Papurau W. J. Parry

Scope and Content

Papers collected by W. J. Parry and family, 1784-1968, including personal papers of W. J. Parry, 1884-1927; reports, leaflets, cuttings and other papers relating to slate quarrying, 1784-1930, and in particular to the North Wales Quarrymen's Union, 1876-1922, the Penrhyn Lock-Out of 1900-4 and other disputes, 1885-1904, and North Wales Quarries Ltd, 1904-1929; items relating to local politics, 1891-1924; items relating to chapels in the Bethesda area, particularly Bethesda Congregational Church, 1856-1968; religious literature, 1835-1922; items concerning Bethesda life and culture, 1863-1954, including local eisteddfodau, 1863-19254, concerts, 1887-1951, dramas, [post 1918], education, 1896-1937, and various local societies, 1869-[1923]; various publications authored by W. J. Parry, 1863-[1911]; poetry, 1837-[1927]; other printed books and booklets, 1793-[post 1920]; and biographies of W. J. Parry, 1879-1927.

Administrative / Biographical History

William John Parry (1842-1927) of Coetmor Hall, Bethesda, Caernarfonshire was a labour leader and author. Born in Bethesda, he attended the British and National Schools in the town, and the Grammar School, Llanrwst, and trained as an accountant. He became active in local politics, being his district's Liberal agent, 1862-1879. He sat on numerous public bodies, becoming chairman of Caernarfonshire County Council in 1892-1893. He played an important part in the creation of the North Wales Quarryman's Union in 1874. He became the Union's first Secretary and its President for nine years. He played an active role in the lock-outs at Penrhyn Quarry in 1896-7 and 1900-1904 and in the subsequent formation of North Wales Quarries Ltd. He wrote numerous books and pamphlets on subjects including quarrying, unionism and religion. These include Caebraichycafn: yr Ymdrafodaeth (1875), Chwareli a Chwarelwyr (1896), The Penrhyn Lock-out, 1900-1901 (c. 1901) and Cyfrol Jiwbili Capel Bethesda (1900) and (as co-editor) Y Ddirprwyaeth Frenhinol as Lafur: Chwarelau Gogledd Cymru (1893). He wrote for various Welsh periodicals and co-founded Y Werin in 1885. He was deeply involved in the religious and cultural life of Bethesda and was a deacon at Bethesda Congregational Chapel. He collected books, as well as ephemera and other documents connected with his various interests. He was awarded the CBE in 1920 and died on 1 September 1927 in Bethesda.


Arranged into the following: the quarry; religion and the Chapel; Bethesda life and culture; life and works; general works; additional material after the death of W. J. Parry.

Access Information

No restrictions


Compiled by Rhys Jones for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Caernarfon Record Office, W. J. Parry (1842-1927): Papurau/W. J. Parry (1842-1927): Papers, catalogue; Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959); Who Was Who (2003).

Other Finding Aids

Hard copies of the catalogue are available at Caernarfon Record Office and the National Library of Wales.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright regulations apply

Appraisal Information

All records have been retained


Accruals are not expected

Related Material

Correspondence of W. J. Parry is also in Caernarfon Record Office. Further papers are University of Wales Bangor, Department of Manuscripts and Archives, Coetmor Papers; National Library of Wales, NLW MS 7986, 8733-8863, 10592, 10602-10, 11023.

Geographical Names