Ancient Monuments

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Eliseg's Pillar & Tumulus

A Scheduled Monument in Llantysilio, Denbighshire (Sir Ddinbych)

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Latitude: 52.9921 / 52°59'31"N

Longitude: -3.1892 / 3°11'21"W

OS Eastings: 320273

OS Northings: 344525

OS Grid: SJ202445

Mapcode National: GBR 6X.HKSY

Mapcode Global: WH783.Z2H0

Entry Name: Eliseg's Pillar & Tumulus

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 2928

Cadw Legacy ID: DE015

Schedule Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Category: Round barrow

Period: Prehistoric

County: Denbighshire (Sir Ddinbych)

Community: Llantysilio

Traditional County: Denbighshire


The monument comprises the remains of an early medieval inscribed cross set on top of a Bronze Age round barrow. The valley in which this monument is situated takes its name from the cross – Valle Crucis (‘Valley of the Cross’).

The barrow is circular, has a rounded profile and stands 1.8m in height. It is approximately 20m in diameter and was excavated during the 18th century when a burial and grave goods were removed. Excavations from 2010 have demonstrated the presence of a series of secondary cist burials inserted into the mound.

The Pillar of Eliseg stands 2.41m high, but its lower part is missing, the broken lower end having been inserted into the socket and the carved cross head is also absent. It stands in its original rectangular base-block, which rests on a stone rubble plinth.

The lower part of the shaft is rounded, though somewhat squared in section. At a height of c. 1.8m is a round collar, above which the shaft becomes square. The transition from round to square is marked by a roll moulding looped across each face, giving the surviving upper part the appearance of the capital of a column.

The original Latin inscription is cut into one of the rounded faces and was in at least 31 lines of capital letters. It is no longer legible but has been transcribed by antiquarians. It stated that the pillar was set up by Cyngen in honour of Eliseg, and then sets out a genealogy of the early kings of Powys. Each line consisted of around thirty letters and the text was divided into at least ten phrases, each beginning with an initial cross, though not necessarily on a new line. The following translation presents uncertain parts in brackets and personal names are modernised:

1. Cyngen son of Cadell, Cadell son of Brochwel, Brochwel son of Eliseg, Eliseg son of Gwylog. 2. Cyngen, therefore, the great-grandson of Eliseg, erected this stone in honour of his great-grandfather Eliseg. 3.

It was Eliseg who united the inheritance of Powys (laid waste for nine years) out of the hand of the English with fire and sword. 4.

Whosover shall read this writing, let him give a blessing for the soul of Eliseg. 5.

It was Cyngen (who his kingdom of Powys).... 6.

.... 7.

(Cadell) the great (ruler) of Britain (son of) Cattegirn, Pasgen, (Maugan held) the monarchy (after him). 8.

But Brydw was the son of Gwrtheyrn, whom Germanus blessed and who was borne to him by Severa, the daughter of Maximus the king, who slew the King of the Romans. 9.

Cynfarch painted this lettering at the command of his king, Cyngen. 10. The blessing of the lord be upon Cyngen and upon all his household and upon the whole land of Powys until (the Day of Judgement. Amen).

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of the organisation and practice of Christianity, specifically inscribed monuments. It still forms a prominent feature in the landscape and is fine example of an early medieval territorial marker re-using an earlier landscape feature. The barrow is a very rare lowland survivor of its class, probably preserved by the presence of the cross on its summit.

The scheduled area comprises the remains described and areas around them within.

Source: Cadw

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