- 1813-1875 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
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.
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
Script of material
Language and script notes
English, Welsh, Latin.
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
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
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).
Title based on contents.
NLW MSS 11701-11718 formerly known as Pant-coy 1-18.
Virtua system control number
Place access points
Name access points
Genre access points
Description control area
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
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).
Description compiled by Bethan Ifans for the retrospective conversion project of NLW MSS.