Thomas Gray.

The buried city of Kenfig / by Thomas Gray online

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". IJ.I.l "iH H „n Silures and Romans, and later,
between Cymry and Normans. Bodvoc sighed his
last breath on these hills long, long before this
ancient castle rose in its pride. ^

' Morfa, a moor which the sea overflows.
^ The Sepulchural Stone on the Margam Mountain has this
inscription : —

i ' ■


Just a little east of Kenfig Castle is the Roman
highway through these parts, the Via Julia Maritima.
In the stillness of the night fifteen hundred years ago,
and more, one standing here — before Kenfig was

" Bodvoci hie iacit,
Filius Catotigirni
Pronepus Eternal! Vedomavi."

" Here lies (the body of) Bodvoc, son of Catotigirn, great grand-
son of Eternalis Vedomavus."

I believe Catotigirn to be Catigirn, son of Vortigern. Vortigern
became King of Britain about forty years after the Roman
power ceased in this country, circa a.d. 449. Catigirn fell
in a battle against the Saxons under Hengist and Horsa, his
brother Vortimer being the general. Nennius does not mention
Bodvoc, but I believe he was a son of Catigirn. Westwood says
" coins of gold and silver have been found with the name
Bodvoc upon them ("Ruding's Coinage," British Series, App.
pi. 29). The name Bodvognatus is mentioned by Caesar, " De
Bello Gallico," iii. 23. Pascent, the third son of Vortigern,
reigned after the death of his father in Builth and Guorthegir-
naim, a district of Radnorshire.

Eternalis Vedomavus

Vortigern, King of Britain

Catigirn (2) Vortimer (i) Pascent (3)


Westwood, in his work " Lapidarium Wallias," says the
formula and orthography are debased Roman, so the date of
the stone is probably of the fifth or early part of the sixth

Reference to the Margam and Penrice MSS. is made thus :
T. 289 (Dr. Birch's Catalogue) ; and to the MSS. in Mr. G. T. Clark's
" Cartae et Alia Munimenta de Glamorgan " thus : (C. DCXIII).



thought of — could hear the tramp of the Roman
soldiers of the Second Legion, the troops having
the guardianship of the Western lands, and the rumble
of the wagons conveying the denarii, or tax collected
in the west, to the Imperial treasury at Isca Silurum
or Caerleon. Long since as this was, the road still
recalls, by its name, the Roman occupation — Heol-y-
troedwyr, the road of the foot-soldiers.

As I drove home along the Roman road, there lay
basking in the sun, by the road-side, two modern
"Latins" who little recked their proud ancestors had
passed that way, they with sword, these with hurdy-
gurdy, tax-collectors both.

Such is the site of Kenfig to-day ; silence and deso-
lation reign supreme.

When did this desolation come about? Did it
come quickly, as a thief in the night, or was it a
gradual overwhelming ? We cannot say. Tradition
has it that the besanding was caused by a great storm
in the reign of Elizabeth ; but here tradition is at
fault. I believe the sand-fiend approached its prey
with slow but sure strides, like a line of skirmishers
sent out in front of the main body, and then with
intervals of fierce rushes, always gaining ground,
and retaining it.

We can, to some extent, judge of what took place
from what is recorded as having occurred at Margam,
near by. A few of the Margam Charters mention the
Hermitage of Theodoric^ as a landmark in the
description of the boundaries of the abbey lands.

' "The Hermitage of Theodoric and the Site of Pendar,"
Thomas Gray, Arch. Cambrensis, April, 1903.


See p;i};e 265 for tlcscriplion of SliU-ld.


Set p.ii^c 151.

I'fo /aa- /'„!

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Online LibraryThomas GrayThe buried city of Kenfig / by Thomas Gray → online text (page 1 of 22)