Dyffryn (Gwyn) Estate Papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Estate and solicitors' papers of the Gwyn (later Moore-Gwyn) family of Dyffryn, 1711-1990, including deeds, leases and other documents relating to properties of the Abercraf, Blaensawdde, Briton Ferry, Neath Abbey, Dyffryn, Glanbran and Birchgrove estates in Llangyfelach, Cilybebyll, Llandeilo Talybont, Cadoxton-juxta-Neath, Llanrhidian, Neath, Llansamlet, Llangynwyd and Llantrisant, Glamorgan, Ystradgynlais, Llanfihangel-Nant-Bran, Defynnog, Llywel, Merthyr Cynog and Brecon, Brecknockshire, Llanddeusant, Llangadog, Llandingat, Myddfai and Cilycwm, Carmarthenshire, 1711-1990; deeds and leases for minerals under the Gwyn estates in Glamorgan and Ystradgynlais, 1862-1969; correspondence relating to conveyances of houses to tenants, 1941-1947; sales catalogues for parts of the estates, 1916-1927; family wills and settlements, 1809-1934; mortgages, trusts and bonds, 1879-1958; tenancy agreements, 1886-1953; wayleave grants and agreements, 1903-1952; papers relating to the tithes and advowson of Llandeilo Talybont, 1822-1854; rentals, 1920-1974; accounts, 1920-1962; vouchers, 1928-1954; statements of accounts, 1920-1969; correspondence files, 1894-1961; plans, 1913-1964.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Gwyn family estates stretched from Brecon, Brecknockshire, and north Carmarthenshire to Neath and the Loughor estuary in Glamorgan. The Gwyn family traced their descent from Brychan, the fifth century prince of Brycheiniog. However by the 17th century the family were much reduced in circumstances. The family's fortunes took a turn for the better when William Gwyn, a Neath lawyer, married Elizabeth, the daughter of Hugh Edwards of Blaensawdde, Llanddeusant, Carmarthenshire. In 1755 their children, including John Gwyn, inherited the Blaensawdde estate. Twenty years later the Abercraf Estate in Brecknockshire was bequeathed to John's son, William Gwyn (d. 1830), for life, to pass to his eldest son. The combined estates covered thousands of acres, mostly upland pasture. The revenues from this land funded the purchase of several neighbouring farms. In 1818 the Earl of Jersey sold the scattered lands of his Briton Ferry Estate to the west of the River Tawe. The bulk of the property, including thirty-six farms, was purchased by William Gwyn for £23,300. The Dyffryn estate in Cadoxton-juxta-Neath had been owned by the Williams family and then the Fredericks family of Crickhowell. In 1854 William Gwyn's son, Howell Gwyn (d. 1888), MP, purchased the estate and built a new mansion, Dyffryn House. Howell died childless and the estates passed to his widow Ellen Elizabeth Gwyn, and on her death in 1900 to her nephew Joseph Edward Moore (d. 1922) of Longford Court, with the proviso that he change his name to Moore-Gwyn. Joseph inherited the Glanbrân and Birchgrove estates in Llansamlet. He was succeeded in 1922 by his son Joseph Gwyn Moore-Gwyn. Most of the estate was sold between 1916 and 1927. Between 1925 and 1927 in particular, many tenants bought the freehold to the properties they had been renting. The house at Dyffryn was sold in 1928 and demolished in 1931. Beneath the majority of the Glamorgan and Ystradgynlais farms lay rich veins of coal, which was in great demand during the boom in industry in the Swansea and Neath areas. With the coal mines came a need for accommodation for the coal miners. Certain farms were divided into plots which saw the building of Pontarddulais, Alltwen, Rhos, Penycae and Craig-cefn-parc.

Arrangement

Arranged into the following: Abercraf Estate; Blaensawdde Estate; Breconshire deeds; Mid Glamorgan deeds; Neath deeds; Briton Ferry Estate deeds; Neath Abbey and Cwrtrhyrhir estates deeds; purchase of the Dyffryn Estate; Glanbran and Birchgrove Estates; Llandeilo Talybont tithes; mineral deeds and leases; conveyances of the Gwyn Estate; other deeds and leases; estate management.

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions

Acquisition Information

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

Note

Compiled by Rhys Jones for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: West Glamorgan Archive Service, Catalogue Of The Dyffryn (Gwyn) Estate Papers; Jones, Francis, Historic Carmarthenshire Homes and their Families (Newport, Pembrokeshire, 1997); Nicholas, Thomas, Annals and Antiquities of the Counties and County Families of Wales (Baltimore, 1991) (fascimile of 1875 ed.).

Other Finding Aids

Hard copies of the catalogue are available at West Glamorgan Archive Service.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright regulations apply.

Appraisal Information

All records have been retained

Custodial History

The records were accumulated by Strick and Bellingham of Swansea, solicitors, who acted on behalf of the estate.

Accruals

Accruals are not expected

Related Material

Further records of the Dyffryn (Gwyn) Estate are at the West Glamorgan Archive Service, (GB 0216) D/D Gw