Charters from St Davids (lost)

  • Latin
  • prose
  • extent: not extant
Evidence from sixteenth-century references, by William Salesbury and John Leland, suggests that St Davids may once have been in possession of early medieval property records or ‘charters’ that are now lost except for some excerpts.
In a note to a letter addressed to archbishop Parker (1565), William Salesbury makes known he had discovered “certain outworne fragments of auncient Recordes of Donations” from the archive of St David's. Using a distinct, Insular(?) script, he gives a brief extract of one such donation, with the name of the landholder, Iudnerth, and those of the witnesses (testes) of the transaction, Branoc, Gueir and Iesus. A supplementary piece of evidence for the possible existence of early charters at St Davids is provided by John Leland. First, he mentions a book De dotatione ecclesiae S. Davidis (‘Of the endowment of the church of St Davids’), in which he notes a reference to the ‘abbey of Llanfride’ (cf. Llansanfraid). Further, in a blank space of his Collectanea, he enters a list of Welsh names, including that of the abbot of Llan Sanfrigt, which may have been drawn from witness lists of at least two different charters (Brett 1990).
Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 114A
p. 497
Excerpt by William Salesbury.
Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Top. gen. c.3
p. 152.i
Manuscript of the Collectanea, vol. III (notes on Herefordshire).
  • Latin
  • The available extracts are in Latin and written in something resembling Insular script. When Matthew Parker responded, he appears to suggest that the script imitated by Salesbury is that used for Old English: “as for those charectes wherein som of yor recordes of donation be wryten wherof he sent a holl lyne wryten it is the speche of ye olde Saxon: whereof I haue dyuerse bokes & workes & some in my house of them wch do wel vnderstande them.”
prose (primary)



Tyddewi [St Davids]
Tyddewi ... St Davids cathedral church
No short description available

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Iudnerth [landholder]Iudnerth ... landholder
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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Branoc [witness]Branoc ... witness
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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Gueir [witness]Gueir ... witness
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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Noe [king of Dyfed]Noe ... king of Dyfed
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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Primary sources Text editions and/or modern translations – in whole or in part – along with publications containing additions and corrections, if known. Diplomatic editions, facsimiles and digital image reproductions of the manuscripts are not always listed here but may be found in entries for the relevant manuscripts. For historical purposes, early editions, transcriptions and translations are not excluded, even if their reliability does not meet modern standards.

Parker Library on the Web: manuscripts in the historic Parker Library at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, Online: Stanford Libraries, 2009–present. URL: <https://parker.stanford.edu/parker>.
CCCC MS 114A p. 497 (note by William Salesbury). direct link
Toulmin Smith, Lucy [ed.], The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535–1543 [vol. 4]: containing parts 7 & 8 with appendices including extracts from Leland's Collectanea and 3 maps, London, 1909.
Internet Archive: <link>

Secondary sources (select)

Flower, Robin, “William Salesbury, Richard Davies, and Archbishop Parker”, The National Library of Wales Journal 2:1 (Summer, 1941–1942/1941): 7–14.
Journals.library.wales: <link>
Brett, Caroline, “John Leland, Wales and early British history”, Welsh History Review 15 (1990): 169–182.
Davies, Wendy, “The Latin charter-tradition in western Britain, Brittany and Ireland in the early mediaeval period”, in: Dorothy Whitelock, Rosamund McKitterick, and David N. Dumville (eds), Ireland in early medieval Europe: studies in memory of Kathleen Hughes, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982. 258–280.
261, 261 n. 19, 268, 270
C. A., Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
September 2019, last updated: June 2023