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Texts on astronomy

Latin texts in prose and verse, the bulk of the contents relating to astronomy. There are numerous coloured sketches and diagrams.

Aratus, Solensis

'Llyfr Llandaf' (dyblygiad)

  • NLW MS 7000E.
  • Ffeil
  • [1931]

A photostat facsimile of 'Llyfr Llandaf' ('Liber Landavensis') (now NLW MS 17110E).
For a detailed description of the original manuscript see E. D. Jones, 'The Book of Llandaff', in The National Library of Wales Journal, 4, pp. 123-57.

Book of Llandaff (facsimile)

  • NLW Facs 1091.
  • Ffeil
  • 1931

Monochrome photostat facsimile of the Book of Llandaff (Liber Landavensis) (NLW MS 17110E), presented by the National Library of Wales to P. T. Davies-Cooke of Gwysaney in 1931 on receipt of the family's deposit of manuscripts at the Library.

Liber Landavensis manuscript

Contents in full (Latin unless otherwise specified): [ff. i-ii blank]; a fragment of unidentified text, largely illegible, probably patristic (f. iii); part of a quodlibet of Simon of Faversham (ff. 1-4 verso [flyleaves]); the Gospel according to St Matthew, from the Vulgate (ff. 5-28); [f. 28 verso blank]; the Life of Elgar the Hermit (f. 29); the Life of St Samson of Dol (ff. 29 verso - 36); a description of the city of Rome, and the titles of the cardinals (f. 36 verso); an account of the pontificate of pope Eleutherius (f. 36 verso); agreement between Robert, earl of Gloucester, and bishop Urban of Llandaf, 1126 (f. 37 recto-verso); papal letters and privileges of pope Honorius II (ff. 37 verso - 42 verso); exhortation of cardinal John of Crema in support of the diocese of Llandaf (f. 43); summons of William, archbishop of Canterbury, to a Council of London, summoned by John of Crema, papal legate, and the statutes of the Council (ff. 43-44 recto); two accounts of bishop Urban's first and second journeys to Rome in 1128 and 1129 (f. 44); papal letters of Honorius II and Innocent II (ff. 44-47 verso); an account of the foundation of Llandaf (ff. 48-49); charters of St Dyfrig (ff. 49-51); the Life of St Dubricius (Dyfrig) (ff. 51-53 verso); letter of Ralph, archbishop of Canterbury, granting an indulgence to those who would assist the church of Llandaf (f. 53 verso); letter of bishop Urban to pope Calixtus II (ff. 53 verso - 54); an account of bishop Urban's activities at the Council of Rheims in 1119 (f. 54); solemn privilege and papal letters of Calixtus II (ff. 54 verso - 56); Canons of the Council of Rheims (f. 56); the Life of St Teliau (Teilo) (ff. 56 verso - 62 verso); the privilege of St Teilo, in Latin (f. 63 recto-verso) and Welsh (f. 63 verso); charters of St Teilo (ff. 64-66 verso); the Life of St Oudoceus (Euddogwy) (ff. 66 verso - 69 verso); charters of St Euddogwy (ff. 69 verso - 75); charters and notes on episcopal successions up to the election of bishop Urban in 1107 (ff. 75-112 verso); the consecration of bishop Herewald (f. 108r-v); confirmation by Morgan Hen (f. 102 recto-verso); 'Omnipotens sempiterne deus ...', a collect for the Feast of St Teilo (f. 113); 'landauen' in tantum ...', dues of the archdeaconry of Llandaf (f. 113); 'Hec beneficia collata sunt Landauensi ecclesie per Henricum landauensem episcopum' (f. 113 verso); 'Nomina regum Britannie ...' to 1199 (f. 113 verso); 'Hec sunt estimaciones ecclesiarum commune landauensi ...', in a late 13 cent. hand (f. 113 verso); transcripts of papal bulls, added in a number of mid 12 cent. hands (f. 114); '[Eleutherius na]tione grecus ...' (f. 114 verso); 'Sub Innocentio ... heresis' (f. 114 verso); 'Memorandum ... monstarunt', dated 1332 (f. 114 verso); 'Pater noster ...' (f. 114 verso); 'Om[nibus] ... Pauli', dated 1245 (f. 115); 'V[niuersis] ... Knaytha et multis aliis' (f. 115); 'Carta Johannis de Hybernia', dated 1328 (f. 115); 'La Newlonde', extracts from the Exchequer of Pleas, 1304-1305 (f. 115 verso); 'In villa Wintonensi ... in episcopos' (f. 115 verso); 'Nos auctoritate ... assignamus', possibly referring to the consecration of Nicholas Ashby, 1441 (f. 115 verso); forms of oath of bishop and canons (f. 116 recto-verso); statutes of bishops William de Braose, 1275, John of Monmouth, 1323, John of Eglesclif, 1326, and John Paschal, 1354 (ff. 116 verso - 117 verso); names of the bishops of Llandaf from Dubricius to John Paschal, consecrated 1344, with a continuation to Theophilus Field, consecrated 1619 (f. 118 recto-verso); various memoranda relating to the diocese of Llandaf, including forms of oaths as on f. 116 (f. 119), statutes as on ff. 116 verso - 117 verso excepting those of John Paschal (ff. 119-120), a list of bishops to John Paschal with later additions to Nicholas Ashby (f. 120), 'Nomina episcoporum qui fuerunt in Ecclesia Landauensi ... Fet a rembrer ke en le tens de ces xl Eueskes ... MoCCCoxlviio. Et obiit apud' (ff. 120 verso - 121 verso), 'De procuracionibus annuis debitis domino Episcopo Landauensi ...' (f. 122 recto-verso), 'Synodalia debita' (ff. 122 verso - 124 verso), 'Nomina prebendarum' (f. 124 verso), 'Decima ad opus domini pape vel domini regis Anglie' (ff. 125-126) and 'Que beneficia ecclesiastica spectant ad collacionem Episcopi Landauensis' (f. 126 verso); and a leaf from a collection of decretal letters of pope Alexander III, mostly addressed to English bishops, and interspersed some of Gregory I and one canon of the third Lateran Council of 1179 (f. 127 recto-verso [flyleaf]); [ff. 128-129 verso blank]. For a fully detailed list of the contents of the manuscript, see Daniel Huws in idem, Medieval Welsh manuscripts, 146-150.

