Carter Vincent archives and the Kneeshaw family papers

Archives Hub feature for May 2019

Carter Vincent archives

Carter Vincent was a prominent and family run firm of solicitors at Bangor, North Wales. The early family members were clerics but the solicitor profession soon took over. The Carter Vincent Archives held at Bangor University Archives and Special Collections span over 350 years and comprise the papers which the firm generated as part of its own business, as well as the records that they held by or on behalf of clients. The papers (currently numbering in excess of 5000 items) consist of draft and copy leases, conveyances, mortgages, abstracts of title, property deeds and other documents relating to properties and families in the old Welsh counties of Anglesey, Caernarfon, Denbigh, Flint, Merioneth and Montgomery, as well as the English counties of Hereford, Lancashire, Somerset and Devon. They also include personalia, including financial papers, letters from clients, notices and various other documents. The firm’s clients included prominent figures in the locality and it acted for the Penrhyn Estate and the Diocese of Bangor. The firm is still trading in Bangor in 2019, under the name Carter Vincent LLP.

Cataloguing the papers began in the 1950s when the firm deposited over 3000 items. A further set of papers followed in 1969 and then a third in the 1990s – all of which have been catalogued and are available to research in paper format in the Archives. However, we are aware of the need and demand to make these catalogues available online and work has already begun to input the data onto our online catalogue. As a research resource their potential is immense; providing rich evidence for analysing issues such as estate management, land use and tenure, ownership patterns, building history, changes in local topography and community structures. The Archives are fully committed to ensuring that the incredible research, teaching and outreach potential of the collection is fully unlocked.

Additional documents have been received since and are currently being sorted and catalogued by one of our volunteers, Lionel, a local solicitor himself. Our submission to Archives Hub this month focusses on a letter and patent specification discovered by Lionel in a bundle of papers relating to the Kneeshaws, a prominent family in North Wales and a significant client of Carter Vincent.

Kneeshaw family papers

Wilfred Shafto Kneeshaw was the only son of Henry Kneeshaw of Penmaenmawr (JP, Deputy Lieutenant, Sheriff of Caernarvonshire). He began his military career as a Private with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers (later Lieutenant) and later became a Captain in the 66th Training Reserve of the Welsh Regiment.

He was badly wounded in August 1915 and, whilst recovering, spent his time researching and inventing a rifle stand, an idea which possibly came from his direct experience of warfare in the trenches.

Letter from W.S. Kneeshaw to ‘Trevor’ [Mr Trevor of Carter Vincent, Solicitors, Bangor] regarding an invention he intends to patent
Letter from W.S. Kneeshaw to ‘Trevor’ [Mr Trevor of Carter Vincent, Solicitors, Bangor] regarding an invention he intends to patent. Included is a photograph of a prototype and the specification (below).
Photograph of a prototype of the invention by W.S. Kneeshaw.
Photograph of a prototype of the invention by W.S. Kneeshaw.
Page one of the specification by W.S. Kneeshaw.
Page one of the specification by W.S. Kneeshaw.
Page two of the specification by W.S. Kneeshaw.
Page two of the specification by W.S. Kneeshaw.

He took out a Patent for his invention in March 1916 – whether this design made it to the trenches or not is unknown:

“Patent: 101,441. Machine rests for.-Consists of a rifle stand for use when firing a rifle grenade. The stand comprises a front support 11 having at the top a pivoted fork 13 for the forepart of the rifle, and an inclined trough or guideway 15 for the butt of the rifle. The butt rests on a padded shoe 19 adapted to be adjusted along the trough 15, which may be graduated, by a handle 26. The shoe can be clamped in position by a screw and nut 22, 24”

Cited from: European Patent Office, GB101441 (A) – Rifle Stand for Use when Firing a Rifle Grenade, Application number: GB19160004302 19160323,   https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?FT=D&date=19160921&DB=&locale=&CC=GB&NR=101441A&KC=A&ND=1# [Accessed April 2019].

Patent for Kneeshaw's 'Rifle Stand for Use when Firing a Rifle Grenade', Bibliographic data: GB101441 (A) ? 1916-09-21. European Patent Office.
Patent for Kneeshaw’s ‘Rifle Stand for Use when Firing a Rifle Grenade’, Bibliographic data: GB101441 (A) ? 1916-09-21. European Patent Office (European Patent Office website screenshot, April 2019).

Lynette Hunter
Archivist
Bangor University

Related

Carter Vincent Manuscripts, 1597-1943

Carter, Vincent & Co., Additional Papers, 1570-1857

Browse all Bangor University Archives descriptions available to date on the Archives Hub.

Previous features on the Bangor University Archives collections:

The Welsh in Patagonia

Sentimental Journey: a focus on travel in the archives

All images copyright Bangor University Archives and reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright holders.

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