Blog - Digitisation

Posted - 15-10-2018

Collections / Digitisation / Events / News / News and Events / Research

The Peniarth Manuscripts: a bountiful harvest

Back in March, the Library published the first group of Peniarth Manuscripts to have been digitised as part of an ambitious plan to present the contents of the entire collection online.

This week, as the Library celebrates items and collections which have been inscribed on UNESCO’s UK Memory of the World Register, we announce that images of a further 25 manuscripts from the Peniarth Collection have appeared on our website. They are presented here according to dates of creation:

From the 14th century, we welcome 190, a Welsh manuscript containing religious texts such as Lucidar and Ymborth yr Enaid, together with 328 and 329, two legal manuscripts in Norman-French, with the latter containing the text of Magna Carta.

From the beginning of the 15th century, we welcome the Latin and English religious texts of 334, and from the middle of that century, the work of Petrarch in a Latin manuscript produced at Oxford (336), and the Welsh text of Gwassanaeth Meir (191). An abundant crop from the second half of the century includes Welsh Law (175), a calendar in the hand of Gutun Owain (186), and poems written by Huw Cae Llwyd (189).

A dearth of sources from the first half of the 16th century is followed by an abundant crop from 1550 onwards, including the manuscripts of Roger Morris of Coed-y-talwrn (169), Thomas Evans of Hendreforfudd (187), lexicographer Thomas Wiliems (188), Simwnt Fychan (189), and another version of Gwassanaeth Meir (192). Pedigrees are represented in 193, and medical tracts in 184, 206 and 207.

Robert Vaughan did not neglect contemporary manuscripts, and 17th century examples include a collection of Welsh poetry (184), grammars and vocabularies written by John Jones of Gellilyfdy (295, 296, 302, 304 and 305), and volumes written by Robert Vaughan himself (180 and 185).

Finally, one lonely manuscript of Welsh sermons (324) from the 18th century, possibly the product of Montgomeryshire.

For a complete list of all Peniarth Manuscripts available digitally, consult the dedicated page on our website. Meanwhile, our diligent digitizers continue to work through the collection!

Maredudd ap Huw
Curator of Manuscripts

Posted - 21-09-2018

Collections / Digitisation

Revealing the Objects: Dictionaries and Grammars

As of October 2018 the Library will share a number of additional items from its collections on Europeana, a European digital cultural platform. We are currently working with 12 other partner institutions on a project entitled ‘The Rise of Literacy’ which aims to explore the history of reading and writing in Europe. In this weekly blog series – ‘Revealing the Objects, some of the Library’s contributions will be disclosed on a thematic basis.

Here’s a selection of dictionaries and grammars that will be digitized as part of the project.

 

Gruffydd Robert – Dosparth byrr (1563)

Gruffydd Robert was a Roman Catholic scholar, a grammarian of the sixteenth century and a humanist of the Renaissance. It comes as no surprise therefore that Robert was concerned with the study of language and the Welsh language in particular. As a Catholic exile he had to contend with rigorous press censorship across Europe which made the process of publication a daunting task. Gruffydd Robert’s multi-volume Grammar ‘Dosbarth byrr’, the earliest grammar to appear in Welsh, was at least partly published in Milan from 1567, where the author had settled. Robert was a firm supporter of the art of translation and believed it was a vital component in the expansion and development of a language in the modern world. He put his ideas into practice in his grammar. In addition, he converted the Ciceronian style into a Welsh medium by including a select translation of Cicero’s De Senectute in his sixth volume of ‘Dosparth byrr’.