Explanatio in Psalmos

The Explanatio in Psalmos attributed to Haimo of Halberstadt (ff. 1-68 verso), here imperfect by the loss of a quire at the beginning: ']ipse semper est rex iudeorum ... et corpore spirituali et subtili'. The text, corresponding to Migne, Patrologia Latina cxvi, cols. 237-693, begins in the commentary on Psalm 15 and, unaccountably, breaks off at the foot of the first column of f. 68 verso, where the remaining column would have sufficed to complete the commentary on Psalm 150. Written in England, the manner of writing in omissions and the 'dragon initials', but not the script, are suggestive of Canterbury or Rochester.
Written by one good hand. Punctuation by point and punctus elevatus; hyphens. Ink brown. Omissions are regularly made good by writing in small in the margin with a signe-de-renvoi, sometimes by the scribe, sometimes by another hand, sometimes, otiosely, by both (cf. N. R. Ker, English Manuscripts in the Century after the Norman Conquest (Oxford, 1960), p. 50). Nota marks are by the scribe. Spaces for tituli, at least up to f. 45, were originally left blank, perhaps to be filled in in red; they were later filled in in ink, by the scribe, in capitals. Between ff. 21 verso and 45, tituli, written small, now partly cropped, appear in the outer margin.

History of Alexander the Great, &c.; Historia regum Britanniae

A volume containing three texts from the Alexander cycle, namely (a) the History of Alexander the Great in the abridged version of Julius Valerius ('Incipiunt Gesta Alexandri Magni') (ff. 1-17 verso); (b) Correspondence between Alexander the Great and Dindimus, king of the Brahmans ('Disputacio inter Alexandrum Inperatorem et Dindimum regem bragmanorum') (ff. 17 verso-32); and (c) 'Commonitorium palladii. Vita bragmanorum' (ff. 32-34 verso); together with an imperfect text of the Historia Regum Britanniae of Geoffrey of Monmouth ('Incipit hystoria britannorum') (ff. 34 verso-105). The volume was probably compiled in France. It is neatly written, with headings in red and initial letters in blue, green, red, and buff.

