Fonds GB 0210 EWDAVIES - Ellis W. Davies Papers,

Identity area

Reference code



Ellis W. Davies Papers,


  • 1889-[1960s?] / (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.153 cubic metres (17 boxes)

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Ellis William Davies (1871-1939), solicitor and politician, was born at Gerlan, Bethesda, Caernarfonshire, and educated in Bethesda and Liverpool. He worked as a clerk in insurance offices in Wrexham, Denbighshire, and Sheffield, Yorkshire, until he qualified as a solicitor in 1899, after which he established a law practice in Caernarfon and lived there for the rest of his life. A political radical, he was elected to Caernarfonshire County Council in 1904, later becoming an alderman, and he was also director of several business companies and solicitor for the North Wales Quarrymen's Union. In 1906 he was elected Liberal Member of Parliament for the Eifion division of Caernarfonshire, and retained his seat until 1918, during which time he sat on committees investigating land reform, the jury system, reform of the electoral system, compulsory purchases by local authorities, and reform of the House of Lords. He returned to Parliament as MP for Denbigh in 1923, but resigned in 1929 on grounds of ill health. In 1932, he was prominent in the discussions of the Presbyterian Church of Wales on formulating a parliamentary bill relating to the church. He joined the Labour party in 1936, only to leave in 1938 because of its foreign policy. He died in 1939.

Archival history

After Ellis Davies's death in 1939, his papers were retained by Sir Idris Foster, author of the article on him in the Dictionary of Welsh Biography. On the latter's death in 1984, some of Davies's papers were found among Sir Idris's papers which had been donated to the Library. Davies's journals and some correspondence were subsequently discovered at Jesus College, Oxford, and forwarded to the Library in 1984/5 through the good offices of Professor D. Ellis Evans, Sir Idris's successor as Professor of Celtic at Oxford. All the afore-mentioned papers have now been drawn together for cataloguing.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Bequeathed by Ellis Davies in 1939 and donated by his son, Mr Richard H. Ellis Davies, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, in August 1998. The bequest was transferred by Sir Idris Foster and Professor D. Ellis Evans, Oxford, in the 1980s.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Papers of Ellis Davies, 1889-1939, comprising his diaries, journals, correspondence, press cuttings, addresses, articles and memoirs, together with printed and typescript memoranda, reports, policy documents and official publications, including relating to the disestablishment and disendowment of the Church in Wales, 1911-1927, the Liberal land enquiry committee, 1913-1925, foreign policy, 1930s, and the Calvinistic Methodist Bill, 1933. Also included are articles and galley proofs for a volume of reminiscences, Pobl a phethau 1906-36, intended for publication but not published by Llyfrau'r Dryw, 1946, and a notebook belonging to Sir Idris Foster containing notes from Davies's journals and papers [?1960s].

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

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


Accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Arranged into the following: diaries and commonplace books; journals; correspondence; papers; correspondence (additional); Liberal land enquiry; Calvinistic Methodist Bill, 1933; press cuttings; miscellaneous.

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 in NLW, Minor lists and summaries, 1985 and NLW, Minor lists and summaries, 1999.

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

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

April 2003.


  • English



Archivist's note

Created for the ANW project. The following sources were consulted in the compilation of this description: NLW, Minor lists and summaries, 1985; NLW, Minor lists and summaries, 1999; Dictionary of Welsh biography, 1941-1970 (2001);

Accession area