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standeth a Tower called Mount Batten, with
a Mill, and to the Westward of Drake's
Island, standeth a House called Mount
Edgcomb ; when the Turret thereof cometh
over the Point to the Westward of the Island,
and Mount Batten and the Mill come one in
the other, then you are upon the innermost
sunken Rock, which hath on it four Fathom at
low Water. But when the Point of Hamouse
cometh without the Point to the Westward
of the Island, and the foresaid Tower and
Mill one in the other, then are you upon the
outermost Rock ; on which there is at Low
Water and Spring Tides three fathom and a

East and West Loo, lie three or four Leagues
to the Westward of Ramhead, it is a small
Bar Harbour fit only for small Vessels and
fishing Boats; having but ten foot Water upon
the Bar at high Water, and it is but a wild


; 49

Road to Anchor in before the Town. You
may know the Place by a high Island, that
lieth a little to the Westward of the Harbours
Mouth, called Loo Island.

a^ona, anglesea.

By THE late Mr. H. H. Lines.
{Continued from p. 89.)

QUESTION now suggests itself as
to the probable period when this
carnedd was desecrated. There
is no appearance of a recent dis-
turbance. The old Celtic tribes, either of
the Cymric or Gwyddelian families, were
not tomb desecrators ; but the Danes, or
Black Pagans, as the Welsh chronicles call
them, are well known as robbers of tombs.
Two of their earliest invasions of Anglesea
occurred at the end of the ninth century,
and there were five invasions in the tenth
century. These were all of them piratical
plundering inroads, and we may suppose
this carnedd to have been rifled on one of
these occasions of the arms and other
valuables which it was then customary to
deposit with the dead. I have a strong
impression, from the conformation of the
adytum in this group, that burnt offerings,
and not libations only, were offered to the
spirit of the entombed. The form of the
adytum, backed up by a wall of rock about
four or five feet high on the west, is an
arrangement suggestive of an excellent
device for sustaining a fire. Again, the row
of stones, level now with the turf, which
mark off the upper half of the adytum,
would prevent the scattering of the fire or the
victim. The space so marked off is 10 feet
by 12 feet quite large enough for a holo-
caust, and possibly we may not be far wide
of the mark by supposing that on rare
occasions a human being may have been
the propitiatory sacrifice on this unholy

Two miles west of Bodafon is another
large group of remains, covering many acres
in extent, in the area of which are farm-build-


ings and houses, also a broad public road
running through the midst. This group is
situated in the parish of Llandyfrydog, and
its name is marked in the Ordnance Map
with old English text as Maen Chwyt. The
first thing which attracts attention on the
surrounding lands are the numerous remains
of large blocks of stone, vestiges of stone
rings, more or less destroyed to supply
material for field walls, houses, cottages, and
farm-buildings. The place has been resorted
to as a quarry for building materials, and
probably the entire village of Llandyfrydog
consists of the stones carried from Maen
Chwyt. Many, however, are too bulky to be
easily carried away, and these remain in their
original places, grouped with masses of rock
in situ, which masses formed part of the
original design. In consequence of these
portions of the arrangements being left un-
disturbed, it occasionally is not difficult to
decide in what manner the missing links
were disposed. The principal feature of the
group is a bare outcrop of rock from 1 1 feet
to 12 feet high, surrounded in various
directions by excavations, other rocks in situ,
and the remains of stone rings. The public
road cuts off this portion from others, which
I observed were incorporated into a sort of
terrace garden, and possessing features of
great interest. I very much regret my time
being too limited to allow me to make plans,
or even to form an accurate idea of the
various parts, as I gave the whole of my
available time while at this place to one
structure, the central portion of which
happened to remain nearly complete. It is
apparently a carnedd with its north-west
front buttressed up by seven or eight long
stones of 10 feet standing upright, and
partially clothed with ivy. Access to a
terrace 10 feet broad, level with the tops of
these long stones, appears to have been
carried up a steep incline between the
central uprights ; probably a flight of steps
originally existed here. The back of the
terrace consists of eight stones, forming the
base of a carnedd, 25 feet by 18 feet; the
other sides also retaining the stones which
formed the entire base, twenty-two in all.
The small stones and earth of the carnedd,
excepting a small portion, have been removed.
Adjoining this on its south side are two small

