At a special congregation of the University of Wales held at the Temple of Peace, Cardiff on Wednesday, 8 November, Mr Daniel Huws of Penrhyn-coch, Aberystwyth, former Keeper of Manuscripts and Records at The National Library of Wales, was awarded the honorary degree of D.Litt.
The award is in recognition of his achievement as the foremost authority on Welsh manuscripts – both those written in Welsh and those written in other languages in Wales – and as author of the forthcoming Repertory of Welsh Manuscripts and Scribes (3 vols., to be published by the University of Wales Press, the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, and The National Library of Wales in 2019-20).
Mr Huws was born in London in 1932, and was educated at Llangefni County and Bryanston Schools. After graduating in Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge University – where he was a contemporary and friend of poet Ted Hughes – Daniel Huws followed a course of further study in archives at the University of London. Appointed to the staff of the National Library of Wales in 1961, he became Keeper of Manuscripts and Records in 1981, and retired in 1992. Mr Huws’s eminence in his field was initially recognised by the University of Wales with the honorary degree of M.A. in July 2002, largely based on his authoritative volume Medieval Welsh Manuscripts (Cardiff & Aberystwyth, 2000), which was at once recognised as the indispensable guide to the field.
Since his retirement, Mr Huws has produced a constant stream of publications in the field of Welsh manuscript studies. To crown the work of a lifetime, he has been working diligently since 1992 on ‘A Repertory of Welsh Manuscripts and Scribes up to 1800’, a detailed and comprehensive catalogue of all pre-1800 manuscripts in the Welsh language, or of Welsh provenance, together with a study of scribal hands in Wales during a period of seven centuries. This monumental three-volume work, currently earmarked for publication in 2019-20, is set to revolutionise Welsh literary and historical scholarship, and to dominate the study of Welsh manuscripts and texts for future generations. The award of an honorary doctorate by the University of Wales is an acknowledgement of the magnitude of scholarship which will come to fruition in this long-awaited publication.
Linda Tomos, Chief Executive and Librarian of the National Library of Wales said:
‘There are few staff members who spend a quarter of a century of their retirement regularly visiting their former work-place to make innovative discoveries in their subject-area. We are delighted that Welsh academia is honouring one of our own with one of its highest honours, and cannot think of a more deserving recipient for an honorary doctorate.’
Pedr ap Llwyd, Director of Collections and Public Programmes at the Library, said:
‘This honour recognises the achievements of a lifetime of scholarship, and will also greatly encourage the author as he approaches the finishing line of his magnum opus. Dr Huws’s knowledge, prodigious memory, and generosity of spirit is well-known in Wales, and a great many readers at the National Library, and elsewhere, owe him an enormous debt of gratitude.’
In addition to his unchallenged dominance in the field of Welsh palaeography, Daniel Huws is also a recognised master in the field of traditional Welsh music history, and an English poet of rare distinction.
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