The Life of Meriasek


Until recently, when Beunans Ke came to light, Beunans Meriasek was the only known saint's play in Middle Cornish. St. Meriasek was of Breton origin. The play presents his career, starting with his early education in Brittany and his arrival in Cornwall, recounting the various miracles he performed, then moves on to his return to Brittany, where he became Bishop of Vannes and eventually died a Christian death. Incorporated into the narrative are a number of individual tales, including incidents from the life of St. Sylvester and a miracle brought about by the intervention of the Virgin Mary. Beunans Meriasek is designated Peniarth MS 105B by the National Library of Wales. The Peniarth Manscript collection was established by Robert Vaughan (circa 1592-1667), who acquired many significant Welsh-language manuscripts for his library in Hengwrt, Meirioneth. The manuscript was found in the 1860s by W.W.E. Wynne of Peniarth, Meirionnydd, among items from the Hengwrt library that had been bequeathed to him in 1859 by a descendant of Robert Vaughan. After consulting the Reverend Robert Williams, Rhydycroesau, publisher of the first major Cornish dictionary, Wynne invited the Celtic scholar Whitley Stokes to edit the text, which appeared in 1872.

Last updated: July 3, 2014