Kinmel Manuscripts

Scope and Content

A collection of 1809 items ranging in date from 1391 to 1922 and relating to the Kinmel estate in the counties of Denbigh and Flint owned, successively by the families of Holland, Carter and Hughes. It comprises, title deeds and documents affecting properties in Abergele (and the townships of Abergele, Bodoryn, Dolganner, Garthgogo, Gwrych, Hendregyda, Meiriadog, Nant and Towyn), Aberchwilar, Betws-yn-Rhos, Cefn, Cerrigydrudion, Denbigh, Eglwys-bach, Henllan, Llanarmon-yn-Ial, Llaneilian-yn-Rhos, Llanddulas, Llangollen, Llangwm, Llangynhafal, Llanefydd, Llanrhaiadr-yng-Nghinmeirch, St. George, including the Bodtegwal, Pen-y-dref, Richard Parry, Tan-y-gaer, Llwyni and Salusbury estates, co. Denbigh; Bodfari, Cwm Diserth, Llanasa, Meliden, Mold, Newmarket, Northop, Rhudddlan, St. Asaph, Tremeirchion, including the Vaynol, Vaynol Bach, Hughes (of Llewerllyd), Egerton and Dinorben Fawr estates, co. Flint; Amlwch (Bodgadfedd estate), Llaneilian and Llanwenllwyfo (Cochwillan estate) and Rhodogeidio (Ceidio estate), co. Anglesey; Llandyfaelog, co. Carmarthen; Betws Gwerful Goch, Y Faerdref and Llanycil, co. Merioneth; and Llanbedr Felffre, co. Pembroke; abstracts of title and schedules of title deeds; rentals of the Kinmel, Llysdulas Uchaf, Pen-y-dref, Vaynol, Bee and Peel and Wickwer estates, 1733-1819; surveys and valuations, 1664-1797; estate and household accounts, 1741-1864; documents and papers concerning the tithes of Abergele, Brynpolyn (co. Flint), Gresford and Llanfair Talhaearn, 1671-1813; papers relating to the inclosures in the parishes of Abergele, Cwm, Diserth, Eglwys-bach, Rhuddlan and St. Asaph, 1808-1826; wills, settlements and other family papers relating to the Hughes family of Kinmel, 1822-1908 and including the papers of Lt. Col. James Hughes, C.B., of the 18th Hussars (1778-1845), third son of the Rev. Edward Hughes of Kinmel; letters (the writers include William Carter, Rev. Edward Hughes of Kinmel, Hugh Robert Hughes (I) of Bache Hall, Cheshire, Owen Williams of Craig-y-don, William Lewis Hughes, 1st Baron Dinorben; Hugh Robert Hughes (II) of Kinmel and Charles S. Mainwaring of Rhyl), 1727-1909; papers relating to the genealogical pursuits of Hugh Robert Hughes (II) of Kinmel; maps and plans, 1750-1931; papers in an action in Chancery between Margaret Lewis of Llysdulas, Anglesey, and the Rev. Edward Hughes of Porthllongdy (later of Kinmel) and Mary his wife and William Lewis Hughes his eldest son, plaintiffs, and Sir Nicholas Bayly of Plas Newydd, Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll, defendant, concerning the working of the copper mine discovered on a farm called Parys in the parish of Amlwch, 1769-1776.

Administrative / Biographical History

The nucleus of the Kinmel estate consisted of the manor of Dinorben Fawr, with its demesne farm called 'Y Faerdref' in the parish of St. George, and the hamlet of Kinmel in Abergele. They were all part of the Lordship of Denbigh and included in the survey made by Hugh de Beckele in 1334. By the end of the fifteenth century 'Y Faerdref' was in the possession of a branch of the prolific Holland family, which then held considerable estates in Conway, Caernarvonshire, Berw in Anglesey and Pennant Erethlyn in the parish of Eglwysfach, Denbighshire. It was first occupied by Griffith ap David, grandson of Robin Holland who supported Glyn Dwr, and it was he who built the massive house, which still remains. Early in the following century, Kinmel was added to the patrimony by the marriage of Griffith's great-grandson, Piers Holland (d.1552), to Catherine, daughter and heiress of Richard ap Evan ap Dafydd Fychan and Alice his wife, daughter of Griffith Lloyd and heiress of Kinmel.

