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David's Cathedral, supposed to have been erected by one of the Corbet family in the latter part of the fourteenth century to the memory of the Lord Rhys and Rhys Gryg, the other at Upton Castle representing a Malefant; these are all of the English type, they differ from the Welsh examples in several particulars. They have no inscriptions. The St. David's figures are, from an artistic point of view, very superior work, and the Upton man, though not so commendable, has not that wooden look of his Welsh contemporaries. Our Pembroke effigies do not exhibit such a profusely riveted appearance as is notable in the Welsh, but they are much more highly padded. Edward the Black Prince in Canterbury Cathedral is the type of this fashion in armour.
The two-decker pulpit, with elaborate Jacobean carving, is inscribed o . w . E . 1697. Opinions were divided as to the date of the font, which was of a style apparently much later thari “ Early English.”
Mounting the carriages, the party drove up the great Telford incline to Pentrevoelas, eager to inspect the much-debated Levelinus Stone. This was reached from the village by passing through the farmyard at the back of the old mansion of Voelas. Here is a tumulus, which, according to Pennant, is the site of a fort destroyed by Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, who subsequently granted the land around (called as late as 1854 Tir yr Abad), to the Abbey of Aberconwy, which he founded.
A short way off from this tumulus, in a small clearing in a wood surrounded by a ditch, stands the Levelinus Stone, 8 ft. high, 2 st broad, and 1 ft. thick. It is not in its original situation, for until 1790 it stood “at a green gate leading from the turnpike road to Voelas Old Hall.” The inscription, which is on the middle of the narrower side, has long been a matter of dispute, the badly-cracked stone, a curious mixture of capital letters and minuscules, and the many abbreviations and ligatures, contributing to the difficulty of deciphering it satisfactorily.
Lewis Morris, in Notes on Some Inscribed Stones in Wales, (Add. MSS. 14,907, 188 b.) writes: “The inscription at Voelas, in the county of Denbigh, which is mentioned in Gibson's Camden, p. 686, but falsely copied and most whimsically read by Mr. Ed. Lhwyd, was carefully copied in 1760 [“and again 1764” W. Davies' Miscell. II, 219] by my friend, the Rev. Evan Evans, from whose Copy I have inserted it here."
EGO lohl indol laluhuend
Lewis Morris' Copy of Inscription
In a letter to The Times, June 1, 1909, Mr. E. Williams B. Nicholson, Bodley's Librarian, offered the following reading :
In Xristo (monogram) +
fortitudine brachii ce[le]br[is]
Lewelinus princeps Northw[allie) i.e., quite literally translated
In Christ +
For might of arm celebrated
Lewelin Prince of Northwales. " The Mound of Emrys must have been the name of the great neighbouring mound now called the Moel.”
“The Northw of the last line (in which th is represented by the English “thorn' character has been mis-read as Hic hu(matus) and the stone has been supposed to mark the burial-place of Llywelyn, son of Seisyllt, who died in 1021. The characters are, however, of a far later date, and the stone indicates the resting-place of the headless body of Edward I's antagonist, the Llywelyn who was killed in 1282 in a skirmish near Builth.”
“He died under excommunication, which prohibited burial in consecrated ground. An effort was made post mortem to obtain the removal of the ban, but we have no record that it succeeded, nor any contemporary evidence that he was buried anywhere, but only that his head was cut off, paraded in London, and set on the Tower.”
Llywelyn's grandfather was buried at Aberconwy, which he founded. The monastery, however, fell under the power and patronage of Edward I, who soon moved it to a site some miles off. The monks, out of regard for the grandson of their founder, may well have thought it safest to bury the body of the King's enemy in a distant corner of their property, the land of Pentre Foelas, which, though unconsecrated, was Church property, enjoyed a quasi consecrated character and was known as “T'ir yr Abad," the Abbot's land.
The stone is now surrounded by an iron railing, but the inscription, as Mr. Harrison suggested, needs protection from the weather and from injurious treatment by rubbings and markings. Canon Morris dealt, letter by letter, with the inscription as read by Mr. Nicholson, pointing out (1) the ligatured letters, as pr, de, em in the first line; or in the second line, and we in “Levelinus”; (2) ī for in (first line), 7 in Fortitudine, and in Lewelinus and princeps. (3) celebris would rather be, as Professor Sayce suggested, celeberrimus abbreviated, as there is clearly an m in the last word of that line. Professor Sayce, who expressed a decided opinion that Mr. Nicholson's reading was correct, was able to see distinctly two l's at the end of the last word, which he felt sure was Wallie.
Professor Boyd Dawkins said that, so far as he was able to read the inscription, the stone had marked the site of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd's burial-place. It was of great historical interest. Archdeacon Thomas remarked on the varied characters used, some of which were early, and others were comparatively late. There were no less than five different forms of the letter R on the stone.
