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LADIES OF LLANGOLLEN
Letters and Journals of Lady Eleanor Butler (1739-1829) and Sarah Ponsonby (1755-1831) from the National Library of Wales

DETAILED LISTING

REEL 1
NLW Ms 22967C

SARAH PONSONBY: A JOURNEY IN WALES, 1778

Autograph journal of Sarah Ponsonby from 10 May to 25 June 1778, entitled "Account of a Journey in Wales perform'd in May 1778 by Two Fugitive Ladies", recounting the arrival of herself and Lady Eleanor Butler in co. Pembroke, and their subsequent travels in Wales and Shropshire, including first impressions of Llangollen (f.11), and a watercolour view of Benton Castle, signed by the Ladies (f.1v).
ii, 88 ff. (blank from f. 26v). 240 x 180 mm. Quarter leather and marbled paper over boards.

NLW Ms 22968A

ELEANOR BUTLER: DIARY, 1784

Diary of Lady Eleanor Butler for 1784, including comments on the weather, visitors, letters received and books acquired and read.
i, 75 ff. 120 x 75 mm. Printed 'Ladies' Pocket Book', limp leather covers with double blind fillet.

NLW Ms 22969A

SARAH PONSONBY: COMMONPLACE BOOK , 1785-9

Commonplace book of Sarah Ponsonby, including gardening notes; verse in French, Italian and English; sketches and designs; ground floor
plan of Plas Newydd (f. 41); expenses of building the dairy (ff. 2-3); and miscellaneous notes.
ii, 81 ff. 115 x 180 mm. Half leather and marbled paper covers, remains of silk ribbon tie.

NLW Ms 22970A

SARAH PONSONBY: GEOMETRY c.1785

Manuscript volume containing notes on geometry in the hand of Sarah Ponsonby.
ii, 90 ff. 115 x 180 mm. Binding as Ms 22969A.


REEL 2
NLW Ms 22971C


ELEANOR BUTLER: JOURNAL 1788-91

Journal of Lady Eleanor Butler from January 1788 to January 1791 chiefly recording details of the weather, visitors, books read, correspondence, and local events.
iii, 546 ff. (paginated 1-1066, with gaps). 225 x 180 mm. Dark green morocco binding with gold tooling, XIX2 cent; 'Journal of E.B. & S.P.' on spine.


REEL 3
NLW Ms 22972C

ELEANOR BUTLER: JOURNAL 1791

Journal of Lady Eleanor Butler from 1 January to 6 April 1791.
32 ff. (one bifolium lost after f. 24). Guarded and filed.

NLW Ms 22973A

ELEANOR BUTLER: JOURNAL 1799

Journal of Lady Eleanor Butler from 17 May to 12 July 1799, including a list of visitors to Plas Newydd.
30 ff. 155 x 100 mm. Paper covered notebook.

NLW Ms 22974A

ELEANOR BUTLER: JOURNAL 1802

Journal of Lady Eleanor Butler from 1 January to 27 March 1802, including a list of visitors to Plas Newydd, medical recipes, and a book-list.
37 ff. (one leaf cut out after f. 14). 155 x 100 mm. Paper covered notebook.

NLW Ms 22975A

ELEANOR BUTLER: JOURNAL 1807

Journal of Lady Eleanor Butler from 4 August to 31 December 1807.
38 ff. (blank from f. 28v). 150 x 100 mm. Paper covered notebook.

NLW Ms 22976B

ELEANOR BUTLER: JOURNAL 1821

Journal of Lady Eleanor Butler from 1 January to 31 December 1821, including newspaper cuttings and medical recipes.
89 ff. 180 x 115 mm. Red morocco binding, blind stamped double fillet and decoration.

NLW Ms 22977D
(see pp 23-25 for detailed list)

LADIES OF LLANGOLLEN: LETTERS 1778-1831

Eight letters, 1778, to Mrs Elinor Goddard (née Shuldham), relating to the flight to Wales of Sarah Ponsonby and Lady Eleanor Butler, together with thirty-six letters, 1781-1831, to the Ladies of Llangollen, arranged alphabetically by correspondent; the correspondents include Edmund Burke, Mrs Hester Lynch Piozzi, Arthur Wellesley, first duke of Wellington, and William Wilberforce; also included are autograph published verses by Thomas Campbell ('Stanzas to Painting', ff. 28-9) and William Wordsworth ('A stream, to mingle with your perfect Dee ...', and 'Look at the fate of summer flowers ...', ff. 95-6) all differing slightly from the published versions.
96 ff. Guarded and filed.

