- English, e.g. ‘The Hengwrt Chaucer’ Peniarth MS 392
- Latin, e.g. ‘The Law of Hywel Dda’ Peniarth MS 28
- Cornish, e.g. ‘Beunans Meriasek’ Peniarth MS105
However Vaughan’s main interest was the Welsh language. He collected in Hengwrt a great number of our most significant Welsh language manuscripts, including
- The Black Book of Carmarthen (Peniarth MS 1), the earliest manuscript in the Welsh language
- The Book of Taliesin (Peniarth MS 2), which includes the oldest Welsh verse
- The White Book of Rhydderch (Peniarth MS 4), which includes the earliest version of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi
- The Chronicle of the Princes (Peniarth MS 20), the earliest chronicle of Welsh history
The manuscripts were preserved at Hengwrt for generations, and some other volumes were added to them over the years. When Sir Robert Williames Vaughan of Hengwrt died in 1859, without an heir, he left the collection to his friend W W E Wynne, who moved the manuscripts to the Peniarth Library, Meirioneth.
The whole collection was bought by Sir John Williams (1840-1926) in 1904. When W R M Wynne, the eldest son of W W E Wynne died in 1909, the manuscripts were transferred from Peniarth to the new National Library at Aberystwyth.
1. Three tribal thrones of the Island of Prydain. Arthur the Chief Lord at Menevia, and David the chief bishop, and Maelgwyn Gwyned the chief elder. Arthur the chief lord at Kelliwic in Cornwall, and Bishop Betwini the chief bishop, and Caradawg Vreichvras the chief elder. Arthur the chief lord in Penrionyd in the north, and Cyndeyrn Garthwys the cheif bishop, and Gurthmwl Guledic the chief elder.
2. Three generous ones of the Island of Prydain. Nudd Hael, son of Senyllt; Mordaf Hael, son of Servan; Rhydderch Hael, son of Tutwal Tudelyt.
3. Three fair lords of the Island of Prydain. Run son of Maelgwyn; Owen son of Urien; Ruawn Pefyr son of Deorath Guledig.
4. Three naturalists of the Island of Prydain. Gwalchmei son of Gwyar; and Llachau son of Arthur; and Rhiwallawn Gwallt Banadlen.
5. Three pillars of battle of the Island of Prydain. Dunawd son of Pabo pillar of Britain; and Gwallawc son of Lleenawc; and Cynfelyn Drwsgl.
6. Three bulls of battle of the Island of Prydain. Kynvarch Cat Caduc son of Kynnwyt Kynwytyon; and Gwenddoleu son of Coidyaw; and Uryen son of Kynvarch.
7. Three bull-princes of the Island of Prydain. Elmwr son of Cadeir; and Cynhafal son of Argat; and Afaon son of Taliessin. Three sons of bards were these.
8. Three Humble Princes of the Island of Prydain. Llywarch Hen son of Elidyr Lydanwyn; and Manawydan son of Llyr Lledyeith; and Gwgawn Gwrawn son of Peredur son of Eliffer Gosgordvaur.
9. Three princes of the Court of Arthur. Goronwy son of Echell Fordwyten; and Cadreith son of Porthfaurgaddu; and Fleidur Fflam.
10. Three princes of Deira and Bernicia. Gall son of Desgyfedawdt and Ysgafnell son of Disgyfedawt; and Diffydell son of Disgyfedawt. Three sons of bards were these three.
11. Three ruddy-speared bards of the Island of Prydain. Tristvardd bard of Urien; and Dygynelw bard of Owen; and Mainferdic, bard of Cadwallawn, son of Catfan; and they were sons of Morgant.
12. Three supreme servants of the Island of Prydain. Caradawc son of Bran; and Caurdaf son of Caradawc; and Owen son of Maxen Guledic.
13. Three fleet owners of the Island of Prydain. Gereint son of Erbin; and Gwenwywnwyn son of Naf; and March son of Meirchiaun.
