Llantwit Major - Gazetteers
"LANTWIT-MAJOR, otherwise LLAN-ILLTYD-VAWR, a parish in the hundred of COWBRIDGE, county of GLAMORGAN, SOUTH WALES, 5 miles (S. by W.) from Cowbridge, containing 1076 inhabitants.
This place, originally called by the Welsh Caer Wrgorn, derived its subsequent name of Llan-Illtyd, of which its more general appellation Lantwit is only a modification, from the dedication of its church to St. Illtyd, or Iltutus, and its distinguishing adjunct Vawr, or Major, from its preeminence among other places of the same name in different parts of the principality.
The parish, which is of considerable extent, comprises one of the most interesting districts in South Wales, and appears to have been inhabited from a very remote period ; but whether originally by the ancient Britons or the Romans cannot be satisfactorily ascertained. Modern writers are of opinion that the small village of Boverton, in this parish, was the site of the Roman station Bovium., placed in the Itineraries on the line of the Julia Via Maritima, between the stations of Isca Silurum (Caerlleon) and Nidum (Neath). This opinion derives weight, not only from the affinity between the names, and the coincidence of its situation between those two stations ; but also from the course of a Roman road, which has been distinctly traced, leading to some camps of Roman construction near that village, where also other relics of Roman antiquity have been discovered.
In the fifth century, a college was established here, or rather revived on the ruins of a more ancient institution, said to have been founded by the Roman Emperor Theodosius, which, after his name, was called by the Welsh " Bangor Tewdws," and in which the heresiarch Pelagius is said to have been educated. This institution was afterwards destroyed by a band of Irish pirates, who, landing on this part of the coast, carried away by violence its principal, Maenwyn, better known as St. Patrick, the apostle and tutelar saint of Ireland. Soon after this event, St. Germanus, who was sent into Britain by the Gallican bishops, to suppress the Pelagian heresy, and is supposed to have been hospitably entertained at Boverton, where the native reguli continued to reside occasionally, till the overthrow of their power by Robert Fitz-Hamon, associating the old college of Theodosius with the name of Pelagius, selected the site of that institution at Lantwit, then called Caer Wrgorn, for the foundation of one of those seminaries for the education of the British clergy, which he deemed it expedient to erect, as a powerful means of eradicating this heresy. In the establishment of this institution he was greatly assisted by the king of the country ; and, on its completion, he placed it under the superintendence of Illtyd, or Iltutus, who had accompanied him into Britain, and under whose management it flourished exceedingly, and was amply endowed by Meuric, Arthur, and Morgan, successive reguli of this part of the country. Scholars flocked to this seminary from all parts of Christendom, among whom were the sons of the British nobles and foreign princes, besides numerous others, amounting at one time to more than two thousand pupils. For the accommodation of this large number there were not less than four hundred lodging apartments and seven large halls, or colleges. The course of instruction adopted by Iltutus embraced not only such sacred and profane literature as was requisite for clerical education, but also included husbandry and other useful arts ; and the common plough now in use in some parts of Wales is still called St. Illtyd's plough, in honour of Iltutus, who was regarded as the inventor of it. For many generations this seminary continued to be the university of Britain, and to be frequented by the most illustrious persons of all countries, till its revenue was transferred to the abbey of Tewkesbury by Robert Fitz-Hamon, when the universities of England acquired the ascendancy, and that of Iltutus sank into comparative obscurity. That holy and learned man is said to have presided over this institution for the protracted term of ninety years ; and among the eminent persons who were his pupils may be enumerated Gildas, the historian ; David, who removed the episcopal see from CaerIleon to St. David's, and who ultimately became the patron saint of Wales; Paulinus, Bishop of Leon in Spain; Samson, successor to David in the see, and afterwards Bishop of Dol in Britanny ; Talhaiarn, a celebrated bard and a distingnished saint ; Taliesin, an eminent bard; and many others. According to Sir Henry Spelman, a large assembly was convened in the church of this establishment, in 560, to negotiate a treaty of peace between Morgan, regulus of this part of the country, and his uncle Trioc, whom the former most treacherously slew, and afterwards made his peace with the church by remitting to this establishment the annual tribute of a pot of honey and an iron kettle. This school lingered for a long period in comparative insignificance, and was not finally closed till the reign of Henry VIII., when the remaining portion of its tithes, and an annual payment called the abbot's rent, being all that remained to it of its ancient endowments, were seized by that monarch, and, together with the revenue of the dissolved monastery of Tewkesbury, conferred on the Dean and Chapter of St. Peter's, in the city of Gloucester, which that sovereign had recently erected into a bishoprick.
