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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Colliers Moss Common

This area was once one of the most industrial in the country, now it is a treasured part of St Helens, covered in trees and wildlife. What changed?

Bold Heritage

First of all, what is peat? It is dead compacted moss land. An industry was created in which turf cutters dug trenches to remove the peat which was then built into an array of thousands of pyramids spanning between 3 and 12 feet tall.

In 1955 the NCB, the National Coal Board, completed a £5.5 million investment into Bold Colliery.

The mine that was nearby was one of the most modern pits in all of Lancashire, with 1800 workers.

Sadly, there is such a thing called spoil with mining and this was more often than not just dirt mixed with rock and shale. It was taken by railway and offloaded onto Bold Moss. 23 years worth of this stuff equates to around 9 million tons. It caused massive environmental damage.

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Things started to change in 1978. The artificial hill that was made up of the mine’s sludge and the power station’s ash, reached a maximum height and the dumping stopped.

The Colliery stopped production in ’85 and 5 years after, British Coal agreed to the sell the site in order to restore it.

What had happened to the grounds as a result?

Well, during the 90’s, lots of work was undertaken to help ease the affects of the environmental damage that all those years of dumping had had on the land. Unfortunately, the soil was then very acidic which made it very hard for the plants to regrow.

Machines were used to loosen the soil, and then after lime & fertiliser had been introduced, grass heather and wildflower seeds were planted along with trees.

What is it like now?

The site is now a haven for wildlife and plants. Colonies of Orchids have spread on the common and new species of wildlife is arriving every year.

This is just one example of what is capable if spaces that were once abused, are looked after and restored to what they once were.

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The First Jacobite Rebellion

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Dunalastair House

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Bristol has got to be one of my favourite cities to visit and explore. Let me explain and show you why… Plenty to see… When we spent the day in Bristol, we chose to use the red top bus sightseeing tour. They took us on a big tour that took us around the city, passing…

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For those that do not know who they are, Foil Arms and Hog are an Irish comedy group over 10 years old who have performed at popular festivals such as The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Vodaphone Comedy festival and many more. They have appeared on many Irish TV programs too. The group is made up…

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Impurities

A short poem by me…about a conversation with myself. You took that picture because you liked yourself. You took that picture because you felt thin. Why the urge, now then, to edit your skin? You do it for yourself? No. What changed your mind? Because you’re afraid people are not going to be kind? Are…

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First of all, I would like to apologise. No new content since the start of the month. Now I know that is only 20 days but to me it feels like so much longer! Let me update you as to what has prevented me from writing… New job… So after quite a few weeks of…

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Pitclochry, Dam & Ladder – Scotland

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Clunie Dam and Power Station

When we stayed in Pitlochry, we were a 5 minute drive from this station and the dam. I found it interesting to learn about and I hope you do too. Why was it built? It is all part of the Tummel-Garry scheme. As you can see in the image below, (taken from SSE Renewables), this…

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Murder in the crows

Hug the tree, feel the knots leave your body. Hear the wood creak, the wind whistle. The leaves sway. Walk on the forest floor, among long ferns. The damp, cold moss underfoot. Shoots of green peeking through, glimpses of the future spring yet to come. Feel the mist creeping, sneaking quietly. Closing in on you,…

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Isle of Arran

My best friends family took me on their holiday to the Isle of Arran just before lockdown in the UK.

Sadly, we weren’t able to travel all over the Island however we did visit the island’s main town – Brodick.

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Where is Arran?

Isle of Arran is situated in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland. Brodick is halfway along the east coast of the island, and this village has a population of 621.

Brodick receives the Islands ferries that come across from Ardrossan in Scotland. It doesn’t take ages to travel on this ferry. From what I remember it was roughly 45 mins to an hour. It was a calm crossing when we went but it was incredibly windy.

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828,262 passengers and 202,843 cars travelled on this ferry in 2016

Brodick

Brodick has much economic activity. There are many family-owned business and tourist attractions such as the Auchrannie Spa and Resort, where we stayed.

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