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)

Advertisements

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.
(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.

Advertisements

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!

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.

Advertisements

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!

Fyfonne Waterfalls

I love looking at waterfalls, hearing the sound of the water as it cascades over big rocks, spying the little water boatmen in the calm spots of the river.

We visited an area of South Wales called Fyfonne Waterfalls.

Advertisements

It was a beautiful sunny day when we all went, and the sun shone through the trees. It was so quiet as we were passing through the forest, feeling the breeze and hearing the chirps of the birds.

Where I live in the North, we have to travel over an hour to enjoy peace and quiet like this, no cars, no screaming children, no dogs barking. So to enjoy peace and serenity like this was bliss.

After we got to the actual waterfall we decided to go off the beaten track and head up stream past the initial waterfall.

It was steep and the natural forest banking was crumbling in parts so you had to be careful, but delving deeper into the forest it felt like we were on an adventure!

It made me feel very happy being there and I miss it already, I cannot wait to go back! If you get to go, please visit!

Thank you for reading!

Advertisements


Camping Holidays

Do you like camping? I love it.

I love it even down to the deflated air mattress, the grass in your crocs and the smell of the dew on the grass when you wake up.

We have had so many childhood holidays in tents and caravans. When I say caravans, I don’t mean a static caravan. I mean a tourer caravan. There would be 4 of us in that caravan and our small dog Rollie. At times it was very snugg!

We have travelled all over England, Scotland and Wales in caravans, often staying overnight in a layby if it was a long journey.

Every year we go to a friends farm in South Wales. They are an older couple and we help them out by clearing the polytunnel of weeds or helping clear the land of dead trees.

There’s usually us and 2 other families that go each year. This year it was just us and one other family.

We swam in the sea, saw beautiful waterfalls and trekked through forests. We got to visit places we had never been to before and the weather was beautiful, I got sunburn on my shoulders!

17 days of fun. It flew by!

Evening at Newport Beach

As you can see, I took lots of photos…


Sorry for the short post, I will be honest. I haven’t been feeling very well this week. I am in quite a bit of pain so I haven’t been in the mood to write or sit at my PC for very long but I do hope to get back to writing regularly soon.

Take care!

Talitha x

Bodnant Garden

Watch the video log for our day and see the beautiful gardens in action!

So yesterday we visited a place called Bodnant Garden. It is a stunning piece of 80 acre land situated in Northern Wales UK. It contains so many species of plants from all over the globe, some collected more than a century ago on expeditions.

There are so many different gardens being nurtured here. From terraces, to buzzing meadows, woodland to rivers and bubbling brooks.

This beautiful estate was developed by 5 generations of 1 family and then it was gifted to the national trust. It is a very popular site with over 270,000 people visiting in 2019 alone!

History

The gardens founder was an inventor called Henry Pochin, he was a chemist who made his fortune by inventing a process for clarifying rosin used in soap. Pochin bought the Bodnant estate in 1874 and employed Edward Milner, apprentice to Joseph Paxton, to redesign the land around the existing Georgian mansion house, then just lawns and pastures. It was around this time that the famous Laburnum arch was planted.

The Laburnum Arch

The Poem

The Poem is located in the area of the shrubbery borders. It is the family’s mausoleum. It was built by Henry Pochin as a memorial to his children, 4 of whom died in infancy.

The Plants

18th and early 19th century explorers brought plants from all over the globe and in that mix contained specimens of Rhododendron forrestii and Magnolia.

I highly recommend visiting as it has stunning grounds! It makes for a lovely day out, suitable for all the family. You can even bring your pooch.

Here are links to find out more: