Fri, 10 Sep 10 14:25:00
Cardiff Council’s Executive today agreed that Llyfr Aneirin (the Book of Aneirin) should be deposited to the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, in order to safeguard the long term survival of the manuscript.
Cardiff residents will also benefit from this agreement as Cardiff Libraries will receive two full identical facsimile copies of the book from the National Library which they will be able to use in exhibitions and displays. The original manuscript was not previously available to the public due to its fragile nature. Llyfr Aneirin is one of the most important books in the Welsh language and dates from around 1265.
Deposit at the National library will mean that Aneirin will rejoin the rest of the Hengwrt collection, which includes The Black Book of Carmarthen and The White Book of Rhydderch. In the mid 1600’s they were all part of the renowned Hengwrt Collection in Gwynedd of rare books and manuscripts and have been apart for centuries.
Aneirin famously contains a long poem called 'Y Gododdin'. The poem is attributed to Aneirin, and is one of the oldest Welsh poems to be written. The book is currently held in Cardiff Central Library but placing it on deposit in the National Library means that it will be in the hands of experts who are best placed to ensure the long-term preservation and development of this national treasure.
Llyfr Aneirin will remain the property of Cardiff Council, and Cardiff Libraries will receive two full facsimile copies from the National Library for local use and display, along with professionally produced displays to promote the facsimiles and the original.
Cardiff Council Leader, Cllr Rodney Berman, said:
'To safeguard the future of Llyfr Aneirin the council’s executive today have agreed that the manuscript will be best placed at the National Library.
'The agreement between Cardiff Council and the National Library will ensure the safe keeping of the book for future generations, whilst the book will still remain the property of Cardiff Council and a part of Cardiff’s heritage.
'I am also delighted that Central Library will receive two full facsimile copies of the manuscript which can be enjoyed by visitors to the library, something that they have previously been unable to do because the original book is too delicate for us to display.'
Executive Member for Sport, Culture and Leisure, Cllr Nigel Howells, said:
'Llyfr Aneirin is an important part of Welsh history, and it is right that it should be deposited at the National library to ensure its safety and longevity.
'The staff at Central Library have done a fantastic job in looking after the manuscript, but it’s now time for Aneirin to receive the specialist care that the National Library can offer and for it to be reunited with the rest of the Hengwrt collection.'
The Heritage Minister of the Welsh Assembly Government, Alun Ffred Jones, commented:
'Llyfr Aneirin is one of the most discussed collections of poetry in the Welsh language and holds a special place in the history and development of the Welsh language. I support the plan for its future home at the National Library and the exciting initiative enabling people to view facsimile copies of the manuscript. The Welsh Assembly Government is committed to making our country’s rich heritage accessible for as many people as possible.'
Avril Jones, Director of the Collections Services Department at the National Library of Wales, said,
'The National Library is honoured to accept the custody of this national treasure, one of the earliest manuscripts written in the Welsh language.
'The volume includes what may be the earliest surviving literature in Welsh, written in the 6th century.
'For the first time in over two centuries, the manuscript is reunited with the National Library’s foundation collection, the Peniarth Manuscripts, which includes the other two iconic manuscripts in the Welsh language, the Black Book of Carmarthen and the Book of Taliesin.'
Siôn Jobbins, NLW Press Office: 01970 632 902 email@example.com
Sarah Garvey, Cardiff Council Press Office: 029 2087 2965 SGarvey@cardiff.gov.uk
Notes to editors
Llyfr Aneirin, one of Wales’ most valuable manuscripts has been reunited with the Black Book of Carmarthen and The White Book of Rhydderch after more than three centuries apart. In the mid 1600’s they were all part of the renowned Hengwrt Collection in Gwynedd of rare books and manuscripts.
The Llyfr Aneirin is one of a very few surviving medieval manuscripts. It is dated from around 1265 and includes poems written in old and middle Welsh.
The manuscript includes a written version of a poem, Y Gododdin, likely composed in the 7th Century by the poet Aneirin (Neirin). The tale contains details of a disastrous defeat at the battle of Catraeth (modern day Catterick in Yorkshire).
The manuscript was owned by various gentry. In the mid 1600’s it found its way to the Hengwrt library of Robert Vaughan where it joined the Black Book of Carmarthen and The White Book of Rhydderch. Remarkably, the Manuscript was then separated from this collection.
Since it was penned in the 1200’s, Llyfr Aneirin can be evidenced as being in the possession of the following people: