Britannia, by William Camden


Morganwg Gwlad Vorganwg Mor

Big T Glamorgan, whence so called.THE farthest County of the Silures seems to be that which we call Glamorganshire, and the Britains Morgànwg, Gwlâd Morgan, and Gwlâd Vorgànwg, which signifies the County of Morgnwg. It was so call’d (as most imagin) from Morgan a Prince; or (as others suppose) from an Abbey of that name. But if I should deduce it from the British Môr, which signifies the Sea, I know not whether I should deviate from the Truth. However, I have observ’d that Maritime Town of Armorica, which we now call Morlais, to have been call’d by Ptolemy and the ancient Gauls Vorganium, or Morganium (for the Consonants M and V are often counterchanged in this language:) and whence shall we suppose it so denominated, but from the Sea? And this our Morgànwg also is altogether Maritime; being a long narrow Country, wholly washed on the South-side by the Severn-Sea. As for the inner part of it, it is border’d on the East with Monmouthshire, on the North with Brecknockshire, and on the West with Kaermardhinshire.

On the North, it is very rugged with Mountains, which, as they come nearer the South, are by degrees more fit for Tillage; at the bottom whereof we have a spacious Vale or Plain open to the South-Sun; a situation which Cato prefer’d to all others, and for which Pliny doth so much commend Italy. For this part of the Country is exceeding pleasant, both in regard of the fertility of the Soil, and the number of Towns and Villages.Kadivor Caerdiffe

In the reign ofThe Conquest of Glamorgan­shire. William Rufus, Jestin ap Gwrgant Lord of this Country, having revolted from his natural Prince Rhys ap Tewdwr, and being too weak to maintain his Rebellion, did very unadvisedly, which he too late repented, call to his assistance (by the mediation of Enion ap Kadîvor a Nobleman, who had married his daughter) Robert Fitz-HaimonRobert Fitz-Haimon. a Norman, son of Haimon Dentatus Earl of Corboil. Who forthwith levied an Army of choice Soldiers, and taking to his assistance12 Knights. twelve Knights as Adventurers in this Enterprize, first gave Rhys battle, and slew him; and afterwards being allur’d with the fertility of the Country, which he had before conceiv’d sure hopes to be Lord of, turning his Forces against Jestin himself, for that he had not kept his Articles with Enion, he soon deprived him of the Inheritance of his Ancestors, and divided the Country amongst his Partners. The barren Mountains he granted to Enion; but the fertile Plains he divided amongst these twelve Associates (whom he called Peers) and himself; on this condition, that they should hold their Land in Fee and Vassalage of him as their chief Lord, to assist each other in common; and that each of them should defend his station in his Castle of Caèrdiffe,Caèrdiffe. and attend him in his Court for the administration of Justice. It may not perhaps be foreign to our purpose, if we add their names out of a Book written on this subject, either by Sir Edward Stradling, or Sir Edward Maunsel (for it is ascribed to both of them) both being very well skill’d in Genealogy and Antiquities.

William of London, or de Londres.
Richard Granvil.
Pain Turbervil.
Oliver St. John.
Robert de St. Quintin.
Roger Bekeroul.
William Easterling
(so called, for that he was descended from Germany) whose Posterity were call’d Stradlings.
Gilbert Humfranvil.
Richard Siward.
John Flemming.
Peter Soore.
Reginald Sully

