Fonds GB 0210 TIELLIS - T. I. Ellis and Mari Ellis Papers

Identity area

Reference code



T. I. Ellis and Mari Ellis Papers


  • 1681, 1759-2015 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

2.177 cubic metres (143 boxes)

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Mary Gwendoline Headley, writer and historian, was born 21 July 1913, the youngest of four children, in Dylife, Montgomeryshire, where her father, the Rev. R. L. Headley (1863?-1955), was vicar; her mother Margaret was from Glanogwen, Caernarvonshire. She was educated at Ysgol John Bright, Llandudno, and the University College of North Wales, Bangor (BA, 1936, and MA, 1938). She became a librarian, joining the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, in 1944. In 1949 she married T. I. Ellis (1899-1970) and they had two children, Marged (1950- ) and Rolant (1953- ). She worked to support her husband’s work with Undeb Cymru Fydd and elsewhere, and after his death she also edited several of his books for publication. As a devout Anglican she was active in the Church in Wales and organisations such as the Mothers' Union. She died, in Aberystwyth, on 25 January 2015.
Mari Ellis was a very active writer and reviewer in Welsh periodicals such as Y Llan (which she briefly edited). She also edited 'Colofn y Merched' in Y Llan and the 'Tŷ Ni' magazine published as part of Y Cymro and was secretary and later editor of Yr Angor, the papur bro for the Aberystwyth area. She edited Y Golau Gwan: Llythyrau Tom Ellis A.S. at Annie Davies (Caernarfon, 1999) and with her daughter co-wrote Eglwysi Cymru (Talybont, 1985). Under the name Mari Headley she published three novels, Awelon Darowen (Llandybïe, 1965), Beth yw'r Haf...? (Llandysul, 1974) and Ystyriwch Lili (Talybont, 1988). She researched extensively into 'Yr Hen Bersoniaid Llengar', the group of Anglican clerics supporting Welsh culture in nineteenth century Wales, and their wider circle, and published numerous academic articles. However books on the subject, and a biography of Gwallter Mechain in particular, remain unpublished.

Name of creator

Biographical history

Thomas Iorwerth Ellis (1899-1970), was an academic, teacher and author. He was born in London on 19 December 1899. His father, Thomas Edward Ellis, MP (1859-1899) had died over eight months earlier. His mother, Annie Jane Ellis, née Davies (1873-1942), of Cwrt-mawr, Llangeitho, Cardiganshire, was a descendant of the Davies family of Aberystwyth and Cwrtmawr and the Charles family of Carmarthen. She later married the Rev. Peter Hughes Griffiths (1871-1937).
Ellis was educated at Aberystwyth Grammar School, Westminster School, University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, and Jesus College, Oxford. He was a classics master at Cardiff High School for Boys, 1924-1928, a lecturer at University College, Swansea, 1928-1930, headmaster of Rhyl County School, 1930-1940, and a lecturer in classics at Lampeter, 1940-1941, and Aberystwyth, 1941-1946. He was actively involved with the National Library of Wales and the University of Wales and served as Warden of the Guild of Graduates, 1943-1947. He received an honorary doctorate in 1967, and the OBE in 1968. T. I. Ellis was a founder of Undeb Cymru Fydd, an organization dedicated to preserving Welsh language and culture, and served as its secretary, 1941-1967. He broadcast regularly in both English and Welsh, notably on BBC Radio's Round Britain Quiz. Previously a Calvinistic Methodist, he was confirmed at St Asaph in November 1936, and became a lay reader in the Church in Wales in 1937. He became a member of both the Governing Body and the Representative Body of the Church in Wales.
Ellis edited three volumes of The Letters of T. C. Edwards (Aberystwyth, 1952-1953) and wrote The Development of Higher Education in Wales (Wrexham, 1935) and biographies of his father T. E. Ellis (2 volumes, Liverpool, 1944, 1948), his uncle J. H. Davies (Liverpool, 1963) and Sir Ellis Jones Ellis-Griffith (Llandybïe, 1969). From 1921 he travelled regularly throughout Wales in support of the Welsh Schoolboys' Camp Movement; these journeys became the genesis of his Crwydro series of books (Llandybïe, 1952-1971).
T. I .Ellis married Mary Gwendoline Headley (Mari Ellis) in April 1949 and they had two children, Marged (1950- ) and Rolant (1953- ). He died at his Aberystwyth home on 20 April 1970.

Archival history

Papers deposited by T. I. Ellis, May 1943 (A 15-94), October 1947 (A 1-14), January 1959 (A 95-183), 1960 (D 53-57), 1964 (A 386-398), July 1966 (A 399) and 1967 (most of D 68-77).
Scripts for 'Merched yn Bennaf' deposited by Mrs Mary Ellis, October 1975 (Mân Adnau 1247, now MD 12).

