Fonds GB 0210 WSGAMS - W. S. Gwynn Williams Papers

Identity area

Reference code



W. S. Gwynn Williams Papers


  • [1800x2001] (predominantly 1890-1976)(accumulated [c. 1908]-[c. 2001]) (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.074 cubic metres (3 boxes, 4 vols, 10 folders, 6 envelopes)

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

W. S. Gwynn Williams (1896-1978), musician, composer, author, editor and administrator, established the Gwynn Publishing Company and was one of the founders of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.

He was born, 4 April 1896, at Plas Hafod, Llangollen, the son of the musician W. Pencerdd Williams. He composed numerous songs, including the popular 'Tosturi Duw' ('God's Mercy') and 'My Little Welsh Home'. From 1922 to 1929 he edited Y Cerddor Newydd, and was also responsible for the short lived musical review, Y Delyn: the Welsh Music Review, of which three issues only appeared, in 1947.

His devotion to the field of Welsh folk music is one of his main contributions. He was secretary of the Welsh Folk-Song Society, 1933-1957, becoming chairman in 1957. He also edited the Society's Journal for thirty years. He published many collections of folk-songs and tunes, including Old Welsh Folk-songs (1927), and Caneuon Traddodiadol y Cymry in two volumes (1961, 1963). He published a pioneering study of traditional Welsh music entitled Welsh National Music and Dance, of which four editions appeared between 1932 and 1971.

He established the Gwynn Publishing Company which, over the years, produced a wide range of both Welsh and European music. He also played a prominent part in the inception of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in 1947, becoming its first musical director. He was a prominent member of the Eisteddfod Gorsedd, and was musical organiser of the Gorsedd of Bards. He died in 1978.

Archival history

The papers of W. S. Gwynn Williams (including those of his father, W. Pencerdd Williams) were passed to his widow, Mrs Elizabeth Eleanor Gwynn Williams, after his death in 1978. Following Mrs Williams's death in September 2001, various interested parties were given the opportunity by the executor (the local representative of HSBC Probate Services) to take possession of items, including printed material, papers and audio tapes, belonging to the estate of W. S. Gwynn Williams.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Donated by The Estate of the late Mrs Elizabeth Eleanor Gwynn Williams, Llangollen, widow of W. S. Gwynn Williams per Mr Alwyn Jones, Probate Service Manager, HSBC, Rhos on Sea, December 2001.; A2001/83

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The fonds comprises mainly his professional papers, 1908-1976, a few personal papers, [1800x2001], and papers of his father, W. Pencerdd Williams, [c. 1890]-[c. 1924]. Papers relating to the Welsh Folk-Song Society and to his role as first musical director of the Llangollen International Eisteddfod are not included.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Arranged according to provenance at NLW into three groups: professional papers, 1908-1976, personal papers, [1800x2001], and W. Pencerdd Williams papers, [c. 1890]-[c. 1924].

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
  • Welsh

Script of material

Language and script notes

English, Welsh

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Audio tapes (reel to reel) and cassettes are NLW, National Screen and Sound Archive RM14720-RM14731 and CM10957-CM10976. A number of records have been transferred to NLW, National Screen and Sound Archive, and published material to the collection of printed books.

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Virtua system control number


GEAC system control number


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Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

This description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) Second Edition; AACR2; and LCSH.


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

May 2002.


  • English



Archivist's note

Compiled by Barbara Davies.

Archivist's note

The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Griffiths, Rhidian, 'Gŵr y gân' (Y Casglwr, 56/57 (1996)); Canu gwerin, 19 (1996); 'Ein Cerddorion: Mr Wm. Pencerdd Williams' (Y Cerddor, XVIII (1906)).

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Physical storage

  • Text: W. S. Gwynn Williams Papers.