Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, MS 17110E Book of Llandaff (Liber Landavensis)

  • Latin, Welsh
  • s. xii1
  • Welsh manuscripts
  • vellum

The Book of Llandaff is one of the oldest manuscripts of Wales. While its core is a gospelbook containing a copy of St Matthew’s Gospel, it is best known for its many substantial additions in the form of the Lives of St Elgar and St Samson, and various documents (such as charters) relating to the see of Llandaff and to bishops Dyfrig, Teilo and Euddogwy.

Book of Llandaff (Liber Landavensis)
Provenance and related aspects
Latin Secondary: Welsh
s. xii1
sometime before 1134
Origin, provenance
Provenance: LlandaffLlandaff
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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Later provenance: ass. with Selden (John)Selden (John)
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John Selden (d. 1654).
Later provenance: ass. with Davies (Robert) [1658-1710]Davies (Robert) ... 1658-1710
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Robert Davies (d. 1710).
Hands, scribes
Copies or excerpts
Codicological information
The list below has been collated from the table of contents, if available on this page,Progress in this area is being made piecemeal. Full and partial tables of contents are available for a small number of manuscripts. and incoming annotations for individual texts (again, if available).Whenever catalogue entries about texts are annotated with information about particular manuscript witnesses, these manuscripts can be queried for the texts that are linked to them.


Primary sources This section typically includes references to diplomatic editions, facsimiles and photographic reproductions, notably digital image archives, of at least a major portion of the manuscript. For editions of individual texts, see their separate entries.

[dig. img.] National Library of Wales, National Library of Wales: Digital gallery, Online: NLW, ?–present. URL: <>. 
Previously Digital Mirror / Drych Digidol, the digital library of the National Library of Wales gives access to digitised manuscripts, printed works, archival materials and other media.
Digital reproduction direct link
[dipl. ed.] Evans, J. Gwenogvryn, and John Rhys, The text of the Book of Llan Dâv, Series of Old Welsh Texts, 4, Oxford: Evans, 1893.
Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
Diplomatic edition

Secondary sources (select)

Sims-Williams, Patrick, The Book of Llandaf as a historical source, Studies in Celtic History, 38, Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2019.  
Contents: Introduction; The Book of Llandaf and the early Welsh charter; The origin of the Llandaf claims; The charters in the Book of Llandaf: forgeries or recensions?; The authenticity of the witness lists; The integrity of the charters; The chronology of the charters; The status of the donors and recipients of the charters; The fake diplomatic of the Book of Llandaf; The Book of Llandaf: first edition or seventh enlarged revision?; A new approach to the compilation of the Book of Llandaf; The evidence of the doublets; The Book of Llandaf as an indicator of social and economic change; The royal genealogical framework; The episcopal framework; Afterword; Appendix I: Concordance and chart showing the paginal and chronological order of the charters; Appendix II: Maps of grants to bishops; Bibliography.
The early-twelfth-century Book of Llandaf is rightly notorious for its bogus documents - but it also provides valuable information on the early medieval history of south-east Wales and the adjacent parts of England. This study focuses on its 159 charters, which purport to date from the fifth century to the eleventh, arguing that most of them are genuine seventh-century and later documents that were adapted and "improved" to impress Rome and Canterbury in the context of Bishop Urban of Llandaf's struggles in 1119-34 against the bishops of St Davids and Hereford and the "invasion" of monks from English houses such as Gloucester and Tewkesbury. After assembling other evidence for the existence of pre-twelfth-century Welsh charters, the author defends the authenticity of most of the Llandaf charters' witness lists, elucidates their chronology, and analyses the processes of manipulation and expansion that led to the extant Book of Llandaf. This leads him to reassess the extent to which historians can exploit the rehabilitated charters as an indicator of social and economic change between the seventh and eleventh centuries and as a source for the secular and ecclesiastical history of south-east Wales and western England.
Charles-Edwards, T. M., “7. Charters and laws”, in: T. M. Charles-Edwards, Wales and the Britons, 350–1064, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. 245–273.
esp. 245–256
Coe, Jon, “Dating the boundary clauses in the Book of Llandaff”, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 48 (Winter, 2004): 1–43.
Davies, John Reuben, The Book of Llandaf and the Norman church in Wales, Studies in Celtic History, 21, Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2003.
Huws, Daniel, “The making of Liber Landavensis”, in: Daniel Huws, Medieval Welsh manuscripts, Cardiff and Aberystwyth: University of Wales Press, 2000. 123–157.
Davies, John Reuben, “Liber Landavensis: its date and the identity of its editor”, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 35 (Summer, 1998): 1–12.
Davies, Wendy, The Llandaff charters, Aberystwyth: National Library of Wales, 1980.
Davies, Wendy, An early Welsh microcosm: studies in the Llandaff charters, Royal Historical Society Studies in History, 9, London: Royal Historical Society, 1978.
C. A., Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
February 2014, last updated: September 2023