Discovering Medieval Aberystwyth

Collections - Posted 03-05-2023


Over the last couple of months a number of local organisations including the National Library of Wales, Ceredigion Archives, Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth University and the Royal Commission for the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales have teamed up to celebrate the world of medieval Aberystwyth. In addition to its many holdings relating to Aberystwyth and the Middle Ages, the Library itself has of course been based here for over 100 years following its foundation in 1906.

The ‘Discovering Medieval Aberystwyth’ project has proved to be a great success, with talks, guided tours of the town, and activities all designed to help us understand what life in Aberystwyth was like centuries ago. On the 20th April the programme of events culminated with a talk on ‘Discovering Medieval Aberystwyth in Manuscripts’, accompanied by a pop-up exhibition of manuscripts from the Library’s collections.



The event proved very popular with excellent talks and presentations by staff from the Library and Aberystwyth University. One of our archivists Dr David Moore took us on a virtual tour of the Library’s collections of medieval manuscripts and documents relating to Aberystwyth, and Dr Rhun Emlyn and Dr Louisa Taylor, lecturers from the University’s History department gave fascinating presentations of the results of their recent research into life in medieval Aberystwyth and the documents and seals of the Gogerddan Estate Collection. The event was rounded off with a poetry reading from the work of one of Aberystwyth’s best-known medieval poets Dafydd ap Gwilym performed by Eurig Salisbury of the University’s Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies. Eurig humorously brought to life two of Dafydd’s most famous poems – ‘Merched Llanbadarn’ (‘The Girls of Llanbadarn’) and ‘Dewis Un o Bedair’ (‘Choosing One from Four’).



The accompanying exhibition featured a selection of items from the Library’s collections, all of which are described in our catalogue and are available to view either digitally or in our Reading Room. Why not take a look yourself – who knows what you might discover about medieval Aberystwyth?



Items featured in the exhibition included:

Peniarth MS 540: Bede’s De natura rerum (12thC, Llanbadarn Fawr)

Peniarth MS 20: Brut y Tywysogion: The battle of Aberystwyth 1116 (c.1330, Strata Florida)

NLW MS 9429E: Aberystwyth Borough Charter (1277 (copy))

Peniarth MS 28: The Laws of Hywel Dda (13thC, Deheubarth)

Gorgerddan Estate Records, series GAB: Deeds of Aberystwyth burgesses (14thC, Llanbadarn & Aberystwyth)

Peniarth MS 22: Brut y Brenhinedd  by Dafydd ap Maredudd Glais (1444, Aberystwyth)

Peniarth MS 54i: Dafydd ap Gwilym: Merched Llanbadarn (composed 14thC, Llanbadarn parish/Brogynin)

Peniarth MS 49: Dafydd ap Gwilym: Dewis Un o Bedair (composed 14thC, Llanbadarn parish/Brogynin)


Lucie Hobson

Assistant Archivist


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

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