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Margam Inscribed & Sculptured Stones

A Scheduled Monument in Margam, Neath Port Talbot (Castell-nedd Port Talbot)

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Latitude: 51.5633 / 51°33'47"N

Longitude: -3.7306 / 3°43'50"W

OS Eastings: 280139

OS Northings: 186350

OS Grid: SS801863

Mapcode National: GBR H6.DLCV

Mapcode Global: VH5H2.9Y4Z

Entry Name: Margam Inscribed & Sculptured Stones

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 2861

Cadw Legacy ID: GM011

Schedule Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Category: Cross

Period: Early Medieval

County: Neath Port Talbot (Castell-nedd Port Talbot)

Community: Margam

Traditional County: Glamorgan


Situated just to the north of the medieval Cistercian abbey church and its associated monastic ruins, the Margam stone collection is housed in a building which was once the village school. Twenty-eight stones have been gathered together, ranging in date from the 6th to the 17th centuries.

The earliest stone in the collection is the 6th century re-used Roman milestone. Although there was no Roman settlement at Margam, the site lay on the line of the Imperial post road running west from Caerleon (Isca) to Carmarthen (Moridunum). Milestones record repairs to the roads by emperors from Gordian III (AD 238-44) to Maximum Daia (AD 309-13). The milestone of Maximum was reused in the 6th century for the memorial of a local chieftain, one of three early Christian stones in the collection inscribed in Latin. They originally stood beside trackways or Roman roads. None comes from the site of the medieval abbey or from an early church.

The sculptured crosses in the Margam collection, dating from between the 9th and 11th centuries AD, come from the pre-Norman monastery at this site and from other early church sites in the area. The Conbelin Cross is the finest of the Glamorgan disc-headed crosses, with a sculptured hunting scene and figures of St John and St Mary. The Cross of Einion, also from Margam, is slightly earlier, and is similar to a cross of about 870 at nearby Llantwit Major. Many of these crosses carry the names of the people who made them, or in whose memory they were erected. The later 'cart-wheel' crosses, with their circular radiating heads, are another local type. Those of Ilci and Ilquici were found in the 19th century in use as a foot bridge on Cwrt Dafydd farm south of Margam.

The various stones at the upper gallery level date from the Middle Ages and later. They include five 13th century or 14th century grave slabs of abbots, including one of an abbot of Rievaulx in Yorkshire who may have retired, briefly, to Margam. They are probably from the abbey's chapter house, where it was customary to bury abbots at the time. There is also a 14th century effigy of a knight who must have been buried in the abbey church.

The core of the collection was brought together in the grounds of Margam Abbey in the late 19th century and moved to its present home in 1932.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of the organisation and practice of Christianity.

A cross may be part of a larger cluster of monuments and their importance can further enhanced by their group value.

The scheduled area comprises the remains described.

Source: Cadw

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