Belmont Manuscripts

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

A collection of 334 items, containing a prominent group of memoranda books and papers belonging to the Rev. Roger Edwards of Mold, father of Lady Henry Lewis. These include notes of sermons delivered by him between 1830 and 1880; notes and synopses of sermons by some of the leading Calvinistic Methodist preachers of the first half of the nineteenthh century; reports, impressions and memories of the CM Associations at Bala, Caernarfon, Abergele and Llanrwst, 1842 and 1843, and at Bangor and Holywell, 1853; minutes of the North Wales Association, 1840, 1848 and 1849 and a list of monthly meetings (Denbighshire and Flintshire) at which Roger Edwards preached, 1835 and 1856.

Among other papers of religious interest, the earliest of which belonged to Sir Henry Lewis's father, Thomas Lewis, are; resolutions and miscellaneous reports of the Arfon Monthly Meeting, 1857-63; accounts of the Caernarfonshire C. M. Associations, 1859-1907; accounts of the Bangor and district Sunday Schools, 1864; other material relating to the activities of the C. M. churches in the Arfon Monthly Meeting district, 1864-72; minutes and accounts of the Bangor Auxiliary Bible Society, 1845-99; schedule of deeds of C. M. churches in the Arfon district compiled from answers to a questionnaire sent out in 1876; documents and miscellaneous memoranda relating to Lonpopty, Tabernacl and Princes Road churches, Bangor, 1862-1906; and original deeds pertaining to the Well Street Baptist chapel, Bangor, 1813 and 1856.

In another group there are papers testifying to Sir Henry Lewis's deep interest in educational matters, particularly in the Bangor area. These include notes and statistics concerning the schools in the parish of Bangor, 1881-92; Bangor School Board estimates, 1883-1903; papers concerning the establishment and early history of the Bangor Intermediate School for Girls, 1890-1905; the rebuilding and administration of Friars School, 1891-1918; the renovation and reorganisation of Bangor Normal College, 1900-05; the claims of Bangor as a site for an University College, 1883, and negotiations for a new site for the college, 1899-1902. Also pertaining to Bangor are the papers and documents relating to the affairs of the local Board of Health and the City Council, 1879-1905, and the Corporation Workmen's Strike of 1918.

The parliamentary interests of Thomas Lewis and his son Sir Henry are reflected in the former's returns of expenses in the Anglesey contests of 1886 and 1892, and in the material accumulated by the latter during the contest in 1900 for the Caernarfon borough seat, when he was one of the principal organisers on behalf of Lloyd George's candidature in the Bangor area.The collection contains a number of letters addressed to Thomas Lewis and Sir Henry Lewis.

Additional manuscripts were received in 1963-66, and these include, letters, addresses and miscellaneous papers, which include wills, other legal documents and books.

Administrative / Biographical History

These papers were collated by the late Sir Henry Lewis of Belmont near Bangor, a prominent Calvinistic Methodist elder in North Wales. His father, Thomas Lewis (1821-97) of Llanwenllwyfo, Anglesey was the founder of a flourishing corn and flour business at Bangor and the MP for Anglesey between 1886-94. He also lectured frequently on his travels to Palestine and elsewhere. Henry Lewis himself was born at Bangor and educated at Friars School and then at Bala C. M. College. He became a very important figure, not only in Bangor, but throughout North Wales. He proved to be a most valuable supporter of the University College at Bangor, particularly in relation to the matter of securing a site for the new college buildings.

In 1901 Henry Lewis published a History of Friars School, Bangor, and in 1907 a book on the history of the Tabernacle (CM) Church at Bangor appeared, which includes some useful information on the history of the town itself. In 1872 he married Anne, daughter of the Rev. Roger Edwards which accounts for the presence of his minute books within this collection. Roger Edwards (1811-86), was a Calvinistic Methodist minister, born in Bala and raised in Dolgellau. From early 1830 until ca.1833 he kept school at Dolgellau. In December 1830 he started to preach and was ordained in 1842. In 1835 he went to Mold as a proofreader and general editor to John and Evan Lloyd, printers, and in that town he remained until his death. He was acting minister at Bethesda chapel, Mold from 1835 but was not formally appointed pastor until 1878. Although he had a varied and versatile career, he was above all a preacher. He was the foremost administrator of his denomination and contributed more than any other of his contemporaries to the evolution of the intricate connexional structure. For nearly 35 years he was the secretary of the North Wales C. M. Association, a moderator of the General Assembly, and twice moderator of the Association. Roger Edwards was editor of Y Drysorfa and allayed Methodist suspicion of fictional literature, thus preparing the way for Daniel Owen. In fact he discovered and induced Daniel Owen to contribute Y Dreflan to that journal. He was jointly a founder editor of Y Traethodydd with Lewis Edwards. However, his greatest service was perhaps rendered as editor of Cronicl yr Oes, the first political newspaper in Welsh. His pioneering work in the Cronicl foreshadowed that of Gwilym Hiraethog in Yr Amserau and that of Thomas Gee in Y Faner, and laid the foundation for the political Liberalism, which later became so characteristic of North Wales. He was also a poet and a hymn writer.

Arrangement

According to subject or creator.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to all users

Acquisition Information

Manuscripts 1-28 were deposited soon after the death of Sir Henry Lewis. Manuscripts 29-43 were discovered in chests later examined whilst 38A and 44-70 were found amongst Sir Henry's papers that had gone to Llanbedrog but were presented in September 1928 by Mrs G. F. C. Yale and Miss Lewis, his two daughters. Miss Nora Lewis and Mr Roger Lewis deposited manuscripts 80-334 in 1963-66.

Manuscripts 1-28, 80-334 have been deposited whilst 29-43, 38a, 44-70 were a gift.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogue at item and series level

Separated Material

The Yale Collection held at the National Library of Wales, which consists of papers relating mainly to the family of Jones-Parry of Madryn, co. Caernarfon, 19th-20th centuries, and to Roger Edwards, Mold (1811-86), Calvinistic Methodist minister and author. See also Annual Report of the National Library of Wales, 1933-34, p. 48, 1947-48, p. 43 and 1948-49, p. 61.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright conditions apply. Reprographics made at the discretion of the archivist.

Appraisal Information

Due to the exceptional circumstances of deposit, the collection has been catalogued on three consecutive occasions resulting in a lack of order.

Accruals

None expected

Related Material

Yale Manuscripts

Bibliography

The Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 under the Auspices of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, (London, 1959)

T. M. Jones, Cofiant Roger Edwards: yr Wyddgrug, yn cynnwys ei waith dyddorol "Y tri brawd a'u teuluoedd", (Wrecsam: Hughes a'i fab, 1908)

W. Hobbley, Hanes Methodistiaeth Arfon, (Caernarfon: Cyhoeddedig gan Gyfarfod Misol Arfon, 1910-1924)

Arthur Mee (ed), Who's Who in Wales, (Cardiff: Western Mail Limited, 1921)