The Bangor University Archives and Special Collections are tightly tied with local heritage and cultural history, especially in terms of the many great landed estates of North Wales. This includes taking care of sizeable estate records. Indeed, the University is home to a staggering amount of collections from Welsh estates like Baron Hill, Mostyn, Penrhos, Penrhyn Castle and Plas Newydd.
Most recently, the department has received a new collection from the Plas Newydd in Anglesey. The estate, dating as far back as 1470, has stood in the bank of the Menai Strait near the town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyll and housed historical families from the Griffiths, Baylys and Pagets – and having been the seat of eight Marquesses of Anglesey so far since the year 1815.
The collection, titled ‘Paget Papers’ consists of six series, uncovering lives of six residents of Plas Newydd between the 19th and 20th century. These include the Almeric Hugh the Baron of Queenborough, Henry Cyril the Fifth- and Charles Henry Alexander the Sixth Marquess of Anglesey, as well as Marjorie, Lady Anglesey and Lady Caroline Duff.
In overall 69 boxes, the collection consists of letters, photographs, journals, documents, maps, and other miscellaneous items of general, historical and personal nature.
The Paget Papers will join other estate records from Plas Newydd held at the archives, extending the range of the Plas Newydd collection.
The Paget Papers document will allow research into local history of the estate as well as the surrounding area through the active ties of the Paget family to societies, councils and places in North Wales. Due to the political history of Pagets, the Plas Newydd collection extends to offering insight into UK politics: many of its residents were members of parliament.
The Paget Papers will also allow exciting glimpses into the socialite life of Plas Newydd residents of the 1800s and 1900s. For instance, the series of Almeric Hugh, Baron of Queenborough includes journals and pamphlets showing his enthusiasm for travel and yachting; the series of the Fifth Marquess, Henry Cyril includes colourful programmes of theatre performances at Plas Newydd; and the series of Marjorie, Lady Anglesey includes instances of items relating to event planning in the 20th century, such as menu plans and a recipe book.
Since the donation of Plas Newydd to the National Trust in 1976, the estate has become widely accessible to the general public and researchers to visit. With the Paget Papers now being rehomed into the Bangor University Archives and Special Collections, the collection will be future-proofed and catalogued online for the estate’s, academic researchers’ and the general public’s access.