Quarter Sessions Records

The first records to be received into the new Glamorgan Record Office on 13 September 1939 were two rolls for the court of Quarter Sessions in 1727. The 75th item, on December 12, was the four rolls for 1800. By the time work in the Record Office was suspended in March 1940, over 1100 records of Quarter Sessions and Glamorgan County Council had been accessioned.

Quarter Sessions Roll prior to conservation treatment

Quarter Sessions Roll prior to conservation treatment

Quarter Sessions was a court of law hearing cases originating in the old county of Glamorgan. Magistrates sat as judges with a jury, but it also had administrative responsibilities, for example maintaining certain bridges in the county, running the prisons, the lunatic asylum, and the police force and enforcing the law on licensing and registration.  

The historical records of Quarter Sessions, in some cases dating back to the middle ages, were inherited by County Councils in 1889. They were one of the chief reasons for the creation of county record offices (which began in Bedfordshire in 1913) as Councils responded to requests to make the records available for public inspection.

Land tax return for Miskin Hundred, 1795

Land tax return for Miskin Hundred, 1795

The records of the court form one of the largest collections held by Glamorgan Archives. The minute books start in 1719 and the sessions rolls in 1727, and each series runs almost without a gap until the court was abolished in 1971. Other records forming part of the Quarter Sessions papers include Land Tax Assessments (1766-1831), deposited plans of public undertakings such as canals, railways and gas and electricity schemes, registers of electors and early records of the Glamorgan Constabulary.

Why invest in training?

As part of the Conserving Local Communities Heritage (CLOCH) project, Glamorgan Archives has been working with Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, a Further Education college based in North Wales, for nearly three years to deliver the Level 2 Certificate in Libraries, Archives and Information Services to the CLOCH trainees. During this time, staff from Glamorgan Archives and our project partners have also completed training in assessment and quality assurance to support the delivery of the training, and we are very grateful for the additional funding from CyMAL: Museums Archives Libraries Wales which has allowed this to happen. It has been a learning experience for all of us, but the benefits have far outweighed the challenges.

You can find out more about the background to the CLOCH project here http://www.glamarchives.gov.uk/content.asp?nav=2,45&parent_directory_id=1 and the year long placements provide very practical skills which will enable the trainees to develop their careers in a wide-range of settings in the heritage sector. We felt it was important to provide a framework for this training, preferably around a qualification or accredited learning, to ensure that the trainees would take away something quantifiable at the end of their year with us – and the Level 2 qualification provides this.

For us, the eight units of the qualification ensure the trainees have a thorough grounding in the practical skills and knowledge that they would need to work as a library assistant, archive assistant or searchroom staff. We could be confident that completing the qualification would demonstrate to potential employers that the trainees have the skills and knowledge that they need because the qualifications have been developed by professionals in the sector.

Six units look at very hands-on skills and this is delivered and assessed entirely in the work place. For an existing member of staff, undertaking the Level 2 qualification might not necessarily be about gaining new skills but about improving understanding and knowledge. It is the way that the skill is assessed that demonstrates that the learner understands why they are doing something, not just how to do it. We can all, very easily, fall into the trap of doing something because we’ve always done it that way or providing inductions for new staff that show how to do something – so that they can get behind the counter and start helping our users – rather than explaining why we do it. Undertaking the qualification has not only tested our trainees’ skills but has prompted their colleagues and supervisors to review and re-think why they do the things that they do. And when you’re working in a busy service, you very often don’t get the time to do that.

Two units are knowledge units which allow you to think in more detail about your own service and more widely about the wider context of the heritage sector. Our trainees have undertaken the qualification in a variety of different settings from archive services and museums to small branch libraries and busy central libraries and they have the opportunity to visit each other’s placements to see how a different service operates. These differences also impact on your role on the front-line in that library or archive service and it also makes you think about how these differences affect the people coming in to use your library or archive.

And bringing together learners across different services has also helped share best practice. Our trainees have completed one of the more technical units – on protecting, securing and copying information and/or material – here at the archives where these skills include a focus on preservation and conservation and the care of fragile documents. The trainees can then take these more specialist skills out to their libraries and local studies services and share their knowledge.

We hope that our involvement in the qualification has also raised the profile of vocational qualifications for the sector. At a time when professional skills are under threat from budget cuts and the potential handover of services to communities or volunteers it is important to demonstrate that staff at all levels need training and professional skills. From data protection to health and safety, from working with vulnerable adults or children to implementing the Welsh Language Act – learners with the Level 2 qualification understand why these things are important and how it effects what they do on a day-to-day basis. It is sometimes too easy to take for granted what our trainees and all our staff do everyday, all day to support every single person who comes into the library, archive or museum.

