TitlePleydell-Bouverie family of Longford Castle, Earls of Radnor
DescriptionThe family can trace its line back with ease to Laurens des Bouverie (1536-16), a Huguenot, born in Lille. He came to England to escape the religious oppression of Catholic France and settled in Canterbury. During the 17th century his descendants established themselves as London merchants, dealing primarily in the Levant.

Their business is documented in a series of account books (1946/1/1-18), which reveal a complex pattern of trade. William des Bouverie was appointed governor of the bank of England in 1707; he was knighted in 1713 and created a baronet in the following year.

In 1717 Sir Edward des Bouverie purchased Longford Castle in Britford and the family began to purchase manors and estates in Wiltshire, particularly in the North West of the county. It was because of this that the whole estate was managed by solicitors based in Chippenham.

It was not until the late 18th century that a consolidation of lands in the south east made Longford the natural centre of the estate, although outliers remained in North Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire, as well as in Berkshire. The management of this is recorded in an excellent series of rent account books, consisting of copies kept by the stewards and by the family with informative letters, reports and plans pasted in (1946/2/1C).

Beyond the South West the family held manors and estates in and around Folkestone, acquired in the late 17th century, as well as properties in Holborn and Whitefriars, London. It kept a house in Grosvenor street as its base in the capital.

In 1736 the family changed its name to Bouverie, to confirm its Englishness. In 1747 Sir Jacob Bouverie was created baron Longford and viscount Folkestone, a title which passed to the eldest son of each generation from 1765 with the ennobling of William as the earl of Radnor. His marriage to Harriot Pleydell in 1748 brought Coleshill house and the Berkshire estate and the adoption of the family name of Pleydell-Bouverie.

The collection is rich in family correspondence and also letters with a strong political content, from the late 18th century through to the end of the following century, with a strong political content in a large number (1946/4/2B, 4/2F).

The connection with the Hungerford family which was supposedly through the Pleydell mother of the 2nd Earl, explains the presence of material on the Hungerford chapel in Salisbury cathedral, and, more significantly, seven letters from Thomas Cromwell to his henchman, Walter, lord Hungerford, 1536-c1540.

The archive covers the period down to the death of 6th earl in 1930; subsequent items consist mainly of later research into the history of the family.

Much of this archive, relating to the family and house, was listed at Longford castle by Mrs Nancy Steele. The whole collection was catalogued at the History Centre by archivist Robert Pearson. He created the structure of the archive and catalogued about 75% of the documents. Following his death in December 2013, his work was completed by the summer of 2014; labelling and numbering of documents was carried by a group of volunteers.

See: A Huguenot family; des Bouverie, Bouverie, Pleydell-Bouverie, 1536-1889, by Jacob Radnor (2001)
Date16th cent-2006
Extentc.220 boxes
Related MaterialSee also 490 for estate records and Hungerford archives; also 610 and 893 for Downton manor
Personal NamePleydell-Bouverie family, Earls of Radnor
Pleydell-Bouverie family, Viscounts Folkestone
Place NameLongford Castle/Longford/Britford/Wiltshire
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