A correspondent, writing Sept. 1, to the Western Mail, sarcastically remarks that the solemn conclave over the dilapidated stone at Pentre Voelas reminded him forcibly of the immortal Pickwick Club and the “Bilstumps' Monolith.” The sober discussion of the subject by competent palæographers of high reputation hardly deserves such a comment, but the observations made call for some notice, as they are doubtless opinions entertained but not expressed by some Members present at Pentre Voelas. His statements that “All history and all tradition point to Abbey Cwm Hir as the final burial-place of the murdered Prince, and that all written history, till Mr. Williams Nicholson came along, has given Abbey Cwm Hir as his final resting-place,” are disproved amply by the quotations from the Chroniclers given in Arch. Camb., 1911, pp. 28-42. The Western Mail Correspondent cannot be serious in urging that “ Camden's reading is much more likely to be correct than any reading of to-day.” Has he looked up the passage in Camden? To his question : “Is not the introduction of the Anglo-Saxon word • North’ in an otherwise Latin inscription fatal to Mr. Williams Nicholson's reading ?” the sufficient answer is that in the Chronicle of Aberconwy's account of Llywelyn's death there occurs the phrase omnia Castra Northwallie (Arch. Camb., 1911, p. 33). In what he calls “ the Bury Chronicle,” which known to scholars as Chronicle of Florence of Worcester,” Llywelyn's head is stated to have been brought to North Wales. Caput ad regem in Nordwalliam est illatum. In the Charter Rolls, 29 Edward I, 1301, the King grants his 'son Edward omnes terras nostras Northwall' Angleseye et de Hope. In Charter, 1 Hen. IV, the grant to Prince Hal mentions terris nostris North Wall’, West Wall', South Wall — "dominii de Newyn et Pulghely in North Wall’.”
Colonel Mainwaring mentioned that the older villagers could remember a large hollow on the summit of the tumulus already referred to, in which timber had been found.
Luncheon was served in the schoolroom by the courtesy of the managers, who were formally thanked by the President. Professor Dawkins jocularly remarked that the managers, by their kindness that day, had done much to advance education in Wales !
After a short stay in Pentre Voelas village, the delightful drive was resumed, leaving the great London road for the moorland, over which, before Telford cut his straight highway from Cerrig y drudion to Pentre Voelas, lay the route from the Dee to the Conway. Rhydlydan, the next halting-place, was then a fortified house with a quadrangle and a high wall all round. Above the arched gateway was a quaint little room in which the Royalists were said to have met, 1643.
At this point the carriages were left, and the party walked through beautiful country, commanding a magnificent view of the Snowdonian range.
At length Gilar was reached. Colonel Mainwaring, who gave a brief description of the house, said it was supposed to have been built in 1623, and was one of the best specimens of an old Welsh house with its old gate-house. It was the residence of Baron Price, who was called “the patron of his native country” from the fact that he successfully opposed the grant by King William III to William Bentinck, Earl of Portland, of the lordships of Denbigh, Bromfield, and Yale. The family of Price was united by marriage with that of Wynne, and so two large estates came into one family. The gate-house has inscribed on it the initials of Thomas
1623 Price Wynne, Sheriff in 1624, and Colonel Mainwaring said he was told that in days gone by the bards of the district used to meet at this house and go through their compositions, and in that way the traditions and pedigrees of the neighbourhood were preserved and handed down.
Mr. Bezant Lowe remarked that most of the place-names were formed of the name Price with appropriate prefixes. Thus the village was Trebrys, the range at the back was Carnbrys.
Copies of portraits of members of the Price family were handed round, and a question was put to one of the residents of the place as to the use of the gate-house (which is separated from the dwelling place by a large quadrangle). Her reply was: “Oh, they used to sboot people from the gateway !
The party next proceeded to Plas Iolyn, the old residence of Ellis Price, D.D., the famous Doctor Coch, who was a Member of Parliament in the time of Elizabeth, and several times Sheriff of Merioneth, Carnarvon, Anglesey, and Denbigh.
Mr. Bezant Lowe pointed to the remains of a large square tower with a dungeon cut in the solid rock. He said that tradition gave Ellis Price a very bad character, being looked upon as one who took all he could lay his hands on. It was said that he built the tall tower so that he could watch who was passing through the district in order to sally forth and rob them, the dungeon becoming useful for those who objected.
Mr. Bezant Lowe urged the Members to collect all the folk-tales they possibly could. He had spent a short time among the people, and in one day had collected five folk-tales, which dated back
One story told of Dr. Price was that it used to be an old Welsh custom when the head of a farmstead died that the landowner claimed anything he liked. Dr. Price on
one occasion exercised this right and claimed a goose. He invited a friend to dine, but as he turned up late he found that Dr. Price had eaten the whole of the bird himself.
Archdeacon Thomas said that although it was alleged that Dr. Price did a great many things that were wrong there was no