Introduction Edited text Manuscripts Cymraeg

23. Buchedd Martin

edited by Jenny Day


The earliest copy of the Life is preserved in the manuscript LlGC 3026C (Mostyn 88), written by Gutun Owain between 1487 and 1489 (RepWM). According to the colophon which follows the Life it was copied by Gvttvn Owain in 1488 and translated by John Trevor, who was probably Siôn Trefor of Pentrecynfrig in the parish of Llanfarthin or St Martin’s, near Chirk (see the Introduction). The manuscript is thought to have been produced for Siôn Edward of Gwernosbynt, Chirk (RepWM s.n. Edward(s), John, I; Owen 2003: 351–2). Amongst its other contents are genealogical, medical and astrological material, and a calendar; it does not contain any other saints’ Lives (RepWM; Owen 2003).

Two copies of the Welsh Life of St Martin were made in the sixteenth century. The earlier of the two was written in BL Add 14967 (Llyfr Edward ap Roger of Ruabon) by an unknown hand around the middle of the century, and it is likely that its source was Gutun Owain’s text in LlGC 3026C (RepWM). A number of erroneous or non-standard forms or phrases that occur in LlGC 3026C are reproduced in BL Add 14967; see in particular n. 14 (textual) (on yn [yr] amser [hwnnw] kr[eff]t); also n. 8 (textual) (a roes i vryd [ar] gyvarvod), n. 15 (textual) (a[’r] rhai hynaf), n. 21 (textual) (kan [n]a allai; cf. n. 53 (textual)), n. 29 (textual) (Titradius), n. 54 (textual) (yr wy[f] vi), n. 57 (textual) (Y bu ryvedd), n. 58 (textual) (gyda[’r] rhai), n. 23 (wedy wisgo) and perhaps n. 52 (textual) (d[y]st), n. 70 (y llieiniav o’r elor).

On the other hand, there is a greater number of instances where the reading in BL Add 14967 appears to be more correct or more in keeping with normal spelling conventions than the one in LlGC 3026C; for example, BL Add 14967 has Marthin rather than Marth in §11; yn myned rather than y myned in §29; and ddylent rather than ddyent in §54 (see n. 3 (textual), n. 34 (textual), n. 63 (textual); attention is drawn to numerous other instances in further textual notes). It may be, however, that such readings simply reflect the efforts of the writer of BL Add 14967 to correct or standardize the LlGC 3026C text as he copied it. Compare also the readings siamb and siamr in these two texts (§36; n. 50 (textual)); here, perhaps, the writer of BL Add 14967 intended to correct the word to siambr but mistakenly omitted a different letter.

Similarly, the reading kymer in §26 could have been ‘corrected’ to kymrud in BL Add 14967, though it is possible in this case that a different verbal noun, kymell, was intended in the original translation (n. 31 (textual)). There are other instances of disagreement between the two texts: compare y noeth and yn oeth (§12; n. 6 (textual)), gri and griddvan (§15; n. 11 (textual)), A ni ellid and oni ellid (§25; n. 28 (textual)); but here too the differences could be understood as resulting from reinterpretation, confusion or ‘correction’ on the part of the writer of BL Add 14967. There appears, therefore, to be no strong reason to doubt that that text was copied from LlGC 3026C.

In the case of the second sixteenth-century text, written in CM 530 by Roger Morris of Coed-y-talwrn, Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd, in 1582, there is a specific mention of its being ụrth gopi Güttün ‘from Gutun’s copy’ (RWM ii, 369). Roger Morris’s text, in turn, provided the source for the copy made by John Jones, Gellilyfdy, in Pen 217 (1608–11), with a colophon recording its origin (RepWM).

A very short version of St Martin’s Life is preserved in Llst 34, another manuscript written by Roger Morris (1580x1600), but this does not appear to derive from Siôn Trefor’s text (see the Introduction). It was copied into Card 2.633 by John Jones, Gellilyfdy, in 1609 and into Llst 104 by Moses Williams’s amanuensis between c.1710 and 1715 (see RepWM).

List of manuscripts

Long version
BL Add 14967 (Llyfr Edward ap Roger), ff. 129–39 (mid-16c., after 1527)
CM 530, 107–49 (Roger Morris, 1582)
LlGC 3026C (Mostyn 88), 37–62 (Gutun Owain, 1487–9, with a colophon dating the copying of the Life to 1488)
Pen 217, 206–302 (John Jones, Gellilyfdy, 1608–11)

Short version
Card 2.633, 465–9 (John Jones, Gellilyfdy, 1604–10, with a colophon dating the copying of the Life to 1609)
Llst 34, 321–2 (Roger Morris, 1580x1600)
Llst 104, 366–8 (X27, Moses Williams’s amanuensis, c.1710x1715)