Daniel Huws’ Remarkable Repertory

Collections - Posted 04-07-2022


The 20-22 June 2022 saw the official launch of a remarkable volume – Daniel Huws’ ‘A Repertory of Welsh Manuscripts and Scribes c.800-c.1800’. As the most comprehensive and significant study of Welsh manuscripts for over a century, the volume was celebrated with a three day conference held at The National Library of Wales, ‘Welsh Manuscripts c.800-c.1800’.

Daniel Huws came to work at NLW in 1961 as an archivist and developed a keen interest in medieval manuscripts and scribes. He retired in 1992 and began working on the Repertory in 1996, with the project supported by The National Library of Wales and the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies. Now, as Daniel celebrates his 90th birthday, the magnum opus has finally been published. Along the way the work saw the input of several Welsh manuscript experts and scholars, including NLW’s Curator of Manuscripts, Dr Maredudd ap Huw, and Professor Ann Parry Owen of the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies; but not least Gruffudd Antur, who contributed significantly to the volume.



L-R Maredudd ap Huw; Ann Parry Owen; Gruffudd Antur


During the opening ceremony, which saw a copy of the Repertory presented to First Minister Mark Drakeford, Daniel mentioned that Gruffudd’s input had proved invaluable to the point where he had become Daniel’s apprentice and co-author, even pointing out that Gruffudd’s nickname is now ‘Daniel bach’! Speeches acknowledging Daniel and Gruffudd’s amazing achievement were also given by NLW’s Chief Executive and Librarian, Pedr ap Llwyd; Elin Haf Gruffudd Jones, Director of the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies; and the Library’s President, Ashok Ahir.



A copy of the Repertory being presented to First Minister Mark Drakeford


The Repertory will no doubt prove invaluable to the study of Welsh manuscripts and manuscripts connected to Wales, and their provenance, history, construction, and contents. Daniel has estimated that the volume includes the details of 3,000-4,000 manuscripts, many of which were of course featured and discussed throughout the three day conference. Papers encouraged a wide variety of discussion, with topics ranging from palaeography and codicology to linguistics and digitisation; and featuring medieval Welsh law, chronicles, poetry, miscellanies, genealogies, grammars, charms, psalters, chronologies, letters, and lists of place-names. Our three plenary speakers gave thought-provoking and interesting lectures, with Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan on medieval religious images; Bernard Meehan on the medieval Irish psalter; and Paul Russell on the works of Gerald of Wales.



Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan (pictured with Maredudd ap Huw) speaking on ‘Religious Images in Medieval Welsh Manuscripts’




Bernard Meehan, speaking on ‘Revealing the Psalter in Early Medieval Ireland’




Paul Russell giving the final lecture of the conference,  ‘In the Penumbra of the Repertory: Medieval Manuscripts from Wales’


The conference closed with a presentation of the Cymmrodorion Medal to Daniel Huws, a high honour so well deserved.



The Cymmrodorion medal ceremony


The Repertory has opened up the field of Welsh manuscript studies like never before, providing an unprecedented source for researchers. In the words of our final plenary speaker Paul Russell: the Repertory is not the end, it is just the beginning!



Daniel Huws and his Repertory


Lucie Hobson

Assistant Archivist


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