Blog - Digitisation

New digital resources

Collections / Digitisation - Posted 29-09-2022

Our digitisation work has continued behind the scenes and a number of new items and collections are now available to view from home on the Library’s website and/or the catalogue. Find out what’s new in our blog.

ARCHIVES AND MANUSCRIPTS

Peniarth collection

Peniarth MS 32: Y Llyfr Teg
Peniarth MS 106: Interliwd Troilus a Cresida
Peniarth MS 416 iv: A diary and a letter book
Peniarth MS 416 v: A diary and a letter book
Peniarth MS 416 vi: A diary and a letter book
Peniarth MS 416 viii: A diary and a letter book
Peniarth MS 416 ix: A diary and a letter book
Peniarth MS 487: Records relating to Wales
Peniarth MS 491: Pedigrees
Peniarth MS 492: Pedigrees
Peniarth MS 521 i: Diaries and notebooks
Peniarth MS 521 iii: Diaries and notebooks
Peniarth MS 521 iv: Diaries and notebooks
Peniarth MS 521 x: Diaries and notebooks
Peniarth MS 521 xvi: Diaries and notebooks
Peniarth MS 526: The Gregorian calendar
Peniarth MS 528: A prayer book
Peniarth MS 529 i: A Welsh grammar
Peniarth MS 529 iv: A Welsh grammar
Peniarth MS 538: A catalogue of Hengwrt manuscripts
Peniarth MS 539: A translation of Peniarth MS 538
Peniarth MS 545: The five royal tribes of Cambria
Peniarth MS 556: Historical notes from Welsh records

Manuscripts

Minor Deposit 150B: Collection of Welsh Airs compiled and arranged by ‘Orpheus’ for the Llangollen Eisteddfod 1858, 1888 a collection of unpublished airs submitted by James James to a competition at the Llangollen Eisteddfod in 1858 under the pseudonym ‘Orpheus’, which includes the second appearance of our anthem (on f. 23), under the title ‘Glanrhondda’.
NLW MS 331D: Llewelyn Alaw’s Collection of Unpublished Welsh Airs a collection of airs submitted by Thomas D. Llewelyn (Llewelyn Alaw), Aberdâr, to the Llangollen Eisteddfod, which includes the tune ‘Glan Rhondda’.

 

Acrefair Papers

Various letters relating to the migration of William and Hannah Morgan and family to Ohio (1852-59): 2623, 2647, 3096, 5152, 5153, 5154, 3499

 

Archives

Dr J. Lloyd Williams Music MSS and Papers, AH2/13 (Ifor Ceri Manuscripts):
Music manuscript books containing transcripts by J. Lloyd Williams of the manuscripts of Ifor Ceri [1815-1825]
Music manuscript book 1
Music manuscript book 2
Music manuscript book 3
Music manuscript book 4
Music manuscript book 5

Cottesmore Deeds and Documents: Irish deeds/22 Court Book of the corporation of Askeaton, giving the names of free-men and officers of the borough, 1692-1724.

 

‘The Chain’ Meteorological registers

The work on digitising a series of meteorological registers of thermometer, barometer and rain gauge readings in ‘The Chain’ has been completed. They will be available on ‘Torf’ in due course:
C 2/6: Meteorological register. Including enclosures C 2/6/1-40, 1901, Jan. 1-1906, July 7
C 2/7: Meteorological register. Including enclosures C 2/7/1-73, 1906, July 1-1911, July 1
C 2/10: Meteorological register. Including enclosures C 2/10/1-9, 1918, Dec. 29-1923, Feb. 3
C 2/11: Meteorological register. Including enclosures C 2/11/1-6, 1923, Feb. 4-1927, Feb. 12
C 2/12: Meteorological register. Including enclosures C 2/12/1-13, 1927, Feb. 13-1931, Feb. 21
C 2/13: Meteorological register. Including enclosures C 2/13/1-69, 1931, Feb. 22-1935, March 2
C 2/14: Meteorological register. Including enclosures C 2/14/1-32, 1935, March 3-1939, March 11
C 2/15: Meteorological register. Including enclosures C 2/15/1-26, 1939, March 12-1943, March 20
C 2/16: Meteorological register. Including enclosures C 2/16/1-78. The meteorological readings continue to 29 Dec. 1945 only, 1943, March 21-1947, Feb. 8

The following manuscripts were ingested so that users can access them through the viewer:
NLW 3B: Sermons
NLW MS 73A: Sermons
NLW MS 3265D: Llythyrau at S.R.
NLW MS 9521A: Llyfr nodiadau Iorthryn Gwynedd
NLW MS 14111D: Llythyrau teuluol Edward Peate
NLW MS 21578E: A register of Welsh Pioneers of the Mahoning Valley, 1898-1922
NLW MS 20995E: Jack Edwards Letters
NLW MS 21577E: Minute book of Welsh Pioneers Society of Trumbull and Mahoning counties, Ohio
NLW Misc. Records 35: Ezekiel Hughes Apprenticeship Deed
CMA – File 22331: Letter from John M. Jones, Saron, Welsh Hills, Newark, Ohio
Rees Jenkin Jones Family Papers: FR2/1: Letter from Humphrey Bromley to the Rev. John James, Gellionnen

 

PRINTED MATERIAL 

392 items from the print collection have been made available through Primo, including works such as:

Ymadrodd newydd ar glefydau potatws: ac yn fwy neillduol i ddangos achosion o’r cyrl yn nalennau potatws; gida chlefydau eraill (1784)
David Samwell, Détails nouveaux et circonstanciés sur la mort du Capitaine Cook traduits de l’anglois (1786)
Marie de Médicis Queen, Lettre de la Royne au Parlement de Bretagne (1614)
A. O. Exquemelin, Historie der boecaniers, of vrybuyters van America van haar eerste beginzelen tot deze tegenwoordige tyd toe: met figuuren (1700)