NLW Ms 22978B

LETTERS TO SARAH PONSONBY,XIX cent.

Transcripts in an unidentified hand (see also NLW Mss 22994B, 22996B) of twelve letters, dated from April to November 1798, to Sarah Ponsonby from her second cousin Sarah Tighe (neé Fownes) in Ireland, containing news of the progress of the Wexford Rebellion.
87 ff. 220 x 180 mm. Dark blue limp leather binding with single gold and blind fillets.

NLW Ms 22979C

POETRY XVIII/XIX cent.

An album containing transcripts, in the hand of Sarah Ponsonby, of an incomplete, apparently unpublished verse drama entitled 'Love's Frenzy, or the Garlands of the Faun', and of poems, bearing dates of composition between 1777 and 1779, some of them by the same anonymous author; illustrated with monochrome watercolour drawings, also probably by Sarah Ponsonby.
68 ff. (at least one folio missing after f. 41, part of ff. 38, 58 cut away). 260 x 200 mm. Cardborad folder with remains of yellow silk ribbon ties.

NLW Ms 22980C

PLAS NEWYDD LIBRARY CATALOGUE 1792

Manuscript volume, probably in the hand of Sarah Ponsonby, containing a catalogue of books belonging to her and to Lady Eleanor Butler, comprising both a subject classification and location list.
iii, 137 ff. 250 x 185 mm. Russia leather, diced in blind, with gold fillets and decoration; 'Catalogue' goldstamped on spine.


REEL 4
NLW Ms 22981B

LETTERS FROM A TRAVELLER c.1804-5

Manuscript volume containing transcripts, probably by Lady Eleanor Butler, of two letters, dated 1801-2, from a traveller recounting his experiences in Jerusalem (cf. Ms 22982C) and Paris, including a meeting with Napoleon Buonaparte.
i, 95 ff. (blank from f. 24v, 4 folios cut away before f. 1). 180 x 110 mm. Half leather binding with marbled paper over boards, cropped at fore-edge.

NLW Ms 22982C

LETTERS FROM A TRAVELLER c.1805-6

Manuscript volume containing transcripts, probably by Sarah Ponsonby, of letters, dated 1801-4, recounting his experiences in Jerusalem (cf. Ms 22981B), Moscow, India and Cairo.
ii, 180 ff. (blank from f. 87v). 225 x 180 mm. Half leather with gold fillet and marbled paper over boards.

NLW Ms 22983B

ALBUM CAMILLA 1800-35

Manuscript volume containing poems and quotations in English, French, German and Italian; drawings in pencil, ink and watercolour, all in various hands, compiled for Camilla Blachford, apparently sister-in-law of the poet Mary Tighe, and distantly related to Sarah Ponsonby. The poetry includes autograph poems by Mary Tighe ('A faithful friend is the medicine of life', f.2) and Thomas Moore ('Love's Album, to Mrs Blachford', ff. 70-1v), both containing variants to the published versions.
ii, 150 ff. (ff. 105v-45v blank, many folios cut away). 185 x 115 mm. Vellum over boards with gold tooling; bound upside down.

NLW Ms 22984C

CAROLINE HAMILTON: ALBUM 1803-59

Manuscript volume containing verse and prose in English, French and Italian, mainly dedicated to Caroline Hamilton (neé Tighe, d.1861) of Hamwood, in various hands including those of members of the families of Hamilton, Tighe and Fitzgerald, as well as transcripts and watercolour decorations by Sarah Ponsonby, among them being two views of Plas Newydd (ff. 35, 39). The poetry includes an autograph unfinished poem by Thomas Moore, differing from the published version ('Tell me the witching tale again ...', ff. 3-4), an autograph, apparently unpublished poem by Mary Tighe ('Though Genius and Fancy hereafter may trace ...', f.7), and two autograph published poems by Mrs Felicia Hemans (ff. 48v-9).
i, 86 ff. (ff. 59-85r blank, several folios cut away). Quarter leather and marbled paper over boards.

NLW Ms 22985B

MARY TIGHE: 'PSYCHE' 1804

Manuscript volume containing a transcript by Mary Tighe (1772-1810) (DNB) of her poem Psyche (1805), and of verses written to her by Thomas Moore (see Ms 22983B, ff. 70-1v for Moore's incomplete autograph draft), copied for Lady Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby.
v, 77 ff. (blank from f. 72r). Half leather and marbled paper covers.

