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Gael's Mead) of the Vestiges of the Gael in Gwynedel
, about 300 yards to the north of the mound mentioned in the last paragraph, are two other tumuli, situated about 80 yards distant from each other, on a ridge overlooking the Clywedog. In form and size they are very similar to those already described.]
Cefn-Cloddiau.—The Dinas was not the only work constructed to defend the approaches from the low grounds into the mountains, for at a distance of a mile and a-quarter to the north-west are the remains of another entrenched camp advantageously situated on a tongue of high ground which juts into the glen and commands the upper end of the Llawr-y-glyn valley. The best preserved portion of this work is in a field belonging to a tenement called Cefn Cloddiau (Ridge of the Ditches), the remainder is in an adjacent field belonging to the Pandy farm. The earthwork has been under cultivation from beyond the memory of the inhabitants of the vicinity, and so thoroughly has the plough done its work that it is impossible to trace accurately its design and extent. From its position it is natural to suppose it to have been constructed with a view to watching the Romans, whose trackway must have left the glen for the mountains at a point not far distant from here.
Remains on the Gribbin.-A little less than a mile to the north-west of Cefn-Cloddiau, upon the summit of a precipitous hill called the Gribbin, whose base is washed spectively Lluest-duallt (encampment on the dark ascent) and Lluestfedw (encampment of the birches). These names taken in conjunction, their being in the immediate vicinity of fortified posts and tumuli, seem to indicate that the spot was the scene of a struggle between contending thousands, whose shout gave the name to the meadow. It is quite possible that Mr. Jones's Gael were participators in the struggle.
1 The plateau alluded to is not the only unconsecrated burial-ground on these spurs of Plinlimmon, for at a distance of a quarter of a mile from the Dôl-gwyddyl tumuli, on the left bank of the Clywedog, near the little mountain hamlet of Staylittle, is situated the “quaker's garden," or cemetery of that sect. They had formerly a place of worship at Llanidloes. The burial-place consists of a square piece of ground measuring about twelve yards each way, enclosed by a rude stone wall, the graves being arranged in three parallel rows.
by the Taranon, are traces of entrenchments, which, however, are not of sufficient strength to be of much service for defence; they are more probably remains of ancient mining operations. Tradition states that the Romans worked lead mines in the neighbourhood of Llawr-y-glyn, and upon the opposite side of this very hill a vein of lead ore was discovered, and, to some extent, worked within the last few years. This fact confirms, in some degree, the truthfulness of the above conjecture.
The Roman Trackway and the Remains connected with it.—Mr. Hancock, in his paper “On the Roman Roads of Montgomeryshire,” which appeared in the volume published by the Association in 1848, p. 91, conjectured that the road leading from Caersws to Maglona went by Trefeglwys, but Mr. Longueville Jones, the late Mr. Davies, and others, have indicated its true course up the valley of the Carno, while that laid down on the Ordnance map, which trends in a westerly direction, passing the village of Trefeglwys a little to the north, appears to have been constructed for the purpose of connecting Caersws with the lead mines which were worked in the upper portion, and upon the borders of the parish of Trefeglwys. The roadway has been traced as far west as a field belonging to the Church House, situated about quarter of a mile to the north of Trefeglwys Church. This is the most westerly point at which the earth has been removed and the pavement which constitutes the upper layer of the road laid bare. Its breadth at this point is nearly six yards. It disappears in a boggy tract of land known as Sarn-y-glyn (Causeway of the glen) on the adjacent farm; and at a point a little further west its route is supposed to become identical with the present cartway leading from Trefeglwys to Llawr-y-glyn (Floor of the glen). Of the five erect stones which existed some thirty years ago in the vicinity of the village of Trefeglwys, and which are supposed to have some connection with the old causeway, two alone occupy their original position—those
described by Mr. Hancock, which are still to be found on the fields belonging to the Cyffiau and the Ffinant. Trefeglwys utilitarians have removed the one which formerly stood at the east end of the church, and have converted it into a post for the gate which opens into the churchyard. The stone upon Glangwden farm, described by Mr. Longueville Jones as a Maen Col(?), and that upon Talgarth farm have been removed and destroyed. The latter stone for some time resisted all efforts at its destruction, and only succumbed to powder. The attention of the energetic Secretary of the new club formed in Montgomeryshire has been called to the reckless destruction of these and similar historical relics, and it is to be hoped that the efforts made for their future preservation will prove successful.
