Fonds GB 0210 RUTHIN - Ruthin Lordship Records

Identity area

Reference code



Ruthin Lordship Records


  • 1334-1854 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1.262 cubic metres (22 boxes, 1 flat parcel, 94 vols, 7 rolls)

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

The Myddelton family had been prominent in the affairs of North Wales since at least the fifteenth century. Robert Myddelton, the son of Rhirid ap David of Penllyn (alive 1393-1396), assumed the surname of his mother, Cecilia daughter and heir of Sir Alexander Middleton of Middleton in the parish of Chirbury, Shropshire. Robert's grandson David Myddelton was receiver-general for North Wales, during the reigns of Edward IV and Richard III. David's son Ffoulke Myddelton was governor of Denbigh castle, as was Ffoulke's son Richard Myddelton (c.1508-1575).

Richard's son Sir Thomas Myddelton (1550-1631) was a founder member of the East India Company, and a benefactor of the lucrative expeditions by Drake, Raleigh and Hawkins. His wealth enabled him to buy the castle and lordship of Chirk for £5,000 from St John of Bletsloe in 1595. Sir Thomas had been apprenticed to a London grocer, and became a freeman of Grocers' Company in 1582, surveyor of the outports c.1580 and by 1595 was employed on public business such as the valuing prize cargoes, raising emergency military and naval supplies, and giving advice on currency problems. Sir Thomas was MP for Merionethshire 1597 and lord lieutenant 1599, lord mayor of London 1613, and MP for the city of London 1624-1626. In 1615 he acquired an Essex manor as a country seat nearer to his place of business in Tower Street, and also bought other properties in the Home counties. In 1628-1629 he purchased the crown lordship of Arwystli and Cyfeiliog, which he later resold.

The heir to Sir Thomas's Welsh estates was his oldest surviving son, Thomas Myddelton (1586-1666), who purchased Ruthin Castle in 1632, and acquired the stewardship and lordship of Ruthin in 1635. He entered parliament in 1624 as MP for Weymouth, before changing to Denbighshire in 1625. He was also elected for the Long parliament. He became a Parliamentary commander during the Civil War. After the restoration of the monarchy, Chirk Castle underwent a programme of major building work, during which the family lived at Cefn-y-wern until 1672.

Sir William Myddelton (1694-1718), 4th baronet, died unmarried, when the baronetcy became extinct, and the Chirk Castle estate, with the lordships of Chirk, Chirklands and Ruthin passed to Robert (dsp. 1733), younger son of the 1st baronet. Robert was succeeded by his brother, John (d. 1747). During the 18th century the Myddelton family developed coal mines at Black Park and an iron forge at Pont-y-blew. On the death of John's grandson, Richard Myddelton (d. 1796), the estate was divided between his sisters. The Chirk Castle estate passed to his eldest sister, Charlotte, wife of Robert Biddulph of Ledbury, Herefordshire, who prefixed his surname with Myddelton. The Ruthin Castle estate passed to Harriet, who bequeathed the estate to her sister, Maria (d. 1843), wife of Frederick West (d. 1852), third son of John, Earl De La Warr.

According to the 1873 return of owners of land, Richard Myddelton-Biddulph of Chirk Castle owned an estimated 6,953 acres (all in Denbighshire and Merionethshire), with an estimated rental of £9,128.

Name of creator

Biographical history

Following the defeat of Dafydd ap Gruffudd, brother of Prince Llywelyn, in 1282, Edward I granted the castle of Ruthin and the lordship of Dyffryn Clwyd (the earlier name for the lordship of Ruthin) to Reginald de Grey, Justiciary of Chester. Reginald was succeeded in the lordship of Ruthin, by his son, John De Grey, and then by his grandson, Roger de Grey. The last De Grey, Earl of Kent, sold the castle and the lordship to Henry VIII in about 1520. It was subsequently given to Dudley, Earl of Warwick. In 1632 Ruthin Castle was purchased by Sir Thomas Myddelton of Chirk Castle(1585-1666), who acquired the stewardship of the lordship in 1635.

On the death of Richard Myddelton, the last surviving male heir of the Myddleton family, in 1796, the family's Chirk Castle estate was divided between his sisters. The Ruthin Castle portion, which included the lordship of Ruthin, passed to Harriet who bequeathed the estate to her sister, Maria (d. 1843), wife of Frederick West (d. 1852). Their second son, William Cornwallis-West succeeded to the Ruthin Castle estate on the death of his brother, Frederick Myddelton West in 1868.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Deposited by Major G. Cornwallis West in 1920 and purchased by NLW in 1929.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Rentals, surveys and accounts, 1334-1852, relating mainly to the lordship of Ruthin or Dyffryn Clwyd, Denbighshire; court records of the lordship of Ruthin, 1439-1850, including court books, 1718-1817, and court files, 1741-1849; estate correspondence, [early 17 cent.]-1848; and deeds, 1444-1854, relating to the lands of the lordship of Ruthin, mainly in Denbighshire. Most of the records relate to the period when the lordship was owned by the Myddelton family of Chirk Castle.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Action: All records purchased by NLW have been retained.


Accruals are not expected

System of arrangement

Arranged chronologically into the following: rentals, surveys and accounts; court records; correspondence; and deeds and documents.

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

  • English
  • Latin

Script of material

Language and script notes

English, Latin

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Further details relating to manorial records within the archive can be accessed on-line from <A HREF=""></A>

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Other Ruthin lordship records, including those of the later ownership by the West and Cornwallis-West family are National Library of Wales, Longueville; part of this archive remains uncatalogued. Futher papers relating to the Myddelton family are National Library of Wales, Chirk Castle, Plas Power Estate Records, and Kinmel Deeds, and Denbighshire Record Office,DD/CC (Chirk Castle) and DD/PP (Plas Power), and Chirk Castle correspondence and papers, 1648-1808. The main, and earliest, group of records of the lordship of Ruthin (under the title Dyffryn Clwyd) is held by the Public Record Office.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title supplied from contents of fonds

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


GEAC system control number


Access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

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

October 2002


  • English



Archivist's note

Compiled by Mair James.

Archivist's note

The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: : Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959); Griffith, John Edwards, Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire families, (Wrexham, 1998 reprint), Taylor, A. J. The Welsh Castles of Edward I (London, 1986).

Accession area