Archifdy Ceredigion Archives

Acc. 1156 and 2220

Ref: ARD

Motto: ‘Nerth Dysg ei Ymdrech’ (the power of learning is in the effort)


Reference code: ARD
Title: Aberystwyth County School (Ardwyn) Collection
Date(s): 1891-1973
Level of description: Collection (Fonds)
Extent: ] 14 series (22 boxes)
Language: English unless otherwise stated
Name of Creator(s): Aberystwyth County School (Ardwyn), staff and headmasters, Cardiganshire Education Committee, newspapers etc.

Administrative/Bibliographical history: Before the founding of Aberystwyth County School (Ardwyn) there was a private school called Ardwyn on the same site run by the Reverend Llewellyn (or Llewelyn) Edwards, M.A. In 1946, Professor Levi recalled it as:
‘a Grammar School of a very high grade under a Head Master who was an Oxford classical graduate, the Rev. Llewellyn Lloyd, M.A., a brother of Principal Thomas Charles Edwards, first Principal of the College, [UCW 1872-91]…the great object of the school was to prepare boys for the Matriculation Examination of the University of London.’ (T. J. James, Jubilee).

H. S. Lloyd said, that the Reverend Edwards had, ‘since 1874, run a successful school, first in North Parade, then in Bridge Street, and in 1876 had moved to a “house expressly planned as a school” off Llanbadarn Road.’ (H. Spencer Lloyd, Illustrated History, p.5). However, on National Library of Wales reels of Cambrian News for Bala from 1876-77, there are adverts for Irwell House School, Aberystwyth, run by Rev. Llewellyn Edwards. The last was on 26 October 1877 and in the next edition, 2 November 1877, is an advert for Ardwyn School, seemingly proving that Ardwyn opened in 1877! The later he was running Irwell House School the less likely it is that Ardwyn was purpose built. Hitherto, it had been argued that he had a school first in North Parade, then in Bridge Street. But above the last advert for Irwell House (something one sees from August onwards) there is an advert for the ‘Ladies Collegiate School’, at Belsize House, Bridge Street, claiming it was, ‘lately occupied by the Rev. Llewellyn Edwards, M.A., Irwell House School’. So he moved again! As there is no address for Irwell house, could the name have been briefly transferred to the Ardwyn site? But why rename a school (to Ardwyn) unless moving premises?

The Aberdare Committee’s (1880) report was largely embodied in the Welsh Intermediate Act of 1889. In accordance with this a Joint Education Committee was appointed in every Welsh county, each required to submit to the Charity Commissioners a scheme for Intermediate and Technical Education (from this emerged the Central Welsh Board). The Cardiganshire Joint Committee produced its scheme; approved on I August 1896. Its chairman was none other than the Reverend Llewellyn Edwards (see S. Griffiths, ‘The Welsh Intermediate Education Act and Cardiganshire’, in Ceredigion Antiquarian Society, vol. 8 No.1, 1976, pp. 50-71).

For some years before the first scheme for Cardiganshire was submitted, in 1893, Aberystwyth citizens had sought an intermediate school. Accordingly, at a meeting held in the Town Hall on 22 January 1891, a committee to put this into effect was formed, which launched an appeal for subscriptions. (See ARD/1/1: Minute Book of the Committee Securing the Establishment of An Intermediate School at Aberystwyth; the progress of the subscription campaign can be followed in ARD/1/1-5)
At their third meeting (18 months after their second in April 1894) the Chairman, Alderman Peter Jones, reported that he has approached the Reverend Llewellyn Edwards, who was prepared to sell his school premises to the school managers of the Aberystwyth Intermediate School for £3,500 (H. Spencer Lloyd, History, p. 14). A sub-committee was formed to report on the premises and any additional buildings and the architect T.E. Morgan was appointed to prepare plans and certificates for the application to the Charity Commissioners.

The purchase of the Ardwyn premises was completed on 31 August 1896 and a sub-committee appointed to prepare it for use, and make provisions for scholarships. David Samuel was appointed headmaster and the school was opened on 6 October 1896 ‘with 55 boys and three staff’. The ‘terms’ were £5 per annum; with ten county scholarships. By January 1899, additional classrooms and a central hall had been built, so girls could be admitted (H. Spencer Lloyd, Illustrated History, p. 5).