14. Three strong-crutched ones of the Island of Prydain. Rineri son of Tangwn; and Tinwaed faglaw; and Pryder son of Dolor of Deira and Bernicia.
15. Three fettered ones of the Island of Prydain. Cadwaladyr the blessed; and Run son of Maelgwyn; and Rhiwallawn wallt Banadlen.
16. Three cavaliers of battle of the Island of Prydain. Caradawg freichfras; Menwaed of Arllechwedd; and Llyr Lluydauc.
17. Three hostile ovates of the Island of Prydain. Greidiawl Galovyd, son of Enfael Adran; and Gweyr of great manliness; and Trystan son of Tallwch.
18. Three red-spotted ones of the Island of Prydain. Arthur; and Run son of Beli; and Morgant Mwynfawr.
19. Three front leaders of battle of the Island of Prydain. Trystan son of Tallwch; and Huil son of Caw; and Cei son of Cynyr Cynfarfawc and one person was supreme over these three: Bedwyr son of Pedrawt was that one.
20. Three heroes of the Island of Prydain. Th three sons of Hayarnwed the treacherous: Grudnei and Henpen and Edenawc.
21. Three arrogant ones of the Island of Prydain. Sawyl penuchel; and Pasgen son of Uryen; and Run son of Einiaun.
22. Three obstructers of slaughter of the Island of Prydain. Gilbert son of Catgyffro; and Morfran son of Tegid; and Gwgun of the ruddy sword.
23. Three powerful swineherds of the Islad of Prydain. Trystan son of Tallwch, who kept the swine of March, son of Meirchiawn, while the swineherd went on a message to Essyllt to desire a meeting with her, and Arthur desired one pig by deceit or by theft, and could not get it; and Pryderi son of Pwyll, who kept the swine of Pendaran Dyfed in Glencuwch in Emlyn; And Coll son of Collfrewy, who kept the ancient sow of Dallweir Dalben, who went burrowing as far as Penryn Awstin in Cornwall, and there going to the sea, landed at Abertorogi in Gwent Iscoed, and Coll son of Collfrewy having his hand on her bristles, wherever she went on the sea or on the land, and at Maes Gwenith in Gwent she dropped wheat and bees, and from henceforth there is the best wheat there, and from thence she went to Lonwen in Penbro, and there she dropped barley and bees, and from thence there is the best barley in Lonwen, and from thence she proceeded to the Riw Cyferthwch in Eryri, and there she dropped a wolf-cub and an eagle, and Coll son of Collfreuy gave the eagle to Brynach Gwyddel of the north, and the wolf he gave to Menwaed fo Arllechwedd, and these are the wolf of Menwaed and the eagle of Brynach, and thence going to Maendu in Llanfare, in Arvon, and there she dropped a kitten, and Coll son of Collfrewy threw the kitten in the Menai, and she became afterwards the Paluc cat.
24. Three chief-gleaming ones of the Island of Prydain. Coll son of Collfrewy; and Meniw son of Teirgwaed; and Drych son of Kiwdar.
25. Three primary illusions of the Island of Prydain. The illusion of Math son of Mathonwy; and the illusion of Uthyr Pendragon; and the illusion of Gwydelen Gor.
26. Three loyal households of the Island of Prydain. The household of Catwallaun son of Cadfan, who were seven years in Ywerdon with him, and in that time demanded no pay nor compensation from him; and the household of Gafran son of Aedan, who went to sea with their lord; and the third the household of Gwendoleu son of Ceidyaw at Arderyd, who maintained the contest forty-six days after their lord was slain. The number of the households each one of their warriors one hundred men and a score.
27. Three disloyal households of the Island of Prydain. The household of Goronw Pebyr of Penllyn who refused to stand in place of their lord to recieve the poisoned darts from Lew Law Gyffes in Lech Goronwy in Blaen Cynfael; and the household of Gwrgi and Peredur, who deserted their lords at Caer Greu, when there was appointment for battle next morning against Eda Glinmaur, and they were both slain; and the third, the household of Alan Fyrgan, who returned back by stealth from their lord, on the road at night with his servants at Camlan, and there he was slain.