NLW Ms 22986C

DISPARITION DE BUONAPARTE c.1814

Transcript, probably in the hand of Lady Eleanor Butler, of the fourth edition of a poem in French entitled 'Les On. Disparition de Buonaparte'.
6 ff. Guarded and filed. Formerly 'in the fly-leaves' if Ms 22985B

NLW Ms 22987A

MEDICAL RECIPES [1790s]

Medical recipes compiled and transcribed by Sarah Ponsonby, acquired from friends of herself and Lady Eleanor Butler.
ii, 20 ff. 165 x 115 mm. Paper covers tied with yellow silk ribbon.


REEL 5
NLW Ms 22988A
c.1801

HERALDRY

Notebook containing coats-of-arms of various English and Irish families, probably drawn and coloured by Sarah Ponsonby.
15 ff. (blank from f.12v). 165 x 130 mm. Paper covers.

NLW Ms 22989D

UN PERE DE LA TRAPPE c.1823

Manuscript volume containing, in an unidentified hand, a tale in French entitled 'Histoire Tragique d'un Père de la Trappe'.
iii, 23 ff. (paginated 1-45). Leather binding with blindstamped decortion and gold tooling, 'E.B./S.P.' on back and front covers; bookplate of Charles Robert Hamilton (1846-1913) of Hamwood inside front cover.

NLW Ms 22990D

EXECUTORS' ACCOUNTS 1832-70s

Vouchers, 1832-3, for bills paid, following the death of Sarah Ponsonby in 1831, by Charles Hamilton (1772-1857) of Hamwood and his second son, William Tighe Hamilton (b. 1807), as her executors; together with brief notes, watermark 1870, on the Ladies of Llangollen, and extracts from their diaries, in the hand of Charles William Hamilton (1802-80), eldest son of Charles and Caroline Hamilton.
90 ff. Guarded and filed.

NLW Ms 22991E

EVA MARY BELL: CORRESPONDENCE 1929-47

Letters, mainly to Mrs Eva Mary Bell, relating chiefly to her book, The Hamwood Papers (London, 1930), together with copy and draft letters from her, and miscellaneous family letters; together with a typescript synopsis of the book, a typescript radio script on the Ladies of Llangollen, and related notes.
64 ff. Guarded and filed.

NLW Ms 22992B

EVA MARY BELL: HAMWOOD PAPERS 1920s

Manuscript volume compiled by Mrs Eva Mary Bell in the preparation of her book, The Hamwood Papers (London, 1930) and containing notes, arranged alphabetically, on persons and families named in the diaries of Lady Eleanor Butler.
i, 104 ff. 230 x 175 mm. Exercise book, paper covers over boards, with thumb index.

NLW Ms 22993A

MRS ELINOR GODDARD: JOURNAL 1774-8

Journal of Mrs Elinor Goddard (née Shuldham, referred to as Lucy Goddard in Bell's The Hamwood Papers), recording mainly events of personal interest, including the attempts by Lady Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby to escape from their homes in Ireland during April 1778 (ff. 56-60).
i, 65 ff. 160 x 100 mm. Vellum binding, with blindstamped double fillet.

NLW Ms 22994B

MRS ELINOR GODDARD: JOURNAL XIX cent.

Manuscript volume containing a transcript of Ms 22993A, in the same hand as Mss 22978B and 22996B, with a few annotations in the hand of Charles William Hamilton (1802-80).
xi, 79 ff. 220 x 185 mm. Limp morocco covers with gold fillet.

NLW Ms 22995B

MRS ELINOR GODDARD: JOURNAL 1782-8

Journal of Mrs Elinor Goddard, recording mainly events of personal interest, including two visits by her to Lady Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby at Llangollen in 1782 and 1787 (ff.2v, 83v-4).
86 ff. (ff. 40-54 partly cut away, prior to the copying of Ms 22996B, 3 apparently blank folios cut away at end). 200 x 160 mm. Half leather. 'Mrs Goddard's Journal' on front cover.

NLW Ms 22996B

MRS ELINOR GODDARD: JOURNAL XIX cent.

Manuscript volume containing a transcript of Ms 22995B, in the same unidentified hand as Mss 22978B and 22994B, with a few annotations in the hand of Charles William Hamilton.
ii, 135 ff. 220 x 185 mm. Limp leather covers with gold fillet.


