« PreviousContinue »
no opportunity of determining whether this can lay claim to being a bilingual inscription ; but, as in the case of the Kenfegge stone, the Roman inscription reads from the top downwards, the Ogham from the bottom upwards, leaving, as is the case in all Irish examples, a space at the foot of the monuments to be fixed in the ground.
The inscribed stone at the Abbey of St. Dogmael's, near Cardigan, was known to Edward Lhwyd, as a sketch of it by that antiquary was seen at Oxford in 1859, by Mr. Longueville Jones, who states that he (Lhwyd) " had also remarked some of the notches on its edge, and had recorded a few in his drawing, but had not said anything about them in any of his notes. (Archeologia Cambrensis, vi, third series, p. 128). Its introduction to the notice of the learned as an Ogham monument is, however, due to the gentleman above named in a communication to the Archeologia Cambrensis, third series, vi, p. 128. Mr. Longueville Jones thus describes the monument.
“Within the precincts of the abbey of St. Dogmael's, near Cardigan, is preserved a long narrow slab of porphyritic greenstone, such as is found on the ridge of the Preseleu hills, semi-columnar in form, and rhomboidal in section. It is about 7 feet in length, tapering upwards from rather more than 12 to 9 inches in breadth, with an average thickness of about seven inches. The surfaces are all smooth without any lichen adhering to them, and did not, like other stones of this kind from the same hills, offer the same appearance.
It might be supposed to have been once artificially polished. Such, however, is not the case. This peculiar kind of igneous rock does not decompose readily; its greenish base, and the dull white squarish crystals with which it is filled resisting the effects of the weather and of vegetation with remarkable pertinacity. The stone in question
is probably in as sound condition with certain exceptions as when it was first brought down from its native hills.
“ Stones of this kind are prized all over Pembrokeshire from the circumstances of their peculiar form and hardness making them useful as gate posts; every farmer is glad to get them from Preseleu, and the very stone of which we are now treating, shows by two holes drilled into its surface, that it has been made to do this piece of agricultural duty in worse times, archæologically speaking, than the present.
“Not only as a gate post, however, but also as a bridge has it been made serviceable to the daily wants of generations now dead and gone; for it was so used over a brook not far from its present locality, and had acquired a sort of preternatural reputation from the belief of the neighbourhood that a white lady glided over it constantly at the witching hour of midnight. It was fortunate, perhaps, that this should have been the case; for the superstitious feeling of the neighbours not only tended to preserve it from injury-no man nor woman touched it willingly after dark; but this very tradition, added to its peculiar form, probably led to its ultimate
“A gentleman who was lately the owner of the property on which St. Dogmael's Abbey stands, the Rev. H. J. Vincent, vicar of that parish, found the stone covered with a thick coat of whitewash in a wall adjoining his house, where it was perhaps placed after its removal from the brook. When the wall was taken down with the view of effecting some improvements, the stone fell and was unfortunately broken in two; it was then carefully conveyed to the spot where it now rests. Before it fell its inscribed face and edge were uninjured. Luckily, they had been turned downwards by whoever placed it in ignorance of its value across the brook.”
This pillar stone exhibits on one of its broader faces an inscription in fine Roman characters of a pure and early type, as follows:
SAGRANI FILI CVNOTAMI.
In reference to this inscription Mr. J. O. Westwood writes as follows:
“ The Latin portion of the Sagranus inscription offers but few peculiarities. It is entirely composed of Roman letters of a rather narrow form, varying in height, some on the upper line being nearly six inches high ; those forming the word Fili, in their much narrower form, in the bars of the F appearing on the left side of the upright stroke, in the upper bar being rather oblique with the end elevated, and in the upper stroke of the L elevated a little above the adjoining letters, approach the rustic form. The first letter s is ill-formed, with the lower half larger than the upper, agreeing in this respect with the initial s in the Paulinus inscription, published in this Journal, ii, third series,
The third letter, G, formed of a semi-circle, with a short oblique tail, scarcely extending below the line; and the m in the second line, with the first and last strokes splaying outwards, are the only ones which offer any peculiarity, and in these respects they agree with many of the oldest Roman monuments.
“Hence weré we not guided by the formula, the comparative rudeness of the letters, and the fact of the inscription being carved lengthwise along the stone, we might refer this inscription to the Roman period, so complete is the absence of those minuscule forms of letters which occur in most of the Welsh inscriptions, and of which an instance may be seen in the Euolenus stone, ante, p. 56, and which indicate a later period, when as in most of the Glamorganshire stones, scarcely any of the letters retained the capital Roman "form. Under these circumstances I think we are warranted in assigning a date to the present inscription not long after the departure of the Romans, whilst the writings still remained unmodified by a communion with the Irish or Anglo-Saxon scribes." (Archæologia Cambrensis, third series, vol. vi, pp. 128, 136)
The Ogham inscription occupies, as usual, the left angle on the same face as the Roman, commencing about