London, British Library, MS Cotton Vespasian E xi Unit: section 1, ff. 1-45, 133-134

  • Latin
  • s. xiiimed
  • Welsh manuscripts
  • vellum

Welsh lawbook (ff. 1-45, 133-134).

medieval Welsh law
Provenance and related aspects
s. xiiimed
Mid-13th century.
Origin, provenance
Origin: GwyneddGwynedd

No description available

See more
Wales, south-westWales, south-west

No description available

See more
Gwynedd (e.g. Bangor and Aberconway) or south-west Wales. The southwestern elements may derive from an earlier Latin exemplar like that contained in the now lost Llyfr y Tŷ Gwyn.(1)n. 1 Daniel Huws, ‘Descriptions of the Welsh nanuscripts’ in The Welsh king and his court... (2000): 415–419.
Hands, scribes
Hands indexed:
The scribe

According to Huws, the lawbook and the texts added on ff. 44–45 are the work of a single scribe in the mid-13th century and so probably, are the glosses on ff. 15r, 15v and 16. The script in use is characterised by him as “a small regular textura with a slight backward tilt; there is fully developed Gothic ‘biting’ and unostentatious capital letters in the text” and features include “open a, round r only after o, final r sometimes in majuscule form, t with shaft not extending above the cross-stroke, four-stroked w”, which would go out of fashion later during the same century.

Codicological information
112 (ff. 1–12) + 214 (ff. 13–26) + 310 (ff. 27–36) + 47 (ff. 37–43, final leaf, possibly a blank, wanting) + 54 (a blank, a stub, and ff. 44-45) + 62 (former end flyleaves, now ff. 133-134) = 47 (total)
Palaeographical information
Category: Gothic textualis (textura)
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.



Daniel Huws, ‘Descriptions of the Welsh nanuscripts’ in The Welsh king and his court... (2000): 415–419.
See also the parent manuscript for further references.

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.

Digitisation wanted
[dipl. ed.] Emanuel, Hywel David, The Latin texts of the Welsh laws, History and Law Series, 22, Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1967. xiv + 565 pp.
193–259 Latin text of Welsh law.
[dipl. ed.] Owen, Aneurin [ed.], Ancient laws and institutes of Wales, 2 vols, London: Commissioners on the Public Records of the Kingdom, 1841.
Internet Archive: <link>
Vol. 1, 814–892 Latin text of Welsh law.

Secondary sources (select)

Huws, Daniel, “Descriptions of the Welsh nanuscripts”, in: T. M. Charles-Edwards, Paul Russell, and Morfydd E. Owen (eds), The Welsh king and his court, Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2000. 415–424.
Pryce, Huw, Native law and the church in medieval Wales, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.  
Contents: Introduction; Part I, Co-operation and conflict: 1 Lawbooks and lawyers; 2 The sacred dimension to legal processes; 3 Ecclesiastical criticism of Welsh law; 4 Marriage and inheritance; 5 Testamentary disposition; Part II, Privilege and power: Introduction; 6 The legal status of clerics; 7 Ecclesiastical sanctuary; 8 Land and lordship; 9 Church and state; Conclusion.
Emanuel, Hywel David, The Latin texts of the Welsh laws, History and Law Series, 22, Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1967. xiv + 565 pp.
Evans, J. Gwenogvryn, Report on manuscripts in the Welsh language, vol. 2: The British Museum, Historical Manuscripts Commission, London, 1910.
Internet Archive: <link>
951 (MS 12)
Planta, Joseph, Catalogue of the manuscripts in the Cottonian Library, deposited in the British Museum, London: The British Museum, 1802.
Internet Archive: <link>
Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
August 2013, last updated: August 2023