Shankland Manuscripts

Scope and Content

Papers (172 items) of the Rev. Thomas Shankland, Welsh Librarian of the University College of North Wales, 1904-1925. With the exception of mss 1 and 2, which relate to the development and vicissitudes of the Welsh Library, minutes and accounts of the national testimonial to Shankland, 1925-1926, and a group of letters addressed to him from a wide circle of correspondents. The bulk of the collection consists of a series of commonplace books containing a mass of valuable material of literary, religious, historical and bibliographical interest, including lists of, and notes on, Welsh books printed between 1540 and 1768; chronological conspectuses and indexes of Welsh periodicals, 18th-19th centuries; notes on printers and printing in Wales and on Welsh literary and educational movements and developments, 17th-18th centuries; detailed biographical and other particulars relating to Bishop Lewis Bayly, Ceiriog, Thomas Charles, John Elias, William Erbery, Griffith Jones of Llanddowror, Stephen Hughes, Iorwerth Glan Aled, John Miles, Morgan John Rhys, Edward Samuel, David Saunders and others; pedigrees of Welsh notabilities; and notes on Welsh musicians and hymn writers. Of particular importance is a group of notebooks and papers detailing the results of Shankland's intensive researches into the history of the Baptists in Wales.

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas Shankland was a bibliophile and a historian. He was born on 14 October 1858 in the parish of Llanginning, Carmarthenshire. He attended Pwll-trap School. By 1876, he was at Bala working as a shoemaker. There he came into contact with the great men of the area, such as principals Lewis Edwards and Michael D. Jones. In 1879 he was baptised by immersion and in 1882 he began preaching with the Baptists. For a period he went to St. Clears Grammar School, and in 1885 was accepted as a student at Llangollen College. He opted, however, to enter the then new University College of North Wales at Bangor.

Between 1888 and 1891 Shankland was minister at Mold, then from 1891 to 1904 at Rhyl. It is thought that possibly, the turning point of his life was when he visited in October 1900, the old home of Joshua Thomas the historian at Leominster, and examined the manuscripts that still remained there. In 1904 he visited Bangor to reorganise the Welsh Library at the University and in 1905 he began the work of classifying and arranging, and of travelling around the county searching for rare books.

He wrote many articles. In 1898-1899 four of his articles appeared in Seren Cymru on the subject of Morgan John Rhys; he then wrote three articles in Cymru in 1902 on the beginnings of the Sunday School in the Principality. His most substantial work, however, was a series of sixteen articles in Seren Gomer (September 1900-January 1904) in review of Diwygwyr Cymru by Beriah Evans. Shankland was editor of Seren Gomer between 1905-1906, and editor of the Transactions of the Historical Society of the Baptists in Wales from its foundation until 1925. He also contributed a chapter to the Cofiant by Dr. J. T. Griffiths, and a chapter for the Cofiant by David Williams. He was a prominent figure in the founding of 'Cymdeithas Llawysgrifau Bangor' in 1907, and was secretary during its existence. Because of his continuing work he was awarded in 1917, the degree of M.A. 'honoris causa' by the University of Wales.

He became ill in 1925, and died on 20 February 1927.


According to subject

Conditions Governing Access


Open to all users

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Rev. Thomas Shankland's widow, May 1927 and July 1929, with one additional item received in 1977.

Other Finding Aids

A catalogue at mainly item level

Separated Material

See index of National Library of Wales Handlist of Manuscripts, Volume III, under Shankland, Thomas.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Custodial History



None expected

Related Material

Bangor Manuscripts 228, 240-263, 377, 3590 (67), 5778, 6806-6808, 6500-6550, 13343-13383, 14846, 20034, 24269, 25984-25985, 27039, 27045, 35469 and 37970. Sir J. E. Lloyd Papers - ms 137


Bassett, Merfyn Thomas Shankland: hanesydd(Llandysul: Undeb Bedyddwyr Cymru, [After 1966]). Tysteb y Parch.T.Shankland, Rhyl. Testimonial ... at gefnogwyr llenyddiaeth ar hanes crefydd yng Nghymru,yn fwyaf neillduol mewn cysylltiad a'r Bedyddwyr. (Y Rhyl: Pwyllgor Tysteb y Parch.T.Shankland, 1902). The Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940, under the Auspices of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, (London, 1959). Stephens, Meic (ed), Cydymaith i Lenyddiaeth Cymru, (Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru Caerdydd, 1997). Access Points

Geographical Names