Our involvement in delivering work-based learning and a vocational qualification has had a positive impact on our trainees, our project partners and their staff and our services and it would be wonderful to see that one of the legacies of the CLOCH project is the take up of vocational qualifications by more staff and that CyMAL continue to provide the funding to support skills development at all levels.

Emma Stagg, CLOCH Project Manager

Parish Records

Parish records feature as the 75th accession on four occasions: 1967, 1970, 1977 and 1980.

Parish Records can relate either to the civil or ecclesiastical parish. Civil Parish Councils were established by the Local Government Act 1894. The civil parish took over some responsibilities previously administered by the ecclesiastical parish.

Parish records can include vestry minutes, service registers, Parochial Council minutes and tithe plans and apportionments, as well as registers of baptism, marriage and burial. All of which are valuable local and family history resources.
Glamorgan Archives has over six thousand catalogue entries for parish records dating from the 1500s to the 2000s. It is now easier than ever before to use parish registers for family history. Registers deposited with Glamorgan Archives have been indexed and digitised. A photograph is taken of each page in the register and made available online via Find my Past or in our document search room via Plwyf, our in-house searchable parish register database.

Parish Registers can be a source of information for family history, but also for so much more. St David’s Cardiff Roman Catholic Baptism Register (1836-1855) includes within it a list of Cholera dead for 1849. The list of sixty eight names shows the devastating affect such an epidemic could have upon a congregation.

D29-1-1 CholeraThe 1849 Burial Register for Merthyr Tydfil chronicles a mysterious death. On October 19th an unknown body is buried after being ‘found drowned in Mr A. Hills pond’.

stranger drowned

The 75th accessions for the years 1967 and 1970 were both tithe plans (Ref: P/97 Parish of Marcross and P/80/2b Parish of Coity Lower.) Tithe plans usually date from the early 1840’s and for many parishes, particularly in rural areas, they constitute the oldest surviving maps. Tithe was a type of tax originally paid in kind – with produce from the parish lands – and later as a monetary sum, by parishioners to the parish church and clergy. The plans are actually maps showing the land within a parish, and detailed in the accompanying apportionment are the names of the owners and occupiers of the land, the use of the land and any buildings, and the amount of tithe that is owed to the church from that portion of land. They are especially useful for local and house history.

P80-2 06

The final 75th accession for Parish Registers is a collection of civil parish minutes from Lisvane Parish Council (Ref: P56). Reading the minutes of the meeting of June 1939 you can see that their concerns no doubt mirror those of a modern council – speeding, bus services and litter!

 P56-1-1 01

National Farmers Union Records

Our 75th accession in 2004 was a diary of the Glamorganshire Branch of the National Farmer’s Union from 1921, also known as ‘The Farmer’s Annual’.

The Farmer's Annual

The Farmer’s Annual

The National Farmer’s Union was established in 1908 following a meeting at the Smithfield Show. The first Welsh representatives, Brecon and Radnor, joined that year, with each Welsh county following over the next few years.

In 1921, the Glamorganshire Branch had its offices at 2 & 3 Market Street, Bridgend. Its President was Noah Morgan. Listed in the diary are all the branch officers and its solicitors. Each of the 24 sub-branches within Glamorgan also appear, with their Chairmen, Secretaries and delegates named. The branches comprised:

  • Aberdare
  • Blackmill
  • Bridgend
  • Cardiff
  • Cowbridge
  • Gower (South)
  • Gower (Central)
  • Gower (North)
  • Llansamlet
  • Llantwit Major
  • Llantwit Fadre
  • Llantrisant
  • Llanwonno
  • Lisvane
  • Maesteg
  • Merthyr
  • Neath
  • Nelson
  • Pencoed
  • Pyle
  • Pontypridd
  • Pontardawe
  • West Glamorgan

The Glamorganshire Branch also had a number of sub-committees, namely the Labour Committee, Legal Committee and Milk Committee. Again their officials are listed in the diary.

The content of the diary is varied. It includes a number of articles: ‘The Old Glamorgan Pig’ by Alderman Illtyd Thomas, ‘The Vale of Glamorgan Heavy Horse Society’ by D. C. Watts of Cowbridge, and a piece on the NFU by its national President E. W. Langford.