28. Three pass retinues of the Island of Prydain. The retinue of Mynydawg of Eidyn; the retinue of Melyn son of Cynvelyn; and the retinue of Dryan son of Nudd.
29. Three warriors who made the three good assassinations of the Island of Prydain. Gall son of Dysgyfedawt, who slew the two birds of Gwendoleu, who had a yoke of gold about them, and devoured two bodies of the Cymry at their dinner and two at their supper; and Ysgafnell son of Dysgyfedawt, who slew Edelfled king of Lloegyr; and Diffedel son of Dysgyfedawt, who slew Gwrgi Garwlwyt, and this Gwrgi a male and female of the Cymry, and two on Saturday that he might not kill on Sunday.
30. Three atrocious assassinations of the Island of Prydain. Eidyn son of Einygan, who slew Aneiryn Gwawdrud, the supreme of bards; and Llawgat Trumbargawt, who slew Afaon son of Taliessin; and Llovan Llawdino, who slew Urien son of Kynvarch.
31. Three atrocious axe-strokes of the island of Prydain. The axe-stroke of Eidyn on the Head of Aneiryn; and the axe-stroke on the head of Godlan the bard; and the axe-stroke on the head of Iago son of Beli.
32. Three combined expeditions that went from this island and never returned. One went with Helen Luydawg and Cynan her brother. Another went with Yrp Luydawc, in the time of Cadyal son of Erynt, he came to ask assistance, and he asked not from each city, but the same number he should bring with him and there came with him to the first only one youth, and he obtained one given him. He was the greatest levier fo an expedition that went from this island, and none of the warriors returned. They went on an invasive expedition, these warriors, to two islands in the sea of Greece. These are teh two islands, Gals and Avena. The third host went with Caswallaun son of Beli, and Gwenwynwyn, and Gwanar sons of Lliaws son of Nwyure, and Aranrot daughter of Beli, was their mother, and from Arllechwed were these wariors, and they went with Caswallawn, their uncle, against the Cesariot over the sea, and these warriors are now in Gwasgwyn. There went with each of these hosts one thousand and twenty. These are the three silver hosts. They were thus called, for they took the gold and silver of the island with them, as much as they could.
33. Three oppressions came to this Island, and did not go out of it. The nation of the Coranyeit, who came in the time of Llud son of Beli, and did not go out of it; the Oppression of the Gwyddyl Fichti, and they did not again go out of it. The third, the oppression was the Saxons, and they did not again go out of it.
34. Three closures and three disclosures of the Island of Prydain. The blessed head of Bran son of Llyr, which was buried in the Gwynfryn in London, and while the head remained in that state, no invasion would ever come to this island. The second, the bones of Gwerthefyr the blessed, which are buried in the principle ports of this island; and the third, the dragons which Llud son of Beli buried in Dinas Emreis in Eryri.
The Four Ancient Books of Wales. ed. by William F. Skene. Edinburgh: Edmonston and Douglas, 1868.
A Large Compilation of Welsh Triads can be found on Celtic-Twilight
* Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales (Aberystwyth, 1940-2003), vol. I, pp. iii-xxiii
For descriptions of individual manuscripts, see
* MSS 1-327 and 533-9 (the collection’s Welsh language manuscripts): J Gwenogvryn Evans’ catalogue, Report on Manuscripts in the Welsh Language (London, 1898-1910), volume. I, pp. 297-1126
* MSS 328-532 (manuscripts mainly in languages other than Welsh): descriptions in Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales (1943-2003), vol. I, pp. 1-22, other than a small number of manuscripts that did not come to the Library in 1909
* MSS 540-61 and the 'Ancient Peniarth Manuscripts' (all the manuscripts that did not come to the Library in 1909): typescript catalogue Peniarth MSS: A Catalogue of Additional Manuscripts (1990)