The Pinnacle of the Medieval Welsh Bardic Tradition? The Poetry of Guto'r Glyn.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Wales
Department Name: Centre for Adv. Welsh and Celtic Studies

Abstract

From the fifteenth century to the present day, Guto'r Glyn (c.1435/c.1493) has been acknowledged as the greatest exponent of the Welsh praise-poetry tradition, a cultural succession which stretches back to the sixth century. Welsh scholars sometimes call the hundred years 1436/1536 the 'Great Century' because of the quality (and sheer volume) of the poetry produced. Poets were held in high esteem, and were much sought after by patrons who were eager to have their virtues as warriors and generous hosts laid out for public view. During his long career Guto'r Glyn received patronage from noble families in virtually all parts of Wales, enjoying `la belle vie' in their lavish homes and providing fascinating insights into their lives: feasts, fine wines, costume, houses, animals and domestic relations. He took an active and lively interest in political affairs in Wales and beyond. He fought in France during the Hundred Years' War and became an avowed supporter of the Yorkist cause. His poetry for Edward IV, the Herberts and many other patrons offers valuable contemporary comment on political and military affairs during one of the most troubled periods in British history.

We aim to reconstruct, as far as is possible, the original text of the poems of Guto'r Glyn. Since the first (now inadequate) edition by Ifor Williams (1939), the number of known manuscript copies has more than tripled and an additional c.60 poems have been identified (whose authenticity will need to be assessed). We now know of approximately 6,500 lines of verse, in c.160 poems, preserved in c.2300 manuscript copies. Since 1939 scholars working on medieval Welsh poetry have made great advances in lexicographical and editorial methods, and new work on manuscripts and especially the effects of oral transmission has been undertaken. Major questions regarding authorship and authenticity need to be addressed. We still need to demonstrate satisfactorily whether Guto'r Glyn was indeed the same person as Guto ap Siancyn and Guto ap Siancyn o'r Glyn. All in all, a new scholarly edition is urgently required.

The research team will comprise four research fellows led and advised by an Investigator who has 14 years' experience of leading a similar project in medieval Welsh poetry; two co-investigators who are experienced textual editors and who will offer expert advice and guidance; a technical consultant with experience in creating an on-line edition of medieval Welsh poetry; and a strong Advisory Board which will include leading scholars of medieval Welsh history and literature representing a wide range of specialisms.

We shall produce an authoritative electronic edition on a bilingual website, with full manuscript testimony, digital images and notes, web concordance and English translations of the poetry. We shall subsequently produce a two-volume printed edition in Welsh to succeed the 1939 edition.

A volume in Welsh and English, comprising of essays written by distinguished scholars, will critically assess the light which the poetry sheds on the history, culture, literature and politics of the fifteenth century. This volume will inform Welsh- and English-speaking scholars of the importance of this poetry in a British context. We shall also create pages on the website focusing on the research findings of this multi-authored volume. The electronic medium offers the opportunity to use images and links with other sites to bring the poetry and the period to life.

By means of the bilingual website we shall ensure that our audience includes not only Welsh scholars of medieval poetry but also non-Welsh speaking specialists in other fields of study as well as those with a more general interest in medieval poetry and history. We are confident that the website will bring to the attention of people living outside Wales the value of the vast amount of contemporary comment in Welsh provided by this extraordinary poet on the life and events of the fifteenth century.

Publications

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Description We have produced a new edition of the poems of the fifteenth-century professional Welsh poet, Guto'r Glyn and a few poems by his contemporaries with whom he engaged in debates (total 135 poems). The fully bilingual electronic edition is freely available online at www.gutorglyn.net, and the edition will also be available in printed volumes at a later date. A detailed study of each poem, and the careers of Guto's many patrons, has enabled us to reassess the poet's long and varied life, and has confirmed his contemporaries' impression of him as Wales's foremost praise poet in the late medieval period. We discovered Guto'r Glyn's name in a muster taken at Portsmouth, 1441, as an archer in the Duke of York's personal retinue heading for France in the final years of the Hundred Years War, and this fact confirms unequivocally his contention that he served the Duke of York as a soldier. This discovery has shed much light on his poetic imagery, and his fascination for armour and weapons, and deep interest in military campaigns. We produced a volume of seventeen articles (2013) by various contributors discussing many aspects of fifteenth-century life and politics, largely informed by Guto's poetry. Various aspects of material culture of the time are explored on linked website (again fully bilingual), "Cymru Guto / Guto's Wales" (link from main page of the Guto'r Glyn Website), a website specifically targeted to a less academic audience, and especially to older school children and undergraduate students - providing information about topics such as food and wine, medicine, pastimes, &c., in 15th-century Wales.

