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Method for reordering
the Liber Landavensis - Book of Llandaff
(Also known as: Book of Lan Dav or The Book of Teilo)
Link to the corrected order of the source of the Book of Llandaff

A assertation of the value of the ancient registers of
the Cathedral Church of Llandaff.

©2011 Dylan Stephens

Demonstrating the validity of the method described here
of Alfred Anscomb in the Celtic Review (1905)
to order the charters using witness lists.

However, the author here has added another requirement:
that all charters must stay under the bishops.
(Note also that very slight adjustments were made
to allow for the implied king list order from the charters.)

Legend says that Llandaff Church is reported to have been first built by King Lucius (in the Welsh Triads he is called Lleurwg ap Coel ap Cyllin & in Annales Cymru, Lles ap Coel) about the year 180 AD, but did not have a bishop before Dubricius. Dubricius was instated archbishop in Carleon and Llandaff by Aurelius Ambrosius in 490. He resigned in 512, passing the rest of his life in Bardsey Island, dieing November 14, 522. (In 1170 his bones were translated from Bardsey to Llandaff by Urban, the 30th bishop of Llandaff.) The cathedral was built during the time of King Meurig, son of Tewdrig.

The Book of Llandaff is of great value for the study of genealogies as they apply to the history (from the late 6th to the late 11th century). This is especially true in the evidence it provides for the early kings of Glamorgan, Glywysing, Ergyng, and Gwent in South Wales and of most importance: King Arthur!

It is extremely unfortunate that the eminent scholar Dr. Wendy Davies, produced a book The Llandaff Charters (1979) with the backing of the National Library of Wales, where the original charters are kept. She proceeded to check meticulously the witness lists of the charters to prove that they were fabricated by Bishop Urban, in the first part of the twelfth century, to prove the existence of a Church in Llandaff that had three bishoprics and many churches within Glamorgan, Glywysing, Ergyng, and Gwent.

Using criteria that are extremely difficult to evaluate without getting a splitting headache (therefore preventing anyone from figuring out if she was right or wrong), she drew the conclusion that these charters were bogus. Unfortunately, she used faulty king lists and ignored the work of Alfred Anscombe, who developed a way to sort the charters and thus give them a true chronological order, which removes the confusion.

For the Charters to be thrown out because of witness lists is a travesty. When I go down to the government office to register property, they always make mistakes, and in the time of most of these charters, no one really knew what the accepted spelling of their names should be. And now suppose, the clerk forgot to write down the name of a witness, would it not be human nature to create one so as not to get in trouble!

So here we are with one of the most important documents that establishes true genealogies, namely the Llandaff Charters, being thrown out because of one person's opinion. This is in spite of the fact that many scholars before her have held them to be truly reliable. In fact they are far more reliable than the treasured genealogies of Harleian, Bonedd Gwŷr y Gogledd, Mostyn MS 117, and Jesus College MS 20. These documents, in the archives, have been transcribed so many times by Latin and Welsh scribes that they all need to be doctored up to match each other, let alone give the true facts. Thus we continue to be chained to a King Arthur, the son of Uther, or some other made up lineage, when right in front of us from the Liber Landavensis is Arthur son of Meurig and the grandson of Tewdrig and whose mother is Onbraust, the daughter of Gwrgant the Great, and whose son is Morgan!

To rectify this, I have retrieved the tables of Alfred Anscombe Landavensium Ordo Chartarum published in (The Celtic Review Vol 6 & 7 (1905) (This work and method were dismissed out of hand by Wendy Davies in her above book on footnote 3, page 86.)


The chartulary of the ancient church of Llandaff deserves to be numbered among the most venerable of the many monuments of Latin Christianity which have originated in countries beyond the borders of Italy. The series of charters it preserves begins in the middle of the fifth century, and runs onward for seven hundred years. The study of the earliest documents of the series is complicated and difficult. This is owing partly to their isolated antiquity; but chiefly to the fact that no chronographical data whatever appear in any one of them until we have penetrated to the middle of the tenth century. This curious feature of the Llandaff charters has hitherto met with only slight recognition. It must be obvious, however, that the views of the collective value of the charters of any particular period are, in the circumstances, merely tentative, and that conclusions based upon those views cannot avoid being unreliable. Real progress, in short, cannot be made in research in connection with these documents until they have been arranged in their due and proper order.

The criteria of distribution are numerous and reliable. The lists of witnesses (royal, prelatic, clerical, and lay) are fairly full, and from time to time we get a note of sonship, or even of more remote descent, and of motherhood, also, in reference to princely families.