NLW Mss 22967-96 comprise the 'Hamwood Papers', formerly in the possession of the Hamilton family of Hamwood, Dunboyne, co. Meath. The papers consist of diaries and correspondence of Lady Eleanor Butler (1739-1829) and Sarah Ponsonby (1755-1831), the 'Ladies of Llangollen', together with related papers. The Hamwood Papers were purchased from A R Heath, Bristol, 1990.

Lady Eleanor Butler (1739-1829) was the youngest daughter of Walter Butler, the head of a powerful Anglo-Irish landowning family, who became 16th Earl of Ormonde in 1766. Raised in Kilkenny, in the Nore valley in Ireland, Butler was educated in a French convent in Cambrai. Sarah Ponsonby (1755-1831) was also from an Anglo-Irish family, but was orphaned at an early age and went to live with Sir William and Lady Elizabeth Fownes in Woodstock, barely 6 miles from Kilkenny. Ponsonby attended boarding school at Kilkenny, and it was there, aged 13, that she met Butler, who was 16 years her senior. They became fast friends and corresponded regularly. They planned to elope when Butler was pressured to enter a convent against her wishes and Ponsonby found herself subject to the unwelcome advances of her guardian, Sir William Fownes. After several failed elopements, the two left on 9 May 1778 for Wales. They first visited Llangollen on 25 May 1778, and purchased the Pen-y-Maes cottage in May 1780, renaming it Plas Newydd (New Hall). They become a celebrated example of 'retirement', leaving society for a rustic idyll which delighted Wordsworth and Scott. They were also admired for their 'Romantic Friendship'. Plas Newydd was transformed to a Gothick Villa, and the two formed a literary circle that encompassed Sarah Tighe, Ann Talbot, Anna Seward, Hester Thrale, Henrietta Bowdler, Madame de Genlis and William Wordsworth.

Further Reading: Elizabeth Mavor:
The Ladies of Llangollen (1971)
A Year with the Ladies of Llangollen (1984)

DETAILS OF CORRESPONDENCE IN NLW Ms 22977D

Folios 1-16 comprise letters to Mrs Elinor Goddard, the rest are addressed to the Ladies, singly or collectively. Within these two groups, the letters have been arranged in alphabetical order of sender's name.

Folio: 1-2
Former no:
C/2/2 [early April 1778]
Sender:
Lady Betty Fownes
Recipient:
Mrs Elinor Goddard

Folio: 3-4
Former no: C/2/3 [5 April 1778]
Sender: Lady Betty Fownes
Recipient: Mrs Elinor Goddard

Folio: 5-6
Former no: C/2/5 [6 April 1778]
Sender: Lady Betty Fownes
Recipient: Mrs Elinor Goddard

Folio: 7-8
Former no: C/2/6 [9 April 1778]
Sender: Lady Betty Fownes
Recipient: Mrs Elinor Goddard

Folio: 9-10
Former no: C/2/4 [5 April 1778]
Sender: N A M[edows]
Recipient: Mrs Elinor Goddard

Folio: 11-12
Former no: B/11/1[9 April 1778]
Sender: Sarah Ponsonby
Recipient: Mrs Elinor Goddard

Folio: 13-14
Former no: B/11/2 [early April 1778]
Sender: Sarah Ponsonby
Recipient: Mrs Elinor Goddard

Folio: 15-16
Former no: C/2/1 [2 April 1778]
Sender: Sarah Tighe
Recipient: Mrs Elinor Goddard

Folio: 17-18
Former no: B/13/6 [18 January 1809]
Sender: Henrietta Maria Bowdler
Recipient: Sarah Ponsonby

Folio: 19-20
Former no: B/13/9 [17 December 1816]
Sender: John Bligh, 4th Earl of Darnley
Recipient: EB & SP (sonnet)

Folio: 21-22
Former no: B13/2 [30 July 1790]
Sender: Edmund Burke
Recipient: EB & SP

Folio: 23-24
Former no: B/13/14 [8 April 1831]
Sender: Lady Charlotte Maria Bury
Recipient: Sarah Ponsonby

Folio: 25-27
Former no: B/13/8 [14 May 1813]
Sender: Mrs Jane Davey
Recipient: Sarah Ponsonby

Folio: 28-29
Former: B/13/3 [n d]
Sender: Thomas Campbell
Recipient: ? EB & SP (verses)

Folio: 30-31
Former no:
B/15/3 [13 April 1825]
Sender:
George Canning
Recipient:
EB & SP

Folio: 32-33
Former no: B/13/11[? 1820s]
Sender: Helen Goldie (née Lawson)
Recipient: Eleanor Butler

