Bodorgan Additional Manuscripts

Scope and Content

Following the previous catalogue of Bodorgan papers compiled by Thomas Richards in 1938 this catalogue is a continuation of the history of one of the main gentry families in Anglesey. In addition to papers relating to estate administration the collection includes Log Books of the School of Llangadwaladr, a volume of Welsh poetry from the mid-eighteenth century, letters by Lewis Morris [Llywelyn Ddu o Fôn, 1701-1765] and a copy of the Bible in Welsh by William Morgan pubilshed in 1588. The great number of photocopies, the originals belonging mostly to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are of genealogical and armorial intererst. The original documents are still in the owners possessesion.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Meyrick family of Bodorgan are not only owners of their ancestral estate, but also owners of lands once held by the Bolds of Tre'rddol and the Wood lands of Rhosmor. The Bolds, by a series of providential deaths firstly inherited the Wood lands. This was then followed by the death of Owen Bold in 1703 resulting in the devolution of his lands upon Owen Meyrick the elder, son of Jane, sister of Owen Bold. The lands of Bodorgan, Rhosmor and Tre'rddol, though not exactly contiguous, are situated so near to each other that the Bodorgan estate was one of the most compact in the whole country.

The Meyricks are descended from Cadfael, Lord of Cedewain in Powys, but it was in the Tudor period that they first came into prominence. Llywelyn ap Heilyn fought under Henry Tudor at the battle of Bosworth; his son Meyrick served under Henry VIII, was promoted to be captain of the bodyguard, and was given the Crown Lease of the manor of Aberffraw. In the late sixteenth century trouble erupted between Richard Meyrick II (d.1596) and Hugh Owen of Bodeon concerning part of the Aberffraw manor lands. The Bodorgan estate was crushed by the cost of the litigation, and by 1590 a substantial portion had been sold to discharge Meyrick's debts. Richard Meyrick III (d.1644) was the first of the family to be appointed sheriff of Anglesey. It was Owen Meyrick (1682-1760,), who was the real founder of the later fortunes of the family. He was the second son of William Meyrick (1644-1717), and grandson of Richard Meyrick IV (d.1669). He was a keen supervisor of his estates and set it on a strong foundation. He looked after it ceaselessly and carefully, and considerably enlarged its boundaries. In the parliamentary election of 1708 for the county of Anglesey, he very seriously and almost successfully challenged the supremacy of the Bulkeleys and, although unsuccessful on this occasion, effectively challenged the Bulkeley supremacy on the island. For some years he did represent the county in Parliament (1715-1722). He was also High Sheriff in 1706, and Custos Rotulorum of Anglesey from 1715 till his death in 1759. Interestingly, he also commissioned Lewis Morris, the most famous of the three Morris brothers, to make a survey of the Bodorgan lands. Owen Meyrick was succeeded by his son Owen Meyrick (1705-1770), who married a wealthy heiress, the daughter of John Putland of London. His grandson, Owen Putland Meyrick (1752-1825) was also equally fortunate in his marriage to Clara, daughter and heiress to Richard Garth of Morden, Surrrey. The estate acquired additional wealth through the marriage of the latter's daughter and co-heiress, Clara, to Augustus Elliot Fuller of Ashdowne House, Sussex. Their son Owen Augustus Fuller (1804-1876) adopted the name Meyrick when he inherited the Bodorgan estate on the death of his grandfather.

In the course of time three other branches of the family were established at Gwyddelwern, Merioneth, at Cefn Coch, Llanfechell, co. Anglesey and at Monkton in Pembrokeshire. The strongest of these was the last, of which the founder was Rowland Meyrick (1505-1566), second son of Meurig ap Llywelyn and brother of Richard Meyrick I.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to all users

Custodial History

This additional collection of Bodorgan estate papers were deposited in this department c. 1987 by Sir George David Eliott Tapps-Gervis Meyrick 6th Bart., M.C.