- [c. 1120]-[1942x1959], 2007 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
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. Gwysaney was finally sold by the Davies-Cooke family in about 2010.
Name of creator
Name of creator
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.
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; 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; and several groups of letters, including transcripts and memoranda, and other papers, relating to the Puleston, Davies, Cooke, Davies-Cooke and other families, 1542-[c. 1850].
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
Arranged according to NLW MSS reference numbers: NLW MSS 17110-17162, 21608D.
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Conditions governing reproduction
Usual copyright laws apply.
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
English, Latin, Welsh, French, some Greek and Irish.
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
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
Hywel D. Emanuel, 'The Gwysaney manuscripts', National Library of Wales Journal, 7.4 (1952), 326-343.
Title based on contents.
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.
Virtua system control number
Place access points
Name access points
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: 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).
Description compiled by Rhys M. Jones.