George Powell Archive

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 982 GP
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      English, French, Latin, German, Dutch, Italian, Arabic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish (1500-1928), Modern Greek (1453-), Spanish or Castilian.
  • Physical Description
      0.19 cubic metres

Scope and Content

The archive contains music manuscripts; various manuscript volumes; unbound manuscript material; printed volumes; letters, and artefacts collected by George Powell.

The archive also includes a few items which were added to the archive after Powell's death. These items relate either to material collected by Powell or to people he was friends with.

Administrative / Biographical History

George Ernest John Powell was born on the 10th of February 1842. Born into a politically influential Cardiganshire family, he was brought up on the family estate of Nanteos, near Aberystwyth. He received his education at Eton, and at Brasenose College, Oxford.

Powell lived the life of a gentleman. He travelled widely through North Africa and Europe, especially Iceland. He was a great collector, and acquired pieces both at home and abroad. He also closely followed literary and musical trends and his interests led him to make several interesting connections, developing friendships with such famous figures as A C Swinburne and H W Longfellow. Powell also published a variety of material during his lifetime, including three volumes of his own poetry, and a translation of Icelandic legends completed in conjunction with Eirikr Magnusson.

Powell's travels, along with his poor relationship with his father, W T R Powell, meant that he remained largely absent from Nanteos whilst a young man. On his father's death in 1878, he inherited Nanteos, and returned home. In 1880, he was appointed High Sheriff of Cardigan, and the following year, on the 10th of May, he married Dinah T Harries, of Goodwick, Pembrokeshire. After only a year of marriage, on the 17th of October 1882, he died childless, and is buried in the churchyard at Llanbadarn Fawr, near Aberystwyth.

Access Information

The material in this archive is in a variety of languages: English (eng), French (fre), Latin (lat), German (ger), Dutch (dut), Italian (ita), Arabic (ara), Persian (per), Turkish (ota); Greek (gre) and Spanish (spa).

The papers may be consulted through application by e-mail to: or by post to: Aberystwyth University, Archives, Information Services, Llandinam Building, Penglais, Aberystwyth, SY23 3DB. Tel: 01970 628593.

Acquisition Information

George Powell intended to bequeath his collection of books, manuscripts and works of art to the town of Aberystwyth, but due to an inability to find a suitable place of deposit, they were left to the University College of Wales, with his music manuscripts going to the Musical College of Wales. This latter group were eventually deposited with Powell's other material at the University.


Description compiled by Rhian Phillips, Archives Hub project archivist, with reference to George Powell of Nanteos: An Early Benefactor of the College Library - An exhibition of books, music and MSS, held in the College Gallery, Great Hall, Penglais, (Aberystwyth, 1971), and John Edward Lloyd, R T Jenkins and William Llewelyn Davies (eds), The Dictionary of Welsh Biography Down to 1940, (London: The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, 1953), pp. 772-3.

Other Finding Aids

Basic finding aid available on request from Archives staff.

Related Material

Powell's collections of printed books and works of art are also to be found at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

A small group of letters collected by Powell now form part of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth: Collected Letters archive (reference GB 982 ML), which can also be found at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Some items from the George Powell Archive have been deposited by the University of Wales, Aberystwyth at the National Library of Wales, Department of Manuscripts and Records, and form Minor Deposits 1394-1408A. These include letters received by George Powell from various correspondents, including A C Swinburne, H W Longfellow and Eirikr Magnusson, along with transcripts of Powell's correspondence by George Eyre Evans.

The archive of the Nanteos estate can be found at the National Library of Wales, Department of Manuscripts and Records, Nanteos Estate Records.