- 1817-1984 / (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
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.
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
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
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
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.
Title supplied from contents of fonds.
Virtua system control number
Place access points
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
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).