Breudwd Welsh Prose 1300-1425

TEI Header for NLW MS. 20143A

: 'NLW 20143 A: 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

  • : Aberystwyth
  • : National Library of Wales
  • : 20143 A

The manuscript contains a copy of Cyfreithiau Hywel Dda in the version that Aneurin Owen identified as the Gwentian Code, now referred to as Llyfr Cyfnerth up to the end of the section on the Laws of the Courts at page 19v (col. 75) though, according to a descriptive note by Dafydd Jenkins on the manuscript in 1974, it does not follow any one manuscript very closely. Beginning at page 20r (col. 77), the text bears more resemblance to the Dimetian Code now referred to as Llyfr Blegywryd, although again the text does not entirely correspond to any other manuscript of this version.

The text in this manuscript was consulted though not used extensively by Aneurin Owen in his editions of the of the Gwentian and the Dimetian codes in his Ancient Laws and Institutes of Wales, and represents the manuscript that is labelled 'Y' in that edition and in the subsequent literature. Digital images of this manuscript are available on the National Library of Wales website at

Page Contents Hand
0-i verso Latin text in materials used in bindings unknown
ii recto - iii verso Latin text in materials used in binding, upside down unknown
1r-19v Llyfr Cyfnerth NLW 20143 hand A
20r-32v Llyfr Blegywryd NLW 20143 hand A
33r Llyfr Blegywryd NLW 20143 hand B
33v-34r Llyfr Blegywryd NLW 20143 hand A
34v Llyfr Blegywryd NLW 20143 hand B
35r-37r Llyfr Blegywryd NLW 20143 hand A
37v later marginalia and pen trials unknown
38r-40v Llyfr Blegywryd NLW 20143 hand A
textual lacuna: pages may be missing
41r-43v Llyfr Blegywryd NLW 20143 hand A
44r-45r Llyfr Blegywryd NLW 20143 hand B
45v-54r Llyfr Blegywryd NLW 20143 hand A
54v-81r Llyfr Blegywryd NLW 20143 hand B
81v-95r Llyfr Blegywryd NLW 20143 hand A
95v-100v Llyfr Blegywryd NLW 20143 hand B
100v Llyfr Blegywryd NLW 20143 hand A
100v-115v Llyfr Blegywryd NLW 20143 hand B

The following texts were consulted during transcription

  • Jenkins, Dafydd and Morfydd E. Owen. eds. 1980. The Welsh Law of Women. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. 133, 135.
  • Richards, Melville. ed. 1957. Cyfreithiau Hywel Dda o Lawysgrif Coleg yr Iesu Rhydychen LVII. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.
  • Wade-Evans, A. W. ed. 1909. Welsh medieval law, being a text of the Laws of Howel the Good, namely the British Museum Harleian MS. 4353 of the 13th century. Oxford: The Clarendon Press.
  • Williams, Stephen J. and Powell, J. Enoch. eds. 1942. Cyfreithiau Hywel Dda yn ôl Llyfr Blegywryd (Dull Dyfed). Cardiff: University of Wales Press.

Supplied text has been drawn from Wade-Evans (1909) up to page 19v of this edition; thereafter it comes from Williams and Powell (1942).

Ttwo systems of page numbering feature in this manuscript

  • i. at the top centre of each page in brown ?ink in Arabic numerals; these have been crossed out, possibly by the person responsible for the second system
  • ii. in the top right corner of each recto folio in brown ?ink in Arabic numerals.

The editors have followed the second system of numbering as it is more consistent than the earlier one.

The manuscript is in relatively good condition, though folios 1r and 115v are faded and difficult to read. There may be a number of folios missing between pages 40v and 41r.

The text is written in two columns with between 19 and 21 lines to each page.

The manuscript is written in the late-fourteenth-century rounded textura hands of two unidentified scribes most likely working together. These scribes have been given the denotations 'NLW 20143 hand A' and 'NLW 20143 hand B' for the purposes of this transcription. 'NLW 20143 hand A' is responsible for writing pages 1-32v, 33v, 35r-43v, 45v-54r, 81v-95r and part of 100v while 'NLW 20143 hand B' is responsible for pages 33r, 34v, 44r-45r, 54v-81r, 95v-100v col. 1 and 100v col. 2-115v.
‘NLW 20132 hand A’

Hand A uses both regular and medial <a>. The medial <a> is far less common than in other contemporary manuscripts in the text on folios 1r-19v and 54r-115v, and tends to function as a capital letter. In a section from 20r-54v, the medial <a> is more frequent and tends to function as both a small and a capital letter.

