New online: Welsh manuscripts

Several important Welsh medieval manuscripts belong to Jesus College, most famously the Red Book of Hergest. These manuscripts were photographed twenty years ago for the pioneering digitisation programme Early Manuscripts at Oxford University originally called the Celtic Manuscripts Project. The images are now newly available on the Digital.Bodleian platform, together with a further six manuscripts which were photographed in 1996 and 1997 but which were not previously available online.

The original nine manuscripts:

  • MS 15 – Welsh grammar
  • MS 16 – Welsh-English-Latin dictionary
  • MS 20 – poetic and historical miscellany
  • MS 22 – calendar of saints with medical texts
  • MS 28Dares Phrygius & Brut Tysilio
  • MS 57 – laws of Hywel Dda
  • MS 88 – poetry
  • MS 111 – the Red Book of Hergest
  • MS 119 – the Book of the Anchorite of Llanddewi Brefi
MS 17 title-page

Alpha Beta, the first page of text in MS 17, defining Greek terms in Welsh (© Jesus College, Oxford)

The six manuscripts which have been added:

  • MS 17 – glossary of New Testament Greek
  • MS 137 – poetry
  • MS 138 – the Book of Robert Davies of Gwysaney
  • MS 139 – copy of The Book of the Vicar of Woking
  • MS 140 – poetry
  • MS 141 – chronicles

The College’s medieval and early modern manuscripts have been housed in the Bodleian Library since 1886. They may be consulted in the new Weston Library by appointment.

Qualified conservators from the Oxford Conservation Consortium have recently completed a high-level survey of our manuscripts’ physical condition. Separately, a team of researchers is preparing a new catalogue, due for publication in 2021, as the most recent catalogue dates from the 1850s and is in Latin!

Owen McKnight (Librarian)

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One Response to New online: Welsh manuscripts

  1. Pingback: New online: Welsh manuscripts | Oxford Conservators' Group

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