Fonds GB 0210 MSPANTCOY - Pant-coy Manuscripts

Book of incantations, &c.,

Identity area

Reference code



Pant-coy Manuscripts


  • 1813-1875 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

19 volumes.

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

John Harries and his son Henry, of Cwrt-y-Cadno, Carmarthenshire, were amongst the most famous 'cunning men' (men who practise healing, charming, astrology, prophecy, etc.) of the early modern era in Wales. John Harries underwent a relatively formal education and possessed in his library some of the primary medical books of his day as well as Latin and Greek texts. Father and son drew people from far and wide to consult them on matters involving healing (both human and animal), charming, fortune-telling and prophecy, much of the work undertaken with the aid of astrological consultation.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

NLW MS 11117B; Mr Rhys Davys-Williams; Treforest; Donation; 1935.
NLW MSS 11701-11718; John Harries; Pumsaint; Bequest; 1937.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Manuscripts, 1813-1875, from the library of John and Henry Harries of Cwrt-y-cadno, astrologers, cunning men and conjurors. The collection includes records of patient prescriptions and payment, draft horoscopes compiled in response to patient requests, a printed astrological almanac with manuscript entries, patient correspondence, notes and transcripts of medical lectures, and medical treatises; together with general account books, miscellaneous papers, etc.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Arranged according to NLW reference numbers: NLW MSS 11117, 11701-11718.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English
  • Latin
  • Welsh

Script of material

Language and script notes

English, Welsh, Latin.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

The descriptions are also available in Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volume III (Aberystwyth, 1961) and 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

See also NLW MS 11119B, which contains a brochure, 1911, by Arthur Mee entitled Magic in Carmarthenshire: The Harrieses of Cwrt-y-Cadno.

Related descriptions

Publication note

For further information see Ellyn Francis: 'The wizards of Cwrt-y-Cadno', parts I & II in Carmarthenshire Life (November and December 2003), pp. 38-41 in both volumes; see also Richard C. Allen: 'Wizards or Charlatans - Doctors or Herbalists? An Appraisal of the 'Cunning Men' of Cwrt y Cadno, Carmarthenshire' in North American Journal of Welsh Studies, Vols I, II (Summer 2001).

Notes area


Title based on contents.


NLW MSS 11701-11718 formerly known as Pant-coy 1-18.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


Access points

Place 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 2009.


  • English



The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volume III (Aberystwyth, 1961); Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volume IV (Aberystwyth, 1971); Y Bywgraffiadur Cymreig hyd 1940 (Llundain, 1953).

Archivist's note

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

Accession area