Confirmation by king John of a grant of 'Dunwallesland' near Abergavenny

Charter of king John, 5 December 11 John [1209], confirming the grant of an estate called 'Dunwallesland' ['Dyfnwal's land'] near Abergavenny, with all its woods, fields, paths, waters, mills, fishponds and so on, to Philip, son of Wastellion, to be held of the king and his heirs on the same terms as Philip’s father, Wastellion, had held it of William de Braose, including the service of one knight at Abergavenny castle. Issued on the king’s behalf by Robert de Vieuxpont at St Briavels, [Gloucestershire], and attested by twelve witnesses, notably William de Aubigny, earl of Arundel ('Will[el]mo Comite Arundell'), Robert de Thornham ('Rob[er]to de Turneha[m]'), Hugh de Neville ('Hugon[e] de Neuill') and Cadwallon ab Ifor ('Cadewallan filio Iuor' [of Senghennydd]).

John, King of England, 1167-1216


An early-thirteenth century collection of distinctiones from the Mostyn library. The distinctiones are theological and scriptural and, to a small extent, merely grammatical. They are set out in the characteristically medieval schematic pattern. Quotations in the distinctiones are mostly from Scripture; there are also however some from the Fathers, from the Liturgy and, among the pagan writers, Boethius, Virgil, Ovid and Lucan. The compilation appears in part at least to be an original one. It is the work of one hand, an English one, well written and prettily decorated in red and green.

Lucas Glosatus

The Vulgate text of St Luke's Gospel preceded by the usual prologue (F. Stegmuller, Repertorium Biblicum Medii Aevi, Madrid, 1950-61, no. 620) (ff. 1-121 verso). Lucas, syrus natione, et antyochenus, arte medicus ... (f. 2) quam fastidientibus prodesse. Quoniam quidem multi conati sunt ... et benedicentes deum. The prologue has interlinear glosses by the scribe of the text, some of them giving variant readings. The text has marginal and interlinear glosses by the scribes of the text. These are the Glossa Ordinaria with a good number of additional marginal glosses (comparison with the Glossa Ordinaria in PL 114) all, so far as has been ascertained, deriving from Ambrose and Bede. There are further glosses on the text and on the Gloss in several contemporary smaller glossing hands, probably including both the main scribes, interlined and in the outer margin. Text flanked by gloss, varying number of columns. 35-38 lines (hands A and B), 44 lines (hand C, except when he has to match A or B), the text on alternate lines. Written above the top line. Ruling in plummet includes three sets of three lines at top, middle and bottom of the written space drawn across the full width of the page.
Written in good textura by three hands: A, ff. 1-17, 37-41 , 43 recto-verso; B, f. 17 verso; C ff. 18-32 verso, 42 recto , 44-121 verso. C writes a textura prescissa except when matching A or B. The Gloss is written in a smaller textura by each of the scribes, additional glosses in small glossing hands. Omissions by A have been made good by C. Ink is black-dark brown. Syntax letters and marks appear a few times (e.g. ff. 1 recto-verso, 11 verso).

Confirmation by Geoffrey de Mandevilla, Earl of Gloucester and Essex, with assent of Isabel his wife, Countess of Gloucester, to ...,

Confirmation by Geoffrey de Mandevilla, Earl of Gloucester and Essex, with assent of Isabel his wife, Countess of Gloucester, to Margam Abbey, of the gifts of the Countess, as set forth in No. 113 above, of which this is the corresponding document prepared on behalf of the Earl.

Witnesses: Henry, Bishop of Llandaff; Urban, Archdeacon of Llandaff; Nicholas Poinz; Henry de Umframvilla; John de Saint Quintin; Walter de Sullie; Ralph de Suuinesheued', then Sheriff; Richard Flamang; Gilbert de Turbervilla; William de Cantilupo; Reimund de Sullie; Ralph Maylock; William Le Sor; Ralph de Clivedun.

Round seal, green wax, 1? inch diameter: a shield of arms of early shape; quarterly. + Sigill: GALFR... De Mavndevil.

