File NLW MS 24127C. - Y Cwtta Cyfarwydd

Identity area

Reference code

NLW MS 24127C.


Y Cwtta Cyfarwydd


  • [17 cent., second ¼], 1875-1902 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

327 ff. with insertions (some leaves blank) ; 260 x 205 mm.

Half-leather with double gold and blind fillets; 'Y CWTTA CYFARWYDD' (gold on spine); book-plate of D. R. Thomas (inside front cover).

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Archdeacon David Richard Thomas (1833-1916), antiquary, historian and author, was born in Llanfechain, Montgomeryshire. He was the author of several works, including A History of the Diocese of St Asaph, of which a second edition, in three volumes, appeared in 1908-1913.

Name of creator

Biographical history

Name of creator

Biographical history

Name of creator

Biographical history

Name of creator

Biographical history

Name of creator

Name of creator

Name of creator

Biographical history

Egerton Grenville Bagot Phillimore, an antiquarian who specialised in Welsh and Celtic history, languages and literature, was born in 1856, the only son of John George Phillimore, Q.C., and Rosalind Knight Bruce. The family moved to Shiplake House near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, in 1859, but for financial reasons they were unable to remain there after J. G. Phillimore's death in 1865. When Egerton's mother died in 1871, he was taken under the guardianship of his uncle, the lawyer Sir Robert Joseph Phillimore, and he finally sold Shiplake to his cousin Walter, later Lord Phillimore, shortly after his uncle's death in 1885.
Egerton Phillimore inherited from his parents a strong resistance to conformity, as a result of which family relations were sometimes strained. He married and was widowed twice: firstly in 1880 to Susan Elise Roscow, by whom he had a son and three daughters; and then, after Elise died in 1893, to Marion Owen in 1897, a marriage which he kept secret even from his own children. He encountered considerable financial problems throughout his life, especially after Marion died in 1904.
Phillimore was educated at Westminster Boys' School and Christ Church, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. in 1879 and M.A. in 1883. While at Oxford, he developed a profound interest in antiquarianism, particularly in Wales. He became familiar with a number of prominent Celtic scholars, including Sir John Rhys and Whitley Stokes, and began to learn Welsh in 1880. He taught for some time at Oxford, and became an avid collector of manuscripts and rare books, travelling widely in Wales and eventually settling in Corris, Merionethshire, around 1903, where he lived until his death in 1937.
Even though he only published a single work under his own name, Egerton Phillimore contributed extensively to contemporary literary and historical publications. From 1886, he published scholarly articles on early Welsh history, literature, topography, genealogy and place-names in journals including Bye Gones, Archaeologia Cambrensis and Y Cymmrodor, the latter of which he edited between 1889 and 1891, his most significant article being 'The publications of Welsh historical records' (Cymmrodor xi [1877]). He also provided detailed footnotes on Welsh place-names and traditions for Henry Owen's edition of George Owen's Description of Pembrokeshire (4 vols, 1892-1936).
Egerton Phillimore was never fully respected by his scholarly contemporaries, probably because of his eccentric nature. He was disorganised; his handwriting was often barely legible; he was perennially in financial crisis; he married against the better judgement of his family; and he acquired a reputation for having an interest in erotic and ribald texts, largely because of his article 'Welsh aedoeology', which was published in the journal Kryptadia in 1884. It was in fact a scholarly work on Welsh etymology, but the misrepresentation stuck because it contained a degree of truth about Phillimore's puerile interest in genitalia, sex and toilet humour.

