The Peniarth Manuscripts is the most important of the Library’s manuscript collections. The collection was established by Robert Vaughan (c.1592-1667), Hengwrt, Meirioneth, who gathered for his library manuscripts in the following languages:
However Vaughan’s main interest was the Welsh language. He collected in Hengwrt a great number of our most significant Welsh language manuscripts, including
The manuscripts were preserved at Hengwrt for generations, and some other volumes were added to them over the years. When Sir Robert Williames Vaughan of Hengwrt died in 1859, without an heir, he left the collection to his friend W W E Wynne, who moved the manuscripts to the Peniarth Library, Meirioneth.
The whole collection was bought by Sir John Williams (1840-1926) in 1904. When W R M Wynne, the eldest son of W W E Wynne died in 1909, the manuscripts were transferred from Peniarth to the new National Library at Aberystwyth.
In July 2010, the Peniarth Manuscripts Collection was included on the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register. The register is part of a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) programme to support documentary heritage, and to promote preservation of, and access to, the world’s archive holdings and library collections. Country-level Memory of the World Registers exist around the globe, helping to promote documentary heritage of local importance which is also of global significance.
To find out more about the history of the Hengwrt-Peniarth manuscripts, see
For descriptions of individual manuscripts, see