2 K



stone rings entire ; beyond are vestiges of
others, also a stone 3 feet 6 inches high, ap-
parently one half of a circular pedestal. For
the age of this monument we must go back
to those times when it was customary to
celebrate ceremonial rites of some kind
before a tomb. In the present case those
rites would probably be enacted on the
terrace on its western front. On referring
to Giraldus Cambrensis, I find he mentions
Llandyfrydog under the name of St. Tefre-
dancus (St. Tyvrydog was one of the sons
of Arwystyl Glof in the latter part of the
sixth century). Probably the church and
present village were built from the remains
of some place which had been in existence
many years previously. Is the name Maen
Chwyt derived from Chwybleian (guardians
of mysteries), the same as Obwen or
Llwy ?

At a distance of six miles west of the
above group is another of these weird-looking
structures, a combination of the rock in situ
with stone rings and isolated stones, showing
a considerable amount of human labour on
the surfaces. It is situated on the edge of a
rushy marsh, and named in the Ordnance
Map Caer Gwrie. It retains all its original
features, which are of a character well worth
investigating, and appear to have been left

The question is sometimes asked, with a
conviction of its being unanswerable, " What
do we know as to the religious observances
of the old Celtic tribes ? Where do we find
their altars, their idols, or their temples ?"
Some of these certainly are to be found at
Caer Gwrie. Archaeologists of the old school
made grievous mistakes on this subject when
they imagined the cromlechs to be the altars
of the Druids. This absurdity threw their
followers off the scent, and tended to fix
itself upon the investigators of Celtic remains
generally, but, like many other popular errors,
having had its day, will be swept away by
unprejudiced investigation. The remains of
Caer Gwrie consists of one of the enormous
outcrops of native rock, which characterize
every part of Anglesea, rising up in the
middle of cultivated lands, and on the
borders of bogs, generally from 20 to 30 feet
high. The top of Caer Gwrie is about 8 or
10 feet high in its highest part, from which it

declines at a slight angle towards the north,
where it sinks beneath the marsh. On the
south it has a vertical scarp, the surfaces of
which have been wholly subjected to manipu-
lation to render them smooth. The natural
angles of the rock have been taken advantage
of, and in some instances altered to obtain
the required form, resulting in a series of
steps, platforms, and seats. There are three
stones placed on the latter for the different
purposes of initiation, lustration, and worship.
These three stones have been laboriously
wrought into the required shapes. The
western stone is a slab 10 feet in length by
4 feet 1 1 inches in width, and including the
platform on which it stands is 5 feet high.
It is a lustration stone with three cavities of
a circular shape placed in a triangle. Four-
teen feet distant is another of the three
stones, a four-sided cone, with a step at one
angle, standing upon a symmetrical angle,
backed by a ridge which forms a screen,
enclosing that part of the platform on which
stand the three stones. The third stone
stands on a straight line south-east and
north-west equidistant from each other. The
four-sided cone is the central object around
which are clustered all the other arrange-
ments, and doubtless was a stone of adora-
tion, representing some one of the attributes
or energies of nature. The character of the
observances practised here may be more
readily surmised than proved, but lustration
in some special form was obviously a pre-
liminary act. In front of the adoration-
stone, and placed somewhat lower, is an
oval ring of eight stones, each standing
4 feet high. The diameter of the oval is
8 feet by 5 feet, with an entrance 2 feet wide.
It forms an enclosed cell, and has all the
aspect of being part of the original plan, and
is so considered by the owners of the land.
Upon these eight stones another series has
been added in later times in order to convert
the oval cell into a pen for the purpose of
milking sheep. I cannot think this cell was
ever intended for a carnedd, but rather that
it was connected with some superstitious
pagan rites and ceremonies. These, what-
ever they were, appear to have been concen
trated around the cell and the four-sided
cone, and I think it probable that originally
there was an outer ring of stones from 25 to



