GWYSANEY MSS (DAVIES-COOKE)

Scope and Content

Deeds, 1282-1945, mainly for lands in Flintshire and Denbighshire; fair copy rentals and estate accounts prepared by the agent relating to Gwysaney, Flintshire, Llanerch estate, Denbighshire, and Hafod-y-Wern estate, Wrexham, 1639-1939, including tithe rents for Holywell and Mold, Flintshire, and accounts for lead mines, mainly at Rhydymwyn; agents' rentals and accounts, 1783-1946, including estate wages books, 1884-1945; papers relating to tithe rent charges, 1852-1936; rentals and accounts for Hafod-y-wern estate, Wrexham, with miscellaneous papers of the Puleston family, 1545-1836; plans, 1756-1913, estate agents' letter books, 1881-1933; papers relating to the manor of Ewloe, collected and bound around 1900 by P. B. Davies-Cooke, including surveys, perambulations, rentals, court leet minutes and presentments; papers relating to potteries and brickworks, 1594-1912, deeds relating to coal and lead mining, Flintshire, 1763-1913; a register of leases, [c. 1870]-1912; and legal papers relating to the Gwysaney estate and the Puleston family containing miscellaneous case papers, [c. 1600]-1875. The archive also includes family papers, 1567-1900, including marriage settlements, 1692-1786; wills, 1760-1854; correspondence, 1621-1877, mainly of Bryan Cooke and Philip Davies-Cooke, 1796-1825; papers relating to the Davies family seats in Mold church, 1567-1661; military papers consisting of typed copies of letters written by A.G.K. Davies-Cooke, 10th Hussars, from South Africa describing service in the Boer War, 1900-1902; papers relating to the Denbighshire and Caernarfonshire militias, 1689-1892; and Flint, Denbigh and Anglesey hunt papers, 1892-1908.

The manuscripts in this part of the collection relate entirely to the Welsh estates of the family. Of particular interest and importance, are a number of large finely-drawn 18th century estate maps and an unbroken series of rentals of the estate, 1759-1927. A volume of papers relating to the manor of Ewloe 1594-1896, (No. 5r55), which P B Davies-Cooke collected and had bound up c. 1900, is a most valuable source for the early history of the Buckley pottery industry. The papers relating to Buckley Collieries, and the Llyn y Pandu and Pen y Fron lead mines at Rhydymwyn, are also of great interest and among various other items relating to the town of Mold and its neighbourhood, are the building agreements for Llwynegrin Hall in 1930.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Gwysaney estate in Flintshire was originally held by the Davies family, who traced their descent in a direct line from Cynric Efell, elder son of Madog ap Maredudd, Prince of Powys in the 13th century, though the surname, Davies, was not adopted until the 16th century, when it was first used by John ap David. The latter married Jane, widow of Richard Mostyn and daughter of Thomas Salisbury of Leadbrook, Flintshire, and they had three children, the eldest of whom, Robert (1555-1602), inherited the estate, and was the first of a long line of sons named Robert, through whose hands it passed. His eldest son, Robert Davies II served as sheriff of Flintshire in 1607, and his second son, Thomas, became a lieutenant- colonel for Charles I and Constable of Hawarden Castle in 1643. Later he also had command of a regiment under Sir Charles Morgan, lord-general of Christian V of Denmark (1646-99) and many interesting letters written by him from the continent are still preserved at Gwysaney.

The estate passed to Robert Davies III, only son of Robert Davies II by his marriage to Anne, daughter and heiress of John Haynes, receiver for Elizabeth I, of her revenues in Wales, on his father's death in 1633. Although only seventeen years of age, he had already married Anne, daughter and co-heiress of Sir Peter Mutton, and it was as a result of this marriage that the Llanerch estate in Denbighshire was added to the Davies estates. Robert III was a staunch Royalist and during the Civil War was besieged at Gwysaney by the forces of Sir William Brereton. He was imprisoned at Chester but later released, and held the office of sheriff of Flintshire in 1644/6. His son Mutton Davies, who had suffered similarly for his support of the King, also held the office of sheriff in 1670 and served as M.P. for the county 1678-1681. He was responsible for laying out continental style gardens at Llanerch, which were unfortunately destroyed in the 18th century, though pictures of them remain at Gwysaney. Robert Davies IV, his son (1658-1710), was a keen antiquary and naturalist, most of whose collection of valuable books and manuscripts is now in the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. Among them is the famous 'Book of Llandaff' (N.L.W. Journal IV, 123ff).

