Fonds GB 0210 RENDEL - Lord Rendel Papers

Identity area

Reference code



Lord Rendel Papers


  • 1819-1996 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.401 cubic metres (12 boxes, 43 volumes)

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Stuart Rendel, 1st Baron Rendel (1834-1913), was an industrialist and politician. He was born in Plymouth, Devon, the son of James Meadows Rendel (1799-1856), a civil engineer, and Catherine Jane Rendel (née Harris, 1797-1884). He went to Eton, and graduated from Oriel College, Oxford, in 1856. Despite being called to the Bar, he eventually became the manager of the Sir William Armstrong & Co. gunnery company, being vice-chairman of the company by the time of his death. The links he formed with foreign governments in this capacity became useful when he was involved in peace negotiations between China and France in 1885. In 1880 he was elected the Liberal Member of Parliament for Montgomeryshire, becoming the chairman of the 'Welsh Parliamentary Party', 1888-1894. He was heavily involved with the Welsh Intermediate Education Act, 1889, and with proposals for the disestablishment of the church in Wales. He was a close friend of W. E. Gladstone, and following Gladstone's resignation in 1894 he was elevated to the House of Lords as Baron Rendel. He was president of University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, 1895-1913, contributing £1000 a year to the College. He also donated land in Aberystwyth to serve as the site for the National Library of Wales, in 1897. In 1857 he married Ellen Sophy Hubbard (died 1912), and they had four daughters. He died on 4 June 1913 in London. George Wightwick Rendel (1833-1902), Lord Rendel's elder brother, was a civil engineer. A partner in William Armstrong & Co., he directed the ordnance works at Elswick for 24 years and designed warships. He was Civil Lord of the Admiralty, 1882-1887. He married twice and had nine children, including Sir George William Rendel. He died at Sandown, Isle of Wight, on 9 October 1902. Sir George William Rendel (1889-1979) was a diplomat. He was educated at Downside and at Queen's College Oxford, graduating in Modern History in 1911. He then entered the Diplomatic Service, serving in various European capitals. Amongst other positions he was head of the Eastern Department of the Foreign Office, 1930-1938, Ambassador to the Yugoslav Government in London, 1941-1943, and British Ambassador to Belgium, 1947-1950. He represented the United Kingdom on various committees of the United Nations. Although he retired in 1950, he was employed by the Foreign Office in various capacities, 1950-1964. In 1937, he crossed Arabia, travelling with his wife Geraldine (1884-1965). He wrote a volume of memoirs, The Sword and the Olive (1957). His daughter was Miss Rosemary Rendel. He was knighted in 1943 and died 6 May 1979. Lord Rendel's eldest daughter Rose Ellen married Professor H. C. Goodhart (died 1895) and they had one son, Harry Stuart Goodhart-Rendel (1887-1959), an architect and musician. He inherited the bulk of Lord Rendel's estate in 1913, and died, unmarried, in 1959.

Archival history

Most of the papers seem to have stayed in the possession of the family. H. S. Goodhart-Rendel inherited the bulk of Lord Rendel's estate and Rosemary Rendel, who acquired some of the later Rendel family papers, is the grand-niece of Lord Rendel.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

