File NLW MS 13212D. - George Owen's 'Description of Penbrokeshire',

Identity area

Reference code

NLW MS 13212D.


George Owen's 'Description of Penbrokeshire',


  • [1602x1603] (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

138 ff. (old foliation [i-iii], 1-5, 5(1)-(8), 7-47, 49-65, 67-115, 121-35)

Limp vellum covers.

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

George Owen (1552-1613), antiquary, was born at Henllys, near Newport, Pembrokeshire. His most important work, The Description of Penbrokshire, was begun in December 1602.

Archival history

The manuscript was formerly in the library of the Marquis of Bute (H.M.C. Third Report, pp. 202-3). It had previously been in the Sebright collection (seal and number '51') (see Eiluned Rees and Gwyn Walters, 'The Dispersion of the Manuscripts of Edward Lhuyd', in The Welsh History Review, Vol. 7, No. 2, 1974, pp. 148- 78). The name 'John Owen Esq.' occurs on the cover and on f. 138 verso are the names 'John Owen', 'John Lewis', and 'Erasmus Saunders de Kilrhedin in Com' Carmarthen gent.'

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

An early seventeenth century manuscript containing the first book of the 'Description of Penbrokeshire' by George Owen of Henllys. The date at the beginning of the text, following the list of contents, is 'Lune 13 Decembr' 1602' and at the end is the inscription 'finis 18 Maij 1603' followed by 'Opus iij Mensu[m] Magna per Intervalla'. There are a number of directions to the copyist and Harleian MS 6250, the text edited by Henry Owen in the Cymmrodorion Record Series, No. I (1892), is probably a fair-copy of the present manuscript. There are also marks indicating that George Owen checked the copy in late July-August 1603. Comparison with the text edited by Henry Owen shows that a few sections (underlined or crossed out, etc.) in the present manuscript have been omitted in Harleian MS 6250, viz. the passage in chapter 1 which is quoted by Henry Owen on p. 239 of his edition, n. 1, a paragraph on ff. 23 verso-24 recto (anc. 13 verso- 14 recto) of the present manuscript beginning 'Giraldus Cambrensis writinge of the nature of the people of this Countrye hath these wordes', a list of fish on ff. 65 verso-66 verso (anc. 56 verso-57 verso), and a section in chapter 21, ff. 95 verso- 96 verso (anc. 87 verso-88 verso), beginning '& gave them his said deputies his absolute power to execute all thinges in his absens . . . by the kinges maties [sic] that nowe is kinge James kinge of England Scotland Fraunce & Ireland &c' (cf. Henry Owen, op. cit., p. 167, n. 2). Loose inside is a description of the manuscript by 'H.G .' [? Henry Gough], 19 Dec. 1871.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English
  • Latin

Script of material

Language and script notes

English, Latin.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Folios 6, 48 (?blank), 66 (blank) and 116-20 (=chapter 26) wanting; f. 75 torn.

Finding aids

The description is also available in the Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volume IV (Aberystwyth, 1971).

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies


Related units of description

Related descriptions

Publication note

See B. G. Charles, George Owen of Henllys (Aberystwyth, 1973), pp. 189-90, 193, et passim, and Annual Report of the National Library of Wales, 1971-1972, pp. 57-8.

Notes area


Title based on contents.


Preferred citation: NLW MS 13212D.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


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

June 2010.


  • English



Archivist's note

Description compiled by Bethan Ifans for the retrospective conversion project of NLW MSS.

Accession area

Related people and organizations

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Physical storage

  • Text: NLW MS 13212D; $q - Ff. 116-120 wanting, f. 75 torn..