Thomas Wiliems (born in Ardda'r Mynaich in Arllechwedd, Wales possibly on 20 April 1545 or 1546; died in or before 13 August 1623) was a Welsh-language antiquarian.
The ancient Welsh cantref of Arllechwedd in north-west Wales was part of the kingdom of Gwynedd for much of its history until it was included in the new county of Caernarfonshire, together with Arfon and Llŷn under the terms of the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284.
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area of 20,779 km2 (8,023 sq mi). Wales has over 1,680 miles (2,700 km) of coastline and is largely mountainous, with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon, its highest summit. The country lies within the north temperate zone and has a changeable, maritime climate.
Wiliems's mother was Catherine, the illegitimate daughter of Meredydd ab Ifan of the Wynn family, and Wiliam ap Tomos ap Gronwy. Wiliems was brought up in the parish of Trefriw, Arllechwedd Isaf, Caernarfonshire, and is likely that Wiliems was educated in the Wynn family's own school (like William Morgan, who translated the Welsh Bible). The renaissance brought unprecedented interest in education to Wiliems's generation, and had a clear effect on his life. He attended Brasenose College, Oxford for a time, but clear records of his studies there are lacking because of confusion with other similarly named students, and it seems he did not take a degree. Rather he was ordained as an Anglican priest, serving as a curate for Trefriw from c. 1573. Accordingly, he was generally known to his contemporaries as Syr ('Sir') Thomas Wiliems, because this was the usual title for priests in Welsh at the time. However, Wiliems became a recusant, converting to Roman Catholicism, after which he worked as a physician (drawing on his extensive book-learning: qualifications as such were not required at the time). As a Catholic, Wiliems was denied access to printing, which perhaps helps to explain the focus of his scholarly activities on manuscript production.
Trefriw is a village and community in Conwy County Borough, Wales. It lies on the river Crafnant in North Wales, a few miles south of the site of the Roman fort of Canovium, sited at Caerhun. At the last 3 censuses the population of the community has been recorded as 842 in 1999, 915 in 2001, and 783 in 2011.
Caernarfonshire, historically spelled as Caernarvonshire or Carnarvonshire in English, is one of the thirteen historic counties, a vice-county and a former administrative county of Wales.
William Morgan was Bishop of Llandaff and of St Asaph, and the translator of the first version of the whole Bible into Welsh from Greek and Hebrew.
He died before August 13, 1623, at which time his uncle Sir John Wynn of the neighbouring Gwydir Castle, inscribed his name on the manuscript of Wiliem's dictionary's as its owner. Notes in Wiliems's manuscripts suggest he turned to Catholicism; he was certainly charged on that score at Bangor in 1607.
Sir John Wynn, 1st Baronet, was a Welsh baronet, Member of Parliament and antiquary.
Gwydir Castle is situated in the Conwy valley, Wales, a mile to the west of the ancient market town of Llanrwst and 1.5 miles (2.4 km) to the south of the large village of Trefriw. An example of a fortified manor house dating back to c1500, it is located on the edge of the floodplain of the river Conwy, and overlooked from the west by the now-forested slopes of Gwydir Forest.
Bangor is a city and community in Gwynedd northwest Wales. It is the oldest city in Wales, and one of the smallest cities in the United Kingdom. Historically in Caernarfonshire, it is a university city with a population of 18,808 at the 2011 census, including around 10,500 students at Bangor University. It is one of only six places classed as a city in Wales, although it is only the 25th-largest urban area by population. At the 2001 census, 46.6% of the non-student resident population spoke Welsh.
Wiliems is best known for producing a Latin-Welsh dictionary in manuscript form (National Library of Wales, Peniarth 228), apparently between 4 May 1604 and 2 October 1607. He worked towards this by keeping a kind of commonplace book (Peniarth MS 188), which he systematised by essentially taking the Dictionarium Linguae Latinae et Anglicanae (1587) by Thomas Thomas, the first printer of Cambridge University, and adding Welsh to it. This was completed in 1607 and entitled Thesaurus Linguæ Latinæ et Cambrobritannicæ or Trysawr yr iaith Laidin ar Gymraec, ne'r Geiriadur coheddocaf a'r wiriathaf o wir aleitiaith Vrytanæc, sef heniaith a chyphredin iaith yn y Brydain, ar Latin yn cyfateb pob gair. Wedy dechreu i scriuenu 4. Maij 1604.According to the prologue, Wiliems spent 30 years gathering material, and did so in order to promote the Welsh language, which was being spoken less and less by his contemporaries.