John Davies – Antiquae linguae Britannicae, nunc vulgo dictae Cambro-britannicae, a suis Cymraecae vel Cambricae, ab aliis Wallicae, et linguae Latinae, dictionarium duplex. Prius Britannico-Latinum, … posterius, Latino-Britannicum. Accesserunt adagia Britannica (1632)

‘Dictionarium Duplex’ was a Latin-Welsh, Welsh-Latin dictionary and the first of its kind. This publication showcased John Davies’s lifetime study of the Welsh language, from Old Welsh poetry dating from around the sixth century down to the seventeenth century. Davies was a Renaissance scholar and these humanistic values were evident is his ‘Dictionarium Duplex’. The preface to the volume presented an interesting statement on the uniqueness of the Welsh language, its history and its place within an international linguistic context. In addition, his familiarities with the ideas of influential humanistic scholars were evident within the publication. This dictionary was aimed at, and produced for, scholars or Latinists. It was certainly not a practical resource for the ordinary Welsh-man, nor the uneducated poet. The ‘Dictionarium Duplex’ came to the attention of some of Europe’s leading linguists in the seventeenth century and laid the foundations for many future Welsh linguists and scholars. It also had a great impact on lawyers and priests during that time. Its publication is considered as one of the most important events in the history of the Welsh language in the seventeenth century.

Thomas Jones – Y Gymraeg yn ei Disgleirdeb / The British language in its lustre (1688)

‘Y Gymraeg yn ei Disgleirdeb’ or ‘The British language in its lustre’ was the first Welsh-English dictionary to appear in published form. This volume, by the almanacer Thomas Jones, was pocket sized and relatively cheap. Jones used John Davies’s Welsh-Latin section in ‘Dictionarium Duplex’ as a starting point for his publication. However, this dictionary was not intended for the educated minority, like Davies’s Latin version, but rather the ordinary population. Jones wished to enhance the lower class’s ability to write and spell both in Welsh and English through ‘Y Gymraeg yn ei Disgleirdeb’.

Want to see more posts from this series? See below:

Elen Hâf Jones – Digital Access Projects Officer

This post was created as part of the Europeana Rise of Literacy Project

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Posted - 19-09-2018

Collections / Digitisation / News / Research

Aberystwyth shipping records

Creating linked open data for Victorian shipping registers

Volunteers at the National Library of Wales have been transcribing 19th century shipping records for Aberystwyth and these are now being shared openly on Wikidata by the Library’s National Wikimedian.

 

For the first time it is now possible to visualise and query this rich historical record giving us a glimpse of life in 19th century Aberystwyth.

 

In the 18th and 19th Century the Welsh ‘interior’ was not easy to reach. Before the coming of the train and the invention of tarmac, the best way to get goods in and out of West Wales was by boat. Shipping was a booming industry in towns and villages along the West Wales coast and Aberystwyth was no exception. Records for more than 500 ships registered in Aberystwyth survive at the National Library of Wales and Ceredigion County Archive.

 

Aberystwyth Harbour by Alfred Worthington

 

Volunteers at the National Library began transcribing the Aberystwyth shipping records in 2012. The data they extracted contained information about the ships, their crew and the voyages they undertook.

 

In 2016 the library began to explore the possibility of enriching some elements of the data using Wikidata as a platform to share this data. If you are unfamiliar with Wikidata, it is part of the Wikimedia family of websites, which includes Wikipedia, and is a massive database of free to use data. It isn’t even six years old but it already contains 50 million data items about all sorts of places, people, things and concepts, all added by volunteers and organisations wishing to share their data with the world. The library’s Wikimedian collaborated with Ceredigion County Archives, who held additional information about the ships in order to create linked data about the ships themselves. This data included details such as the type and size of each ship, the date and location of construction and, where known, their fate.

 

From this, we were able to begin digging around in the data, and creating revealing visualisations. If you wanted to see the most popular names for ships registered in Aberystwyth, for example, we can easily retrieve and present this information. A map of where the ships were built revealed some interesting facts too. As you might expect, many ships were build locally in Aberystwyth, Borth and Aberdyfi, for example, but the data also reveals that dozens of ships were built in Canada. A little more research revealed that the government of the day was so concerned about a French invasion that they deliberately established ship building yards in safer lands, such as Prince Edward Island off the Canadian Coast, in order to safeguard the ability to move good around the uk by boat.

Word map of most popular ship names

 

Left; ships built in eastern Canada. Right; Ships built in Aberystwyth and Aberdyfi

 

We were also able to plot all the shipwrecks mentioned in the records. This not only highlights the perils of 19th century shipping, but reveals how ships from West Wales villages were traveling the world. From India, China and Africa to South America and even the South Pole, Welsh sailors were very well traveled.

