Scope and Content

A volume of notes in the hand of Edward Williams ('Iolo Morganwg') bearing the inscription 'History of the British Bards. Common Place Book. No. IV. By Edward Williams . . .' on the 'title-page'. Pp. 2- 11, 32-61, 70-103, 112-25 contain the text of an essay on various schools of Welsh poetry which, under the title 'History of the British Bards' and with the subtitles 'Primitive School', 'School of Taliesin', and 'School of Gruffudd ap Cynan alias of Glynn Achlach', was subsequently published in The Cambrian Journal, 1858, pp. 161-9, ibid., 1859, pp. 10-29, 132-41, 241-55, and ibid., 1860, pp. 7-21. Pp. 12-24 contain extracts from, and abstracts of sections of, two letters from Sharon Turner to the Reverend John Brand as secretary of the Society of Antiquaries which, under the headings 'An Inquiry respecting the early use of rhime . . .' and 'A further inquiry respecting the early use of rhime ...', were published in Archaeologia or Miscellaneous Tracts relating to Antiquity, vol. XIV, 1803, pp. 168-204. These extracts, etc., were published in The Cambrian Journal, 1858, pp. 353-63 being inserted there as a section of the aforementioned essay entitled 'History of the British Bards'. Pp. 26-7, 62-5, 126-31, 192- 203, 232-3 (each page headed 'Alphabet Bards. Allusions to') contain couplets or longer extracts from the works of Welsh poets, these apparently being presumed to contain references to the bardic practice of writing on wooden surfaces using the special alphabet allegedly used by the Welsh bards (see the preceding manuscript No. 13107B) or words and phrases whose metaphorical use reflected such a practice. The contents of other pages include p. 28 (headed 'Hu Gadarn'), two couplets of Welsh verse relating to Hu [Gadarn]; pp. 66-9 (each page headed 'Bards Discipline Miscellaneous'), extracts from the works of Welsh poets, etc., relating mainly to the bards of Tir Iarll; pp. 104-05, notes under the page headings 'Preface to the History of the Bards, Collections for' ( these notes also appear in The Cambrian Journal, 1860, pp. 10-11, as part of the abovementioned essay on the Welsh bards although they obviously do not form part of the narrative of the text of that essay); pp. 132-6 (each page headed 'Schools of Welsh Poetry [Primitive School]'), further observations relating to the primitive school of Welsh poets, its survival in Glamorgan until the seventeenth century, and the foundation of a new school of poets beginning with Rhys Goch ap Riccert, circa 1130, 'in the Silurian district of Wales'; pp. 137-43, blank except for page headings as in pp. 132-6; pp. 150-51, each page headed 'Ossian', otherwise blank; pp. 180-83 (each page headed 'Alliteration'), a note on the definition of the word alliteration, an analysis of an example of alliteration in English verse, examples of its use in 'Caedmon's Paraphrase on Genesis', and a brief note on its use by Saxon poets and its introduction into Welsh poetry; pp. 204-15, each page headed 'Institutes and customs alluded to', otherwise blank; pp. 216-23 (each page headed 'Mythologies'), a triad relating to the proper name Menw on p. 216, otherwise blank; and pp. 240- 41, each page headed 'Inquiries Miscellaneous', otherwise blank. On a 'fly- leaf' at the beginning of the volume are sketches of five musical instruments surrounded by a number of circles containing the names of grades of Welsh bards and musicians extracted 'from a MS. in the Havod Library, 1790'.


Title based on contents.

Formerly known as Llanover C. 21.

Preferred citation: NLW MS 13108B.

Other Finding Aids

The description is also available in the Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volume IV (Aberystwyth, 1971).

Additional Information