There are four possible methods of arrangement are:

(1) by the bishops

Order of bishops up to Urban from Godwin & Le Neve in A Survey of the Cathedral-church of Landaff (1719) is shown below, however the order and importance of many of them is in doubt:

  • 1. St. Dubricius (Welsh: Dyfrig) 490-512
  • 2. St. Teilo (Welsh: Teillo) 512- Feb, 540
  • 3. Oudoceus (Welsh: Euddogwy), nephew of Teilo
    (presided over the synod at Llandaff in 560)
    (Legend says he crowned King Arthur)
  • 4. Ufelwy
  • 5. Aidan
  • 6. Elgistill
  • 7. Iunapeius
  • 8. Comereg
  • 9. Argwistill
  • 10. Gwrwan
  • 11. Gwodloiou
  • 12. Edilbiu
  • 13. Greciolus
  • 14. Berthigwin
  • 15. Trychan
  • 17. Catwarel (Llandaff Charters seem to place him here)
  • Gap is here
  • 16. Elvogus (Died 763 AD)
  • 18. Cerenhir
  • 19. Nobis, as also the Bishop of St. David's (Minevia),
    his death is recorded in Brenhinedd y Saesson on 840 AD
    and he is mentioned in Asser's Life of King Alfred
  • 20. Gulfridus
  • 21. Nudd
  • 22. Cimelian (873-917/927)
  • 23. Libian (Died 939)
  • 24. Marchluidd (Died 943/945)
  • 25. Pater (Synods At Llandaff 950 & 955) (Llandaff Charters
    incorrectly have him after Nobis)
  • 26. Gugan (972-983)
  • 27. Bledri (983-1022)
  • 38. Joseph (1022-1046) Brenhinedd y Saesson says that
    he died in Rome in 1045, being "Teilo's bishop", therefore of Llandeilo.
  • 39. Herewald Brenhinedd y Saesson says that
    he died 1107 as bishop of Landaff
    to be followed by Urban.)
  • 40. Urban (Welsh: Gwrgan) (1107-1134)
    who had the Book of Llandaff complied from old sources
    dating back to the fifth century to justify the claims
    of the Llandaff diocese.

(2) by the kings

(3) by the abbots of the diocese, of whom the three principal ones are named and identified in many charters

There are three major abbeys in the ancient diocese of Llandaff:

  • 1. St. Cadoc's abbey in Llancarfan (the valley of Carvan) ("abbas carbani vallis")
  • 2. St. Illtyd's abbey in Llanilltud Fawr (Llantwit Major) ("abbas ilduti")
  • 3. St. Dochau's abbey in Llandow upon the Ely ("abbas docunni")
    (Nothing is available on the saint (incorrectly assigned to Cyngar).
    Apparently, he moved to Cornwall and was the superior of the female saint: St. Kewe

Whether the three abbeys of were founded in the order in which I have named them, I cannot say. But this is the order of precedence, and, except in a few instances, it is the order in which the three abbots subscribed the deeds they witnessed to.

(4) by any two or more of the preceding methods employed concurrently.

The first method (by bishops) has been by the 12th century compiler and is reflected by headings in The Liber landavensis, Llyfr Teilo by Rev. William Jenkins Rees (1840) to create large groupings, but cannot be used to sort the individual charters. The second method (by kings) is dangerous because it relies on proper interpretation of king lists. (This is the problem with Dr. Wendy Davies book). The third method (by abbots), and witness lists under them, is used by Alfred Anscomb, which is shown in following section. ***However, I have make some corrections to his results which I have indicated in blue by keeping them under bishops, i.e. D-1 is my first charter under Dubricius. This is covered in more detail in Link to source of the Book of Llandaff***

Example of re-ordering technique

Now, in the time of Bishop Oudoceus at least twenty grants were made to his church. Fifteen of these preserve the names and abbacies of fifteen successive abbots, and it should follow that the threefold course of concurrent tenancy must have been broken frequently enough, that the succession of the abbots ought to be exactly determinable, and the chronological order of the grants can thus be clearly revealed. In the following tables we get, first in Table I the order of the names as they are given in the chartulary; second in Table II, the corrected order. The numbers are their official sequentially assigned grant numbers; the letters are the corrected order. The three abbeys are on the left. The charters with abbots are shown.