Hand A uses both regular and dotted <y>, with dotted <y> appearing primarily in a section from 1r-53v. There seems to be no phonological trigger for the use of the dot. The undotted variant is slightly more common with capital letters than small ones.

The difference between some of the capitals and smaller forms can be slight. This is especially so when the capital is simply a slightly larger version of the small form. Examples of such capitals are:

  • <C> 22.1
  • <H> 25.6
  • <K> 6.13, 13.4
  • <S> 17.15
  • <Y> 18.3, 18.6, 18.8, 18.11, 18.12, 19.3, 28.5, 37.9, 38.4, 38.13, 57.6, 81.2, 81.7, 82.10

Hand A's orthography is notable for its variation. This may be a function of his lack of training, perhaps combined with the use of a large range of source materials. Characteristic features include the tendency to vary between <u> and <ỽ> and to double letters when dividing words across lines.

‘NLW 20132 hand B’

Hand B uses both regular and medial <a>. The medial <a> is far less common than in other contemporary manuscripts in the text on folios 54r-115v, and tends to function as a capital letter.

The difference between some of the capitals and smaller forms can be slight. This is especially so when the capital is simply a slightly larger version of the small form. Examples of such capitals are:

  • <LL> 57.3
  • <P> 77.9, 77.12

Hand B writes ligatured <cc> and <tt> in such a way that they are almost indistinguishable form one another. Examples may be be seen at:

  • 66.17 <dirmyccer>
  • 99.17 <triccyo>
  • 102.2 <veichocco>
  • 102.13 <gyttyo>
  • 119.5 <venffyccyo>

Hand B's orthography is notable for its variation. This may be a function of his lack of training, perhaps combined with the use of a large range of source materials.

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 430.7-8; brenhi[n] 29.15; byn[n]hac 39.7; colouyn[n] 223.15; kyura[n]naỽc 180.6; ky[n]nogyn 366.14; deugei[n]t 285.11; dy[n]nyon 409.20; hy[n]ny 443.10; hyn[n]y 269.17, 278.17, 279.1; pen[n]adỽr 48.19; pren[n] 348.7

Certain commonly occurring items may also be abbreviated:

  • <k> for <keinhauc>: 70.3
  • <k> for <kyfreith>: 308.9, 325.15, 330.7
  • <keinha> for <keinhawc>: 352.19
  • <kyf> for <kyfreith>: 311.10

Punctuation is in the form of the punctus and the punctus elevatus. Much of the punctuation is idiosyncratic and apparent puncti may be the product of accidental drips of ink from the pen of a non-professional scribe rather than intentional punctuation marks. Such phenomena have been transcribed as punctuation markers as there is no way of distinguishing between dots made with intention and those that are unintentional. There is an unusual punctuation mark resembling three vertical dots after <lletuegin> at 334.2, after <Dros> at 345.10, and after <orvyd> at 436.17. Each of these has been transcribed as a punctus elevatus.

In one place it is clear that the scribe has skipped from one line to another because the same word appears in successive lines:

Location Manuscript reading Edition
212.13-15 ygan y tayogeu y keiff. gỽr amarch abỽell ywneuthur y gestyll ac Y gan y tayogeu y keiff y brenhin pynueirch yn y luyd, ac o pob tayawctref y keiff gwr a march a bwell y wneuthur y gestyll (LlB 47.15-17)

Decoration consists of large decorated initials in red ink and line-drawings in the margins. The decoration is lively and varied if not of the most accomplished workmanship and, as with many legal manuscripts, is probably the work of the scribe himself. Decoration may be found at the following places:

  • 11-12.19: cross design between columns
  • 67: bearded face in the large decorated initial P
  • 97-98 GM: swirly design
  • 123.13 LM: leafy design
  • 155 BM: peacock pecking berries off of bush
  • 245 TM: dragon's head
  • 256 TM: fish in top margin
  • 268 RM.2-5: swirly design
  • 269 TM: type of swirly design
  • 277.1, 279.1, 281.1, 282.1: examples of leafy design on ornate letters
  • 308.9, 10-12: swirly design
  • 309.1, 310.1, 311.1, 319.1: examples of animal's head in ornate letter
  • 313 TM: leafy design
  • 321.8-17: arm and hand in margin
  • 354 LM: leafy design down the margin

