Inventor of Britain: A Symposium on the Life and Legacies of Humphrey Llwyd

Event Date: 
29 Oct 2018

The British Library

Sponsored by the AHRC ‘Inventor of Britain’ Project and The British Library



Call for Papers

This year marks the 450th anniversary of the death of Humphrey Llwyd. A leading figure of the Welsh Renaissance, Llwyd’s influential maps and treatises helped shape contemporary perceptions of British and Welsh history and geography. Llwyd’s work lies near the heart of the early modern vision of ‘Britain’, and features the first recorded use of the fateful phrase ‘British Empire’. The Cronica Walliae, which Llwyd compiled in 1559, is also the earliest known source for the story of Prince Madoc, whose legendary twelfth-century voyage to America framed British fantasies of the New World from the reign of Elizabeth down to the nineteenth century. As an MP, Llwyd played a key role in the passage of the 1563 Act authorising the translation into Welsh of the Bible and Book of Common Prayer: an event of fundamental significance for the development of the Welsh language. His important book collection became, through the Arundel-Lumley bequest, a cornerstone of the British Library.  


The one-day symposium at the British Library will explore all aspects of Llwyd’s life and legacy. Papers for the symposium may focus specifically on Llwyd, or more broadly on the themes central to his work. Topics may include:


  • Britain and ‘British Empire’ in the early modern period
  • Welsh and British cartography and chorography
  • Debates over British antiquity
  • The historiography of medieval Wales
  • Welsh-English translation in the sixteenth century
  • Scholarly and patronage networks in and beyond Wales
  • Llwyd’s book collection and its role in the origins of the British Library


Proposals for 20-minute papers should be submitted to Philip Schwyzer ( before 15 July.

Submission date for papers: 
15 Jul 2018