Over the centuries the ballad has played an important and influential role in Welsh social and cultural life. Broadside ballad production was in its heyday in Wales in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Although not usually poetry of the highest order, this popular verse is an invaluable field of study for anyone interested in the language, literature, history, religion and music of modern Wales. These poems are also an indispensable source for the study of the daily life and world-view of the common people of Wales in the modern period.
Digitised ballads from Cardiff University can be accessed via DigitalSearch, as well as audio recordings of ballads sung by the well-known folk-singer, Dafydd Idris Edwards. Around 4,000 ballads can be viewed at Welsh Ballads Online.
Articles by Prof. E. Wyn James of the School of Welsh, Cardiff University, discussing various aspects of the ballad in Wales, together with related areas in the field of Welsh folk-song. A number of the articles are based on papers delivered at conferences. Such details, together with details of the original published version, are noted at the beginning of each article. Prof. E. Wyn James owns the copyright of those items which are included on this website under his name. He has asserted his right, in accordance with Sections 77 and 79 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, to be identified as the author of those items.
- Welsh ballads and American slavery (2007)
- Painting the world green: Dafydd Iwan and the Welsh protest ballad (2005)
- An 'English' lady among the Welsh folk: Ruth Herbert Lewis and the Welsh Folk-Song Society (2004)
- Caethwasanaeth a'r beirdd, 1790-1840 (2003)
- Ballad implosions and Welsh folk stanzas (2001)
- Golwg ar rai o gerddi a baledi Cymraeg Troed-y-rhiw (2001)
- 'Watching the white wheat' and 'That hole below the nose': English ballads of a late-nineteenth-century Welsh jobbing printer (2000)
- Zulus and stone breakers: A case study in Glamorgan ballad-sheet printing (1999)
- The Lame Chick and the North Star: Some ethnic rivalries in sport as reflected in mid-nineteenth-century Welsh broadsides (1998)
- Baledi er clod i'r 'Cyw cloff o Fryncethin' (1992)
- Rhai Methodistiaid a'r Anterliwt: John Hughes, Pontrobert, Twm o'r Nant ac Ann Griffiths (1986)
Bibliographies and useful links
Welsh Ballads Bibliography
A bibliography of publications in English and Welsh relating to Welsh ballads (under construction).
Maldwyn: Index to Welsh Poetry in Manuscript
The Maldwyn database is an index to Welsh poetry found in manuscript sources and dated before 1830. Among the search options available are first line, last line, poet, metre, type and subject. The database includes details of many manuscript ballads, and of manuscript versions of poems printed on broadsides. The search interface is only available through the medium of Welsh.
Early English Books Online (EEBO)
An electronic library of over 125,000 publications, including some ballads, from the period 1473-1700. It is possible to search by keyword. Despite its title, it contains a number of Welsh-language publications.
Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO)
AVAILABLE ONLY TO REGISTERED SUBSCRIBERS
An electronic library of over 150,000 publications, including ballads, printed between 1701 and 1800. It is possible to search the texts for individual words. The aim is to include every significant text printed in the United Kingdom, including those in languages other than English. It also includes thousands of works from the Americas.
Historical Corpus of the Welsh Language 1500-1850
A searchable electronic collection of Welsh texts from the period 1500-1850, created by the Department of Linguistics at the University of Cambridge. Among the texts are a number of 'anterliwtiau' (folk plays which contain songs in ballad metres) and some free-metre poetry, including a group of ballads by Huw Jones, Llangwm and Ellis Roberts (‘Elis y Cowper’).
- American Folklife Center
- Blackletter Ballads
- Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads (Oxford University)
- California State University, Fresno: Folklore
- Deutsches Volksliedarchiv (DVA)
- Early Child Ballads
- English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS)
- Folklore Society
- Folk Music of England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and America (Contemplator)
- International Ballad Commission (KfV)
- J. H. Davies, A Bibliography of Welsh Ballads Printed in the Eighteenth Century (1908-11)
- National Library of Wales
- James Madison Carpenter Collection Online Catalogue
- John Ashton, Modern Street Ballads (1888)
- John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera, Bodleian Library
- Max Hunter Folk Song Collection
- Memory of the Netherlands
- MUNFLA (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
- Newsplan Cymru
- North East Folklore Archive (Aberdeenshire)
- Oxford Book of Ballads (1910)
- Pan-Hispanic Ballad Project
- People's Collection Wales
- Project Gutenberg (Welsh Texts)
- RISM Music Manuscripts Database
- Robin Hood Project (University of Rochester)
- Scottish Chapbook Project (University of South Carolina)
- Sixteenth Century Ballads
- Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
- St Fagans National History Museum (collections)
- Traditional Ballad Index
- Tŷ Cerdd: Music Centre Wales
- University of Glasgow: Broadsides
- University of Glasgow: Murray Collection
- Welsh Ballad Collection, University of Wales, Lampeter
- Welsh Biography Online (WBO)
- Welsh Music Research Group, Bangor University