Biographies

David Worthington, Cofiant y Parch. Daniel Rowland, Llangeitho (1905);
Byr gofiant i Miss Brythonig Roberts ail ferch William (Ap Meurig) a Jane Roberts, Brynawel, Aberangell, Meirionydd ganwyd Medi 6ed, 1887. Bu farw Hyd. 11eg, 1904 (1905);
Alfred Russel Wallace, My life: a record of events and opinions (Vol.1), (Vol.2) (1905);
Edward Fideli Kennard, The remarkable career of a well-known athlete (1913?);
W. M. Myddelton, Pedigree of the family of Myddelton of Gwaynynog (1910);
Edward Robins, Twelve great actresses (1900);
Rees Jones, Crwth Dyffryn Clettwr: sef gweithiau barddonol y diweddar Rees Jones (Ammon), Pwllffein, Llandyssul, Ceredigion (1906);
William Hopkyn Rees, Byr-hanes y cenhadwr Cymreig y Parch. Griffith John, D.D., China (1906);
Cybi, “Ardal y cewri”: enwogion plwyf Llangybi a’r cylch: ynghydag enwau lleoedd: eu hystyr a’u traddodiadau (1907);
David Griffiths, Auto-biography of David Griffiths, Ffrwdywhiad, near Lampeter (1907);
Ellen Owen, Merched enwog Cymru: neu, Cymruesau gwiwgof – hen a diweddar (1908?);
W. H. Davies, The autobiography of a super-tramp (1908?)

 

Arthurian collection

We have continued to scan printed works relating to King Arthur and the following 141 volumes are now available:
Thomas Malory, [Le Morte Darthur] (1529);
Thomas Malory, The most ancient and famous history of the renowned Prince Arthur and the knights of the round table (Vol.1), (Vol.2), (Vol.3) (1816);
Thomas Malory, The history of the renowned Prince Arthur, King of Britain (1816);
Thomas Malory, The byrth, lyf, and actes of Kyng Arthur: of his noble knyghtes of the rounde table, they’r merveyllous enquestes and aduentures …: and in the end, Le Morte Darthur, with the dolourous deth and departyng out of thys worlde of them al (Vol.1), (Vol.2) (1817);
Thomas Malory, Morte DArthur (1883);
Thomas Malory, Morte Darthur: Sir Thomas Malory’s book of King Arthur and of his noble knights of the round table … revised for modern use (1886);
Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur (Vol.1, part 1), (Vol.1, part 2), (Vol.1, part 3), (Vol.2), (Vol.3) (1889);
Le morte Darthur Sir Thomas Malory’s book of King Arthur and of his noble knights of the Round Table (1891);
Thomas Malory, Le morte Darthur Sir Thomas Malory’s book of King Arthur and of his noble knights of the Round Table (1893);
Thomas Malory, La mort d’Arthure: the history of King Arthur and of the knights of the Round Table (1893);

