2013: Two Poems @ Bonhams

poem Lady Eleanor

A mystery ‘CH’ affirms that the poem was written by Lady Eleanor Butler of Llangollen. This, one of two poems (the other showing Sarah Ponsonby’s handwriting, though not of her composition), was sold at auction in 2013.

Here’s the catalogue description:

TWO AUTOGRAPH POEMS, one by Eleanor Charlotte Butler (1739-1829), the other written but apparently not composed by Sarah Ponsonby (1755-1832), both identified as being in their respective handwritings by ‘CH’, both being on very small, delicate and neat hands; Lady Butler’s poem ‘On the New Year’, 12 lines, beginning ‘Thus oft, when Youth has fled, when health decays…’, 1 page, small folio; Sarah Ponsonby’s poem, addressed to Diana, 36 lines in five stanzas, beginning ‘Since thou and the stars, my dear Goddess desire…’, inscribed ‘Written but no[t] composed by Miss Ponsonby of Llangollen’, 2 pages, small folio, the paper from the same stock, formerly pinned together

If anyone has information about what happened to these after the sale, or who “CH” turned out to be – do say!

An interesting, more recent, auction concerned articles in the library of Elizabeth Greenly (1771-1839) [see page 83 of the PDF]. She kept DIARIES from 1784  until before her death – though evidently “edited” them during her lifetime. Two volumes once owned by her came from the library of SARAH and ELEANOR!

Dinas Bran, by A. Rushout

Although it is NOT a drawing of dear Plas Newydd, it does prove that a visit occurred at some point between 1824 and 1832:


by Anne Rushout. Yale Center for British Art has MANY images of Anne’s work, including other pictures from Wales. I think you will have FUN looking through them all, if you click on the ‘creator’ link near the top of the page.

Anne displays a somewhat ‘naive’ quality, but the scenes are vibrant when she includes what _we_ would rarely see, like this regatta of ships!

You can find further ‘RUSHOUT’ items, by clicking on the ‘search’ link and typing RUSHOUT in the box beside ‘creator’.


Happy 2016!

It is New Year’s Day, 2016. Best wishes to all Ladies of Llangollen readers!

Looking for something totally different, I came across Michael Freeman’s site about Wales & Welsh Travellers. It’s a Wordpress blog (called sublimewales)!

early tourists_wales

I was especially happy to find the page entitled Women Tourists, which made me look up the book Fragments in Prose & Verse by Miss Elizabeth Smith [no relation to the Smiths of Suttons; at least I doubt it…]

elizabeth smith

Miss Smith, at the very least, documented a visit with the Ladies of Llangollen in 1796 (she was in the Llangollen neighborhood in 1798, but they did not stop there). I’ve quickly put in the two quotes on the PLAS NEWYDD TIMELINE(s) for those years.

One early volume (1809), in inimitable books.google fashion, had pages missing; but of an 1811 volume – in TWO volumes, I find copies of volume I (different version; 1824 edition) and will link the 1809 Memoir of Klopstock (vol. II), which I hope is intact. Henrietta Maria Bowdler is the editor. She gives a TANTALIZING picture of “letters that used to be” when writing that Miss Smith had written a letter about her visit to the Ladies (in 1796) which was destroyed. A great loss, indeed!

For readers interested in “historical” travel to Wales, your New Year’s Resolution MUST include some of the books and/or manuscripts noted on Michael’s website.


A Glimpse of Things to Come

A blog-reader has promised us an enticing new feature: a bit of a travelogue experience about moving in the steps of Sarah Ponsonby and Eleanor Butler, The Ladies of Llangollen. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if the “Lollies and Trollies” turn up too…

Steps in Plas Newydd grounds


Happy September!

Have been doing a little housekeeping, catching up on the “visitors” to Llangollen. So check out some new entries for the PLAS NEWYDD TIMELINE during the years:

The weather is lovely, the walks of Llangollen beckon… Come, join the Ladies!

Plas Newydd grounds with figures

Plas Newydd Timeline, continues

Slowly, the Plas Newydd Timeline is building up! Tonight I’ve entered those mentions of Eleanor and Sarah from 1799 and 1800.

More to Come!


For those just joining us, and who are asking “What’s the ‘Plas Newydd Timeline’?” — click on the links (at right, or hover over the link above) to find out who was writing about whom as travellers visit Plas Newydd, Llangollen. If enquiring minds would like to know what Sarah and Eleanor were like – here’s the opportunity to find out, from those who meet (or heard about) them.

Reading over the Shoulder of Lady Eleanor Butler…

Michael from Aberystwyth has been a joy to correspond with, lately. His interest in the Ladies, in women travellers in Wales, and in Welsh National Costume is such fun to hear (read) about.

Michael visited the National Library of Wales, and had these wonderful off-the-cuff thoughts about Eleanor’s diary:

I spent a few hours with Eleanor’s earliest journal (1784) on film yesterday. It is very clear and her handwriting is generally good, but the original diary was tiny, and she writes something every day (mostly about the awful weather which seems to have been much worse then than now – but even during a month of deep snow, they still managed to visit others and get visitors).

Her handwriting is quite large, and she used rather a thick pen nib, so in order to squeeze everything in, she compresses the words, and some, especially names, are difficult to read.

On first reading, one phrase appeared to be ‘Lord Machnes from Eddenies’ , so I went back to it after getting my eye in and read it as ‘Some madness from Edwards’  (Edwards’ name appears quite regularly;  it appears that he was a local) but I’m not at all certain about that reading either.

Elizabeth Mavor’s selection from this diary is very limited indeed, and seems to record only the entries which deal with her relationship with Sarah, or her headaches, which are quite untypical of the diary as a whole.

To my delight there are lots of names of visitors of whom I know, but I will have to do a lot more research to check they are who I think they are. So far, it’s yielding exactly what I want…”


Michael’s Elizabeth Mavor book refers to Life with the Ladies of Llangollen, also published (in paperback) as A Year with the Ladies of Llangollen. He’s piqued my interest to look up 1784 in both Mavor and The Hamwood Papers.

You can see the extensive “Ladies”  bibliography by clicking on this link (also on the menu above, and to the right).

The image  (above) is thought to be Lady Eleanor Butler, and is entitled Lady in a Tall Hat. Gathering the Jewels (a favorite website) is currently undergoing some “security maintenance”. Be patient if the picture’s link isn’t working.

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