Coelbren y Beirdd / The Bardic Alphabet Coelbren y Beirdd

The Bardic Alphabet was invented by Iolo Morganwg, a.k.a. Edward Williams (1747-1826), an antiquarian, poet and collector of medieval Welsh literature, in about 1791. He claimed that it was the alphabet of the old Welsh bards and called it Coelbren y Beirdd.

In 1840 Taliesin ab Iolo, Iolo Morganwg's son, published a book entitled Coelbren y Beirdd and based on his father's writings which included details of the Bardic Alphabet. The alphabet proved popular with poets and druids during the 19th century, but some, such as Edward Davies (1756-1831), questioned it's authenticity. By 1893 few believed that it was genuine, and it was revealed that Morganwg had forged many of his manuscripts.


Notable features

Coelbren y Beirdd / The Bardic Alphabet

Coelbren y Beirdd / The Bardic Alphabet

Download an alphabet chart for Coelbren y Beirdd (Excel)

Sample text

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Welsh in the Coelbren y Beirdd alphabet


Genir pawb yn rhydd ac yn gydradd â'i gilydd mewn urddas a hawliau. Fe'u cynysgaeddir â rheswm a chydwybod, a dylai pawb ymddwyn y naill at y llall mewn ysbryd cymodlon.


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

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Information about Coelbren y Beirdd and Iolo Morganwg

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