 

The location of shipwrecks recorded in the shipping records

 

After the initial transcription work, many of the volunteers who had worked on the collection were keen to do more, to collect more information about the ships, their crew and their owners, so in 2017 a series of new tasks were set. Volunteers began searching for photographs and paintings of the ships, investigating the fate of more of the vessels, recording the owners of each vessel and they began the mammoth task of researching the lives of every ship’s master mentioned in the records.

 

Whilst the task of identifying all the ships masters will take some time yet, the first of the tasks  has now been completed. Data about the owners of each ship exists in the original shipping records, but was not within the scope of the initial project, so two of the volunteers who worked on the original project, Lilian and Myfanwy kindly went back through the records, and other sources such as the Crew List Index Project and extracted the the data. Much of this has now been incorporated with the rest of the data for each ship on Wikidata. Apart from providing an easy way to search and explore the data held within the collection the improved Wikidata allows us to query and visualize the data in new ways, which helps us better understand what these records tell us.

 

The new data now means that for many ships, we can chart its ownership throughout its life on the seas. We have also been able to create data items for each of the ships owners, be they individuals or established shipping companies. We know where the companies were based, and where individuals lived, and we know, from their names whether they were men or women.

 

For example we know that of the 630 owners identified, 47 were women. More research would be need, but at first glance it would appear that most of those 47 took ownership following the death of their husbands.

 

The records show how the ships often changed hands regularly. If we take the rather appropriately named ‘Volunteer’ we can plot a chart which shows all of its owners, the other ships those people owned, and the other owners of those ships – painting a complex picture of the business of ship ownership in West Wales. And it should be stated that the 630 owners identified will, in many cases, simply be the majority shareholders, or the appointed owner/manager. Many of these ships had multiple shareholders, meaning people from many walks of life could afford to invest in the busy shipping trade.

 

Owners of the ‘Volunteer’ with other connected ships and their owners

 

We can also see who the big players were in Aberystwyth by querying ship owners by the number of ships they owned. Thomas Jones, an Aberystwyth shipbuilder comes top of the pyle, owning more than 20 vessels at one time of another.

 

Ship owners, ordered by the number of ships they have owned

 

Timeline showing the ships owned by Thomas Jones

 

Wikidata, like Wikipedia, is a platform which anyone can edit so any one can now help to improve the data. If they spot mistakes, or have extra information it can be easily added directly to Wikidata. Our volunteers are still working hard to collect even more data so the amount of data connected to the Aberystwyth Shipping records will continue to grow over the coming months and years. Everyone is free to explore and reuse the data, so for the technically minded among you, please feel free to hack, create, mash and re-work our data, and be sure to share the results with us!

 

Jason Evans

National Wikimedian

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Posted - 14-09-2018

Collections / Digitisation

Revealing the Objects: Cookery and Lifestyle

As of October 2018 the Library will share a number of additional items from its collections on Europeana, a European digital cultural platform. We are currently working with 12 other partner institutions on a project entitled ‘The Rise of Literacy’ which aims to explore the history of reading and writing in Europe. In this weekly blog series – ‘Revealing the Objects, some of the Library’s contributions will be disclosed on a thematic basis.

Here’s a selection of lifestyle and cookbooks that will be digitized as part of the project.

Augusta Hall – Good cookery illustrated. And recipes communicated by the Welsh hermit of the cell of St. Gover, with various remarks on many things past and present (1867)

Augusta Hall, or Lady Llanover was a prominent sponsor of Welsh folk culture. Her ‘Good Cookery Illustrated’ contained Welsh tales and recipes. It was structured around the conversations of a traveller to Llanover and the hermit of Llanover.