Higher up the valley, about a mile and a-half to the west of Trefeglwys, on the grounds of Cil- Hlaul, are to be seen the remains of an old smelting-house similar to that mentioned by Mr. Davies as having been discovered at Caersws. Numerous small flakes of lead and large quantities of slag or dross were found among the cinders and débris scattered around the old furnace. One of Lewis Glyn Cothi's poems shows that the neighbouring hill, called the Forest, though now quite destitute of trees, was as late as the fifteenth century covered with wood. So that every facility existed here for the conversion of the ore, brought thither from the hills higher up the valley, into pigs for more convenient conveyance. That the Romans were stationed at this spot seems to be placed beyond a doubt by a most remarkable “find” of coins in close proximity to the old fur
In the year 1835 one of the horses of the farm, while scampering over the ground and kicking up the earth with his heels, disinterred an earthen vessel (which was unfortunately broken to pieces by the operation), filled with silver coins. Mrs. Bennet, the mother of the present occupant of the farm, kept them in a jug somewhat larger than a pint, which they nearly filled. When any visitor expressed an interest in the coins she used to
empty them out upon a table, and invite him to help himself to those he liked best. By this means they soon became scattered over the district. Mr. Bennet, of Glan-yr-avon, has in his possession what he conjectures to be a British coin, together with silver pieces of the following Cæsars : Julius, Vespasian, Domitian, Adrian, and Antoninus. These form a portion of the Cil-haul coins, and are, for the most part, in a good state of preservation. A bronze spear-head, about four and a-half inches long, has also been discovered on the Cil-haul grounds, which are only separated from the supposed route of the trackway by the small river Taranon, which presents no obstacles to its being crossed easily except when its bed is filled by a freshet.
The road quitted the glen about half-a-mile to the west of the little hamlet of Llawr-y-glyn. Its most direct route for Dylife, where remains of Roman mining operations have been discovered, would be along the modern cart-road which goes by the foot of the earthwork on Cefn-Cloddiau, but the line indicated by local tradition is identical with the cart-track on the left bank of the Taranon, which leads to the peat grounds on the neighbouring moor, and which is commanded by the Gribbin-hill mentioned previously. There are indications of an ancient roadway-British or Roman-having at one time taken this latter route; for there is a house on the immediate left of the cart-track, called Tyn-Sarn (House in the Causeway), and further on upon the hill the names Sarn-Fawr and Sarn-Bigog occur. There also existed formerly two erect stones in the neighbourhood of the road; the one nearest the valley was called Carreg-y-Sticcan (from a mark upon it which is said to have resembled a spoon), and the other Carreg-Hir. The writer failed to find any traces of the former, and what was commonly called Carreg-Hir he found to be a small erect stone three or four feet high; but after a little searching, what appears to be the true Carreg-Hir was discovered partially embedded in the ground near the spot indicated on the Ordnance map. This stone mea
3RD SER., VOL. XIV.
sures about thirteen feet in length, and four feet six inches in its greatest breadth. Beyond these indications the writer failed to discover further vestiges of the old roadway.
Carneddau.—The “Mountains of Carno" form part of a plateau which lies between the 'Taranon on the south and south-east and the Afon Carno on the north and north-west, stretching from west to east a distance of about six miles, by a breadth of between two and three. This plateau, compared by Pennant with Gilboa, is rich in historical associations connected with the early history of the principality ; it seems to have been a chosen fighting and burial ground from the “primitive ages of antiquity.” In its western part are to be found what may now be fairly termed the ruins of several carns and circles, the most interesting being those of Twr-Gwyn-Mawr, which, in all probability, gives its name to the district. For in the Life of Gruffydd ap Cynan the following passage occurs, which seems to have escaped Messrs. Morgan and Davies, for they do not allude to it in their account of the Carnedd:
“Now, the mountain on which the battle was fought is called by the people of the country the Carn Mountain, that is to say, the Mountain of the Carnedd; for in that place is an immense carnedd of stones, under which was buried a champion in the primitive ages of antiquity.”
This immense carnedd was Twr-Gwyn-Mawr, which was opened by the late Local Secretary for Montgomeryshire. The passage quoted above, and the remains discovered at the opening, clearly prove that this carn existed anterior to the time of the first of the two later battles on the Carno mountains. As Mr. Davies and his fellow-labourers left it with its inside turned out, so it remains at present. Would it not be well to place some memorial stone upon the site-one simply stating when it was opened, and by whom.
About 150 yards to the south-east are the remains of two small stone circles, each about 18 feet in diameter, and not more than two yards apart from each other;