Thomas Malory, The birth life and acts of King Arthur of his noble Knights of the Round Table their marvellous enquests and adventures the achieving of the San Greal and in the end Le Morte Darthur with the dolourous death and departing out of this world of them all (1893-1894);
Thomas Malory, The noble and joyous history of King Arthur (1894);
Thomas Malory, The book of marvellous adventures, & other books of the Morte d’Arthur (1894);
Thomas Malory, The story of Sir Galahad (1908?);
Thomas Malory, The romance of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table (1917);
Ernest Muret, Eilhart d’Oberg et sa source française (1887);
Ernst Brugger, Alain de Gomeret: ein Beitrag zur arthurischen Namenforschung (1905);
Wolfram von Eschenbach, Wolfram’s von Eschenbach Parzival und Titurel (Vol.1), (Vol.2), (Vol.3) (1870-71);
Wolfram von Eschenbach, Parzival: a knightly epic (Vol.1), (Vol.2) (1894);
John Bourchier Berners, The history of the valiant knight Arthur of Little Britain: a romance of chivalry (1814);
Paulin Paris, Les romans de la Table ronde, mis en nouveau langage et accompagnés de recherches sur l’origine et le caractère de ces grandes compositions (Vol.1), (Vol.2), (Vol.3), (Vol.4), (Vol.5) (1868-77);
John S. Stuart-Glennie, Arthurian localities: their historical origin, chief country and Fingalian relations (1869);
Chrétien de Troyes, Perceval le Gallois: ou le Conte du Graal (1846);
Chrétien de Troyes, Perceval le Gallois: ou le Conte du Graal (Vol.1), (Vol.2), (Vol.3), (Vol.4), (Vol.5), (Vol.6), (1867-1871);
Chrétien de Troyes, The high history of the Holy Graal (Vol.1), (Vol.2) (1898);
Chrétien de Troyes, The high history of the Holy Graal (Vol.1), (Vol.2) (1898);
Chrétien de Troyes, Cligés: textausgabe mit variantenauswahl, einleitung, anmerkungen und vollständigem glossar (1910);
William Henry Babcock, The two lost centuries of Britain (1890);
James Knowles, The Legends of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table (1869);
Albert Richter, Iwein und Parzival: zwei Rittersagen des Mittelalters, erzählt und erläutert (1876);
Adolf Birch-Hirschfeld, Die Sage von Gral (1877);
Constant Philippe Serrure, Le Livre de Baudoyn, Conte de Flandre (1836);
Gauthier Map, Le roman de la charrette (1850);
Thomas Chestre, Launfal: an ancient metrical romance (1891);
Richard Blackmore, Prince Arthur: An heroick poem (1696);
Richard Blackmore, Prince Arthur: An heroick poem (1697);
Théodore Hersart La Villemarqué, Contes populaires des anciens Bretons: précédés d’un essai, L’origine des épopées chevaleresques de la table-ronde (Vol.1), (Vol.2) (1842);
Théodore Hersart La Villemarqué, Les romans de la Table Ronde et les contes des anciens Bretons (1860);
Théodore Hersart La Villemarqué, Les romans de la table ronde: et les contes des anciens Bretons (1861);
G. de. La Rue, Recherches sur les ouvrages des bardes de la Bretagne, Armoricane dans le moyen age (1815);
Tresplaisante recreative hystoire du trespreulx et vaillant Cheuallier Perceval le galloys (1530);
Arthur of Brytayn: the hystory of the moost noble and valyaunt knyght Arthur of lytell brytayne (1560);
Albert Schulz, An essay on the influence of Welsh tradition upon the literature of Germany, France, and Scandinavia (1841);
H. Oskar Sommer, The vulgate version of the Arthurian romances (Vol.1), (Vol.2), (Vol.3), (Vol.4), (Vol.5), (Vol.6), (Vol.7) (1908-16);
H. Oskar Sommer, Die abenteuer Gawains Ywains und le Morholts mit den drei Jungfrauen (1913);
Walter W. Skeat, Lancelot of the laik: a Scottish metrical romance … (1870);
Thomas Bullfinch, The age of chivalry (1859);
Heinrich Zimmer, Nennius vindicatus: Über Entstehung, Geschichte und Quellen der Historia Brittonum (1893);
Godeford Kurth, Histoire poétique des Mérovingiens (1893);
Sir John Rhŷs, Studies in the Arthurian legend (1891);
John Rhys, Notes on the hunting of Twrch Trwyth (1896?);
Eilrert Løseth, Bibliothèque de l’École des Hautes Études. (1890);
Guiot de Provins, Des Guiot von Provins bis Jetzt Bekannte dichtungen (1861);
Alfred Delvau, Collection des romans de chevalerie (Vol.1), (Vol.2), (Vol.3), (Vol.4) (1869);
Robert de Boron, Le saint-graal: ou Le Joseph d’Arimathie (Vol.1), (Vol.2), (Vol.3 part 1), (Vol.3 part 2) (1875);
Hermann zur Jacobsmühlen, Zur Charakteristik des König Artus im altfranzösischen Kunstepos … (1888);
Charlotte Guest, The Mabinogion: from the Llyfr Coch o Hergest and other ancient Welsh manuscripts (Vol.1), (Vol.2), (Vol.3) (1849);
Charlotte Guest, The Mabinogion (1906);
Layamon, Layamons brut: or chronicle of Britain (Vol.1), (Vol.2), (Vol.3) (1847);
Wace, Le roman de Brut (Vol.1), (Vol.2) (1838);
E. Edwardson, The courteous Knight: and other tales (1899);
Thomas Percy, The old ballad of The boy and the mantle (1900);
Alfred Trübner Nutt, Studies on the legend of the Holy Grail (1888);
Geoffrey of Monmouth, Britannie vtriusq[ue] regu[m] et principum origo & gesta insignia (1517);
Geoffrey of Monmouth, Historia regum Britanniae (1854);
Alfred Tennyson, Gareth and Lynette, etc. (1872);
Alfred Tennyson, Idylls of the king (1904);
Joseph Loth, Le mabinogi de Kulhwch & Olwen (1888);
Félix Bellamy, La forêt de Bréchéliant, la fontaine de Bérenton (1896);
Georg Friedrich Benecke, Wörterbuch zu Hartmannes Iwein (1901);
Mark Twain, A Yankee at the Court of King Arthur (1897);
Arthur Charles Lewis Brown, The bleeding lance (1910);
Richard Edens, Erec-Geraint: Der Chrétien’sche Versroman und das wälsche Mabinogi (1910);
Gustav Engel, Die Enflüsse der Arthurromane auf die Chansons de Geste (1910);
Feodor Kittelmann, Einige Mischhandschriften von Wolframs Parzival (1910);
William Wells Newell, King Arthur and the Table Round: tales chiefly after the old French of Crestien of Troyes (Vol.1), (Vol.2) (1905);
Jessie L. Weston, King Arthur and his knights: a survey of Arthurian romance (1906);
Jessie L. Weston, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: a Middle-English Arthurian romance (1907);
Meta E. Williams, Tales from the Mabinogion (1907);
Emily Underdown, Knights of the Grail: Lohengrin, Galahad (1907);
Hans Herrig, Elaine. Dichtung in drei aufzugen (1908);
The Arthurian Episode in the Pageant of Gwent (1913);
Leopold Hansen, Die Ausdrucksformen der Affekte im Tristan Gottfrieds von Stassburg (1908);
J. Douglas Bruce, Historia Meriadoci and De ortu Waluuanii (1913);
John Harrington Cox, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (1913)
Howard Pyle, The story of Sir Launcelot and his companions (1907);
Lizette Andrews Fisher, The mystic vision in the Grail legend and in the Divine comedy (1917);
Franz Finsterbusch, Der Versbau der Mittelenglischen Dichtungen Sir Perceval of Gales and Sir Degrevant (1918);
The Story of Enid and Geraint: retold from the Mabinogion and Lord Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King” (1909);
Sebastian Evans, The high history of the Holy Graal (1910);
Franz Settegast, Hartmanns Iwein, verglichen mit seiner Altfranzösischen Quelle (1873);
Arthur Edward Waite, The hidden Church of the Holy Graal (1909);
Pio Rajna, Le origini dell’epopea francese (1884);
Dwy gân o Brophwydoliaethau Myrddin: a gymmerwyd allan o ‘Lyfr y Daroganau’; hefyd, Hanes o’r modd y daeth Myrddin i fod yn adnabyddus i’r Brenin Gwrtheyrn, mab-y’nghyfraith Hengyst (1810);
Edmund Brock, Morte Arthure: or The Death of Arthur (1871);
Richard Morris, Sir Gawayne and the green knight: an alliterative romance-poem (1865);
Eugen Kölbing, Arthour and Merlin nach der Auchinleck-Hs (1890);
Albert Wilhelm Nolte, Der Eingang des Parzival: ein Interpretationsversuch (1900);
Gottfried von Strassburg, Tristan und Isolt (1843);
Fridrich Pfaff, Tristant und Isalde: Prosaroman des fünfzehnten Jarhunderts (1881);
Robert Huntington Fletcher, The Arthurian material in the chronicles especially those of Great Britain and France (1906)

