Yesterday, I just about managed to get through one bundle before it was time to go home.
It was quite a varied bunch of documents, dating from between 1759 and c1830-1837, a couple of which really caught my eye.
1. Various documents relating to the Capel Curing road (accounts, subscriptions etc) and a rather indignant letter from a Mr Ellis dated 1804 hoping that the rumours he hears about a new Capel Curig road are untrue and requesting that, should a new road be built it follows the route of the old road past his land. He is also very keen to refute allegations made that cottages he has just built are small and shabby, and is keen to list the quality of his tennants.
2. A copy of the letter described yesterday, in far better condition, along with minutes from the meetings Mr. Wright held at the copper mines.
3. Various correspondence from Benjamin (or Benj as he signs) Wyatt. His leters are a joy to read. The script is clear and they contain a wealth of information about how the estate was managed as well as reference to building works at the house. I enjoyed reading in particular a letter dated May 1806 about how one property was to have its wooden skirtings replaced with slate because “rats and mice were making an appearance in every corner to the great annoyance of the family and injury to the house”. In one letter from 1805 B. Wyatt discusses his opinions on the slate duty and there is a suggestion that there was some involvement with a commercial coaching venture.
4. Poem – “Lines written by Hugh Leycester Esq on the Penrhyn Slate Quarries 1806”
5. Documents and accounts relating to new Talybont road and sloop molly 1819.
6. 1802 Document showing estates purchased by Lord Penrhyn (Ricard Pennant) since 1785.
7. Expenses for building lodges at Llandygai and Talybont.
8. An undated document outlining the dimensions and prices of slate.
7. A few documents refer to leases on wiers.
8. c.1830-1837 letter of receipt for an engraving of the Magna Carta with a catalogue.
9. 1803 Proposal from Griffith Jones to construct a new mill on the banks of the Ogwen as ‘Melin Hen’ suffers from a lack of water during the summer months.
10. Small booklet containing hand written account of the history of Penrhyn (with particular focus of the Griffith family) and claiming that the accusations of piracy made against Piers Griffith were an attempt to blacken his name by a Spanish consul , along with two poems in the Welsh language (one by Lewis Mon and one by Gutto’r Glyn both dated 1450 and refering to William Griffith). No date is given of when the booklet was written.
11. c. 1783 ‘Fees of Lord Penrhyn’s Patent’. It seems Lord Penrhyns title cost in total £273.8.10. It would be interesting, later in the project to see how this compares with other peerages awarded during the period.
12. A document from 1822 detailing the monthly average income or expenditure of the estate.
13. December 1819- January 1820 Copies of correspondence between J Wyatt and W Roberts D. A. regarding common land near Bangor. It seems that there was a proposal to build a school on the land but Lord Penrhyn claimed that as the land was surrounded by his property, he had the right to enclose it (although he states he does not object to the school and would allow it built and charge a ‘nominal’ rent. Mr Roberts objects to this stating the matter should go to counsel but states that “I have always thought it a happiness to this county that the heads of the Community should be friends” to which Wyatt responds “With regard to what you observe, as to disturbing the friendship between the heads of the community – I am directed by Mr Pennant to say that he does not conceive what this has to do with the subject, as it is entirely a matter of right”.
14. Some tantalising correspondence betweeen Greenfield and G.H. Dawkins-Pennant regarding an anonymous letter containing allegations/information which Mr Pennant consideres libelous. Unfortunately the letter and its accusations are not withing the bundle, and Dawkins-Pennants hand writing is incredibly hard to decipher. I hope to return to these letters once I am more accustomed to his style to see if I can find any juicy gossip!
All in all, a few insights into some of the prominent characters in Penrhyn history. I hope that more is revealed about some of these stories as the project goes on….. at the moment my imagination is working overtime!