The Guto'r Glyn Website edition builds on the technology of the previous Dafydd ap Gwilym Website, also funded by the AHRC (2007). The current website, built using open-source software with TEI-compliant XML mark-up, pushes the boundaries of the traditional scholarly edition by enabling access to much more material than would be available in a printed edition, such as manuscript images (accessed directly from the digital archives of our Partner, the National Library of Wales), manuscript transcriptions of all significant versions of each poem and audio files of each poem. Innovative ways of presenting information have been devised: for example the facility to permit the user to consult other information within the website without having to navigate away from the current poem. We will also be launching a mobile App version in the future, to make access easier on mobile devices. We hope that this project will provide a robust model for presenting the results of similar projects.
Exploitation Route The project provides much information about life in Wales in the later medieval period, and specifically on the homes of Guto'r Glyn's patrons: this information is relevant to the heritage and tourism industry. For example CADW could benefit from our work on sites such as Valle Crucis Abbey and Raglan Castle. The work could also be used within the History and Welsh Literature curricula in schools in Wales, providing supplementary material for existing courses or a foundation for new ones. The free availability of our two websites will enable pupils to explore the material independently and at their own pace in either language. The material is suitable for independent study by members of the public, interested in literature, history or material culture.

The methodology, especially the technical aspects of the online edition, will provide a pattern for future online editions. The collaboration with the National Library of Wales, and especially the ability to include online digital images directly from their servers, has proved especially effective.
Sectors Education

URL http://www.gutorglyn.net
 
Description To inform courses at Universities (especially departments of Welsh and Celtic Studies, and History), and also schools, the latter especially through school visits by Eurig Salisbury, one of our research fellows, who used school visits in his capacity as The Children's Poet of Wales in 2011-13 to introduce Guto'r Glyn's poetry. Our findings have also informed the work of societies, such as "Dating old Welsh Houses" (www.datingoldwelshhouses.co.uk), and also that of our project partners, the Royal Commission on the Historical and Ancient Monuments of Wales.
First Year Of Impact 2009
Sector Retail
Impact Types Societal

 
Description Animation of Guto'r Glyn arriving at Cochwillan and performing at a feast 
Organisation Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments of Wales
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Based on Guto'r Glyn's poem to Wiliam ap Gruffudd of Cochwillan, we provided information about the people, furniture, &c., within a medieval Welsh hall-house.
Collaborator Contribution Our partners provided us with the dimensions of the hall-house, so that we could accurately depict a 3D model on our animation
Impact The animation has been used extensively by one of our team members, Eurig Salisbury, in his visits to schools as The Children's Poet of Wales. It sparked much discussion in the sessions and proved an ideal way to introduce medieval Welsh poetry and culture to children.
Start Year 2010
 
Description Digital Images 
Organisation National Library of Wales
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Our collaboration set a precedent for the library's collaboration with other research institutions. It also increased public use of the Library's online collections via our Guto'r Glyn Website.
Collaborator Contribution The National Library of Wales digitized manuscripts and supplied, free of charge, access through our website to their digitized manuscript repository, which allows us to directly upload manuscript images to our website.
Impact This collaboration has allowed us to show transcriptions of key texts and accompanying images. As well as increasing awareness of our manuscript sources, this material can be used as a teaching tool, for example for paleography.
Start Year 2009
 
Description Digitized Images 
Organisation Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments of Wales
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We shared new information and findings directly with the staff at the Royal Commission and provided a platform to draw attention to their collections.
Collaborator Contribution The Royal Commission provided for us, free of charge, images of medieval houses and artefacts for use on our Guto's Wales / Cymru Guto Website.
Impact Our project staff have contributed to the Royal Commission's activities (National Eisteddfod of Wales poster presentations, Digital Past Conferences) and the Royal Commission's staff have contributed to our conferences and publications.
Start Year 2008
 
Description Hunting knives and bucklers: interpreting fifteenth-century Welsh poetry by Alaw Mai Edwards at Digital Past New Technologies in Heritage, Interpretation and Outreach (Bodelwyddan) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The poetry of Guto'r Glyn (and his contemporaries) was introduced as a source to an audience of mainly practitioners from the field of heritage (museums, &c.)

