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SOME time ago my attention was drawn to this inscribed stone, from reading in vol. xvii of the Montgomeryshire Collections a description of it by Mr. Richard Williams. No solution of the meaning of the inscription was given in his short notice. I therefore made drawings and rubbings of the inscription, and sent them, with a description, to several well known antiquaries; but I met with little success, and I believe that most of them thought that the inscription was after the nature of "John Jones his mark."
I propose to describe the stone, and afterwards give an extract from a letter from Prof. Hubner of Berlin, to whom, through a friend, I sent a squeeze, giving the opinion of so high an authority upon ancient inscriptions.
The stone is erect, and of a very hard nature, about 2 ft. 8 in. high, and the same in width, and stands in
1 Reprinted from the Montgomeryshire Collections, vol. xxiv, Oct. 1890, pp. 317-20, by the kind permission of the Council of the Powys-land Club, and with the sanction of the Author.
a most commanding position, on the top of a ridge overlooking the valley of the Severn, distant about four miles from Caersws, and is known as Garregllwyd ("the blessed or holy stone"), pointing to its being revered for some reason or another. It now stands in a ploughed field, about 10 yards from the roadway; but in days gone by, the spot where it stands must have been a part of what was known as Penllanlikey Common.
Upon the slanting face on the top of the stone, looking towards the west, is an inscription, as shown on the accompanying drawing, which is as accurate as I could possibly get it as to size and shape of the letters. The letters are about three inches long, and cut about a quarter of an inch into the stone, and are very plain; but the second E is larger than the other letters. Underneath the inscription are two strokes joined by an irregular looking cut, which may only be a break in the stone, and yet may still be a cut with a chisel.
The stone stands at the junction of three parishesAberhafesp, Bettws, and Tregynon; but none of the letters on the inscription can in any way apply to these parishes or their townships. The Stone is mentioned both in the Tithe and Inclosure Awards, and there called by its present name.
Within a short distance of the Stone is an old roadway leading to Caersws on the south-west, passing close to the ancient British camp of Gwynfynydd, and to the north-east to Berriew, passing in its course places with significant names, such as Lluest, Lluestgoch, Gwernybaid (the last four letters being probably "bedd", or grave). These three places are within half a mile of the stone, and not far from the roadway. The road passes on to Bettws and its camps, and along the valley, on either side of which are two other camps,— the one Penygaer, the other "The Camp."
Between the two latter is a field known by the liar name of Dyddygugan (twelve scores). Here local
tradition points to a battle having been fought, and that the name commemorates the counting of the fighting men. Near to it is a field called "Cae Bedw"; doubtless the spot where the fallen were buried. I have also heard of a field of the name of "Death of Ten Officers", but cannot identify it.
The existence of so many places with names pointing to war and its consequences, and the position of the places being near to the road I am treating of, led me to conjecture that perhaps the inscription upon the old Stone might have been the mark of a Roman legion marching towards Caersws by this road, avoiding the valley of the Severn; but, as my readers will see, such a construction cannot be put upon it after reading the following opinion of Prof. Hübner.
I am indebted to the courtesy and kindness of Mr. G. Shrubsole, F.G.S., Hon. Curator of the Chester Archæological Society, for sending the squeeze which I had taken of the inscription to Prof. Hübner, and for having so kindly sent me the Professor's letter, with permission to make what use I like of it.
Extract from PROF. HUBNER'S Letter, June 1890.
"The inscription, as you observe, is post-Roman. The squeeze shows the same as Mr. Owen's careful drawings; the letters EEITLLI, and the two strokes below, II or II.
"It looks generally very much [like] those other Welsh stones which we consider Early Christian, from the sixth century downwards. They used to contain only the name of the person whose tomb they designated, either in the nominative or in the genitive, and some formula like hic jacet. As E and F, L and I, used too, are very similar in the rude palæography of these inscriptions, I propose, but only as a guess, to read
"The name, if it was a name, is Efitllus. The 11 or H may be an h for hic."
Such is the opinion of the great authority, and should he be right in his conjecture, it would be well
worth while to excavate and see whether the mortal remains of Efitllus are still there.
I need scarcely say that it will be a great pleasure to me to show the Stone to any one who is interested in the subject.
ROMAN STONES OF THE TYRANT
BY PROFESSOR I. O. WESTWOOD, F.L.S.
In a communication to The Academy of the 26th July 1890, by Mr. Whitley Stokes, it is stated that in the month of April of this year (1890) there was discovered at Rennes, in France, in digging the foundations of the new" Bazaar Parisien", a Roman stone with the inscription,
"The M. Piavonius Victorinus above mentioned was one of the Thirty Tyrants, and is supposed to have been slain A.D. 268, after he had reigned in Gaul, and probably also in Britain, for somewhat more than a year. The date of the inscription is thus fixed to a nicety. The Gentile name is spelt with one v on a Lincoln milestone (Eph. Epigr., vii, No. 1,097), for a reference to which I am indebted to Mr. Haverfield, who also informs me that Allmer (Revue Epigraphique, 1888, p. 372) argues that this name is really Pius Avonius; just as Piesuvius (so Tetricus is sometimes. styled) is pretty certainly Pius Esuvius."
The doubt as to Piavonius Victorinus having reigned in Britain is set at rest by the discovery of another Roman military stone on the Via Julia Maritima, between Nidum (Neath) and Bovium (Boverton), near Pyle, which was rescued from destruction by the late Colonel G. Grant Francis, and deposited by him in the Museum