Cawdor Vaughan Muniments

Scope and Content

Deeds of the Golden Grove estate in Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire, 1313-1811; estate records, including sale catalogues, accounts, [19 cent.]-[20 cent.], rentals and estate and household accounts; legal documents and papers 1543-1801; wills and inventories, 1587-1804; estate maps and plans, 1755-1962 and surveys, including the Vaughan's estate map books, 1632-1803; personal papers including accounts, notebooks, journals and diaries, pedigrees and genealogical records, 1641-1804, including the Golden Grove Book, 1674-[c. 1800]; correspondence, 1692-1805, including letters from Lord Nelson, Queen Victoria and the Italian sculptor, Canova; bills and receipts, 1659-1804; manorial records relating to manors in Carmarthenshire, with extensive records of the lordship and commotes of Kidwelly, Carnawllon and Iscennen, 1275-1814; papers relating to politics and municipal records of the town of Carmarthen, [c. 1558]-1803; papers relating to the Brigstocke family of Llechdwnni, Gwynne of Piode and Taliaris, Phillipps of Bremenda and Lovelodge (Llettygariad), 1626-1699. The archive also contains papers relating to the Castlemartin Yeomanry, Royal Carmarthen Fusiliers and Royal Carmarthen Rifles, 1781-1861; deeds relating to the Wiston estate, Pembrokeshire, 1611-1939; and Cawdor coal and mineral records in Carmarthenshire, 1810-1943.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Vaughan family settled in Golden Grove, Carmarthenshire, when John Vaughan built a mansion on the site in 1560-1565. His father, Hugh Vaughan came from Kidwelly. A direct descendant, Richard Vaughan (?1600-1687), who served as Lord President of Wales and the Marches in 1661, married Margaret Elizabeth, daughter of Charles Phillips of Bremenda and Lletty Gariad. Through this marriage the Vaughan family inherited the estates of Lletty Gariad, Bremenda, Piodau and Plas Llandybie, all in Carmarthenshire, which had previously been farmed by the Brigstocke family in the second half of the 17th century. He was also granted Friars Park, Carmarthen, by Lewis Walton of Worcester, in 1632. On the death of Richard Vaughan, 2nd Earl of Carbery the estate comprised 50,000 acres. He also owned land in Ireland. Richard's eldest son Francis Vaughan died in the lifetime of his father. The estate and title therefore passed to his younger brother, John Vaughan (1639-1713), also Baron Vaughan of Emlyn, who was MP for the Carmarthen boroughs, 1661-1679, and for Carmarthenshire, 1679-1681 and 1685-1687; and Governor of Jamaica, 1674-1678. On his death without male issue in 1713, the title became extinct. John's only child and heir was Lady Anne Vaughan (d. 1751), who married Lord Bolton. She died without issue and the estate passed to a distant cousin, John Vaughan, (1693-1765), of Shenfield and Ty'nycoed (or Ty-ar-y-coed) who built a new Golden Grove mansion in 1754-1757 alongside the old mansion which was destroyed by fire in 1729. His grandson, John Vaughan (1757-1804), died without issue and devised the estate to his friend John Campbell, Lord Cawdor. The Campbell family had already acquired the substantial Stackpole estate, located mainly in Pembrokeshire, following the marriage of Sir Alexander Campbell of Cawdor Castle, Scotland, with Elizabeth Lort (d. 1714). Sir Alexander's son, John Campbell married Mary, eldest daughter and co-heiress of Lewis Pryse of Gogerddan, who inherited the Glanfraed estate in Llanfihangel Genau'r-glyn, Cardiganshire. John Campbell (d. 1821), who was created Baron Cawdor in 1796, sold parts of the Stackpole estate in 1802, including Henllan, Mullock, and Sandyhaven, and the Glanfraed estate. It was this John Campbell who inherited the Golden Grove estate in 1804 from his friend John Vaughan, Earl Carbery. John's son, John Frederick Campbell (1790-1860), second Baron Cawdor, created Earl of Cawdor in 1827, built a new mansion at Golden Grove which was completed in 1834. During the 19th century the family also acquired the Wiston estate in Pembrokeshire, although little is known about the property. John Frederick Campbell was succeeded by his son John Frederick Vaughan Campbell (1790-1860), second Earl of Cawdor, Lord lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum of Carmarthenshire, and MP for Pembrokeshire 1841-1859. His son was Frederick Archibald Vaughan (1847-1911), Lord lieutenant of Pembrokeshire 1896-1911 and MP for Carmarthenshire 1874-1885. According to the 1873 return of owners of land, the Earl of Cawdor owned an estimated 51,538 acres in Wales, all in Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire, with an estimated annual rental of £35,043. The family's principal seat had been Stackpole until the beginning of the 20th century when they reverted to Cawdor Castle. Frederick's grandson, John Duncan Vaughan (1900-1970), 5th Earl of Cawdor, spent most of his time at his estates in Scotland. He therefore sold the contents of the Stackpole mansion, the mansion subsequently being demolished. He also leased Golden Grove mansion and the surrounding lands to the Carmarthenshire County Council, who used it as an agricultural college. It had been used during World War II by the US Air Force. Hugh John Vaughan (b. 1932), Viscount Emlyn, later sixth Earl of Cawdor, built the Golden Grove House in 1962.


Arranged at Carmarthenshire Archive Service into four groups: Group I contains deeds of the Vaughan families, legal documents, wills and inventories, estate maps and surveys, personal accounts, notebooks, etc., correspondence, bills and receipts, manorial records, political and municipal records, acts of parliament, military and naval commissions, pedigrees and genealogical records, and records relating to other families; Group II contains the Cawdor/Campbell collection, Group III contains further Cawdor papers, and Group IV contains maps and plans.

Access Information

Please contact Carmarthenshire Archive Service regarding access (01267 228232)

Acquisition Information

Deposited by the Earl of Cawdor, Cawdor Castle, Nairn, Scotland, and Viscount Emlyn, Golden Grove House, Broad Oak, Carmarthenshire.


Compiled by Mair James for the HMC/NLW Family and Estates project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Jones, Francis, Historic Carmarthenshire Homes and their Families (Newport, 1997); Jones, Francis, Historic Pembrokeshire Homes and their families (Newport, 1996); Complete Peerage (London, 8 vols, 1887-1898), vol. II; Williams, Alun, The Vaughans of Golden Grove (Pontarddulais?, 1996); Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London,1959); Nicholas, Thomas, Annals and Antiquities of the Counties and County families of Wales (London, 2 vols, 1872), vol I; James, Brian, 'The Great Landowners of Wales in 1873', National Library of Wales Journal, XIV (1965-66).

Other Finding Aids

A hard copy of the catalogue for Groups I and IV is available at Carmarthenshire Archives Service. A box list is available for Groups II-III which include estate administration papers, militia papers, personal correspondence, diaries and journals. Further details relating to manorial records within the archive can be accessed on-line from the Manorial Documents Register

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

A rental and rent book, 1720-1775, of the Cawdor estate in the parish of Cenarth is National Library of Wales, MSS 21798-9A. The papers of the Stackpole estate is Carmarthenshire Archives Service, Lort Muniments.

Geographical Names