Text: Surexit Memorandum

The Lichfield Gospels (aka the Book of Chad) is a manuscript dated to the eighth century which is stylistically similar to other insular manuscripts for its illuminations and script. Although it is not clear where the manuscript was created, its marginalia contains some of the earliest surviving writing in Welsh. Two of these marginalia are our earliest surviving evidence for the existence of some form of Brythonic law, long before Hywel Dda. Scholars are not agreed on the date of the compositions of these notes: dates between the 6th and 9th centuries have been proposed.

The following text was adapted by Michael Newton from Evans, The Text of the Book, xlii-xlvii, with improvements from Jenkins and Owen, “Lichfield Gospels” and Davies, “Charter-writing and its uses,” 103-4, 111.

§ 2. Tudfwlch, the son of Llywyd and son-in-law of Tudri, initiated a claim over the land of Telych, which was in the possession of Elgu, the son of Gelli, and the people of Idwared: he pressed his case for for a long time. Eventually they dispossessed the son-in-law of Tudri of his right. The nobles said to one another “Let us make peace.” Elgu then gave a horse, three cows, and three newly-calved cows, on the condition that there be no hostility between them from this reconciliation on until Judgment Day. Tudfwlch and his kindred will never again need another written deed.

Witnessed by [spiritual authorities] Teilo, Gwryn, Cinhilinn, the Holy Spirit, and all of Teilo’s monastic family; witnessed by laymen Nefyn son of Aeddan, Sywno son of Iago, Berthut, and Cyndda. Whoever observes [this agreement] will be blessed, whoever breaks it will be cursed.

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