National Library of Wales

Cwrtmawr Manuscripts

Reference code(s): GB 0210 CWRTMSS

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Cwrtmawr Manuscripts

Short title: Cwrtmawr collection of Welsh manuscripts

Dates of creation: 1543-1923 (accumulated [1871]-[1926])

Level of description: Fonds

Extent and medium: 3.181 cubic metres (1,549 volumes, 56 boxes)

Name of creator(s): John Humphreys Davies (1871-1926)


Administrative and biographical history: John Humphreys Davies (1871-1926) of Cwrtmawr, Llangeitho, Cardiganshire, bibliographer, became Principal of the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, 1919-1926. He had a deep interest in Welsh literature and culture, which was manifested in his acquiring a vast collection of Welsh manuscripts and books from many sources over a long period. He died on 10 August 1926 and was buried at Llangeitho.


Scope and content: Manuscript collections containing original and transcribed poetry and prose, 1543-[20th century]; religious works, 1611-1914; biographies, chronicles, archaeological and historical notes, works on travel, folklore, recipes, grammars, vocabularies and philological notes, 1673-1900; rent-rolls, parish registers, tithe account books, bidding books, minute books and registers of various societies, 1608-1863; pedigrees and genealogical notes, [17th century]-1871, commonplace books, [18th century]-1904, volumes of press-cuttings; manuscripts in the hand of J. H. Davies, including transcripts of and indexes to Welsh poetry, bibliographical notes, literary and legal extracts, pedigrees, biographical data and notes on place-names, 1891-1923; autograph letters from prominent Welsh literary figures, 1674-1921; autograph manuscripts of John Jones, Gellilyfdy, Dafydd Ellis of Criccieth, Eben Fardd (including diaries, 1836-1859), Peter Williams, D. Silvan Evans, Thomas Richards and Myrddin Fardd.


Language/script: Welsh, English

System of arrangement: Arranged into manuscripts 1-1492, music manuscripts 1-51.

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions noted on the 'Modern papers - data protection' form issued with their readers' tickets.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply.

Finding aids: Hard copies of the catalogues are available at the National Library of Wales. The catalogues are available online.
Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records donated to the National Library of Wales have been retained.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history: The largest group within his collection was acquired by J. H. Davies from John Jones, 'Myrddin Fardd' (1836-1921), of Chwilog, Caernarfonshire, who had assembled a large collection of historical and antiquary material copied from parish registers and libraries such as Peniarth. Davies also acquired substantial material derived from the collections of the following: Daniel Silvan Evans (1818-1903), cleric, editor and lexicographer, whose major work was his unfinished Geiriadur Cymraeg (5 vols, 1887-1896, 1906); the Richards family of Darowen, Montgomeryshire, a Welsh clerical family active in the Welsh church and in cultural movements and which included the Reverend Thomas Richards (1754-1837), his five sons (all ordained), and three daughters, the eldest of whom, Mary (1787-1877), compiled over 20 volumes of transcripts and memoranda; 'Gwilym Cowlyd' (William John Roberts, 1827-1904), poet and printer and nephew of Ieuan Glan Geirionydd (1795-1855), cleric and poet; Peter Bailey Williams (1763-1836), cleric and writer and son of Peter Williams (1723-1796), Methodist and Biblical commentator. J. H. Davies also collected several important smaller groups of material.

Immediate source of acquisition: Donated by John Humphreys Davies, Cwrtmawr, Llangeithio in 1925 & 1926; bequeathed by John Humphreys Davies, Cwrtmawr, Llangeitho, per T. I. Ellis, Rhyl, in 1933.


Related units of description: J. H. Davies's personal papers and correspondence are also held at NLW. These are currently being catalogued. A number of manuscripts, once part of J. H. Davies' collection, are now in NLW, J. Lloyd Williams Collection and Papers. Deeds collected by Davies, also donated to the National Library of Wales, are entitled Cwrtmawr Deeds.


Note: Title derived from domicile of collector and donor, J. H. Davies.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Rhys Jones for the ANW project. The following sources were used to compile this description: NLW, Catalogue of the Cwrtmawr Manuscripts; Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959).

Rules or conventions: This description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) second edition, AACR2, and LCSH.

Date(s) of description: September 2003



Authors, Welsh language | Wales | Correspondence

Davies, John H. | (John Humphreys), | 1871-1926 | Archives

Folklore | Wales

Language and languages | Glossaries, vocabularies, etc.

Manuscripts, Welsh

Wales | Genealogy

Wales | History | Research

Welsh literature

Welsh poetry

Personal names

Davies, John H. (John Humphreys), 1871-1926

Corporate names