The parish is situated on the coast of the Bristol channel, in a fine open country, and comprises a large tract of arable and pasture land, which is enclosed and in a high state of cultivation. The soil, of which the substratum is a blue limestone, is, for richness and fertility, almost unequalled in any part of South Wales ; and the surrounding scenery, though not in general distinguished by any striking peculiarity of character, is occasionally diversified by features of picturesque beauty and romantic grandeur. A long range of hills, running through the county in a direction from east to west, separates the mountainous from the level districts of the spacious and fertile Vale of Glamorgan, the latter of which are occasionally enlivened with numerous churches and villages, and enriched with thriving plantations and groves embowering the seats and villas of the resident gentry.
The village, which is situated in the centre of this pleasing vale, displays obvious indications of its original extent and importance, and has in every respect the appearance of a large dilapidated town : it occupies a large extent of ground, but presents several chasms in its streets, some of which are nearly choked up with the ruins of decayed houses, and others are scarcely distinguishable, except by their situation within the limits of the town, from the numerous roads that appear to converge towards this place, as a common centre. The town-hall is still remaining, and in a state of good repair : it resembles, in its appearance, those ancient buildings which in some places are called court-houses and church-houses, though of much larger dimensions ; the ascent to it is by a double flight of steps at one end : over it is a bell on which the clock strikes, said to have been presented to St. Iltutus by the pope, and by Holinshed to have been taken, among other spoils, by an army which King Edgar, towards the latter end of his reign, brought into Glamorganshire, to chastise the Welsh, who had rebelled against him; on removing this bell, in the year 1815, it was found to bear the inscription " Ora pro nobis, Sancte Iltute."
The ancient gaol has been demolished only within the last fifty years ; the name of Gallows way is still retained in the road where executions usually took place, and where human skeletons have been found at various times. Whatever municipal privileges Lantwit may appear, from these circumstances, to have formerly possessed, have long been lost, even, according to some authorities, since the time of Henry VII. That it formerly carried on a considerable trade with the coasts of Somersetshire appears evident ; and the dialect of that county is said to have been prevalent here within the memory of men living at the commencement of the present century : in the vicinity is the ancient port of Colhow, now Colhugh, where, during the reign of Henry VIII., vessels frequently sheltered; though now, by the changes which have taken place on this part of the coast, it is avoided by mariners as dangerous. The remains of the ancient harbour may still be traced, and, notwithstanding the great encroachment made by the sea, the foundation of the pier, and the piles of wood by which it was defended on the western side, are still visible at low water.
Though the village of Boverton is far inferior in extent and population to Lantwit-Major, yet., as the seat of the ancient reguli of this portion of the principality, and also as the principal place prior to the establishment of the schools of Iltutus, it has in all ancient documents held the precedence, and given title to the manor, which is to this day in the court rolls styled the " Lordship of Boviarton and Lantwit." After the conquest of this part of the principality by the Normans, the manor was granted to Robert Fitz-Hamon, from whom it passed to the lords paramount of Glamorgan, as part of the great lordship. It became vested in the crown in the reign of Henry VII., who granted it to his uncle, Jasper Duke of Bedford, by whom it was given to Grufydd Voss, whose daughter and heiress conveyed it by marriage to Roger Seys, Esq., from which family it passed by marriage to Robert Jones, Esq., of Fonmon castle, who sold it to the late Elias Vanderhorst of Bristol, from whom it passed into the possession of John Tunno, Esq., its present proprietor.
