NANTLYS MSS

Scope and Content

Records relating to the Downing estate (and not to the Nantlys estate), including deeds relating to the Downing estate in Denbighshire, 1549-1859, Flintshire, 1299-1917, and in England, 1615-1929, including Dorset and Somerset, and deeds relating to coal and lead mining in Flintshire, 1603-1761, 1692-1773; estate papers, including papers relating to Downing garden, [c. 1820]-1839, rentals and surveys, [17 cent.]-1859, accounts and vouchers, 1594-1892, correspondence, 1640-1915, and sale plans and particulars, c.1740s-1909; and family papers, 1548-1916, including marriage settlements, 1585-1868, wills, 1548-1916, executorship papers, 1594-1915, family settlements and financial papers, 1597-1912, inventories, 1605-1797, papers of Thomas Pennant (1726-1798), 1765-1793, correspondence, 17th Century - 1911, personal papers, 1580-1866; and legal papers, 1452-1856.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Pennants are an ancient Flintshire family who held estates in the Whitford and Holywell areas of Flintshire continuously from the 1450s until the middle of the 19th century when the direct line of the family died out. The records in this collection include references to them from the 1450s and earlier. The Pennant family descended from David Pennant ap Tudur ap Ithel (living in 1440) who was the first to adopt the surname Pennant. He married firstly Jonet, daughter of David of Trefcastle in Tegeingl and secondly, Agnes, daughter of John Done of Utkinton, Cheshire. From his first marriage are descended the Pennants of Bychton, and the Pennants of Downing, the former being descended from Thomas Pennant, great-grandson of David Pennant, and the latter from Thomas's brother, Nicholas. From his second marriage are descended, through his son, Thomas Pennant, abbot of Basingwerk, the Pennants of Bagillt and the Pennants of Hendre Vigillt. John Pennant, son of Nicholas, married Jane, the daughter and heiress of John Lloyd ap Llewellyn ap Rhys of Downing and brought the Downing estate to this branch of the Pennant family. This branch became extinct with the death of Thomas Pennant without issue in 1724. He bequeathed the Downing estate to his kinsman, David Pennant (1685-1763) of Bychton. His son was Thomas Pennant (1726-1798), the naturalist, antiquary and traveller. David Pennant (d. 1841) of Downing's son, also named David Pennant, had predeceased him in 1835, leaving an infant daughter, Louisa, as his heiress. She later married Rudolph William Basil, Viscount Feilding, eldest son of the Earl of Denbigh. Louisa died without issue in 1853 and was succeeded in accordance with the will of her grandfather by his cousin and godson, Philip Pennant Pearson, of Castle Camps, Cambridgeshire, from whom the present family are descended. He inherited the properties in the Tremeirchion and Bodfari area, while the Whitford and Holywell properties passed to Rudolph William Basil's family. Philip Pennant Pearson adopted Pennant as his surname instead of Pearson and settled at Brynbella, Tremeirchion. He built Nantlys in 1874.

It has proved difficult to compile an accurate Pennant pedigree. The records in this collection in some cases appear to contradict earlier printed pedigrees (for example that in J.E. Griffith's Pedigrees of Anglesey and Caernarvonshire families) and several contemporary branches of the family used the same Christian names. There are Pennants described as of Bagillt, Bighton, Brynford, Holywell, Downing, Tythyn ucha, Tre Eden Owen and of Whitford and though these may in some cases be interchangeable it is almost impossible to be sure in every case. An attempt has been made to show the main line of descent but the earlier part should not be regarded as complete.

Although the collection has been named the Nantlys MSS most of the material in it relates to the period when Bighton Hall and Downing Hall were the main seats of the family. However there is an interesting group of medieval deeds for properties in Tremeirchion as well as large numbers of deeds of all periods for Holywell and Whitford. In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries the family was involved in developing the Maes Whitford lead mine on the Downing estate and there are a few accounts and other papers relating to these activities and later to coal mining in Bighton. The estate and family papers are not particularly extensive. There is a small group of papers relating to planting in the gardens at Downing in the 1820s and 30s and an inventory of the goods of Peter Pennant of Bighton in 1623. The papers of Thomas Pennant (1726-98), the well-known naturalist and topographical writer, have been grouped together and, although not numerous, included some interesting items such as a diary of tours to Buxton, Scarborough, Teignmouth and Bristol in 1786-8 and a notebook compiled during a European tour in 1765-6. Several members of the family have served as Sheriff of Flintshire and this is also reflected in the records.

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically into the following: deeds; lead mining; coal mining; estate; family; office; charities; legal; and miscellaneous.

Conditions Governing Access

Data Protection Act restrictions will apply to any items less than 100 years old that contain personal information as defined by the Act.

Acquisition Information

Deposited by A.D.H. Pennant of Nantlys Tremeirchion, 1982 and earlier and by Miss Ann Pennant, Nantlys, 2001.

Note

Please order documents using the alternative reference number (where provided).

Compiled by Mair James for the HMC/NLW Family and Estates project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Flintshire Record Office, Nantlys catalogue; Burke's Landed Gentry (London, 1952); Griffith, John Edwards, Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire Families (Wrexham, 1998 reprint); Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959); NLW, Schedule of Downing Deeds (1978).

Other Finding Aids

Hard copies of the catalogue are available at the Flintshire Record Office, National Library of Wales and the National Register of Archives. Catalogue is searchable online at: http://calmview.flintshire.gov.uk/CalmView/

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Mair James for the HMC/NLW Family and Estates project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Flintshire Record Office, Nantlys catalogue; Burke's Landed Gentry (London, 1952); Griffith, John Edwards, Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire Families (Wrexham, 1998 reprint); Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959); NLW, Schedule of Downing Deeds (1978).

Harry Carr, Jane Swinton and Beryl Hickman input item level descriptions.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright regulations apply

Usual copyright regulations apply.

Appraisal Information

Items 823 and 902 have been permanently withdrawn.

Accruals

Accruals are not expected.

Related Material

Further papers relating to the Pennant family are Flintshire Record Office, D/BC (Birch Cullimore MSS - Earl of Denbigh estate papers); Warwickshire County Record Office, CR 2017; National Library of Wales, Downing Estate Deeds, and NLW MSS 2521-2598, 12706-12720, 15421-15436.

Geographical Names