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Hanbury-Williams Collection

Archive Collection description: HAN

Williams, Sir John Hanbury- (1859-1946), Major General

An online catalogue for this collection is available. Please type HAN into the search field to find the catalogue.

After attending Wellington College Sir JHW joined the 43rd Light Infantry, the start of a lengthy military career. He served as an aide de camp to senior officers during the Egyptian Campaign of 1882, India 1884-1885 and in Burma 1886; and then became Military Secretary to Alfred Milner, 1st Viscount Milner, Governor and Commander-in-Chief, South Africa 1897-1900. Sir JHW was appointed Private Secretary to the Rt Hon. William St John Fremantle Brodrick, MP, 1st Earl of Midleton, Secretary of State for War 1900-1903; and subsequently served as Military Secretary and Secretary to Albert Henry George Grey, 4th Earl Grey, Governor General of Canada 1904-1909. During the First World War, Sir JHW was Head of British Military Mission to the Russian Army in the Field. After retiring he researched his family history, the fine arts and became active in campaigning against Bolshevism. Sir JHW resided at an apartment in the Henry III Tower at Windsor Castle and in 1936 accepted an appointment as Governor of his old school, Wellington College.

Source: Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives and papers within the Hanbury-Williams collection


The papers chiefly consist of personal and official papers of Major General Sir John Hanbury-Williams, (1859-1946). The collection also contains a small amount of the family papers from the Hanbury-Williams family and the Coldbrook estate, which were not included in a sale of papers, or were not donated to Newport Public Library.

MS notes and some lists of papers were added to the collection on behalf of Sir John Hanbury-Williams by Mrs. Langford-Brook (initials ELB) and these have been left where found. The papers are largely contained within box files, some of which have been ordered and annotated by ELB for her biography of Sir Charles Hanbury-Williams. Box IX 'Lists of MSS'. Many of the papers relating to Sir Charles Hanbury-Williams appear to be transcripts by Mrs. Langford-Brook. The originals were bequeathed to Newport Public Library and there are many references to the originals being at 'Pontipool, now Newport Public Library'.

The collection comprises:

  • Papers from Coldbrook Estate in Monmouthshire. Includes will with administration annexed (Charles Hanbury-Williams) and notebooks entitled 1743 Coldbrook Rentals 1792-1819-1825, account books.

  • Notes by Mrs Langford-Brook for the biography of Sir Charles Hanbury-Williams 1709-1732 (to marriage) 1733-1742 (separation).

  • Holland House - complete notes on the correspondence between Henry Fox (Lord Holland) and Sir Charles Hanbury-Williams (transcripts).

  • Lists of papers and books owned by the estate, which were sold including a list of the contents of the Library of the estate ('Papers found at Coldbrook Box III) and Box IX Lists of MSS.

  • Papers of Sir JHW 1894-1936; additionally file of transcripts of correspondence between Sir Charles Hanbury-Williams (1750-1757) and Stanislaus Poniatowski (1732-1798) last King of Poland-Lithuania; envelope relating to Henry III Tower Windsor Castle.

  • Diaries of Sir JHW including 1914 'My Journey to Russia'.

  • Official papers relating to Sir JHW's tours of duty in South Africa, Canada and Russia, including correspondence with St John Brodrick, 1st Earl of Midleton and Earl Grey, the British Governor General of Canada.

  • Personal papers of Sir JHW, including on his apartment in the Henry III Tower, Windsor Castle, which was his home until the end of his life; notes on the Royal Household, memorandum of sale/particulars for Cassiobury Park Estate, Watford (1922-1960s).

  • Papers relating to portraits sold by Sir JHW including relating to the sale of a lithograph of Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski (1732-1798) who was private secretary to Sir Charles Hanbury-Williams, favourite of Catherine the Great, also notes on portraits and photographs of portraits not in own collection; material including books and auction pamphlets/Christies auction guides etc and 2 volume 'A history of Monmouthshire - from the coming of the Normans into Wales down to the present time' by Joseph Alfred Bradney London 1907).

  • Bundles of correspondence from the 19th and 20th centuries.

  • Late papers (1950s).

Abbreviations used: Sir John Hanbury-Williams (Sir JHW) and Sir Charles Hanbury-Williams (Sir CHW); Mrs Langford-Brook (ELB)

Many of the papers are still contained in their original box files as organised by Sir JHW and Mrs. Langford-Brook. Only around a quarter of the boxes have been given an initial summary box list.

English and French


The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Photocopies/photographs/microfilm are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds, and that photographs cannot be photocopied in any circumstances. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.

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This page last modified Saturday 31 October 2009.