The river Rhymny, coming down from the Mountains, makes the Eastern limit of this County, whereby it is divided from Monmouthshire; and in the British, * * Rhannu.Remny signifies to divide. In a Moorish bottom, not far from this river, where it runs through places scarce passable, among the hills, are seen the ruinous Walls of Caer-phily-castle,Caerphily-castle. which has been of that vast magnitude, and such an admirable structure, that most affirm it to have been a Roman Garrison; nor shall I deny it, though I cannot yet discover by what name they called it. However, it should seem to have been re-edified; in regard it has a Chapel built after the Christian manner, as I was informed by the learned and judicious Mr. J. Sanford, who took an accurate survey of it. It was once the possession of the Clares Earls of Glocester; but we find no mention of it in our Annals, till the reign of Edward the second. For at that time, the Spensers having by under-hand practices set the King and Queen and the Barons at variance, we read that Hugolin Spenser was a long time besieged in this Castle, but without success. ⌈It is probably the noblest ruin of ancient Architecture now remaining in Britain. For in the judgment of some curious persons, who have seen and compared it with the most noted Castles of England, it exceeds all in bigness, except that of Windsor. That place which Mr. Sanford call’d a Chapel, was probably the same with that which the neighbouring Inhabitants call the Hall. It is a stately room about seventy foot in length, thirty four in breadth, and seventeen in height. On the south-side we ascend to it by a direct Stair-case, about eight foot wide; the roof whereof is vaulted and supported with twenty arches, which are still gradually higher as you ascend. The entry out of this Stair-case, is not into the middle, but somewhat nearer to the West-end of the room; and opposite to it on the North-side, there is a Chimney about ten foot wide. On the same side there are four stately windows (if so we may suppose them) two on each side the chimney, of the fashion of Church-windows, but that they are continued down to the very floor, and reach up higher, than the height of this room is supposed to have been; so that the room above this Chapel, or Hall, had some part of the benefit of them. The sides of these windows are adorn’d with certain three-leav’d knobs or husks, having a fruit or small round ball in the midst. On the walls, on each side the room, are seven triangular pillars, like the shafts of Candlesticks, placed at equal distance. From the floor to the bottom of these pillars, may be about twelve foot and a half; and their height or length seem’d above four foot. Each of these pillars is supported with three Busts, or heads and breasts, which vary alternately. For whereas the first (for instance) is supported with the head and breast of an ancient bearded man and two young faces on each side, all with dishevel’d hair; the next shews the face and breasts of a woman with two lesser faces also on each side, the middlemost or biggest having a cloth tied under the chin and about the forehead; the lesser two having also forehead-cloths, but none under the chin, all with braided locks. The use of these pillars seems to have been, for supporting the beams; but there are also on the south-side six Grooves or chanels in the wall at equal distance, which are about nine inches wide, and eight or nine foot high: four whereof are continued from the tops of the pillars; but the two middlemost are about the middle space between the pillars, and come down lower than the rest, having neat stones jutting out at the bottom, as if intended to support something placed in the hollow Grooves. On the north-side, near the east-end, there is a door about eight foot high; which leads into a spacious Green about seventy yards long and forty broad. At the east-end there are two low-arch’d doors, within a yard of each other; and there was a third near the south-side, but much larger; and another opposite to that on the west-end. The reason why I have been thus particular, is, that such as have been curious in observing ancient buildings, might the better discern whether this room was once a Chapel or Hall, &c. and also in some measure judge of the Antiquity of the place; which as far as I could hitherto be inform’d, is beyond the reach of History.

That this Castle was originally built by the Romans, seems indeed highly probable, when we consider its largeness and magnificence. Though at the same time we must acknowledge, that we have no other reason to conclude it Roman, but the stateliness of its structure. For whereas most or all Roman Cities and Forts of note, afford (in the revolution at least of fifty or sixty years) either Roman Inscriptions, Statues, Bricks, Coyns, Arms, or other Utensils; I could not find, upon diligent enquiry, that any of their Monuments were ever discover’d here. I have indeed two Coyns found at this Castle; one of silver, which I receiv’d, amongst many greater favours, from the right worshipful Sir John Aubrey of Lhan Trydhyd, Baronet; and the other of brass, which I purchas’d at Kaer-phyli of the person that found it in the Castle. Neither of these are either Roman, Saxon, Danish, or Norman. That of silver is as broad as a Sixpence, but thinner, and exhibits on one side the image of our Saviour with this Inscription, unknown text and on the Reverse, two Persons with these Letters, unknown text This being compar’d with an account of a fairer Coin in the celebrated Collection of Mr. Thoresby of Leeds, appears to have been a Venetian piece. In that Coin, before the M, on the reverse, is S for Sanctus Marcus, whose figure is there, with a glory about the head; then follows the particular Doge’s name with DVX; besides the Banner, which is jointly supported by both. Upon the Reverse of some, are GLORIA, and upon others, LAVS TIBI SOLI. The brass Coyn is like the French pieces of the middle age, and shews on the obverse, a Prince crown’d, in a standing posture, holding a Scepter in his right hand, with this Inscription unknown text Ave Maria, &c. and on the Reverse a Cross floree with these Letters, unknown text Ave.BVLLAEVM bullaeum Bullaei hir

Taking it for granted that this place was of Roman foundation, I should be apt to conjecture (but that BVLLÆVM hath been hitherto placed in another County) that what we now call Kaer-phyli, was the Bullæum Silurum of the Romans. And if there was no other ground to place it at Bualht in Brecknockshire, but the affinity of the names, and the situation in the Country of the Silures; we also may urge, that the name of Caer-phyli comes as near Castrum Bullæi, as Bualht. For they who understand the British tongue, will readily allow, that Bullæum could not well be otherwise expressed in that language, than Kaer Vwl, Kaer Vul (which must be pronounced Kaer-Vyl) or, like some other names of places, from the genitive case, Kaer-Vyli. That this place was also in the Country of the Silures, is not controverted: and farther, that it has been a Roman garrison, is so likely, from the stately ruins still remaining, that most persons of Curiosity who have seen it, take it for granted. Whereas I cannot learn that any thing was ever discover’d at Bualht, that might argue it to have been inhabited by the Romans; much less a place of note in their time, as Bullæum Silurum must needs have been.

