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Revealed: the Yale manuscript scribe

The Yale manuscript, Beinecke Library Osborn fb229 came to prominence in 2018 with its rich range of texts, including a unique version of the Latin Life of Cybi. Gruffudd Antur, who works with Daniel Huws on his Repertory of Welsh Manuscripts and Scribes, has now discovered that the scribe responsible for copying the volume was Robert Davies II of Gwysaney (ob. 1633).

This development allows us to locate the manuscript far better and gives us much new information about the exact context of its copying. Robert Davies had close connections with Holywell and this explains the volume’s focus on Winefride, for example. Demonstrating that the manuscript was the work of one scribe also affects the way we read and understand the codex.

Robert Davies was also responsible for copying parts of the manuscript NLW 7011 and Cardiff 2.33. It was not previously known that Davies was a recusant, but the Yale manuscript shows his close connections with the Jesuit mission in Britain. Davies is a figure who deserves much more attention and further research could lead to a better understanding of his work and of the history of this highly important Flintshire family.

On behalf of the project team, we warmly congratulate Gruffudd on his exciting discovery.