Advisory Board

The Advisory Board is an external body consisting of experts and community members who share a concern for the development of ISWE into a vigorous intellectual entity capable of making a positive difference to Welsh society and culture. The Board comprises a group of individuals whose expertise and skills align with our interests – including historical and contemporary understandings of estates and country houses, archives, rural affairs and the cultural heritage of Wales.

The role of the Board is to provide a sounding board for our long-term development and to offer insights and advice on matters relating to our public profile, stakeholder relations, intellectual identity and funding strategies. The Board meets about twice a year, with members acting as ambassadors for the centre in their spheres of influence.

Prof Robin Grove-White (Chair)

The Advisory Board is chaired by Prof Robin Grove-White, the owner of the Brynddu estate on Anglesey. Robin spent his career at the intersection of research and policy, including as Director of the Council for the Protection of Rural England, Chairman of Greenpeace UK and Co-Director of the interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Environmental Change at Lancaster University, where he became Professor of Environment and Society. In 2012 he received a PhD from Bangor University for a thesis on the early modern history of the Plas Coch estate in Anglesey. In 2018 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by Bangor University for services to the community. He is President of the Anglesey Antiquarian Society.

Dr Rhian Davies

An alumna of Bangor and Aberystwyth universities, and of Jesus College, Oxford, Rhian Davies is a music historian who has been Artistic Director of the Gregynog Festival since 2006. Inspired by the rich cultural legacy of Gregynog in Rhian’s home county of Montgomery, the Festival is now firmly established as one of the premier cultural events in the UK. Rhian is a leading advocate of Wales’ musical heritage and throughout her career has worked to promote Welsh culture internationally, whilst also showcasing global talent in Wales. Rhian was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by Bangor University in 2019 for services to Music.

Prof Terence Dooley

Terry specialises in Irish social and political history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, particularly the history of Irish country houses and the landed class. In 2001 he produced a ground-breaking monograph on The decline of the big house in Ireland, which directly led to the establishment of the Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates (CSHIHE) at Maynooth University under Terry’s directorship. This research centre, working across public and private spheres, and in collaboration with academia, archives and cultural heritage, has transformed both academic and public understanding of and engagement with the history of country houses and estates in Ireland. The achievements of CSHIHE are recognised internationally and in many respects they provide the model and inspiration for ISWE’s development. They are one of our key academic partners and Terry’s position on the Board serves to strengthen collaborative ties between the centres in Ireland and Wales.

Dr Rajkumari W. Jones

An Honorary Fellow of Bangor University, Raj has made major contribution to Bangor University, the local community and to wildlife and conservation projects since her move to Anglesey in 1997. A physicist by training, Raj has long-term interests and publications in the history of science and technology. She helped to establish the History of Physics Group at the Institute of Physics, served as a trustee of the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry and was Secretary of the Manchester Literary & Philosophical Society. Since 1997 she has devoted her time and efforts to her great passion in life: conservation, in particular of the native red squirrel in Anglesey. She sponsored the Bangor History Festival in 2019.

Sir David T. R. Lewis

David was born in Hong Kong and is the grandson of a sheep-farmer from Carmarthenshire. He read Jurisprudence at Jesus College, Oxford, and enjoyed a distinguished career as a lawyer with Norton Rose, holding the position of Chairman and Senior Partner between 1997 and 2003. In 2006 he was elected to the office of Sheriff of the City of London and in 2007 became the City’s 680th Lord Mayor. In 2009 he received his knighthood in recognition of his services to the legal profession and to the City of London. Over recent years, having moved back to Carmarthenshire, David has dedicated significant time to researching and producing a series of volumes on the history of landed families, estates and their associated communities in south west Wales. He holds two Honorary DCLs (City and Wales) and is an Honorary Fellow of Jesus College Oxford, Cardiff, Guildhall School, and University of Wales Trinity Saint David. On 1 March 2008 he was awarded a St David’s honour by the First Minister.

Mr Thomas Lloyd

Tom is from the Tywi valley in Carmarthenshire. After reading Classics and Law at Cambridge he practiced as a solicitor in London before returning to Wales to devote his career to historic buildings and Welsh heritage. In 1986 he published The Lost Houses of Wales, which led to his appointment to the Historic Buildings Council for Wales, of which he was subsequently Chair for ten years. He has also served as Director of the Wales Tourist Board, promoting heritage as a component of Welsh tourism, as Chair of the Buildings at Risk Trust and as a Commissioner of RCAHMW. Since 2011 he has served as Wales Herald of Arms Extraordinary and has recently been appointed President of Carmarthenshire Historical Society.

Sir George W. Meyrick Bt.

George is Chairman of the Meyrick Group whose principal assets include the Meyrick family’s ancestral Bodorgan estate on Anglesey. The Bodorgan Estate comprises a diverse portfolio of residential, commercial, leisure, heritage, environmental and agricultural assets. His particular interests are in the inter-section of property and environmental markets and environmental governance. In 2017 George was appointed as the Chancellor of Bangor University, succeeding Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas as the 12th individual to hold the role. George is a qualified but currently non-practising barrister.

Sheila O’Neal (ex officio)

In her role as Executive Director of Development at Bangor University, Sheila has played an integral role in our establishment and growth as a research centre. ISWE’s initial phase of development has been supported by philanthropic funding. The Development Office supports ISWE in matters relating to private funding strategy, external relations, marketing and the operation of the Advisory Board.

Prof Peter Shapely (ex officio)

As Head of the School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences throughout ISWE’s existence, Peter has played an important role in overseeing our development into an academic entity fully integrated into the research, impact and learning functions of the School and University.

Mr Michael Tree

Born and brought up in Cardiganshire and Carmarthenshire, Michael qualified as a land agent at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, before working in private practice and later for the Crown Estate as Asset Manager and Conservation Adviser. His passion for Welsh architectural heritage inspired him to rescue and conserve the derelict buildings of Trevor Hall (Llangollen), Hendre House (Llanrwst) and, working with others, Plas Kynaston (Ruabon). He has published works on Welsh houses at risk and his current project is the conservation of a sixteenth-century hall house on the Powys/Shropshire border. He has previously chaired the Welsh Historic Gardens Trust and Historic Houses Association in Wales, as well as serving as a Trustee of the Georgian Group and member of the Historic Buildings Council for Wales.

Mr Einion Wyn Thomas

Einion was head of Bangor University Archives between 2002–2015 where he had responsibility for the preservation and promotion of the Archives, including the unique collections of estate papers. Prior to joining the University he was head of the Archives Service in Anglesey and later on in his native county of Merioneth. Prior to his retirement he co-founded the Institute for the Study of Welsh Estates as a centre to unlock the research potential of the University’s estate collections. Einion has research interests focusing on the history of rural Wales, including the history of poaching

Dr Helen Williams-Ellis

Helen worked as a television producer and director, overseeing programmes with a focus on Welsh subjects and issues, before undertaking a doctoral project at Bangor University on the life and image of the early modern Welsh gentlewomen Catrin of Berain. This research combined Helen’s interests in Welsh visual and literary cultures. Helen also runs a self-catering holiday cottage business on the Glasfryn estate in Caernarfonshire.