Table I-a: Charters of Bishop Oudoceus
Charter Number 1719202123242528
Corrected OrderBCAMDIHJ
Cadoc JacobJacobJacob Sulgen ConcenConcen Concen Concen
Illtyd CatgenCatgenCatgen
GurhaualCatgen Colbrit Colbrit Colbrit
DocunniEutigirnEutigirn Eutigirn Saturn Sulgen-- IudhubrIudhubr
*24 I Apparently granted during a vacancy in Docunni

Table I-b: Charters of Bishop Oudoceus
Charter Number 29303233343537
Corrected Order GEFNLOK
CadocConcen Concen Concen Sulgen Concen Dagan Concen
Illtyd Colbrit Congen Congen Gurthaur Colbrit Eluoin Cobrit
DocunniSulgen Sulgen Sulgen Saturn Iudhubr Saturn Iudhurbr

In Oudoceus' time, it is quite clear that compiler knew that Jacob was abbot of Llangatoc at Oudoceus' consecration, and took three ' Jacob ' deeds. He then, quite by chance, and out of order, transcribed a ' Sulgen ' deed. He detected his error, and copied all the ' Concen ' grants he had, except one, and then completed the ' Sulgen ' ones. After that he wrote out the ' Daganus ' charter in the last place but one under Oudoceus, and then transcribed the ' Concen ' deed he had passed over.

The broken succession is clearly indicated by the recurrence of names in the wrong places, and the true chronological order of the three abbots, and of the grants they witnessed in Oudoceus's day is as follows :

Table II-a: Corrected Order
Charter Number2017192330322924
Corrected OrderABCDEFGH
CadocJacob Jacob Jacob Concen Concen Concen Concen Concen
Illtyd Catgen
Catgen CatgenCatgen Congen Congen Colbrit Colbrit
DocunniEutigirn Eutigirn Eutigirn Sulgen Sulgen Sulgen Sulgen *

Table II-b: Corrected Order
Charter Number25283734213335
Corrected OrderIJKLMNO
CadocConcen Concen Concen Concen Sulgen Sulgen Dagan
Illtyd Colbrit Colbrit Colbrit Colbrit Gurthauar Gurthauar Eluoin
Docunni IudhurbrIudhurbrIudhurbr Iudhurbr Saturn Saturn Saturn

Applying this criterion to the re-arrangement of the charters
in the attempt to define the chronological sequence
of the first one hundred and six Llandaff charters
in sets of two tables I. Lay Witnesses & II. Clerical Witnesses:

(In the spreadsheets below the charter numbers in Roman numerals are the proposed order, but the added numbers in red are the original accepted charter numbers. These numbers were obtained using Dr. Davis' book by comparing descriptions. The folio numbers shown can be correlated to the National Library of Wales folio number by adding 28 to the folio shown, thus the first folio 21 corresponds to Folio 49 at NLW.)

The completion of Alfred Anscomb work that orders the charters by means of the three abbots and witnesses will be shown in his spreadsheets below. However, it did not make sense that grants should be allowed to move away from each bishop, so I have shown my order, which sorts only within bishops, in blue notation above his order. (The completion of my modified method applied to the source is located at Source of the Book of Landaff.)

Applying this modified method to sort the charters within bishops follows: For the next charters, I have emphasized the king order, which leads to a new order of bishops: Note: The images may take a while to load.
Dubricius D-(1-5) (Grants 1- 5) & Teilo T-(1-7)(Grants 6-11)
Errata: XII for eliud read eluid, for i. (concu) read iv.

Bishops Ubelviu to Grecielis U-G(1-18) (Charters 38-55) spreadsheet swapping ignored
Errata: XIV iii. (elharnn) read vi., for ii (iudnou) read v., XXII for iii (bithen) read vi.
for eliud read eluid, for i. (concu) read iv

Now come to the dissection of twenty-four grants made to Bishop Oudoceus. During his episcopate the diocese of Llandaff recovered from the demoralizing effects of the plague, and also from the temporary defection of Oudoceus' s predecessor, St. Teilo.

Nearly eight years of St. Teilo' s episcopate were spent with St. Samson in Armorica; and, as we have noted, very few additions to the temporalities of the see are recorded as having been made in his time.

The spiritual condition of the diocese of Llandaff is not likely to have been much better then than that condemned by St. Gildas in that epistle of his which commences Britannia habet reges, and which was composed in AD 499, when Gildas began to be about thirty years old. After the publication of it Gildas spent thirty years of his long life in the valley of the Wye, and in the island of Echin.

His intercourse with St. Cadoc and St. Illtyd is well known; but we are not informed whether he cooperated with St. Dogwin also. The three abbeys founded in the diocese of Llandaff by these eminent churchmen had been centres of spiritual light, and intellectual advancement as well, for many years; but Dogwin had died in AD 501, and it is probable that neither Cadoc nor Illtyd long survived him.