A fair is held here annually on June 22nd.
The living is a discharged vicarage, with that of Llysworney annexed, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Llandaf, rated in the king's books at £14. 13. 9., and in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester, who are impropriators of the tithes. In 1080, the tithes and advowson of the parish belonged to Iestyn ab Gwrgan, and, together with the rest of his property, were seized by Robert Fitz-Hamon, and conveyed by marriage of his only daughter to Robert Fitz-Henry, Earl of Gloucester, by whom they were afterwards conferred on his newly-founded abbey of Tewkesbury, upon the dissolution of which they were granted by Henry VIII. to the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester. The present church, dedicated to St. Illtyd, is a spacious and venerable pile of building, erected, according to an old manuscript, by R. Neville, Earl of Warwick and Lord of Glamorgan, in the reign of Henry VI., and comprising, in addition to that portion of it in which divine service is performed, a more ancient structure, separated only from the former by the tower, to the west of which it is situated. From this latter a door opened into a dilapidated building, in a line with it, called the Lady Chapel, the walls of which were ornamented with busts and figures of saints, now destroyed : this chapel, which is almost a ruin, was forty feet and a half in length. The old church, which was sixty-four feet and a half long, is said to have been deserted on account of the dampness of its situation ; but this would have equally operated against the erection of a contiguous structure of larger dimensions. Nearly in the centre of it are two monumental stones, brought, as it is said, in 1730, by Mr. Thomas Morgan, schoolmaster and parish clerk, from a place called the "Great House," where it is said there was formerly a church, and which are minutely described in the sixth volume of the Archaelogia Londinensis, accompanied with plates ; and in a room behind the altar, probably that used for the vestry, is a gigantic figure of a man in the costume of the time of Henry VIII., elaborately sculptured in freestone, of the kind found near the river side at Bridgend, in this county, with an English inscription, simply stating it to be the statue of "Prince Richard Hopkins," also described in the same publication. Near this statue is the bust of a child, sculptured in alto relievo ; and in a niche near the altar is the figure of a person kneeling, rudely sculptured, and habited in a costume similar to that of Hopkins. The more modern church, which is ninety-eight feet in length and fifty-three in breadth, consists of a nave, with a north and south aisle, and a chancel, and has a very handsome altar-piece. In the churchyard, near the south entrance, is a stone placed flat in the ground, which appears to have been part of an ancient cross, carved with knots and other devices it is about six feet in length, and is said to have been placed there by Morgan, who removed it also from the " Great House." On the north side of the church also in the churchyard, is a curious stone called St. Illtyd's Cross, noticed by Gough, in his Additions to Camden, which was erected in the sixth century, in honour of that saint, by Archbishop Samson : on the western side of it is inscribed, in the several compartments, " Crux Iltuti," " Samson redis, " and " Samuel egisar," for excisor, Samuel being the name of the sculptor ; and on the eastern side is " Samson posuit hanc crucem pro anmia (instead of anima) ejus:" this stone is elaborately carved, and was once the pedestal of a cross ; its height above the ground is six feet three inches, and its breadth is two feet six inches at the bottom, and one foot ten inches at the top. A very curious monumental stone, forming originally the shaft of a cross, which anciently stood near the porch of the church, and which, on the interment of a corpse of extraordinary size, having been undermined in digging the grave, fell down upon the coffin, and was covered with earth in filling up the grave, was, in 1789, discovered by Mr. Edward Williams, who was led to search for it by a traditional story relating to it, at that time current in the neighbourhood. This stone, which is nine feet in height, two feet four inches broad at the base, and one foot seven inches at the upper end, and about one foot three inches in thickness, bears the following inscription: " In nomine Di Summi incipit crux Salvatoris, quae preparavit Samsoni Apati pro anima sua et pro anima Juthahelo rex et Artmali Tegat crux me:" it appears, from the old register of Llandaf, that Juthahel, King of Glamorgan, and Artmael, King of Gwent, bestowed lands and conferred great privileges on the churches of St. Illtyd. This ancient stone must have been buried before the continuator of Camden copied the inscriptions on St. Illtyd's monument, as he makes no mention of it, which he doubtless would have done had it been then visible. After it had been raised out of the grave, in 1789, it lay on the ground till 1793, when Mr. Williams obtained assistance and placed it in an erect position against the east side of the church porch. Close to the wall of the lower or old church is another stone worthy of notice, of a pyramidal form, about seven feet high, and curiously carved, having a deep groove on the inside, next the wall : it has been supposed to have formed part of a heathen altar, but how or for what purpose it was placed there has not been satisfactorily explained.
