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Bibliographical Information
Cronica Walliae
Humphrey Llwyd
ISBN: 9780708316382 (0708316387)Publication Date July 2002
Publisher: Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru / University of Wales Press, Cardiff
Edited by Ieuan M. Williams Format: Hardback, 225x144 mm, 302 pages Language: English Out of Stock - Reprint Under Consideration Our Price: £29.00   
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The first ever edition of Cronica Walliae, the earliest and most important work of Humphrey Llwyd (1527-68), antiquary and map- maker, comprising a thorough edition of the text which is a record of the history of Wales from 650 to 1295, together with valuable explanatory notes and a detailed index.

Yr argraffiad cyntaf erioed o Cronica Walliae, gwaith cynharaf a phwysicaf Humphrey Llwyd (1527-58), hynafiaethydd a mapiwr, yn cynnwys golygiad trylwyr o'r testun sy'n gofnod o hanes Cymru o 650-1295, ynghyd â nodiadau eglurhaol gwerthfawr a mynegai manwl.
Humphrey Llwyd’s best-known work has been the foundation for much subsequent writing in English on the history of Wales, itself being distilled from the medieval Bruts. This present volume was edited and annotated by Professor Ieuan Williams of Swansea, who sadly died in 2000, and the preparation of the work for publication was completed by Professor J. Beverley Smith of Aberystwyth.

Humphrey Llwyd was born in Denbigh in 1527, and he died there in 1568, after sitting for some five years as the local MP, during which time he facilitated the passage of the Bill for the translation into Welsh of the Bible and Book of Common Prayer. Much of his life was spent as a writer and cartographer in England, where he was archivist to the Earl of Arundel. His book was the first to outline the medieval history of Wales in the English language. It was never formally published, but was used by David Powel as the basis for his Historie of Cambria, which appeared in 1584.

Professor Williams devoted many years to reproducing Llwyd’s work in as faithful a form as possible, mainly based on the Llanstephan manuscript in the National Library of Wales. In almost sixty pages of Introduction, the editor discusses in depth the sources that Llwyd used to record the history of his native country from the time of Cadwaladr to Llywelyn ap Gruffudd. He also describes and interprets Llwyd’s method of working and the difficulties he had with his source material, the identity of some of which he remained strangely reticent about, though he did range beyond purely Welsh material.

The text itself, which lies in between Ieuan Williams’s extensive introduction and his copious notes, is in sixteenth-century English which, though quaint to the modern eye in its spelling, is totally comprehensible and resoundingly Shakespearean. Many familiar episodes in later Welsh histories first saw expression in Llwyd’s Cronica – to pick on just one example, this Tudor essay was where the story of Prince Madoc ap Owain Gwynedd’s discovery of America was 'first given cohesive utterance', as the editor puts it.

The book is not only a work of painstaking scholarship, but obviously a labour of love over some twenty years, following Professor Williams’s retirement from his Chair at Swansea. It is a tragedy that he did not live to see the publication of this fine book.

Bernard Knight

It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgement should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.

Gellir defnyddio’r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
Further Information:
Cronica Walliae
Humphrey Llwyd. Edited by Ieuan M. Williams
approx. pp 272 216x138mm August 2002 £25.00
ISBN 0-7083-1638-7
The antiquary and map-maker Humphrey Llwyd was born in Denbigh about 1527 and educated at the University of Oxford. He spent many years in the service of the earl of Arundel and served as MP for East Grinstead and later for Denbigh. Llwyd was credited with facilitating the passage of the Bill for the translation of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer into Welsh. He died in Denbigh in 1568.
Cronica Walliae, Llwyd’s earliest and by far his largest extant work, was completed in 1559 but remained unpublished. In this essay, Llwyd presents what he regarded as the true history of Wales to readers outside its borders. Based on the medieval Welsh chronicle Brut y Tywysogyon, it is the first attempt to provide a history in English of the lives and acts of the kings and princes of Wales from Cadwaladr to Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the last native Welsh prince. The Elizabethan scholar David Powel later used Cronica Walliae as the basis for Historie of Cambria (1584), which became the foundational work for the history of Wales.
The text of this first ever edition of Cronica Walliae is based on the Llanstephan manuscript at the National Library of Wales, and the aim of the editor has been to reproduce Llwyd’s original as far as it is possible to do so.
Ieuan Morgan Williams was born at Pontarddulais and educated at Gowerton Intermediate School and the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. After war service in the Royal Air Force he taught at Gowerton before his appointment as assistant Secretary to the Council of the University of Wales in 1952. He became Director of Extra-Mural Studies at University College, Swansea, in 1960 and was appointed to the Chair of Adult and Continuing Education in 1980. He also served as Vice-Principal from 1980 to 1983.
Following the death of Ieuan Williams in 2000, this edition of Cronica Walliae was prepared for publication by J. Beverley Smith, Emeritus Professor of Welsh History at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.
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