Carmarthenshire Archive Service

Viscount Cilcennin Papers

Reference code(s): GB 0211 CILCENNIN

Held at:

Title: Viscount Cilcennin Papers

Short title: Cilcennin, (Viscount), papers

Dates of creation: 1936-1980

Level of description: Fonds

Extent and medium: 0.03 cubic metres

Name of creator(s): Viscount Cilcennin


Administrative and biographical history: James Purdon Lewes Thomas, Viscount Cilcennin, (1903-1960), from Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, was educated at Rugby School; he contested his first parliamentary election as the Conservative candidate for Llanelli, Carmarthesnhire, in 1929. In 1931, he was returned as Conservative member for Hereford, and represented this constituency until 1955. He was appointed Assistant Private Secretary to Stanley Baldwin (1867-1947), at that time Lord President of the Council. Thomas became Parliamentary Private Secretary to Anthony Eden (1897-1977) as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in 1937, when Eden's attempts to address the threat of Fascism came into conflict with Chamberlain and his policy of appeasement, culminating in Eden's resignation in 1938. Thomas corresponded with Viscount Cranborne, Bobbety, one of Anthony Eden's supporters. In 1940, Thomas was appointed a Lord Commissioner of the Treasury, before he was promoted to the post of Financial Secretary to the Admiralty. After the Labour vistory in the 1945 geenral election, he became Vice-chairman of the Conservative Party. In 1951, he was made First Lord of the Admiralty when the Conservative Party regained power, but resigned in 1956. He was created Viscount Cilcennin of Hereford in 1955. When Viscount Cilcennin retired, he accompanied Prince Phillip on his world tour of 1956-1957. He was active in public life. In 1957, he became Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire. He died in 1960; his book Admiralty House, Whitehall was published posthumously. He was married to Anna Louisa.


Scope and content: Papers of Viscount Cilcennin, mainly letters, 1936-1980, including a letter relating to the time when he was assistant Private Secretary to Stanley Baldwin, 1936; letters relating to his time as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Anthony Eden, 1937-1938; correspondence with Viscount Cranborne, 1938-[c. 1954]; photographs, programmes and reports relating to the Viscount's journey to the Olympic Games in Melbourne, 1956-1957; lecture transcripts; letters relating to his time as chairman of the governing body of Rugby, 1958; and newspaper cuttings relating to the resignation of Viscount Cilcennin as First Lord of the Admiralty, his political career and obituaries on his death, 1952-1960. The collection gives valuable evidence for the study of the political situation from c. 1934 until 1960, and the Conservative Party's foreign policy, particularly the break between Neville Chamberlain and Anthony Eden in the late 1930s.


Language/script: English

System of arrangement: Arranged in chronological order

Conditions governing access: The papers that are less than thirty years old may not be produced for searchers without the written consent of the depositor.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright regulations apply

Finding aids: A hard copy of the list is available at Carmarthenshire Archives Service.
Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records have been retained

Accruals: Accruals are not expected

Archival history: Some of Viscount Cilcennin's papers were transferred to his sister Joan Thomas after his death. When she died they were given to the depositor, Mr H. R. P. Lloyd, through her trustee, who signed the Official Secrets Act in respect of her custody of these papers. After this many papers were destroyed.

Immediate source of acquisition: Deposited by Mr H. R. P. Lloyd, Trealy, Mitchel Troy, Monmouth, in April, 1980.



Publication note: Anthony Eden, Lord Avon, used many of these papers for his books.

Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds

Archivist's note: Compiled by Annette Strauch and Martin Locock for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the compilation of the description: Carmarthenshire Archives Service, Catalogue of Viscount Cilcennin Papers; Dictionary of Welsh Biography, 1941-1970 (London, 2001); Who Was Who, 1951-1960; 10 Downingstreet website (, viewed 18 November 2003; Churchill College, University of Cambridge website (, viewed 18 November 2003; Roy Harrod website (, viewed 18 November 2003; Guardian Century website (,6051,127147,00.html), viewed 23 April 2004.

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

Date(s) of description: November 2003 -April 2004



Great Britain | Politics and government

Political parties | Great Britain

Thomas, James Purdon Lewes | Archives

Personal names

Baldwin, Stanley Baldwin,, 1867-1947, Earl

Cilcennin, James Purdon Lewes Thomas, 1903-1960, Viscount

Eden, Anthony, 1897-1977, Earl of Avon

Salisbury, Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 1893-1972, Marquess of

Corporate names



Great Britain