About the year 1705, a daughter of Evan Seys, Esq., bequeathed £600 to be invested in land, and the rents to be paid to a minister for preaching a sermon every Sunday evening in the parish church ; or, in the event of his not being permitted to do so in this parish, the bequest to be transferred to the parish of Eglwys-Brewis, in this county. Mrs. Margaret Seys bequeathed also £200, directing the interest to be applied to teaching ten poor children, and apprenticing one poor boy. Robert Powel, in 1726, bequeathed some land ; and there are some other small donations and bequests to the poor of this parish.
About a mile and a half from the village of Boverton, on the lofty cliffs overhanging the Bristol channel, are the remains of two Roman camps : that on the eastern cliff, which defends one side of the valley of Colhugh, is called the " Castle Ditches ;" it is a very strong post, accessible on one side only : the other, which is also upon the sea-coast, is about two miles distant from Castle Ditches, and about the same distance from Boverton. In many of the gardens and small enclosures at this place, and in its vicinity, human skeletons have been discovered, and Roman coins dug up : of the latter, several were found in November 1798, which were sold to the Rev. Robert Nicholl and others ; those in the possession of that gentleman are chiefly coins of Nero, Vespasian, Domitian, Nerva, Trajan, Adrian, Antoninus Pius, and other Roman emperors : they were found by some labourers employed in filling up an old quarry not far from Eglwys-Brewis, near Boverton, and are of silver.
There are still several remains of the ancient collegiate buildings in different parts of the parish : the house in connexion with the rectorial tithes, which were severed from the monastery of Iltutus by Robert Fitz-Hamon, is still a respectable edifice, with hanging gardens descending towards the church, and having several spacious rooms, which have been generally occupied by the parish schoolmaster, and are capable of contaiuing some hundreds of persons.
The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor amounts to £653. 12."1/2, at 2s. per acre. It is 5 m. S. b. W. from Cowbridge. This Parish contains 4516 acres of inclosed Land. The Market is holden on Friday. The Fair is on the 23d of June, for horned Cattle, Sheep, and especially Lambs.