Archival history

'Left by David Richard Thomas, MA, Archdeacon of Montgomery, 1886-1916, to the St. Asaph Cathedral Library' (label on f. i); 'ST ASAPH CATHEDRAL' (stamped inside front cover and f. 1). Donated to NLW from the library of Plas Penucha, Caerwys.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Ms Nest Price (per Mr Thomas Lloyd, Dryslwyn); Caerwys; Donation; October 2018; 99887720502419.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

A copy of Y Cwtta Cyfarwydd: The Chronicle Written by the Famous Clarke, Peter Roberts, Notary Public, for the Years 1607-1646, with an Appendix from the Register Note-book of Thomas Rowlands, Vicar-choral of St. Asaph, for the Years 1595-1607 and 1646-1653, ed. by [the Rev. Canon] D[avid] R[ichard] Thomas (London, 1883), interleaved and grangerised by the editor.
Minor corrections and additions have been made to the original text, with more substantial notes supplied on the interleaves throughout; these include many additional pedigrees (ff. 34 verso-42 verso passim, 46 recto-verso, 48, 51, 53 verso, 57 recto-verso, 59, 63, 73 verso, 75, 105, 143, 145, 167 verso, 169 verso, 175 verso, 177 verso, 185 recto-verso, 187 verso, 201, 203, 209, 211 verso, 217 verso, 231, 241, 247 verso, 251 verso, 259, 269 verso, 271, 273, 281 recto-verso, 283 verso, 285, 297 verso-303 verso, 305 verso, 311-315). Among the items pasted or tipped into the volume are some eighteen letters, 1875-1902, addressed mostly to Thomas, relating to the book's production and contents and to the original manuscripts (ff. 8 verso, 10 recto-verso, 12, 16, 20, 53, 55, 105, 211, 293, 307-310), from correspondents including E. L. Barnwell, Melksham, June-December [1881] (ff. 10 verso, 12), Edward Breese, Porthmadog, October-December 1875 (ff. 10, 20, 307-310), R. H. Howard, Wigfair, 1882-1883 (ff. 8 verso, 293), H[ugh] R[obert] Hughes, Kinmel Park, 1882, 1902 (ff. 53, 55), and Egerton G. B. Phillimore, 27 May 1887 (f. 10); further printed and manuscript items relating to the publication of the volume, [1882]-1883 (ff. 2 recto-verso, 12, 295 verso, 304 verso); tracings by Thomas of manuscript material and drawings, in particular key entries from British Library Add. MS 33373 and NLW MS 12447A (ff. 8, 16 verso, 20 verso, 32, 42 verso, 46 verso, 55 verso, 77 verso, 127 verso, 173 verso, 175 verso, 177 verso, 205, 211, 217 verso, 266, 267 verso, 279 verso, 281 verso, 296 verso); photographs (ff. 173 recto-verso, 269); drawings by Thomas of local gentry houses (ff. 48 verso, 63, 143 verso, 165 verso, 189, 241); a fragment of parchment, [?17 cent., second ¼], containing a list of baptisms, etc., for 1613-1627 (f. 81); together with various press cuttings, 1881-1898, transcripts, etc. Loose items have been placed in an archival envelope (ff. 307-327).

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright laws apply.

Language of material

  • English
  • Latin
  • Welsh

Script of material

Language and script notes

English, some Latin and Welsh.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Front cover reattached at NLW, 2019; f. 296 becoming loose.

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Peter Roberts's original manuscript of y Cwtta Cyfarwydd is now British Library Add. MS 33373; Thomas Rowlands's register note-book is now NLW MS 12447A. For other manuscripts of D. R. Thomas see NLW, D. R. Thomas Manuscripts (NLW MSS 1178-1205, 1215B, 1221A); NLW, St. Asaph Diocesan Records SA/DR/1-68, in particular copies of his History of the Diocese of St Asaph similarly interleaved and grangerised (SA/DR/30-44), and his manuscript, for publication, of Y Cwtta Cyfarwydd (1883) (SA/DR/55); NLW, John Fisher Manuscripts 354-370; and NLW MS 15417D.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title based on contents.


'X.h.' (deleted) and 'JJ4' (both in pencil inside front cover).


This Cwtta Cyfarwydd is not to be confused with 'Y Cwtta Cyfarwydd o Vorga[n]wg' (Peniarth MS 50), a fifteenth-century collection of vaticinatory prose and verse.

Alternative identifier(s)

Alma system control number


Access points

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Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

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

August 2019.




Archivist's note

Description compiled by Rhys Jones.

Accession area