Skip to main content Skip to section menu

Bibliographic information

Language: Latin

Covers years: A.M. 1–A.D. 1286

Manuscript: London, National Archives, MS E. 164/1, ff. 1r–13r (s. xiii/xiv)

The Breviate Chronicle

B-text of the Annales Cambriae

The Breviate chronicle occurs on folios 1r–13r of London, National Archives, MS E.164/1. This manuscript also contains a breviate of the Domesday Book, and it was written probably in the Cistercian abbey of Neath in the second half of the thirteenth century. The chronicle begins with a history of the world from its creation and proceeds to the year 1286. It is clear that the extant text incorporates annals drawn from a number of different sources, some of which were brought together for the first time at Neath in the second half of the thirteenth century.

In 1848 Henry Petrie edited the sections of the Harleian, Breviate, and Cottonian chronicles that pertained to the years up to 1066. For this period, the same source text underlies all three of these chronicles; this source text was the St David’s chronicle that was in existence no later than 954, when the exemplar of the Harleian chronicle was created, and was continued in St David’s thereafter. Petrie was thus justified, for his purposes, in labelling the three chronicles respectively as the A-, B-, and C-texts of a single chronicle, which he loosely named Annales Cambriae, ‘The Annals of Wales’. The same nomenclature was then taken from its original context and applied to the three chronicles as a whole by John Williams ab Ithel, who has been subsequently followed by many other scholars. However, since in their later sections the Breviate and Cottonian chronicles derive from separate sources, it is better to use the labels ‘Harleian’, ‘Breviate’, and ‘Cottonian’ chronicles.

Kathleen Hughes called the Breviate chronicle the ‘PRO’ chronicle, on account of the manuscript then being located in the Public Record Office, but since the Public Record Office has now been merged into the National Archives at Kew, the ‘PRO’ label is inappropriate. This chronicle is not to be confused with a set of Marcher annals contained in the same manuscript, termed the ‘Breviate annals’ by J. Beverley Smith and edited by J. Longueville Jones.

Ben Guy

Editions & Translation

  • David N. Dumville, Annales Cambriae, A.D. 682-954: Texts A-C in Parallel (Cambridge: Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, 2002). [parallel with the Harleian and Cottonian chronicles, 682–954]
  • Henry Gough-Cooper, ‘Annales Cambriae, from Saint Patrick to AD 682: Texts A, B & C in Parallel’, The Heroic Age: A Journal of Early Medieval Northwest Europe, 15 (October, 2012) [accessed 19 November 2014]. [parallel with the Breviate and Cottonian chronicles, <682]
  • Henry Gough-Cooper, Annales Cambriae: the B text, from London, National Archives, MS E164/1, pp. 2–26 (2015)
  • J. E. Lloyd, ‘The Text of MSS. B and C, of “Annales Cambriae” for the Period 1035–1093, in Parallel Columns’, Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion (1899–1900), 165–9. [parallel with the Cottonian Chronicle, 1035–93]
  • Henry Petrie, with John Sharpe, Monumenta Historica Britannica, or Materials for the History of Britain, from the Earliest Period: Volume 1, ed. Thomas Duffus Hardy(London: G.E. Eyre & W. Spottiswoode, 1848), 830–40. [confl. with the Harleian and Cottonian chronicles, ‘444’–1066]
  • P. M. Remfry, Annales Cambriae: a Translation of Harleian 3859; PRO E. 164/1; Cottonian Domitian, A1; Exeter Cathedral Library MS.3514 and MS Exchequer DB Neath, PRO E. 164/1 (Shrewsbury: Castle Studies Research, 2007), pp. 163–201. [transl.]
  • John Williams ab Ithel, Annales Cambriae (London:  Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1860). [confl. with the Harleian and Cottonian chronicles]

Secondary Scholarship

Secondary Scholarship - Specific to this version

  • Caroline Brett, ‘The Prefaces of Two Late Thirteenth-Century Welsh Latin Chronicles’, Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies,35 (1988), 63–73.
  • Julian Harrison, ‘A Note on Gerald of Wales and Annales Cambriae’, Welsh History Review, 17 (1994), 252–55.
  • Daniel Huws, ‘The Neath Abbey Breviate of Domesday’, in Wales and the Welsh in the Middle Ages, ed. by R. A. Griffiths and P. R. Schofield (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2011), pp. 46–55.
  • J. Longueville Jones, ‘Chronicle of the Thirteenth Century. MS Exchequer Domesday’, Archaeologia Cambrensis, 3rd ser., 8 (1862), 272–83.
  • C. A. Seyler, 'The Early Charters of Swansea and Gower, Part I', Archaeologia Cambrensis, 79 (1924), 59–79.
  • J. Beverley Smith, 'Castell Gwyddgrug', Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies, 26 (1976), 74–77.
  • J. Beverley Smith, ‘Historical Writing in Medieval Wales: the Composition of Brenhinedd y Saesson’, Studia Celtica,42 (2008), 55–86.
  • David Stephenson, 'The Chronicler of Cwm-hir Abbey, 1257–63: The Construction of a Welsh Chronicle', in Wales and the Welsh in the Middle Ages, ed. by R. A. Griffiths and P. R. Schofield (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2011), pp. 29–45.
  • David Stephenson, ‘Gerald of Wales and Annales Cambriae’, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies, 60 (2010), 23–37.
  • David Stephenson, ‘Welsh Chronicles' Accounts of the Mid-Twelfth Century’, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies, 56 (2008), 45–57.
  • David E. Thornton, ‘Locusts in Ireland? A Problem in the Welsh and Frankish Annals’, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies,31 (1996), 37–53.

Secondary Scholarship: Annales Cambriae more generally

  • T. M. Charles-Edwards, Wales and the Britons 350–1064 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 346–59.
  • David N. Dumville, review of Kathleen Hughes, The Welsh Latin Chronicles: Annales Cambriae and Related Texts (1973), Studia Celtica,12/13 (1977–78), 461–67.
  • David N. Dumville, ‘When was the “Clonmacnoise Chronicle” Created? The Evidence of the Welsh Annals’, in Kathryn Grabowski and David N. Dumville, Chronicles and Annals of Medieval Ireland and Wales (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1984), pp. 209–26.
  • Nicholas Evans, ‘The Irish Chronicles and the British to Anglo-Saxon Transition in Seventh-Century Northumbria’, in The Medieval Chronicle VII, ed. by Juliana Dresvina and Nicholas Sparks (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2011), pp. 15–43.
  • Erik Grigg, ‘“Mole Rain” and other Natural Phenomena in the Welsh Annals: Can Mirablia unravel the Textual History of the Annales Cambriae?’, Welsh History Review,24 (2009), 1–40.
  • Kathleen Hughes, ‘The Welsh Latin Chronicles: Annales Cambriae and Related Texts’, Proceedings of the British Academy,59 (1973), 233–58; repr. in her Celtic Britain in the Early Middle Ages, ed. by David N. Dumville (Woodbridge: Boydell, 1980), pp. 67–85.
  • J. E. Lloyd, ‘The Welsh Chronicles’, Proceedings of the British Academy,14 (1928), 369–91.
  • Howard Wiseman, ‘The Derivation of the Badon entry in the Annales Cambriae from Bede and Gildas’, Parergon, 17 (2000), 1–10.

Site footer