Fonds GB 0210 CARDMFS - Cardiff MSS on Microfilm,

Identity area

Reference code



Cardiff MSS on Microfilm,


  • 1980-1984 [manuscripts dated between 12th cent. and 1970s]. (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

2808 microfilms.

Descriptions of the bindings of the manuscripts taken from the Summary Catalogue are not altogether consistent. 'Modern', means 20th century. Many bindings described as 'bound in leather', 'half-leather', etc., are also 20th century (as the date of the manuscript will often make clear). The main binder for the Library was W. H. Smith. Many of the Phillipps manuscripts are bound in 'Middle Hill boards': these are the improvised bindings in which Sir Thomas Phillipps made up many of his unbound manuscripts and loose papers.

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

From 1896, when the collection of Welsh manuscripts from the library of Sir Thomas Phillipps, Middle Hill, including the Book of Aneirin ('Llyfr Aneirin'), was bought by Cardiff Library, the Cardiff collection was regarded as that of a potential Welsh national library. With other notable manuscript accessions, including the Tonn, Havod, Cadrawd, Scott, Bradley and Wooding collections, Cardiff Library challenged the National Library at Aberystwyth as a collector of Welsh literary, historical and antiquarian manuscripts.

Between 1980 and 1984, most of the Cardiff manuscripts were sent to the National Library in batches for microfilming. The microfilms listed in this catalogue have since been available for consultation at NLW. During this period, the opportunity was taken by two members of staff, Graham Thomas and Daniel Huws, to prepare a summary catalogue of the manuscripts. The cataloguing work was undertaken at speed when other duties permitted. There are therefore inadequacies and inconsistencies in the summary catalogue. The summary catalogue also lists manuscripts which were never filmed - some were excluded deliberately, a few by oversight, and some had to be excluded because of exhaustion of the funding of the project. Also, some manuscripts (indicated by the letters GRO in the summary catalogue) had been transferred to Glamorgan Record Office before filming took place. Nevertheless, both the microfilming programme and the compilation of the catalogue represented a major step forward in the process of creating public access to the Cardiff manuscripts. This catalogue, ostensibly a list of microfilm copies of the Cardiff manuscripts, but in effect an on-line catalogue of the content, provenance, and physical characteristics of the bulk of the manuscripts in the collection, represents a further step in that process.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Microfilm copies, produced between 1980 and 1984, of the bulk of manuscripts held at Cardiff Central Library, commonly referred to as the 'Cardiff MSS'. The manuscripts are wide-ranging in date and content, from the 12th century manuscript 'Vita Sancti Winwaloi; Vitae Sanctorum', to twentieth-century diaries, letters, minute books and scrapbooks. The Cardiff MSS include one of the oldest and most important of Welsh manuscripts, namely the 13th century Book of Aneirin ('Llyfr Aneirin') containing eulogies for soldiers of the Gododdin tribe who died in a battle at Catterick, Yorkshire, around the year 600. Notable collections are included, such as the Tonn, Havod, Cadrawd, Scott, Bradley and Wooding groups of manuscripts, as well as a large number of individual items of literary, religious, philological, topographical, local, and genealogical interest. Manuscripts described by Gwenogvryn Evans in Reports on Manuscripts in the Welsh Language (Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts , London, 1898-1910), ii, pp. 91-345, 783-93 (with designated RMWL reference numbers), together with those manuscripts described by N. R. Ker in Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries (Oxford, 1969-2002) (with designated MMBL reference numbers), are included, although catalogue entries do not usually contain descriptions of their content.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Additional microfilms are not expected.

System of arrangement

Arranged into five series corresponding to Cardiff Public Library's convention of shelving its manuscripts by size. The sizes are designated by the numbers 1 (the smallest) to 5 (the largest size for which there are microfilm copies at NLW since no size 6 manuscripts were filmed). The five series are further sub-divided into 73 sub-series containing 2808 files arranged numerically within each series. The serial numbers within each series represent the order of accession. Manuscripts of varying sizes belonging to a single collection may therefore be found as part of five separate sequences.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions set out in information provided when applying for their Readers' Tickets, whereby the reader shall become responsible for compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998 in relation to any processing by them of personal data obtained from modern records held at the Library.

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright regulations apply. NLW can only provide copies of images from the microfilms for private study or non-commercial research. All requests for copies for commercial research, or publication in any form, must be directed to Cardiff Central Library (The Hayes, Cardiff CF10 1FL; e-mail:

Language of material

  • Amharic
  • Arabic
  • Breton
  • Dutch
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Irish
  • Italian
  • Latin
  • Spanish
  • Welsh

Script of material

Language and script notes

English, Welsh, Latin, Greek, Arabic, Breton, Irish, French, Dutch, German, Hebrew, Italian, Spanish and Amharic.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Descriptions of the Cardiff MSS contained in this catalogue, for which there are microfilm copies at NLW, are taken from the Summary catalogue of the manuscripts of South Glamorgan Libraries, Cardiff Central Library : commonly referred to as the 'Cardiff MSS', compiled by Graham C. G. Thomas and Daniel Huws (Aberystwyth : National Library of Wales, 1994).

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Cardiff Central Library;

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title supplied from contents of fonds. Titles (and all other elements of description) on file level records correspond to those provided in the Summary Catalogue of the Cardiff Manuscripts.


Dates provided on records for each microfilm are dates of creation of the original manuscripts, not dates of creation (1980-1984) of the microfilms themselves.


Reference numbers on file level descriptions correspond to both the relevant manuscript and microfilm reference number.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

Rules and/or conventions used

Description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; and LCSH


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

September 2011.


  • English



The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Summary Catalogue of the manuscripts of South Glamorgan Libraries, Cardiff Central Library, commonly referred to as the 'Cardiff MSS' (Aberystwyth : National Library of Wales, 1994); and Cardiff Library manuscript accession register (photocopy at NLW known as NLW Facs 840), particularly concerning information relating to the source from which manuscripts were acquired.

Archivist's note

Compiled by Wil Williams and edited by Alwyn J. Roberts. The various elements of description for each manuscript have been taken from the Summary Catalogue compiled by Graham C. G. Thomas and Daniel Huws, former members of staff at NLW.

Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related genres

Related places

Physical storage

  • Microform: $h - Cardiff MSS on Microfilm.