Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, Peniarth MS 5 Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch, part 1

  • Welsh
  • c. 1350
  • Welsh manuscripts
  • vellum

First part of the White Book of Rhydderch.

Collection: GB 0210 MSPENIARTH: Peniarth manuscripts
Peniarth 5
Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch, part 1
manuscript miscellanies Welsh narrative literature religious literature
Provenance and related aspects
Belongs to historical MS:
c. 1350
c. 1350
Origin, provenance
Origin: Wales
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Strata Florida
Ystrad Fflur ... Strata Florida (abbey)
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ass. with Rhydderch ab Ieuan LlwydRhydderch ab Ieuan Llwyd
(c. 1325–1390s)
Llwyd (Rhydderch ab Ieuan)
Welsh jurist and patron of literature
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The title Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch, or Llyfr Gwyn i Rydderch, is in evidence by the 16th century. Daniel Huws has argued that it was probably named for Rhydderch ab Ieuan Llwyd (d. by 1400), from Parc Rhydderch (par. Llangeitho, Ceredigion), and that the manuscript was put together for him. He also makes the case for Strata Florida abbey, ten miles from Rhydderch’s home at Parc Rhydderch, as the locus of compilation or the centre that produced most of its scribes.
Origin: Wales
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Daniel Huws has argued that quires 1–4 (ff. 2–51), which were written by hand A, were not originally intended to be included but were probably prefixed as an “afterthought”. This part of the manuscript is markedly religious as well as visually distinct: the writing is in long lines, in single column rather than double columns, and its dimensions are noticeably greater. Huws also suggests that scribes A and B, whom he identifies with the anchorite of Llanddewibrefi, were both clerics and “learnt to write from the same school, or one from the other”.
Later provenance: Wales
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Hengwrt Library
Hengwrt Library
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ass. with John Jones [of Gellilyfdy]Jones (John) ... of Gellilyfdy
Welsh calligrapher and transcriber of Welsh manuscripts
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Robert VaughanVaughan (Robert)
(d. 1667)
Welsh antiquary; collector of manuscripts in the Hengwrt library
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John Jones of Gellilyfdy (d. c.1659) is known to have been in possession of the White Book of Rhydderch (Peniarth MSS 5 and 4). It was bequeathed, along with many other manuscripts, to Robert Vaughan and held in his library at Hengwrt.
Hands, scribes
Hands indexed:
Scribe A

Copied quire 1-4. Rules only by hard point. Makes a double ruling for the outer margin. Writes in a single collumn with 46-51 lines per page.

Specimens (IIIF):
International Image Interoperability Framework logo.png
Scribe B

Copied quire 5-9. Possibly the Anchorite of Llandewibrefi. Rules only by hard point. Makes a double ruling for the outer margin. Writes in two collumns with 42 (quire 5) or 36 (quire 6-9) lines per page.

Specimens (IIIF):
International Image Interoperability Framework logo.png
Scribe C

Copied quire 10-14. Rules using both hard point and plummet. Makes a single ruling for the outer margin. Writes in two collumns with 30-35 lines per page.

Specimens (IIIF):
International Image Interoperability Framework logo.png
Additional hand 1 (f. 65v)
On f. 65v, which was left as a blank space, a cursive anglicana hand has added four englynion by Dafydd ap Gwilym. According to Huws (2000), this hand postdates the production of the manuscript but can be dated before the end of the century. The writing is not easily legible.
Additional hand 2 (f. 65v)

A further eight lines on f. 65v were written in “a hand of the first half of the fifteenth century” (Huws 2000). Like the addition that precedes it, the text is difficult to read, but has been identified as three englynion taken from an awdl by Gruffudd Fychan ap Gruffudd ab Ednyfed.

Codicological information
112 (ff. 1-12) + 214 (ff. 13-26) + 316 (ff. 27-42) + 416 (ff. 43-57) + 58 (ff. 58-65) + 612 (ff. 66-77) + 712 (ff. 78-89) + 812 (ff. 91-102) + 916 (ff. 103-117) + 108 (ff. 118-124) + 118 (ff. 125-132) + 126 (ff. 133-38) + 138 (ff. 139-46) + 144 (ff. 147-150) = 152 (total)
Peniarth 5 precedes Peniarth 4 in the foliation formula above.
Fol. 1 of quire 1 is wanting; the present fol. 1 is a blank leaf added probably in the nineteenth century. Leaves 4 and 11-16 of quire 4 are missing, whilst 9 and 10 are stubs; there are blank replacements probably of the nineteenth century. The last leaf should have been numbered 58.
2 quires consisting of nineteen leaves are missing between quire 5 and 6.
A single leaf is missing between quire 7 and 8; the present fol. 90 is a modern blank leaf.
Palaeographical information
Category: Gothic scripts
Scribe A and B rule only with hard point and both make a double ruling. Scribe A writes in one column, whilst all other scribes, both here and in Peniarth MS 4, write in two columns.
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

[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.
[dipl. ed.] Thomas, Peter Wynn [ed.], D. Mark Smith, and Diana Luft [transcribers and encoders], Welsh prose (Rhyddiaith Gymraeg) 1300–1425, Online: Cardiff University, 2007–present. URL: <>.

Secondary sources (select)

Huws, Daniel, “Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch”, in: Daniel Huws, Medieval Welsh manuscripts, Cardiff and Aberystwyth: University of Wales Press, 2000. 227–268.
Huws, Daniel, “Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch”, Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies 21 (Summer, 1991): 1–37.
Evans, J. Gwenogvryn, Report on manuscripts in the Welsh language, vol. 1.2: Peniarth, Historical Manuscripts Commission, London, 1899.
Internet Archive: <link>

External links

Darina Knoops, Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
August 2013, last updated: August 2023