13 March 2015

First History Conference for Coleg Cymraeg

13 March 2015
One of the inspirations for the founding of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, William Salesbury, will be discussed among the papers at the Coleg’s first ever history conference.

The Conference on the Welsh Humanists will be held at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth on Wednesday 18 March.

Such is William Salesbury’s influence that almost five hundred years after his death a significant scholarship to study in Welsh is named in his honour and ‘Coleg William Salesbury’ was a popular suggestion as a name for the Coleg Cymraeg when it was founded in 2011.

William Salesbury had a profound influence on the Welsh Humanists through his printed work in Welsh. His books, Oll Synnwyr Pen Kembero Ygyd (1547) and Ban Wedi i Dynny (1550), his translations of the scriptures, Kynniver Llith a Ban (1551), Llyfr Gweddi Gyffredin (1567) [Common Prayer Book] and of course, the Testament Newydd (1567) [New Testament] helped solidify Welsh as a language fit for intellectual discourse.

The conference will discuss Salesbury’s influence on the Welsh Humansist and also take a look at his contemporaries; Elis Gruffydd (‘The Soldier from Calais’), and Siôn Prys, who is the subject of the Library’s current exhibition - ‘Publisher and plunderer? Sir John Prise and the first Welsh books’ Prys (also spelt Pryse) served under Thomas Cromwell and helped implement the dissolution of the monasteries as well as publishing the first ever book in Welsh in 1546, Yny lhyvyr hwn. It was he too was responsible for the safekeeping of the Black Book of Carmarthen, the earliest manuscript in Welsh.

According to the Librarian of the National Library, Dr Aled Gruffydd Jones: ‘It’s great to see two of Wales’s intellectual institutions, the Coleg Cymraeg and the National Library, cooperate and give us an opportunity to assess a very important time in our nation’s history. We look forward to welcome a new generation of intellectuals to follow in the footsteps of the great Welsh Humanists.”

Siôn Jobbins, one of the organisers of the Conference said on behalf of the Coleg Cymraeg, “We’re very glad to work with the National Library and give time and attention to one of the main inspirations for the founding of the Coleg Cymraeg – William Salesbury. The conference will include papers by Prof Ceri Davies, Dr Eryn White, Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan and Nia Powell. There will also be a short introduction by Cerys Hudson about the Coleg’s new project which has placed resources about the Middle Ages on the Porth website.

Although the conference is aimed at students, it is also open to the public free of charge and will include a guided tour of the Library’s ‘Publisher and Plunder?’ exhibition.

The conference is in Welsh with no translation.

For more information contact: Siôn Jobbins ar 01970 628293 or

The ‘Publisher and plunderer? Sir John Prise and the first Welsh books’ exhibition runs at the National Library until 27 June 2015. Follow the Library’s blog for updates.

For more information about William Salesbury and his contemporaries, please contact Dr Eryn White, Senior Lecturer at Aberystwyth University’s History and Welsh History Department on or 01970 622843.

First History Conference for Coleg Cymraeg