- 1324-1926 (accumulated [1840s]-1926) / (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
0.601 cubic metres (18 boxes, 4 volumes, 2 pictures, 8 rolls, 2 ceremonial trumpets)
Name of creator
Sir John Williams (1840-1926), Baronet, doctor, was the first president of the National Library of Wales. He was born in Llangadog, Carmarthenshire, the son of David Williams, farmer and Independent Minister. He was educated at Glasgow University, 1857-1858. At University College Hospital, London, he obtained the degrees of MB in 1866 and MD in 1867. He began practicing medicine in Swansea, then returned to University College Hospital as house surgeon, retiring as Emeritus Professor in Midwifery in University College, London, and consulting Physician in Midwifery to University College Hospital. In 1886 he began to attend members of the Royal Family. He became personal physician to the Duchess of York (later Queen Mary, wife of King George V) and attended her at the birth of the future King Edward VIII. He was made a baronet, 1894, a KCVO, 1902, and a GCVO, 1911. Upon retiring, he returned to Wales, and settled at Plas Llanstephan, Llansteffan, Carmarthenshire. He was one of the prime movers for the establishment of the National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth. He purchased major collections of Welsh books and manuscripts, including the Peniarth Manuscripts, with the intention of giving them to the Welsh nation. He was first president of the National Library, 1907-1926. He became president of the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, in 1913, and was awarded honorary doctorates by four universities. In 1872 he married Mary Elizabeth Anne Hughes (died 1915), daughter of Richard Hughes of Ynystawe, near Swansea. He died on 24 May 1926.
Name of creator
Sir John Williams (1840-1926), royal physician, president of the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, and chief founder of the National Library of Wales, was born in Gwynfe, Carmarthenshire. His private library included important manuscripts from the estate of Peniarth, Merionethshire. It was Sir John who, amongst others, pioneered the setting up of a Welsh hospital in South Africa during the Boer War. Amongst the many honours bestowed upon him during his lifetime, he was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1894.
Sir John Williams acquired material belonging to the following: the Penries of Swansea and Llanelli, including Lewis Penry of Llanelli and his son Griffith; Walter Dalton of Pembrey (d 1665/6), Charles his son (d [c. 1707]) and Edward, Walter's grandson (1685-1766); Walter Vaughan of Llanelli (fl. 1626) and his son John. Deeds of the Wynns of Gwydir were acquired by the Rev. John Williams (1760-1826) and were given to Sir John Williams in 1894.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Bequeathed to the National Library of Wales by Sir John Williams, 1926.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Personal papers of Sir John Williams comprising notes, essays, lectures and transcripts by him, [19th century]-[early 20th century]; certificates and testimonials, 1858-1915; cards and letters from the children of King George V and invitation cards to royal functions, 1889-1916; documents relating to his various honours, 1894-1911; photograph and stamp albums, 1849-[early 20th century]; other photographs, [1840s]-1905; press cuttings, [c. 1870]-1926; letters collected by Sir John, 1633-1912; letters to him, 1879-1922, the correspondents including members of the Royal Family; deeds and other documents relating to properties in Llangadog, to Plas Llanstephan and to Harley Street, London, 1790-1918; bibliographical material, [19th century]-[20th century]; medical notebooks and other papers, 1855-1900; diaries of Sir John and Lady Williams, 1872-1925; estate and financial records, 1890-; papers relating to public affairs, 1870-1911; miscellaneous items collected by Sir John, 1795-[c. 1919]; personal possessions, including University and commemorative medals, insignia, medical equipment, and ceremonial trumpets, 1861-1913; and deeds collected by Sir John Williams, 1546-1869, comprising deeds of the Vaughan family of Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, the Penry family of Swansea, Glamorgan, and the Dalton family of Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, 1545-1677, relating to properties in Llangennech and Pembrey, Carmarthenshire; deeds of John Jones, Ystrad, Carmarthenshire, relating to Llansadwrn, Carmarthenshire, 1632-1793, and the borough of Carmarthen, 1611-1869; Wynn of Gwydir deeds, 1352-1797, relating mostly to Caernarfonshire, Merionethshire and Denbighshire; miscellaneous Welsh deeds, relating mainly to properties in Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire, 1451-[c. 1840]; and miscellaneous deeds relating to England (mainly Cornwall and Staffordshire), Ireland, and Scotland, 1586-1896.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
Action: All records have been retained..
Accruals are not expected.
System of arrangement
Arranged as follows: deeds of families of Vaughan of Llanelli, Penry of Swansea, Dalton of Pen-bre; Llansadwrn, Carmarthenshire, deeds; Borough of Carmarthen deeds; miscellaneous Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire deeds; bound volumes of miscellaneous Welsh deeds; Wynn of Gwydir deeds; miscellaneous Welsh deeds; Cornwall deeds; Staffordshire deeds; and miscellaneous English, Irish and Scottish deeds; and Sir John Williams's personal papers: bibliographical; medical; diaries; estate and financial; public affairs; miscellaneous; miscellaneous documents in hand of Sir John Williams; Sir John Williams's personalia; albums of photographs and stamps; albums of press cuttings; correspondence; personal possessions (non-manuscript); photographs.
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
English, Welsh, early deeds in Latin.
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
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
Title supplied from contents of fonds.
Virtua system control number
Subject access points
- Physicians -- Wales -- 19th century.
- Deeds -- Wales -- Carmarthenshire.
- Women -- Wales -- Diaries.
- Deeds -- England -- Cornwall.
- Deeds -- England -- London.
- Deeds -- England -- Staffordshire.
- Deeds -- Wales -- Carmarthen.
- Deeds -- Wales -- Ceredigion.
- Deeds -- Wales -- Llangennech.
- Deeds -- Wales -- Llansadwrn (Carmarthenshire)
- Photograph albums -- Wales.
- Postage-stamp albums -- Great Britain.
- Cardiganshire (Wales)
- Caernarvonshire (Wales)
- Carmarthen (Wales)
- Carmarthenshire (Wales)
- Cornwall (England : County)
- Denbighshire (Wales).
- Merioneth (Wales)
- Staffordshire (England)
- Llangennech (Wales)
- Pembrey (Wales)
Place access points
Name access points
- Plas Llanstephan Estate (Wales) (Subject)
- Gwydir Estate (Wales) (Subject)
- Williams, John, 1840-1926 -- Archives (Subject)
- Jones, John, 1777-1842 (Subject)
- Vaughan family, (of Llanelli) (Subject)
- Penry family, (of Swansea) (Subject)
- Dalton family, (of Pembrey) (Subject)
- Wynn family, of Gwydir (Subject)
Genre access points
Description control area
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
The following sources were used to compile this description: NLW, Schedule of Sir John Williams' Papers; Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959)
Compiled by Rhys Jones for the ANW project.