On a Mountain call’d Kevn Gelhi Gaer,Kevn Gelhi Gaer. not far from this Kaer-Phyli, in the way to March-nad y wayn; I observ’d (as it seem’d to me) a remarkable Monument, which may perhaps deserve the notice of the curious. It is well known by the name of Y maen hîr,Y maen hîr near Gelhi Gaer. and is a rude stone pillar of a kind of quadrangular form, about eight foot high; with this Inscription to be read downwards.


It stands not erect, but somewhat inclining; whether casually, or that it was so intended, is uncertain. Close at the bottom of it, on that side it inclines on, there is a small bank or intrenchment, inclosing a space of about six yards; and in the midst thereof a square Area, both which may be better delineated than describ’d.

The BankThe Bank.b The Bed or Area in the midst of it.
c The place where the Stone is erected.

I suppose, that in the bed or Area in the midst, a person has been inter’d; and that the Inscription must be read Tefroiti or Deffroiti; which is doubtless the same with the British proper name Dyvrod, expressed otherwise in Latin Dubrotus and perhaps Dubritius.⌉ Upon the river Rhymny also (tho’ the place is uncertain) Ninnius informs us, that Faustus a pious godly son of Vortigern a most wicked father, erected a stately Edifice. Where, with other devout men, he daily pray’d to God, that he would not punish him for the sins of his father, who, committing most abominable Incest, had begotten him on his own daughter; and that his father might at last seriously repent, and the Country be freed from the Saxon War.Tav

A little lower, Ptolemy places the mouth of Rhatostabius, or Rhatostibius,The mouth of Rhatostabius. a maim’d word for the British Traeth Tâv, which signifies the sandy Frith of the river Taf. For there the river Taf coming down from the Mountains, falls into the Sea at Lan-daf,Landaffe. that is, the Church on the river Taf, a small place seated in a bottom, but dignified with a Bishop’s See (in the Diocese whereof are one hundred fifty four Parishes) and adorn’d with a Cathedral, consecrated to St. Teiliau, Bishop thereof. Hist. Landavensis. This Church was then erected by the two Gallick Bishops Germanus and Lupus, when they had suppres’d the Pelagian Heresie which prevail’d so much in Britain: and Dubricius, a most devout man, was by them first prefer’d to the Bishoprick, to whom Meurick a British Prince granted all the Lands between the rivers Taf and Eli.dydh bach From hence Taf continues its course to Caerdiffe,Caerdiffe. in British Kaer Dŷdh ** Corruptly, I suppose, for Caer Dyv., a neat Town considering the Country, and a commodious Haven; fortified with Walls and a Castle by the Conqueror Fitz-Haimon, who made it both the Seat of War, and a Court of Justice. Where, besides a standing Army of choice Soldiers, the twelve Knights or Peers were oblig’d, each of them, to defend their several stations. Notwithstanding which, a few years after, one Ivor Bâch, a Britain who dwelt in the Mountains, a man of small stature, but of resolute courage, march’d hither with a band of Soldiers privately by night, and seiz’d the Castle, carrying away William Earl of Glocester, Fitz-Haimon’s grandson by a daughter, together with his wife and son, whom he detain’d prisoners till he had receiv’d satisfaction for all injuries. But how Robert Curthose,Robert Curthose Duke of Normandy. eldest son of William the Conqueror (a man in Martial Prowess but too adventurous and foolhardy) was deprived by his younger brothers of all hopes of succession to the Crown, and, being bereft of both his eyes, lived in this Castle till he became an old man; may be seen in our English Historians. Whereby we may also learn, That to be born of the Blood-royal, does not ensure to us either Liberty or Safety.

