National Library of Wales

Francis Family (Mining) Papers

Reference code(s): GB 0210 FRANMINE

Held at: NLW

Title: Francis Family (Mining) Papers

Short title: Francis family (mining) papers

Dates of creation: 1832-1858

Level of description: Fonds

Extent and medium: 0.114 cubic metres (4 boxes)

Name of creator(s): Francis family of Goldsithney, Cornwall, of Halkyn, Flintshire, and of Goginan, Cardiganshire


Administrative and biographical history: Henry and Absalom Francis of Goldsithney, Cornwall, were heavily involved in the Cornish metal mining industry before Absalom moved to Flintshire in 1826 to manage the Duke of Westminster's mines on Halkyn Mountain. He also managed mines on the Lisburne estate in Cardiganshire, but fell out with his employers, the Taylor family, and was dismissed in 1840. His three sons, Henry, Absalom and William, all followed their father into the Welsh mining industry. Henry Francis the elder was manager of the Wheal Virgin mine in Cornwall for many years before opening the Wheal Guskus mine in 1849. Of his four sons, the most prominent was Matthew, who spent a number of years in the mines of Aroa in South America before following his uncle to Wales in 1834, settling at Goginan, Cardiganshire, to manage the Lisburne mines. He was very successful, but the cordial relationships which he enjoyed with the Taylors deteriorated, and he was dismissed in 1842. Despite his best efforts, his subsequent attempts to promote mines on his own account never met with the success that he had enjoyed whilst working on the Lisburne estate. From 1851 to 1854, he lived in London, managing Francis's Mining Offices, though he paid frequent visits to Cardiganshire and also inspected mines elsewhere, including Germany in 1853 and Ireland in 1854. He died whilst inspecting a mine in Spain in 1865. In 1840, Matthew was joined in Cardiganshire by his brother, Absalom, who was based at Goginan for the rest of his life apart from a short stay in London, 1855-1856, and trips to America and Norway. A third brother, Henry, seems to have been a wanderer during the period covered by this archive, never staying in one place more than a few years and often only months, whilst a fourth brother, James, suffered ill-health and stayed mostly in Cornwall with his father.


Scope and content: Papers, 1832-1858, of the Francis family, of Goginan, Cardiganshire, comprising papers, 1834-1858, relating to the Francis family, amongst them business and personal correspondence, especially mining matters and property owned by the family, and a few other miscellaneous papers; records, 1835-1858, concerning individual mines, including agents' reports, letters, notices and reports of meetings, sketch maps, cost sheets, financial papers, mine cost books, memoranda of agreement, transfers of mine management, darft mining prospectuses, etc.; mine reports, 1847-1858, written by Matthew Francis and Absalom Francis; mine reports, 1845-1857, prepared by various other individuals; miscellaneous correspondence, 1842-1857, relating to various mines; correspondence, 1837-1852, relating to the ticketing and assaying of ores; sketch maps and sections, all undated; correspondence, 1843-1858, concerning water power; general correspondence files, 1841-1858, relating mainly to mining matters; and the Smythe collection containing very miscellaneous material, including some letters, 1840-1841 and 1847-1856, and tradesmen's vouchers and mine costs, 1834-1838 and 1850-1855.


Language/script: English

System of arrangement: Arranged within the following sections: Francis family papers; mines; correspondence; miscellaneous records; and the Smythe collection.

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern papers - data protection' form.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright regulations apply.

Finding aids: A hard copy of the catalogue (under its previous title, Druid Inn Manuscripts) is available at the National Library of Wales. The catalogue can be accessed online under its current title.
Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records donated to the National Library of Wales have been retained.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history: Nearly all of the archive was found in the attic of the Druid Inn, Goginan, Cardiganshire, in 1956, and had probably been there since its creation in the mid nineteenth century. The other items came into the possession of Mr F. Smythe, Aberystwyth, at some time in or before 1957; it is not known how this happened.

Immediate source of acquisition: Donated in two groups by Mr and Mrs Hathway, Druid Inn, Goginan, Cardiganshire, in 1956, and by Mr F. Smythe, Aberystwyth, in 1957.



Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds. Previous title, Druid Inn Manuscripts, from source of material.

Archivist's note: Compiled by David Moore for the ANW project. The following source was consulted in the compilation of this description: NLW, Schedule of Druid Inn Manuscripts.

Rules or conventions: This description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) second edition, AACR2, and LCSH.

Date(s) of description: February 2003



Francis family, | of Goginan and Cornwall | Archives

Lead mines and mining | England | Cornwall

Lead mines and mining | Germany

Lead mines and mining | Ireland

Lead mines and mining | Scotland

Lead mines and mining | Wales | Ceredigion

Lead mines and mining | Wales | Flintshire

Lead mines and mining | Wales | Glamorgan

Personal names

Francis family, of Goginan and Cornwall

Corporate names

Crosswood Estate (Wales)

Lisburne Estate (Wales)