- 1565-1946 / (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
1.777 cubic metres (75 boxes)
Name of creator
The family originally resided at Llechwedd Dyrys, Cardiganshire. Sir Thomas Powell (1631-1704), Serjeant-at-law (1688), a Baron of the Exchequer and Judge of the King's Bench during the reign of James time married Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of David Lloyd (Gwyn) of Aberbrwynen. It was Sir Thomas's successful legal career which ensured the rise to local eminence of the Powell family. Thomas's son, William Powell married in 1620, Avarina, daughter of Cornelius le Brun by his wife, Ann, daughter and co-heiress of John Jones of Nanteos. After this period Llechwedd Ddyrys became unoccupied and was later abandoned and became a ruin.
William and Ann's heir was their eldest son, Thomas Powell, M.P. for Cardigan Boroughs 1725-1727 and for Cardiganshire 1727-1742. He married Mary, grand-daughter of Sir John Frederick, Lord Mayor of London in 1662. They built the Georgian mansion on the site which was completed in 1757. On Thomas's death in 1752 the estate devolved on his surviving brother, Dr William Powell (1705-1780). Through the marriage of his sister Anna to Richard Stedman, the extensive lands of the Ystrad Fflur (Strata Florida) estate came to the Powells, including Strata Florida Abbey. Following this acquisition, the Powells owned 30,000 acres from Devil's Bridge and Ponterwyd to Aberystwyth, including extensive sheep walks above Llanddewibrefi.
William was succeeded by his son, Thomas (1745-1797), whose heir was his eldest son, William Edward Powell (1788-1854). The latter was M.P. for Cardiganshire 1816-1854 and Lord Lieutenant for the county. He purchased an army commission and left the running of the estate to agents. The estate, due partially to a series of family settlements, was heavily in debt. When William came of age in 1809 the debt amounted to over ℗Đ20,000. He made some attempt to retrieve the situation, arranging for the sale of his un-entailed property at Llanbrynmair, Montgomeryshire in 1823, but he also spent ℗Đ2,880 on improvements to the mansion which were completed in 1847.
The estate passed to William's son, William T.R. Powell (1815-1878), M.P. for Cardiganshire, 1859-1865, who sold parts of the estate to the value of ℗Đ80,000 between 1868 and 1873. According to the return of owners of land, he owned an estimated 30,573 acres in Wales (in Cardiganshire, Breconshire and Montgomeryshire) with an estimated rental of ℗Đ9,372.
William T.R. Powell's heir was his eldest son, George Ernest John Powell (1842-1884), poet, scholar and friend of Byron, Swinburne, Longfellow and Wagner.He was succeeded by his father's cousin, William Beauclerk Powell (1834-1911), who along with his son, Edward Athleston Lewis Powell (1870-1930) sold extensive tracts of land which saw the estate dwindle to 4,000 acres. Edward married Margaret Louisa Joan, eldest daughter of Sir Pryse Pryse of Gogerddan, thereby uniting the two declining houses. Their only son, William Edward George Pryse Wynne Powell (b. 1899) was killed in action in France.
Various claims of male relations to the estate were rejected and when Edward Powell died in 1930, the male line of the Powells came to an end. A descendant of Edward Powell's widow, Elizabeth Mirylees, succeeded to Nanteos. Most of the remaining 2,250 acres and the house were sold in 1967.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
The main Nanteos collection was deposited by Mrs J. S. Miryless, Nanteos, in 1957 . A number of other small deposits and donations have been made including deposits by Mr H. D. Bott, Aberystwyth in 1971, and Mr J. N. Davies-Jenkins, Aberystwyth in 1963, and donations by Mrs S. J. Evans, Llangefni, and Miss K. Griffiths, Aberystwyth in 1929, Miss D.M. Trickey, Aberystwyth, per Dr J. D. Owen, Curator, Ceredigion Museum in 1980, M. T. Vaughan, Llanidloes in 1986, and Castle Hill Books (Peter Newman), Kington, Herefordshire in 1990.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Estate and family records of the Powell family of Nanteos, previously of Llechwedd-ddyrys, Cardiganshire, mainly 17 cent.-20 cent, comprising mainly deeds, 17 cent.-20 cent., chiefly for properties in Cardiganshire, Breconshire and Montgomeryshire, but also containing deeds relating to Plastirion, Denbighshire, acquired by Maria Powell, wife of William Beauclerc Powell, 1787-1899, and deeds relating to the Herne family of All Hallows, Barking, following the executorship by Mrs Mary Powell of the will of Joseph Herne, 1684-1728; estate and family correspondence, 1664-1946, including correspondence about the Rebecca riots in Cardiganshire and proposals to establish a police force, 1840-1845, the Royal Cardiganshire Militia, public building projects, fishing rights, etc., 1806-1879; household and estate accounts, 1755-1922; inventories and sales of furniture, 1865-1919; game books, 1854-1886; and rentals 1756-1934; letters, deeds, accounts, etc., 1693-1938, relating to industrial ventures, mainly lead mining in north Cardiganshire; manorial records of Llanbadarn Fawr (otherwise Vaynor), 1745-1941, and Caron and Pennardd, 1817-1910, and Berthddu, 1821-1910; legal papers, 1690-1932; and probate records, 1565-1930.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
Action: All records deposited at NLW have been retained..
Accruals are not expected.
System of arrangement
Arranged by record type chronologically, the correspondence arranged chronologically according to recipient. Letters concerning the Rebecca Riots have been grouped on their own (L1264-L1392) within the class of letters received by W.E. Powell.
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
Further details relating to manorial records within the archive can be accessed online from The National Archives Manorial Documents Register.
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
Colyer, R.J., 'Nanteos: A Landed Estate in decline 1800-1930', Ceredigion, vol. IX, (1980).
Title supplied from contents of fonds.
Virtua system control number
GEAC system control number
Subject access points
- Police -- Wales -- Ceredigion.
- Manors -- Wales -- Ceredigion
- Manorial courts -- Wales -- Ceredigion.
- Rebecca Riots, 1839-1844
- Fishery law and legislation -- Wales -- Ceredigion.
- Public Buildings -- Wales -- Ceredigion.
- Lead mines and mining -- Wales -- Ceredigion.
- Fowling -- Wales -- Ceredigion.
- Ceredigion (Wales) -- Militia
- Administration of estates -- Wales -- Ceredigion
Place access points
Name access points
- Nanteos Estate (Wales) -- Archives. (Subject)
- Royal Cardiganshire Milita (Subject)
- Llechwedd-ddyrys Estate (Wales) (Subject)
- Plastirion (Denbighshire, Wales : Mansion) (Subject)
- Nanteos Estate (Wales) (Subject)
- Powell family, of Nanteos -- Archives. (Subject)
- Herne family, of All Hallows, Barking and the Inner Temple (Subject)
Genre access points
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
Compiled by Mair James.
The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Jones, Francis, Historic Cardiganshire Homes and their families, (Newport, 2000); Colyer, R. J., 'Nanteos: A Landed Estate in decline 1800-1930', Ceredigion, vol. IX, (1980); The Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959); James, Brian, 'The Great Landowners of Wales in 1873', National Library of Wales Journal, XIV, (1965-66);