genuinely interesting addition to the literature. Mrs Belcham skillfully weaves strands of social, economic, and estate history into her account of the family's affairs, to present a rounded and convincing portrait of her subject. Her account is broadly chronological, tracing the family's fortunes from the eighteenth century to the twentieth, though she concentrates chiefly on the nineteenth century. The Williamses appear from this account to have been fairly typical of that 'greater gentry' class, defined by Professor F. M. L. Thompson as owning over 3,000 acres worth more than £ 3,000 a year. The value of the land, however, was supplemented by a wide range of ancillary investments. The Williamses benefited from the minerals that lay beneath their estates, and were also active above ground, investing in local canal, turnpike and railway schemes. In addition, they owned tithes and exploited the reserves of timber on the estate to full effect. Banking provided another prop for the family's fortunes: they had an interest in the Glamorganshire Banking Company. The Williamses seem to have lived the lives that one would expect people of this class to have lived. The boys were educated at English public schools and tended to spend a certain amount of time at Cambridge prior to a 'Grand Tour' of Europe. The girls, by contrast, were educated at schools in Swansea or by governesses at home. Upon returning home, the boys entered upon the active service expected of the Victorian aristocracy: they acted as Magistrates in their localities, and on occasion as Deputy Lieutenants for the county; they took their turn in serving the (unpopular) office of High Sheriff; they patronised local charities, and contributed towards the expenses of local churches and schools, whilst providing land for the local chapels. Twice (in 1832 and 1910) they provided prospective Conservative candidates for the county seat in parliament, though they were unsuccessful on both occasions. The girls, meanwhile, either married, or settled down to lives of spinsterhood and local charitable usefulness. Mrs Belcham captures well the tension that could sometimes arise between the head of the family and his less privileged younger brothers. If in all these matters the Williamses of Aberpergwm were a 'typical' gentry family, they were somewhat extraordinary in their prolonged and overt patronage of Welsh culture. Throughout the nineteenth century Welsh was the language of the household, the children were given Welsh names and apparently learned Welsh first and English second. In the mid-nineteenth, the family was part of that circle which centred around the redoubtable Lady Llanover, and in which Jane and Ann Williams were particularly active. In 1844 they produced a volume of traditional songs gathered whilst visiting the houses on the estate, entitled Ancient National Airs of Gwent and Morgannwg. In similar vein, the morning dress of the