During its life it existed under several names: from 1896 it was known as Aberystwyth County Intermediate School, later changed to the Aberystwyth County School; from 1928, Ardwyn County School or Ardwyn School; in line with the 1944 Education Act it was called Ardwyn Grammar School; but it was generally called ‘the County School’ by the local population (see H. Spencer Lloyd, History, p. 9).

During the school’s existence it had five headmasters: David Samuel, M.A. (1896-1921); Major Cecil Lloyd Morgan, M.A. (1921-1928); Major David Charles Lewis, M.Sc. (1928-1954); Alban Dewi Lewis, M.A. (1954-1971); Charles G. Suff , B.A. (1971-1973).

In 1914 a House system was established: the boys’ houses were Ceredigion, Dyfed and Powys and those for the girls were Gwynedd, Gwent and Arfon.

The school ceased to exist in 1973, after Cardiganshire complied with Circular 10/65 (issued in 1965 by Labour education minister Anthony Crosland) and introduced a comprehensive system. In 1973 Penglais School was formed, along with the first all-Welsh secondary school: ‘For two years (1973-5) this school shared the Ardwyn premises with the English medium school, and there were two headmasters on the premises, C.G. Suff and Gerald Morgan. When the English pupils left for the Waun the whole of the old Ardwyn premises became an all-Welsh comprehensive school named Penweddig’. (W.J. Lewis, Born on a Perilous Rock " Aberystwyth Past and Present, p.169)


Scope and Content/Abstract: The fonds/collection ARD is an amalgamation of two accessions: 1156 and 2220. In this catalogue the accession number is only indicated when it is 2220. The fonds is divided into fourteen Series. Some Series, (particularly ARD/3 Record Book Series), contain material that also has a separate Series devoted to the same topic. For further information and contextual introductions to such themes the reader is directed to the relevant Series. The fourteen Series are:
1. Administrative Background
Comprising items relating to the setting up of the County Intermediate School, 1891-1901.
2. Minute Books
Comprises Minute Books concerning the management of the school. ARD/2/1 also details meetings held prior to the establishment of the school; while ARD/2/8 is the Minute Book of The Finance and Executive Committee, also containing minutes of the ‘Committee to consider plans and estimates for proposed new buildings’, 1894-1945.
3. Log Books
Log Books (self-described as school history and record books).
4. Financial Records
Comprises school financial records on fees, receipts and bills, 1891-1953.
5. Administrative Records
Comprises school administrative records, 1896-1973.
6. Admission Registers
School Admission Registers, 1896-1958.
7. Other Pupil Records
School Pupil Records, 1896-1973.
8. Building Plans and Extensions
Comprises Ardwyn School building plans and documents relating to extensions, 1948-1958.
9. Diaries, Papers and Press Cuttings kept by Headmasters 1929-1966
10. Cultural Activities and Clubs
Programmes, press cuttings and photos on school Eisteddfod, carol concerts, Welsh Night or ‘Noson Gymraeg’, Light Opera (Gilbert & Sullivan etc.) productions, Drama Society productions, school Orchestra and House Play Competitions, 1929-1973.
11. School Magazines 1942-1964
12. Sporting Activities and Clubs 1908-1973
13. Air Training Corps, Sea Cadets, Scouts and Guides 1972-1973
14. Other School Related Activities 1932-1973

Language: English; Welsh
System of arrangement: Collection is divided into fourteen series.
Conditions governing access: Restrictions may apply to certain material in compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998
Conditions governing reproduction: Ceredigion Archives reserves the right to determine, on conservation and preservation grounds, whether an item is suitable for any form of copying. Usual copyright restrictions apply.

Archivist’s note: compiled by Peter Lewis
Date(s) of description: Summer 2009


Key reference works consulted include two works by Huw Spencer Lloyd: The History of Aberystwyth County School (Ardwyn), 1896"1973 and Ardwyn School: a collection of pictures: An Illustrated History of Aberystwyth Grammar School (1896-1973), and Ardwyn Jubilee 1896-1946 edited by T. J. James. The references to these are abbreviated as: H. Spencer Lloyd, History; H. Spencer Lloyd, Illustrated History; and T. J. James, Jubilee, respectively.

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