Meanwhile, at Hendrefawr, also in the parish of Abergele, William Holland, a grandson of Griffith, was founding another estate. Dinorben Fawr itself, in which the family had obtained a firm foothold at least since February 22, 1534/5, was finally sold outright in 1641, by James I for the sum of D512.13.4. to David Holland (d.1616), the fourth of that name. Throughout the preceding half century, David's father, the second Piers Holland, and grandfather, David Holland, had been busy buying land in the townships of Towyn, Gwrych, Hendregyda and Bodoryn, thus securing virtual dominion over the whole of the parish of Abergele. In St. George too, the process of consolidation had been going in apace ever since the days of the first Piers Holland.

The death of the fourth David Holland in 1616 appears to have ushered in a period of some uncertainty in the fortunes of the Kinmel-Faerdref estate. His marriage to Dorothy, daughter of Jenkin Lloyd of Berthlwyd in Montgomeryshire, had failed to provide him with a son. The inheritance, therefore, would eventually fall to two daughters and co-heiresses, Mary and Elizabeth. In 1641, the elder of the two co-heiresses, Mary, became the wife of William Price of the Merionethshire house of Rhiwlas, who was to become a captain in the Royalist army. In 1647, her sister Elizabeth followed suit by marrying a man from the opposite camp, Colonel John Carter, who was at the time military governor of Conwy Castle. The estate descended to the two brides, Mary and Elizabeth. This consisted of lands in Denbighshire, Flintshire and Caernarvonshire. Colonel John Carter and his young bride settled down to country life at Kinmel.

However, the Carter regime at Kinmel brought little stability to the fortunes of the estate. Sir John died in November 1676, leaving as heir his eldest son, Thomas Carter. His chronic financial embarrassment caused the property to become grievously saddled with incumbrances. His marriage to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Style of Watringbury in Kent did not help to alleviate his condition, for a deed of 1695 describes him as being a prisoner in the Fleet. The estate, which his son William Carter inherited sometime before 1703, was heavily mortgaged to various creditors. Eventually, in 1729, William, through an Act of Parliament passed that year, obtained sanction for the outright sale of the Kinmel estate to Sir George Wynne of Leeswood for the sum of D29,925. He retired with his family to Redbourn in Lincolnshire, where he owned other lands.

There followed a further period of instability in the history of Kinmel, with mortgage succeeding mortgage, until in June 1781, it was, by a decree in Chancery, again sold. This time it was sold to one David Roberts of London for D42,600. Five years later, in 1786, Roberts together with other interested parties finally disposed of the estate for D42,399 to the Rev. Edward Hughes. It can be established on the evidence in the documents in this collection, as well as from information obtained from other sources, that Edward Hughes was descended from an ancient Flintshire family of that name settled at Llewrllyd in the parish of Dyserth.

Edward Hughes was born in February 1738/9. At the age of 18 he went up to Jesus College, Oxford, in 1756 with an eye to the Church, as a career, took his B.A. in 1760, and M.A. in 1762, when he was also licensed as Curate of Llangadwaladr. In 1765 he became curate to Robert Lewis, Rector of Trefdraeth and Chancellor of Bangor, and on 16 August of that same year he married Mary, the latter's third daughter, who inherited Llysdulas, a smallish estate near Amlwch, under the will of her Uncle William Lewis. This marriage and the inheritance which accompanied it was not only to change the whole course of Edward's career, but was also to lead to consequences which none but the wildest seer would have dared to prophecy. Adjoining the Llysdulas property was a "barren hill" called Parys Mountain, which the heiress held in common with Sir Nicholas Bayly, squire of Plas Newydd in the parish of Llanedwen. In or about 1764 Bayly discovered a rich vein of copper on his part of the mountain, the working of which he entrusted to Messrs. Charles Roe, a Macclesfield copper company. The operations soon extended to the other half of the mountain, the lease of which Bayly had obtained from William Lewis, and it was this development which in 1769 brought about a clash between the former and Edward Hughes and his wife. For six years, between that date and 1775, the litigation dragged itself through Chancery, producing a large crop of affidavits and other documents. The charge against Bayly was that of working the mines in an improvident and irresponsible manner, selling the ore at a price below the market price, employing inexperienced agents and neglecting to keep proper accounts. The upshot was that the court in December 1775, ordered that all the ore produced be equally divided between the parties by the three mine agents employed, one of whom was to be impartial and appointed by the court itself. In July of the previous year, however, it appears that Edward Hughes, with the help of the successful lawyer, Thomas Williams of Llanidan, himself began to work the mine on the western half of the mountain. The two partners were joined by a London banker of the name Dawes, and the three men formed the Parys Mine Company, which in a few years came to occupy the dominating position in the copper trade. Meanwhile, Lord Uxbridge had inherited the Bayly property, and he in 1785 made Thomas Williams his agent not only for the eastern half of the Parys Mine, but also for the nearby Mona Mine. By the end of the century the Anglesey copper mines had a virtual monopoly of the trade, owning smelting and other works in the St. Helen's area of Lancashire, in Buckinghamshire, at Greenfield near Holywell, and at Swansea. Michael Hughes, Edward Hughes's youngest brother, entered the business in 1780. He established himself at Sutton Lodge near St. Helen's as general manager of the Ravenhead and Stanley Works, whence, in the course of the next 45 years he proceeded to carve out a remarkable career for himself as a financier and investor of national repute. Another brother, John Hughes, was manager or agent of the Upper Bank Works, Swansea, around the year 1800.