 

PRINTED MATERIAL  MAPS AND GRAPHIC MATERIAL

An album containing 44 photographs of the people and communities of Fiji, accompanied by a text and published as ‘A Trip To The Highlands of Viti Levu‘ by G Ansdell, London (1882).

Framed works

The following works were digitised and published on Primo before being exhibited at the Collecting exhibition (Gregynog Gallery, 14.02.22 – 08.10.22):
Ebb and flow by Patricia Anne Aithie
These Four Walls by Guto Llŷr Morgan
Eisteddfod, Rhondda by Pearl Binder
Golgotha by Karel Lek
Ystradgynlais by Catrin Williams
Self-portrait by Charles Burton
Thin partitions iii by Ken Elias
Math o ganu / Kind of singing by Nicholas Evans
Creirwy by Seren Morgan Jones
Ceridwen by Seren Morgan Jones
Self portrait in blue by Sarah Carvell
Olwen by Teresa Jenellen
I ‘Used’ to Hurt Myself by Jasmine Sheckleford
Chwilio am Ffigwr Cyfoes IV by Tomos Sparnon
Black Puck by Neale Howells
Chwiorydd Davies by Meinir Mathias
Flora, fluff, flow by Zena Blackwell
Painting about the land by Ernest Zobole
Way down to Easter Bay by Ray Howard Jones
Cegin/Kitchen by Kim James-Williams
Dancing at Dusk on Midsummer’s Night at Fontygary by Gerda Roper
Arfogi Lleu by Margaret D. Jones

 

DICTIONARY OF WELSH BIOGRAPHY

16 new articles have been added to the website:
BATCHELOR, JOHN (1820 – 1883), businessman and politician
BOOTH, FLORENCE ELEANOR (1861 – 1957), Salvationist and social reformer
CAMPBELL, RACHEL ELIZABETH (1934 – 2017), teacher and community activist
DANIELS, ELEANOR (1886 – 1994), actress
DAVIES, RHYS (1795 – 1838), engineer and industrialist
GIVVONS, ALEXANDER (1913 – 2002), rugby player
GWINNETT, BUTTON (1735 – 1777), merchant, landowner and politician
JENKINS, EVAN (1794 – 1849), cleric and schoolmaster
JONES, DAVID JOHN (1906 – 1978), opera singer
JONES, GWILYM THOMAS (1908 – 1956), solicitor and administrator
PARRY, EDGAR WILLIAMS (1919 – 2011), surgeon
ROBERTS, ARTHUR RHYS (1872 – 1920), solicitor
ROGERS, OWEN (c.1532 – c.1570), printer and bookseller
THOMAS, BENJAMIN BOWEN (1899 – 1977), adult educator and civil servant
THOMAS, HELEN WYN (1966 – 1989), peace activist
WILLIAMS, ROBERT (1848 – 1918), architect, author and social reformer

The Digital Preservation Awards

Digitisation - Posted

The Digital Preservation Awards are presented by the Digital Preservation Coalition every two years to celebrate the most significant achievements by individuals and organisations in ensuring the sustainability of digital content. Following a rigorous assessment process, the winners were announced at a glittering presentation ceremony in Glasgow, attended by a organisations and practitioners of digital preservation from around the world. The Library was delighted to win the Dutch Digital Heritage Network Award for Teaching and Communications for its project: Learning through doing: building digital preservation skills in Wales, https://www.dpconline.org/news/dpa2022-winners.

 

Learning through doing was a programme of interactive training delivered by Library staff on the Teams platform to extend digital preservation skills and increase capacity for staff working in organisations across Wales. Resources to support the training are available on the Archives Wales website at https://archives.wales/staff-toolkit/saving-the-bits-programme/.

The Library also contributed to winning another prestigious award. The Archives and Records Assocation’s award for the New Professional of the Year was won by Gemma Evans. Gemma was employed by the Library to lead the Records at Risk project for the Archives and Records Council Wales. The project was funded by The National Archives Covid-19 Archives Fund, which was established to support archives to secure records which were in danger of being lost as a result of the economic impact of the pandemic which threatened the continuing operation of businesses, charities and organisations, acrossWales. Gemma developed a Records at Risk Toolkit to enable the identification and preservation of at risk records, which is available for download on the Archives Wales website at https://archives.wales/records-at-risk/.

Thomas Jones the Almanacist

Collections / Digitisation / Uncategorized - Posted 27-12-2021

Another new year is on the horizon! Let us reflect on the Library’s collection of almanacs and how they were used in the past. These almanacs included dates of fairs and agricultural shows which would be of interest to country folk when planning their year.

 

 

Thomas Jones (1648?-1713) was one of the most prominent figures responsible for publishing and writing almanacs. He was born in Merionethshire, the son of a tailor. After moving to London as a young man to start his training there, he changed his career and became a printer and publisher. By 1693, he had moved to Shrewsbury and had established the first Welsh printing press. The main work of the press was to publish books, but it became famous throughout Wales for publishing almanacs. Thomas Jones won a royal patent for the press in 1679 to publish yearly Welsh almanacs, and he did so from 1680 to the year of his death in 1713. The almanacs were very popular in much the same way as we use calendars and year planners today.

