Penrhos Manuscripts

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 222 PENRH
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
      latin, english welsh.
  • Physical Description
      13 linear metres Physical characteristics are noted in the catalogues alongside the description of the documents.

Scope and Content

A collection of 5687 deeds and allied documents, holograph correspondence and miscellaneous manuscript material ranging in date from 1430-1972 and consisting of three main groups. One group relates to the Owen family of Penrhos, Holyhead and includes deeds concerning properties in Bronheulog, Carnwylan, Holyhead, Llanfachreth, Llanfair-yn-Neubwll, Llanfflewin, Llanfihangel-yn-Nhywyn, Llanrhuddlad, Llanynghenedl, Rhoscolyn, Trefgadrodd, Trefirian, Treflan-fawr, Treflywarch and Trefuchdryd; letters addressed to John Owen of Penrhos (d.1712) from Richard, 4th Viscount Bulkeley of Baron Hill, Beaumaris, Owen Hughes ('Yr Arian Mawr') of Beaumaris, Sir William Williams (Speaker of the House of Commons, 1680-1681) and others; and correspondence between Ann Owen (widow of Robert Owen, John Owen's son and heir), and her brother Dr Edward Wynn of Bodewryd, Chancellor of Hereford; and her sons William Owen, Edward Owen and Hugh Owen; the Bodewryd group, consists of the papers of Dr. Edward Wynn and includes deeds relating to the Chwaen Wen (Llantrisant), Gwredog (Amlwch) and Bodowyr (Bodedern) estates and lands in Bodedern, Caerdegog, Conysiog Lys, Llanddeusant, Llanfair Mathafarn Eithaf, Llantrisant, Llanfair-yn-neubwll, Tregwehelyth, Tre-ifan, Treflesg, Trefadog and Rhoscolyn, co. Anglesey; and to the Plas Einion, Glanhespin and Dinmael estates, co. Denbigh; genealogical material compiled by the Chancellor; letters addressed to him from members of his family as well as from persons of note including Humphrey Humphreys, Bishop of Bangor (1689-1702) and Hereford (1702-1712), Edward Lhuyd, John le Neve, Browne Willis, Lewis Morris, Moses Williams and Dr Eubule Thelwall; papers relating to the diocese of Hereford and the Chancellorship, including records of causes appearing before the church courts, presentments, rules, decisions fees, Act books, etc.; the Stanley group, includes deeds affecting properties in Holyhead; correspondence consisting mainly of letters to Mrs Margaret Owen (ne Bold) of Penrhos from her son-in-law, the first Sir John Thomas Stanley of Alderley Park, Cheshire; and from her granddaughters Isabella, Elizabeth and Louisa Stanley; her daughter Lady Margaret Stanley and from the latter's son the second Sir Thomas Stanley (created first Baron Stanley of Alderley in 1839); from Richard Llwyd the author of Beaumaris Bay and others; papers relating to the Presaddfed-Dronwy estate (inherited by William Owen Stanley under the will of Captain James King of Presaddfed in 1873) comprise of letters written between 1583 and the middle of the 18th century in which six generations of the Bulkeley family of Dronwy, Llanfachreth, are represented and in particular Robert Bulkeley the diarist; letters to Margaret King who inherited Presaddfed estate in 1819 on the death of her brother John Bulkeley, and who married in 1799 James King, Master of Ceremonies at Bath; a group of ten manuscript volumes written between the 16th and 18th centuries and containing copies of 'cywyddau', 'awdlau', 'cerddi' and 'englynion' by Dafydd ap Gwilym, Guto'r Glyn, Lewis Mon, Tudur Aled, Sion Tudur, Sion Brwynog, Huw Morus, Sion Phylip, Edward Morus and others. The Additional Manuscripts include, deeds relating to lands in Aberffraw, Amlwch, Bodedern, Bodewryd, Holyhead, Llanbadrig, Llanddeusant, Llandrygarn, Llandyfrydog, Llaneilian, Llanfachreth, Llanfaelog, Llanfaes, Llanfaethlu, Llanfair-yng-Nghornwy, Llanfair-yn-neubwll, Llanfechell, Llanfigel, Llanfihangel-yn-Nhywyn, Llanfwrog, Llanfflewyn, Llangefni, Llanidan, Llaniestyn, Llanrhuddlad, Llantrisant, Llanynghenedl, Llechylched, Pentraeth, Rhosbeirio, Rhoscolyn, Rhos-y-bol, Trefdraeth and Trewalchmai, co. Anglesey, and Aber, co. Caernafon; inventories and miscellaneous documents; correspondence and pedigrees, valuations and more inventories.

