Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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TRAHERNE , JOHN MONTGOMERY ( 1788 - 1860 ), the most distinguished Glamorgan antiquary of his time;

b. 5 Oct. 1788 at Coedriglan , near Cardiff , the son of Llewellyn Traherne , who had inherited the Coedriglan estate. The family traced a long descent on the female side from the Herberts of Swansea , and in the 17th cent. , and probably earlier, were settled at Castellau near Llantrisant . He was educated at private schools before he went to Oriel College , Oxford , in 1807 ; he graduated in 1810 . He was ordained a deacon in 1812 and priest in 1813 , but never held any living. From 1844 to 1851 he was, however, chancellor of the diocese of Llandaff .

He records that, at Oxford , having no turn for classics or mathematics, he attended botanical, chemical, and anatomical lectures. His scientific interests were shown by election to the Linnean Society in 1813 , to the Geological Society in 1817 , and above all to the Royal Society in 1823 , but no real record of his scientific work remains. Curiously enough he was not elected to the Society of Antiquaries until 1838 . His acquaintance with the leaders of the scientific and literary worlds was extensive; see letters from several of his correspondents in N.L.W. MSS. 6598-6600 . He m., 23 April 1830 , Charlotte Louisa , third daughter of Thomas Mansel Talbot , Margam ; note that there is evidence that he delved deeply into the Margam muniments (now in N.L.W. ); his wife was also deeply interested in history and literature . About 1823 he demolished the old house at Coedriglan on the ridge land, and erected a most gracious Regency house on the lower slopes of the hill, which is still happily in the possession of his successors.

Many of his writings were anonymous or written under pseudonyms, but he gave great assistance to his friends, e.g. to L. W. Dillwyn (q.v.) , author of Contributions to the History of Swansea . His chief work was as editor of the Stradling Correspondence , 1870 , and among others may be mentioned Historical Notices of Sir Matthew Cradock , 1840 , and Lists of Knights of the Shire of Glamorgan , 1822 . He was deeply versed in the history of Glamorgan . He d. at Coedriglan on 5 Feb. 1860 , without issue. Many of his manuscripts passed to his friend, Sir Thomas Phillipps (q.v.) , and are now in the Central Library , Cardiff , but large numbers came to the National Library of Wales from lady Mansel Franklen , S. Hilary , Glamorgan — for details see N.L.W. Handlist of MSS ., ii, 188-98. See also N.L.W. MSS. 6522-8, 6577-8, 6583, 6591 . He is not to be confused with another distinguished antiquary, G. G. T. Treherne (q.v.) .


  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography , and references there cited;
  • manuscript autobiography;
  • information from Mr C. G. Traherne .


Henry John Randall, F.S.A., (1877-1964), Bridgend

Corrections and additions:


The manuscript biography of Traherne contains some new information. See Roy Denning , Glam. Hist. , 4 ( 1967 ), 46-55.


Published date: 1959