Breudwd Welsh Prose 1300-1425

TEI Header for Oxford Jesus College MS. 57

: 'Oxford Jesus College 57: An Electronic Edition' TEI header

: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Whitefriars, Lewins Mead, Bristol BS1 2AE 0117 987 6500

Principal Investigator: Peter Wynn Thomas

Transcribed and encoded by D. Mark Smith

Transcribed and encoded by Diana Luft

School of Welsh, Cardiff University Cardiff 2013

  • : Oxford
  • : Jesus College
  • : 57
  • : Oxford, Jesus College 4

The manuscript contains a copy of Cyfraith Hywel Dda or The Laws of Hywel Dda in the version that Aneurin Owen identified as the Dimetian Code or Dull Dyfed, now referred to as Llyfr Blegywryd. It was consulted though not used extensively by Aneurin Owen in his edition of the of the Dimetian Code in his Ancient Laws and Institutes of Wales, and is referred to as 'Manuscript J' in this edition and in the subsequent literature. The text was edited by Melville Richards (1957). Images of this manuscript are available online at the 'Early Manuscripts at Oxford University' website:

Page Contents Hand
1-268 Llyfr Blegywryd Hywel Fychan
4 pages missing
269-303 Llyfr Blegywryd Hywel Fychan
303-304 Llyfr Blegywryd Jesus 57 hand B

The following texts were consulted during transcription:

  • Charles-Edwards, T. M. ed. and trans. 1980. The 'Iorwerth' Text. The Welsh Law of Women. eds. Dafydd Jenkins and Moryfdd E. Owen. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. 161-79.
  • Charles-Edwards, T. M. ed. and trans. 1986. The 'Iorwerth' Text. Lawyers and Laymen. eds. T. M. Charles-Edwards, Moryfdd E. Owen and D. B. Walters. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. 137-178.
  • Richards, Melville. ed. 1957. Cyfreithiau Hywel Dda o Lawysgrif Coleg yr Iesu Rhydychen LVII. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.

Supplied text is taken from Richards.

There are two systems of foliation to be found in the top right corner of each recto page, one counting each page and the other counting each folio. The first system has been crossed out, perhaps by the author of the second, probably because of a mistake in the foliation in which page number 115 (and hence 116) appears twice. The editors have followed the second, corrected, system.

Catchwords are occasionally found in the bottom right hand corner of the page. Others may have been cut out later as a result of the process of binding. All catchwords are in the hand of the main scribe unless otherwise noted. Examples may be seen at pages 20: y sỽyd; 100: myc; 140: irch

The manuscript is difficult to read in places because of fading and staining.

The text is written in a single column of between 20 and 22 lines to each page.

The manuscript is written in the late fourteenth-century rounded textura hand of Hywel Fychan. Hywel was also responsible for penning Peniarth 11 which contains a copy of Ystoriau Seint Greal, Philadelphia 8680 which contains a copy of Ystoria Dared and Brut y Brenhinoedd, parts of the Red Book of Hergest (Oxford Jesus College 111), and the three manuscripts which comprise the Red Book of Talgarth (Llanstephan 27, Peniarth 12 and pages 101-112 of Cardiff 3.242). A second hand of the fifteenth century has added a short amount of text on pages 303 and 304. This scribe has been given the designation 'Jesus 57 hand B' for the purposes of this transcription.
‘Hywel Fychan’

Hywel uses both regular and medial <a>. The medial <a> often serves almost as a capital, and is commonly found at the beginning of names and clauses.

Hywel writes ligatured <cc>, <tt> and <ct> in such a way that they are almost indistinguishable from one another.

The difference between some of the capitals and small forms can be slight. This is especially so when the capital is simply a slightly larger version of the small form. An example of such a capital is: <V>: 40.3

The orthography of this scribe does not appear to differ substantially from expected forms.

The text contains a number of common abbreviations. These have been expanded in the transcription to the forms that are given elsewhere in the text itself rather than to standard or dictionary forms.

