Hywel Dda manuscript now online

The National Library of Wales has digitized and put online the Boston Manuscript of the Laws of King Hywel Dda. The manuscript was purchased last year at auction for £541,250.

Boston Manuscript of the Laws of Hywel Dda - photo courtesy National Library of Wales

This Welsh manuscript dates from the second half of the 14th century, and contains the Dyfed version of native Welsh law. The National Library of Wales was able to repair and rebind the manuscript, and has published images of all the pages online at


Jennifer Stewart, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales said, “This manuscript is one of Wales’ true treasures and I’m delighted to see it back home safely in the National Library of Wales. Having been lucky enough to see the manuscript for myself, I am so pleased that that it has been digitised so that more people can see for themselves why this medieval document is so special and unique.”

Manuscript Librarian, Dr Maredudd ap Huw, added, “During months of intensive study, the manuscript has slowly revealed its secrets, and clearly shows signs of having been added to and adapted during the medieval period, as it was used by law practitioners. There are now greater opportunities than ever before for students to explore its contents and history.”


The digital images are accompanied by an introduction to the manuscript, and a detailed description of the volume is also available on the Library’s online catalogue. During this summer, the Library will also be producing facsimile copies for use in outreach and education work.

The Boston Manuscript will be making its first public appearance, newly repaired and rebound, in the National Library’s exhibition of early Welsh manuscripts – 4Books: Welsh Icons United – on 12 October.

Click here to see the manuscript online

See also: National Library of Wales purchases Laws of Hywel Dda manuscript for £541,250

See also this see a short film Unbinding of Hywel Dda Manuscript

Source: National Library of Wales