The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, is the national legal deposit library of Wales and is one of the Welsh Government sponsored bodies. It is the biggest library in Wales, holding over 6.5 million books and periodicals, and the largest collections of archives, portraits, maps and photographic images in Wales. The Library is also home to the national collection of Welsh manuscripts, the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales, and the most comprehensive collection of paintings and topographical prints in Wales. As the primary research library and archive in Wales and one of the largest research libraries in the United Kingdom, the National Library is a member of Research Libraries UK (RLUK) and the Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL).
Commonplace books are a way to compile knowledge, usually by writing information into books. Such books are essentially scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas. Commonplaces are used by readers, writers, students, and scholars as an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts they have learned. Each commonplace book is unique to its creator's particular interests. They became significant in Early Modern Europe.
The dictionary was not published during Wiliems's lifetime, despite the efforts of Wiliems's friend John Edwards (of Plas Newydd, Chirk), who got part way through making a neater manuscript copy (Brogyntyn MSS 9 and 10). Wiliems left the manuscript of the dictionary to Sir John Wynn, who passed it to John Davies of Mallwyd, asking that Davies publish it, giving recognition to the author and a dedication to Sir John himself.John was already undertaking a Welsh-Latin dictionary and in the event published an abbreviation of Wiliems's Latin-Welsh dictionary in the second part of his own, which emerged as Antiquae Linguae Britannicae ... Dictionarum Duplex in 1632.
Chirk is a small town and local government community in Wales. It is located in the traditional county of Denbighshire, although is currently administered as part of Wrexham County Borough. In the 2011 census, it had a population of 4,468. It is located 10 miles south of Wrexham.
Dr John Davies, Mallwyd was one of Wales's leading scholars of the late Renaissance. He wrote a Welsh grammar and dictionary. He was also a translator and editor and an ordained minister of the Church of England.
According to Bishop Humphrey Humphreys, Wiliems compiled ‘a pretty large Herbal in Latin, Welsh and English’. It is now lost, unless parts survive, copied by Thomas Evans, in Cardiff MS 2.973; but Wiliems certain consulted Llanstephan MS 10 and BL, Add. MS 14913 (containing Meddygon Myddfai ). He seems to have translated the Trattato del sacramento della penitenza by Vincenzo Bruno SJ into Welsh, and compiled a collection of Welsh proverbs (surviving, in another's hand, in Mostyn MS 204).
Humphrey Humphreys was successively Bishop of Bangor (1689–1701) and Bishop of Hereford (1701–1712).
Wiliams's family connections meant that he knew the owners of some of Wales's most important medieval manuscripts, and he began transcribing manuscripts already by the age of twenty-one. His copying included:
It is rumoured that Wiliems was involved in the Gunpowder plot and, in warning his relative John Wynn not to go to the State Opening of Parliament in 1605, was responsible to either a smaller or greater extent for the suspicions which ultimately caught Guy Fawkes. This story is the basis for a short historical novel written for children by Gweneth Lilly, entitled Treason at Trefriw (Gomer Press, 1993).
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.
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 Book of Taliesin is one of the most famous of Middle Welsh manuscripts, dating from the first half of the 14th century though many of the fifty-six poems it preserves are taken to originate in the 10th century or before.
Saint Deiniol was traditionally the first Bishop of Bangor in the Kingdom of Gwynedd, Wales. The present Bangor Cathedral, dedicated to Deiniol, is said to be on the site where his monastery stood. He is venerated in Brittany as Saint Denoual. In English and Latin his name is sometimes rendered as Daniel.