  • macron for <n>: amdiffy[n]nỽr 23.19, 55.2; ben[n]af 21.17; brenhi[n] 3.17, 13.6, 22.6, etc.; bron[n] 59.6; by[n]nac 49.5; etc.
  • macron for [m]: ky[m]meint 209.4; ky[m]mỽt 247.14, 247.16; digy[m]mell 180.7; ma[m]mỽys 242.4; sy[m]mudaỽd 245.9
  • <9> for [er]: d[er]uyd 257.1, 257.6, 268.6
  • <9> for [us]: anaf[us] 149.18; dylyed[us] 103.18
  • <9> for [ur]: wneuth[ur] 256.18, 257.1, 268.6
  • <2> for [us]: creuyd[us] 287.10; dylyed[us] 101.2
  • <i> above the letter for [ri]: p[ri]odawr 241.2, 241.3, 241.12

Some commonly occurring words may also be abbreviated:

  • <angk[yfreith]>: 283.6, 297.18
  • <brawd[wr]>: 44.17
  • <brenh[in]>: 109.6
  • <k[yfreith]>: 280.9, 280.14, 287.13, etc.
  • <kyf[reith]>: 216.1, 216.2, 225.3,etc.
  • <k[yfreith]aỽl>: 281.20
  • <d[eruyd]>: 279.10, 279.19, 280.19, etc.
  • <d[er]uyd>: 284.10

Punctuation consists of the punctus and the punctus elevatus.

In some places it is obvious that the scribe has skipped from one line to another because the same word appears in successive lines. Modern published editions of the text from other sources make apparent the aberrant reading in this manuscript. An example may be seen at:

Location Manuscript reading Edition
13.1-2 Lletty y penkynyd a r kynydyon ganthaỽ yỽ y ty nessaf y yscubaỽr y brenhin a r gỽastrodyon ganthaỽ. Lletty y penkynyd a'r kynydyon ganthaw [yw] [odynty] [y] [brenhin] [Lletty] [y] [pengwastraut] yw y ty nessaf y yscubawr y brenhin a'r gwastrodyon ganthaw. (CHDd)

The decoration consists in the main of large decorated initials in red and green ink, as well as lively line drawings in the bottom margins of some pages. An example of a line-drawing of a hand may be seen in the bottom margin of page 44.

In many places where there are coloured initial letters, the scribe has indicated what the letter should be with a smaller letter which appears behind the initial. An example – of a <d> – may be seen at 220.9.

In some cases the person responsible for filling in the decorated initials has missed one and only a space indicates where the letter should be. Examples may be seen at:

  • <O>: 115.8
  • <N>: 126.4
  • <T>: 87.1, 87.12

In some places the scribe or decorator has drawn a picture, often of a fish or human face, into a decorated letter found at the top of a line. An example of a fish may be seen at 303.1.

There are some marginalia in later hands in the manuscript which have not been included in the transcription:

  • 33 RM.12: 'yma' (later hand)
  • 35 RM.19: 'Maer Bisweil' (later hand)
  • 111 TM: 'H.3 p 134' (later hand: ?Melville Richards. This is a reference to a passage that has been added by the same hand in the top margin and which has been included in the edition. This same text appears in Richards's edition.)

Notes in a number of modern hands precede the manuscript and are bound with it.

The manuscript was produced at the end of the fourteenth or the beginning of the fifteenth century in Wales (Huws: 2000: 60).

Melville Richards suggested that the manuscript was written at the behest of Hopcyn ap Tomas of Ynystawe as it is in the hand of Hywel Fychan, a scribe known to have worked for him, as his colophon in Philadelphia 8680 attests: ‘y llyuyr hwnn a yscriuennwys howel vychan uab howel goch o uuellt yn llwyr onys gwnaeth agkof adaw geir neu lythyren. o arch a gorchymun y vaester nyt amgen Hopkyn uab thomas uab einawn’. James (1993: 17) points out in this connection that an awdl to Hopcyn ap Tomas by Dafydd y Coed found in the Red Book of Hergest (Oxford Jesus College 111) states that amongst the books to be found in Hopcyn’s court were ‘…y Lusidarius/ A’r Greal a’r Ynyales/ A grym pob kyfreith ae gras’; she suggests (1993: 31) that this manuscript may be connected with the ‘grym pob kyfraith ae gras’ mentioned in the verse.

Melville Richards (1957: xi) noted that a number of medieval hands had made notes in the margins of the manuscript, and that 'ears' or pieces of vellum had been folded through a small hole made in the page in order to mark important passages. He also recorded the presence of a note in the hand of Siôn Dafydd Rhys, and conjectured that Rhys might have been responsible for the underlining on pages 1-23 of the manuscript (Richards 1957: xii). Richards also noted that the name Watkin John had been added to the manuscript in a sixteenth or seventeenth century hand, and mentioned that the same man had added his name to Peniarth 11, which was in the hand of John Watkin Ieuan of Defynnog. Richards further noted that corrections and notes in the hand of Moses Williams occur throughout the manuscript.

The manuscript was given to Jesus College Oxford in 1657 by Owen Owen of Anglesey: this is attested by a note on the first page of the manuscript: 'Liber Collegii Jesu Oxoniensis ex dono Oweni Owen Monensis obsonatoris et promi Aulae Cervinae 1657'. According to another note, it was collated by Aneurin Owen in June of 1827 (Richards 1957: xiii).