Gwysaney and Llanerch continued to pass together in a direct male line from Robert IV to his son , Robert V (1684-1728) and to his grandson, Robert VI, (1710-45), both of whom continued to hold the important local offices, but in 1785, John Davies, only son of Robert VI, died unmarried. The estate was divided between his two sisters, Letitia and Mary, the former obtaining Llanerch and the latter Gwysaney. In 1764 Mary had married Philip Puleston of Hafod -y-Wern, Wrexham and their only daughter, Frances, married Bryan Cooke of Owston, Yorkshire in 1786. Their son, Philip Davies Cooke therefore inherited estates in Flintshire, Denbighshire and Yorkshire on the death of his father in 1820. All were in need of skilled management, but despite their scattered nature Philip Davies Cooke worked tirelessly to maintain both Owston and Gwysaney as flourishing estates. Hafod-y Wern was leased out as a farmstead, and later to Wrexham Corporation as a sewage farm, but Owston and Gwysaney were restored and developed. Interests in industrial enterprises in Flintshire, including lead mines, coal mines, potteries and brickworks were expanded and a large section of the records in this collection relate to these activities, both estates are still in the hands of his successors.

Arrangement

Arranged at Flintshire Record Office into two volumes: Volume 1: Deeds, Estate, Manor, Potteries and Brickworks, Lead Mining, Coal Mining, Plans, Family, Military, Legal, Miscellaneous and Appendix; Volume 2: Deeds, Lead Mining, Coal Mining, Estate, Family, Local Affairs, Office, Military, Legal, Miscellaneous and Appendix.

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 Captain P. P. Davies-Cooke, Gwysaney, Mold.

Note

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

Compiled by Mair James for the HMC/NLW Family and Estates project and amended by Elizabeth Pettitt of Flintshire Record Office. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Veysey, A.G., ed., Guide to the Flintshire Record Office (Flintshire County Council, 1974); Nicholas, Thomas, Annals and Antiquities of the Counties and County families of Wales (London, 2 vols, 1872), vol. 1; James, Brian, 'The Great Landowners of Wales in 1873', National Library of Wales Journal, XIV (1965-6); Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959).

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/

Further details relating to manorial records within the archive can be accessed from the Manorial Documents Register . A calendar of some of the Gwysaney letters, once held at the National Library of Wales, is available at the National Library of Wales.

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Mair James for the HMC/NLW Family and Estates project and amended by Elizabeth Pettitt of Flintshire Record Office. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Veysey, A.G., ed., Guide to the Flintshire Record Office (Flintshire County Council, 1974); Nicholas, Thomas, Annals and Antiquities of the Counties and County families of Wales (London, 2 vols, 1872), vol. 1; James, Brian, 'The Great Landowners of Wales in 1873', National Library of Wales Journal, XIV (1965-6); Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959).

Item level descriptions input by Alan Driver and Jane Swinton.

Conditions Governing Use

Microfilm or xerox copies of most of the Gwysaney papers transferred from the National Library of Wales to Flintshire Record Office are available at the National Library of Wales.

Usual Copyright regulations apply.

Appraisal Information

All records deposited at Flintshire Record Office have been retained.

Custodial History

From 1942 onwards, several groups of manuscripts from Llannerch, Gwysaney and Owston have been deposited in the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, and at the University College of North Wales, Bangor. Mr G A Usher's history of the family, 'Gwysaney and Owston', 1964, is based on these papers. The present collection includes a few documents noted in the Historical Manuscripts Commission 6th Report, 1877, 418-426.

Part of the archive, originally listed in a second volume, was transferred from the National Library of Wales to Flintshire Record Office in October 1981, and the items re-numbered to continue from an existing deposit. Papers relating to the Owston estate were transferred from Flintshire Record Office to Doncaster Archives Department following the sale of the Owston estate in 1981. Gwysaney estate records held at University of Wales Bangor, Department of Manuscripts and Archives, were also transferred to Flintshire Record Office. The latter are Flintshire Record Office, D/GW/B.

Accruals

Accruals are not expected

Related Material

Further papers relating to the Gwysaney estate and the Davies-Cooke family are Flintshire Record Office, D/GW/B; National Library of Wales, MSS 17110-62, National Library of Wales, Kinmel Deeds; and Doncaster Archives Department, DD.DC, and DX.Bax/61191.

Bibliography

Usher, G. A., Gwysaney and Owston: a history of the family of Davies-Cooke of Gwysaney, Flintshire, and Owston, West Riding of Yorkshire (Denbigh, 1964).

Geographical Names