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Series Two: Papers of the Wynns of Gwydir, 1515-1690, and the Clenennau Letters and Papers, 1584-1698 from the National Library of Wales

This second series of Crown Servants makes available the Papers of the Wynns of Gwydir, 1515-1690, from the National Library of Wales. These document the lives of two generations of an important and influential Welsh family whose power base was in North Wales. We are also including the Clenennau Letters and Papers, 1584-1698 in this project. These papers have two major attractions for the Early Modern scholar:

- They provide an excellent case study of the relations between the core and the periphery in British politics from the reign of Henry VIII, through the Civil War, to the Restoration.

- They provide a rich seam of 17th century newsletters, 1623-1682, a genre that is attracting increasing study from political, cultural and social historians.

Sir John Wynn (1553-1627), the first baronet, was a landowner, administrator, patron of the arts and businessman. A member of the Council of Marches in Wales, he served as Deputy Lieutenant of Carnarvonshire and was involved in the mustering of soldiers and the administration of local government.

Like many prominent local landowners Sir John kept in close touch with Court life and London business by sending his son to Court. Sir Richard Wynn, his son, served successively as assistant to the Lord Chamberlain; Secretary to Prince Charles (accompanying the Prince on his trip to Spain in 1623); Groom of the Bedchamber to King Charles I; and Treasurer of the Household to Queen Henrietta Maria. Richard was thus at the heart of the Royal establishment and in an excellent position to feed his father with information and gossip, enabling him to stay one step ahead of his local rivals.

Sir John’s brother Owen and Sir John’s other sons, Maurice and William, also held a variety of positions in local and national government enabling the family to keep a firm grip on power.

The correspondence between the various family members and their agents in London and Wales covers:

- Catholicism under Mary I, and the return of Protestantism under Elizabeth I
- The Commital of Sir Walter Raleigh and Lords Cobham and Grey
- The Gunpowder Plot and other intrigues
- The war in the Palatinate
- The progress of the Plague across Britain
- Prince Charles’ visit to Spain and his marriage to Henrietta Maria
- The Impeachment of Strafford and Laud
- The fall and recall of Lord Keeper John Williams
- The Civil War, including the conflicts in Ireland and Scotland
- Rebellion under Sir George Booth (Sir Richard Wynn joined the Rebellion)
- The Restoration and revenge on regicides
- The Fall of Clarendon, the Great Plague and the Fire of London

Above all, the papers of the Wynns of Gwydir will enable scholars to look at the nation’s events from a British perspective.


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