In some cases there is decoration extending from a large decorated initial letter into the margin. Examples may be seen at:

  • 332: LM.7-19
  • 336: LM.2-7
  • 341: LM.2-14
  • 342: LM.2-13

In many places figures or objects are drawn encompassing the ends of words written below the lines at the end of text on pages:

  • 8: decorated paragraph mark encompassing <hin>
  • 15: decorated paragraph mark encompassing <ỽd>
  • 17: decorated box encompassing <t>
  • 19: decorated box encompassing <6t>
  • 35: box around <on>
  • 28: sickle encompassing <ayan>
  • 62: shield encompassing 'eu'
  • 81 and 82: double-headed dragon with one open mouth around <oryd> and the other encompassing <mryt>
  • 94: dragon figure with open mouth encompassing <afel>
  • 95: plant with branches encompassing <her>
  • 96: mermaid with trident encompassing <ell>
  • 102: plant with branches encompassing <rhaet>
  • 110: plant with branches encompassing <edic>
  • 114: evangelist symbol of Mark (the lion) labelled <marcus> with open mouth encompassing <as>
  • 124: leafy design encompassing <chet>
  • 126: leafy design encompassing <wedir>
  • 130: leafy design encompassing <no>
  • 150: evangelist symbol of John (the eagle) with text bubble around <yan>
  • 152: evangelist symbol of Luke (the calf), erroneously labelled <Johanes> with text box which encompasses <ydet>
  • 160: man holding flowering branch which encompasses <ytalaỽdyr>
  • 173: fish with open mouth encompassing <aỽn>
  • 200: lion with open mouth encompassing <enhin>
  • 210: peacock with text bubble encompassing <tyston>
  • 212: lizard with open mouth encompassing <auell>
  • 255: dragon with open mouth encompassing <yn>
  • 280: man holding spear which encompasses <rỽyneu>
  • 313: evangelist symbol of Matthew labelled <matheus> holding bishop's staff which encompasses <nny>
  • 324: plant with branches and a cactus encompassing <atal>
  • 333: lower part of arm and hand encompassing <erth>
  • 346: leafy design around <nhin>
  • 347: leafy design around <cỽrn>
  • 351: leafy design around <int>
  • 355: cactus plant with branches encompassing <y iaỽnhau>
  • 361: cactus plant with branches encompassing <eic>
  • 378: lines leading down to <dyn>
  • 380: circle around <ho>
  • 381: circle around <het>
  • 155r: circle around <dolder keis yr ymyl> and <vry>

In some places the scribe or decorator has drawn faces into the decorated letters at the tops of lines. Some of these are reminiscent of the bearded faces found in the letters in the Book of Kells, though they are much less accomplished. Examples may be seen at:

  • 291.1: a bird’s head in the <d> of <bewỽyred>
  • 231.1: a man’s face in the <h> of <hagen>
  • 235.1: a bird’s head in the <ll> of <oll>
  • 239.1: a bird’s head in the <l> and a man's face in the <h> of <teilygach>
  • 243.1: a bird’s head in the <h> of <kyfreith>
  • 255.1: a bird’s head in the <d> of <dyly>
  • 261.1: a bird’s head in the <f> of <gyfreith>

In many places where there are coloured initial letters, the scribe has indicated what the letter should be by means of a smaller form which appears behind the initial. Examples are:

  • <B> 54.15
  • <D> 52.5, 58.3
  • <P> 97.3

In some cases this smaller form appears in the margin to the left of the initial. Examples are:

  • <K> 70.17
  • <O> 56.3, 73.13
  • <P> 197.2
  • <Y> 54.1

In some cases the person responsible for filling in the decorated initials has missed one so that only the smaller form remains. Examples are:

  • <a> 96.1
  • <b> 347.2
  • <e> 64.16
  • <g> 53.18, 58.11, 104.13
  • <n> 52.15, 342.18
  • <o> 75.1, 118.20, 272.14
  • <p> 434.9
  • <t> 377.19, 380.3, 380.10, 389.15, 395.9, 399.8, 408.5
  • <y> 54.3, 66.10

There are some marginalia in the manuscript which have not been included in the transcription.

