Series NLW MSS 23294-23297. - John Dyer manuscripts

Identity area

Reference code

NLW MSS 23294-23297.


John Dyer manuscripts


  • [c. 1722]-[c. 1855] (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

4 volumes.

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

John Dyer, poet, artist and priest, was born in Llanfynydd, Carmarthenshire. He was educated locally, then later sent to Westminster School, from where he returned to Wales to study law. In 1720 he went to London to study poetry and painting and was apprenticed to the portrait painter Jonathan Richardson. In London Dyer met many influential figures of the literary and artistic world, including Arthur Pond, George Vertue, Daniel Wray, Aaron Hill and Richard Savage. His sojourn in Italy from 1724 to 1725 yielded such poetic works as 'Written at Ocriculum' and 'The Ruins of Rome'. Publication of Dyer's poetry began in 1726 with 'Grongar Hill', a work inspired by his home landscape near Aberglasne. From 1730 to 1738 Dyer took over his aunt's farm at Mapleton in Worcestershire then, in 1738, he bought two farms of his own near Nuneaton in Warwickshire. In 1741 Dyer was ordained deacon and priest and served as rector of Catthorpe in Leicestershire until 1751; it was in Leicestershire that he began The Fleece, a major work on British wool production and world trade published in four books from 1750 to 1757. In 1751 Dyer moved to livings in Lincolnshire, where, at his home in Coningsby rectory, he died of consumption. Only seven of Dyer's paintings are known to survive. They include a self-portrait of the 1720s and sketches executed whilst in Italy.

Archival history

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Content and structure area

Scope and content

Papers, [c. 1722]-[c. 1855], of, or relating to, poet and artist John Dyer, including notebooks, [c. 1722]-1756, of John Dyer containing farming accounts, draft poems, extracts and miscellaneous memoranda; with additional material by W. H. D. Longstaffe which includes genealogical notes, [c. 1850], relating to John Dyer, and transcripts, [1847x1855], of his poems.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Arranged according to NLW MSS reference numbers: NLW MSS 23294-23297.

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Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright laws apply.

Language of material

  • English

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Finding aids

The contents are indexed in greater detail in Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, vol. 9 (Aberystwyth, 2003).

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