Administrative / Biographical History

The old Penrhos family are believed to have stabilised their surname as Owen in the 16th century. It was once a very powerful family. One of its most prominent members was John Owen (d.1712). In the stormy politics of the period that followed the Revolution of 1688, John Owen stood apart from the gentry of the western hundreds of Anglesey in opposing the influence of the Meyricks of Bodorgan and in following the lead of the Bulkeleys of Baron Hill, especially during the county elections of 1708 an 1710. His son and his grandsons who were of a weaker character, and who lacked drive and pertinacity, succeeded him. His son Robert, married Ann, daughter of Chancellor Edward Wynn of Bodewryd and died in 1731, leaving many sons, five of whom died between 1726 and 1742. The elder son, William (d.1733), who is believed to have been a nerveless character, was a gardener and was responsible for the building of the centre portion of the Penrhos mansion. His brother Edward (d.1741) was an artist and was apprenticed to Thomas Gibson the limner. The third son, Hugh, was of weak mind and health. He ran into debt at Oxford and left Oriel without a degree. However, although Hugh himself was not masterful, he had a masterful wife, Margaret Bold, and an even more masterful daughter, Margaret Owen (ca.1742-1816), who married Sir John Thomas Stanley of Alderley, Cheshire. It is believed that the family and its resources survived due to the connection between the Owen family and the Wynn family of Bodewryd, through the marriage of John Owen's son, Robert, to Ann.

Therefore, the Stanley family of Penrhos, came to Anglesey via the marriage of Margaret Owen of Penrhos and Sir John Thomas Stanley (1735-1807) in 1763. Sir John Stanley was descended from one of the minor branches of the Stanleys of Derby. Some interesting characters emerge from this branch of the family. The 3rd Baron, who died in 1903, became a Mohammedan, and had a Mohammedan mosque built in Talybolion. Margaret Owen's eldest son was made 1st Baron Stanley of Alderley in 1839. Another son, Edward Stanley (1780-1849) became Bishop of Norwich and his son was Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, who became the famous Dean of Westminster between 1864 and 1881. The sons of the 1st Baron were also prominent figures. Edward John Stanley, the 2nd Baron, (1802-1869) held several offices in the Whig administration and was the president of the Board of Trade between 1855 and 1858. His twin brother, William Owen Stanley (1802-1884), was M.P. for Anglesey, 1837-1847, for Chester, 1850-1857, and for the Anglesey Boroughs, 1857-1874. He was also interested in Celtic Archaeology and wrote many articles in Archaeologica Cambrensis. Their sister married William Edward Parry, who was the captain who explored the farthest recess of the Arctic. However, the most important member of the family was the 4th Baron, who became Earl of Sheffield in 1909, Edward Lyulph Stanley (1839-1925). He was vice-chairman of the London School Board between 1897 and 1904. He became one of the most prominent men in the educational world. His son was Arthur Lyulph Stanley (1875-1931). He became an M.P. and a governor of Victoria from 1914 to 1920. The family was also prominent in applying the Enclosure Acts in Anglesey and in assisting in the coming of the railway. They also played an important role in the development of the port of Holyhead and communications with Ireland.


Papers are arranged according to type then chronologically mainly. Some deeds are arranged geographically first. Some of the correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent rather than chronologically.

Access Information


Open to all users

Acquisition Information

Deposited between 1927 and 1977 by Arthur Lyulph Stanley, 5th Baron Stanley of Alderley, his son, L. H. V. O. Stanley of Kensington, Lady Kathleen Stanley of Plas Llanfawr, Holyhead, Mrs Adelaide Lubbock, Orpington, Kent, and the County Archivist of Cheshire.

Other Finding Aids

Eight catalogues at item level.

Separated Material

Records relating to the Penrhos Estate are also held in the Anglesey Record Office. See index of National Library of Wales Handlist of Manuscripts, volumes I, II, III and IV under, Stanley, and volume IV under Penrhos.

Conditions Governing Use

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


None expected

Related Material

Presaddfed Papers Bangor Manuscripts 4947, 20014, 29463-29464, 33833-33834, 34055-34056, 36910, 37539.


J. E. Griffith, Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire Families; with their Collateral Branches in Denbighshire, Merionethshire and other parts, (Horncastle, 1914), pp. 28-29. The Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940, under the Auspices of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, (London, 1959). Jones, E. Gwynne, 'Correspondence of the Owens of Penrhos, 1712-1742', Anglesey Antiquarian Society and Field Club Transactions, (1954), pp. 59-73. Access Points