Fonds GB 0210 CYFHFA - Cyfarthfa Papers,

Identity area

Reference code



Cyfarthfa Papers,


  • [1706]-1878 / (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.0463 cubic metres (29 boxes, 25 volumes)

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

From their beginning, the coal-fired ironworks of northern Glamorgan and Monmouthshire were big enterprises. The Cyfarthfa ironworks, northwest of Merthyr Tydfil was established in 1765 by Anthony Bacon and William Browning and Watkin George. Richard Crawshay (1739-1810) leased the works from Bacon's family in 1786. He had much knowledge and experience of the British iron business. In 1794, he became the works owner. By the end of 1780, Cyfarthfa was producing over 2,000 tonnes of bar iron annually. The railway boom helped profitability after 1820. By 1840 there were eleven blast furnaces, one hundred puddling furnaces and six rolling mills. The works developed a reputation for good quality naval cannon; Admiral Nelson visited the works in 1802. In 1803, 1500 people were employed at the Cyfarthfa Ironworks, and it was said that it was the biggest ironworks in the world. After 1810, following the death of his brother Richard, William Crawshay managed the works with his son William II, whose son, Robert Thomson Crawshay, took over in 1847. In addition to the Cyfarthfa Works, the Crawshay bought Hirwaun Ironworks (operated 1817-1850s) and the Forest Iron Company. On Robert's his death in 1879, the Cyfarthfa works was converted to a steel production plant by his son, William Thompson Crawshay. Cyfarthfa closed in 1921; dismantling commenced in 1928. The fanmily's main seat was Cyfarthfa Castle, but it also bought estates at Hilston Park, Monmouthshire, and Caversham Park.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Deposited by Captain Geoffrey Crawshay, 1958

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Records relating mainly to the industrial concerns of the Crawshay family of Cyfarthfa, Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan, [1706]-1878, including leters and letter books of William Crawshay I and II and Robert Crawshay, 1806-1877; cash books, ledgers and bankers drafts, 1834-1888; deeds, [1706]-1885; wills, deeds and miscellaneous material, 1801-1838; balance sheets for ironworks, 1810-1867; will, valuation and probate for William Crawshay II, 1865-1869; shares and bills of exchange, 1870-1878; and Hilston Park estate papers, 1838-1862 and Caversham Park estate papers, 1826-1864. The archive represents the working papers of a major ironworking dynasty.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Action: All records have been retained.


Accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Arranged into the following: letters; Cyfarthfa deeds; various subjects; the will of William Vaughan; balance papers; finance papers; and manuscripts.

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 regulations apply.

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes


Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A hard copy of the catalogue is available at the National Library of Wales.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title supplied from contents of fonds

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


Project identifier


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

January 2003


  • English



Archivist's note

Compiled by Annette Strauch for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: NLW, Cyfarthfa Papers, vols. I & II, Davies, John, Hanes Cymru (London, 1990), Thomas, Iris Roderick, Cyfarthfa and the Crawshays (Merthyr Tydfil, 1999); Swansea History website (, viewed 17 January 2003.

Accession area