The Rev. ROBERT NICHOLL, A. M., of Dimland House, Chaplain to The Marquis of Bute, in the kindest manner adds,
" Lantwit Major, is a large, populous Village, or rather dilapidated Town, within a mile and a half of the Bristol Channel. It is situate in a pleasant, healthy Country upon strata of blue Lime-stone, covered by a rich clayey mould, and is surrounded by some of the finest Pasturage, and the best Tillage land in South Wales. The Church, a large Pile of Building, is, with few exceptions, the most ancient in Great Britain, having been built about the year 508. The Vicarage is of no great value, some of the Vicarial Tythes having been taken from it. Its Revenues were, however, once very considerable, and supported not only the Monastery with which it was connected, but also the establishment of a great Seminary of Learning. It appears from Tanner's Notitia, that Fitzhamon removed the Monastery of Lantwit to Tewkesbury, in the County of Gloucester, and that when that Abbey was dissolved, King Henry the Eighth annexed its Revenues to the See of Gloucester. Thus it happened, that the Impropriate Tythes of Lantwit belong to the Dean and Chapter of that Cathedral. Near this Place (and most probably at Boverton, a Village about a mile distant to the South East) was the Bovium of Antoninus, a Roman Station, through which the great Road, called the Julia Strata, passed in the reign of the Emperor Vespasian. In this Neighbourhood many Roman Coins have been discovered; and especially, on the 2d of November 1798, in a Field between Eglwys Brewis and St. Athan, by the Servants of Mr.William Davis, while they were filling their Carts with earth, to convey it to an adjoining field for the purposes of Agriculture: they lay in the ground promiscuously, about 18 inches deep: and 30 of them, of fine silver, in high relief and excellent preservation, are now in my possession. A further proof of the Antiquity of Boverton is, that the King of the Country, according to the Liber Landavensis, resided and kept his Court there, in the latter end of the Fifth Century, before St. Illtyd first visited Britain : and though this Village is far inferior to Lantwit in extent and population, yet Boverton, in all ancient writings, has obtained the pre-eminence, and gives a title to the Manor, which is stiled to this day in the Manorial Court Rolls, The Lordship of Boviarton and Lantwit. About a mile and a half from the Village of Boverton, by the sea shore, on the lofty cliffs commanding the Bristol Channel, are two Roman Camps: one of them, upon the Eastern Cliff which defends one side of Colhugh Valley, is known by the name of The Castle Ditches: it is a strong situation, being accessible on one side only: the other encampment, about two miles from hence, is also upon the Sea-coast, and about the same distance from Boverton. That Lantwit received its name from St. Illtyd is universally admitted; and that it continued to flourish many years after him, there can be no doubt. The many broad and direct Roads, leading towards Lantwit Major, and which like the Radii of a Wheel terminate and concentrate there; the numerous Streets and Lanes, which are still to be seen intersecting each other, like those of our largest Cities, and still retaining their ancient Names; the extraordinary size of its Church, and the Church-yard surrounding it; and the number of Human Skulls, which, from time to time, have been dug up in the Gardens and Fields adjoining, when fresh Land has been broken up for the purposes of Tillage, prove it to have been a place of much consequence and of great population: and History and Tradition bear testimony to the fact. The Town-Hall still remains, where justice was formerly administered. The Gaol was demolished, only a very few years ago: but the name of The Gallows-way is still retained, in the Road where executions were usually conducted, and where skeletons have from time to time been discovered. It formerly traded with the Somersetshire Coast, and the Dialect of that County was prevalent here within the memory of man. For, near this place, is the ancient Port of Colhugh, formerly Colhow, where Vessels came in for protection in the reign of King Henry the Eighth. But so great are the changes which time has produced upon this Coast, that Colhugh is now avoided by Mariners as Sylla and Charybdis were by the Trojan Fleet. However, the ancient remains of the Harbour may yet be traced, although the Sea has made such vast encroachments here; the foundation of the Pier and the piles of wood which formed its defence on the Western side, being still visible at low water. The Seminary at Lantwit flourished so much under the care and protection of Llan Illtyd, that Scholars flocked to him from every quarter, and most of the British Nobility and Sons of Foreign Princes received their education here. His Pupils are said to have exceeded 2000 in number, who had Four Hundred