In the example shown of Thomas Jones’s almanac, as well as a calendar, we have a short description of typical weather on each day of every month. Thomas Jones, it appears, wanted to warn, and entertain his readers at the same time. Some of the days in January are described as windy, others as frosty, others as rainy. Obviously, these are fruits of the imagination rather than a scientific analysis of the climate! But Thomas Jones also included cloudy prophecies in the almanacs with references to complex conditions he himself suffered (he was said to be a hypochondriac!).

His readers were delighted to read the almanacs for practical purposes, but the contents also proved to be a welcome escape from the harsh reality of their lives.

 

Hywel Lloyd

Assistant Librarian.

Another Black Book

Collections / Digitisation - Posted 20-09-2021

This year marks the centenary of the publication by J. Gwenogvryn Evans of his monochrome facsimile of the contents of the Black Book of Chirk (notwithstanding the 1909 imprinted on the title-page!). Through the generosity of a patron, and to mark the occasion, the National Library has published new digital images of the manuscript on our website.

This manuscript – Peniarth 29 – was once believed to be the earliest written in Welsh. Today, it is regarded as among the earliest, sharing a birthdate, as it were, with another Black Book, the rather more famous one from Carmarthen. Both were produced in the mid-thirteenth century, one in the South, and the other in North Wales.

The Chirk manuscript was written in Welsh, on parchment, by six scribes, in regular and professional style, although their familiarity with written Welsh may not have been fluent.

The volume contains legal texts relating to the king and his court, according to the ‘Venedotian’ or ‘Iorwerth’ code, associated with Gwynedd. The ‘king’ is a native ruler, one such as the young Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, known as ‘the last native Prince of Wales’, whose influence was becoming apparent at the time when the manuscript was written. Following the Law of the Court (reminiscent of those fine images in Peniarth 28, a contemporary Latin law manuscript), the scribes record laws that were relevant to ordinary inhabitants, including elements such as the values of wild and tame animals. A summary, text and translation is available on the Cyfraith Hywel website.

The manuscript also contains non-legal additions, such as proverbs, and Dafydd Benfras’s elegy on the death of Llywelyn ab Iorwerth (Llywelyn the Great) in 1240, harking back perhaps to the ‘golden age’ of native law in the Gwynedd tradition.

But why is the volume associated with Chirk, in Denbighshire? The contents suggest affiliation with medieval North Wales, and by 1615, it was owned by John Edwards of Plas Newydd, Chirk, a scholar and recusant who lost many belongings by sequestration before his death in 1625. Llanstephan MS 68 is a copy of the manuscript, made by Francis Tate whilst the Black Book was owned by Edwards. Subsequently, probably via John Jones of Gellilyfdy, it became part of Robert Vaughan’s library at Hengwrt, and on the upper part of page 114 is part of his ornate inscription identifying the work as ‘Y llyfr du or Waun’ (the Black Book of Chirk).

The original black covers are long gone, but the remains of the binding leaves survive at the end of the manuscript.

Having already digitised the Black Book of Carmarthen (Peniarth 1) and the Black Book of Basingwerk (NLW MS 7006D), how many more black books remain to be discovered?

 

Maredudd ap Huw
Curator of Manuscripts

New Digital Resources for the Summer

Collections / Digitisation - Posted 29-07-2021

Since the beginning of the year work has continued on digitising our collections and the following items and collections are now available to view from home on the Library’s website and/or the catalogue:

Archives and Manuscripts

Peniarth and Llanstephan collections

Sir John Herbert Lewis Papers

33 diaries from the Sir John Herbert Lewis Papers from the period 1888-1924 are now available:

Seals and Ystrad Marchell Charters

 

A selection of documents and medieval seals from the Pitchford Hall Papers and the Estate Records of Penrice and Margam, Chirk Castle, Bronwydd and Wigfair, have been made available, for example:

33 Ystrad Marchell charters have also been made available and can be accessed via the catalogue.

Printed Material

Arthurian collection

 

A selection of volumes relating to King Arthur were selected for digitization in 2019. The following 13 volumes are already available and the work of digitizing the remaining items will continue over the coming months:

Biographies (1809-1889)

 

A further 913 biographies have been made available on the catalogue, including works such as:

Other printed works

 

203 other printed works have also been made available, including:

Maps and Graphic Material

D C Harries photographs

 

102 photographs taken around 1890-1936 by D C Harries of the scenery, buildings and people of the Llandovery, Llandeilo and Carmarthen area have been added to the catalogue. The selection includes photographs such as: Staff standing outside Lipton’s shop, Caerfyrddin, Staff standing outside Star Supply Stores, Llandeilo and Men in cars outside Crown garage – T. Roberts & Sons, Llanymddyfri

Archive of Historical Posters

 

Over 2,630 posters from NLW’s Historical Poster Archive are now accessible to users through the Universal Viewer. This fascinating collection includes a wide variety of items including emigration posters from Aberystwyth and Liverpool to America, ballads and songs, posters advertising local markets and auctions, concerts and ‘eisteddfodau’. The collection also includes a number of posters announcing news of crimes and murders, such as: the theft of John Philip’s mare (1818), the confession of John Griffiths after murdering his wife (1811) and ‘Murder’ (1796).

Dictionary of Welsh Biography

 

20 new articles have been added to the website:

Don’t forget to follow the Dictionary of Welsh Biography’s Twitter account: @WelshBiography

A Rose at Midsummer: The significance of Midsummer Day in the Margam Abbey charters

Collections / Digitisation - Posted 21-06-2021

As much of medieval life was centered around religious belief, the daily services of the church (Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline) helped to mark the passing of time, particularly for those in holy orders. Consequently, one of the most common types of manuscript to be found in medieval homes were those that allowed the laity to observe these services – known as the ‘books of hours’.

