Paper, Ink, and Four Walls: John Jones of Gellilyfdy and his Prison Project
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Almost all scholars of medieval Welsh texts will have come across manuscripts in the hand of John Jones of Gellilyfdy, Flintshire (c.1580–1658), a competent scribe who copied countless texts, of prose and poetry, in a beautifully clear calligraphic hand, often decorated with his signature knotwork and ornate capital letters. However, John Jones was no mere copyist and there is plenty of evidence that he was working towards producing a Welsh dictionary. Whilst incarcerated in the Fleet Prison in London (as a debtor) in the early 1630s, he produced three books of wordlists, covering many aspects of everyday life. The lists provide us with an invaluable insight into the life and language of a Flintshire-based gentleman in the early 17th century, whilst also adding greatly to the known Welsh vocabulary of the period.
Professor Ann Parry Owen, University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies and University of Wales Dictionary
Chaired by Professor Helen Fulton, Member of Council