Amlwch Manuscripts

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

These papers describe the activities and outlook of three generations of the Matthews family. The collection consists of 115 items relating to John Matthews (I) of Mold (1773-1848), John Matthews (II) of Aberystwyth (1808-1870), land surveyors, and John Matthews (III) (1843-1916) who came to Amlwch as bank manager in 1867. It includes letters to John Matthews (II) from his father, mother and sisters, containing references to Methodist Associations and the preachers who came to them; diaries (35) of John Matthews (I), 1812-47, containing accounts of his varied experiences as a surveyor frequently interspersed with references to his attendances at various Associations (Sasiynau) and preaching meetings; maps and surveys of estates and parts of estates by the first J. M., including those of Stansty, Bathafarn and Garn in Denbighshire, of the manor of Eidda in Ysbyty Ifan, of Traeth Mawr and of roads in the Llanrwst district; notes by John Matthews (II) on sermons delivered at Aberystwyth, Mold, the Llanidloes district and in north Cardiganshire, 1826-46; his account book as proprietor of the 'British Emporium' at Aberystwyth, 1842-54; his diaries (9) for the years 1824-69 and his letter book for the period 1848-69 which is particularly informative not only on his activities as surveyor in north Cardiganshire and south Merioneth but also as emigration agent during the Australian gold rush and as arranger of 'publications' for prominent ministers in north Cardiganshire; account books belonging to William Griffith of Llangefni, excise officer and father-in-law of John Matthews (II), 1794 and 1795, containing names of innkeepers, maltsters, etc. in that district.

Administrative / Biographical History

This is a collection of papers of three generations of the Matthews family. John Matthews, the elder was a surveyor and public man. Born on 1 January 1773, he was the son of Edward Matthews of Pen y Bont, near Mold, Flintshire. He became a surveyor, and by 1811 he had secured a considerable practice in North Wales. In 1819 he was appointed commissioner for the Arwystli commons and in 1821 commissioner and arbitrator for the reclaimed land (Traeth Mawr) near Portmadoc. In May 1823 he removed to Clydfanc, near Llanidloes, and in December 1828, to Aberystwyth. He was made a burgess of Aberystwyth and carried out considerable specialist work in the town, such as measuring the streets and planning the water supply. He also took an interest in the development of the lead mines in Cardiganshire and elsewhere. His diaries show that he was a great traveller and that he was familiar with all parts of North and Central Wales. He was a devoted member of the Calvinistic Methodist connexion and he frequently attended the Association meetings. John Matthews married Elin of Tros-y-wern, near Mold, and by her had a son, also called John. He too became a surveyor, and was also a shopkeeper and mayor of Aberystwyth.

John Matthews, the second, after the family had moved to Aberystwyth, opened a shop called the 'British Emporium' but he was first and foremost a surveyor like his father. The collection contains a map made by him at the age of thirteen of a little farm owned by his father in Mold. He was also the organising mind behind the new Tabernacle at Aberystwyth and his son too was an enthusiastic Methodist. John Matthews, the third, moved to Amlwch in 1867 as a bank manager. He was an enthusiastic patron of the singing festivals among the Methodists of Anglesey and is responsible for all the correspondence with architects and builders when the new Bethesda Chapel was built at Amlwch. On 8 April 1869 he married Miss Sarah M. Gee, daughter of Thomas Gee, publisher.

Arrangement

Chronologically mainly

Conditions Governing Access

gift

Open to all users

Acquisition Information

Presented by the family of the late Mr John Matthews of Amlwch - Miss Emily Matthews, J. P.; Mrs (Rev) J. J. Richards of Aberavon and Mr J. Roderic Matthews of Brookham, Surrey.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogue at item and series level.

Separated Material

Maps made by John Matthews II especially those relating to the town and castle of Aberystwyth and the surveys of the Gogerddan hinterland, have been lodged at the National Library of Wales.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Accruals

None expected

Bibliography

The Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940, under the Auspices of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, (London, 1959). E. T. Richards (ed.), Er Clod: Saith Bennod ar Hanes Methodistiaeth yng Nghymru, 1934. Access Points