Houses, and Seven Halls: and many of them made a figure in the world, but particularly Gildas, the Historian; David, who removed the Episcopal See from Caerleon to St. David's, in the County of Pembroke; Paulinus, or, Paul, Bishop of Leon, in Spain; Samson, successor to St. David, and afterwards Archbishop of Dol, in Britany; Talhaiarn, a celebrated Bard and a distinguished Saint; and also, the famous Taliesin, received their education here. The ruins and remains of the School-house are to he seen at this day in a Garden, on the North side of the Church-yard ; and the Monastery, Halls, and Buildings thereunto belonging, stood in a Field upon what is termed The Hill-Head, on the North side of the Tythe Barn. The Chantry House (now converted into a Barn) is situated in the Church-yard, nearly opposite to the Church Porch and there are the remains of several ancient Buildings still visible in several parts of the Town. The ascent to the Town-Hall, which is still perfect, is by two flights of steps, and the room above is very spacious: the upper part is raised above the lower, like the Halls in our Universities; and a Table ran from wall to wall, having seats all round, which were in good preservation a few years ago: over the Town-Hall is a Bell upon which the Clock strikes, said to have been presented to St. Illtyd by one of the Popes of Rome, and concerning which Holinshed in his Chronicles, vol. I. p. 131, has given us a superstitious story. The House belonging to the Rectorial Tythes, which were severed from this Monastery by Robert Fitzhamon, is still a respectable Building, having hanging Gardens descending towards the Church: there are within several spacious rooms, which have usually been occupied by the Parish Schoolmaster, and are capable of containing several hundreds of persons. There are two Churches at Lantwit Major, contiguous to each other, being separated by the Belfry and Tower containing six harmonious Bells, which for sweetness of tone were scarcely ever surpassed. The most Western Building, or, Old Church, is said to have been deserted, on account of its damp situation: but, as the situation does not, upon examination, appear objectionable in this respect, the New church must have been erected from some other cause. Below the Old Church is an ancient Building, called The Lady's Chapel, which is now almost entirely dilapidated. A Door opened into it from the Old Church, and there are some figures or busts of Saints still to be seen against the Walls, or, at least, the place where they stood; for, a great part of the Walls have lately tumbled in, and I have not been within them for several years. The New Church contains three Aisles: it has a handsome Altar-piece, and is capable of holding a very large Congregation.
The dimensions of these Buildings are, as follow:The Church and Chancel 98 feet long, and 53 ft. broad, including the two Aisles.
The Old Church . . . 64 1/2 long.
The Lady's Chapel . . 40 1/2 long.
The length of the three Buildings, adjoining each other . . . 203 feet.
In Bishop Gibson's edition of Camden's Britannia, is a description of the two curious Monuments on the North side of the Church. There are also in the middle of the Old Church two curious Monumental stones, lying side by side and touching each other, and which, according to Tradition, were brought thither about the year 1730, by Mr. Thomas Morgan, who was Schoolmaster and Parish Clerk here at that time, from a place, called The Great House, where it is said a Church formerly stood. In the Vestry (a room behind the altar) there is a gigantic figure of a Man, in the dress of Henry the Eighth's reign, with an English Inscription, importing it to be the Statue of Prince Richard Hopkins: it is of a whitish kind of free stone, like that which is dug near the river side at Bridgend, in this County: it is a laboured piece, and well finished, but is imperfect at the bottom ; of all these Monuments there is a further description, accompanied with plates, in the Archaeologia, vol.VI. p. 22. et. seq. Near Hopkins's Statue is the Bust of a Child, cut in high relief. And near the Altar is another rude figure of a person kneeling, and much in the same dress as Hopkins's: this figure has two small columns, one on each side of it, and just fits a niche, where seemingly was also a Bason for the Holy Water, but which is now covered over with Lime. In the Church-yard, on the South side of the Church, near the lower Door, is a stone which lies flat on the ground: this appears to have been part of an ancient Cross, its length being about six feet: it is also said to have been brought thither by Mr. Thomas Morgan, from The Great House: And is likewise described in the Archaeologia. Another stone rudely worked, but without any letters upon it, lies by the South Door of the Church, on the left hand side as you enter. It is about 4 feet long, and has four sides which are nearly parallel and