To Edward Hughes himself as one of the principle partners, the enterprise brought a vast fortune. How large is strikingly revealed by the enormous sums which he laid out between 1786 and 1813 in the building up of an extensive landed estate. His largest single acquisition being the Lleweni and Cotton Hall estate in the parishes of Denbigh, Bodfari, Henllan and Llanrhaeadr, for which he paid Lord Kirkwall D209,000 in 1813. Large tracts in Anglesey, too, came to his possession. By 1815, the year of his death, he had spent over D496,000 in satisfying his territorial ambitions, and the Kinmel estate as he left it was among the most extensive in North Wales.

The heir was William Lewis Hughes, Edward's eldest son, who, in 1831, was created first Baron Dinorben, and died in February 1852. The second son Hugh Robert Hughes settled at Bache Hall in Cheshire, while a third son, James Hughes chose the army as a career and rose to the rank of Colonel in the 18th Hussars. William Lewis Hughes, who succeeded to the estate and title as second Baron Dinorben, died unmarried in October 1852, eight months after his father. Kinmel then descended to his first cousin, Hugh Robert Hughes, son of the Hugh Robert Hughes of Bache Hall, who was a partner in the Chester and North Wales Bank, another of the enterprises of the Hughes family, founded in 1792. Hugh Robert Hughes died on 29 April 1911, leaving Kinmel to his eldest son, Hugh Seymour Bulkeley Lewis Hughes. On his death, seven years later, in 1918, the estate came to his brother, Henry Bodvel Lewis Hughes. The latter sold Kinmel Park in 1934, but retained the greater part of the property, in which, dying unmarried in 1940, he was succeeded by his great-nephew, Captain David Henry Fetherstonhaugh.


According to type of document, then according to place, then chronologically.

Access Information


Open to all users

Acquisition Information

Deposited in 1953 by Captain D. H. Fetherstonhaugh of Kinmel Manor, Abergele.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogue at item level

Separated Material

Deeds (acquired from Kinmel Park) from the collection of Angharad Llwyd (1779-1866), antiquary, including deeds relating to the families of Salusbury of Lleweni, 1313-1727, Myddelton of Chirk, 1637-18th century, and Davies of Llannerch and Gwysaney, 1610-1767 are at the National Library of Wales. Some of these deeds are bound up in Angharad Llwyd's MSS, NLW MSS 1551-1608. Schedule (1982), [ix] + 157pp.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright conditions apply. Reprographics made at the discretion of the archivist.


A further deposit has already been made but is uncatalogued.

Related Material

Bangor Manuscripts 25946, 28503, 31502, 32449 and 32867 Llysdulas Papers


J. E. Griffith, Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire Families ; with their Collateral Branches in Denbighshire, Merionethshire and other parts, (Horncastle, 1914), p.146. Sir Bernard Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain, (Harrison and Sons, Pall Mall, 1914, 12th Ed.). Jones, Emyr Gwynne, 'Denbighshire Manuscripts and Records in the Library of the University College of North Wales in Bangor (I) The Kinmel Papers', Denbighshire Historical Society Transactions, volume 4, 1955, pp.39-50. Roberts, R. Fred, 'The Developments of the Kinmel Estate', Denbighshire Historical Society Transactions, volume 36, 1987, pp. 37-46. Boxhall, Elaine, Kinmel characters: 12th-20th century, (Kinmel Publishing, 1990). Boxhall, Elaine, The seven lives of Kinmel Hall, (St. George, Clwyd: Kinmel Hall, [1984?]). The Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 under the Auspices of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, (London, 1959). Access Points