Difficult to assess beyond the interest expressed at the time and the fact that members of the team were asked to take a consultancy role in heritage projects (e.g. Ann Parry Owen was invited as consultant Gwynedd's "Princes of Gwynedd" project)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description ' "Rhyw hud megis symud saeth": Delweddau o Saethyddiaeth a Saethwyr ym Marddoniaeth yr Oesoedd Canol', by Jenny Day, External Degree One-day Conference, Aberystwyth University 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact A discussion of archery in medieval Welsh poetry given at the Summer School of the Welsh External Degree at Aberystwyth University

A discussion of archery in medieval Welsh poetry, focussing on the details that can be gleaned about the construction, appearance and use of bows and arrows, and on the various contexts, positive and negative, in which archers and archery are portrayed.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Afonydd ym marddoniaeth Guto'r Glyn, by Eurig Salisbury (Historical Climate Workshop, Gregynog): 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact The evidence provided by Guto'r Glyn's poetry about the course of the fifteenth-century rivers of Wales was introduced to an audience of mainly geographers interested in the historical climate of Wales

Sparked discussion at the time and has led to discussions between our department and the Geography Department in Aberystwyth University, who now recognise medieval Welsh poetry as a valuable source
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Bardd a bwrdais: Canu Guto'r Glyn i Ddisgynyddion Ieuan Gethin, by Eurig Salisbury at the Guto'r Glyn Project's Valle Crucis one-day Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A talk which increased awareness of the importance of north-east Wales and Oswestry to our cultural heritage in 15th-century Wales

Talk sparked much interest and led to requests by local literary societies for talks
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Bwyd mewn barddoniaeth ganoloesol (food in medieval poetry), by Alaw Mai Edwards 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact About 50 people (mostly members of the public including many young people) visited Strata Florida Abbey for an open day and our project member, Alaw Mai Edwards, gave a talk about the type of feasts that would have been held in the abbey in medieval times, with reference to the evidence provided by Guto'r Glyn's poetry and that of his contemporaries

Difficult to assess - apart from the fact that it sparked a lively discussion
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Bywyd Guto'r Glyn, by Barry Lewis at the Guto'r Glyn Project Valle Crucis one-day Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Talk received enthusiastic reception - and engaged local people in the debate about Guto'r Glyn's place of origin

Led to some collaboration with the Llangollen museum
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Conference paper: Danteithion Rhaglan: tystiolaeth y beirdd, by Alaw Mai Edwards 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact 65+ people attended this conference hosted by our project, and as a result of this paper by Dr Edwards, discussing the food and wine served at Rhaglan castle in the 15th century, CADW decided to host a subsequent open day on the theme

See previous comment
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Darllen Barddoniaeth yr Oesoedd Canol, by Ann Parry Owen at Aberystwyth University Prograduate Training Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact A talk, which focused on the editorial methods of the Guto'r Glyn project which led to a lively discussion about medieval texts and their editors

Unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Digital Edition of Medieval Welsh Poetry, by Dafydd Johnston 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact The paper introduced the Dafydd ap Gwilym and Guto'r Glyn Websites

Much interest was shown in our innovative methods
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description Dulliau golygu barddoniaeth Guto'r Glyn (editorial methods and practices) (Marburg University) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Paper given at the annual meeting of the British Academy funded Development of the Welsh Language project, which focuses mainly on prose texts. My paper discussed the use of poetical texts as evidence, and focused primarily on the poetry of Guto'r Glyn and the editorial practices adopted by our project.