Alongside these articles are shorter pieces offering advice on specific issues such as taxation (including the wife allowance and housekeeper allowance), tithe payments, details of the composition of cow’s milk, and guidance on how to estimate the contents of haystacks, bushels of oats, barley and wheat, and ascertaining the weight of cattle.

The business of the Branch for the year is summarised. Topics discussed include legislation and government control, wages and hours of work, land settlement, milk prices, wool, wheat, local taxation, weights and measures and legal cases.

Listed in the diary are the Lord-Lieutenants for Wales and Members of Parliament for Glamorgan, the dates of principle fairs and markets in south Wales for 1921, and dates for eclipse for the year. There are also adverts for farm machinery, suppliers and agents.

The diary section is formed of breeders’ tables for each month, which assist farmers in calculating the due dates of pregnant mares, cows, ewes, goats and sows, along with cash account tables.

The Farmers’ Annual would undoubtedly have been an useful tool for farmers across Glamorgan.

Barry Free Churches Council

The 75th accession for the year of 2014 is a single black & white photograph of members of the Barry Free Churches Council. It is believed to have been taken circa 1945. The Council organised joint meetings with other denominations and promoted spiritual campaigns, such as the 1954 Billy Graham preaching tour. The council also attracted distinguished speakers, as in 1955 when the council was addressed by the Abertillery Member of Parliament the Rev Llewellyn Williams.

Barry Free Churches Council

Barry Free Churches Council

Shown in the photograph are (back row l-r) Mr Len Blake, Miss Susie Adams, Rev Fred Adams, Mrs Bessie Davies (wife of Howard Davies), Mr W. Roberts, Peggy Evans and an unnamed Methodist Minister; (front row l-r) Miss Bertha Worrall, an unnamed women, Rev Lionel Evans, Mr Frank Keeting and another unnamed women.

In 1939 Rev Fred Adams was a member of Holton Road Baptist Church and was approached to become pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist church. He commenced preaching at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church on the 20th August 1939, and was inducted as pastor in September 1939. He became the secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union, Barry branch in 1945. Rev Adams resigned as pastor of Mount Pleasant in 1951, only to be asked to return in October 1955. He continued in the role until 1961, when he left Mount Pleasant to become full time pastor at Union Street Baptist Church in Crewe.

Glamorgan Archives holds numerous collections of church and chapel records. Details of these items can be found on our catalogue, Canfod http://calmview.cardiff.gov.uk/CalmView/ and the documents are available for consultation in our searchroom.

NADFAS Join Conservation

In mid-May members of NADFAS, the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies, began work on two different volunteering projects in the Conservation Department of Glamorgan Archives. These projects take place on Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons, with each session involving of a group of five volunteers.


Each group is working on a different project. The Tuesday morning volunteers are working on cleaning and repackaging some of the tithe maps and apportionments held at Glamorgan Archives. The cleaning work is undertaken using dry cleaning sponges and vinyl erasers, taking great care not remove any annotations to the maps, particularly those made in pencil. This work can sometimes be very dirty; in these cases it’s easy to see the effect of the work on the map. But sometimes it can appear that the work being done is making very little difference to the overall condition of the map. In many cases this is because previous repairs dating from the 1940s and 1950s have been carried out and much of the dirt has now become ingrained in the map. We are very fortunate that this does not seem to dishearten our volunteers at all and they are making good headway into cleaning the tithe maps.

Nadfas Tithe

NADFAS volunteers cleaning part of one of the Llantrisant tithe maps


The second project involves the cleaning, re-organisation and listing of ship crew agreement lists for the census years, starting at 1901. It is first necessary for volunteers to clean each individual crew agreement using a dry cleaning sponge. These sponges, also known as smoke sponges, pick up much of the dirt and hold it within them. Once they have cleaned the crew agreements they are re-organised using the official ships numbers. They can then begin the process of listing the names of all of those people who appear on the agreements, along with the information about them. This information will eventually be made available online.

Nadfas CA

NADFAS volunteers cleaning boxes of crew agreements

Cardiff Hockey Club and Jesus College, Cambridge

The 75th accession received in 1999 comprised three photographs; two show members of Cardiff Hockey Club, in seasons 1921-22 and 1922-23, the other shows the freshmen of Jesus College, Cambridge in 1915.

Cardiff Hockey Club was established in 1896 and was initially known as Roath Hockey Club. But the name soon changed, and by 1899 they had two successful sides playing against local rivals.

The players featured in our photographs are all named.

