Cilgerran’s inscribed stone, St Llawddog’s Church
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Cilgerran’s inscribed stone, St Llawddog’s Church

In the spring of 2022 I had the chance of gone to Cilgerran (Pembrokeshire) just to discover the castle closed due to wind damage however the churchyard available. I seized the day to photo among the early inscribed stones of early middle ages south-west Wales in the churchyard of St Lawwdog’s. This post briefly presents the bottom lines and context for this early middle ages stone, the only proof of early middle ages archaeology from the website, making use of the research study of Teacher Nancy Edwards.

There are c. 150 of these monoliths understood from Wales and the Borders. Of these, 64 are from the south-west, of which there are 35 in Pembrokeshire (Edwards 2013: 30).

The Cilgerran stone is among 17 from the south-west, 12 from Pembrokeshire, with both roman and ogam scripts, 26% of the overall (66% have Roman engravings just, 8% have just ogam) recommending lots of were raised to interact to a blended audience acquainted with Latin and Old Irish.

The huge bulk are celebrating father-son (x child of y) relationships exposing the value of patrilineal kinship in mortuary celebration (Edwards 2013: 42).

A lot of are discovered at or near early church websites and their funerary function is specific in those with the ‘here lies’ formula on the Latin text (Edwards 2013:33). Seemingly, burial websites based upon kinship, later on to end up being churches, chapels and abbeys, dotted the landscape in the 5th and sixth centuries. The engravings might have served to promote and legitimise claims to land and authority.

Irish individual names are not restricted to the ogam engravings, however are discovered on stones engraved in Latin in the roman script too (Edwards 2013: 31). Additionally, both Latin and ogam texts seem intros in the fifth century from Gaul and north Africa and Ireland respectively. South-west Wales in the 5th and sixth centuries was plainly well-connected to the Late Antique Christian world along the Atlantic coast as confirmed by a series of other material culture (consisting of imported ceramics) and sundry written sources. Additionally, the patronym Demeti tape-recorded on the St Dogwells 1 stone may mean a tribal association for the area (Edwards 2013: 43). Integrated with using the term Protictoris on the Castell Dwyran 1 stone, a term originated from royal Roman terms, we may be finest concerning the south-west Cymric Demetae ‘people’ as a blended population of Brythonic and Latin speaking Britons and Irish immigrants.

Having stated that, we need to beware in taking the formula and memorial designs as direct and definitive proof of a completely Christianised population nor of the particular spiritual or ethnic associations of those celebrated.

The great resource of Teacher Nancy Edwards (2013: 311-313) offers an in-depth record of the Cilgerran early middle ages inscribed stone (P12) which she dates to the 2nd half of the 2nd century based upon the epigraphy and language on the stone.

Positioned on the south side of the churchyard, the upright stone is 146cm high. Its roman-letter engraving was very first set out by Edward Lhuyd in 1698/99 and it was consequently excavated in 1855 to discover both engravings. Today, the lower half of the monolith is buried so that the roman and ogam engravings are partly obscured. Added are later engravings, most likely of post-medieval date (VD leading left, VU leading right).

The roman engraving remains in Latin and runs in 2 vertical lines downwards:



Edwards equates this as ‘Treneguss child of Macus-Treni, here he lies’.

The ogam engraving diminishes the edge of the exact same face:


Edwards equates this to check out ‘of Trenagus[.] child of Macus-Treni’

So, there is no specific inscribed cross however the inscribed letters in roman and ogam are near-identical and record Latin and Old Irish variations of the exact same common patrilineal formula of ‘X child of Y’. It tapes 2 Old Irish names: Treneguss/Trenagus child of Macus-Treni.

To this official description of the stone, I would even more keep in mind how the 19th-century tombs are organized and a series of pieces lead from the north-south course east of the church to enable access to the monolith. There is likewise a little indication pointing the method for visitors (see my TikTok video listed below).

Lastly, I can not however discover the striking orange and white lichens which are occupying this c. 1500-year-old inscribed pillar, setting it apart in text, type, materiality and colouration from the surrounding 19th-century memorial followers.

Here are my TikToks:

Edwards, N. 2013. A Corpus of Early Middle Ages Inscribed Stones and Stone Sculpture in Wales. Volume II. South-West Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.

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