Suffer Little Children

I love being back with the boxes!  Reaching a hand in, pulling out a letter and never quite knowing what it’s going to contain is quite a thrill. I think all historians are just gossip mongers and there’s no better way to satisfy a thirst for gossib than noseying about in someone’s personal correspondence.

Thankfully, this box, box 57, doesn’t seem to be short on the stories either and so far its keeping me highly entertained. There are documents relating to yet another libel case, this time in relation to allegations of race fixing (something I found mention of in the 1st or 2nd box). It seems the 2nd Lord Penrhyn was obsessed with legal action – a fact which will probably for the basis of a chapter in my theseis (see, that juicy gossip thing again!).

There are also quite a few documents relating to Lord P’s racing horses, and some fall outs that have happened in relation to the sale of one horse – Haresfield. Interestingly there was a letter that alluded to the fact that some people had withdrawn their horses from a stable where Lord Penrhyn had just put his with a reference to the clientelly of the stable not being of a respectable sort. This was in 1904, so did Lord P encounter hostility among his own class folowing the strike or was this down to something different altogether?

There have also been some very old documents, dating back to 1760 that detail how the estate was managed between both John and Richard Pennant and general warburton – which are amazing, both for information and purely because holding a fragile piece of paper of that age is an experience in itelf, especially when you know with hindsight how significant the story of the Pennant family is to North wales.

But finally, my favourite letters are those written by Georgs Sholto’s children to their father. They are incredibly sweet, and tell the tales of their adventure blackberrying, or walking to Ludlow (most are addressed from Ashford Court?). All the letters show a real fondness for their father, and they are always imploring him to come home.  One quite poigniently says “We have such pretty hyacinths on the window sill, be quick and come home soon to look at them and us too”. A tiny little bunch of dried flowers dropped out of one of the letters and nearly made me cry, soppy old mare that I am! Below is a scan of one of the letters so you can see what they look like, but what has intrigued me more than anything is that the 2nd Lord P has kept them all –  in itself a sign of affection?

Here are the rest of the documents, a near record breaking 10 documents so far this morning :



  Copy of the Act for the completion of the Chester and Holyhead Railway.


30 June 1845


57.06   Letter to Sir Algernon Barthwick MP regarding accusations of race fixing and the subsequent libel case with supporting documents.  Letter never sent.




Other documents contained in the envelope include:

Printed copy of a speech made by Lord Panrhyn to the Jockey Club regarding his libel case against The Globe and The Licensed Victuallers Mirror


57.07   Correspondence and other documents relating to the purchase of Soham House.




Contains completion statement and correspondence from legal representative which states that “I will, of course, not mention your name in my negotiations”.


57.08   Letter from Mr Wright to General Warburton concerning estate matters.


22 August 1760


Letters detail arrangements with tenants, leases on quarry and arrangements with both Messers Pennant regarding management of the estate.


57.09   Letters to George Sholto Douglas pennant from his children




Includes letters from Katie (Kathleen), Teddy (Edward) Alice and Georgie (george of Pamela Georgina?) and George, often sent from Ashford Court near Ludlow.


57.10   Correspondence between Lord Penrhyn and E.W.Baird regarding the sale of the horse ‘Haresfield’ October 1906 Letters discuss  the bad feeling that has arisen from the sale of ‘Haresfield’, particularly relating to its engagements.  Bundle also contains letter referring to the fact that the ‘Smiths’ have taking their horses away from the trainer ‘Day’ because Lord Penrhyn has moved some horses to that yard.


57.11   Letters from Lewis & Lewis regarding case of Penrhyn vs Gale.


1 & 5 May 1891


57.12   List of yearlings 1892  
57.13   Letter from Edward Sholto Douglas Pennant to his father regarding race horses with a letter from E.W. Baird enclosed


September 1903


57.14   Printed pamphlet entitled ‘The Starting Gate’ by E.C. Clayton, of the Turf Club


6 June 1899



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