  • 1v TM: 'Cap. 1 (?Aneurin Owen)
  • 20v BM: 'Etỽ drgeigo galanas a ddoynt a ddofodic y y dyn dowyd etiudyyan y ffaddedic y colir or brauddt gan ddeddw Ac yddynt wvy do yr dallyg eith y caddy llaustygadwr' (16th century hand)
  • 37v: 3 lines of pen trials - alphabet? 'est amen' (16th century hand)
  • 37v: 'No poene nas valet meilio let[ius] ma bei' (16th century hand)
  • 37v: illegible
  • 37v: 'tewi y wna haf hoyw wawy tec yw gwenhỽyn ar uyntaỽr'
  • 37v: 'E amore ony gelido zepheius seyt exeunt'
  • 37v: illegible
  • 38r BM: pen trials (?16th century)
  • 39v BM: pen trials (?16th century)
  • 40v BM: pen trials (?16th century)
  • 42v BM: illegible (16th century hand)
  • 43v BM: illegible (16th century hand)
  • 53r LM: illegible
  • 54v BM: pen trials
  • 46v LM 181.20: 'prouerbum' (unclear, ?16th century)
  • 49r BM upside down, right to left: 'os ac anerch at dauyd a manac idaỽ val hyn dauyd saer gỽna yr hyn' (?scribe's hand)
  • 53v LM.1: 'de custodib[us]' (?16th century hand)
  • 53v BM: illegible (later hand)
  • 54r BM: pen trials
  • 56r RM.1: 'de heriotis' (?16th century hand)
  • 270 BM: 'byỽch dalediỽ' (?later hand)
  • 338 BM: illegible (signature?)
  • 359 BM: illegible
  • 373 LM: 'tir' (main hand, repeating text)
  • 374 BM: illegible
  • 376 BM: illegible
  • 396 BM: illegible
  • 406 RM.2: illegible
  • 410 BM: illegible
  • 412 BM: illegible
  • 413 LM.18: 'y' (?main hand)

The law text is preceded and followed by two Latin texts which are probably recycled pages from another manuscript used in the binding. The outer text is written in a professional rounded textura hand with anglicana features. The inner text, the pages of which are bound in the manuscript upside down, is written in an unprofessional rounded textura.

The manuscript was copied in the second half of the fourteenth century in Wales. Daniel Huws suggests that the decoration of the manuscript suggests an eccelesiastical setting for its production (Repertory).

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

  • 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.
  • Jenkins, Dafydd. Descriptive note accompanying the manuscript.

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, we 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 we believe to have been the target form.

In some places, especially where the manuscript is damaged, we 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, we 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. We have refrained from imposing our own editorial actions on such features.

The transcription, as well as the information in this TEI header is based on the microfilm reproduction of the manuscript produced by the National Library of Wales in 1998. As we have not checked the transcription against the original, information on the scribal hands, foliation, accompanying materials, colour scheme and ornamentation should be treated as provisional.

  • 28-Jan-2011 DL: edited TEI header
  • 14-Aug-2007 PWT: edited TEI header
  • 2-Jun-2006 PWT: edited XML encoded files, produced table of corrections and amended where necessary
  • 12-Apr-2006 DL: converted Word files with shortcuts into XML files and corrected them
  • 24-Mar-2005 – 16-May-2005 DL: corrected electronic version of folios 1r-66v
  • 6-Apr-2005 – 13-May-2005 DMS: corrected electronic version of folios 68r-115v
  • 23-Mar-2005 – 16-May-2005 DL: checked DMS's corrections of folios 1r-66v against microfilm
  • 6-Apr-2005 – 13-May-2005 DMS: checked DL's corrections of folios 68r-115v against microfilm
  • 23-Mar-2005 – 13-Apr-2005 DMS: checked DL's transcript of folios 1r-66v against prints
  • 5-Apr-2005 – 11-May-2005 DL: checked DMS's transcript of folios 68r-115v against prints
  • 21-Mar-2005 – 12-May-2005 DL: transcribed folios 1r-66v with shortcuts
  • 2-Apr-2005 – 11-May-2005 DL: transcribed folios 68r-115v with shortcuts

The material has been transcribed separately.