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image for Exhibition item typeCentennial Exhibition of Mostyn Manuscripts at National Library of Wales

  • Visit Wales VAQAS
  • Green Dragon Environmental Scheme
  • Self-assessed Accessibility Information

Exhibition, Fri 6 Jul - Sat 8 Dec 2018, free entry

Silver harp

Silver harp


The Centennial Exhibition of Mostyn Manuscripts can be seen at the national library until December 8. It contains manuscripts, early books and a selection of landscape paintings by Moses Griffith, a Flintshire-based artist, the bicentenary of whose death falls in 2019.

Loaned items from Mostyn Hall are of historic significance, such as the original commission of 1567, granted under the authority of Queen Elizabeth I, instructing William Mostyn to organise an eisteddfod at Caerwys, and the silver harp - the earliest surviving eisteddfod award.

The heads of the Mostyn family were commissioned in 1523 and 1567 to arrange two important eisteddfodau, which were held at Caerwys in Flintshire. Ostensibly a contest between poets and musicians, the real reason for the gatherings was to differentiate between genuine bards and entertainers on the one hand and vagabonds and wandering beggars on the other. Maintenance of law and order was at the forefront of such cultural planning.

Bardic legislature, the so-called ‘Statute of Gruffudd ap Cynan’, which regulated the conduct of these gatherings, stated that the best harper of the festival was to be awarded a silver ornament in the form of a harp, which was likely to have been placed upon his instrument.

In 1523, it was Rhisiart ap Hywel of Mostyn who had the honour ‘to give the badge of the silver harp to the best harper of North Wales, as by privilege of his ancestors’. In 1567, it was his grandson, William Mostyn, who ‘had the gift and bestowing of the silver harp’.

The silver harp was thereafter kept at Mostyn Hall and is now being loaned to the national library by the present Lord Mostyn. This is the earliest surviving Welsh eisteddfodic trophy and is the earliest relic that can be associated with any eisteddfod.

The harp forms part of a multi-faceted exhibition celebrating the centenary of the national library’s acquisition of the first part of its collection of manuscripts from Mostyn Hall.

Among other treasures shown are:
• The Chronicle of Elis Gruffudd, ‘soldier of Calais’, which has recently been awarded UNESCO status as one of the UK’s most significant cultural treasures;
• an extraordinary medical handbook created around 1488 by poet Gutun Owain at the Cistercian abbey of Valle Crucis, near Llangollen;
• a collection of poems by Tomos Prys of Plas Iolyn, a former privateer who died in 1634. He is traditionally regarded as one of the first to smoke tobacco in public in the city of London.

Baby changing facilitiesCoach parties acceptedCredit cards accepted (no fee)Disabled toiletsEducation/study areaFacilities for groupsFacilities for educational visitsFrench signs/guidesGerman signs/guidesGift shopOn-site cateringOn-site light refreshmentsPostboxPublic toiletsRegional Tourist Board MemberTelephone (public)Wheelchairs availableAccepts groupsFacilities for conferencingFacilities for corporate hospitality

The 03 Bus service runs every 30 mins during term time and every hour non-term time starting at the town's bus station and travelling up Penglais Hill to the Library. Car parking charges redeemable at the Library shop and in the Pendinas Restaurant.

Event details

Dates Times
Fri 6 Jul - Sat 8 Dec 2018


Free entry


Rhiw Penglais,
SY23 3BU



Plan route to National Library of Wales using Google mapsPlan route using Google maps

Map reference: SN 594816  Lat: 52.41427 Long: -4.06866

Situated on Penglais Hill (A487). Free parking evening and weekends.

Aberystwyth train station is located 1 mile away with local transport linking the train station and campus as well as longer distances.

Parking Information:
Cars / Motorcycles £1 up to 4 Hrs / £2 over 4 Hrs
Vehicles towing trailer /caravan £2.50 up to 4 Hrs / £5 over 4 Hrs
Bus & Mini Bus Free please pre-book via 01970 632484
Disabled Badge Holders exempt
Tickets can be refunded against one purchase in Library's Cafe or Shop
Free Parking on Saturdays

Parking: with charge

Accessible by Public Transport: 1 mile from Aberystwyth station


  • Baby changing facilitiesBaby changing facilities
  • Coach parties acceptedCoach parties accepted
  • Credit cards accepted (no fee)Credit cards accepted (no fee)
  • Disabled toiletsDisabled toilets
  • Education/study areaEducation/study area
  • Facilities for groupsFacilities for groups
  • Facilities for educational visitsFacilities for educational visits
  • French signs/guidesFrench signs/guides
  • German signs/guidesGerman signs/guides
  • Gift shopGift shop
  • On-site cateringOn-site catering
  • On-site light refreshmentsOn-site light refreshments
  • PostboxPostbox
  • Public toiletsPublic toilets
  • Regional Tourist Board MemberRegional Tourist Board Member
  • Telephone (public)Telephone (public)
  • Wheelchairs availableWheelchairs available
  • Accepts groupsAccepts groups
  • Facilities for conferencingFacilities for conferencing
  • Facilities for corporate hospitalityFacilities for corporate hospitality

The 03 Bus service runs every 30 mins during term time and every hour non-term time starting at the town's bus station and travelling up Penglais Hill to the Library. Car parking charges redeemable at the Library shop and in the Pendinas Restaurant.

Self-Assessed Accessibility Details


  • YesDesignated parking for guests with disabilities
    • YesWithin 50 metres approx. of entrance
  • Surface of the car park and pathway leading to entrance is
    • YesSolid ie tarmac / concrete etc
  • Route from the parking area to the entrance:
    • YesHas a ramp
    • YesHas steps and no ramp

Public Areas

  • Level access (no steps/thresholds) or access by ramp or lift to:
    • YesEntrance to reception
    • YesPublic toilet
  • YesGood contrast between the floor and wall
  • YesClear surfaces such as glass doors have contrast markings
  • YesBaby changing facilities


  • YesSteps to the main entrance
    • YesHandrail by steps
  • YesRamp to entrance
    • YesHandrail by ramp


  • YesLevel access (no steps/thresholds) or access by ramp or lift
  • YesGood contrast between the floor and walls
  • Meals for guests with special dietary requirements can be provided:
    • YesGluten free (coeliac)
    • YesVegetarian