Scarce three miles from the mouth of the river Taf, in the very winding of the shore, there are two small, but very pleasant Islands, divided from each other, and also from the main Land, by a narrow Frith. The hithermost is call’d Sully,Sully so call’d perhaps from the Silures. from a Town opposite to it; to which Robert de Sully (whose share it was in the Division) is thought to have given name; though we may as well suppose he took his name from it. The farthest is call’d Barry, from St. Baruch who lies buried there; and as he gave name to the place, so the place afterwards gave sirname to its Proprietors. For that noble family of Viscount Barry in Ireland, had its name and original from thence. A remarkable Cave. In a maritim Rock of this Island, saith Giraldus, there is a narrow chink or cleft, to which if you put your ear, you shall perceive such a noise as if Smiths were at work there. For sometimes you hear the blowing of the bellows, at other times the strokes of the hammers; also the grinding of tools, the hissing noise of steel-gads, and fire burning in furnaces, &c. These sounds, I should suppose, might be occasion’d by the repercussion of the Sea-waters into these chinks, but that they are continu’d at low ebb when there is no water at all, as well as at the full tide. Nor was that place, which Clemens Alexandrinus mentions in the seventh Book of his Stromata, unlike to this. Historians inform us, that in the Isle of Britain there is a certain Cave at the root of a Mountain, and at the top of it a Cleft. Now when the wind blows into the Cave, and is reverberated therein, they hear at the chink the sound of several Cymbals; for the wind being driven back, makes much the greater noise.

The subterraneous noise at Barry-Island contradicted. ⌈But as to the subterraneous noises above-mention’d, whatsoever might be heard in this Island in Giraldus’s time; it is certain (not-withstanding many later writers have upon this authority taken it for granted) that at present there are no such sounds perceived here. A learned and ingenious Gentleman of this Country, upon this occasion writes thus: I was my self once upon the Island, in company with some inquisitive persons; and we sought over it where such noise might be heard. Upon failure, we consulted the neighbours, and I have since ask’d literate and knowing men who liv’d near the Island; who all own’d the tradition, but never knew it made out in fact. Either then that old Greek text is vanish’d, or the place is mistaken.

I shall offer upon this occasion what I think may divert you. You know there is in this chanel, a noted point of land, between the Nash-point in this County, and that of St. Govens in Pembrokeshire; call’d in the Maps and Charts Wormshead-point, for that it appears to the Sailers like a worm creeping, with its head erect. From the main land, it stretches a mile or better into the sea; and at half-flood, the Isthmus which joyns it to the shore is overflown; so that it becomes then a small Island. Toward the head it self, or that part which is farthest out in the Sea, there is a small cleft or crevise in the ground, into which if you throw a handful of dust or sand, it will be blown up back again into the air. But if you kneel or lie down, and lay your ears to it, you then hear distinctly the deep noise of a prodigious large bellows. The reason is obvious: for the reciprocal motion of the Sea, under the arch’d and rocky hollow of this Headland, or Promontory, makes an inspiration and expiration of the Air, through the cleft, and that alternately; and consequently the noise, as of a pair of bellows in motion. I have been twice there to observe it, and both times in the Summer-season, and in very calm weather. But I do believe a stormy sea would give not only the forementioned sound, but all the variety of the other noises ascrib’d to Barry; especially if we a little indulge our fancy, as they that make such comparisons generally do. The same, I doubt not, happens in other places upon the sea-shore, wherever a deep water, and rocky concave, with proper clefts for conveyance, do concur: in Sicily especially, where are moreover fire and sulphur for the Bellows to work upon; and chimneys in those Vulcano’s to carry off the smoak. But now that this Wormshead should be the intended Isle of Barry, may seem very uncouth. Here I consider, that Burry is the most remarkable river (next that of Swansy) for trade, in all Gower; and its Ostium is close by Wormshead, so that whoever sails to the North-east of Wormshead, is said to sail for the river of Burry. Wormshead again is but a late name; but that of Burry immemorial. Now he that had a mind to be critical, might infer, either that Wormshead was of old call’d the Island of Burry; or, at least, That before the name of Wormshead was in being, the report concerning these noises might run thus; that near Burry, or as you sail into Burry, there is an Island, where there is a cleft in the ground, to which if you lay your ear, you’ll hear such and such noises. And Barry, for Burry, is a very easie mistake, &c.⌉