Confirmation by Ysabella, Countess of Gloucester and Essex, in her free widowhood, to Margam Abbey, of all the gifts and ...,

Confirmation by Ysabella, Countess of Gloucester and Essex, in her free widowhood, to Margam Abbey, of all the gifts and confirmations made to the Abbey by Robert, Earl of Gloucester, her grandfather, and William, Earl of Gloucester, her father, set forth in No. 113 [1214x23 Feb. 1216]. (See Printed Vol. I, p. 39, etc.).

Witnesses:- Henry de Furneaus; William de Tiches': Dominus William, Canon of Kainesham; Nicholas, Prior of Margam; John, Monk of Neath; Ernald, conversus of Margam; Martin the hostiarius; John de Swinesheved.

Imperfect seal of the Countess, dark green wax, similar to that described in Vol. I, p. 39 (printed).


A Bible, written in France, [13 cent., first ¼]. Texts: 'Hic incipit epistola beati Ieromini ...' [Friedrich Stegmüller, Repertorium biblicum medii aevi (Madrid, 1950-80) 284] (ff.1-2); Stegmüller 284 repeated (ff. 3-4); and The Bible (ff. 5-352). The OT, compared with the order established about 1230 in Parisian Bibles (see for instance N. R. Ker and A. J. Piper, Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries (Oxford, 1969- ), I, 96-97) lacks the Prayer of Manasses and 2 Ezra. The unusual NT order is: Gospels, Acts, Catholic Epistles, Pauline Epistles and Apocalypse. For the OT, prologues are lacking for 2 Chronicles, Ecclesiastes and Wisdom (the Paris prologues for the latter two are added by another hand in the margin), that for Tobit is Stegmüller 349, while the series for the Minor Prophets, Amos to Machabees, is Stegmüller 512, 516, 522, 525, 527, 529, 532, 535, 540, 544 and 551. The only prologues in the NT are, for the Gospels, Stegmüller 590, 607, 615 and 624, for Acts 640; for the Catholic Epistles (James) Jacobus ecclesie ierosolimitane post apostolos curam et regnum suscepit ... uel inuisibiliter percutiat; and for the Epistle to the Romans, Stegmüller 662. The hand which added the prologues in the margin of the OT also added in the margin the standard prologues for the Pauline Epistles up to Philippians.
The text was corrected throughout, before decoration (see f. 104); it was annotated and further corrected by several thirteenth-century hands. Some of the larger omissions, neatly made good in the margin by the scribe, have their text otiosely repeated, in circles, by a contemporary hand. Between 2 Chronicles and Esther, chapter divisions were revised by one of the correcting hands, in conformity with the Paris Bible, most notably in Esther, where nine chapters become sixteen. The text is lightly glossed throughout, by pen and plummet, by the same thirteenth-century hands. Cited by glosses, apart from the Fathers, are Bede (ff. 281 verso, 323), Raban (f. 270), Hugh of St Victor (ff. 5, 245 verso, 258, 323 verso), Richard of St Victor (f. 160) and 'Ray[mund]' (f. 166).

'Historia regum Britanniae'

  • Ffeil
  • [13 cent., first ½]

A folio manuscript containing a Latin text of Geoffrey of Monmouth's 'Historia Regum Britanniae'. The spine is inscribed in gilt 'Galfrid Monvmetensis Historia'. A small, square label bearing the number 32 has been pasted on at the base of the spine. A note 'Bound by Lewis' and the inscription 'Sir T. P., Middle Hill, No. 32' under the figure of a lion rampant are found on the centre panel of the inner side of the upper cover. The name 'Thos. Phillipps' and the note '32 MSS. Ph.' have been inscribed on the recto of the first (modern) fly-leaf, and the bottom left - hand corner of the verso of the same leaf is stamped 'Bound by Hering'. The vellum leaves have a generous margin but some have natural medial flaws and irregular edges and a few have flaws which have been repaired. The text is written in double columns of forty lines each in a regular, somewhat angular, Gothic hand probably of the first half of the thirteenth century and possibly the first quarter. The preface and 'Historia' proper have large initials in red and blue and each chapter has a large initial in red or blue often with decorative work in the same or the contrasting colour. Most of the catchwords appear to have been cut away probably in the process of trimming for binding. The text is not divided into books. It has the customary preface (Incipit and Explicit, f. 1 recto) but there is no direct reference to a patron. Robert, earl of Gloucester, is referred to obliquely as follows - 'Si autem in hoc libello corrigendum est aliquid a to corrigatur nec gaufndi monomutensis censeatur sed sale minerue minerue (sic) tue conditus illius dicatur editio quem henricus anglorum rex generauit . . .'. The 'Historia' proper commences on f. 1 recto, and the prophesies of Merlin, with the prefatory remarks referring to Alexander, bishop of Lincoln, are introduced on f. 29 verso. The explicit of the 'Historia' (f. 60 verso) is preceded by the epilogue with references to [William] of Malmesbury and Henry of Huntingdon. The following note in French - 'an 11? 52 mommouth an angletere' - has been inserted in the space between the heads of the two columns of f. 1 recto.

