The Maglocunus & Vortipor Stones – Nevern, Wales, UK

Nevern is a small village in the valley of Nevern, east of Newport in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

During August this year we stayed in Nevern with some friends on their plot of land. We stayed for 2 weeks, we had so much fun in on the beach, visting waterfalls, (see the 2 links below)

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But this time, I want to discuss some history of Nevern, and that starts with its church:

Nevern’s Church – St Brynach Church

This church is named after St Brynach of Pembrokeshire, who founded this place of worship here in the 5th century.

The Church (Source)

Inside the church, lays one of the finest Celtic language examples in Britain, dating to the 1st century AD:

The Maglocunus Stone

This is an ancient stone featuring Celtic Ogham script. What is Ogham? Well it is sometimes known as the ‘Celtic tree alphabet’. Monumental Ireland on the post lined to this picture, they say:

“It was designed to write ‘Old Irish’ and can be seen on stone monuments throughout the Country (Ireland), particularly in counties Cork & Kerry. (…) Some scholars believe it dates back to the 1st Century AD – as the language used shows pre-4th Century elements such as the letters q and z which do not appear in Modern Irish.

While all surviving Ogham inscriptions are on stone, it was probably more commonly inscribed on sticks, stakes and trees.

The origins of Ogham are uncertain: according to Irish mythology, it was invented by Ogma, the Irish god of speech, language, eloquence and learning. (…) .

Monumental Ireland.
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(Source: Monumental Ireland)

The ancient stone is embedded into the window sill of the south wall of the nave of St Brynach Church.

What is quite interesting is that normally, Inscriptions are mostly peoples’ names and were used to mark ownership, territories and graves. This stone in particular we are talking about is on stone and was originally vertical. It was only turned horizontal so it could be set into the window.

What does it say?

It is inscribed in Latin “MAGLOCUNI FILI CLUTORI” and in Ogham “maglicunas maqi clutari“, translated as (the stone) of Maglicu, son of Clutarias.

Who are these people? I will be writing another post on this as it gets very interesting. Keep a lookout!

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In my research, I kept getting directed back to this book: KING ARTHUR: MAN OR MYTH, written by Tony Sullivan. It is “an investigation of the evidence for King Arthur based on the earliest written sources rather than later myths and legends.”

In this book, Tony writes about the stone in connection to Gildas and then Vortipor, the King of Demetia or modern day Dyfed/Southern Wales who lived approximately AD475-540.

Funnily enough, in Carmarthen, this is a stone dedicated to this king and on this stone are 2 inscriptions, almost identical to the Maglocunnus Stone, in that there is are Latin and Ogham inscriptions.

But why Latin & Ogham? The Romans brought Irish mercenaries across in the late 4th Century for protection from attacks by other Hibernians, (native of Ireland).

After the Romans left, the Irish Deisi (or Déssi) tribe of the County Waterford area ruled the region, hence the Ogham inscription as well as Latin. 

Territory Marker

Remember how I said that these stones were used as markers for territory? Well when this Vortipor Stone was found, it was originally one of a pair of boundary markers for an old track replaced by a new roman road. The Stone was moved and then stood near as stile on the southside of Castell Dwran Churchyard until 1879. There was a meadow next to where it stood and this meadow had evidence of hut-circles. This stone was only 200 meters off the line of the roman road, being used as a marker.

This may have been a continuation of roman customs such as the roadside burial, but also a tradition hinting to the Ogham origins for the inscriptions to be used as a marker for territories. Funny how things go full circle isn’t it?

Sadly, the assumption that the inscriptions on the stone, Voteporigis in the Latin and Votegorigas in ogham, refer to Vortipor, is refuted by modern linguistic analysis, which notes that the missing ‘r’ that is in the name ‘Vortipor’ and not in either of ‘Voteporigis’/’Votegorigas’ is significant, and so the stone must be dedicated to a different person.

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As you can see, I love history and language. I love the way both are intertwined and have an influence on each other. This is only part 1 of this mini series and next time I will be talking about who those 2 people are that were inscribed on the 1st stone I mentioned.

Did you enjoy reading? Please comment if you did!

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My YouTube Channel

So this post is a bit of a plug.

I post videos on my channel, sorta like a vlog but it isn’t 20million minutes long.

They’re short and interesting, and maybe places you haven’t seen before.

It would mean the world to me if you lovely people who subscribe to my blog could also subscribe to my channel on YouTube also.

I do have a history of video editing and actually hope to soon start a course at a college centre near where I live so my videos will get better over time.

Here are just a few of my videos to give you a taster of what you’ll get…

So as you can see they’re no more than 5 mins long, easy watching with a cuppa tea and biscuit of your choosing!

Thank you for reading and hopefully subscribing!

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Desert Dwellers

Deserts. Many when they think of deserts just think of the heat, maybe camels, mirages of water, and the seemingly never ending hills of sand. But there are people and animals that thrive in those areas.

Survival of the fittest…

According to the WWF website, the plants and animals that live here are able to live in these barren areas on scarce amount of water. For example, the beloved household plant, the cactus soaks up water from the rare rainfalls and is able to store it for months. Animals gain enough water from the food they eat and actually conserve the energy for when they really need it.

Tuareg

(Source of picture: Tuareg)

There are villages of people who live in in desert regions and in the Sahara Desert, the Tuareg people are a mainly Muslim population comprising of 2 million individuals.

Blue Men

They have another name and this is “the blue men”. This is because of the veils they wear to protect themselves from the burning desert sun and sand. They speak the language Tamashek, and this language is also spoke in Algeria and Mali.

Interesting fact for you, the name Tuareg means Free Folk in English. They live off the land and their livestock, making their own clothes and jewellery.

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Made by GEOBROTHER, This video gives more of an insight into the people.

Desert Hedgehogs

There are quite a number of various animals that live in the desert such as the Gerbils, Anubis baboons and Gazelles, but I had never heard of hedgehogs living in the desert before.

Get ready for how cute this thing is…

This hedgehog is the smallest of its kind and can be found all across parts of Africa, Egypt, Sudan, Israel and Iraq. They can live for around 10 years and have a top speed of 11 miles per hour.

Just like their cousins here in the UK, they are nocturnal and normally travel on their own.

These little hoggies are ferocious beasts! Their diet includes insects, small invertebrates, frogs, eggs of ground-nesting birds, snakes and scorpions. SCORPIONS!!!!


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There ya have it! Now I am currently on holiday in South Wales UK so this was just a little something I typed up before I left as I had found it rather interesting, but I hope you all have a wonderful week. Do you have anything nice planned for your weekend?