Beyond these Inlands the shore is continued directly westward, receiving only one river; upon which (a little more within the land) lies Cowbridge,Cowbridge. call’d by the Britains, from the Stone-bridge, y Bont vaen. It is a Market-town, and the second of those three which the Conqueror Fitz-Haimon reserv’d for himself. In regard Antoninus places the City BoviumBovium. (which is also corruptly call’d Bomium) in this tract, and at this distance from Isca, I flatter’d my self once with an Imagination that this must be Bovium. But seeing that at three miles distance from this Town we find Boverton, which agrees exactly with Bovium, I could not, without injury to truth, seek for Bovium elsewhere. Nor is it a new thing, that places should receive their names from Oxen; as we find by the Thracian Bosphorus, the Bovianum of the Samnites, and Bauli in Italy, so called quasi Boalia, if we may credit Symmachus.Nedh But let this one argument serve for all: Fifteen miles from Bovium, Antoninus, using also a Latin name, hath placed Nidum, which our Antiquaries have a long time search’d for in vain, and yet at the same distance we find NeathNeath. ⌈In British Nêdh⌉ a Town of considerable note, retaining still its ancient name almost entire. From Sir J. Stradling. Moreover, we may observe here, at Lantwit or St. Iltut’s, a village adjoyning, the foundations of many buildings; and formerly it had several streets. ⌈In the Church-yard at Lantwit major,A Pyramidal carv’d Stone. or Lhan Ilhtud vawr, on the North-side of the Church, there are two stones erected, which seem to deserve our notice. The first is close by the Church-wall, and is of a pyramidal form, about seven foot in height. It is adorn’d with old British carving, such as may be seen on the pillars of crosses, in several parts of Wales. It is at three several places, and those at equal distance, encompass’d with three circles. From the lowest three circles to the ground, it is ingrail’d or indented; but elsewhere adorn’d with knots. The circumference of it at the three highest circles, is three foot and a half; at the middlemost, above four foot; and the lowest is about five. It has on one side, from the top (which seems to have been broken) to the bottom, a notable furrow or Canaliculus about four inches broad, and two in depth. Which I therefore noted particularly, because upon perusal of a Letter from the very learned and ingenious Dr. James Garden of Aberdeen, to Mr. J. Aubrey R. S. S. I found the Doctor had observ’d, that amongst their circular stone-monuments in Scotland (such as that at Rolrich, &c; in England) sometimes a stone or two is found with a cavity on the top of it, capable of a pint or two of liquor; and such a Groove or small chink as this I mention, continued downwards from this bason: so that whatever liquor is poured on the top, must run down this way. Whereupon he suggests, that supposing (as Mr. Aubrey does) such circular Monuments to have been Temples of the Druids, those stones might serve perhaps for their Libamina or liquid sacrifices. But although this stone agrees with those mention’d by Dr. Garden, in having a furrow or crany on one side; yet in regard of the carving, it differs much from such old Monuments; which are generally, if not always, very plain and rude: so that perhaps it never belong’d to such a circular Monument, but was erected on some other occasion. An Inscription. The other stone is also elaborately carv’d, and was once the shaft or Pedestal of a Cross. On the one side it hath an Inscription, shewing that one Samson set it up, pro anima ejus; and another on the opposite side, signifying also that Samson erected it to St. Iltutus or Ilhtyd; but that one Samuel was the Carver. These Inscriptions I thought worth the publishing, that the curious might have some light into the form of our Letters in the middle ages.forte AEmilianus

Inscription on shaft of a crossSamson posuit hanc crucem pro anima ejus.
Crux Iltuti.
Samson redis.
Samuel Egisar. Legendum fortè excisor.

Not far from Boverton, almost in the very creek or winding of the shore, stands St. Donat’sSt. Donat’s castle. castle, the habitation of the ancient and noble family of the Stradlings; near which have been dug-upRoman coins. several ancient Roman coins, but especially of the thirty Tyrants, and some of Æmilianus and Marius, which are very scarce. A little above this, the river OgmorOgmor River. makes its way into the Sea: it falls from the Mountains, and runs by Koetieu castle, the seat formerly of the Turbervils, afterwards of the Gamages, and after that (in right of his Lady) of Sir Robert Sidney Viscount L’Isle; and also by Ogmor-castle, which devolv’d from the family of the Londons, to the Dutchy of Lancaster.

“There is a remarkable SpringSandford’s Well. A Fountain ebbing and flowing contrary to the Sea. within a few miles of this place (as the learned Sir John Stradling told me by Letter) at a place call’d Newton, a small village on the west side of the river Ogmor, in a sandy plain about a hundred paces from the Severn shore. The water of it is not the clearest, but pure enough and fit for use: it never runs over; and such as would make use of it, must go down some steps. At full Sea, in Summer-time, you can scarce take up any water in a dish; but immediately when it ebbs, you may raise what quantity you please. The same inconstancy remains also in the winter; but is not so apparent by reason of the adventitious water, as well from frequent showers as subterraneous passages. This, several of the Inhabitants, who were persons of credit, had assur’d me of. However, being somewhat suspicous of common fame, as finding it often erroneous, I lately made one or two journeys to this sacred Spring; for I had some thoughts of communicating this to you. Being come thither, and staying about the third part of an hour (whilst the Severn flow’d, and none came to take up water) I observ’d that it sunk about three inches. Having left it, and returning not long after, I found the water risen above a foot. The diameter of the Well may be about six foot. Concerning which my Muse dictates these few lines;”

