Introduction Edited text Manuscripts Cymraeg

43. Moliant i Ddeiniol (Syr Dafydd Trefor)

edited by Eurig Salisbury


There are five manuscript copies of this poem (stemma). Four texts derive from the earliest source, C 2.114 (1564‒6), a large collection of poetry recorded by an unknown scribe (known as X51 in RepWM) for Richard ap Gruffudd, vicar of Woking, at the court of Rowland Meyrick (1505‒66), bishop of Bangor (further, see DWB Online s.n. Meyrick (Family), Bodorgan⁠). William Bodwrda’s text in LlGC 3048D (c.1644‒50) is very similar to C 2.114 but contains three readings which are technically superior to those in C 2.114. These readings may be genuine, and both texts may have derived independently from the source. However, it is more likely that William, a generally faithful scribe, copied his text from a lost source (named X) which derived ultimately from C 2.114, and that his unknown predecessor (who may have been a poet) had attempted to perfect three lines that, in his view, were technically defective. The edited text is based on C 2.114, but four significant readings found in LlGC 3048D are also discussed (see notes to ll. 6, 7, 26, 59).

Although defective in parts (see notes to ll. 7, 15, 17, 56), the text in C 2.114 is in good condition, which is unsurprising in view of the fact that it was recorded at the court of one of bishop Skevington’s successors at Bangor. The edition follows a number of additions made by the scribe, perhaps as he checked his work (see l. 10n). His source was probably a lost manuscript, possibly contemporary with the poet, but it is also possible that the text derives from a good oral tradition in the Bangor area.

The poem is chiefly concerned with the building work carried out at the church, but the title in C 2.114 refers instead to the bishop’s palace: llyma gowydd i ddeiniel bangor a wnaed pen ydeiliadwyd yr ysgobty yn oedran krisd 1527 ‘here is a poem for Deiniol Bangor which was composed when the bishop’s palace was built in the year of our Lord 1527’ (the year is noted in the last lines of the poem). This title may be based on the reference to roofing the plas ‘palace’ with lead in line 64 but, in light of the possibility that the manuscript was written at the bishop’s palace in the time of Bishop Rowland Meyrick (see above), it would not be surprising if details of Bishop Skevington’s renovation of the bishop’s palace were well known there some forty years later (further, see l. 64n (explanatory)). It is likely that the information in William Bodwrda’s title in LlGC 3048D was gleaned from the poem itself: Cow’ i Eglwys Sain Deiniel ym Mangor Fawr pan adeiladodd Escob Tomas Scefington hi o newydd ‘A poem to the Church of St Deiniol in Bangor Fawr when Bishop Thomas Skevington built it anew’.

The manuscripts
C 2.114, 686‒9 (X51, 1564‒6)
⁠J 139, 293 (X2, c.1630)
⁠LlGC 552B, 39r (unknown, 17c.)
⁠LlGC 644B, 147r (X15, middle of the 17c.)
⁠LlGC 3048D, 342 (William Bodwrda, c.1644‒50)