Bangor University and the Rhug Estate are delighted to announce the launch of a collaborative project to explore the influence and significance of the Rhug and Bachymbyd estates during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Funded by Lord Newborough, the three-year PhD project will form a central part of the early development of the Institute for the Study of Welsh Estates (ISWE). 

Founded in the medieval period by descendants of Owain Brogyntyn, by the beginning of the 16th  century the Rhug Estate had been acquired, through marriage, by the Bachymbyd branch of the influential Salesbury family, who over a period of two centuries developed it into one of the most prominent landed estates in north Wales, with significant landholdings across Denbighshire and Merioneth.  Over subsequent generations the estate was acquired by the Vaughans of Nannau, before being inherited by Charles Henry Wynn (1847-1911) of Glynllifon in 1859.  From him the estate has passed by descent to its current owner, the 8th Baron Newborough.  The Rhug Estate is now a vibrant rural enterprise, characterised by its award-winning organic farm, shop and bistro situated at Corwen.

The project will focus on the identity and influence of the estate during the 16th and 17th centuries, and in particular, how the Salesbury family used their landed influence to promote their status, honour and authority.

Reflecting on the launch, Dr. Shaun Evans, Director of ISWE commented that ‘‘it’s wonderful to be able to get this exciting joint project off the ground as it offers so many opportunities for new discoveries to be made about a history which is relevant to local communities, but also for our understandings of broader themes and issues.  The Salesburys served as MPs in London, fought as soldiers across Europe and developed strong relationships of patronage with some of the leading noblemen in England.  However, they remained staunch patrons of Welsh cultural activity, continued to serve as local office-holders and had a deep interest and pride in their ancestral heritage.  This project affords an opportunity to explore the links and connections between these local, national and international dimensions and will contribute a great deal to our understandings of the identities of the Welsh gentry and their estates’’.

The estate collections held by Gwynedd Archives and the National Library of Wales will underpin the development of the project.

The research will be carried out by Sadie Jarrett, a history graduate from Cambridge and Oxford Brooks universities who originates from Port Talbot.  The project was launched at Rhug on 21st September with a guided tour of the estate and a visit to Rûg Chapel.

Read more about the project and an interview with Sadie on the Daily Post Website