30 feet diameter surrounding the whole. A
few stones which may have helped to form
this enclosure are remaining, also a portion
of another small oval ring, of which one of
the stones stands 5 feet high, another is a
four-sided cone with a flat top. Upon the
rock behind these are mounds, about a
dozen boundary - stones, and outstanding
portions of the rock in situ, all partially en-
closing five or six slight depressions of 8 or
10 feet across. Whether these are the
foundations of dwellings or of carneddau is
a question, but the probability is that they
represent the residences of the priests who
had charge of, and officiated on, the rock.
At a distance of 60 feet west is a large well,
excavated in the rock, 7 feet across, with a
ledge or step for the purpose of reaching the
water. This well is within the enclosure of
the caer, and has been considerably enlarged
by quarrying close up to it. Thus far we
find a group, every portion of which may be
identified as corresponding to the require-
ments of a superstition which is described in
the writings attributed to the Bards, with the
exception that I failed to detect any stone
which bore the character of a sacrificial-
stone. I may have overlooked such a stone,
or it may have been carried away, or it may
have been a triangular wedge-shaped stone I
found lying on the platform. The whole of
these stones, as I have before observed,
appear to have been worked into shape with
flat smooth surfaces, but no tool-marks are
visible at least, I did not observe any. The
means employed must have been rubbing
with blocks of quartz.

The eastern division of this outcrop of
rock presents features entirely diverse from
those we have just examined, and apparently
having no connection with them except that
of proximity. The western division, though
presenting evidences of superstitious observ-
ances of an ideal character offered to repre-
sentative stones of geometric figure, fails to
show us any stone of the nature of an idol
representing a living creature ; there is no
such stone in the group. The eastern
division was, I believe, a subsequent innova-
tion upon a system which was of a more
intellectual and purer character, if wo may
apply these terms to our old British paganism.
Its great central feature is a block of the

native rock, standing 5 feet high, and bear-
ing the general shape of a huge head, as
though blocked out in the rough by a
sculptor intending to represent the head of
a lion, tiger, or a sphinx. No features are
indicated ; there is nothing more than the
outline of a head, which usually forms the
groundwork upon which the features are to
be cut. I will refer to this again, and pro-
ceed to its surroundings. This simulacra of
a head is accompanied by a convex rock
forming the body, somewhat bulging up into
about sixteen patches, divided by turf in the
manner of walks in a garden, only the
patches are the bare rock without any earth,
diverging from the great head as from a
centre. In one of the rocky patches nearest
the head is a lustration-basin. Upon a line
in front of the head is a stone 7 feet long
and 3 feet high, with two smaller stones, which
is probably all that is left of a semicircular
ring which may have extended round the
head. The lustration-basin would indicate
rites having reference to the rock-head close
by, appearing to show that here were prac-
tised ceremonies independent of those on
the west side of the rock. The artificial
look of the intersecting turf divisions is very
striking, and if they are not produced by
some amount of human labour, I can only
say it is a remarkable eccentricity of Nature.
However, whether natural or artificial, the
old Britons have incorporated this peculiarity
into one of their old pagan places of worship.
After my return home, and occasionally
cogitating upon the extraordinary and diverse
character displayed in these remains of Caer
Gwrie, it occurred to me that I had met with
an account of some strange and unintelligible
adventures in one of the triads, the Mabi-
nogion, or the Red Book of Hergest, now in
the library of Jesus College, Oxford, and the
impression I received was that these remains
of Caer Gwrie were the results of what we
there learn of the adventures of Coll. I am
quite aware that we are now falling back
upon mere tradition, but is it wise to eschew
tradition entirely ? I believe that when the
voice of history is silent upon a subject, and
we find tradition disguised and coloured
according to the mythology of the time, if
we try to brush aside both masque and
colour we may arrive at some portion at least

2 5 2


of the simple truth- The worst accusation
we can bring against tradition is that it is
only the shadow of real history. As such, I
bring forward the following extracts :