Considerable interest was shown by linguists working on medieval Welsh, especially in Germany.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description Guto'r Glyn a'r RHyfel Can Mlynedd (Guto'r Glyn and the Hundred Years' War), by Barry J. Lewis 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Paper given at the Aberystwyth University Centre for Life-long learning: well attended

Difficult to assess
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Guto'r Glyn a'r gynghanedd sain, by Eurig Salisbury, at the Welsh National Eisteddfod 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A talk given to the public at Wales's foremost cultural event

Unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Guto'r Glyn: bardd a bwrdais (Seminar Series at the School of Welsh, Bangor University), by Eurig Salisbury 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Talk followed by discussion

Difficult to assess
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description Guto'r Glyn: local connections, by Eurig Salisbury 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Talk given to the Llansilin Local History Society, to share information about Guto'r Glyn's poetry, which has a bearing on the region's history

Sparked much discussion and interest by the local audience
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Guto'r gemydd, by Alaw Mai Edwards at the Guto'r Glyn and Fifteenth-Century Wales Conference, Aberystwyth 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Talk demonstrated how useful the poetry of Guto'r Glyn can be to a variety of studies in medieval culture: this paper focused on the virtues of gems and stones

Unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Introduction to the Guto'r Glyn Animation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Guto'r Glyn Animation, which we created in partnership with the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments in Wales, was introduced to an audience of academics and practitioners in the heritage industry.

Much discussion followed, and requests for further information
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Prosiect Guto'r Glyn, by Ann Parry Owen, at Guto'r Glyn and Fifteenth-century Wales Conference, Aberystwyth 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Talk focused on the technical aspects of the project - especially the problems faced and resolved in preparing the online edition of Guto'r Glyn's poetry

Talk sparked requests by other similar projects for further information
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Prosiect Guto'r Glyn: Canfyddiadau a Dulliau, by Ann Parry Owen 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact A well-attended paper presented in a three-day conference hosted by the Guto'r Glyn Project on the theme "Guto'r Glyn and Fifteenth-Century Wales" at Aberystwyth University, September 2012

Unsure
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Prosiect Guto'r Glyn: y flwyddyn gron gyntaf yng nghwmni'r Guto (overview of the project's first year), by Eurig Salisbury 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Approx. 70 people attended the talk, which sparked much discussion and interest

Difficult to assess
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description Richard III and the War of the Roses (Trinity College Dublin), Shaving the boar's head: evidence from Welsh poetry about the death of Richard III, by Dafydd Johnston 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Dafydd Johnston examined Guto'r Glyn's graphic description of the killing of Richard III on Bosworth Field, 1485, linking it to the archeological evidence of Richard III skeleton discovered recently in a grave in Leicester

Guto'r Glyn's testimony became part of the general discussion on this exciting archeological discovery
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Shattered Shields and Spear Sowers: Weapons Imagery in Y Gododdin and its Influence on Later Poetry', by Jenny Day, Aberystwyth University 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact A paper assessing the references to spears and shields in medieval poetry through the centuries, given to the Aberystwyth University Welsh Department's Celtic Studies Reading Group

Talk aimed to encourage the use of medieval Welsh poetry as a source for material culture
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description The Medieval Welsh poet as war correspondent: Guto'r Glyn in Normandy, 1436 and 1441, by Barry J. Lewis at the Cultures of War and Conflict Resolution Research Network, Bangor University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Talk underlined the importance of Guto'r Glyn's poetry as historical evidence to an audience of mainly historians

Talk increased awareness of the importance of medieval poetry in general as a source
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description The Poets and Princes at Strata Florida / y Beirdd a Thywysogion yn Ystrad-fflur 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An open day organised with CADW at Strata Florida Abbey including workshops and lectures (in Welsh and English)

A request by CADW too collaborate in further open days
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Women's head-dresses in Welsh love poems, by Alaw Mai Edwards 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact References to head-dresses in the poetry of Guto'r Glyn and his contemporaries was the basis for this paper

Difficult to assess
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Ystrad-fflur a'r beirdd, by Dafydd Johnston at CADW open-day 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The talk enhanced local people's (and children's) knowledge of the cultural history of the Cistercian abbey at Strata Florida

Success of the paper, and the collaboration with the project on the day, led to a request by CADW to repeat the event in an year's time (and this was done, with some change to the actual papers in 2013)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013