Thomas Stephens (historian)

Last updated

Thomas Stephens (21 April 1821 – 4 January 1875) was a Welsh apothecary, historian and critic. He was born at Pont Nedd Fechan, Glamorganshire, the son of a shoemaker. His works include The Literature of the Kymry (1849), The History of Trial by Jury in Wales, and an essay in which he demolished the claim of the Welsh under Madoc to the discovery of the Americas. [1] He also wrote on the life and works of the bard Aneurin, and produced an English translation of Y Gododdin . The critical methods that he adopted in his works often made him unpopular with the less discriminating enthusiasts for the glory of Wales, but he earned the respect of serious scholars.

Madoc, also spelled Madog, ab Owain Gwynedd was, according to folklore, a Welsh prince who sailed to America in 1170, over three hundred years before Christopher Columbus's voyage in 1492. According to the story, he was a son of Owain Gwynedd, and took to the sea to flee internecine violence at home. The "Madoc story" legend evidently evolved out of a medieval tradition about a Welsh hero's sea voyage, to which only allusions survive. However, it attained its greatest prominence during the Elizabethan era, when English and Welsh writers wrote of the claim that Madoc had come to the Americas as an assertion of prior discovery, and hence legal possession, of North America by the Kingdom of England.

Bard professional poet in medieval Gaelic and British culture

In medieval Gaelic and British culture, a bard was a professional story teller, verse-maker, music composer, oral historian and genealogist, employed by a patron, to commemorate one or more of the patron's ancestors and to praise the patron's own activities.

Aneirin[aˈnɛirɪn] or Neirin was an early Medieval Brythonic poet. He is believed to have been a bard or court poet in one of the Cumbric kingdoms of the Hen Ogledd, probably that of Gododdin at Edinburgh, in modern Scotland. From the 17th century, his name was often incorrectly spelled "Aneurin".

Thomas Stephens' manuscripts are now part of the National Library of Wales General Manuscript Collection. [2]

The General Manuscript Collection of the National Library of Wales includes three series of manuscripts: NLW Manuscript series; NLW ex series of Manuscripts; and, NLW Rolls. All manuscripts acquired by the Library through either donation or purchase are added to this open-ended series, either singly or in groups, if they are: a) in a format compatible with the collection, i.e. manuscript books or rolls, or unbound material that can be filed; and, b) not integral to an archive or individual collection. There is, however, much archival material, mostly correspondence, held in the General Manuscripts Collection. The holdings in the General Manuscript Collection are catalogued in the Handlist of manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, which focuses on those manuscripts in the National Library which are not part of the foundation collections; there were over fifteen thousand when the first volume of the handlist appeared in 1940, and the collection had increased to 23,233 by 31 March 1994.

Related Research Articles

<i>Red Book of Hergest</i> manuscript collection

The Red Book of Hergest is a large vellum manuscript written shortly after 1382, which ranks as one of the most important medieval manuscripts written in the Welsh language. It preserves a collection of Welsh prose and poetry, notably the tales of the Mabinogion and Gogynfeirdd poetry. The manuscript derives its name from the colour of its leather binding and from its association with Hergest Court between the late 15th and early 17th century.

Iolo Morganwg Welsh poet, antiquarian, collector and literary forger

Edward Williams, better known by his bardic name Iolo Morganwg, was an influential Welsh antiquarian, poet, collector, and literary forger. He had been widely considered a leading collector of Medieval Welsh literature and expert on it, but after his death it emerged that he had forged a number of manuscripts, notably parts of the Third Series of Welsh Triads. Nonetheless, he had a lasting impact on Welsh culture, notably in founding the Gorsedd. The philosophy he developed in his forgeries had a huge impact on the early neo-druid movement. His bardic name is Welsh for "Iolo of Glamorgan".

White Book of Rhydderch manuscript

The White Book of Rhydderch is one of the most notable and celebrated surviving manuscripts in Welsh. Mostly written in southwest Wales in the middle of the 14th century it is the earliest collection of Welsh prose texts, though it also contains some examples of early Welsh poetry. It is now part of the collection of the National Library of Wales, having been preserved in the library at Hengwrt, near Dolgellau, Gwynedd, of the 17th century antiquary Robert Vaughan, who inherited it from the calligrapher John Jones and passed it to his descendants. The collection later passed to the newly established National Library of Wales as the Peniarth or Hengwrt-Peniarth Manuscripts.

The Hendregadredd Manuscript, is a medieval Welsh manuscript containing an anthology of the poetry of the "Poets of the Princes" (Gogynfeirdd); it was written between 1282 and 1350.

Lewys Glyn Cothi, also known as Llywelyn y Glyn, was a prominent 15th century Welsh poet who composed numerous poems in the Welsh language. He is one of the most important representatives of the Beirdd yr Uchelwyr or Cywyddwyr ("cywydd-men"), the itinerant professional poets of the period between the 1284 Statute of Rhuddlan and c. 1600.

Reverend John Gwenogvryn Evans was a Welsh palaeographic expert and literary translator.

Sir John Williams, 1st Baronet, of the City of London Welsh baronet, physician and principal founder of the National Library of Wales

Sir John Williams, 1st Baronet, GCVO, was a Welsh physician, who attended Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and was raised to the baronetcy by her in 1894. He is remembered chiefly for his contribution to the collection of the National Library of Wales. He resided for part of his life at Plas Llanstephan, Carmarthenshire, a house he acquired by lease.

This article is about the particular significance of the year 1780 to Wales and its people.

Thomas Powel British academic

Thomas Powel was a Welsh Celtic scholar, who was Professor of Celtic at University College, Cardiff from 1884 to 1918.

David Jenkins CBE was the Librarian of the National Library of Wales from 1969 to 1979 and author of an official history of the library.

Llywarch Owarin Reynolds was a Welsh solicitor and Celtic scholar, who collected a large number of manuscripts that are now held by the National Library of Wales.

Richard Thomas was a Welsh Anglican priest and antiquarian.

Richard Fenton Topographer and poet

Richard Fenton (1747–1821) was a Welsh lawyer, topographer and poet.

Joshua Thomas Historian of Welsh Baptists

Joshua Thomas (1719–1797) was a Welsh writer and Particular Baptist minister, known for his history of Welsh Baptists.

<i>Descriptio Cambriae</i> Medieval treatise on Wales and its people

The Descriptio Cambriae or Descriptio Kambriae is a geographical and ethnographic treatise on Wales and its people dating from 1193 or 1194. The Descriptio’s author, variously known as Gerald of Wales or as Giraldus Cambrensis, was a prominent churchman of Welsh birth and mixed Norman-Welsh ancestry. It is divided into two books, the first concentrating on the virtues of the Welsh people, and the second on their faults.

Owen Williams (Owen Gwyrfai) Welsh poet and antiquarian

Owen Williams, also known as Owain Gwyrfai, was a Welsh antiquary and the author of a Welsh dictionary.

The Reverend John Davies was a Welsh Congregational Minister, writer, linguist and poet.

Isaac Foulkes (Llyfrbryf) (1836–1904) was a Welsh author and editor.

References

  1. "The Invention of Tradition", Prys Morgan
  2. National Library of Wales (1943). Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volume I. Aberystwyth: National Library of Wales.