Te Nova-Villa fremens, odioso murmure Nympha
Inclamat Sabrina: soloque inimica propinquo,
Evomit infestas ructu violenter arenas.
Damna pari sentit vicinia sorte: sed illa
Fonticulum causata tuum. Quem virgo, legendo
Litus ad amplexus vocitat: latet ille vocatus
Antro, & luctatur contra. Namque æstus utrique est.
Continuo motu refluus, tamen ordine dispar.
Nympha fluit propius: Fons defluit. Illa recedit.
Iste redit. Sic livor inest & pugna perennis

Thee, Newton, Severn’s noisy Nymph pursues,
While unrestrain’d th’ impetuous torrent flows.
Her conqu’ring Surges waste thy hated Land,
And neighbouring fields are burden’d with the Sand.
But all the fault is on thy fountain laid,
Thy fountain courted by the amorous Maid.
Him, as she passeth on, with eager noise
She calls, in vain she calls, to mutual joys.
He flies as fast, and scorns the proffer’d love,
(For both with tides, and both with different move.)
The Nymph advanceth, strait the Fountain’s gone,
The Nymph retreats, and he returns as soon.
Thus eager Love still boils the restless stream,
And thus the cruel Spring still scorns the Virgin’s flame.

Polybius takes notice of suchAn ebbing and flowing fountain at Cadiz. a Fountain at Cadiz, and gives us this reason for it; viz. That the Air being depriv’d of its usual vent, returns inwards; by which means the veins of the Spring being stop’d, the water is kept back: and so, on the other hand, the water leaving the shore, those Veins or natural Aqueducts are freed from all obstruction; so that the water springs plentifully.

From hence, coasting along the shore, you come to Kynfyg, the Castle heretofore of Fitz-Haimon; and Margan,Margan. once a Monastery, founded by William Earl of Glocester, and now the Seat of the noble family of the Maunsels, Knights ⌈and Baronets; of whom, Sir Thomas Mansel was advanced by her Majesty Queen Anne to the honour of Baron Mansel of this place.⌉ Not far from Margan, on the top of a Hill call’d Mynydd Margan, is a Pillar of exceeding hard stone, erected for a Sepulchural Monument, of about four foot in height, and one in breadth; with an Inscription, which whoever happens to read, the ignorant common people of that neighbourhood affirm that he shall die soon after. Let the Reader therefore take heed what he does; for if he reads it, it is certain death!

Bodvocus hic jacit, filius Catotis, Irni Pronepvs, Eternali ve domau. i.e. Æternali in domo. Inscription on monument

⌈In old Inscriptions, we often find the Letter V where we use O, as here, Pronepvs for Pronepos ** Vide Reines. Syntagma Inscript. pag.932.: so that there was no necessity of inventing this character (made use of in the former editions) which, I presume, is such, as was never found in any Inscription.aeternae aeternalis In Reinesius, Syntag. Inscriptionum p.700, we find the Epitaph of one Boduacus, dug-up at Nimes in France. Whereupon he tells us, that the Roman name Betulius was chang’d by the Gauls into Boduacus. But it may seem equally probable, if not more likely, since we also find Bodvoc here; that it was a Gaulish or British name: and the name of the famous Queen of the Iceni, Boadicea, seems also to share in the same original. Sepulchres are in old Inscriptions often call’d Domus æternæ, but æternalis seems a barbarous word. The last words I read Æternali in Domo, for in that age Sepulchres were call’d † † Reines. p.716.Æternales Domus; or rather Æterna, according to that Dystich,

Docta Lyra grata, & gestu formosa puella,
Hic jacet
æterna Sabis humata domo.AEternali

The foregoing monument is to be seen at the same place at this day, exactly according to this new delineation thereof (which is much more accurate than the draughts in former Editions,) and is well known in this part of the Country by the name of y maen Lhythyrog.⌉Bedh archaeol Mando

Bewixt Margan and Kynfyg also, by the way-side, lies a stone about four foot long, with this Inscription:

Stone inscription pumpeius carantorius

Which the Welsh (as the Right Reverend the Bishop of Landaff, who sent me * * This is not the same, but more accurate.the Copy of it, informs me) by adding and changing some letters, do thus read and interpret; PVMRBVS CAR A’N TOPIVS. i.e. The five fingers of our friend or kinsman kill’d us. They suppose it to have been the Grave of Prince Morgan, from whom the Country receiv’d its name; who they say was kill’d eight hundred years before the Birth of our Saviour; but Antiquaries know, that these letters are of much later date.

