Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales

The Manuscript Archive

Please note that due to staff shortages, we are unable to offer an archive or library enquiry service at present.

[image: Y Wyddor]

The St Fagans archive consists of an assortment of documentary material. As one would expect in a museum, the main emphasis from the outset has been placed on the collection of objects - in this objects concerned with folk life. However in addition to these, we have material in manuscript form, such as:

  • farmer's diaries
  • craftsmen's account books
  • apprenticeship indentures
  • books listing sheep ear-marks
  • bidding letters (printed)
  • school exercise books
  • inventories
  • eisteddfodic compositions
  • relevant research theses
  • printed ballads, carols and anthems

Other substantial collections include:

Responses to Questionnaires

During the 1930s it was realised that the National Museum should embark on collecting information throughout Wales on various aspects of its folk culture. A detailed bilingual questionnaire was compiled in 1937 and widely circulated. The responses to the questionnaire, as well as those to a questionnaire on agricultural vocabulary distributed by th University of Wales' Guild of Graduates around the same time, are now in our archive.

St Fagans' "Answer Books"

During the 1960s, the Museum's Department of Oral Traditions and Dialects sent out 'Answer Books' to various persons in Wales who were considered to have specialised knowledge in certain fields. Very favourable replies were received, and some of these books are thought to be among the archive's most important sources of information. They include detailed and valuable notes on topics such as:

  • old farming methods
  • fairs
  • medicines and other folk customs
  • pastimes
  • traditional foods
  • crafts and rural craftsmen
  • dialects and sayings
  • reminiscences of life in rural Wales from the end of the 19th century.

The Museum's Accession Correspondence

The Museum's accession correspondence, nearly complete from 1885, is another important archival source. Some of these letters contain valuable information on the Museum's holdings and photostat copies have been made of them. In addition, Dr Iorwerth Peate (the Museum's first Curator) retained for the archive many of the letters sent to him from the 1930s onwards which contained details about old buildings, folk customs and particular objects.

Special collections

The archive also contains the manuscript collections of a number of noted Welsh antiquarians e.g.

  • Evan Jones (1850 -1928) Tŷ'n Pant, Llanwrtyd, who spent many years collecting the folklore and history of his part of Wales
  • Rev. W. Meredith Morris (1867 - 1921), Clydach Vale. Of particular interest are his manuscripts relating to the crwth and fiddle and his dialect and folklore studies of Pembrokeshire.
  • T.C. Evans ('Cadrawd') - antiquarian, local historian and collector of Glamorgan folklore. His many papers have been dispersed between the National Library of Wales, Cardiff Central Library and St Fagans.

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