AN Palmer Notebooks

Scope and Content

A.N. Palmer (1847-1915) is best known as the author of a series of books on the history of the Wrexham area, including The History of the Parish Church of Wrexham (1887), A History of the Older Nonconformity of Wrexham and its Neighbourhood (1889), The History of the Town of Wrexham (1893), John Wilkinson and the Old Bersham Iron Works (1899), and The Thirteen Country Townships of the Old Parish of Wrexham (1903). He also wrote histories of the parishes of Gresford, Holt, Isycoed, Bangor on Dee and Ruabon. After his death, most of his notebooks were presented to Wrexham Library. They include his personal diaries, as well as his extensive notes on the manuscript sources which formed the basis of his works. Among these sources were parish registers and records, and many deeds and documents then in private custody, some of which have since disappeared. Five of these notebooks have always been missing from the series in Wrexham, but these came to light in 1985, when they were purchased by the National Library of Wales.

The notebooks provide a wealth of information on the Wrexham area and its history, much of which could not be included in Palmer's published works. His notes are also useful for following up information given in the books. Most of the notebooks were indexed by Palmer in his own cumulative index volume; others have simple indexes or tables of

contents included.

To increase access to the notebooks the Clwyd Record Office has prepared microfiche copies of them, including the index volume and those held by the National Library of Wales. The books are therefore now united on fiche, and available for consultation as one series.

How to use the microfiche

List of contents.

The list of contents provided with the fiche gives very brief details of the contents of each volume, and a heading, e.g. PARISH RECORDS. It should be emphasized that it is by no means complete; in particular, it ignores the many notes Palmer took from printed sources. A complete list of the contents of the volumes, page by page, would be an enormous undertaking. The list of contents should serve to indicate which volumes contain such information on, for instance, nonconformity, or parish records. or the Acton Hall MSS. It also indicates whether Palmer indexed the volumes himself.

For example, if one wishes to see the notes on Wrexham town hall, described in the list of contents as being in Vol. 4. pp.172-8, select the relevant fiche. This is the one entitled 'Palmer 4 pp.172-230'.

Palmer's index volume.

Palmer compiled his own index, which covers vols 1-13 and 15 24. It gives his volume numbers in Roman numerals, and the page numbers in Arabic, for example:

Bersham Furnace VIII, 182, 208(2)...

This indicates that there are references in Vol 8 at pages 182 and 208, there being two on the latter page. For those unfamiliar with Roman numerals, the list of contents provides a conversion table.

The index volume is stronger on places and personal names than subjects, although unusual occupations are generally indexed. It will be noted that the entries for any particular letter are together, but not in alphabetical order, as they were written in by Palmer as he came to them. Even 'entries in his own diaries were indexed. For instance, 'Rothesay, No III 88-105' refers to his diary of a stay at that place in May 1882!

Indexes/lists of contents of individual volumes.

Volumes not included in the Index volume (and some that do) have indexes or lists of contents at the end. The headings were written in as Palmer came to them, and start on the last page of the volume, working backwards.

The page numbers on the fiche are Palmer's own, although he occasionally made errors in his numbering. The volumes contain many loose notes and press-cuttings. These have been filmed where they were, except in the case of the five volumes in NLW. The inserts in these have been collected together and filed, guarded and bound in a separate

volume, numbered 38 in the fiche.

The list of contents of the volumes that follows describes them in their original order, and gives the present location and reference of each volume. The microfiche are normally produced for searchers, rather than the original volumes.

Access Information

This collection is open for research. It is advisable to book in advance, for details and opening hours see Access to some documents may be restricted due to Data Protection legislation, Denbighshire Archive Service will advise where this is the case.