Introduction: Sources

Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 9, the Welsh Cathedrals (Bangor, Llandaff, St Asaph, St Davids). Originally published by Institute of Historical Research, London, 2003.

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'Introduction: Sources', in Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 9, the Welsh Cathedrals (Bangor, Llandaff, St Asaph, St Davids), ed. M J Pearson( London, 2003), British History Online [accessed 14 July 2024].

'Introduction: Sources', in Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 9, the Welsh Cathedrals (Bangor, Llandaff, St Asaph, St Davids). Edited by M J Pearson( London, 2003), British History Online, accessed July 14, 2024,

"Introduction: Sources". Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 9, the Welsh Cathedrals (Bangor, Llandaff, St Asaph, St Davids). Ed. M J Pearson(London, 2003), , British History Online. Web. 14 July 2024.

In this section


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. 1)


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

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. 2) 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.

Littere Wallie

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 Antiquarians

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).


  • 1. D. M. Smith, Guide to Bishops' Registers of England and Wales (Royal Hist. Soc., 1981) pp. 25, 133, 179, 183-4.
  • 2. See D. Huws, 'The making of Liber Landavensis', National Library of Wales Journal xxv (1987- 8) 133-66, at pp. 133-6; J. R. Davies, 'Liber Landavensis: its date and the identity of its editor', Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies xxxv (1998) 1-11.