Information on the dating and hand of this manuscript is based on the following authorities:

  • Evans, J. Gwenogvryn. 1898-1910. Jesus 57. Report on manuscripts in the Welsh Language 1. London: HMSO. 372-3.
  • Huws, Daniel. 2000. Medieval Welsh Manuscripts. Cardiff and Aberystwyth: University of Wales Press and the National Library of Wales.
  • Huws, Daniel. A Repertory of Welsh Manuscripts and Scribes. draft.
  • James, Christine. 1993. 'Llwyr Wybodau, Llên a Llyfrau': Hopcyn ap Tomas a’r Traddodiad Llenyddol Cymraeg. Hywel Teifi Edwards. ed. Cwm Tawe. Llandysul: Gwasg Gomer. 4-44.
  • Morgan, Prys. 1982. Glamorgan and the Red Book. Morgannwg 22. 42-60.
  • Richards, Melville. ed. 1957. Cyfreithiau Hywel Dda o Lawysgrif Coleg yr Iesu Rhydychen LVII. Cardiff: University of Wales Press
  • Roberts, Brynley. 1967. Un o lawysgrifau Hopcyn ab Tomas o Ynys Dawe. BBCS 22. 223-227.

The Welsh Prose 1350-1425 website is the product of an AHRC funded research project undertaken by staff at the School of Welsh, Cardiff University from 2004 through 2007 called Corff Electronig o Ryddiaith Cymraeg Canol. The aim of this project was to produce machine-readable editions of all the medieval Welsh prose texts which have been preserved in manuscripts dating from c.1350 to c.1425.

The project is a continuation and a development of two previous projects funded by the University of Wales which transcribed the Welsh prose in manuscripts dated to c.1250-c.1350.

The intention is to give scholars access not only to texts that have hitherto remained unedited but also to the different versions of texts that have been the subject of critical editions.

Certain decorative features have been encoded: these may trigger further study of the original manuscripts. Primarily, however, the resource provides detail which it is hoped will further the study of the language and literature of the period.

In producing this edition, the editors have attempted to fulfil two different and often non-complementary if not opposing goals: to present a minimally edited edition of the text, and to represent as many visual features of the manuscript as possible.

Visual features of the text such as layout, and rubrication may prove to be as essential in textual interpretation as features such as punctuation, letter forms, capitalisation and word division, which are more usually invoked by scholars in the field.

The orthography of the original text has been maintained, even where it is idiosyncratic, as the unique characteristics of the scribe's spelling may shed light upon the language of the period as he, his audience, or patron used it. Where the scribe's orthography seems to merit particular attention, an editorial gloss has been added to indicate what the editors believe to have been the target form.

In some places, especially where the manuscript is damaged, the editors have supplied text. This serves the two-fold purpose of presenting a complete text and, perhaps more importantly, of indicating the size of the damaged area.

In order to make editorial intervention as transparent as possible, supplied text is clearly marked off from the manuscript text by a different font. Also in the spirit of editorial transparency, the editors have wherever possible used published editions for supplied text. Text supplied from published editions may suffer from obvious errors or significant differences in orthography from the manuscript text. The editors have refrained from imposing our own editorial actions on such features.

The transcription of this manuscript, as well as the information in this TEI header is based on the digital reproduction of the manuscript produced by Oxford University and available on their website at As the editors have not checked the ranscription against the original, information on the foliation and accompanying materials should be reated as provisional.

  • 5-Mar-2011 DL: edited TEI header
  • 16-Aug-2007 PWT: edited TEI header
  • 17-Nov-2006 – 21-Feb-2007 PWT: edited XML encoded files, produced table of corrections and amended where necessary
  • 17-Nov-2006 DL: converted Word files with shortcuts into XML files and corrected them
  • 8-Feb-2006 – 24-Feb-2006 DL: corrected electronic transcription of pages 1-150
  • 6-Feb-2006 – 24-Feb-2006 DMS: corrected electronic transcription of pages 151-304
  • 7-Feb-2006 – 22-Feb-2006 DMS: checked DL's transcript of folios 1-150 against prints
  • 4-Feb-2006 – 21-Jun-2006 DL: checked DMS's transcript of pages 151-304 against prints
  • 3-Feb-2006 – 20-Feb-2006 DL: transcribed pages 1-150 with shortcuts
  • 3-Feb-2006 – 20-Feb-2006 DMS: transcribed pages 151-304 with shortcuts

The material has been transcribed separately.