Thomas, Thomas – Llyfr Coginio a Chadw Tŷ (1880)

Thomas Thomas was a Wesleyan minister and miscellaneous writer. He was an active producer of popular books and his volume ‘Llyfr Coginio a Chadw Tŷ’ (‘Book of Cookery and Housekeeping’) was particularly successful. This work was aimed at the women of Wales. Its objective was to instruct its audience on how to cook delicious and nutritious meals. The volume was marketed as a text book for inexperienced cooks. In addition, it contained clear directions on how to arrange the household, in order to ensure a healthy and comfortable environment for the family unit. The author was convinced that such shortcomings in the arrangement of one’s household drove men to public houses.

Thomas, Thomas – Llyfr pawb ar bob-peth: sef, y ffordd oreu i gyflawni holl ddyledswyddau, ac i gyfarfod a holl amgylchiadau bywyd cyffredin (1880)

‘Llyfr pawb ar bob-peth’ was also among Thomas Thomas’s most successful works. This small volume of instructions was aimed at a wide and diverse audience; for ‘everyone and all’. For the young man, it contained instructions on reading and writing; outlined an acceptable code of conduct; instructions in dressing appropriately, and choosing a suitable companion. For the young women, the author gave clear instructions on how to keep a clean and tidy home, and the means in which clothing were to be kept. For the young couple the volume contained suggestions on how to choose, buy and build a suitable home, means of organisation and how to govern the family unity. For the young farmer it contained recommendations on breeding stock and outlined the most effective ways of securing high quality produce.

Want to see more posts from this series? See below:

Elen Hâf Jones – Digital Access Projects Officer

This post was created as part of the Europeana Rise of Literacy Project

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Posted - 07-09-2018

Collections / Digitisation

Revealing the Objects: Science and Mathematics

As of October 2018 the Library will share a number of additional items from its collections on Europeana, a European digital cultural platform. We are currently working with 12 other partner institutions on a project entitled ‘The Rise of Literacy’ which aims to explore the history of reading and writing in Europe. In this weekly blog series – ‘Revealing the Objects, some of the Library’s contributions will be disclosed on a thematic basis.

Here’s a selection of scientific and mathematical publications. These will be digitized as part of the project.

 

Robert Recorde – The Whetstone of Witte: whiche is the seconde parte of arithmetike; containyng thextraction of rootes: the cossike practise, with the rule of equation: and the woorkes of surde nombers (1557)

The Whetstone of Witte’ was published in 1557 and written by the influential Welsh mathematician and teacher Robert Recorde. It is in this book that algebra and the equals sign (=) are first introduced in published form.

Robert Hooke – Micrographia (1665)

Robert Hooke worked at the Royal Society as Head of Experiments and his scientific interests varied. He made several influential and pioneering contributions to his field, for example, he invented the compound microscope. Through his microscope Hooke looked at insects, plants and bird’s feathers; detailed drawings of these are included in ‘Micrographia’. In addition, his publication presented a new way of conducting scientific exercises; through careful observation and the recording of results. Hooke’s concepts were highly influential and became common practices within the scientific field.

William Robert Grove – On the Correlation of Physical Forces: being the substance of a course of lectures delivered in the London Institution, in the year 1843 (1846)

William Robert Grove was a Welsh physical scientist, judge and lawyer. He was particularly devoted to his scientific work and gained considerable praise for his research projects within that field. His ‘On the Correlation of Physical Forces’, published in 1846, is considered a literary classic. In this volume Grove explains the principle of the conservation of energy. It is worth noting that his work was published a year prior to that of Herman von Helmholtz, a German physicist who also enunciated the above principle in his famous thesis ‘Über die Erhaltung der Kraft’ (“On the Conservation of Force”).

William Henry Preece – Telegraphy (1914)

For most of his professional career William Henry Preece was connected to the field of telegraphic engineering and its development. Educated at King’s College, London, he quickly progressed in the area and was appointed electrician to the General Post Office in 1877 and promoted to engineer-in-chief in 1892. This publication demonstrates his interest in the development of the field and is a general introduction to the science of Telegraphy.

Want to see more posts from this series? See below:

 

Elen Hâf Jones – Digital Access Projects Officer

This post was created as part of the Europeana Rise of Literacy Project

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Posted - 31-08-2018

Collections / Digitisation

Revealing the Objects: Responses to the Blue Book Reports

As of October 2018 the Library will share a number of additional items from its collections on Europeana, a European digital cultural platform. We are currently working with 12 other partner institutions on a project entitled ‘The Rise of Literacy’ which aims to explore the history of reading and writing in Europe. In this weekly blog series – ‘Revealing the Objects, some of the Library’s contributions will be disclosed on a thematic basis.

