Fonds GB 0210 SPUELL - Spurrell Family Papers,

Identity area

Reference code



Spurrell Family Papers,


  • 1817-1984 / (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

2 boxes

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

The House of Spurrell, printers and publishers, was founded in 1840 by William Spurrell (1813-89), the third son of Richard Spurrell and Elizabeth Thomas of Carmarthen. He worked for Bradley & Evans, London printers and publishers, 1835-1840, before returning to Carmarthen to set up his own business. Among his most important publications were his Welsh-English dictionary (1848), the English-Welsh dictionary (1853) and Carmarthen and its neighbourhood (1860). He also owned and edited Yr Haul, 1857-1884. He married Sarah Walter in 1846, and they had several children including Edith Spurrell (1848-1908), Dr Charles Spurrell (1866-1949) and Walter Spurrell (1858-1934). Walter joined the family business and in due course succeeded his father. He issued the West Wales Historical Records (14 vols, 1911-1929), the Journal of the Welsh Bibliographical Society and John Bodvan Anwyl's revised editions of the Welsh-English (1914) and English-Welsh (1916) dictionaries. He married Florence Mary Turner of Stoke Newington, London, in 1893 and they had a son, H. W. Spurrell. Following Walter's death in 1934 the business passed out of the hands of the family. H. W. Spurrell inherited the family papers.

Archival history

These papers were in the possession of Lt-Col H. W. Spurrell, MC (1894-1985), Aberporth, son of Walter Spurrell.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Nos 1-7, 10-30 were donated by Lt.-Col. H. W. Spurrell's niece, Mrs Joan Kovats, London, in 1987. Nos 8-9 (and NLW MS 22364C) were purchased from Mrs Kovats in 1987.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Personal and family papers, including letters to William Spurrell on phonetics and spelling reform, 1848-1885, and Spurrell family history, 1873-1885; letters from Sir James and Lady Hills-Johnes of Dolaucothi, 1885-1917; printed material regarding Welsh mutations and spelling reform, 1876-1889; notes on the Rebecca riots and Carmarthen history, 1872, with additions by H. W. Spurrell, [20th century]; personal papers of, and letters from, Walter Spurrell, 1858-1900; papers relating to Dr Charles Spurrell, including a volume of family pedigrees; letters concerning possible evidence for Welsh Indians, 1891-1892; a diary of Edith Spurrell, 1865; papers relating to Elizabeth Thomas's family, 1817-1839; travel journals and accounts of members of Florence Mary Turner's family, 1821-1902; and miscellaneous papers of H. W. Spurrell, [c.1900]-1984.

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: Thomas family papers; papers of William Spurrell; papers of William Spurrell's children; Turner family papers; papers of Col. H. W. Spurrell; and 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

English, Welsh.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A hard copy of the catalogue is available in NLW, Minor lists & summaries 1987, pp. 108-112. The catalogue is also available online.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Family photographs, maps and photographic albums are in NLW, Special Collections, PE5215-16. Spurrell business papers, 1920-1949, are held by the Carmarthenshire Archives Service, DB16, DB68 and DB107.

Related descriptions

Publication note

Richard E. Huws, "A History of the House of Spurrell, Carmarthen, 1840-1969", F.L.A. thesis, 1981; copy available at Carmarthenshire Archives Service, DB37, and facsimile copy available at NLW, XZ 325 H89.

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

May 2003


  • English



Archivist's note

Compiled by Rhys Jones for the ANW project. The following sources were used to compile this description: NLW, Minor lists & summaries 1987; Dictionary of Welsh biography down to 1940 (1959).

Accession area

Related genres

Related places

Physical storage

  • Text: Spurrell Family Papers.