Test: userparam1 = Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, Peniarth MS 1, userparam2 = manuscript

Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, Peniarth MS 1 Black Book of Carmarthen (Llyfr Du Caerfyrddin)

  • Welsh
  • c. 1250
  • Welsh manuscripts
  • vellum

A collection of early Welsh poetry, including religious poems, praise poems and elegies.

Collection: GB 0210 MSPENIARTH: Peniarth manuscripts
Peniarth 1
Black Book of Carmarthen (Llyfr Du Caerfyrddin)
Welsh poetry
Provenance and related aspects
c. 1250
c. 1250
Origin, provenance
Origin: Wales
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Carmarthen Priory
Carmarthen Priory
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Carmarthen Priory?
Hands, scribes
one scribe
Hands indexed:
Main hand
Apart from a number of minor additions, the Black Book of Carmarthen is commonly considered to be the work of one anonymous scribe, who may have compiled it over a period of years. As one progresses through the pages, there is an overall trend for the number of lines to a page to increase and for the script to become smaller, although this transition is still somewhat erratic.
Black Book of Carmarthen scribeBlack Book of Carmarthen scribe
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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Specimens (IIIF):
International Image Interoperability Framework logo.png
Drawing hand

There are several decorations, e.g. on f. 2r (a rod?), f. 4r (an animal with claws), f. 13r (a seemingly unhappy man), f. 29v (manicule), f. 49r (a dog-like animal, possibly a greyhound) and f. 52r (a kind of manicule clasping two final letters). Multispectral imaging has also revealed the presence of what appears to have represented a fish, which is now nearly rubbed out (Williams 2017: 366 and figures 22-24). While it cannot be proven that the scribe was responsible for adding them, it is suggested by “the seemingly personal nature of the book, along with the fact that the images often appear to have been drawn contemporaneously with the copying of the text” (Williams 2017: 359 and 359 n. 12).

Black Book of Carmarthen scribeBlack Book of Carmarthen scribe
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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Specimens (IIIF):
International Image Interoperability Framework logo.png
Additional hand (f. 40r)

Additional hand responsible for the verses on f. 40r, lines 11–16, beg. Tra vom kydkerded. goned kydimyteith.

Specimens (IIIF):
International Image Interoperability Framework logo.png
Codicological information
17 cm × 13 cm
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: Digital gallery, Online: NLW, ?–present. URL: <https://www.llyfrgell.cymru/darganfod/oriel-ddigidol/llawysgrifau/>. 
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.
The black book of Carmarthen: digital version (issued in 2002) direct link
[facs. ed.] Evans, J. Gwenogvryn [ed.], Facsimile of the Black Book of Carmarthen, Series of Welsh Texts, 2, Oxford, 1888.
Dbooks.bodleian.ox.ac.uk – Bodleian (Taylor Institution Library): <link>
[ed.] Jarman, A. O. H. [ed.], Llyfr Du Caerfyrddin, Cardiff: National University of Wales, 1982.
[dipl. ed.] Evans, J. Gwenogvryn [ed.], The Black Book of Carmarthen, Series of Old Welsh Texts, 5, Pwllheli, 1906.
Internet Archive: <link>

Secondary sources (select)

Huws, Daniel, Medieval Welsh manuscripts, Cardiff and Aberystwyth: University of Wales Press, 2000.
Jarman, A. O. H., “Llyfr Du Caerfyrddin: The Black Book of Carmarthen [Sir John Rhŷs Memorial Lecture]”, Proceedings of the British Academy 71 (1985): 333–356.
British Academy: <link>
Denholm-Young, Noël, Handwriting in England and Wales, 1st ed., Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1954.
78 + pl. 16 Dates the manuscript to the second quarter or middle of the 13th century.
Evans, J. Gwenogvryn, Report on manuscripts in the Welsh language, vol. 1.2: Peniarth, Historical Manuscripts Commission, London, 1899.
Internet Archive: <link>
297–299 direct link
C. A., Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
November 2010, last updated: August 2023