In the sixtieth and ninety-seventh Triads
we find notices of Coll blended with tradi-
tional mythology, yet I think an examination
and collation of certain passages will help to
clear up to some extent much that appears at
first sight contrary to common-sense. We
find Coll first mentioned in the sixtieth Triad
as " one of the three benefactors of the nation
of the Cymry f he is the son of Collvrewi,
and he first brought wheat and barley into
the Isle of Britain, where oats and rye were
only to be found previously. He thus ap-
pears to be connected with merchandise.
We next find Coll, the son of Collvrewi, in
the ninety-seventh Triad, mentioned as " one
of the three powerful swineherds of the Isle
of Britain," who kept the Sow of Dallwaran
Dabllen, or, as the name occurs in another
copy of the Triad, Dallwyr Dallben. This
sow is in fact nothing more than a ship with
a boar's head prow, as is evident from certain
deposits which the vessel left at various places
where she touched. Among other imports
was one of peculiar character described as
an animal of the feline tribe, a mere cub ;
this the triad informs us was deposited under
the Maendu or Black Stone on the Arvon
shore of Menai. This act must have been
performed without the sanction of Coll, for
we are told he threw the kitten into the
Menai, from whence it was rescued by the
sons of Balug, in Mona, who nursed and
reared it to their own molestation. It was
called Cath Balug, and it introduced into
Mona one of "the three chief molestations"
bred there. The creature, whether the cub
of a lion, a tiger, or a leopard, is mentioned
as a kitten, denoting that it was young, play-
ful, and of winning deportment. This char-
acter at least marked its introduction, and
whether it was a living specimen of the feline
tribe, or a sculptured idol of the sphinx
character, brought by Phoenician traders from
the East, it became through the tyranny of
its protectors one of the three great injuries
inflicted on the island. This I believe to be
the meaning of this " inexplicable enigma,"
and that this strange symbolic tale is founded
upon an old tradition, which seems to point

to the introduction into Mona of something
apparently innocent, but which afterwards
turned out to be fierce and bloodthirsty.

It may be that this tale symbolizes the
introduction into Mona of some foreign,
mysterious, pagan superstitions, adopted and
grafted upon an older system as practised at
Caer Gwrie. Taliesin in his enigmatic, yet
graphic, manner predicts, " The spotted cat
shall be disturbed together with her sons of
foreign language." Without entering into
the peculiarities and nature of the institution
of which the spotted cat was the symbol, and
her foreign protectors were the ministrators,
I would suggest the probability of Caer
Gwrie being the locality in which the Balug
cat was received, tolerated and pampered,
not to be disturbed till the bright light of a
purer faith dispelled the unholy superstition.
I will now notice one or two points con-
nected with the curious simulacra of a head I
before mentioned. Its subordinate position
upon the rock, being at one end instead of
occupying the central part, shows that it was
something added to the original arrangement,
and that its introduction did not destroy that
arrangement, but that the two systems
flourished side by side. I have detected
other instances where remains seem to indi-
cate a similar toleration of two idolatrous
systems closely adjoining each other. In
Merionethshire there is a dual system, show-
ing the stone of worship, two altars and two
lustration-basins ; another exhibited several
altars, two lustration vessels, one, if not two
stones of worship, and two cromlechs, with
stone circles or rings defining the boundaries
of the sacred adytum in each. Here are
three instances of an innovation creeping in
and establishing itself upon an equality with
the more ancient system. I have also met
with other instances, but the evidence could
not be so clearly shown in consequence of
the absence of some of the requisite symbolic
stones. This objection may be urged in the
case of Caer Gwrie, inasmuch as no altar
could be detected, at least by myself, during
the lime I was engaged in obtaining measured
plans, but there required no altar to decide
the character of these remains. The Cath
Balug is behind the old orthodox Druid
place of celebration, and the whole of the
area or body of the rock behind the head is



"spotted" by fifteen or sixteen detached
surfaces of bare rock, each spot, as I have
before remarked, being isolated from the
others by borders of green turf, each strip of
which diverges after the manner of rays from
the unfeatured head, suggesting the idea that
this simulacra of a head was a symbol of the

Publications an& proceedings of
arcfi&ological Societies.

The first volume of the Transactions of the Jewish
Historical Society of England promises well for
this new society, which was founded in the summer of
1893. Besides the report of the society, with financial
statement and other business matters, the volume con-
tains the papers which were read before the Society
during its first winter session. They are the follow-
ing : "A Hebrew Elegy concerning the Massacres in
1 190," by Mr. S. Schechter ; the " Domus Conver-
sorum " [in other words, the Hospital for Converts
from Judaism founded by Henry III. on the site of
the present Record Office, and now represented by
the Rolls Chapel], by Mr. C. Trice Martin; "A
Homage to Menasseh Ben Israel," by the Rev. Dr.
Adler, Chief Rabbi ; "Crypto-Jews under the Com-
monwealth," by Mr. Lucien WoK, president of the
society ; " Little St. Hugh of Lincoln," by Mr. Joseph
Jacobs; "The Debts and Houses of the Jews in
Hereford in 1290," by Mr. B. Lionel Abrahams.
There are several illustrations, and facsimiles of docu-
ments. The volume, we may add, is sold to non-
members at 1 2s. The publishers are Messrs. Wer-
theimer, Lea, and Co. The honorary secretary of
the society is Mr. Israel Abrahams, whose private
address is given as 77, Elgin Avenue, W. We men-
tion this in case any of our readers may wish to join
the society, which appears not to have any official
home at present. The amount of the annual sub-
scription does not seem to be stated.