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

A 400-406: T. I. Ellis; Aberystwyth; Donation; 1955.
F43-54: T. I. Ellis; Aberystwyth; Donation; November 1969.
TC 1/6, MC 2/1, MD 1-2, 4-5, MX 2, 9, 13-14: Mrs Mari Ellis; Aberystwyth; Donation; May 1971.
Further papers, including A192, A201, parts of C31-43 and D43-52, D65-6, MC 1/1-2: Mrs Mari Ellis; Aberystwyth; Donation; July 1979.
MC 3/8, MX 1, 8, 12: Mrs Mari Ellis; Aberystwyth; Donation; 1987; A1987/52.
Most of sub-fonds A-[K]: Mrs Mari Ellis; Aberystwyth; Donation; 1996.
Papers deposited by T. I. Ellis, 1943-1967: Mrs Mari Ellis; Converted into a donation; 1996.
Most of sub-fonds T and M: Mr Rolant J. Ellis, son of Mari Ellis; Aberystwyth; Donation (with NLW MS 24126B and NLW ex 3011); August 2016; 99126189402419.
MD 12 (Mân Adnau 1247): Mr Rolant J. Ellis; Aberystwyth; Converted into a donation; August 2018.
MA 1/9-10: Mr Rolant J. Ellis; Aberystwyth; Donation; August 2018.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Papers, 1681, 1759-2015, of T. I. Ellis, his wife Mari Ellis and their respective families.
The T. I. Ellis papers consist of correspondence, 1904-1970; personal papers, 1894-1970, including his diaries, 1943-1970; papers relating to his education and career, 1900-1947; financial papers, 1926-1967; papers relating to organisations including Aberystwyth Old Students' Association, the BBC, the Guild of Graduates of the University of Wales, the University of Wales and the Welsh Schoolboys Camp Movement, 1920-1979; papers of committees and commissions with which he was involved, 1932-1968; papers relating to ecclesiastical affairs, the Church in Wales and related bodies, 1909-1991; and correspondence, drafts and notes relating to his publications, 1877-1978.
The Mari Ellis papers, 1681, 1759-2015, include correspondence; diaries, 1930-2014; papers relating to her work in journalism and broadcasting, 1948-2004; and research papers, [?early 20 cent.]-[2008x2010].
Also included are papers relating to the Charles family of Carmarthen and the Davies family of Aberystwyth and Cwrtmawr, 1791-1920; and papers and correspondence relating to T. E. Ellis, 1870-1963, Mrs Annie J. Ellis (later Hughes-Griffiths), 1873-1942, the Rev. Peter Hughes-Griffiths, 1871-1940, J. H. Davies, 1883-1929, and the Headley family, [1890x1896]-[2000s].

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

All records donated to the National Library of Wales have been retained.


Accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Arranged at NLW as follows: family papers; correspondence; societies, organisations and groups; the Church; commissions and committees; T. I. Ellis's research and publications; T. I. Ellis's education and career; business and financial papers; personalia; miscellanea; additional T. I. Ellis papers (2016 Donation); Mari Ellis papers.

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 noted on the 'Modern papers - data protection' form issued with their readers' tickets.

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright laws apply.

Language of material

  • English
  • Welsh

Script of material

Language and script notes

English, Welsh.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A hard copy of the 1996 catalogue, under the title 'T. I. Ellis Papers', is available at the National Library of Wales.
A95-183 are described in more detail in A Schedule of Charles and Davies Family Correspondence (1959).

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Further papers are NLW, T. I. Ellis Collection of Davies Family Deeds and Documents. See also NLW, Papurau Undeb Cymru Fydd.
Printed material donated with the archive in 2016, including a collection of books, pamphlets and ephemera concerning individual churches and cathedrals in Wales and further afield, was transferred to the NLW printed books collection, July 2018.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title based on contents of fonds.


Some papers predate the lifetimes of T. I. Ellis and Mari Ellis.


Papers of Mari Ellis, formerly K 1-4, have now (2018) been incorporated into sub-fonds M.


Previous title 'T. I. Ellis papers'.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


Project identifier


Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

Rules and/or conventions used

Description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.;AACR2; and LCSH


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

February 2003 and July 2018.


  • English



The following sources were used to compile this description: NLW, Schedule of T. I. Ellis Papers; Dictionary of Welsh Biography, 1941-1970 (London, 2001); Meic Stephens, 'Mari Ellis: Writer who worked for the New Wales Union and championed women's rights', The Independent, 15 March 2015.

Archivist's note

Compiled by Rhys Jones for the ANW project, and revised by Rhys Jones.

Accession area