Annales Cambriae
A Translation of Harleian 3859; PRO E.164/1; Cottonian Domitian, A 1; Exeter Cathedral Library MS. 3514 and MS Exchequer DB Neath, PRO E.164/1

by Remfry, P.M.

Introduction    1
The Sources    2
British Library, Manuscript Harley 3859, Ab Ithel A    4
Public Record Office, E.164/1; Ab Ithel B    10
British Library, Manuscript Cotton Domitian A. 1; Ab Ithel C    27
Exeter Cathedral Library, Manuscript 3514; Cronica de Wallia, D    32
Public Record Office, E.164/1: Neath E    35
The History of the Annales Cambriae    37
The Composition of the Annales Cambriae    39
Conventions    40
The Texts
The Text of the Annales Cambriae    41
The Text of Annal A, Harleian 3859    155
The Text of Annal B, PRO E.164/1    163
The Text of Annal C, MS. Cotton Domitian A. 1    202
The Text of Annal D, Exeter MS. 3514    230
The Text of Annal E, PRO E.164/1    248
Genealogical Tables    260
Index of Surnames    284
General Index    294

The translation collated in the main text is taken from the various annals which made up the book edited by J. Williams Ab Ithel and printed in the original Latin for the Rolls Series in 1860.  The name Annales Cambriae is relatively modern and is the name that these chronicles are best known by.  Consequently it has been decided to retain this title for this work.  To my knowledge these annals have never before been translated in their entirety into English.  As these texts make up a large proportion of what is known of Welsh history, it is well time that such a critical translation should be made available.  I do not claim to be a great Latin scholar, but I think that the text reproduced below has a good feel for the meaning of the original matter.

The first four texts translated here would appear to have used a lost St David's manuscript as their source.  The earliest work contained in the Rolls Series Annales Cambriae is that found in British Library, Manuscript Harley 3859.  This was written possibly around 1200, although most date the work to about 1100.  This is the first part of the text translated here and was designated A by Ab Ithel, a designation which has been maintained.  The second text is written on the flyleaves of the Breviate Domesday in the Public Record Office and has been classified as PRO. E 164/1.  This is Ab Ithel B.  The third is British Library MS. Cotton Domitian A. 1 and is text C in Ab Ithel.  These later two works are both late-thirteenth century in origin, ending at 1284 (Sa.1286) and 1289 (Sa.1288) respectively.  Text A ends at 953 (Sa.954).  There is a possibility that the Annales B and C copy A in part for their early entries.  Whether or not B and C do copy A, with additions and omissions, they would certainly appear to have used a similar, if not the same, set of annals for their thirteenth century composition.  Both have a lacuna from the middle of 1151 until mid-1153.  This lacuna could only have come from a missing portion within the original lost set of annals.

The fourth text translated in this book was unknown to Ab Ithel.  This was the Cronica de Wallia, as it was termed in the Middle Ages.  The manuscipt is now in Exeter Cathedral Library as MS. 3514.  The annals consist of two texts, one ending in 1266 and the other ending abruptly, unfinished in 1285, even though both are so scanty as to be almost irrelevant after 1255.  The fifth and final text translated in this work is that found at the end of the PRO Exchequer Domesday and printed in Latin in Archaeologia Cambrensis 1862, VIII, 3rd Series, 278-283.  This text starts at 597 (Sa.600) and then continues increasing greatly in content from 1066 up to 1298.  The entire work would therefore appear to date to very soon after 1298 and although this work is not derived from the original Latin Annales it is of sufficient interest to Welsh affairs to be included in this book as it has not been translated elsewhere.  It is also linked to B via Neath abbey as will be seen later.

The full translation with copious notes may be purchased for £39.95 via Payal


Copyright©2017 Paul Martin Remfry

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