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Caersws, and, as if anticipating the results (which have greatly strengthened its claims to pre-eminence), he writes, “ What is more likely than that having gained a victory on the spot, they should choose the scene of their glory as the one of all others most agreeable as a habitation of the colonists?”
With this passing allusion to the claims of Cefn Carnedd to be the site of this battle, and referring the reader to Mr. Davies' paper for an account of Caersws, I shall proceed to describe briefly the earthworks and some other ancient remains to be found in the cantref of Arwystli.
The Moat.—About a mile and a half to the south-east of the site of the Roman station at Caersws, and about half a mile to the south from the railway station at Moatlane Junction, lies the earthwork, styled on the ordnance map, a moat. This, perhaps, after Cefn Carnedd, is the most interesting of the outlying works in the vicinity of Caersws. It contains three distinct parts : the first, at the southern end, consists of a very high conical mound, rising some fifteen or sixteen yards above its surrounding fosse, and measuring 190 yards in circumference. On its summit is a level
which measures about 16 yards by 13. This mound has given rise to much conjecture relative to its age and object. There appears to be no doubt that it is of more modern construction than the rest of the camp, being apparently the site upon which the Welsh, after the departure of the Romans, erected one of their wooden castles. At present the mound is covered with trees.
It projects slightly on its northern side into an enclosure of rectangular form with its corners slightly rounded, which measured 70 yards from north to south, and 55 from east to west, and is surrounded by a strong rampart with an outer ditch. The space thus enclosed has been converted into an orchard, and to this fact we probably owe its preservation. The modern entrance was doubtless its ancient porta. The height of the agger above
1 Arch. Camb. for 1857, pp. 151-172.
the surface of the orchard is 5 feet, its breadth at the top 12 feet, its height above the surrounding fosse 15 feet. Adjoining this second part of the work is a second rectangular enclosure which is of much larger dimensions than the first, measuring no less than 200 yards from north to south, and 110 from east to west, its boundaries being marked by a modern ditch and fence. The ancient vallum is still in places broad and high, bearing on its eastern side some fine old oaks, the growth of centuries. This enclosure commands a view of Cefn Carnedd, the vales of the Severn and the Carno, and the entrenchment on Gwynfynydd Common. The farm and outbuildings marked on the accompanying plan as occupying the southern extremity of the enclosure, are not alluded to by Pennant, who visited the spot about the year 1780. The writer was at a loss to account for this apparent oversight, until he saw upon a stone inserted in one of the pine ends of the house, the initials D. K. (David Kinsey), accompanied by the date 1796. This camp, in all likelihood, was the Castra Æstiva of Caersws, and not the work on Cefn Carnedd, as was conjectured upon the occasion of the visit of the Association to the latter in 1866.
Upon the western side of the first enclosure is the field known as Rhos Ddiarbed, the traditional scene of a sanguinary battle at which no quarter was given. The tradition related by the late Mr. Davies, in his paper on Caersws, bears a strong resemblance to the legend of Estrildis and Gwendolene, as given by Geoffrey of Monmouth. Mr. Morgan, in his Venedotia and Cambrian History, has, with the assistance of old Oliver Matthews, given this tradition a “local habitation,” by establishing the palace of this primitive “Fair Rosamond” at Caersws! The same writer, without condescending to give us authorities for his facts, treats us to the following narrative in explanation of the appellation “ field of no quarter.'
“Here one hundred of the gens, or tribe of Conan of Meirionydd met by challenge to fight out a feud with the same
number of the gens of Gwion Benàrw of Ceredigion, no quarter to be given or asked by either party. The agreement was as far as it could be, observed. The two hundred fell either dead or so wounded as to be incapable of inflicting further injury on each other. Gwion being slain, his side was pronounced vanquished, and such of his followers as survived, his son included, were surrendered as prisoners to Conan, who, himself grievously disabled, was borne back on a litter to his hall at Penllyn on Bala Mere.”l
Mr. Morgan then proceeds to give an account of the manner in which the feud was healed by Gloinè or Galena, the daughter of Conan, falling in love with and marrying the son of her father's hereditary foe!
About three quarters of a mile to the east of the Junction Railway Station, is another fortified post, also marked on the ordnance map as a moat. It is situated on the grounds of Bron-felen, the residence of J. P. Davies, Esq., and consists of a small conical mound situated at the extremity of an elevated ridge or tongue of land divided into two by a fosse. Immediately in the rear of it is the high hill called Cefn Nith. This is supposed to have been an exploratory station in connexion with Caersws, its situation being admirably suited for this purpose.
Gwynfynydd Earthwork.–Upon the left bank of the Severn, about a mile to the north-east of Caersws, on the summit of Gwynfynydd Common, in close proximity to the Roman trackway leading to the north, is an entrenchment bounded by a single fosse and vallum. It is nearly circular in form, measuring ninety yards in its longer diameter, and about eighty-five in its shorter. Its position commands a view of the vale of the Severn and the lower portion of the valley of the Carno. This also is supposed to have been an outpost of Caersws, for it has been ascertained that the Romans made camps of this form as well as square or rectangular ones.
Cefn Carnedd.—This work has already been described more than once, so that it will only be necessary here
1 Venedotia, p. 84.