Article Title

The Middle-Cornish Play Beunans Meriasek


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

It is now exactly one hundred years ago that William Watkin Edward Wynne (1801-1880) discovered among the Hengwrt manuscripts in the library he had inherited at Peniarth, Merionethshire, Wales, a small paper quarto volume 8½ X 6 inches in an old brown leather binding.1 He transcribed some passages from this book and sent them with an inquiry to Canon Robert Williams, at that time considered the foremost authority on Comish because of his Lexicon Cornu-Britannicum: a Dictionary of the Ancient Cornish Language of Cornwall (Llandovery-London, 1845). Canon Williams wrote back at once that this was indeed a treasure, the book in question being the Ordinale of St. Meriadoc as its title proved: Ordinale de vita Sancti Mereadoci episcopi et confessoris. Wynne had unwittingly discovered a text of great importance to all students of the Cornish language and of late mediaeval drama. Up to this time only five Cornish Mysteries were known and had been printed and translated; these Williams had utilized in the production of his dictionary. He hastened to tell the world of Celtic scholarship of the newly discovered text and published the first thirty-six lines of the play that same year in Archaeologia Cambrensis (1869).

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.