⌈The Inscription is now in the same place, and is call’d by the common people Bêdh Morgan Morganwg,Bêdh Morgan Morganwg. viz. The Sepulchre of Prince Morgan: which (whatever gave occasion to it) is doubtless an erroneous tradition; it being no other than the tomb-stone of one Pompeius Carantorius, as plainly appears by the said Copy of it, which I transcrib’d from the stone. As for the word PvmpeiusVid. Archæol. Brit. Vol.1. p.17. col.2. for Pompeius, we have already observ’d, that in old Inscriptions the Letter V is frequently us’d for O. 

There is also another monument,Mândo y lygad yr ych. which seems more remarkable than either of these, at a place call’d Panwen Byrdhin, in the Parish of Kadokston or Lhan Gadok, about six miles above Neath. It is well known in that part of the County by the name of Maen dau Lygad yr ych, and is so call’d, from two small circular entrenchments, like cock-pits: one of which had lately in the midst of it a rude stone pillar, about three foot in height, with this Inscription, to be read downwards.


which we read Marci, (or rather perhaps memoriæ) Caritini filii Bericii. memoriae Areae But what seem’d to me most remarkable, were the round Areæ; having never seen, nor been inform’d of such places of Burial elsewhere. So that on first sight, my conjecture was, that this had happen’d on occasion of a Duel, each party having first prepar’d his place of interment: and that therefore there being no stone in the center of the other circle, this Inscription must have been the monument of the party slain. It has been lately remov’d a few paces out of the circle, and is now pitch’d on end, at a gate in the high-way. But that there never was more than one stone here, seems highly probable from the name Maen dau Lygad yr ych: whereas had there been more, this place, in all likelihood, had had the name of Meineu Lhygaid yr.

On a mountain call’d Mynydh Gelhi OnnenA Monument on Mynydh Gelhi Onnen. in the Parish of Lhan Gyvelach, I observ’d a Monument which stood lately in the midst of a small Karn or heap of stones, but is now thrown down and broken in three or four pieces; differing from all I have seen elsewhere. It was a flat stone, about three inches thick, two foot broad at bottom, and about five in height. The top of it is form’d as round as a wheel, and thence to the basis it becomes gradually broader. On one side it is carv’d with some art, but much more labour. The round head is adorn’d with a kind of flourishing cross, like a Garden-knot: below that, there is a man’s face and hands on each side; and thence, almost to the bottom, neat Fretwork; beneath which there are two feet, but as rude and ill-proportion’d (as are also the face and hands) as some Egyptian Hieroglyphick.

Not far from hence, within the same Parish, is Karn Lhechart,Karn Lhechart. a Monument that gives denomination to the Mountain on which it is erected. It is a circle of rude stones, which are somewhat of a flat form, such as we call Lhecheu, disorderly pitch’d in the ground, of about seventeen or eighteen yards diameter; the highest of which now standing, is not above a yard in height. It has but one entry into it, which is about four foot wide: and in the center of the Area, it has such a Cell or Hut, as is seen in several places of Wales, and call’d Kist vaen: one of which is describ’d in Brecknockshire, by the name of St. Iltyt’s Cell. This at Karn Lhechart is about six foot in length, and four foot wide, and has no top-stone now for a cover; but a very large one lies by, which seems to have slipt off.Gist Y Gîst vaen on a Mountain call’d Mynydhy Drymmeu by Neath, seems to have been also a Monument of this kind, but much less: and to differ from it, in that the Circle about it was Mason-work, as I was inform’d by a Gentleman who had often seen it whilst it stood; for at present there is nothing of it remaining. But these kinds of Monuments, which some ascribe to the Danes, and others suppose to have been erected by the Britains before the Roman Conquest, we shall have occasion to speak of more fully hereafter. Another Monument there is,Arthur’s stone in Gower. on a Mountain call’d Kevn bryn, in Gower, which may challenge a place also among such unaccountable Antiquities, as are beyond the reach of History; and of which the same worthy person that sent me his conjecture concerning the subterraneous noise in Barry-Island, gives the following account:ton tonne

As to the stones you mention, they are to be seen upon a jutting at the Northwest of Kevn bryn, the most noted Hill in Gower. They are put together by labour enough, but no great art, into a pile; and their fashion and positure is this: There is a vast unwrought stone (probably about twenty tun weight) supported by six or seven others that are not above four foot high, and these are set in a Circle, some on end, and some edge-wise, or side-long, to bear the great one up. They are all of them of the Lapis molaris kind, which is the natural stone of the Mountain. The great one is much diminish’d of what it has been in bulk, as having five tuns or more (by report) broke off it to make Mill-stones; so that I guess the stone originally to have been between twenty-five and thirty tuns in weight. The carriage, rearing, and placing of this massy rock, is plainly an effect of human industry and art; but the Pulleys and Levers, the force and skill by which it was done, are not so easily imagin’d. The common people call it Arthur’s stone; by a lift of vulgar imagination attributing to that Hero an extravagant size and strength. Under it is a Well, which (as the neighbourhood tell me) has a flux and reflux with the Sea; of the truth whereof I cannot as yet satisfy you, &c. There are divers Monuments of this kind in Wales, some of which we shall take notice of in other Counties. In Anglesey (where there are many of them) as also in some other places, they are call’d Krom-lecheu; a name deriv’d from Krwm, which signifies crooked or inclining; and lhech a flat stone: but of the name, more hereafter. It is generally suppos’d, they were places of burial; but I have not yet learn’d that ever any Bones or Urns were found by digging under any of them.⌉

