Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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GRYFFYTH , JASPER (d. 1614 ), cleric, warden of Ruthin hospital, chaplain to archbishop Bancroft, collector of manuscripts .

The details of his early life and educational career are not known. He appears to have been a native of Guilsfield, Mont. ; he had property there, and he left money to the poor of that parish to be distributed by his brother, Robert . He was a man of learning and he used to write his name in Hebrew characters in his manuscripts. He came under the patronage of Gabriel Goodman (q.v.) , dean of Westminster , founder of Christ's hospital , Ruthin , and he held a number of ecclesiastical preferments , some of them, at least, by the dean 's favour. He was rector of Longstone, Mon. , from 1595 to 1601 , and of the first part of Llansannan from 1605 to 1614 , warden of Ruthin hospital from 1599 to 1606 , and vicar of Hinckley, Leics. , from 1600 until he d. in 1614 . His will was drawn up 18, and proved 28 May , and he was buried in the chancel of Hinckley parish church , 25 May . He names his wife, Mary , his son Bartholomew , and his daughters Elizabeth , Marye , and Anne , with a suggestion that the children were minors. His wife was a daughter of John Roberts of Park , Llanfrothen . In a letter to Sir Robert Cotton , 1613 , Jasper Gryffyth lists forty Latin manuscripts in his possession, and other fragments in Latin and Welsh ( B.M. MS. Cotton, Jul. C., iii ). Some of the most important Welsh manuscripts passed through his hands, e.g. ‘ The Black Book of Carmarthen ,’ ‘ The White Book of Rhydderch ,’ Pen. MSS. 44 and 53 , the ‘ Dingestow Brut ’ ( N.L.W. MS. 5266 ), the ‘ Life of Gruffudd ap Cynan ’ ( Pen. MS. 17 ), and two manuscripts of the Laws of Howel ( Harleian 4353 and Cotton Cleopatra B.V. ). He wrote Llanst. MS. 120 and parts of Pen. MS. 316 and B.M. Cotton, Vespasian A, vi.


  • The National Library of Wales Journal , i, 168-70, and the sources there cited;
  • NLW MSS 1626-7.


Evan David Jones, F.S.A., (1903-87), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959