Llyfr Du Caerfyrddin

A collection of Welsh poetry, compiled by one scribe during the mid-thirteenth century, containing verse composed at various times during the period between the eighth and thirteenth centuries.
The volume includes triads (p. 27), religious and vaticinatory poetry, eulogies, elegies and numerous poems relating to the Myrddin Legend.

Leges Hywel Dda

A Latin text of the Laws of Hywel Dda, being one of the earliest, by a single scribe and dating from the mid 13th century.
The notes on a piece of paper pasted onto the inside the end cover which is now partly perished have been transcribed by Gwenogvryn Evans. There is also a loose piece of paper of modern date at the end of the manucsript with Latin words and numbers on both sides.

Confirmation by Richard de Clare, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford, to Margam Abbey, of the lands and privileges granted [by ...,

General confirmation by Richard de Clare, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford, to Margam Abbey, of the lands and privileges granted [by his predecessors], viz. the lands in the fee of Kenefeg, New-Castle, the land of Peytevin, etc. (cf. No. 113 [1214x23 Feb. 1216]), with additional grants; and that the monks are to have a court of all pleas and forfeits in their lands, but not of felony. And in felonies, the land and chattels of the felons condemned to death which may be due to the Earl are granted to the monks.

Witnesses: Patrick de Chauus, Roger de Sumery, Nicholas Poinz, Geoffrey de Fanucurt, Stephen Bauceyn, Ralph de Beuchamp, John La Ware, Walter de Sulya, Gilbert de Umframuill, John de Reigny, Adam Wallensis. Latin.

The green silk bobbin remains, but the seal is wanting.

The text is given in G. T. Clark's Cartae, No. DCCCLVII.

Quit-claim by John Thomelyn of Halwenethorche to Sir Robert de Penres, of a m. and lands in the demesne of Kedwely...,

Quit-claim by John Thomelyn of Halwenethorche to Sir Robert de Penres, of a m. and lands in the demesne of Kedwely, on the road from St. Ysmael’s to Kedwely. Witnesses: Richard de Ryvers, seneschal of Kedwely; John Le Boteler, Geoffrey Don, Richard Baldewen, Philip Heruy, Adam Payn. [Latin]. Dated at Kedwely, 15th July, 7 Edw. I [1279]. Seal wanting.

Quit-claim by Howel and Thomas, sons of William ap Houwell, to Sir Robert de Penres, kt...,

Quit-claim by Howel and Thomas, sons of William ap Houwell, to Sir Robert de Penres, kt, of land formerly held by William ap Houwel at Reuroz, in the fee of Landimor. Witnesses: John de Penres, Richard de Penres, William de la Mare, Philip Scorlage, Robert Moxel. [Latin]. Dated at Penres (Penrice), 10th March, 10 Edw. I [1282]. Two small seals, creamy white wax, indistinct: 1. Head of St. John Baptist in a dish. * CAPVD . IOH’...... (11mm). 2. A seeded fleur-de-lis, legend illegible (9mm).

Giraldi Cambrensis Hiberniae

The 'Topographia Hibernica' and 'Expugnatio Hiberniae' of Giraldus Cambrensis, with initial capitals, etc., in red and green.

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