The great plague, among the victims of which was Maelgwn, King of Gwynedd, broke out in Western Britain in AD 509. When Teilo fled to Armorica, shortly after it began, Bishop David and the hermit Gildas were the only prominent churchmen left in Deheubarth.

Bishop Teilo came back in AD 517, and in that year St. David of Menevia died, and also Gereint map Erbin, the Prince of Dyfneint, Arthur's cousin. We do not know how long Bishop Teilo survived, but in Oudoceus's Life we read of a dispute between Bishop Oudoceus and Gildas himself. It is clear, therefore, that the consecration of Oudoceus must be assigned to the interval that fell between AD 517, the year of Teilo' s return, and AD 529, the year of Gildas' s departure.

No explanation is afforded of the state of things indicated by the dissection of the last six chapters, namely, the survival of Bishop Oudoceus into the reign of Ithail ma Marcant map Athruis, and the fact that six donations were made to Bishop Bethgwyn during the reign of Morcant map Athruis himself. If the entry of Oudoceus's name in No. XLVIII is not a mistake for Berthgwyn's (a view that the present writer doe not incline to), Oudoceus' advancing years may be supposed to have necessitated the appointment of Berthgwyn as an adjudicator or as suffragen.

In No. XXXV. Sadoc and Guoncatui appear among the laymen. The abbreviation d. stands for dedit or immolauit or whatever term describes the act of the donor.

Bishop Oudoceus, ca. 520. O-(1-21) (Grants 17-37)

Bishop Oudoceus, ca. 520. O-(1-21) (Grants 17-37 cont.)

Next is the analysis of the lists of witnesses to grants made to Bishop Berthwyn. These grants number twenty-three in all. Bishop Trychan succeeded, and thirteen grants made to him are on record.

Bishops Gwyddleu and Heddylfyw follow, but only two additions to the temporalities are recorded in their times. Bishop Grecielis comes next, and two out of the seven grants he received are dealt with.

After Cadwared there is a long interval of more than two centuries without any notice whatever in the Book of Llandaff. This interval is not closed till we come to Pater, who was bishop in AD 955, Indiction xiii., in the reign of Neuwy son of Gwriad. It is probable that Bishop Cadwared may have survived into the eighth century.

Scribal errors and misreadings become more frequent as we advance. Among the more glaring are danoc abbas Ilduti (No. LIIL), which yields n: : g and c : : n, for 'Dagon'; gundon for ' Gurdoc,' with n: : r and on : : oc, in No. LI.; cobreigen for ' Cobreiden ' with g : : d, in No. LXXI;congant for ' Conguaret ' with n : : r, in No. LXXVI.;loguonaul for 'Ioguonaul,' i.e. Juvenal, with long i misread Z, in Nos. LXXXIIL, LXXXIV. The variations in spelling are important for the phonologist, especially as regards . The occasionally evanescent nature of the voiced guttural is indicated by the equivalents Conhae: Conhage (Nos. LIV., LXV.), and by the strengthening the final syllable, -ig, received by the in- fixing of c, as in 'Ercicg,' 'Gliwissicg.' The tendency to misread this c as n has led to much speculation about Cymric patronymics in -ing. The wavering between a and o is noteworthy, as in canguaret, conguaret, congiwret.

Bishop Berthwyn (B-1-27)(Charters 56-82)

Bishop Berthwyn (B-1-27)(Charters 56-82) cont. & Bishop Trychan T-(1-14) (Charters 83-95+97 out of place)

Bishop Trychan T-(1-14) (Charters 83-95+97 out of place) cont.

Next are lists of names of witnesses nine grants (one belonging to Trychan) made to Bishop Cadwared and seven made to Bishop Cerennhir (with an added second section from grant 87 that applies to this era). After these, there is a great gap of more than two centuries before we come to Bishop Pater, in 955. The long espiscopate of Cimeilliauc, which extended from 872 to 927, is not illustrated by a single document, The exact place in time of Bishop Cadwared, who filled the see during the reigns of Gurgauarn and Arthruis and of at least three of their forerunners, is not determinable at present.

In the last section, I have used the method, but gave preference to the king order which gave
Bishop Cerennhir CI-(1-7)(Grants 105 - 111)

Bishop Cerennhir (Grants 105 - 107) cont.+second part of 87 Bishop Cadwared CA-(1-8) (96-104)

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