William Maurice (antiquary)

William Maurice (1620–1680) was a well-known seventeenth-century collector and transcriber of Welsh manuscripts and books from Denbighshire, Wales.

William Maurice
Cefn-y-braich, Llansilin, Denbighshire, Wales
Died1680 (aged 59–60)
Cefn-y-braich, Llansilin, Denbighshire, Wales
Parent(s)Lewis Maurice (father)

Early lifeEdit

Maurice was born around 1620 in the small community of Cefn-y-Braich in the parish of Llansilin in the historic county of Denbighshire in Wales.[1] He owned land and lived most of his life in the area.[1][2]

Mid lifeEdit

Maurice collected Welsh literature. He had so many books and manuscripts that he built a three-storey library near his home in Cefn-y-Braich called "the Study" in which to store them.[1][3] He spent much of his time there.[4] His collection of books was a fac simile of Friar Baeon's Study, because his library was similar to Roger Bacon's books and manuscripts.[4][5][6] Maurice was associated with the antiquary Robert Vaughan in the collecting and maintaining of these ancient Welsh manuscripts and books that ultimately became a collection of the Hengwrt-Peniarth library, an important part of the National Library of Wales.[7][8][9] Maurice cataloged the Hengwrt manuscript collection in 1658.[10] Many manuscripts are in Maurice's own hand.[A]


Maurice's father was Lewis Maurice, from the family line of Moeliwrch of Powys, Wales.[3] He is descended maternally from the sister of Owain Glyndŵr. Maurice married Laetitia, a descendant of Glyndwr's opponent Henry Bolinbroke.[4] Maurice had a daughter named Laetitia (also known as Anne),[11] who inherited his estate[5] and married David Williams of Glan Kynlleth.[11] Maurice's third great-grandchild was John Stanley, 1st Baron Stanley of Alderley. His ninth great-grandchild is James Robert Bruce Ogilvy, founder of Luxury Briefing (a magazine about luxury items).[12]


Maurice died around 1680.[5][10]


Maurice wrote an historical account of the North Wales civil war, which was later reprinted in the journal Archaeologia Cambrensis.[1] He edited and republished Humphrey Llwyd's historical manuscript Cronica Walliae that was previously published by David Powel's 1584 History of Cambria.[13]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ "In some of his manuscripts he used a Welsh orthography peculiar to himself, and no manuscript was too precious for him to disfigure with his scrawl."[3]


  1. ^ a b c d Williams 1852, p. 318.
  2. ^ Pollard, Albert Frederick. William Maurice. Dictionary of National Biography, 1885–1900. 37. Archæologia Cambrensis, i.33–41; Williams's Eminent Welshmen, p. 318
  3. ^ a b c Jones, Evan David (2009). "MAURICE, WILLIAM (d. 1680 )". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. National Library of Wales.
  4. ^ a b c Davies & Evans 1868, p. 45.
  5. ^ a b c Limbird 1820, p. 380.
  6. ^ Cathrall 1855, p. 231.
  7. ^ Hellinga 2002, p. 733.
  8. ^ Williams 1836, p. 101.
  9. ^ "The Peniarth Manuscripts". The National Library of Wales. 2014. Retrieved 29 Dec 2014.
  10. ^ a b Koch 2000, p. 905.
  11. ^ a b Myddelton 1931, p. 335.
  12. ^ The PEDIGREE of William (of Cefn-y-braich) MAURICE
  13. ^ Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts 2003, p. 165.