From Margan the shore runs north-east, by Aber-Avon,Aber-Avon. a small market-town at the mouth of the river Avon (whence it takes its name,) to Neath, a river infamous for Quick-sands; upon which stands an ancient town of the same name, in Antonine’s Itinerary call’d Nidum.Nidum. Which, when Fitz-Haimon subdu’d this Country, fell in the division to Richard Granvil; who having built a Monastery under the Town, and consecrated his dividend to God and the Monks, return’d to a very plentiful estate he had in England.Gwyr Kynedhav

All the Country from Neath to the river Lochor,Lochor river. which is the western limit of this County,Brit. Lhychwr. is call’d by us Gower,Gower. by the Britains Gŵyr, and by Ninnius Guhir: where (as he tells us) the sons of Keian a Scot seated and distributed themselves, till they were driven out by Kynèdhav a British Prince. Tho. Walsingham. In the reign of King Henry the first, Henry Earl of Warwick subdu’d this Country of Gower; which afterwards by agreement betwixt Thomas Earl of Warwick and King Henry the second, devolv’d to the Crown. But King John bestow’dLib. Monast. Neth. 5 Reg. Joan. it on William de Breos, to be held by service of one Knight, for all service; and his heirs successively held it, till the time of Edward the second. For at that time William de Breos having sold it to several persons; that he might ingratiate himself with the King, deluded all others, and put Hugh Spenser in possession of it. And that, among others, was the cause why the Nobles became so exasperated against the Spensers, and so unadvisedly quitted their Allegiance to the King. It is now divided into East and West Gowerland. In East-Gowerland,East-Gower. the most noted town is Sweinsy,Swansey. so call’d by the English from Porpoises or Sea-hogs, and by the Britains Aber-Tawi (from the river Tawi, which runs by it;) which was fortify’d by Henry Earl of Warwick. But a more ancient place than this, is that upon the river Loghor,Loghor. which Antoninus calls Leucarum,Leucarum. and is at this day (retaining its ancient name) call’d Loghor ⌈in British Kas-Lychwr.⌉ Where, about the time of King Henry the first’s death, Howel ap Mredydh with a band of Mountaneers, surpriz’d and slew several Englishmen of quality. Beneath this, lies West-Gower,West-Gower. which (the Sea making Creeks on each side) is become a Peninsula; a place more noted for Corn, than for Towns, and celebrated heretofore for St. Kynedhav, who led here a solitary life; concerning whom, such as desire a farther account, may consult our Capgrave, who has sufficiently extoll’d his Miracles.

From the very first conquest of this Country,Lords of Glamorgan. the Clares and Spensers Earls of Glocester (who were lineally descended from Fitz-Haimon) were Lords of it. Afterwards, the Beauchamps, and one or two of the Nevils; and by a daughter of Nevil (descended also from the Spensers) it came to Richard the third King of England; and he being slain, it devolv’d to King Henry the seventh, who granted it to his uncle Gasper Duke of Bedford. He dying without issue, the King resum’d it into his own hands, and left it to his son Henry the eighth; whose son Edward the sixth sold most part of it to William Herbert, whom he had created Earl of Pembroke, and Baron of Caerdiffe.

Of the Off-spring of the twelve Knights before-mention’d, there remain now only in this County the Stradlings, a family very eminent for their many noble Ancestors; with the Turbervils, and some of the Flemmings, whereof the chiefest dwells at Flemmingstone, call’d now corruptly from them Flemston. But in England there remain the Lord St. John of Bletso, the Granvils in Devonshire, and the Siwards (as I am inform’d) in Somersetshire. The Issue-male of all the rest is long since extinct, and their Lands by daughters pass’d over to other families.

Edward SomersetEarls of Glamorgan. Lord Herbert of Chepstow, Ragland and Gower, obtain’d of King Charles the first the title of Earl of Glamorgan, his father the Lord Marquiss of Worcester being then alive; the Succession of which noble Family may be seen at the end of Worcestershire.⌉

Parishes in this County 118.

Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 13:06