- 1927-2019. (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
0.42 cubic metres (19 boxes);
Name of creator
Mansel Thomas was a composer, conductor and, for many years, the BBC's principal music representative for Wales.
He was born in Pontygwaith, in the Rhondda Fach, in 1909. At the age of 15 he won the Rhondda Scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he studied composition and piano. During his studentship he won a number of prestigious awards and prizes, and graduated in 1930.
Having worked as a free-lance musician in London for a number of years, he joined the BBC in Cardiff in 1936 as a music producer and assistant conductor of the BBC Welsh Orchestra. In 1939 he married the cellist Megan Lloyd and they had two daughters, Grace and Siân. Following the evacuation of the BBC departments during the war years, he worked in Bristol (with the BBC Singers and Chorus) and Bangor (with the BBC Variety Department) prior to war service, mainly in Belgium.
In 1946 he returned to the BBC as principal conductor of the BBC Welsh Orchestra and in 1950 succeeded Idris Lewis as Head of Music, BBC Wales. He always supported contemporary Welsh composers and during this period encouraged the performance of their music. Taking early retirement in 1965 in order to devote his time entirely to composition, he and his wife moved to Treadam in Gwent. During this period he also gave lectures to students of the Music Department at U.C.W., Aberystwyth, and was elected an Honorary Fellow of the University in 1972. He suffered a major stroke in 1979 and wrote little else of significance up to his death in 1986.
Mansel Thomas wrote or arranged a large and varied range of music - vocal, choral and instrumental, of both a sacred and secular nature. However, he is best remembered for his songs, part-songs and major choral works, both for mixed voices and male voices. Almost all his works have been published, the majority by the Mansel Thomas Trust. He was awarded the OBE and FRAM for his services to British music and the John Edwards Memorial Award for his outstanding service to music in Wales.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Mrs Megan Mansel Thomas; Monmouth; Donation; October 1994 and December 2003; A1994/138, 0200313103.
Grace and Terence Gilmore-James, Ponthir, donation July 2006; July 2014 (1 box); Ms Sian Cobb, Ponthir, donation, December 2014 (2 boxes); Grace and Terence Gilmore-James, Ponthir, donation June 2015 (5 boxes) 4309975; July 2015 (1 box) 430997; December 2015 (1 box); May 2018 (1 box) 4309975. The Reverend Peter Cobb, Monmouth, donation October 2019 (1 small box) 99207812102419.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
The music manuscripts, 1927-1986, of Mansel Thomas, comprising music for male voice choirs, mixed choirs, youth and female voices, solo songs, and instrumental compositions. They consist mainly of Christmas music, hymn-tunes, liturgical music, arrangements of Welsh traditional melodies, secular music and solo songs, the majority of which have been published by the Mansel Thomas Trust and the Cwmni Cyhoeddi Gwynn Publishing Company. Some manuscripts are in the hand of copyists and may contain later notes and additions.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
All of the manuscripts donated to NLW have been retained.
Accruals are expected.
System of arrangement
The majority of the manuscripts follow the arrangement imposed on the fonds by Mr Terence Gilmore-James on behalf of the Mansel Thomas Trust, prior to its transfer to the Library. Arranged into nine groups: Christmas music; Instrumental music; Music for male voice choirs; Music for choirs of mixed voices; Music for youth choirs and female voices; Works for solo voice; Orchestral and band music. The other groups: Works by other composers; Juvenilia, fragments and sketches, were arranged by the archivist.
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions set out in information provided when applying for their Readers' Tickets, whereby the reader shall become responsible for compliance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation 2018 in relation to any processing by them of personal data obtained from modern records held at the Library.
Conditions governing reproduction
Usual copyright laws apply.
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Some compositions contain English text, others Welsh or both languages, and some contain Latin text. Some have no text. See file level descriptions.
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
Titles of fonds, sub-fonds and series levels are based on a working list prepared by Mr Terence Gilmore-James. Titles of files are the original titles of the manuscript scores.
Biographical details and information on published works can be found on the Mansel Thomas Trust website https://manselthomas.org.uk/ .
Virtua system control number
GEAC system control number
Place access points
Name access points
- Thomas, Mansel, 1909-1986 -- Archives. (Subject)
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
Description of the first deposits completed in May 2008. Later deposits added 2019.
Compiled by Barbara Davies and Robert Evans.
The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Terence Gilmore-James, Teyrnged i Mansel Thomas = A Tribute to Mansel Thomas (1989); the Mansel Thomas Trust website; Welsh Music, vol. 8, nos 2 and 10 (1986); and published versions of the compositions;