File Peniarth MS 158 [RESTRICTED ACCESS]. - Llyfr Robert ab Ifan o Frynsiencyn,

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Llyfr Robert ab Ifan o Frynsiencyn,


  • 1587–[17 cent., first ½] (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

120 ff. (pp. 1-240) ; 201 x 148 to 204 x 153 mm. ‘Sewn, in limp old vellum covers’ [RMWL]; rebound at NLW, the old covers bound in.

Context area

Archival history

Listed by Robert Vaughan in Cat. A s.n. ‘Y.1.3.2’, the present contents evidently already in one volume.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

A composite manuscripts, with all parts joined in the time of Robert Vaughan.
(i) pp. 1-92: Wholly in the hand of Robert (ab) Ifan of Brynsiencyn, written in 1587 (pp. 30, 57, 69, 72, 89). On the manuscript and its texts, all of them containing original features, see Gramadegau’r Penceirddiaid, eds G.J. Williams and E.J. Jones (Caerdydd, 1934), pp. xvi and l. Contains: a cywydd marwnad for Wiliam Tomas of Caernarfon dated 1586 by Robert ab Ifan (pp. 1-3); a diagram of y tawlbwrdd with instructions in Welsh on how to play [see H.J.R. Murray, A History of Board-games Other than Chess (Oxford, 1952), p.63] (p.4); ‘Llyfr Kerddwriaeth’ [part printed in Gramadegau’r Penceirddiaid, pp. 185-9, 192-3] (pp. 5-43); ‘Bellach i dylid son am ddwned yr hwn a elwir wyth ran ymadrodd’, ‘a dynwyd allan o lyfr dwned a sgrifenasai Sion Brunog [sic] iddo i hun prydydd a ffenkerdd ag athro’ (pp. 43-57); ‘y parfila nid amgen grameriaith pa sawl kydgordiad y sydd mewn ymadrodd’ [cited for readings in Gramadegau’r Penceirddiaid, pp. 67-88] (pp. 57-69), closing on pp. 69-72 with a brief history of the bardic order and a lament for the decay of patronage of the bards [printed in Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies, 24 (1970-2), 42-4]. The remaining texts are: ‘Bellach mi a soniaf am gerdded yn hen dadau ni ... ’, an account of the British kings (pp. 72-8); Statud Gruffudd ap Cynan (pp. 81-9); personal notes by Robert ab Ifan on himself and his ancestors (pp. 89–91).
(ii) pp. 93-6: Two leaves with astrological notes in a hand of [16-17 cent.].
(iii) pp. 97-120: Transcripts of Crown documents relating to Basingwerk abbey, from the grant to Hugh Starky in 1537 by the Court of Augmentations up to 1549. In a hand of [16-17 cent.].
(iv) pp. 121-216: A miscellany written by John Jones of Gellilyfdy in his youth, not later than 1600: what appears to be school work, including an English translation of Accusationes in Caium Verrem liber quartus (pp. 121-2, 160-73), arithmetical problems, recipes of many sorts (gilding with foil, fireworks, medical, etc.), and instructions for card games, all in English (pp. 156-7, 170-205, 213-16); the five carolau of Richard Gwyn (‘Richard White ferthyrur’) [see Carolau Richard White, ed. T.H. Parry-Williams (Caerdydd, 1931)] (pp. 123-56); an anonymous religious carol [printed in Canu Rhydd Cynnar, ed. T.H. Parry-Williams (Caerdydd, 1932), no. 87] (pp. 205-8); and the cywydd on the murder of the Prince of Orange [Carolau Richard White, p. 58] (pp. 209-11). John Jones’s signature is on p. 184; on p. 216 he writes ‘Thus endeth this booke ... 24 February [1599/1600].’
(v) pp. 217-40: ‘Rhai or Gwehelaethau’: early pedigrees for all parts of Wales, derived from Cwrtmawr MS 530 [see Ben Guy, Medieval Welsh Genealogy: An Introduction and Textual Study (Martlesham, 2020), p. 194]. In the youthful hand of John Jones, experimenting with both secretary and, for display, italic script. The hand would be unrecognizable as his were it not for two lines of heading on p. 217.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


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Conditions governing access

Access to the original manuscript by authorised permission only. Readers are directed to use surrogate copies.

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright laws apply.

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Welsh, English, Latin.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A detailed list of the manuscript's contents may be found in J. Gwenogvryn Evans, Report on Manuscripts in the Welsh Language, vol. I (London, 1898-1905), 942-945.

A description of the manuscript and its Latin text can also be found in Edward Bensley, Catalogue of Peniarth Manuscripts which are Wholly or Partly in Latin (NLW, n.d.), 12.

Description based on Daniel Huws, A Repertory of Manuscripts and Scribes c.800-c.1800 (Aberystwyth, 2022), I, 402-403.

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Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Digital version available (December 2023)

Available on microfilm at the Library.

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Notes area


Formerly Hengwrt MS 212.


Preferred citation: Peniarth MS 158 [RESTRICTED ACCESS].


Title based on contents.

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Description identifier

Institution identifier

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

October 2023.




Archivist's note

Description revised by Maredudd ap Huw.

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  • Microform: $h - MEICRO PENIARTH MS 158.
  • Text: Peniarth MS 158 [RESTRICTED ACCESS]; $z - Access to the original manuscript by authorised permission only. Readers are directed to use surrogate copies..