+ +

No. xxxvi, being the third part of the eighth volume
of the Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian
Society (covering the period from October 23, 1893,
to May 16, 1894), has reached us. It ought, with
other publications of the Cambridge Antiquarian
Society, to have been acknowledged sooner. The
part contains among others the following papers :
" On an Etruscan Inscription at Perugia," by Pro-
fessor E. C. Clark ; M On some Ancient Ditches, etc.,
near the Pitt Press," by Professor Hughes ; " On the
Assessments of Cambridgeshire, 1291-1889," by the
Rev. Dr. Pearson ; " On Objects of Antiquarian
Interest dug up in Trinity College," by Mr. W. White ;
" Some Twelfth-Century Charters of the Priory of

S. Radegund," by Mr. A. Gray; "On the Anti-
quities of the Immediate Past," by the Rev. C. L.
Acland ; " A Newly-discovered Dyke at Cherry-
hinton," by Professors Hughes and Macalister, and
Mr. W. II. L. Duckworth ; " On a British Jar found
at Haslingfield," by Professor E. C. Clark ; " On a
MS. kept by John Duckworth of S. John's College
about 1670," by Mr. G. C. M. Smith ; " On Monu-
ments to Cambridge Men at the University of Padua,"
by Professor Clark ; " The First and Early Cam-
bridge Newspapers," by Mr. R. Bowes; "On
Ancient Libraries: (1) Christ Church, Canterbury ; (2)
Citeaux, Clairvaux ; (3) Zutphen, Enkhuizen," by
Mr. J. Willis Clark. There are a large number of
excellent illustrations to the different papers. The
part also contains various items relating more par-
ticularly to the business of the Society.
^ *>$

The first part of the third volume of the Papers and
Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club has just
been issued. It fully maintains the high character for
excellence which the previous volumes of the Hamp-
shire Field Club have justly obtained. It contains
articles on various subjects, but with two exceptions
they are all archceological. The first paper is a
thorough and exhaustive one by Mr. B. W. Green-
field on "Stoke Charity, the Church and its Monu-
ments, and the Descent of the Manor." The
monuments in Stoke Charity Church are of exceptional
interest, and are (considering their high importance)
very little known. Undoubtedly the most interesting
is the altar-tomb (a real altar with a footpace, as well
as a reredos, and in excellent preservation) of John
Waller, who died in 1527. It is very fortunate, as
well as very remarkable, that it has survived in so
perfect a condition to the present day. The panels
which form the front of the altar still retain original
paintings in oil of St. Thomas of Canterbury and our
Lady. An illustration is given of this very note-
worthy object, which is unique of its kind. There
are also some excellent brasses and other tombs, all of
which are illustrated. The main point of interest
centres, however, in the "altar-tomb," above men-
tioned, of John Waller. Mr. Greenfield laments the
bad condition in which the church seems to be, but
we may be thankful, on the other hand, that these
remarkable tombs and brasses have not only escaped
the spoiler's hands, but also the process of a " restora-
tion." " Bronze Implements found at Bitterne "
form the subject of a paper by Mr. W. E. Darwin.
These implements consist of four palstaves and four
socketed celts. They were discovered last October,
and are illustrated in a couple of plates. Mr. Dar-
win's paper contains a very clear and concise account
of prehistoric bronze implements, and is rather
addressed in the main to those members of the Field
Club who are not archaeologists. The fuller technical
description of each of the implements is given
separately with the illustration. We have seldom
read a better paper describing such a "find," as
it does not make the mistake of assuming that
people know all about a subject which, in fact, has

Online LibraryPhoebe PalmerThe Antiquary (Volume 31) → online text (page 44 of 67)