Dyffryn (Gwyn) Estate Records

Scope and Content

deeds 1667-1944; mineral leases 1806-1921 including a bundle relating to the Western Merthyr and Graigola Merthyr Colliery Companies 1866-1920; sale catalogues c. 1878 â?¢1949; estate plans 1744-1845; property plans 1833-1915; colliery plans 1870-1920 and railway plans 1870-1921.

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 Abercrâf 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, Howel 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.


Arranged into the following: deeds of properties in Glamorgan, by parish; deeds of properties in Breconshire, by parish; deeds of properties in Devon; deeds of properties in several parishes; other deeds and related documents; deeds of minerals; sale of estate properties; and plans.

Access Information

No restrictions

Acquisition Information

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


Compiled by Andrew Dulley of the West Glamorgan Archive Service for the ANW project.

Other Finding Aids

A hard copy of the catalogue is available at West Glamorgan Archive Service.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright regulations apply.

Appraisal Information

Information not available


Accruals are not expected.

Related Material

A similar-sized collection of Dyffryn (Gwyn) Estate records is at the West Glamorgan Archive Service, reference D/D SB 4.