The medieval Welsh dioceses are not so well documented as their English
counterparts. This is illustrated by the surviving episcopal registers, with probably
the earliest extant dating from the episcopate of Guy Mone of St Davids (1397-
1407). Nothing survives of Bangor's registers earlier than the fifteenth century; St
Asaph's commence only in 1536; and while act books survive for Llandaff from
1660, there are no registers earlier than 1817-19. (fn. 38)
Native Welsh chronicles provide valuable side-lights on the church: the various
recensions of the Brut y Tywysogyon, edited by Thomas Jones, provide a
fundamental narrative history of Wales from the seventh century to 1332 in Middle
Welsh, but based originally on older Latin texts (abbreviated as Brut Peniarth Text,
Brut Peniarth Transl. and Brut Red Book). Latin texts, containing histories of Wales
still exist, although their relationship to the Welsh accounts is still a matter of
continuing research, and they too have been examined (abbreviated as Ann. Camb.
and Cronica de Wallia).
The considerable writings of Gerald of Wales (1146-c. 1223) provide a unique
insight into the history of the Welsh church. Gerald, whose uncle was bishop of St
Davids, was archdeacon of Brecon from the mid 1170s. From 1198 to 1203 he tried
not only to gain the bishopric of St Davids, but also metropolitan power. Because of
this struggle, and Gerald's character, care must be taken when using his works; the
archdeacon let his own agenda, animosities and preconceptions cloud his writings.
Once this is taken into consideration, Gerald's writings open a window onto the Welsh
church. The complete corpus was edited for the Rolls series, as Giraldi Cambrensis
Opera, ed. J. S. Brewer, J. F. Dimock and G. F. Warner (8 vols., RS xxi, 1861-91)
(abbreviated as Gir. Cambr.). W. S. Davies published a complete edition of one of
Gerald's most important writings, improving on the unsatisfactory text in the Rolls
series: namely Giraldus Cambrensis: De Invectionibus, ed. W. S. Davies, Y
Cymmrodor xxx (1920) (abbreviated as De Invectionibus).
Liber Landavensis, NLW 17110E, is one of the most important sources for the
Welsh church in general and Llandaff in particular. The complexity of the problems
associated with the compilation and production of this unique work cannot be fully
discussed here. (fn. 39) However, it details the thirteenth-century formation of the Llandaff
chapter and its prebends; the value of this work is as an aid to analyse the elite of
Llandaff cathedral for the whole period under consideration. The diplomatic edition
is The Text of the Book of Llan Dâv, ed. J. Gwenogvryn Evans, with the
collaboration of J. Rhys (Oxford, 1893) (abbreviated as LL).
Charters and cartularies
The principal charter collections used in this volume are: St Davids Episcopal Acta
1085-1280, ed. J. Barrow, South Wales Record Society, xiii (Cardiff, 1998)
(abbreviated as St Davids Acta); Llandaff Episcopal Acta 1140-1287, ed. D.
Crouch, South Wales Record Society, v (Cardiff, 1989) (abbreviated as Llandaff
Acta); The Cartulary of Shrewsbury Abbey, ed. U. Rees (2 vols.; Aberystwyth,
1975) (abbreviated as Cart. Shrewsbury); The Cartulary of Haughmond Abbey,
ed. U. Rees (Cardiff, 1985) (abbreviated as Cart. Haughmond); Cartularium
Prioratus S. Johannis Evang. de Brecon, ed. R. W. Banks, Arch Camb., 4th ser.,
xiii (1882) 275-308; xiv (1883) 18-49, 137-68, 221-36, 274-311; The Charters
of Ystrad Marchell, ed. G. C. G. Thomas (Aberystwyth, 1997) (abbreviated as Chs.
of Ystrad Marchell).
Llyfr Coch Asaph (Red Book of St Asaph)
The Llyfr Coch Asaph, edited by O. E. Jones in an unpublished M.A. thesis: 'Llyfr
Coch Asaph: a textual and historical study' (2 vols., University of Wales,
Aberystwyth, 1968) (abbreviated as LCA), is an early modern transcription of St
Asaph documents and charters of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Many
aspects of the life of bishop and chapter are covered, including administrative and
financial concerns, and the relations between the Welsh princes of the thirteenth
century and bishop and chapter.
Liber A, drawn up by exchequer officials in c. 1292, formed a reference manual in
which important diplomatic documents could be quickly located. This compilation,
Littere Wallie preserved in Liber A in the Public Record Office, ed. J. G. Edwards
(Cardiff, 1940) (abbreviated as Litt. Wall.), is fundamental for any analysis of the
part played by members of Welsh cathedral chapters in thirteenth-century
negotiations between Welsh princes and the English crown.
The writings of antiquarians such as Browne Willis (1682-1760) and Edward
Yardley (1698-1770) are instructive. Willis, in A Survey of the Cathedral Church
of St Davids and the Edifices belonging to it (1717), A Survey of the Cathedral
Church of Llandaff (1719), A Survey of the Cathedral Church of Bangor and the
Edifices belonging to it (1721) and A Survey of St Asaph (revised by E. Edwards,
2 vols., 1801) (abbreviated as Willis, St Asaph), lists chapter members and
transcribes documents. Also important for the compilation of Fasti lists is the work
of Edward Yardley, archdeacon of Cardigan (1739-70), which was available only
in MS form until its publication as Menevia Sacra, ed. F. Green, Arch. Camb.
supplemental volume (1927).