For those who could afford them, books of hours were often richly illustrated, and could serve just as much of a decorative purpose as a religious one. But for the average lay person, life was more concerned with the farming year and the passing of the seasons. Many books of hours included illustrations of agricultural tasks which were carried out at various times of the year, such as sowing crops, harvest time, or tree felling, often associated with the various feast days across the year.

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The De Grey Hours: [mid. 15th cent.]. A task for midsummer – an illustration of scything in June, with the symbol of the zodiac denoting Cancer, the crab (f. 6r)

In a legal sense, these holy and saints’ days were also commonly used in medieval charters to record the date. Hundreds of examples of this practice can be seen in the collection of the charters of Margam Abbey, Glamorgan, part of the Penrice and Margam Estate Records at NLW.

Margam Abbey was founded in 1147 as a daughter-house of the Cistercian order at Clairvaux and was endowed with a large amount of land by Robert, earl of Gloucester (charter 1). By the late 13th century, Margam was Wales’ richest monastery, owning land and granges in both Wales and England, and Gerald of Wales wrote of Margam in his Itinerarium Cambriae (c.1191) that it was ‘by far the most renowned for alms and charity’. As a result, the Margam Abbey charters, including those of the Penrice and Mansel families, comprise one of the largest and most complete monastic collections in Britain. The majority of its records consist of sealed land grants to and from many of the ruling families of Glamorgan, ranging from the 12th to the 16th centuries. As well as being a source of local history for Glamorgan, Margam’s charters also help to place it in a wider European context – not only containing royal charters and letters patent, but also a number of 13th-century papal bulls (charters 82-84, 141, 171, 173-4, 185, 245) confirming the importance of Margam to the Cistercian order.

Typically, each charter records the day upon which it was signed or sealed, usually given as a feast day or saints’ day, and the year of the reigning monarch. Midsummer Day or Canol Haf – usually celebrated on 21st June but also known as Gŵyl Ifan due to the feast day of St John the Baptist falling on the 24th June – was a significant date in the farming year as it marked the longest day and the turning of seasons as the days shortened and harvest time was nearing. In Margam’s charters, Midsummer is used as a dating clause in several instances. A quit-claim by a William de Marle to Margam Abbey (charter 227, 1354) is dated Midsummer Day, while charters 193 (1312) and 228 (1357), also quit-claims to the Abbey, are dated at Margam ‘the Sunday after Midsummer’ and ‘the Saturday after Midsummer’ respectively. It is not only within land grants that this dating occurs. Charter 233 (1366), which detailed assizes recovering the Abbot of Margam’s salmon fishery from one Res [Rhys] and one Howel, stated that for their piscine thievery each were fined threepence in damages on ‘the Monday before Midsummer Day’.

This theme of agriculture is abundant when looking at the rent requirements in some of Margam’s charters, which stipulate what is given in exchange for each piece of land. Rents could include livestock, crops, or spices, as well as money, and could stipulate a nominal amount in order to make a legal exchange. Charter 302 (1315) asks for just ‘a rose at Midsummer’ in exchange for the rent of half an acre of land; a rose is also given in charter 329 (1383) for a burgage. Charter 306 (1315) more generously specifies a garland of roses to be given annually at Midsummer in exchange for six and three-quarter acres. Symbolically, the only time roses are stipulated to be given is at Midsummer, and they do not appear as an exchange at any other date in Margam’s charters.

Of course, these dates were not always reliable. Margam may have been the wealthiest Abbey in Wales but news in the medieval period travelled more slowly than today and could be hampered by events of the time. Charter 336, for example, issued during the Wars of the Roses, was dated at Oxwich, Gower, on 4th April, yet supplies the year (1461) as the reign of Henry VI, rather than that of Edward IV whose accession had been on the 4th of March previously. Evidently the announcement of Edward’s accession had not yet reached Gower at the time.

Margam Abbey was a prominent landmark in south Wales for nearly four centuries, but it did not survive Henry VIII’s dissolution. In 1540 the Abbey and its lands, including its church, bell-tower, fisheries, cemetery, water-mill, and a large number of its granges were sold to the Mansel family for £938, six shillings and eightpence (charter 359). Incidentally, the charter granting Margam’s dissolution was dated at Westminster on 22nd June. It appears that the Abbey saw its final day at Midsummer.

View catalogue: https://archives.library.wales/index.php/penrice-and-margam-estate-records

Lucie Hobson
Assistant Archivist

 

Further reading:

  • Gerald of Wales, The Journey Through Wales and The Description of Wales, translated by Lewis Thorpe (London: Penguin, 1978)
  • The scriptorium of Margam Abbey and the scribes of early Angevin Glamorgan: secretarial administration in a Welsh marcher barony, c.1150-c.1225, Robert B. Patterson (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2002)

 

 

 

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New Digital Resources

Collections / Digitisation - Posted 09-02-2021

Although our building is closed at the moment a great deal of work has continued behind the scenes and since June the following items and collections have been made available to view from home on the Library’s website and/or the catalogue:

Archives and Manuscripts

Peniarth Collection

Wynn (of Gwydir) Papers: (1515-[c. 1684])

Almost 10,000 images of personal papers and papers relating to the public offices of members of the Wynn family of Gwydir, Caernarfonshire have been made available. 2,786 items from the Sir John Williams Group, 1519-1683 (NLW MSS 463-470) and the Panton Group, 1515- [c. 1699] (NLW MSS 9051-9069) can be found in the catalogue.

