Thomas Mansel 1667-1723

From Book Owners Online

Thomas MANSEL or MANSELL 1st Baron Mansel 1667-1723

Biographical Note

Thomas Mansel was the son and heir of Sir Edward Mansel, 4th Baronet of Margam Abbey Glamorganshire, and Martha Carne. In 1686, he married Martha Millington and they had six children. He was a Member of Parliament for Cardiff from 1689 to 1698, as his father was before him, and for Glamorgan from 1699 to 1711. He gradually becoming more prominent in government, holding various offices, until his elevation to the peerage as the 1st Lord Mansel of Margam in 1712. He was a close friend of Robert Harley, Francis Gwyn and Erasmus Lewis. On his death in 1723, the barony passed to his grandson, Thomas Mansel, since his son had predeceased him, and thence to his two brothers Christopher and then Bussy, whose died without an heir in 1750.


In 1747, Bussy Mansel commissioned an inventory of the library at Margam Abbey which comprises around some 1,870 titles, mostly dated and valued, written in a legible hand over 38 foolscap pages. In line with normal practice, these are divided into sections by size and also by type of binding and condition. There are a high number of foreign titles, and items published before 1660. The appraiser states, at the end of the list, that the value he has assigned is ten per cent less than shop value, and that damaged items are fifty per cent less, and items less than than 6d are not given any value.

This library had, it seems, been built up by the Mansel family over many years. Their names appear frequently in subscription lists and Sir Edward Mansel, Thomas Mansel's father, encouraged the establishment of Cowbridge Lending Library in 1705. Edward Lhwyd dedicated his great work Archaeologica Britannica to Thomas Mansel, who he described, in his introduction, as "Maecenas-like" i.e. a great patron of literature.

There is one known example of Thomas Mansel's bookplate (not in Franks) in Cardiff University Library in a large illustrated book Cosmographie in four volumes by P. Heylyn (1657). It is an armorial bookplate inscribed "The right honble. Thomas Mansel Ld. Mansel".


  • Clement M, editor. Correspondence and minutes of the S.P.C.K. relating to Wales 1699 – 1740. Cardiff: University of Wales Press,1952.
  • Jenkins GH. Literature, religion and society in Wales 1660 – 1730. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1978.
  • Lloyd T. Country-house libraries of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In: Jones PH, Rees E, editors. A nation and its books: a history of the book in Wales. Aberystwyth: National Library of Wales,1998. p. 135 - 46.
  • National Library of Wales, Penrice and Margam Estate Records 2208. Catalogue of the books in Lord Mansel's library at Margam, with prices, as appraised by John Whiston, 1747.