Folio: 34-35
Former no: B/16/1[27 April 1792]
Sender: Mrs M T O'Connell
Recipient: Sarah Ponsonby

Folio: 36-40
Former no: B/16/2 [22 April 1795]
Sender: Mrs M T O'Connell
Recipient: Sarah Ponsonby

Folio: 41-44
Former no: B/16/3 [2 December 1795]
Sender: Mrs M T O'Connell
Recipient: Sarah Ponsonby

Folio: 45-48
Former no: B/16/4 [12 January 1796]
Sender: Mrs M T O'Connell
Recipient: Sarah Ponsonby (incomplete)

Folio: 49-50
Former no: B/16/5 [22 April 1797]
Sender: Mrs M T O'Connell
Recipient: Sarah Ponsonby

Folio: 51-52
Former no: B/18/1[2 May 1800]
Sender: Hester Lynch Piozzi
Recipient: EB & SP

Folio: 53-54
Former no: B/18/2 [14 June 1801]
Sender: Hester Lynch Piozzi
Recipient: EB & SP

Folio: 55-56
Former no: B/13/5 [9 May 1808]
Sender: Lady Sydney Morgan
Recipient: EB & SP

Folio: 57-58
Former no: B/12/1[25 September 1781]
Sender: William Ponsonby, 2nd Earl Bessborough
Recipient: Sarah Ponsonby

Folio: 59-60
Former no: B/12/2 [6 October 1781]
Sender: William Ponsonby, 2nd Earl Bessborough
Recipient: Sarah Ponsonby

Folio: 61-62
Former no: B/12/3 [11 March 1793]
Sender: C L S
Recipient: Sarah Ponsonby

Folio: 63-64
Former no: B/13/7 [15 March 1812]
Sender: George Richard St John, 3rd Viscount Bolingbroke
Recipient: EB & SP

Folio: 65-66
Former no: B/13/15 [c.1818]
Sender: [attrib to Anna Seward]
Recipient: EB & SP (copy)

Folio: 67-68
Former no: B/13/16 [XVIII cent]
Sender:? Anna Seward
Recipient: EB & SP (verses, with lettering piece by SP)

Folio: 69-70
Former no: B/13/4 [9 July 1797]
Sender: Webb, Seymour, 10th Duke of Somerset
Recipient: EB & SP Folio: 69-70
Former No: B/13/4 [9 July 1797]
Sender: Webb Seymour,10th Duke of Somerset
Recipient: EB & SP

Folio: 71
Former no: B/13/1[8 October 1782]
Sender: Frances Scott
Recipient: EB & SP

Folio: 72-73
Former no: B/13/10 [June 1818]
Sender: Sir Walter Scott
Recipient:? EB & SP (copy)

Folio: 74-75
Former no: B/15/1[25 June 1791]
Sender: Robert Stewart, 1st Marquis of Londonderry
Recipient: EB & SP

Folio: 76-77
Former no: B/15/2 [16 December 1807]
Sender: Robert Stewart, 2nd Viscount Castlereagh
Recipient: Eleanor Butler

Folio: 78-80
Former no: B/14/5 [26 December 1820]
Sender: Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Recipient: EB & SP

Folio: 81-82
Former no: B/14/6 17 July 1829
Sender: Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Recipient: Sarah Ponsonby

Folio: 83-84
Former no: B/14/7 18 July [?1815]
Sender: Catherine Sarah Wellesley, 1st Duchess of Wellingon
Recipient: ?Eleanor Butler

Folio: 85
Former no: B/14/3 [22 November 1788]
Sender: Richard Wellesley, 2nd Earl of Mornington
Recipient: EB & SP

Folio: 86-87
Former no: B/14/1[26 November 1787]
Sender: Anne Wesley, 1st Marchioness of Mornington
Recipient: EB & SP

Folio: 88-89
Former no: B/14/2 [17 December 1787]
Sender: Anne Wesley, 1st Marchioness of Mornington
Recipient: EB & SP

Folio: 90-92
Former No: B/14/4 [11-15 September 1789]
Sender: Lady Anne Wesley (daughter of preceding)
Recipient: EB & SP

Folio: 93-94
Former no: B/13/12 [9 September 1823]
Sender: William Wilberforce
Recipient: Eleanor Butler

Folio: 95-96
Former no: B/13/13 [2 September 1824]
Sender: William Wordsworth
Recipient: EB & SP (poems)

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