Skip to main content

Edward Gordon Douglas-Pennant (1800-1886)

Edward Gordon Douglas-Pennant was a Welsh landowner and politician. He was born Edward Gordon Douglas, in 1800. His paternal grandfather was James Douglas, 14th Earl of Morton, and his elder brother was George Sholto Douglas, 17th Earl of Morton. He inherited the Penrhyn estate, near Bangor, North Wales, from Richard Pennant , a relative of his wife, Juliana (1737?-1808), and changed his name by Royal License to Douglas-Pennant.

He was a dynamic landowner, extending the Penrhyn estate both in Wales and England. He became the owner of Penrhyn Slate Quarry, near Bethesda, North Wales. Under his ownership, the quarry expanded into one of the largest slate quarries in the world.

He became involved in politics, and between 1841-1865 he became a Member of Parliament for Caernarfonshire.  In 1866 he was raised to the Peerage of the United Kingdom as Baron Penrhyn of Llandegai. He was succeeded in the barony by his eldest son George Sholto Gordon Douglas-Pennant (1836-1907).

Lewis Weston Dillwyn (1778-1855)

Lewis Weston Dillwyn, naturalist and businessman, was born in 1778 in Hackney, greater London. His father was a prominent anti-slavery campaigner, who was born and had lived much of his life in America. Dillwyn received a Quaker education at a Friends’ school in Tottenham. In 1798, he went to Dover and began his study of plants.  He became a fellow of the Linnean Society in 1800.

In 1802, his father bought the Cambrian Pottery at Swansea, and placed him in charge. He moved to the area, living first at Burrough Lodge, then at Sketty Hall. In 1814, the pottery took over the designers and craftsmen of Nantgarw potteries, and started manufacturing porcelain. He remained in charge of the company until 1817.

He was also well-known for his published works on botany and conchology. He began publishing his principal botanical work, the Natural History of British Confervae, an illustrated study of British freshwater algae, in 1802, completing it in 1809. In 1805 he published the Botanist’s Guide through England and Wales with Dawson Turner, and after a further eight years in 1817, he produced  A Descriptive Catalogue of British Shells.

Following the Reform Act Dillwyn was elected in 1832 to the first parliament to sit as a member for Glamorgan. He had been a high sheriff for the county in 1818. The freedom of the borough of Swansea was awarded to him in 1834, and in 1839 he served as Mayor of Swansea.

In 1807, he married Mary Adams (1776-1865), the daughter of John Llewelyn of Penlle’r-gaer, Llangyfelach, Glamorgan, and they had three sons and three daughters. Their son, John Dillwyn Llewelyn (1810-1882) was a photographer and experimental scientist. Their son Lewis Llewelyn Dillwyn MP (1814-1892) was a renowned Welsh Liberal.


  • Archives Wales, ‘Swansea University, Dillwyn family' [Archive]
  • Douglas Pennant, E. H., 1982. The Pennants of Penrhyn: a genealogical history of the Pennant family of Clarendon, Jamaica, and Penrhyn Castle. Bethesda: Gwasg Ffrancon.
  • B. D. Jackson, ‘Dillwyn, Lewis Weston (1778–1855)’, rev. Alexander Goldbloom, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [accessed 18 March 2010]
  • National Trust, 2009. Penrhyn Castle, Gwynedd. Swindon: The National Trust.