Robert Maynard Jones, generally known as Bobi Jones, was a Welsh Christian academic and one of the most prolific writers in the history of the Welsh language. A versatile master of poetry, fictional prose and criticism, he was born in Cardiff in 1929, educated at the University of Wales, Cardiff and University College Dublin. Jones held the chair in Welsh language at Aberystwyth from 1980 until his retirement. He died on 22 November 2017.
Daniel Silvan Evans was a Welsh clergyman, scholar and lexicographer. Educated at the Independent College in Brecon, Silvan Evans worked as a schoolmaster for five years. On marriage he conformed to the Established Church, studying at St David's College, Lampeter, where he became Lecturer in Welsh. Ordained deacon in 1848 and priest the following year he served curacies at Llandegwning parish in Llŷn and from 1852 to 1862 at nearby Llangian, Caernarfonshire. In 1862 he was appointed to the living of Llanymawddwy, Merioneth.
Dr. Geraint Bowen was a Welsh language poet and academic.
Peredur son of Efrawg is one of the Three Welsh Romances associated with the Mabinogion. It tells a story roughly analogous to Chrétien de Troyes' unfinished romance Perceval, the Story of the Grail, but it contains many striking differences from that work, most notably the absence of the French poem's central object, the grail.
The Wales Book of the Year is a Welsh literary award given annually to the best Welsh and English language works in the fields of fiction and literary criticism by Welsh or Welsh interest authors. Established in 1992, the awards are currently administered by Literature Wales, and supported by the Arts Council of Wales, Welsh Government and the Welsh Books Council.
Ystorya Adaf is the most commonly accepted title of a medieval Welsh translation of the Latin text Historia Adam, a version of the popular "Legend of the Rood". The Ystorya Adaf should not be confused with Ystorya Adaf ac Eua y wreic, a Welsh translation of an Old Testament Midrash text, Vita Adae .
Idris Gawr was a king of Meirionnydd in early medieval Wales. He is also sometimes known by the patronymic Idris ap Gwyddno. Although now known as Idris Gawr, this may be an error and he may have originally been known as "Idris Arw". He was apparently so large that he could sit on the summit of Cadair Idris and survey his whole kingdom.
Gwyn Morgan is a Welsh-language author.
Brut y Brenhinedd is a collection of variant Middle Welsh versions of Geoffrey of Monmouth's Latin Historia Regum Britanniae. About 60 versions survive, with the earliest dating to the mid-13th century. Adaptations of Geoffrey's Historia were extremely popular throughout Western Europe during the Middle Ages, but the Brut proved especially influential in medieval Wales, where it was largely regarded as an accurate account of the early history of the Celtic Britons.
Maelor Gawr is an early Celtic king and giant of Welsh folklore, who lived in Castell Maelor, Pen Dinas also known as in Penparcau, a village near Aberystwyth before "the coming of Brutus to this island". The tale of Maelor and his three sons, Cornippyn, Crygyn and Bwba, is recorded in the late sixteenth century Welsh text "Olion Cewri Cymru..." by Sion Dafydd Rhys.
Peniarth Manuscript 259B, known as Pomffred since it had previously been owned by the constable of Pontefract Castle, is a version of the Laws of Hywel Dda. Aneurin Owen assigned this manuscript the siglum Z in his Ancient laws and institutes of Wales. It is one of the Peniarth Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales. It was transcribed in the mid-sixteenth century by two hands: Richard Longford and his amanuensis, from an earlier exemplar owned by Einion ab Addain, who was serving a prison sentence in Pontefract at the time that it was copied.
Siôn Dafydd Rhys, in Latin Joannes David Rhaesus, also called John David Rhys, or John Davies, was a Welsh physician and grammarian. He wrote the first Welsh grammar in Latin, published in 1592.
Claf Abercuawg is the modern title of a 32-stanza medieval Welsh englyn-poem. According to Jenny Rowland, 'most critics would classify it among the most sophisticated and moving all the early englynion poems'; it is 'the classic example' of meditative, lyric, at least implicitly religious, early Welsh poetry.
John Davies, also known by his bardic name of Siôn Dafydd Las, was a Welsh bard active in the late 17th century. He is thought to have been from the Llanuwchllyn area of North Wales, and he may have lived in the Tyn-y-ffridd area for a while.