ELIS GRUFFUDD OF GRONANT-TUDOR CHRONICLER EXTRAORDINARY* PRYS MORGAN, D.PHIL. One day, in the year 1662, in a house in Olde Havon Street, Calais, sheltering below the high walls separating the town from the harbour, an old man sat writing. He wrote in none of the languages current in Calais or its surrounding Pale—English, French, Flemish-but in Welsh. He was writing the preface and the valedictory note to his magnum opus, a history of the world nearly two thousand five hundred pages long. At the end of his preface he wrote This I caused to write down that the matter be not forgotten in Llanasa And at the last page of his history, or Cronicl', he wrote "Well mayest thou come from the hands of Elis Gruffudd, soldier of Calais, to Thomas ap Thomas ap Shion ap Gruffudd Fychan at Pantyllongdy in Gwespyr within the parish of Llanasa in Flintshire within Tegeingl Who was this Elis Gruffudd, what were his connexions with Flintshire, how did he come to be in Calais, and how did he come to write his immense Cronicl ? Gwenogvryn Evans drew attention to the' Cronicl over seventy years ago, and various scholars have quoted from Elis Gruffudd's works since then. Professor Thomas Jones, ten years ago, made a survey of his work, and the only justification for this article is that some new information upon the soldier of Calais has come to light since he wrote. Small extracts of the Cronicl have appeared in journals in Wales and elsewhere, but not till 1969 did a complete edition appear of one of Elis Gruffudd's texts, and even then, only of a short and rather minor medical translation of his.4 His sheer prolixity is his enemy. Furthermore, the manuscript literature of the sixteenth century has naturally been neglected by Welsh scholars who have been more deeply concerned to print editions of medieval manuscripts. Elis's friend and neighbour, Richard Turpyn, wrote a short chronicle at Calais, in the English language. To compare it with Elis's work is like comparing a threepenny bit with a five-pound note, and yet Turpyn's little Chronicle had been in print since 1846. Elis is in truth little known, and yet he is the source for some of the best-known stories in Wales. *This paper was given before the Flintshire Historical Society at Prestatyn on 8 January, 1972. i should like to take this opportunity to acknowledge my debt to the late Professor Thomas Jones of Aberystwyth for his help on so many occasions with the writings of Elis Gruffudd. 1J. Gwenogvryn Evans, Report on Manuscripts in the Welsh Language (H.M.C. 1898) Vol. I, pp. i- xii,214-221. 2T. Jones A Welsh chronicler in Tudor England Welsh History Review, Vol. I, pp. 1-18, also D.W.B. s.n. Elis Gruffudd'. 3P. Morgan, 'Un ohroniquer gsJlois a Calais 1, Revue du Nord, Vol. XLVH (185), pp. 196-202; P. Morgan, 'Elis Gruffudd yng N Bulketin Board of Celtic Studies (henceforward B.B.CM.), VoL XXI (11) pp. 214-8; P. Morgan, 'The Welsh at Calais', Welsh History Review (henceforward W.B.B.), Vol. II, pp. 181-5. 48 M. Tibbott (ed.), Elis Gruffydd, Castell yr Iechyd (1969). IJ. G. Nichols (ed.), The Chronicle of Calais (Camden Society 1846).