Liber B, John Davies of Mallwyd

Reference: NLW MS 4973B

This manuscript contains a number of transcripts, or copies, of important Welsh manuscripts by Dr John Davies, Mallwyd. Amongst them is a copy of Hendregadredd manuscript; it is believed that parts of the original manuscript which were once thought to be lost are in this manuscript.

John Davies (c. 1570-1644)

He was born in the parish of Llanferres, Denbighshire around 1570, and after studying at Ruthin Grammar School went to study at the University of Oxford. In 1604 he was appointed rector of Mallwyd and his name has been associated with this place ever since.

Dr John Davies was a Welsh scholar without comparison. Although the revised version of the Bible and the Welsh Book of Common Prayer which were published in 1620 and 1621 are attributed to Bishop Richard Parry, it is thought that they were the works of John Davies. In 1621 his Welsh grammar Antiquae Linguae Britannicae…Rudimenta appeared, and then in 1632 the Dictionarium Duplex, a Welsh-Latin / Latin-Welsh standardized dictionary appeared.

During his time as rector of Mallwyd he was also responsible for a number of building projects around the village, which included building the rectory and re-building the church.

Dr John Davies died in Harlech in 1644, and was buried in Mallwyd.

Manuscript’s contents

Amongst other works in Liber B is a copy of the Hendregadredd manuscript which was copied by John Davies in 1617. Also included is a copy of The Book of Taliesin which was copied between 1631 and 1634, and also a copy of Gwasanaeth Meir, a Welsh metrical translation of the Latin Book of Hours Horae beatae Mariae virginis.

Further reading

  • Ceri Davies (ed.), Dr. John Davies of Mallwyd: Welsh Renaissance Scholar (Cardiff, 2004
  • Daniel Huws, Medieval Welsh Manuscripts (Cardiff, 2000)
  • Mihail Dafydd Evans, ‘John Davies (c.1570-1644)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford, 2004)
  • Rhiannon Francis Roberts, 'John Davies (c.1567-1644)', Welsh Biography Online

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