File NLW MS 21287B. - Barddoniaeth

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Reference code

NLW MS 21287B.




  • [18 cent, second ½]. (Creation)

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136 ff. ; 205 x 163 mm.

Rough calf binding, similar to that of several manuscripts in the Panton collection.

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Name of creator

Biographical history

Evan Evans (Ieuan Fardd or Ieuan Brydydd Hir, 1731-1788), scholar, poet and critic, was born in the parish of Lledrod, Cardiganshire. Even before he entered Merton College, Oxford, in 1750 Evans had made the acquaintance of such prominent literary and antiquarian figures as the Morris brothers - Lewis, Richard and William - of Anglesey, William Wynn of Llangynhafal and Goronwy Owen. Throughout his clerical career - he was ordained in 1755 - Evans would spend much of his time collecting and copying Welsh manuscripts of literary and historical interest, including poetry from the Red Book of Hergest, all the while making contact with others engaged in the same pursuit such as David Jones of Trefriw, Rhys Jones of Blaenau and John Powel of Llansannan, as well as English antiquaries such as Daines Barrington. In 1764 Evans published his seminal work Some specimens of the Poetry of the Antient Welsh Bards, in which he attempted to interpret the substantial output of Welsh poetry, much of it produced at court, from the sixth to the sixteenth century. Arguably the greatest Welsh scholar of his age, Evans possessed an in-depth knowledge of the contents of Welsh manuscripts in the various private libraries of the time and was well acquainted with the works of the great Welsh scholars from the Renaissance onwards. He realised that the chief requirement of Welsh scholarship in his day and age was the publication of the texts of the principal manuscripts which related to the history and literature of Wales. Although Evans himself ultimately failed in his endeavours to achieve this goal, the brilliant work he did accomplish earned him a position of unquestioned importance within the field of Welsh scholarship.

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A volume of early Welsh poetry in the autograph of Evan Evans (Ieuan Brydydd Hir), transcribed from 'Liber B' of Dr John Davies of Mallwyd [i.e. NLW MS 4973B]. This, however, is not a complete transcript of 'Liber B ': the first two poems copied by Evan Evans are to be found on ff. 164 verso-167 of the John Davies manuscript, whereas the third and fourth are taken from ff. 288 verso-290 verso. At the beginning are indexes to the place-names and poets mentioned in the text of 'Liber B', with references to the folios on which they occur in that manuscript, and at the end is a transcript of John Davies's own index of first lines. The incomplete list of contents and the annotations here and there in the margin are by Iolo Morganwg. It seems likely that this is a manuscript described by Iolo Morganwg as 'Hen Farddoniaeth yn Llaw Evan Evans' (See G. J. Williams, Iolo Morganwg a Chywyddau'r Ychwanegiad, 1926, p. 175, item 11).

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Title based on contents.


Formerly Iolo A. Williams MS 1.


Preferred citation: NLW MS 21287B.

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Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

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  • Text: NLW MS 21287B.