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GWERIN FFRISTIAL A THAWLBWRDD1 By FRANK LEWIS, M.A., D.Phil. "AN ant," declared Francis Bacon, "is a wise creature for itself, but it is a shrewd thing in an orchard or a garden." A nice illustration of this truth is afforded by the antiquarian industry of the Hon. Daines Barrington. As an eminent lawyer with an interest in research, he won considerable repute in England, but it can only be deemed unfortunate that he also transferred his attention to the field of Welsh history. Admittedly, he assisted Ieuan Fardd to publish Some Specimens of the Poetry of the Ancient Welsh Bards, and expressed the wish to meet Lewis Morris,2 but his contact with Welsh scholars did not, it would appear, prove extremely fruitful. Some years later he commented as follows upon the first scientific history of chess :3 "Hyde moreover states that chess was much played at both in Wales and Ireland, and that in the latter, estates had depended upon the event of a game. I must own, however, that I have some doubts with regard to these facts, as neither of these countries were scarcely civilised until the latter end of the reign of Henry the Eighth. As for Wales, I doubt much whether they have a term for the game in their own language, which probably is true likewise in regard to the Irish."4 Other scholars, less prone to hasty judgment, found ample proof of Hyde's statement., but it is fair to state that the subject of board-games has proved unattractive to Celtic researchers. To quote once more, this time from the chess-historian, Willard Fiske "As to the Celtic lands there seems great reason to believe that tables, in at least one of its forms, was a familiar diversion at a very early period. The old Irish and Welsh literary monuments 1 It gives me very great pleasure to record my sincere thanks for the generous and kindly help which I have received from many scholars over various problems. Above all, my gratitude is due to Mr. H. J. R. Murray, M.A., the most learned authority on the subject of board-games, and to Professor T. H. Parry-Williams, M.A., D.Litt. In addition, the elucidation of points of difficulty was made possible by the expert knowledge of Dr. Idris Bell, C.B., F.B.A., Dr. Robin Flower, F.B.A., Professor C. J. Fordyce, M.A., Mr. Evan D. Jones, %.A., and tft. Mr. Kenneth Craig, M.A. 2 W. J. Hughes, Wales and the Welsh in English Literature (Wrexham, 1924), pp. 161-3. 3 Thomas Hyde, Mandragorias, seu historia Shahiludii (Oxford, 1694). 4 Daines Barrington, "Disquisition upon the Game of Chess," reprinted in The Chess Player's Chronicle, I (London, 1841), pp. 90-5, 105-11, 121-3.