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Estate and family collections

Records of individual landed estates make up a large proportion of our records. They relate to privately owned land in North East Wales and surrounding areas.

What records can I find at my North East Wales Archive branch?

Our larger estate collections held at Hawarden include:

Our larger estate collections held at Ruthin include;

Click on the links above to take you straight to the catalogue. Select Browse Catalogue to open the full drop down catalogue.

There are many smaller estate-related records in our vast collections of minor deposits (i.e. collections prefixed by D/DM or DD/DM). You can search for an individual estate or property using the online catalogue at the top of this page.

Please note that some of our lists of minor deposits haven’t been added to the full online catalogue yet but you may find reference to smaller estates in the printed indexes including name and wills indexes. The indexes are a brief list of some of our collections rather than a full catalogue and are not available online.

There are no manorial records at North East Wales Archives.

What types of records are included?

Estate records go back centuries spanning from medieval to 20th-21st centuries and because land, property and title was passed from generation to generation the records often provide a wealth of information over a long period of time. Estate records created and gathered together by landowners usually contain records relating to many aspects of local life including;

  • rentals, inventories, leases, conveyances, maps, plans, surveys and valuations
  • bills, receipts and account books
  • tithe and enclosure records
  • pedigree rolls, last will and testaments and marriage settlements
  • industrial, railway and mineral records
  • correspondence, journals and diaries
  • documents relating to local governance and politics

Deeds

Title deeds are original (parchment or paper) documents showing the chain of ownership for land and property. They can include: conveyances, contracts for sale, wills, mortgages and leases. Title deeds feature extensively in estate collections but they do not always survive comprehensively for all properties. We have deeds ranging in date from the 12th to 20th centuries. It is unlikely that deeds will contain a very precise description of the property. However, owners and occupiers, previous tenants, a property’s previous name, old street or field names are often given. Deeds can be useful when looking at property boundaries and some 19th and 20th century deeds may have plans attached.

Early deeds will be written in Latin. You can find an excellent guide to title deeds here.

Terriers

A terrier is a register of land belonging to a landowner. They may include details of field names, acreages and occupiers. Terriers can include a map.

Household Records

Household records relate to the administration of the estate’s main house and can include series such as wage books, staff records, household accounts and inventories. Our Ruthin branch holds very few staff records amongst our larger estate collections. You can find some surviving staff records in the Wynnstay collection here. In Hawarden, the Erddig Estate collection contains a wealth of staff/servant records, with an index to estate workers available; other collections such as Trevalyn Hall and Hawarden Estate also contain staff records.

Estate Maps

Our Ruthin branch holds very few full manuscript estate maps. However there are some notable examples in estate collections held at Hawarden branch. Map collections are particularly impressive amongst the Hawarden Estate collection (278 maps and plans); Grosvenor (Halkyn) estate (91 estate maps); Soughton Hall Estate (65 estate maps and plans) and Plas Gwyn Estate (35 estate maps and plans).

Family papers

Family or personal papers can be found in our estate collections and can often provide insight into the personal lives of landed families through records such as correspondence and diaries.

What language were the records written in?

The majority of these records are in English but earlier records are in Latin.

How can I access these records?

You can view these records in our search-rooms. None of our estate collections are available to view online. Book a place in the search-rooms today.

What records can I find in other archives and organisations?

The National Library of Wales

The National Library holds records for the following estates

Bangor University

Bangor University hold records relating to (Bangor) Mostyn Estate; BodrhyddanKinmel; Pentrehobyn Estate; Rhug and Wynn Hall.

The Institute of the Study of Welsh Estates is based at Bangor University. ISWE’s mission is to develop and promote pioneering research focused on Welsh estates. More information about this partnership organisation can be found here.