Sir John Herbert Lewis Papers

8 diaries in the Sir John Herbert Lewis Papers from the period 1925-1933 are now available:

Gareth Vaughan Jones Papers

Passport of Gareth Vaughan Jones, 1930-1934 (B5/3)

Printed Material

Early Welsh Books Collection

2,470 volumes are available on the catalogue, including the notable works of William Salesbury A dictionary in Englyshe and Welshe, [1547], Kynniver llith a ban [1551] a The descripcion of the sphere or frame of the worlde [ca. 1553]), the first part of Gruffydd Robert’s grammar, Dosparth byrr ar y rhann gyntaf i ramadeg cymraeg (1567), Drych y Prif Oesoedd [1716] and Cyd-gordiad egwyddorawl o’r Scrythurau [1730].

Biographies

900 biographies are now available through the catalogue, including titles such as:

More biographies will be released over the coming months.

First World War

A selection of printed materials relating to the First World War have been released:

Maps and Graphic Material

Map collection

Idris Mathias’s manuscript map of the lower Teifi valley.

Portrait Collection

A further 970 items from the Portrait collection have been made available, including images of individuals such as: Cranogwen; “Old Ellen Lloyd”; Edward Ellis y Gof, Blaenau Ffestiniog inventor of the ‘car gwyllt’; Elizabeth Lloyd, ‘Beti Bwt’ and John Ballinger, S. K. Greenslade, Evan Davies Jones and Sir John Williams with the American Ambassador, the Hon. Whitelaw Reid at the National Library of Wales site, 1 November 1912.

Dictionary of Welsh Biography

16 new articles have been added to the website:

 

Morfudd Nia Jones (Digital Content Officer)

Keeping the Good for Good: Preserving the Laws of Hywel Dda at the National Library of Wales

Collections / Conservation / Digitisation - Posted 05-11-2020

World Digital Preservation Day

Every year, the Digital Preservation Coalition holds a World Digital Preservation Day with the aim of drawing attention to the complex strategic, cultural and technological issues involved in ensuring sustained access to digital content. This year has brought into particular focus the global reliance on digital information, infrastructure and connectivity and the theme this year: Digits: for Good, reflects the positive impact of preserving and providing access to trustworthy digital content. This theme aligns perfectly with the Library’s innovative approaches in traditional conservation, digitisation and digital preservation which integrate to ensure that the Boston Manuscript of the Laws of Hywel Dda are accessible now and in the future.

Boston Manuscript

The Boston Manuscript was purchased in 2012 by the Library with assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Friends of the National Libraries and the Welsh Government. The manuscript, written in Welsh, dates from around 1350 and records the native Welsh laws, which were thought to have been codified by Hywel Dda. It is a key text in the history of Welsh law and provides insights into Welsh identity and cultural life. It was used as a working text, being annotated by a Judge in South Wales, who carried it around in his pocket. By the 19th century, the manuscript had reached America and was in the custody of the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston, having probably been taken there by an emigrant.

A conservation assessment revealed that the manuscript was very fragile, with many tears and splits, meaning that it could not be handled without the risk of further damage. The decision was taken to dis-bind the volume and digitise the content, which would enable the re-binding of the original, the creation of facsimile copies and digital access.

End to end workflow

A complex workflow has been developed to manage the digitisation process from selection to access and storage. A Benchmarking exercise ensured that the manuscript was digitised according to the standards and methodologies established for digitising manuscript materials. The protocols for scanning were specified, including the essential information to capture, such as file name attribution, conversion process and the file formats specification for master and derivative files.

Digitising the manuscript

The scanning process was facilitated through the dis-binding, enabling each folio to be captured in entirety, without the need to de-warp. This assisted with the process of digitally extending the outside edges of the parchment. Each flattened folio could be scanned through the use of a line scanning system, rather than the usual method of using a single-shot camera and cradle. Through the use of this method, the images could be captured at a higher resolution than usual practice allowed and there was greater consistency in lighting and enhanced colour accuracy.

The scanning process generated TIFF master files, with the JP2 derivatives being generated on ingest to Fedora, the Digital Asset Management System. The METS files, which included descriptive and structural metadata were also generated on ingest. The master TIFF files were stored in the Digital Archive. Preservation actions, including checksum verification, fixity monitoring and preservation planning ensure the preservation of the digital content.

Creating the facsimiles

Another benefit of the disbanding and scanning process was the ability for the Library to demonstrate its pioneering techniques in creating facsimiles, which are almost indistinguishable from the originals. Printed copies of the scanned leaves, on high quality archival paper, were joined together and pasted back to back to form folios and gatherings. This back to back format ensured that the facsimile would be the same thickness as the original manuscript. The innovative technique of emulating parchment through manually stretching the paper unevenly, whilst the leaves were still damp, resulted in an authentic cockled appearance.

The facsimiles were bound in the same way as the original and have been used for teaching and outreach purposes, allowing extended access to the manuscript, whilst safeguarding the original.

Spot the difference!

The digitised manuscript can be viewed on the Library’s website. The images are served up through a IIIF manifest, linked to the derivative files held in Fedora, which supplies the Universal Viewer. The images can be manipulated, with the ability to zoom in on parts of the manuscript, turn the pages and have a variety of views. The descriptive metadata is available with the images to provide contextual information.

Through its integrated approach to preserving and extending access to one of Wales’s most significant treasures, the Library has certainly used its digits, both figuratively and literally, for good and for all.

Sally McInnes, Head of Unique Collections and Collections Care

WiciPics

Collections / Conservation / Digitisation / Events / News and Events - Posted 20-10-2020

A new crowdsourcing project aimed at documenting the built heritage of Wales through photography and Wikipedia articles.

The National Library of Wales is once again teaming up with Menter Iaith Môn, with funding from the Welsh Government language unit, to deliver this exciting new project.

