A book marking UWTSD’s bicentenary is launched at St Davids Cathedral during Libraries Week


A special event was held in St Davids Cathedral on 4 October to launch a book marking the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Bicentenary year.

Group photograph at the launch of the Treasures book

The Righ Revd Wyn Evans, Natalie Williams, Alison Harding, Prof John Morgan-Guy, The Ven Randolph Thomas, Ruth Gooding and the Very Revd Dr Sarah Rowland Jones

Treasures: The Special Collections of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David” edited by Professor John Morgan-Guy and published by the University of Wales Press, is a fully illustrated book, containing short essays about a selection from the many thousands of works housed in the Roderic Bowen Library and Archives on the University’s Lampeter campus.  

The University’s bicentenary marks the laying of the foundation stone for St David’s College Lampeter in 1822 by Thomas Burgess, Bishop of Saint David. In welcoming the audience to St Davids Cathedral, the Very Revd Dr Sarah Rowland Jones, Dean of St Davids, spoke of the long association between the Cathedral and the University’s Lampeter campus and, in particular, the connection and partnership between both libraries to promote scholarship.

Professor John Morgan-Guy, paid tribute to those who had contributed to the volume and spoke of the long association between Lampeter and the Cathedral including through Thomas Burgess as well as the first principal of the College, Llewelyn Lewellin, who was also Dean of the St David’s. He said: “I pay tribute to those who have contributed to this book, particularly the authors, many of whom are current or former staff of Lampeter, Ruth Gooding, who curates the special collections, Dr Martin Crampin who designed the book and produced the excellent photographs of the collection as well as the University of Wales Press.

“This is the oldest higher education collegiate institution in Wales, and in its two hundred years of history has been the recipient of many fascinating and rare manuscripts, early printed books, beautifully illustrated volumes, and rare publications from broadsheets to journals. These were largely received through the generous donations of many benefactors, including the institution’s founder Bishop Thomas Burgess of St Davids, with the collection housed today in the Roderic Bowen Library on the Lampeter campus”.

This volume contains a selection of images from the many thousands of works spanning more than seven hundred years between the Thirteenth and Nineteenth centuries, and short essays by scholars whose knowledge and appreciation of the works are unrivalled, revealing the riches of what was once known as ‘the greatest little library in Wales.”

During the launch, Ruth Gooding, Special Collections Librarian of the Roderic Bowen Library and Archives, said: “In creating this book we wanted to ensure it would be beautiful, but also that it would be a book people would read.  We have around 35 000 books in our collections.  We wrote about 40 of these in Treasures, telling human stories about their original authors”.

John Morgan Guy and Ruth Gooding

Among the items described in the volume are three books owned by Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra, which were previously part of the institutional archive at the university’s Swansea campus.

The publication of the book is the culmination of 4 years of work for the team. Executive Head of Library and Learning Resources at UWTSD, Alison Harding, said: “I’m delighted that we are launching this special book during libraries week which are special places where people learn and become a part of a community.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank all members of the team who have contributed to the success of the project.

“In particular, I’d like to note those colleagues who are based within our Special Collections and Archives, without whom this book would not have been possible. Their remarkable commitment and professionalism throughout this project has highlighted the value of their work, and the key role they play in ensuring these collections are both cared for and made accessible to all.

“This has also been our opportunity to showcase the joy and beauty of these collections, and their role in shaping the university, the community it serves and the wider nation.”

Speaking ahead of the launch, Professor Medwin Hughes DL, said: "We are launching this book during this key year of marking the bicentenary of the university's founding. What we have is a tapestry of manuscripts and books that are key to understanding the culture and history of Wales.

It's an opportunity to look back of course but more importantly it's an opportunity to look to the future and ask the question what does Wales need to create new opportunities and partnerships that celebrates and interprets our culture in a modern digital way. That is the challenge, and I am sure that the University of Wales Trinity Saint David will play a role in this too."

Director of the University of Wales Press, Natalie Williams, added: “It is a great honour for University of Wales Press to publish this stunning and unique volume on the riches captured at University of Wales Trinity Saint David library in Lampeter. The detail and visual beauty of so many works reproduced in this book, alongside their fascinating history from areas all across the globe, is truly special. This book has been a truly collaborative effort between colleagues at University of Wales Trinity Saint David and University of Wales Press – particularly special for the Press as the book published in our own Centenary year. I pay tribute to all colleagues who paid such care and attention to this fantastic volume. We are delighted to have worked with such a knowledgeable team to bring this book to fruition.”

During the event a special cake was cut depicting pages from the book to mark the University’s Bicentenary and the Centenary of the University of Wales Press.

Cutting the cake at the launch of the Treasures book