NLW MSS 19440-67: H. S. Goodhart-Rendel, Lord Rendel's grandson; Donation; 1955.
Rendel Papers 1-1968: Miss Rosemary Rendel; Deposit; 1959 and 1967.
NLW MSS 20569-72: Sotheby's; London; Purchase; November 1969.
Classes A-V: Miss Rosemary Rendel; Deposit (in nine groups); 1980-1986.
A39-45, C100-7, D73-7, L35-6, V4-5, X1: Miss Rosemary Rendel; Deposit; April 1989; C1989/24.
A46-7, C108-187, D78-92, L37-39, P9-12, S11, X2-10: Miss Rosemary Rendel; Deposit; August 1989; C1989/42.
P13-22, K2, X11: Miss Rosemary Rendel; Deposit; October 1991; C1991/27.
P23-6, T11, K3-4: Miss Rosemary Rendel; Deposit; March 1992; C1992/4.
C188-190: Miss Rosemary Rendel; Deposit; April 1992; C1992/12.
A48: Miss Rosemary Rendel; Deposit; June 1992; C1992/27.
R38-42: Miss Rosemary Rendel; Deposit; September 1994; C1994/92.
C191, R43: Miss Rosemary Rendel; Deposit; February 1997; C1997/5.
1997 Purchase 1-299: John Wilson; Cheltenham; Purchase; May 1997; B1997/26.
R44-47: Miss Rosemary Rendel; Deposit; September 1999; C1999/10.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Papers of Stuart Rendel and family members, including papers relating to the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, and the proposal to establish the National Library of Wales and its development during the early years of its existence, 1883-1916; speeches, addresses and political papers relating to disestablishment of the church in Wales and the 1889 Intermediate Education Act, 1882-1909; press cuttings, 1881-1913; photographs, 1892; miscellaneous letters, 1878-1912; letters to Stuart Rendel, 1853-1912, including letters from A. C. Humphreys Owen, 1877-1905, family letters, 1853-1902, and letters from prominent political figures and Welsh public figures; letters and copies of letters from Rendel, 1880-1912; diaries, mainly recording details of Stuart Rendel's business activities, 1863-1869; notes of conversations with W. E. Gladstone, John Morley and H. H. Asquith, 1888-1910; papers relating to Chinese affairs and French and Chinese peace talks, 1884-1886; papers of James Meadows Rendel, including letters, 1828-1856, and papers relating to his estate, 1856-1859; letters of Catherine Jane Rendel, 1845-1855; letters and papers of George Wightwick Rendel, 1871-1902; papers relating to Rendel's other brothers, 1841-1889, and his daughters, 1882-1910; letters and papers of Harry Stuart Goodhart-Rendel, 1898-1959, and other papers concerning him, 1963-1977; papers, mainly letters, of the Goodhart family, 1819-1957; papers of Miss Rosemary Rendel, 1986-1996; papers of Sir George William Rendel, including: Foreign Office papers, 1917-1967, correspondence, 1912-1973, papers relating to the Catholic Union of Great Britain, 1942-1979, lectures, diaries and notes, 1915-1954, personal and family papers, 1908-1980, and material relating to the book The Sword and the Olive (1957), 1954-1986.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

All records acquired by the National Library of Wales have been retained.


Accruals are likely.

System of arrangement

Arranged at NLW as follows: manuscripts; 1959 and 1967 deposits; 1980-1999 deposits; 1997 purchase.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Permission to consult the papers contained in the 1998-1999 deposits must be obtained from Miss Rosemary Rendel, 43 Lansdowne Road, London, W11 2LQ.
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

Script of material

Language and script notes


Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Hard copies of the catalogues, in six volumes (Vols I-II, II (Appendix), III-IV and Minor Lists and Summaries, 1998), are available at the National Library of Wales.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Further papers of the Rendel family are NLW, Sir Alexander M. Rendel Journals, NLW MSS 22242C, 23028-23035, NLW, Thomas Charles Edwards Papers, NLW, Glansevern Estate Records; NLW Facs 612; Tyne and Wear Archives Service, 3, Accession 31 and DF.NOB; Cambridge University: Churchill Archives Centre, SPRS; Oxford University: St Antony's College, Middle East Centre; Royal Institute of British Architects Library, C-ReH, BIO 755-786; Surrey History Centre, 1791; St Deiniol's Library, Glynne-Gladstone MSS 907, 918-919, 1850-1865; Herefordshire Record Office, BA97; British Library, Manuscript Collections, Add MSS 56053-56067; and Oxford University: Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts, MSS Harcourt.

Related descriptions

Publication note

F. E. Hamer, The Personal Papers of Lord Rendel (London, 1931)

Notes area


Title based on 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

March 2003 and February 2020.


  • English



The following sources were used to compile this description: National Library of Wales, Schedules of Letters and Papers of Lord Rendel (4 vols, 1955-1999); Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959); Dictionary of National Biography; Dictionary of National Biography Missing Persons (Oxford, 1993); Who Was Who, vol. VII (London, 1981).

Archivist's note

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

Accession area

Related genres

Related places

Physical storage

  • Text: Lord Rendel Papers.