Wales has thousands of important listed buildings, from great castles built by the Welsh princes to churches, stately homes and terraced houses. In Wales there were once more seats in chapels than there were people to sit on them and now those chapels are disappearing fast. We also have more modern buildings which need documenting, such as hospitals and health centres, schools, libraries and sports facilities.

 

For this project we are asking you to check out what needs photographing in your area. If you are out walking the dog, running, cycling or just stretching your legs after that Sunday roast just take your phone or camera and snap a few shots for us along the way.

 

These images will form a new collection at the National Library of Wales and will be made freely available for reuse on Wikimedia Commons, so that they can be used to improve Wikipedia articles. Wikipedia is a fantastic platform for us to collaboratively record and share our local history and recent studies have shown that having good quality Wikipedia articles can help to significantly boost tourism.

 

We are not looking for professional quality photographs, or fancy stylized shots. Just simple documentary images which you can snap on anything from a DSLR to your mobile phone, so everyone can get involved, from Grandma to the Grand kids.

As part of the project we are even planning on working directly (remotely) with schools to get kids snapping buildings in their area and then we will teach them how to use those images to improve relevant Wikipedia articles.

 

Contributing to the project is easy. An interactive map will show you all the places that need photographs in your area, and our video tutorial will talk you through the simple upload process. So please, check out what needs photographing in your area, and register today to ensure that your images are included in our new digital archive.

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Liber Landavensis: The Book of Llandaff

Collections / Digitisation - Posted 26-05-2020

Nine hundred years ago, in May 1120, the bones of the sixth-century saint Dyfrig were taken from Bardsey and reburied at Llandaff, where bishop Urban was rebuilding and enlarging the church to match what he considered to be its proper status. As bishop of Llandaff, Urban claimed jurisdiction over every church dedicated to the founding bishops and patron saints of Llandaff, namely Dyfrig, Teilo and Euddogwy, and this brought him into conflict with the bishops of St Davids and Hereford, whom he saw as his inferiors. The translation of Dyfrig’s relics to Llandaff was intended to strengthen Urban’s case, but the centrepiece of his campaign was Liber Landavensis, the Book of Llandaff, which is now one of the Library’s treasures. Through it, we can see how Urban’s ambitious claims played an important part in redefining not only the Welsh church but its relations with the English church and the papacy.

The contents of the manuscript were compiled with the intention of showing that Llandaff possessed metropolitan status, direct ecclesiastical authority from the Tywi to the Wye (an area roughly equivalent to the old kingdom of Morgannwg) and an unbroken tradition from Dyfrig, appropriating the traditions of other churches in the process. It dates from between around 1120 and Urban’s death in 1133 (although other material was added later), and consists of the Gospel of St Matthew, the ‘Lives’ of Dyfrig, Teilo, Euddogwy and other saints, the ‘Privilege of Teilo’ in Latin and Welsh, an account of the foundation of Llandaff, a list of its bishops, and incomplete or corrupted copies of charters by which secular rulers granted land to Llandaff from the sixth century to the eleventh century. There is also some contemporary material, including a copy of the agreement made in 1126 between Urban and Robert of Gloucester, lord of Glamorgan, putting a stop to predations on the temporal possessions of the diocese. As is usually the case with propaganda, Liber Landavensis contains a mixture of fact, insinuation and fabrication that is often difficult to pick apart.

St Davids responded by creating its own propaganda, claiming metropolitan status over the whole of Wales and revising Rhigyfarch’s eleventh-century ‘Life’ of St David (or Dewi) so that Dewi became superior to Teilo and any reference to his consecration by Dyfrig was removed, but the matter was not to be decided in Wales. The growing power of the Anglo-Norman church and a reforming papacy meant that recognition from the pope and the archbishop of Canterbury was crucial to the success of Llandaff’s cause, and the manuscript carefully documents how Urban sought to achieve this. He owed his position to the Normans; having been appointed by Henry I and consecrated by archbishop Anselm in 1107, he was one of the first Welsh bishops to be installed by authorities from outside Wales, and the first known to have sworn canonical obedience to Canterbury. Liber Landavensis reflects this new reality, claiming (falsely) in the ‘Life’ of Euddogwy that Llandaff had been subject to Canterbury and obedient to English kings since the time of St Augustine, and that its customs were the same as those of the English. Similarly, Urban’s involvement in ecclesiastical affairs on a European level was novel for a Welsh bishop. He attended the Council of Rheims in 1119, where he first appealed to pope Calixtus II for recognition of the status of Llandaff; he received Cardinal John of Crema, the first papal legate known to have visited Wales, in 1125; he attended the Councils of Westminster in 1125 and 1127, and took part in the consecration of English bishops; he took his dispute with St Davids to the papal curia in person in 1128 and 1129; and he died in Italy while pursuing another case. Liber Landavensis records almost all of this, including copies of papal letters and accounts of Councils and of Urban’s journeys to Rome.

Urban was encouraged by a provisional ruling in his favour from pope Honorius II in 1128, but ultimately he lost his case. He had been presumptuous – Llandaff had only been an important church for a century or so, and Urban himself had been the first bishop of Glamorgan to style himself bishop of Llandaff – but he had made a significant difference. As a result of his ambition, St Davids won the boundary dispute and established itself as the leading Welsh diocese, Canterbury tightened its hold on Welsh bishoprics, and English churchmen were given new encouragement to take their complaints to the papal curia. Liber Landavensis bears testimony to Urban’s vision, and his failure.

A digital copy of the manuscript is available on the Library’s website, revealing text that was obscured until the volume was rebound at the Library in 2007.

Dr David Moore (Archivist)

Illustration: The bronze image of Christ on the manuscript’s only surviving original oak cover board. It was probably attached shortly after being made in England in the middle of the thirteenth century. The covers are now kept separately.

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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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