George Owen of Henllys’s Taylors Cussion

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


George Owen (c1552-1613), Lord of Cemais, undoubtedly was one of the most interesting characters of Elizabethan Pembrokeshire. As well as being a local squire, Owen spent a great deal of his time and efforts gathering and recording diverse information about his locality and further afield. According to his biographer, Dr Bertie Charles, Owen “had his books and a zest for delving in them. His reading, though perhaps not remarkable even by the standards of his times, ranged widely…”[1] He corresponded with others, swapping books and sharing information of mutual interest. The fruits of his labours led to widespread recognition as an antiquarian, cartographer, genealogist and topographer; Owen has even been hailed as the father of English geologists!

The purpose of the proposed paper for the Welsh Manuscripts 800-1800 conference is to focus on the handwriting used in George Owen’s commonplace book: The Taylors Cussion, which was reproduced in facsimile from the original manuscript and issued in 1906 by Emily Pritchard. This is a fascinating book, full of copies of diverse documents in three languages (English, Latin and Welsh). Topics include Rules for receivers and auditors, Englynion Brenhinoedd ag amseroedd eraill, Merioneth discriptio et extent, Certaine notes of the moones and The number of people, housholders, plows, dayryes and cariadges in everye parishe in Pembrokeshire by the muster books Anno 1599. As well as containing information of interest to many, the Taylors Cussion provides an excellent opportunity for people to practice and perfect their skills reading late C16th Secretary Hand of varying quality.

[1]Charles, B.G. George Owen of Henllys: a Welsh Elizabethan. Aberystwyth: National Library of Wales Press, 1973, p. 173.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2022
EventWelsh Manuscripts 800–1800 - National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Duration: 20 Jun 202222 Jun 2022


ConferenceWelsh Manuscripts 800–1800
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Period20 Jun 202222 Jun 2022


  • early modern Wales
  • palaeography
  • secretary hand
  • commonplace book
  • genealogy
  • antiquarianism


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