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Bibliographic information

Language: Welsh

Covers years: c.388–c.1265


  • Oxford, Jesus College 111, Llyfr Coch Hergest (c.1382×c.1410), fol. 254r–v
  • Aberystwyth, NLW MS Peniarth 32, Y Llyfr Teg (c.1404), fols. 114v–116v
  • Aberystwyth, NLW MS Llansteffan 28 (1455–1456), pp. 86–92
  • Aberystwyth, NLW MS Peniarth 182 (1509×1513), pp. 24–34
  • Aberystwyth, NLW MS Peniarth 135 (1556–1564), pp. 66–71
  • Cardiff, Central Library MS 3.11 (c.1561–1575), pp. 149–54
  • Cardiff, Central Library MS 3.11 (c.1561–1575), pp. 149–54
  • Aberystwyth, NLW MS Peniarth 212 (1565×1587), pp. 514–523

O Oes Gwrtheyrn

This is a relatively short chronological text, mainly containing material shared with Brut y Tywysogion and the Welsh Latin annals up to the later twelfth century, after which it contains unique material. It has the characteristics of a fuller chronicle between 1209 and 1211, but then becomes once again a sparse set of notes up to c.1265, although again containing some unique material. The chronicle ends with a series of notices relating to important events in the history of the Welsh. In some versions of the chronicle, these are dated to 1211, and in some to 1255, delineating two distinct branches in the textual history of O Oes Gwrtheyrn. All indications point to the Cistercian abbey of Aberconwy as the place at which the work was compiled, particularly a reference to the abbey’s Creuddyn grange in 1210. O Oes Gwrtheyrn gives a relative chronology with few absolute dates - the title itself is from the first line of the work, which opens not with a date but with the amount of years between the reign of Vortigern and the battle of Badon.

The oldest manuscripts of the chronicle are Oxford, Jesus College MS 111 (Llyfr Coch Hergest), and Aberystwyth, NLW MS Peniarth 32 (Y Llyfr Teg), both dating to the years around 1400. Both these texts are incomplete to different degrees, and other manuscripts of the fifteenth and sixteenth century are significant to the work’s textual history. The work of establishing the exact relationship between these is ongoing.

Nia Wyn Jones

Editions & Translation

  • Humphrey Llwyd, Britannicæ descriptionis commentariolum: necnon de Mona insula et Britannica arce, sive armamentario Romano disceptatio epistolaris. Accedunt æræ Cambrobritannicæ, ed. by M. Williams (London, 1731), pp. 141–64 [Text of Llyfr Coch Hergest until its end, continued with the text of Llansteffan MS 28]
  • J. Rhŷs and J. Gwenogvryn Evans, The Text of the Bruts from the Red Book of Hergest (Oxford, 1890), pp. 404–6 [Diplomatic text of the incomplete version in Llyfr Coch Hergest]
  • Owain Wyn Jones, ‘Historical Writing in Medieval Wales’, (PhD thesis, Bangor University, 2013), pp. 409–30 [Critical text and translation]

Secondary Scholarship

  • J. E. Lloyd, 'Wales and the Coming of the Normans (1039–1093)', Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion 1899–1900 (1901), 122–79 (135 n.).
  • Owain Wyn Jones, ‘Historical Writing in Medieval Wales’, (PhD thesis, Bangor University, 2013), pp. 287–316, 409–30.

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