Sims-Williams, Patrick, The Book of Llandaf as a historical source, Studies in Celtic History, 38, Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2019.

  • Book/Monograph
Citation details
The Book of Llandaf as a historical source
Boydell & Brewer
Contents: Introduction; The Book of Llandaf and the early Welsh charter; The origin of the Llandaf claims; The charters in the Book of Llandaf: forgeries or recensions?; The authenticity of the witness lists; The integrity of the charters; The chronology of the charters; The status of the donors and recipients of the charters; The fake diplomatic of the Book of Llandaf; The Book of Llandaf: first edition or seventh enlarged revision?; A new approach to the compilation of the Book of Llandaf; The evidence of the doublets; The Book of Llandaf as an indicator of social and economic change; The royal genealogical framework; The episcopal framework; Afterword; Appendix I: Concordance and chart showing the paginal and chronological order of the charters; Appendix II: Maps of grants to bishops; Bibliography.
Abstract (cited)
The early-twelfth-century Book of Llandaf is rightly notorious for its bogus documents - but it also provides valuable information on the early medieval history of south-east Wales and the adjacent parts of England. This study focuses on its 159 charters, which purport to date from the fifth century to the eleventh, arguing that most of them are genuine seventh-century and later documents that were adapted and "improved" to impress Rome and Canterbury in the context of Bishop Urban of Llandaf's struggles in 1119-34 against the bishops of St Davids and Hereford and the "invasion" of monks from English houses such as Gloucester and Tewkesbury. After assembling other evidence for the existence of pre-twelfth-century Welsh charters, the author defends the authenticity of most of the Llandaf charters' witness lists, elucidates their chronology, and analyses the processes of manipulation and expansion that led to the extant Book of Llandaf. This leads him to reassess the extent to which historians can exploit the rehabilitated charters as an indicator of social and economic change between the seventh and eleventh centuries and as a source for the secular and ecclesiastical history of south-east Wales and western England.
Subjects and topics
Dennis Groenewegen
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October 2019, last updated: March 2021