Peniarth Manuscripts

The Peniarth Manuscripts, also known as the Hengwrt–Peniarth Manuscripts, are a collection of medieval Welsh manuscripts now held by the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth. The collection was originally assembled by Robert Vaughan (c. 1592–1667) of Hengwrt, Merionethshire, and in the 19th century was housed at Peniarth Mansion, Llanegryn, Merioneth. It contains some of the oldest and most important Welsh manuscripts in existence.

Page from Peniarth MS 329, "Ancient laws" (14th century)

The collection was sold in 1898 by William Wynne VII of Peniarth to Sir John Williams. When the plan to establish a National Library of Wales emerged, Williams promised that he would donate his valuable collection, including the Peniarth Manuscripts, on the condition that the library be based in Aberystwyth. This condition was met, and Sir John duly donated the collection to the National Library.

The collection includes treasures such as the Black Book of Carmarthen, Book of Taliesin and White Book of Rhydderch (containing the Four Branches of the Mabinogi, the Three Welsh Romances and other tales) and a number of other ancient manuscripts, including early texts of the Cyfraith Hywel and by Beirdd yr Uchelwyr (the Poets of the Nobility). The manuscripts in other languages include two Latin manuscripts of Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae and an early illuminated version of the Canterbury Tales known as the Hengwrt Chaucer.

Selected list of manuscriptsEdit

See alsoEdit


  • J. Gwenogvryn Evans, Reports on Manuscripts in the Welsh Language, volume I, number 2 and 3.
  • Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, volume I, number 1.