Fonds GB 0210 NANTEOS - Nanteos estate records

Identity area

Reference code



Nanteos estate records


  • 1565-1946 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1.777 cubic metres (75 boxes)

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

The family originally resided at Llechwedd Dyrys, Cardiganshire. Sir Thomas Powell (1631-1704), Serjeant-at-law (1688), a Baron of the Exchequer and Judge of the King's Bench during the reign of James time married Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of David Lloyd (Gwyn) of Aberbrwynen. It was Sir Thomas's successful legal career which ensured the rise to local eminence of the Powell family. Thomas's son, William Powell married in 1620, Avarina, daughter of Cornelius le Brun by his wife, Ann, daughter and co-heiress of John Jones of Nanteos. After this period Llechwedd Ddyrys became unoccupied and was later abandoned and became a ruin.
William and Ann's heir was their eldest son, Thomas Powell, M.P. for Cardigan Boroughs 1725-1727 and for Cardiganshire 1727-1742. He married Mary, grand-daughter of Sir John Frederick, Lord Mayor of London in 1662. They built the Georgian mansion on the site which was completed in 1757. On Thomas's death in 1752 the estate devolved on his surviving brother, Dr William Powell (1705-1780). Through the marriage of his sister Anna to Richard Stedman, the extensive lands of the Ystrad Fflur (Strata Florida) estate came to the Powells, including Strata Florida Abbey. Following this acquisition, the Powells owned 30,000 acres from Devil's Bridge and Ponterwyd to Aberystwyth, including extensive sheep walks above Llanddewibrefi.
William was succeeded by his son, Thomas (1745-1797), whose heir was his eldest son, William Edward Powell (1788-1854). The latter was M.P. for Cardiganshire 1816-1854 and Lord Lieutenant for the county. He purchased an army commission and left the running of the estate to agents. The estate, due partially to a series of family settlements, was heavily in debt. When William came of age in 1809 the debt amounted to over £20,000. He made some attempt to retrieve the situation, arranging for the sale of his un-entailed property at Llanbrynmair, Montgomeryshire, in 1823, but he also spent £2,880 on improvements to the mansion which were completed in 1847.
The estate passed to William's son, William T. R. Powell (1815-1878), M.P. for Cardiganshire, 1859-1865, who sold parts of the estate to the value of £80,000 between 1868 and 1873. According to the return of owners of land, he owned an estimated 30,573 acres in Wales (in Cardiganshire, Breconshire and Montgomeryshire) with an estimated rental of £9,372.
William T. R. Powell's heir was his eldest son, George Ernest John Powell (1842-1884), poet, scholar and friend of Byron, Swinburne, Longfellow and Wagner.He was succeeded by his father's cousin, William Beauclerk Powell (1834-1911), who along with his son, Edward Athleston Lewis Powell (1870-1930) sold extensive tracts of land which saw the estate dwindle to 4,000 acres. Edward married Margaret Louisa Joan, eldest daughter of Sir Pryse Pryse of Gogerddan, thereby uniting the two declining houses. Their only son, William Edward George Pryse Wynne Powell (b. 1899) was killed in action in France.
Various claims of male relations to the estate were rejected and when Edward Powell died in 1930, the male line of the Powells came to an end. A descendant of Edward Powell's widow, Elizabeth Mirylees, succeeded to Nanteos. Most of the remaining 2,250 acres and the house were sold in 1967.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The main Nanteos collection was deposited by Mrs J. S. Miryless, Nanteos, in 1957. A number of other small deposits and donations have been made including deposits by Mr H. D. Bott, Aberystwyth, in 1971, and Mr J. N. Davies-Jenkins, Aberystwyth, in 1963, and donations by Mrs S. J. Evans, Llangefni, and Miss K. Griffiths, Aberystwyth, in 1929, Miss D. M. Trickey, Aberystwyth, per Dr J. D. Owen, Curator, Ceredigion Museum, in 1980, M. T. Vaughan, Llanidloes, in 1986, and Castle Hill Books (Peter Newman), Kington, Herefordshire, in 1990.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Estate and family records of the Powell family of Nanteos, previously of Llechwedd-ddyrys, Cardiganshire, mainly 17 cent.-20 cent, comprising mainly deeds, 17 cent.-20 cent., chiefly for properties in Cardiganshire, Breconshire and Montgomeryshire, but also containing deeds relating to Plastirion, Denbighshire, acquired by Maria Powell, wife of William Beauclerc Powell, 1787-1899, and deeds relating to the Herne family of All Hallows, Barking, following the executorship by Mrs Mary Powell of the will of Joseph Herne, 1684-1728; estate and family correspondence, 1664-1946, including correspondence about the Rebecca riots in Cardiganshire and proposals to establish a police force, 1840-1845, the Royal Cardiganshire Militia, public building projects, fishing rights, etc., 1806-1879; household and estate accounts, 1755-1922; inventories and sales of furniture, 1865-1919; game books, 1854-1886; and rentals 1756-1934; letters, deeds, accounts, etc., 1693-1938, relating to industrial ventures, mainly lead mining in north Cardiganshire; manorial records of Llanbadarn Fawr (otherwise Vaynor), 1745-1941, and Caron and Pennardd, 1817-1910, and Berthddu, 1821-1910; legal papers, 1690-1932; and probate records, 1565-1930.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

All records deposited at NLW have been retained.


Accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Arranged by record type chronologically, the correspondence arranged chronologically according to recipient. Letters concerning the Rebecca Riots have been grouped on their own (L1264-L1392) within the class of letters received by W.E. Powell.

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 online from The National Archives Manorial Documents Register.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Many early documents relating to the Nanteos estate are in National Library of Wales, Cwrt Mawr Deeds. Maps and plans relating to the estate are in National Library of Wales, Map Collections. Further estate deeds and correspondence are in National Library of Wales, Roberts and Evans (Solicitors) Papers and NLW Deeds 1482-1496, 1711, 1792, 1882-1886.

Related descriptions

Publication note

R. J. Colyer, 'Nanteos: A Landed Estate in Decline 1800-1930', Ceredigion, 9 (1980).

Notes area


Title based on 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

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


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

April 2002.


  • English



The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Francis Jones, Historic Cardiganshire Homes and Their Families, (Newport, 2000); R. J. Colyer, 'Nanteos: A Landed Estate in Decline 1800-1930', Ceredigion, 9 (1980); The Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959); Brian James, 'The Great Landowners of Wales in 1873', National Library of Wales Journal, 14 (1965-66);

Archivist's note

Compiled by Mair James.

Accession area