Almanacs

Detail from the oldest Welsh almanac in the collection: Thomas Jones' Almanac am y flwyddyn 1681.

Annual calendars of information for everyday use: weather predictions, tide tables, planting dates, and astronomical notes.

Almanacs were compilations based on the calendar, containing miscellaneous information such as: astronomical and astrological predictions; medical and agricultural notes; dates of markets and fairs and descriptions of routes between towns; chronologies of historical events; poems and anecdotes; predictions of weather; and all sort of information for practical use.

A broad set of English almanacs (from the 17th century to the very beginning of the 19th century) is held in Cardiff Rare Books collection. The major titles included (not all complete) are:

  • Apollo Anglicanus (1685-1747);
  • Atlas Ouranios, the Coelestial Atlas (1751-1801);
  • British Tellescope (1729-1749);
  • Coelestial Diary (1729-1772);
  • Ephemeris: or, a Diary Astronomical, Astrological, Meteorological (1685-1762);
  • Gentleman’s Diary (1741-1801);
  • Ladies’ Diary (1729-1801);
  • Merlinus Anglicus Junior (1729-1762);
  • Merlinus Liberatus (1729-1801);
  • Olympia Domata (1729-1801);
  • Parker’s Ephemeris (1729-1772);
  • Poor Robin (1685-1801);
  • Remarkable News from the Stars (1729-1772);
  • Speculum Anni (1734-1801);
  • Vox Stellarum (1729-1801).

Most of the items are bound by year. The almanacs section of Salisbury Library also includes a smaller set of English almanacs; holdings include, for instance, Francis Moore’s Vox Stellarum: or, a Loyal Almanack (1793-1845).

A 1529 ‘almanac’ is included in the longer work Magna Carta, dated for that year.

There is elsewhere in the collections a set of astrology almanacs, including British and American titles, dating from the early 1900s to the 1920s. A long run of Whitaker’s Almanack is also held for most of the 20th century.

A few examples of continental almanacs can be found amongst the collection, including a French set of 1791 Almanac Royal, and an edition of facsimile reproductions of thirteen sheet almanacs printed in Umbria (Italy) between 1565 and 1822.

The Salisbury Library contains c. 1,000 Welsh almanacs, published as broadsheets, booklets, or newspaper supplements, and ranging in date from the 17th-20th centuries, (one of the first almanacs in Welsh, Almanac Am y Flwyddyn 1681, published in London by Thomas Jones, is held in the collection).

Also included is a set of broadsheet almanacs published by local publishers or as newspaper supplements from the 18th century to the 20th century. Holdings include a good set of the Royal Almanack, published by various publisher under various names: Chester Royal Almanack (1788-90); Cheshire, Lancashire, and North-Wales Almanack (1791-93); Royal Almanack (1796-1801); Royal Almanack, particularly calculated for Cheshire and North-Wales (1802-03); Cheshire and North Wales Royal Almanack (1804-1829); Evans’s Cheshire and North Wales Royal Almanack (1820; 1830). Among the newspapers supplements are: Almanac ‘Y Cymro’ (1899-1906); Border Counties Advertizer almanac (1899-1903); and Welshman's Almanack (1910-1914).

In the Cardiff Astrological Society collection, an interesting set of astrological almanacs is included among the volumes, including an American set from the Llewellyn College of Astrology, Portland, Oregon; plus The Adept, an almanac from Minnesota. Others from Britain include issues of The Green Book of Prophecies, Alan Leo’s Astrological Manuals, the Astrological Bulletin, Zadkiel’s Almanac, Raphael’s Almanac, and Antares Almanac.

About this collection

Collection type: Print

Dates: 17 century, 18 century, 19 century, Early 20 century

Size: Around 1,000 Welsh almanacs, plus c. 500 English almanacs.

Formats: Books, Newspapers and periodicals

Subjects: History, Society and law

Special Collections and Archives team

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