Academics Secure PS774,000 Grant for Research on Saints; BIG FUNDING BOOST FOR CULTURAL HERITAGE

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Byline: GARETH EVANS gareth.evans@walesonline.co.uk

RESEARCHERS in West Wales have been given a funding boost to shed new light on medieval saints and the nation's cultural heritage.

The University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies (CAWCS) has been awarded PS774,582 over four years, from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The funding will support a four-year project taking place at the centre's base in Aberystwyth, in collaboration with King's College London, the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David and the National Library of Wales.

It will consider medieval Welsh-language literature, some of which has never been edited, devoted to the veneration of saints.

Professor Dafydd Johnston, director of CAWCS, said: "There is fierce competition for Research Council funding and the centre's success in gaining a grant of this magnitude demonstrates its strong international reputation and outstanding track-record in running collaborative research projects." Researchers believe the funding will enable CAWCS to make a "substantial contribution" to the understanding of Wales' cultural heritage, with saints, holy men and women said to have offered believers a direct link between heaven and earth.

However, to date, Welsh sources are at best partially known and while some texts have never been edited, others are available only to Welsh-speakers and many languish in "inaccessible publications".

The Cult of Saints in Wales: Medieval Welsh-Language Sources and their Transmission will raise awareness of the interest and importance of Welsh sources, culminating in an online digital resource for both the general public and for comparative study.

Led by project leader Dr David Parsons, in partnership with Dr Barry Lewis and Dr Jane Cartwright, the digital resource will include a series of online editions, with extensive bilingual notes and full translations into English.

In addition, there will be digital images of many of the medieval manuscripts and separate discussions of the more important codices.

Dr Parsons said: "The work builds on the centre's extensive experience in editing medieval Welsh texts, and recent successful digital editions. …