Introduction Edited text Manuscripts Cymraeg

23. Moliant i Dydecho

edited by Eurig Salisbury


The 30 surviving manuscript copies of this poem can be divided into two main groups that derive from two lost sources, namely X1 and X2 (stemma). The text in X2 was generally superior to the text in X1. All seven manuscripts used to form this critical edition belong to the period of a century between 1575 and 1675.

Although the reading for line 91 in X1 was superior to the reading in X2, and probably also in lines 16 and 48, X1 also contained four lines – 28, 50, 84 and 92 – that are demonstrably erroneous, and there were other faults, in all likelihood, in lines 17, 22, 59, 61, 73, 78 and 97 (see the notes). It is likely that at least one other lost source (X3) was derived from X1, but there may have been others between X1 and two of the most recent manuscripts discussed here, namely LlGC 6499B and CM 21 (see notes on lines 10, 17, 54, 84). The text in LlGC 6499B was copied by an unknown scribe (X156 in RepWM) on behalf of Owen Salusbury of Rhug c.1654–5, and that of CM 21 by Edward Davies of Rhiwlas near Llansilin in 1672, which suggests that their source or sources were circulating in the Berwyn region by the third quarter of the 16c. It seems that X3 was in the possession of Thomas Wiliems, the great lexicographer from Trefriw, when he copied its text in Pen 225 sometime between 1594 and 1610. On his death c.1622, X3 may have been one of a large number of Wiliems’s manuscripts that came into the possession of John Wynn of Gwydir, and Robert Davies of Gwysanau may have seen it at Gwydir when contributing to one of John Wynn’s manuscripts, C 4.101, sometime between c.1600 and 1634. A copy of the poem survives in the hand of Robert Davies’s unknown amanuensis (X2 in RepWM) in J 140 (c.1630).

It seems that X2 was circulating in the vicinity of Ruthin in the Vale of Clwyd during the last quarter of the 16c. The copy of this text made by Richard ap Siôn (c.1572–1620) of Sgorlegan in the parish of Llangynhafal in Pen 86 is the best surviving copy of the poem. It is likely that the text in X2 was also copied in another lost source named X4, which was then copied in BL 14866 (1586–7) by David Johns of Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd. (Both scribes were evidently familiar with each other’s work, as shown by a note in J 15 in which Richard ap Siôn cites David Johns.) At the beginning of the 17c., it seems that X4 came to the attention of Wmffre Dafis of Darowen near Machynlleth, who copied its text in Llst 118 (1612–35), later called Y Carpiog o Aberllefenni ‘the tattered (book) of Aberllefenni’. This is the earliest manuscript that can be closely associated with the poem’s vicinity, although it was probably derived from a text from the Vale of Clwyd, as outlined, and not from Mawddwy.

The titles found in manuscripts derived from X1 are generally concise (cf. Pen 225 Cywydh Tydecho Sanct), but note the addition in CM 21 kowydd tydecho o fowthwy . The title in Pen 86, if there was any, was lost to a torn page. Information lifted from the poem itself is found in BL 14866 Cywydd i dydecho sant a llawer o storiae yntho yn amser maelgwyn Gwynedd ‘A cywydd to Saint Tydecho containing many stories in the time of Maelgwn Gwynedd’, and a similar title appears in Llst 118, where storiae was replaced by a less trivial word, possibly as it was written in the vicinity of Mawddwy: Cowydd i dydecho a llawer o wrthiae yntho ‘A cywydd to Tydecho containing many miracles’. Note also the information gleaned from the poem by John Jones Gellilyfdy in Pen 112 kowydd moliant i Dydecho sant fab[space left empty] yr hwnn oedd yn amser maelgwn Gwynedd ac yn krefyddu y mowddwy ac a ddoethoedd yno o lan Dydoch yn ol digyfor mor ‘a cywydd of praise for Saint Tydecho son of [space left empty] who lived in the time of Maelgwn Gwynedd and served God in Mawddwy and who came there from Llandudoch following the surging of the sea’.

The manuscripts
BL 14866, 28r–9v (David Johns, 1586–7)
BL 14901, 45r (X106, first half of the 18c., not before 1705)
BL 31085, 65r (Owain Myfyr and others, 18c./19c.)
C 2.40, 85 (John Morgan, c.1714)
CM 21, 12–15 (Edward Davies, 1672)
CM 204, 62r (William Morgan, 1670s–1719)
CM 206, 7 (Cadwaladr Dafydd, 1730–49)
CM 930, 110 (Thomas Richards, 18c./19c.)
Gwyn 3, 21v (Jaspar Gryffyth, c.1600)
J 140, 494–7 (X2, c.1630)
LlGC 668C, 35 (William Jones, 19c.)
LlGC 671D, 9 (William Jones, 19c.)
LlGC 2014B, 15 (Evan Evans, c.1775–85)
LlGC 2288B, 16 (Gwallter Mechain, 1791)
LlGC 3056D, 500 (Wmffre Dafis, 16c./17c., not before 1593)
LlGC 5269B, 503r (Rhys Cadwaladr, c.1666–88)
LlGC 6499B, 656–60 (X156, c.1654–5)
LlGC 8330B, 185 (Lewis Maurice, c.1634–47)
LlGC 10251B, 18 (unknown, second half of the 18c., before 1777)
LlGC 19907B, 232r (Robert Vaughan, first half of the 17c.)
LlGC 21291E, 8r (X106, 18c., not before 1706)
LlGC Mân Adnau 55B, 344 (David Ellis, c.1788)
Llst 118, 349–51 (Wmffre Dafis, 1612–35)
Llst 133, 51r (Samuel Williams, c.1712)
Llst 167, 327 (Siôn Dafydd Laes, second half of the 17c.)
Pen 86, 305–7 (Richard ap Siôn, c.1572–1620)
Pen 100, 550 (X5, c.1620)
Pen 112, 668 (John Jones Gellilyfdy, 1619–21)
Pen 120, 595r (William Jones, c.1696–7)
Pen 225, 165–8 (Thomas Wiliems, 1594–1610)