Page:Welsh Medieval Law.djvu/430

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texts, S and Z, that his legend is found in bloom.[1] In these he is specially chosen with the laymen in order to guard against their doing anything in opposition to the law of the Church or that of the Emperor, for in both of these he is a doctor.[2] He is also described as archdeacon of Llandaff, and made to accompany Howel to Rome. Certain lines are quoted as having been written by him in testimony of this event. The many inaccuracies and inconsistencies however contained in this account tend to show that it is based on the fancies of a time which knew little or nothing more of him than we do to-day. Even the preface to the earliest text extant of the Book of Blegywryd, when compared with that of the early Latin Peniarth MS. 28, is seen to be by no means free from suspicion of random theorizing.

bonheddig, literally, one having a pedigree. In the early Latin texts it is represented by nobilis. The population of old Wales was broadly divided into two classes, being a division based on lineage. Those who were held to possess lineage were the bonheddigs or boneddigion, i.e. gentlemen. The term, however, was naturally more applied to the generality of this class, the more noble having special names bestowed on them, such as gwyrda (Latin optimates), &c. The ordinary bonheddig, called bonheddig canhwynol or innate bonheddig, is defined as being a Cymro on both sides and quite free from the blood of a bondman or a stranger (alltud). The genuine Cymry therefore seem to have been a kind of national aristocracy, who in course of time imposed their name on the country and people of Wales, known previously in the Latinity of the ' Dark Age ' by the names Britannia and Brittones respectively.

bragod, a liquor, said to be made of the wort of ale and mead fermented together ; in English, bragget.

breyr, a noble, representing a higher grade of the bonheddig or gentle class. According to Aneurin Owen's Index, this word is never used in the North Welsh books, where its equivalent uchelwr (lit. a high man) is the term employed. In the early Latin texts it is represented by optimas as bonheddig is by nobilis. See gwrda.

briduw, a solemn asservation, apparently over the altar, in which God is taken as witness. The term seems to be simply bri Duw, dignity of God.

  1. S = Brit. Mus. Addl. MS. 22,356, of the late fifteenth century. Z = Peniarth MS. 259B, of the first half of the sixteenth century.
  2. MS. E, however, a faithful copy of A, the earliest MS. extant of the laws in Welsh, quotes a specific case where the law of Howel is contrary to that of the Church. Anc. Laws I. 178.