Porth yr Aur Additional Papers

Scope and Content

The wide variety of material in this collection, accumulated over four centuries, 1519-1830, reflects the diversity of clients and the broad area of activity of the Porth yr Aur attorneys and their practice, which was active in estates administration, local government and also represented clients in business and religious life.

It consists of legal documents relating to land and estates, documents relating to local government, ecclesiastical affairs and some business records of the practice itself including day books and letters to Hugh Ellis, John and Evan Evans from clients in Caernarfonshire and Anglesey.

Administrative / Biographical History

This legal practice founded by Hugh Ellis was originally located at Bangor but moved to Porth yr Aur, Caernarfon around 1790. John Evans, born in 1766, at Llanllyfni, entered into articles with Hugh Ellis in 1789. When the latter died in 1808, John Evans seems to have taken over his practice and developed it into one of the most active practices of the day in north Wales with a very broad clientele. He was administrator of two major estates in the county of Caernarfon for a period, Madryn and Coetmor, and also acted for the Gwynfryn, Vaynol and Glynllifon estates and the Pentir and the Brynkir estates in Caernarvonshire and the Taicroesion estate in Anglesey. He also advised a large number of yeomen farmers in these counties.

John Evans was an important figure in the area, with interests which extended beyond his legal practice into local government administration and the slate quarrying industry in north Wales. After Hugh Ellis' death, John Evans succeeded him as clerk of the magistrates for the Caernarfon district in 1808. In 1810 he was appointed Deputy-Protonotary of the North Wales Circuit, and was deputy sheriff of Caernarfon County in 1811, 1812 and 1821. He opened the Cilgwyn Quarry in 1800 and acted as its managing director. His office at Porth yr Aur, Caernarfon was also the office of the company and he had an interest in the Cefn Du Quarry for a time.

John Evans married Sydney, daughter of the Reverend William Griffith of Rhoscolyn and had a son, John Griffith Evans who served his articles in his father's office but did not succeed to the practice. His marriage, which did not meet his father's approval apparently led to an estrangement between father and son. After his death in 1827 his nephew, Evan Evans who had worked for his uncle for several years, succeeded him but the practice shrank during his short career. Following the death of Evan Evans ca. 1836, the practice, or at least the office, was occupied by R.D. Williams who was succeeded by his son of the same name.


Material is arranged in chronological order and incorporated into the General Collection of Bangor Manuscripts .

Conditions Governing Access

Open to all users

Acquisition Information

A large proportion of this collection was discovered in the attic of a house in Caernarfon in 1941.


Description compiled by Anne Lenaghan, September 2001

Other Finding Aids

Item level word-processed list is available at the Archives Department at the University of Wales, Bangor. Reference numbers: General Collection of Bangor Manuscripts: 1110, 3654-3868, 3881-3896, 5542-5544

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright conditions apply. Reprographics are made at the discretion of the Archivist.

Related Material

This material is an addition to the main collection of Porth yr Aur Papers also held by the Archives Department at the University of Wales, Bangor, reference numbers: GB 222/Bangor 74 and HE Archives Hub , reference number: GB 222 PA