of equal dimensions. I shall now conclude this account of the Antiquities of Lantwit Major, with a description of a very curious Monumental Cross hitherto unnoticed by any Antiquary; it having been but lately discovered, after lying for ages under ground. It was not visible when the learned Mr. Lhuyd wrote his continuation of Camden's Britannia, and, perhaps, would have remained so to the end of time, had it not been for the exertions of Mr. Edward Williams (the self-taught Genius and Antiquary of Wales), who, led by Traditional History, undertook the arduous Task of raising this immense stone, which, with the help of twelve strong men, he accomplished; taking up out of the earth, and erecting it against the Wall of the Church Porch, in the place where it originally stood, on the 30th of August 1793. But, it may not be improper to give his own account of this discovery, and of the circumstances which led to it, since it affords a proof; among many others, that Traditional History is not to be discredited when it contains nothing improbable, or that is not repugnant to common sense.-
"In the Summer of 1789, I dug out of the ground in Lantwit church-yard, a large Monumental stone. It is the Shaft of a Cross; and its history affords a remarkable instance of the fidelity of popular Tradition. About forty years ago, one Richard Purten, then living at Lanmaes juxta Lantwit, though only a Shoemaker, was more intelligent than most of his class. He had read History more than many, was something of an Antiquary, and had stored his memory with a number of interesting popular Traditions. I was then about twelve or fourteen years of Age, and, like him, fond of History and Antiquities. He one day showed me a spot on the East side of the Porch of the Old Church at Lantwit, where he said a large Monumental Stone lay buried in the ground, with an Inscription on it to the Memory of two Kings. The Tradition of the accident, which buried it in the ground, he gave, as follows.-Long before the memory of the oldest person he ever knew (for the knowledge of it was only Traditional), there was a young man at Lantwit, called Will the Giant. He, at seventeen years of age, was 7 feet 7 inches high: but, as is usual in premature and supernatural growth, he fell into a decline, of which, at that age, he died. He had expressed a desire to he buried near the Monumental Stone, which stood by the Church Porch: his wish was complied with: the grave was dug much larger than graves usually are, so that one end of it extended to the foot of the stone that was fixed in the ground. Just as the Corpse had been laid in the ground, the stone gave way and fell into the grave. Some had a narrow escape for their lives. But, as the Stone was so large as not to be easily removed, it was left there covered over with earth.
-After I had heard this Traditional account, I had a great desire to dig for this Stone, and many times endeavoured to engage the attention of several and their assistance, but my idea was always treated with ridicule. In the year 1789, being at work in Lantwit Church, and being one day unable to go on with my business (a Stone-cutter by trade) for want of assistance (it being the very height of Corn-harvest, and not a man to be found), I employed a great part of the day in digging in search of this stone, and found it. I cleared away all the earth about it. Christopher Wilkins and the late Mr. David Jones (two very respectable Farmers) on seeing this stone, ordered their men to assist me; and we, with great difficulty, got it out of the ground, and on it we found the following Inscription:In nomine Di summi incipit crux Salvatoris quae preparavit Samsoni Apati (i. e. Abbati) pro anima sua et pro anima Juthahelo rex et Artmali. Tegat crux me.
Thus translated,In the Name of the Most High God the Cross of our Saviour begins,-which the King has erected to the Memory of Sampson the Abbot and to Juthahel and Artmael for the sake of their Souls. May the Cross protect me, -
N.B. It appears from the old Register at Landaff, that Juthahel, King of Glamorgan, and Artmael, King of Gwent (Monmouthshire), bestowed Lands and Privileges very liberally on the Churches of St. Illtyd.
The Dimensions of this Stone are, as follow:
Height, 9 feet.
Breadth, 1 foot 7 inches at the top, and 2 feet 4 inches at the bottom.
Thickness, 1 foot 3 inches.
It is of durable silicious Freestone.
It lay on the ground where it had been raised out of the Grave, till the 28th of August 1793, when I found assistance to erect it against the East side of the Church Porch, where it now stands. It must have been buried in the ground before the Continuator of Camden took a copy of the Inscriptions on St. Illtyd's Monument, &c., otherwise he would certainly have copied this also: as he would the old Stone, placed by Mr. Thomas Morgan before the Church door, had it then been there." "
[Last Updated : 29 Jan 2005 - Gareth Hicks]