51-57; fifty-two of these were in the 1942 and 1947 deposits) as well as other documents later given Gwysaney MS numbers. The collection returned to Gwysaney when the Davies-Cooke family relocated there, by this time supplemented by manuscripts from Hafod-y-Wern and Owston and by more recent manuscripts relating to the Gwysaney estate. A total of eighty-nine manuscripts (numbered 1-94, with gaps) were deposited in the National Library of Wales by Philip Tatton Davies-Cooke of Gwysaney in 1942 (NLW MSS 17110E, 17115E and 17126D) and by his son Major P. R. Davies-Cooke in 1947 (the remaining 86 manuscripts). The manuscripts were withdrawn by P. R. Davies-Cooke in April 1959 in order to be valued and then sold. The Welsh and family manuscripts only (52 in number) were purchased by the Library; the remainder were then sold at auction at Sotheby's in June 1959, with the Library purchasing a single further volume.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

NLW MSS 17110E, 17112-62: Lt.-Col. P. R. Davies-Cooke; Gwysaney; Purchase; [May] 1959.
NLW MS 17111F: Sotheby's; London; Purchased at auction, lot 202; 15 June 1959.
NLW MS 21608D: Sotheby's; London; Purchased at auction, lot 27; 11 July 1978.
NLW MSS 24140-5: Mr Richard Davies-Cooke; Mold; Purchase (with NLW Facs 1094); January 2020.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Manuscripts, [c. 1120]-[1942x1959], formerly part of the library of the Davies-Cooke family at Gwysaney, Mold, consisting mainly of family papers and manuscripts in Welsh or of Welsh interest.
The manuscripts include the Liber Landavensis (Book of Llandaff), [c. 1120]-[c. 1133]; volumes of Welsh pedigrees, [16 cent.], and Welsh poetry, [16 cent.]; Richard Davies's translation into Welsh of St Paul's Pastoral Epistles, [1546x1563]-[1567x1581]; a manuscript of the Brut in English, [1460x1479]; sermons, [17 cent.]-1811; inventories, catalogues and schedules relating to books, deeds and other property at Oulton, Owston, Llannerch and Gwysaney, 1750/1-1801; a travel journal of Bryan Cooke, 1790-1797, and journals of continental tours by Phillip Davies Cooke, 1815-1824; records of dues for the parish of Mold, 1581-1590; rentals and accounts of the Llannerch and Gwysaney estates, 1730-1843; surveys of the Llannerch and Gwysaney estates, [18 cent.]-[early 19 cent.]; valuations of part of the Gwysaney estate in Flintshire, 1809; pedigree rolls, 1604-1771, of the Davies, Puleston and Meredith (of Allington) families; and several groups of letters, including transcripts and memoranda, and other papers, relating to the Puleston, Davies, Cooke, Davies-Cooke and other families, [1487x1503]-1901.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Arranged according to NLW MSS reference numbers: NLW MSS 17110-17162, 21608D, 24140-24145.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright laws apply.

Language of material

  • English
  • French
  • Greek
  • Irish
  • Italian
  • Latin
  • Welsh

Script of material

Language and script notes

English, Latin, Welsh, French, some Greek, Irish and Italian.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A detailed list of the manuscripts' contents (as well as those later withdrawn) may be found in NLW, Catalogue of the Gwysaney Manuscripts deposited by Lt.-Col. Phillip Ralph Davies-Cooke, T.D., D.L., Gwysaney (1953), a copy of which is available in the Reading Room.

Some of the manuscripts are described briefly in John Cordy Jeaffreson, 'The Manuscripts of Philip Bryan Davies Cooke, Esquire, of Owston, co. York, and of Gwysaney, co. Flint, North Wales', in Sixth Report of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts: Part I. Report and Appendix (London, 1877), pp. 418-426.

For catalogues listing the manuscripts in the Llannerch library in 1740 and 1778 see NLW MS 17126D.

Generated finding aid

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

See also NLW Facs 371, 1091, 1094, NLW ex 3006 and NLW MS 24108G (currently uncatalogued). Further papers relating to the Gwysaney estate and the Davies-Cooke family are now Hawarden, Flintshire Record Office, D/GW and D/GW/B. Gwysaney MSS 2, 6 and 19 are now San Marino (CA), Huntington Library, MSS HM 19915, HM 19916 and HM 19914 respectively; Gwysaney MS 3 is now New Haven (CT), Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Marston MS 252; Gwysaney MS 4 is now University of Houston, Special Collections, Bs 75 1200 Z; Gwysaney MSS 5, 13 and 16 are now Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Lat. misc. b. 16, MS. Lat. th. c. 24 and MS. Lat. misc. d. 83 respectively; Gwysaney MS 15 is now Sheffield Archives, MD 3414.

Publication note

Hywel D. Emanuel, 'The Gwysaney manuscripts', National Library of Wales Journal, 7.4 (1952), 326-343.

Notes area


Title based on contents of fonds.


NLW MSS 17110-17162 and 21608D previously Gwysaney MSS 1, 14, 20, 23-25, 27-29, 34-36, 38, 42, 46-49, 53-54, 56, 59-70, 72-94.


NLW MS 17110E purchased with financial assistance from The Friends of the National Libraries.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


Access points

Place 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

August 2015 and June 2023.


  • English



The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Hywel D. Emanuel, 'The Gwysaney manuscripts', National Library of Wales Journal, 7.4 (1952), 326-343; G. A. Usher, Gwysaney and Owston: A History of the Family of Davies-Cooke of Gwysaney, Flintshire, and Owston, West Riding of Yorkshire (Denbigh, 1964).

Archivist's note

Description compiled by Rhys Jones and revised by Rhys Jones.

Accession area