Plas Coch Manuscripts

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 222 PCO
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
      lat  and English.
  • Physical Description
      5.75 linear metres Physical characteristics are noted in the catalogues alongside the description of the documents.Latin and English

Scope and Content

A collection of 4087 items relating to the Hughes and Hughes-Hunter family of Plas Coch (Llanedwen) and Brynddu (Llanfechell), Anglesey, and consisting of, title deeds and documents referring to properties in Aberalaw, Aberffraw, Amlwch, Bodafon, Bodegri, Bodelgyfarch, Bodfordd, Bodffyddion, Bodfilog, Bodlew, Bodrida, Bodrwyddyd, Bodronyn, Cadnant, Caerdegog, Caeregwy, Cefnyfyrwen, Celleiniog, Cleifiog, Conysiog, Lys, Cornwy Lan, Dwyran Feuno, Eiriannell, Gronant, Gwydryn, Hendre Rhosfair, Heneglwys, Holyhead, Llanddaniel-fab, Llanddeusant, Llanddyfnan, Llandegfan, Llandrygarn, Llanedwen, Llaneilian, Llanfaethlu, Llanfechell, Llanfihangel-yn-Nhywyn, Llangefni, Llangeinwen, Llanrhuddlad, Llantrisant, Lledwigan Llys, Maesoglen, Newborough, Penhwnllys, Penmynydd, Rhosfair, Trefadog, Trefarthen, Trefdraeth, Trefirior, Trefowen, Tyndryfol, Ucheldref, Ynys Keryd and Ysgeifiog, co. Anglesey; Bangor, Caernarfon, Clynnog, Conway, Dinorwig, Llanbeblig, Llanddeiniolen, Llandegwning, Llandwrog, Llanfihangel-y-Pennant and Llanrug, co. Caernarvon and Hiraddug, Is-glan, Kinnerton and Soughton, co. Flint, 1438-1903; rentals and valuations of the Plas Coch and Brynddu estates, 1792-1933; family, personal and estate correspondence (amongst the topics referred to are the banquet given to George Stephenson, builder of the Britannia Tubular Bridge, 27 August 1851, and the deliberations of the Llandudno Improvement Commissioners, 1862-1890), 1789-1917; papers and documents relating to railway developments in the United Kingdom (including North Wales) during the 1840's; documents and papers bearing on the elections of 1837, 1841, 1847, 1851 and 1859 in the Caernarfon boroughs (including 'check', canvass and poll books for the 1837 and 1859 elections; expense accounts of the 1841 election and correspondence); estate maps and plans, 1814-1853.

Among the personalities represented in the collection are: David Lloyd ap Hugh ap Llywelyn ap Ieuan of Porthamel (will dated 11 March, 1573/4), Hugh Hughes (copy will dated 20 June 1603), Roger Hughes (I) (copy will dated 29 May, 1646), Hugh Hughes (II), Roger Hughes (II), Hugh Hughes (III), the Rev. Robert Hughes, vicar of Llanidan; William Hughes (copy will dated 19 February, 1802), Sir William Bulkeley Hughes, his son William Bulkeley Hughes (will dated 25 May, 1887) and Charles Hunter. Also included are letters from William Ewart Gladstone to William Bulkeley Hughes, 1856-1880.

Administrative / Biographical History

It is believed that the real founder of the fortunes of the Plas Coch estate, Anglesey, was Hugh Hughes the elder (d.1609). He was admitted to the Society of Lincoln's Inn, became Queen's Attorney for North Wales and a member of the Council of the Marches, was an M.P. for Anglesey from 1597 to 1601, and High Sheriff of the county three times. Also known as Hugh ap David Lloyd ap Hugh ap Llywelyn ap Evan ap Madoc ap Evan ap Hoel ap Gwyn, he was the first to assume and stabilise the surname, Hughes. Hugh Hughes was also responsible for the building of the original Plas Coch, which was also known by the old name of Porthamel Isa for a few generations. In 1588 he married Elizabeth Montagu, daughter of Simon Montagu of Brigstock in Northants. The marriage brought him considerable influence, and that combined with his Lincoln's Inn connections made it easy for him to lay the foundations of that interest in the Crown lands of Maesoglan, Bodrida, Gwydryn and Rhosfair that his immediate descendants developed. Hugh Hughes also secured a lease on the Nancall township in the parish of Clynnog.

