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Bibliographic information

Language: Latin

Covers years: 445–977

Manuscript: London, British Library, Harley 3859, ff. 190r–193r (s. xi/xii)

The Harleian Chronicle

A-text of the Annales Cambriae

The Harleian chronicle occurs on folios 190r–193r of London, British Library, Harley 3859. The manuscript was written within the decades either side of 1100 in an Anglo-Norman scriptorium, possibly that at St Augustine’s, Canterbury. The extant text of the Harleian chronicle was most probably copied from a mid-tenth-century manuscript that had belonged to the church of St David’s. The framework of the extant chronicle covers the years 445–977, but the latest year for which an entry is furnished is that for 954. It is likely that the chronicle had been maintained in St David’s for a number of years prior to this latter date.

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 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.

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 Breviate and Cottonian chronicles, 682–954]
  • Edmond Faral, La légende Arthurienne: Études et Documents, 3 vols (Paris: H. Champion, 1929), III, 44–50.
  • 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 30 April 2015]. [parallel with the Breviate and Cottonian chronicles, <682]
  • J. Loth, Les Mabinogion du Livre rouge de Hergest avec les variantes du Livre blanc de Rhydderch, rev. ed., 2 vols (Paris: Fontemoing et cie, 1913), II, 370–82. [reprint of Phillimore’s text]
  • John Morris, Nennius: British History and Welsh Annals (London: Phillimore, 1980), pp. 45–9 and 85–91. [reprint and transl. of Faral’s text with additions from the Breviate and Cottonian chronicles]
  • Henry Petrie, with John Sharpe, Monumenta Historica Britannica, or Materials for the History of Britain, from the Earliest Period: Volume 1, ed. by Thomas Duffus Hardy(London: G.E. Eyre & W. Spottiswoode, 1848), pp. 830–40. [confl. with the Breviate and Cottonian chronicles, ‘444’–1066]
  • *Egerton Phillimore, ‘The Annales Cambriæ and the Old-Welsh Genealogies from Harleian MS. 3859’, Y Cymmrodor,9 (1888), 141–83 (pp. 152–69).
  • 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. 155–62. [transl.]
  • W. Wade-Evans, Nennius’s “History of the Britons”: together with “The Annals of the Britons” and “Court Pedigrees of Hywel the Good” also “The Story of the Loss of Britain” (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1938), pp. 84–101. [transl.]
  • John Williams ab Ithel, Annales Cambriae (London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1860). [confl. with the Breviate and Cottonian chronicles]

Secondary Scholarship

Specific to this Version

  • Alfred Anscombe, ‘The Exordium of the “Annales Cambriae”’, Ériu,3 (1907), 117–34.
  • Alfred Anscombe, ‘Mr. E. W. B. Nicholson and the “Exordium” of the “Annales Cambriae”’, Zeitschrift für celtische philologie,7 (1910), 419–38.
  • David N. Dumville, ‘Annales Cambriae and Easter’, in The Medieval Chronicle III: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on the Medieval Chronicle. Doorn/Utrecht 12-17 July 2002, ed. by Erik Kooper (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2004), pp. 40–50; repr. in his Celtic Essays, 2001–2007, 2 vols(Aberdeen, 2007), II, 25–33.
  • Ben Guy, ‘The Origins of the Compilation of Welsh Historical Texts in Harley 3859’, Studia Celtica,49 (2015, forthcoming).
  • Ben Guy, ‘A Second Witness to the Welsh Material in Harley 3859’, Quaestio Insularis: Selected Proceedings of the Cambridge Colloquium in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic,15 (2014, forthcoming).
  • Kathleen Hughes, ‘The A-Text of the Annales Cambriae’, in her Celtic Britain in the Early Middle Ages, ed. by David N. Dumville (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1980), pp. 86–100.
  • Molly Miller, ‘Final Stages in the Construction of the Harleian Annales Cambriae’, Journal of Celtic Studies,4 (2004), 205–11.
  • E. W. B. Nicholson, ‘The “Annales Cambriae” and their so-called “Exordium”, Zeitschrift für celtische philologie,8 (1912), 121–50.
  • E. W. B. Nicholson, ‘Remarks on The Date of the First Settlement of the Saxons in Britain, 1.’, Zeitschrift für celtische philologie,6 (1908), 439–53.
  • Egerton Phillimore, ‘The Publication of Welsh Historical Records’, Y Cymmrodor,11 (1892), 133–75.
  • Morgan Watkin, ‘The Chronology of the Annales Cambriae and the Liber Landavensis on the basis of their Old French Graphical Phenomena', National Library of Wales Journal, 11 (1960), 181–226.

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.

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