Penrice Estate Papers

Scope and Content

First deposit, consisting of title deeds, 1724-1923; estate correspondence, 1845-1900; rentals, 1751-1757, including Margam estate, abd 1825-1913; accounts, 1743-1899; farm accounts, 1844-1906, including game records; records of the estate's Gower manors, 1798-1939; industrial plans relating to copper works and colliery at Penclawdd, Glamorgan, 1840-1856; and estate maps, 1780-1786. Second deposit, consisting of deeds and leases, 1853-1949; sales catalogues, 1909-1927; correspondence files and letter books, 1872-1950; publications collected by the Penrice Estate Office, 1845-1951; estate office and personnel records, 1886-1953; other records regarding the running of the house and estate, 1888-1968; maps and plans 1824-1948; records relating to other estates administered by H. Ll. Prichard, 1903-1935.

Administrative / Biographical History

The ancestors of the Mansel family originated in Normandy and appear to have arrived in Britain in 1066. The Gower branch of the family lived in comparative obscurity during the Middle Ages, but through judicious marriages with local families they acquired the manors of Penrice, Oxwich and Port Eynon in 1410, which formed the basis of the family's Gower estates. Later purchases included the manors of Landimore (including Rhossili), Weobley and Reynoldston, and later still, portions of the Popkins and Lucas estates in Gower. During the 15th and 16th centuries the Mansels lived mostly at Oxwich Castle, but at the Dissolution of the Monasteries Sir Rice Mansel first leased and later bought the lands and buildings of the Abbey of Margam. Margam Abbey had been founded in 1147, endowed by Robert earl of Gloucester with a large tract of land between the Afan and Kenfig rivers. During successive centuries, the abbey grew in importance, and its possessions increased, to such an extent that at the time of the Dissolution its holdings amounted to some 50,000 acres. Rice Mansel, now the owner of lands stretching from one end of Glamorgan almost to the other, set about converting the old monastic buildings into a mansion, which became the principal home of his descendants for the next 200 years. The Mansel family line came to an end in 1750 with Bussy, the fourth Baron Mansel, and the estates, but not the title, passed to the family of his sister Mary who had married John Ivory Talbot of Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire. In the 1770s Thomas Mansel Talbot built a new house at Penrice, as an alternative residence to the rambling old house at Margam. The house at Margam was in its turn pulled down in the early 19th century and a new mansion was built there between 1827 and 1830 near the ruins of the old abbey. According to the 1873 return of owners of land, Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot, of Margam owned an estimated 34,033 acres in Wales (all in Glamorgan), with an estimated rental of £44,175.


Arranged at West Glamorgan Archive Service into the following: group of financial papers; deeds; documents relating to Gower Estate Manors; Gower Estate maps; and estate management.

Access Information

No restrictions

Acquisition Information

It is the policy of the West Glamorgan Archive Service to withhold the names of depositors.


Compiled by Mair James for the HMC/NLW Family and Estates project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: West Glamorgan Archive Service, Penrice Estate Papers, schedule; Collis, Kim, The West Glamorgan Archive Service: A Guide to the Collections, (West Glamorgan Archive Service, 1998). Amended by Andrew Dulley, West Glamorgan Archive Service.

Other Finding Aids

Hard copies of the catalogue are available at West Glamorgan Archive Service and the National Register of Archives. A second volume, covering estate records from 1880 to 1955, is currently under preparation. Further details regarding the manorial documents can be found in the Manorial Documents Register.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright regulations apply.

Appraisal Information

All records deposited at West Glamorgan Archive Service have been retained


Accruals are not expected

Related Material

Further papers relating to the Talbot family of Penrice and Margam are West Glamorgan Archive Service: D/D Ma, D/D Xgz, D/D Xgc, D/D Z 24, 25, 26; National Library of Wales, Penrice and Margam Estate Records, National Library of Wales MS 12594; Dorset Record Office: D/FSI; and British Library: Harleian Charters 75A1-75D25. Various members of the Llewellyn family of Baglan and Cwrt Colman acted as stewards or agents of the Penrice and Margam estate, and there are several documents relating to their activities in this capacity in the Llewellyn estate records held at Glamorgan Record Office.

Geographical Names