Here’s a selection of publications that directly responded to the Blue Book Reports. These will be digitized as part of the project.

 

R. R. W. Lingen, J. C. Symons and H. R. Vaughan Johnson – Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales (1847)

In 1846 William Williams, the Welsh Member of Parliament for Coventry, introduced a motion that would eventually lead to an inquiry into the state of education in Wales. In the eyes of Williams, and the British Government in general, the Welsh people were becoming an increasingly unruly and riotous population and therefore threatened the foundations of society. Government officials were convinced that these seditious events were coordinated and held in the Welsh language. Kay-Suttleworth, the Secretary of the Council of Education noted that the commission would hold “an inquiry into the state of education in Wales, especially into the means afforded to the labouring classes of acquiring a knowledge of the English language”, that is, the language of commerce, higher education, government and law. Three deputies were appointed as investigators; R.R. W. Lingen, J. C. Symons and H. V. Johnson; their conclusions were later published in report form. With regards to education, many aspects were criticized by all deputies, including the poor quality of education provided by unqualified teachers, schools’ unsuitable locations and lack of facilities. Due to the ignorance and prejudices of the deputies these faults were over exaggerated slightly, in fact, education of the lower classes in England did not fare any better. Their comments concerning the immorality of Welsh women were highly controversial. Only six pages of the reports were devoted to these criticisms; however such remarks were discussed extensively by the national press, particularly the London papers. The reports were also seen as an attack on the Welsh language due to the deputies’ comments regarding its inferior status and that its use restricted the masses in terms of social prospects.

Jane Williams (Ysgafell) – Artegall or, Remarks on the Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales (1848)

Jane Williams was a London-born historian and miscellaneous writer. She spent many years of her life in Brecon, Wales and as a result developed a friendship with the famous cultural sponsor and supporter Augusta Hall, or Lady Llanover. Thereafter Williams took a great interest in Welsh literature and learnt the language. She published several important volumes, yet ‘Artegall or, Remarks on the Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales’ was printed as an anonymous pamphlet. It examined the reliability of the witnesses called to give evidence for the Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales. Williams stressed her disapproval of the generalisations made by the deputies throughout their investigations, proving that individuals of Anglican dissent were prepared to defend the Welsh people after the reports were published.

Evan Jones (Ieuan Gwynedd) – Facts, figures, and statements, of illustration of the dissent and morality of Wales: an appeal to the English people (1849)

Evan Jones, also known by his pen-name Ieuan Gwynedd, was a poet and pamphleteer. He was an avid supporter of the temperance movement and a dedicated Nonconformist. He defended Welsh nonconformity against the attacks of clergymen, and, more specifically, against the numerous criticisms noted by the Education Commissioners of 1847. His arguments, always strongly presented, were based on a careful preliminary study of the facts; as seen in his pamphlet ‘Facts, Figures, and Statements in Illustration of the Dissent and Morality of Wales: an Appeal to the English People’.

Robert Jones (R. J. Derfel) – Brad y Llyfrau Gleision (1854)

R. J. Derfel was a poet, writer and socialist. His play ‘Brad y Llyfrau Gleision’ or ‘The Treachery of the Blue Books’ was a direct reaction to the criticisms presented in the 1847 ‘Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales’, also referred to as ‘The Blue Books’. Derfel portrays Wales as an extremely godly country in his play, which makes it an intolerable destination for the demons. These demons however are excepting of Welsh clergymen, a group that provided most of the evidence used in the 1847 reports. Many Welsh clergymen were accused, mostly by devoted Nonconformists, of betrayal during the inquiry, and it’s no surprise that they are accepted by the occupants of hell. During the second act Beelzebub (prince of the demons) sends three spies to assess the state of the Welsh people, not dissimilar to the three deputies appointed to carry out the 1847 inquiry. The ‘Treachery’ however is committed by the Church goers and clergymen. Many, including Derfel, thought that their evidence enhanced and even fed The Blue Books’ anti-Welsh judgements. The play was inspired by the tale of the “Treachery of the Long Knives”.

