- 1873-1996 (predominantly 1887-1934) / (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
0.688 cubic metres (36 boxes, 1 outsize wallet)See series level descriptions
Name of creator
The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion was founded in 1751 by Richard Morris with the aim of gathering London Welshmen in 'unity and fraternity' and of supporting the Society of Ancient Britons.
During the first phase of its history, 1751-1787, together with corresponding members in Wales, the Society encouraged the endeavours of literary men in Wales and became the principal formal manifestation of Welsh culture.
The Society was revived during the second phase, 1820-1843, by a group of zealous Welsh clergymen ('Yr Hen Bersoniaid Llengar'), who saw the need for a central organisation such as the Cymmrodorion to supervise the provincial eisteddfodau organised by the four Cambrian Societies. Almost all of the Cambrian Societies' officials were Members of Parliament, and therefore London became a convenient centre for its proceedings. Some publishing was undertaken during this period, and medals were given for distinguished services in the field of literature and art as well as annual medals to grammar school students for Welsh essays on a given subject.
The third phase, extending from 1873 to the present day, is the most important in the Society's history. After a lapse of thirty years, it was revived by a group of London Welshmen with the purpose of encouraging literature, science and art as connected with Wales, as well as directing and co-ordinating the endeavours of the Welsh people in the fields of education and social reform. Inevitably, London once more became the Society's administrative centre, the venue for the Cymmrodorion Council meetings, and periodical gatherings for the reading of papers on literary, scientific or artistic topics of Welsh interest. The Cymmrodorion Section meetings of the National Eisteddfod had a different function, and dealt with topics of immediate interest to Wales. As well as stimulating developments in Welsh education, such as the Intermediate Education Act, 1889, and the establishment of the University of Wales in 1893, they were responsible for forming the National Eisteddfod Association and ensuring that the festival was held annually. They also promoted the formation of other societies which were felt to be needed from time to time, as well as being prominent in stimulating the movements for the establishment of the National Library and National Museum of Wales.
Probably the Society's most distinctive work has been the promotion and publication of scholarly studies through the periodical Y Cymmrodor from 1877-1951, the Cymmrodorion Record Series from 1889 onwards, The Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1949 (1953), and the Transactions which appear annually.
The success of the third Cymmrodorion Society owes a great deal to the labours, tactfulness and remarkable organising powers of Sir E. Vincent Evans, who was appointed as secretary in 1887 andcontinued in this office until his death in 1934. He was also involved with the editing and publishing of many of the Cymmrodorion publications, (Y Cymmrodor, the Transactions, and the Cymmrodorion Record Series), and succeeded in substantially increasing the membership. Most of the Society's records listed here coincide with his tenure as secretary.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Deposited between 1937 and 1996 by the secretary of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Minutes of the Cymmrodorion council and other committees, 1873-1970, secretaries' papers, 1873-1958, 1996, librarians' papers, 1904-1939, papers relating to the Society's public activities, 1876-1988, financial papers, 1879-1954, membership papers, 1873-1933, and papers relating to its constitution, 1951-1954.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
Action: The collection has been appraised: some records have been disposed - see series level descriptions. Personal papers of Sir E. Vincent Evans unrelated to the Cymmrodorion have been added to his archive..
Accruals are expected.
System of arrangement
The records have been arranged at NLW into the following groups: administrative papers, financial records, papers relating to the Society's constitution, and miscellaneous papers
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
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
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Description control area
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
Description compiled May 2002.
Compiled by Rhidian G. Roberts and Michael J. Pearson.
The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: The Oxford Companion to the Literature of Wales, compiled and edited by Meic Stephens (Oxford: University Press, 1986); R. T. Jenkins and Helen M. Ramage, The History of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion and of the Gwyneddigion and Cymreigyddion Societies, 1751-1951 (London: The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, 1951)