Cardiff Hockey Club 1921-22

Cardiff Hockey Club 1921-22

The First XI for 1921-22 were: (Back Row l-r) R. S. R. David, H. W. Brown, J. H. Bennett, F. T. Arnold, W. S. Courtis, K. R. D. Fawcett, B. S. Rees (Front Row l-r) W. A. Phillips, G. M. Turnbull, G. M. Maine-Tucker, R. T. S. Hinde (Capt.), A. T. Harper, A. Edmunds.

Cardiff Hockey Club 1922-23

Cardiff Hockey Club 1922-23

In 1922-23 the First XI featured: (Back Row l-r) Fred Thomas (Ref.), J. D. Morgan, L. R. Morgan, D. A. Duncan, C. V. Miller, R. Parry Jones, A. T. Harper (Front Row l-r) R. S. R. David, Captain R. T. O. Cary, H. W. Browne (Capt.), R. T. S. Hinde, B. S. Rees.

The photograph of Jesus College freshmen was taken in 1915, during the early years of the First World War. It features:

Jesus College freshmen, 1915

Jesus College freshmen, 1915

(Back row l-r) J. Williams, H. C. Lee, A. Jackson, M. Solomans, A. J. Newling, C. T. Deshmulche (Front row l-r) J. K. Redgrave, A. Richardson, Rev. N. B. Nash, L. A. Pare, B. S. Lloyd, R. S. R. David, Rev. K. H. Gray

If you have any information on these students, or on the Cardiff Hockey players, we would very much like to hear from you.

The Penarth Library Committee

The 75th accession in 1968 (DXPD 7-10) forms part of the Penarth Library Collection and includes minute books of the Penarth Library Committee (1941-57), a copy of the Bill to Amend the Library Acts and correspondence and memoranda relating to Penarth Free Library and the establishment of Penarth Public Library (1895-1927). These are records of Penarth Urban District Council and you can find out more about the history of the council and its predecessors and successors in the catalogue entry here: (UDPE http://calmview.cardiff.gov.uk/CalmView/Record.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&id=UDPE&pos=1).

You may wonder what you could find out from these records! There is a lot of information to whet the appetite of those interested in employment practices, the development of library services, the role of the professional librarian, the impact of the Second World War, the history of Penarth, the role of women and local Penarth businesses. If you had a family member who sat on the Committee or who worked at the library (as a librarian, assistant, caretaker or cleaner) there is also a lot to add to the detail of your own family history.

There is the day-to-day detail you might expect from a minute book of the Public Library Committee; this includes annual estimates of income and expenditure, decisions on opening times and closures for public holidays, appointments and salaries, repairs and cleaning, books purchased and donations received. The council also received a complaint from a local resident that the weather vane on the Library was not functioning properly (its repair was not considered a priority for funding by the Committee). And if you live in Penarth, you probably wouldn’t be surprised to see that the repair of the clock is also discussed!

The first entry in the minute book (DXPD7) from March 1941 sets out the Committee’s gratitude to ‘the gallant efforts of Lance Corporal Peter Roberts and Gunner H. Warner in the Library on the night of Tuesday 4. Resolved to write to the Officer Commanding of the latter to express such appreciation as his efforts undoubtedly saved the Library.’ The war years focus on the efforts to keep the library open as (female) staff enrolled in the service, the struggle for coal to heat the building, ensuring that military personnel based locally (British and American) have access to the library and the use of the library to store ARP materials.

From 1948, the Committee is looking at the creation of a Children’s Library in the basement (with its own separate entrance). A Special General Committee agreed to the provision of a Children’s Library on 4 February 1949 and it opened on 15 March 1950. The Librarian went to London to select books (worth a total of £250), short story hours for younger children on Saturday mornings started not long after opening and the Committee agreed to the purchase of Eagle Magazine in May 1950. A big change from the minutes of 1944 when ‘It was resolved that the Reading Room should be used by children only at the discretion of the Librarian and staff.’

Penarth Library correspondence

Penarth Library correspondence

The correspondence (DXPD10) includes a series of estimates and invoices from local traders in Penarth for work for the Penarth Free Library and the Penarth Public Library. The documents provide an insight into the cost of materials and labour at the time, the range of local tradesmen in operation, and are written on decorative headed paper. A very different ‘feel’ to the electronic invoice the Archives will be preserving in the future.

Penarth Library correspondence

Penarth Library correspondence

The records also include a list of staff for the new library and their salaries from 1895 onwards. Additional notes are written on the back of a printed letter for the ‘Penarth Santa Claus Fund, 1922’. These items, together with the others listed above, provide an interesting insight into life in Penarth ninety years ago.