Want to see more posts from this series? See below:

 

Elen Hâf Jones – Digital Access Projects Officer

This post was created as part of the Europeana Rise of Literacy Project

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Posted - 24-08-2018

Collections / Digitisation

Revealing the Objects: Political Publications

As of October 2018 the Library will share a number of additional items from its collections on Europeana, a European digital cultural platform. We are currently working with 12 other partner institutions on a project entitled ‘The Rise of Literacy’ which aims to explore the history of reading and writing in Europe. In this weekly blog series – ‘Revealing the Objects, some of the Library’s contributions will be disclosed on a thematic basis.

Here’s a selection of political publications that will be digitized as part of the project.

 

Richard Price – A Discourse on the Love of our Country (1789)

Richard Price was a Nonconformist minister, philosopher and insurance accountant. He is mostly known for his sermon ‘A Discourse on the Love of our Country’ (1789), an enthusiastic expression of support to the French Revolution. His sermon inspired Edmund Burke’s famous ‘Reflections on the Revolution in France’ (1790), considered a classical statement and political pamphlet. An official mourning period was held in Paris following Richard Price’s death in 1791, an indication of the significance of his support to the Revolution.

David Williams – Letters on Political Liberty, and the principles of the English and Irish projects of reform (1789)

David Williams was a political pamphleteer. His publication, ‘Letters on Political Liberty’ defends and supports those American settlers that believed in radical political reform and reorganisation. Its content also refers to the author’s ideas on the role of political senators; they were to act as trustees and custodians of the rights of people. Williams made a name for himself in France. His volume ‘Letters on Political Liberty’ was widely circulated in the country after its translation and was particularly appreciated by the leaders of the French Revolution. Williams was awarded a French citizenship due to his support.

John Jones (Jac Glan-y-gors) – Seren tan gwmmwl, neu ychydig sylw ar frenhinoedd, escobion, arglwyddi, &c. a llywodraeth Lloegr yn gyffredin. Wedi ei ysgrifennu er mwyn y Cymru uniaith (1795)

Jac Glan-y-gors (John Jones) was a satirical writer and inn keeper. The author’s aim in this published pamphlet was to present Thomas Paine’s ideas to a wider Welsh speaking audience. Jones shared Paine’s values on war, monarchy, the Established Church and the rights of men. These values are demonstrated in ‘Seren tan Gwmwl’. He played a prominent role within the London-Welsh societies at the end of the eighteenth century and co-founded the Cymreigyddion Society.

Unofficial Reform Committee – The Miners’ Next Step: being a suggested scheme for the reorganization of the Federation (1912)

‘The Miners’ Next Step’ was a pamphlet-manifesto; formed by an Unofficial Reform Committee, brought together by the miner and Trade Union leader Noah Ablett, as well as A. J. Cook, William Henry Mainwaring and others. The syndicalist manifesto was highly publicised and argues for reformation in the ownership, control and organization of coal pits. It also contains a plea for a singular, large scale industrial union and advocates for an industry that is controlled and owned by its workers. ‘The Miners’ Next Step’ provoked intense discussion within the industrial field and is still noted today for its mixture of Syndicalism and Marxism.

Want to see more posts from this series? See below:

 

Elen Hâf Jones – Digital Access Projects Officer

This post was created as part of the Europeana Rise of Literacy Project

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Posted - 17-08-2018

Collections / Digitisation

Revealing the Objects: Music

As of October 2018 the Library will share a number of additional items from its collections on Europeana, a European digital cultural platform. We are currently working with 12 other partner institutions on a project entitled ‘The Rise of Literacy’ which aims to explore the history of reading and writing in Europe. In this weekly blog series – ‘Revealing the Objects, some of the Library’s contributions will be disclosed on a thematic basis.

Here’s a selection of published music that will be digitized as part of the project.

