Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, Peniarth MS 2 Book of Taliesin (Llyfr Taliesin)

  • Welsh
  • s. xiv1
  • Welsh manuscripts
  • vellum
Collection: GB 0210 MSPENIARTH: Peniarth manuscripts
Peniarth 2
Book of Taliesin (Llyfr Taliesin)
The title is not a medieval convention.
Welsh poetry
Provenance and related aspects
s. xiv1
First half of the 14th century.
Origin, provenance
Later provenance: Radnorshire

Part of Powys.

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ass. with Myles (Hugh) [of Evenjobb]
Myles (Hugh) ... of Evenjobb
(fl. 16th century)
Son of historian John Myles of Harpton / Tre’rdelyn (Radnorshire) and one-time owner of the Book of Taliesin.

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Later provenance: Radnorshire

Part of Powys.

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ass. with Lewis (John) [of Llynwene]
Lewis (John) ... of Llynwene
(d. 1615/1616)
Welsh barrister and historian. He was author of a History of Great-Britain, which did not appear in print until 1729.

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Later provenance: ass. with Davies (John) [of Mallwyd]
Davies (John) ... of Mallwyd
(d. 1644)
John Davies of Mallwyd, Welsh scholar, author of a Welsh grammar and dictionary

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John Davies created a transcript of the Book of Taliesin, now NLW 4973B.
Later provenance: Hengwrt Library
Hengwrt Library

Thanks in no small part to the diligent work of Robert Vaughan, the Hengwrt library, near Dolgellau (Gwynedd), housed numerous Welsh and other manuscripts. It continued to be used until 1859, when Sir Robert Williames Vaughan bequeathed it to William Watkin Edward Wynne of Peniarth. The Hengwrt-Peniarth Library, as the combined collection is often known, was purchased in 1905 by Sir John Williams. For a catalogue of manuscripts, see Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, MS 9095.

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ass. with Vaughan (Robert)
Vaughan (Robert)
(d. 1667)
Welsh antiquary; collector of manuscripts in the Hengwrt library

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Later provenance: ass. with Wynne (W. W. E.)
Wynne (W. W. E.)
Welsh politician and antiquarian.

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Hands, scribes
Hands indexed:

Written in the hand of an anonymous scribe, designated ‘X86’ by Daniel Huws and sometimes known as the Book of Taliesin scribe.

Book of Taliesin scribeBook of Taliesin scribe
(fl. first half of the 14th century)
An anonymous scribe whose hand, designated ‘X86’ by Daniel Huws, has been identified in five Welsh manuscripts, of which the Book of Taliesin (Peniarth 2) may be the best known. Others are Peniarth 6 part 4 (Gereint), NLW MS 3036B (Brut y brenhinedd), and BL Cotton Cleopatra MS A xiv and Harley MS 4353 (both containing copies of the Cyfnerth recension of Cyfraith Hywel). It is not possible to pinpoint any particular monastic house with certainty, but he seems to have been active in the general area of southeast- or mid-Wales.
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Codicological information
Table of contents

Links to texts use a standardised title for the catalogue and so may or may not reflect what is in the manuscript itself, hence the square brackets. Their appearance comes in three basic varieties, which are signalled through colour coding and the use of icons, , and :

  1. - If a catalogue entry is both available and accessible, a direct link will be made. Such links are blue-ish green and marked by a bookmark icon.
  2. - When a catalogue entry does not exist yet, a desert brown link with a different icon will take you to a page on which relevant information is aggregated, such as relevant publications and other manuscript witnesses if available.
  3. - When a text has been ‘captured’, that is, a catalogue entry exists but is still awaiting publication, the same behaviour applies and a crossed eye icon is added.

The above method of differentiating between links has not been applied yet to texts or citations from texts which are included in the context of other texts, commonly verses.


While it is not a reality yet, CODECS seeks consistency in formatting references to locations of texts and other items of interest in manuscripts. Our preferences may be best explained with some examples:

  • f. 23ra.34: meaning folio 23 recto, first column, line 34
  • f. 96vb.m: meaning folio 96, verso, second column, middle of the page (s = top, m = middle, i = bottom)
    • Note that marg. = marginalia, while m = middle.
  • p. 67b.23: meaning page 67, second column, line 23
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: archives and manuscripts, Online: NLW, ?–present. URL: <>. 
Previously Digital Mirror / Drych Digidol (, later, the digital library of the National Library of Wales gives access to digitised manuscripts, printed works, archival materials and other media.
The book of Taliesin: digital version; issued in 2003 direct link
[ed.] Evans, J. Gwenogvryn [ed.], Facsimile & text of the Book of Taliesin, 2 vols, Series of Old Welsh Texts, 9, Llanbedrog, 1910.
Internet Archive – vol. 1: <link>, <link> Internet Archive – vol. 2: <link>, <link> Internet Archive – vol. 3: <link> Internet Archive – vol. 4: <link>
[ed.] Williams, Ifor [ed.], The poems of Taliesin, tr. J. E. Caerwyn Williams, Mediaeval and Modern Welsh Series, 3, Dublin: DIAS, 1968.
Editions of the so-called ‘historical’ poems attributed to Taliesin.
[ed.] [tr.] Haycock, Marged [ed. and tr.], Legendary poems from the Book of Taliesin, Aberystwyth: CMCS Publications, 2007.
Editions of the ‘legendary’ poems (e.g. Preiddeu Annwn), as opposed, for instance, to the historical poems edited by Ifor Williams.
[ed.] [tr.] Haycock, Marged, Prophecies from the Book of Taliesin, Aberystwyth: CMCS Publications, 2013.
Editions, with translations, of the prophetic texts in the Book of Taliesin.

Secondary sources (select)

Haycock, Marged, “Llyfr Taliesin”, National Library of Wales Journal 25 (1987–1988): 357–386.
Huws, Daniel, Medieval Welsh manuscripts, Cardiff and Aberystwyth: University of Wales Press, 2000.
Williams, Ifor [ed.], The poems of Taliesin, tr. J. E. Caerwyn Williams, Mediaeval and Modern Welsh Series, 3, Dublin: DIAS, 1968.
Evans, J. Gwenogvryn, Report on manuscripts in the Welsh language, vol. 1.2: Peniarth, Historical Manuscripts Commission, London, 1899.
C. A., Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
November 2010, last updated: February 2024