Stepney Collection

Scope and Content

Family and estate papers of the Cowall, Stepney, Cowall-Stepney and Howard-Stepney families of Llanelli, Carmarthenshire. The family papers include diaries, journals, prints, scrapbooks and other personal papers, mainly 19th century, but comprises mainly correspondence, 1696-[c. 1930], including letters of George Stepney, diplomat, 1696-1713, letters and papers of Sir John Stepney Cowell Stepney, 1820-1875, mainly letters to or from him whilst he was away on military service, and of his wife Euphemenia J. Cowell-Stepney, 1819-1875, Murray Cowell who was killed during the Crimean War, 1834-1855, Sir Arthur Cowell-Stepney, [c. 1848]-1903, and Lady Margaret Cowell-Stepney, [c. 1850]-1903. The estate papers include deeds, 1760-1959, correspondence, 1877-1955, rentals, ledgers and accounts, 1843-1959, and maps and plans, 1828-1975. The latter include a large number of plans of local collieries, and the archive is an important source for the development of Llanelli and the coal-mining industry there.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Stepney family were established at Prendergast, Pembrokeshire, from early in the second half of the sixteenth century. However, the house was in ruins by 1767, as the family had moved to Llanelli House, Carmarthenshire, rebuilt by Sir Thomas Stepney, the fifth baronet (d. 1744). Llanelli House was owned by a cadet branch of the Vaughan family of Golden Grove. This branch failed when Walter Vaughan died unmarried in 1683, and the estate was divided between his four sisters in 1705. Llanelli House passed to his sister, Anne Lloyd of Cwmgwili, and on her death without issue, to her sister Margaret Vaughan, who had married Sir Thomas Stepney. Another Sir Thomas Stepney married Elizabeth Lloyd (b. 1725), heiress of Derwydd and Trehir, both of which were added to the family estates. The Stepney family failed with the death without issue of Sir Thomas Stepney (d. 1825), eighth baronet. The Stepney-Gulston family of Derwydd is descended from the marriage of his sister Elizabeth Brigetta Stepney (1749-1780) to Joseph Gulston, while the Cowell-Stepney, baronets, of Llanelli are descended from the second marriage (in 1788) of Maria Justina Stepney (1757-1821), to General Andrew Cowell. Their son John (1791-1877) assumed the name Stepney-Cowall in 1857, and was created a baronet in 1871. His grand-daughter, Catherine Meriel Cowell Stepney (1876-1952), married Sir Edward Stafford Howard (1851-1916), and assumed the name Howard-Stepney.


Arranged into the following: estate records- which are further arranged into deeds and documents, correspondence, rentals, ledgers and accounts, modern items, maps and plans- and family papers which are mainly arranged by individual members of the family.

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions

Acquisition Information

Deposited by M. Murray Threipland, on behalf of the Stepney Estate Office, August 1965.


Compiled by Stephen Benham for the HMC/NLW Family and Estates project. The following source was used in the compilation of this record: Jones, Francis, Historic Carmarthenshire Homes and their Families (Newport, 1997).

Other Finding Aids

Hard copies of the catalogue are available at Carmarthen Archive Service, National Library of Wales and the National Register of Archives

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright regulations apply.

Appraisal Information

All records deposited at Carmarthenshire Archive Service have been retained


Accruals are not expected

Related Material

Further papers are Carmarthenshire Archive Service, Derwydd Muniments, and National Library of Wales, Derwydd Estate Records.

Geographical Names