 

Ann Griffiths (edited by Thomas Charles) – Casgliad o Hymnau: gan mwyaf heb erioed eu hargraffu o’r blaen (1806)

Ann Griffiths was a renowned hymn-writer and her compositions are major landmarks in the history of Welsh women’s writing. This volume is a compilation of her early works. Griffiths was a committed member of the Methodist Society and her hymns expressed her personal spiritual experiences. Calvinistic Methodism encouraged members to develop a personal relationship with God and this experience was explored and discussed in the Methodist ‘seiat’ (fellowship). Her main inspirations included the intense language of the seiat and folk poetry. It must be noted that Griffiths was an oral composer and her hymns were not intended for congregational purposes. Griffiths’s maid, Ruth, memorised her compositions and eventually recited them to her husband, the preacher John Hughes, who noted them on paper. ‘Casgliad o Hymnau’ was edited by Thomas Charles from the Bala.

John Roberts (Ieuan Gwyllt) – Llyfr Tonau Cynulleidfaol (1859)

John Roberts was a Calvinist Methodist minister and musician. The publication of his book ‘Llyfr Tonau Cynulleidfaol’ (‘A Book of Congregational Tunes’) was an important milestone in the development of congregation singing in Wales. After laboring for six years, he published the volume in 1859.

John Owen (Owain Alaw) – Gems of Welsh Melody (1860)

John Owen, or Owen Alaw, was an award winning musician. His famous volume ‘Gems of Welsh Melodies’, published in 1860, was a compilation of popular musical pieces. This collection, edited by Owen, proved very useful and was widely used in Wales. Welsh classics such as ‘Hên Wlad fy’n Nhadau’ and ‘Ar hyd y Nos’ appear in this collection.

Want to see more posts from this series? See below:

 

Elen Hâf Jones – Digital Access Projects Officer

This post was created as part of the Europeana Rise of Literacy Project

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Posted - 10-08-2018

Collections / Digitisation

Revealing the Objects: History Books

As of October 2018 the Library will share a number of additional items from its collections on Europeana, a European digital cultural platform. We are currently working with 12 other partner institutions on a project entitled ‘The Rise of Literacy’ which aims to explore the history of reading and writing in Europe. In this weekly blog series – ‘Revealing the Objects, some of the Library’s contributions will be disclosed on a thematic basis.

Here’s a selection of history books that will be digitized as part of the project.

Theophilius Jones – A History of the County of Brecknock (1805)

At the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth century, many comprehensive texts were written on local history in Wales. This volume by Theophilus Jones however is the most refined and polished of them all. Jones’s account of the history of Brecknock is generally of a scholarly nature and despite its biased tone; it is the most noted record of local history in Wales to be published. Theophilus Jones was the grandson of renowned historian Theophilus Evans.

Thomas Price (Carnhuanawc) – Hanes Cymru, a chenedl y Cymry, o’r cynoesoedd hyd at farwolaeth Llewelyn Ap Gruffydd : ynghyd a rhai cofiaint perthynol i’r amseroedd o’r pryd hynny i waered (1842)

In the first half of the nineteenth century scholarly enthusiasts, mostly clergymen, across Europe, actively wrote histories on the cultures of small or underprivileged nations. Carnhuanawc is the most obvious example of such an individual in Wales. He was inspired by the same ideas as the German philosopher Herder; that all cultures are uniquely significant and valuable. They also shared the belief that such cultures were mostly guarded by the numerous, yet lower and poorer classes. ‘Hanes Cymru’ or ‘A History of Wales to the Death of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd’ was, and is considered Carnhuanawc’s masterpiece. The publication appeared in fourteen separate volumes between 1836 and 1842. Though the author had an inadequate grasp on the historian’s duties, no other historical work would match that of Carnhuanawc for several years.

Jane Williams (Ysgafell) – A History of Wales derived from authentic sources (1869)

Jane Williams was a London-born historian and miscellaneous writer. She spent many years of her life in Brecon, Wales and as a result developed a friendship with the famous cultural sponsor and supporter Augusta Hall, or Lady Llanover. Thereafter Williams took a great interest in Welsh literature and learnt the language. She published many important volumes including ‘A History of Wales derived from authentic sources’ (1869). This book is a compilation of her most ambitious work, and in spite of its defects, was not superseded until the publication of Sir John E. Lloyd’s researches on the history of Wales at the beginning of the twentieth century.

