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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 January 2008, 16:38 GMT
Tudor 'correspondent' text online
Text from the chronicle (picture: National Library of Wales)
Text from Elis Gruffudd's chronicle
A 16th Century Welsh chronicle charting the history of England and Wales between 1066 and 1552 is now online.

Writer Elis Gruffudd was born in the parish of Llanasa, Flintshire, and served in the English army in France during the time of Henry VIII.

His chronicle is described as "one of the most extensive narrative texts" ever written in the Welsh language.

Its owner, the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, said Gruffudd was "our own foreign correspondent".

Maredudd ap Huw, who is responsible for the national library's 30,000 manuscripts dating from the second century AD to 2004, said the chronicle gave an insight into Tudor and medieval life in England from a Welsh perspective.

Gruffudd joined the English army in about 1510 but later served as a civil servant, advising his master Sir Robert Wingfield, an ambassador in France.

'History and literature'

While accompanying Wingfield, Gruffudd witnessed important events including a meeting between Henry VIII and King Francis I of France in 1520, on what is known as the Field of Cloth of Gold near Calais.

It was designed to improve relations between the two countries.

"We don't have much information about the spoken word or details from Welsh people who lived abroad during that period," said Mr ap Huw.

"Gruffudd was like our foreign correspondent and he provides us with a view of the political situation in Europe at that time and traces history from the time of William the Conqueror.

"It is a unique document and extremely significant. It is a (largely unused) source for scholars and we hope it will be viewed by a wider audience now it has been digitised.

"I'm sure it will provide information for studies in history and literature."

At some point in its history, the chronicle was divided into two parts, both of which are now held in the library.

An earlier section deals with the creation of the world, but that has not been digitised.

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