His son, Roger lacked his father's ability and enterprise, but was a staunch, stout champion of his rights, especially over the exact interpretation of his father's will. He died in 1654 and his son, the second Hugh, drowned in the Menai Straits in December 1665. The son of the second Hugh Hughes, Roger Hughes (d.1716), benefited considerably from the improvidence, which forced his cousin, Griffith Williams of Rhodogeidio, to surrender much of his estate to him. Another son, the third Hugh added to the estate of Plas Coch a considerable part of the lands which once belonged to William Bold of Llanedwen, but whose declining fortunes failed to redeem a mortgage. This third Hugh Hughes died in 1764, having had no issue, and since several of his brothers had died before him, his lands were demised to his nephew William, son of Robert Hughes, vicar of Llanidan from 1748 until 1756. William in turn married Anna, granddaughter of William Bulkeley, the diarist of Brynddu, and so prepared the way for the merger of the Brynddu and Plas Coch estates in the person of Sir William Bulkeley Hughes the elder (d.1836).

It is believed that William Bulkeley Hughes was an unhappy character. He left Oxford considerably in debt. The death of his father in 1802 and of his mother in 1807 saddled him with heavy responsibilities, more especially in satisfying the claims of his younger sisters. The result was mortgage upon mortgage, bond upon bond, with heavy and even heavier recurring sums of interest. Eventually, he sought refuge from his troubles across the Straits of Dover in 1821. With his migration to France, power of the estate fell to William Bulkeley Hughes (1797-1882) the younger.

The second William Bulkeley Hughes had a successful and interesting public career and took an interest in local affairs. He represented Caernarfon Boroughs in Parliament for nearly forty years and was a J.P. for Anglesey and Caernarfonshire and High Sheriff of Anglesey in 1861. He also contributed to the successful development of Llandudno through negotiations, as Chairman of the Llandudno Improvement Commissioners, with the Mostyn authorities in 1873-1877. He efficiently rehabilitated the Brynddu and Plas Coch inheritance through his bold attack upon the frightful difficulties bequeathed him by his father, the speeding to a conclusion of old and harassing lawsuits, the entering of new ones to clear all-important issues, and through the application of an omniscient eye to the smallest detail. He also took advantage of the railway boom to replenish the estate and was Chairman of the Anglesey Central Railway from its opening to its absorption by the L.N.W.R. Co. William Bulkeley Hughes was responsible for organising the banquet given to Robert Stephenson at the George Hotel, Bangor, in August 1851, to commemorate the opening of the Britannia tubular bridge. He married twice, firstly to Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Jonathan Nettleship of Mattersey Abbey, Northampton, and widow of Henry Wormald of Woodhouse, Leeds in 1825. Secondly he married Elizabeth, daughter of William Donkin, of Rothbury, Northumberland. By his second wife he had a child, Sarah Elizabeth, and it was she who inherited the estate upon his death. Sarah Elizabeth married Col. Charles Hunter, who assumed the additional surname of Hughes by Royal Licence in 1904.


Arranged according to subject, then listed chronologically

Access Information

Deposit; Open to all users

Acquisition Information

Deposited in 1937 by Sir William B. H. Hughes Hunter, Bart., and in 1952 by Mr C. W. Grove White of Brynddu.

Other Finding Aids

Two catalogues at item level mainly.

Conditions Governing Use

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


None expected

Related Material

See index of National Library of Wales Handlist of Manuscripts, volumes III and IV, under Hughes, William Bulkeley.


J. E. Griffith, Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire Families; with their Collateral Branches in Denbighshire, Merionethshire and other parts, (Horncastle, 1914), p. 30-31

The Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940, under the Auspices of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, (London, 1959).

Burke, Sir Bernard, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, the Privy Council, Knightage and Companionage.