John Edward Lloyd – A History of Wales: from the earliest times to the Edwardian conquest (1911)

John Edward Lloyd was one of Wales’s most noted historians. He was educated at Aberystwyth University and Lincoln College, Oxford, where he successfully obtained a First Class degree in 1883. An academic career soon followed – he was appointed lecturer in History at Aberystwyth University in 1885 and Professor of History at the University College of North Wales, Bangor in 1899. John Edward Lloyd was a medieval specialist and he wrote many comprehensive papers on the early history of Wales. ‘A History of Wales: from the earliest times to the Edwardian conquest’ was published in two volumes in 1911 and is remembered as Lloyd’s great standard work; his masterpiece. It was unique in the sense that its content was compiled through a critical assessment of the sources and thorough scientific research. This book was a turning-point in the study of Welsh history and was arguably the first substantial publication to be considered by professionals as an authoritative assessment on the subject. It is no surprise therefore that some scholars have referred to John Edward Lloyd as the ‘father’ of the study of Welsh history.

Want to see more posts from this series? See below:

 

Elen Hâf Jones – Digital Access Projects Officer

This post was created as part of the Europeana Rise of Literacy Project

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Posted - 03-08-2018

Collections / Digitisation

Revealing the Objects: Travel Books

As of October 2018 the Library will share a number of additional items from its collections on Europeana, a European digital cultural platform. We are currently working with 12 other partner institutions on a project entitled ‘The Rise of Literacy’ which aims to explore the history of reading and writing in Europe. In this weekly blog series – ‘Revealing the Objects, some of the Library’s contributions will be disclosed on a thematic basis.

Here’s a selection of travel books that will be digitized as part of the project.

 

Thomas Pennant – A Tour in Wales (1778)

Eight unique volumes of the travel book ‘A Tour in Wales’ were produced for the author’s own library at Downing, Flintshire at the end of the eighteenth century. However, the series above was condensed for public sale and two volumes were printed, one in 1778 and the other in 1781. These chronicle the three journeys Thomas Pennant made through Wales between 1773 and 1776. The volumes contain a number of original drawings by Moses Griffiths, Ingleby and other well-known artists of the period. Pennant is recognised today as the finest Welsh travel book writer of his time.

W. E. Jones (Cawrdaf) – Y bardd, neu, y meudwy Cymreig: yn cynwys teithiau difyr ac addysgiadol y bardd gyda rhagluniaeth (1830)

W. E. Jones was a known printer, writer and poet. In his Welsh romantic prose ‘Y bardd, neu, y meudwy Cymreig’ or ‘The Bard, or the Welsh Hermit’ Jones presents a host of imaginary descriptions that depict various international travels. The author describes his journey along with specific locations. The volume has been referred to as the first Welsh novel, yet it does not possess the attributes of a novel.

George Borrow – Wild Wales: its people, language and scenery (1862)

George Borrow was born in Norfolk in 1803. His father was a soldier, and as a result the family moved around the country frequently. He was educated in Edinburgh and Norwich. Borrow trained as a lawyer but soon took to literature and wrote novels and travel books, drawing on his many journeys around Britain and Europe. ‘Wild Wales’ describes a stay in Llangollen in the summer of 1854, with many hikes through North Wales, followed by a longer tour to and through South Wales. Borrow was a noted linguist; he spoke Welsh and had a particular interest in the origins of place-names.

Want to see more posts from this series? See below:

 

Elen Hâf Jones – Digital Access Projects Officer

This post was created as part of the Europeana Rise of Literacy Project

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A blog about the work and collections of the National Library of Wales.

Due to the more personal nature of blogs it is the Library's policy to publish postings in the original language only. An equal number of blog posts are published in both Welsh and English, but they are not the same postings. For a translation of the blog readers may wish to try facilities such as Google Translate.

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