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Monday 10 May (2pm)
Welsh landlords and Welsh society in person and at a distance
Dr John Davies, ‘Thomas Turnor Mousley: land agent on the Cawdor estates, 1863-93’
This paper will examine the career of Thomas Turnor Mousley, land agent to the vast Cawdor estates in south-west Wales for thirty years from 1863. In that time he served one master, the second earl Cawdor. Mousley was given a large amount of autonomy to run the estate and he did so with an unfailing dedication on his part which was matched with a large amount of trust from Cawdor. Indeed, their views were often identical, though inimical to the burgeoning national and proto-democratic voices being heard amongst the population of Wales at the time.
From 1996 until his retirement in 2014 John Davies was the county archivist for Carmarthenshire. He has published several articles relating to various aspects of the history of south-west Wales, as well as volume in the Parliamentary Texts and Studies Series of the political correspondence of John Campbell MP (1695-1777) (2013). His latest publication is a study of the Cawdor estate: The Changing Fortunes of a British Aristocratic family: The Campbells of Cawdor and their Welsh Estates, 1689-1976 (2019).
Dr Shaun Evans ‘Coming of age: landowners and tenants in Welsh Society, c.1770-1920’.
This talk will focus on ‘coming of age’ celebrations in Wales c.1770-1920. This was an important event, when the heir or heiress to a landed estate attained their majority, on the occasion of their twenty-first birthday. Hundreds of such occasions were celebrated across the period. They were usually highly conspicuous affairs, involving hundreds or thousands of participants in an array of public events and activities which could be spread over several days and multiple locations. The events were designed to be ‘historic’ and shape future roles and relations in the countryside. The evidence for these prominent public occasions is extensive, yet they have never been subject to comprehensive and concentrated analysis. Their value as a focus for analysis is that they were occasions characterised by the direct interaction of landowners with their tenants and other parts of society.

The primary objective of the talk is to introduce the abundant historical material relating to these lively occasions and to analyse the insights they provide into the position, influence, role and identity of landed estates in Welsh society c.1770-1920. With an emphasis on the prosperity of the next generation, coming of age celebrations provided a primary public platform for presenting and negotiating the interconnected identities of landowners, tenants and estates, and the communities, localities and landscapes in which they operated, and to which they gave rise.
Since 2015 Shaun Evans has been Director of the Institute for the Study of Welsh Estates (ISWE) an interdisciplinary research centre based at Bangor University which exists to enhance understanding of the role and influence of estates and country houses in the history, culture and landscapes of Wales. He is a historian of gentry culture and landed estates in Wales, c.1500-1900 and lecture in Early Modern History at Bangor University’s School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences. He is currently Principal Investigator of the AHRC-funded project: ‘Deep Mapping’ estate archives: A new digital methodology for analysing estate landscapes c.1500-1930. His co-edited volume of essays on Land Reform in the British and Irish Isles since 1800 is due to be published by Edinburgh University Press in early 2021.

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