CEREDIGION HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Cardiganshire History (page 7)

Cardiganshire Antiquity

The remains of antiquity are numerous and of various periods. In the churchyard of YspyttyCynvyn are four large stones standing upright in the ground, and forming part of a Druidical circle. Near the seat called Carrog, a few miles from Llanllwchairn, are two upright stones, about ten feet high and five thick, which, from the appearance of the ground in the vicinity, have evidently formed part of a circle of the same kind; and there are remains of another on a hill called Alltgôch, near the town of Lampeter. Another relic, of a no less remote period and of some celebrity, is that popularly called Gwely Taliesin, “the Bed, or Grave, of Taliesin,” situated on a mountain called Pen Sarnddû, in the parish of Llanvihangel-Geneu’r-Glyn. It consists of a rude stone chest, formed by five upright stones, with another of larger dimensions for a cover, or lid, measuring about six feet by three; this chest was placed in the centre of an artificial mound, surrounded by two concentric circles of stones, the larger about thirty feet, and the smaller twentyseven feet, in diameter. The bard Taliesin died about the year 570, but these remains are evidently of much earlier origin, and would seem to be Druidical. At the distance of two or three miles, towards Plinlimmon, are two Druidical circles, one of which consists of 76 upright stones, and is 228 feet in circumference.

At Llanio-issa, about seven miles above Lampeter, in the Vale of Teivy, very extensive remains of ROMAN buildings have been discovered, which Sir R. C. Hoare and others consider as indicating the site of the station or city of Loventium, and where there has evidently been an important Roman settlement. The ground for a considerable extent is strewed with fragment of bricks and earthen utensils, and on one spot have been traced the foundations of a building, 150 feet long, and 72 feet broad: various coins and inscribed stones have also been found here. There is a small Roman camp in the vicinity of Lampeter, near the banks of the little river Dulais; and a square intrenchment, probably formed by the same conquerors, is visible on a farm called Tŷcam, in the parish of Llanwenog. The remains of the Via Occidentalis, and its branches in this county, are every where called Sarn Helen, or “Helen’s Causeway,” probably a corruption of Sarn Lleon, or “the Legionary Way.” Entering it on the north from the station at Penallt, near Machynlleth, the main road proceeded in a direct line to Loventium, at Llanio; and traces of it are yet visible, first on a farm called Llwyn-rhingyll in the parish of Llanbadarn-Vawr, and afterwards on another, called Brenau, in the parish of Llanvihangel-y-Creiddyn: adjacent to its course, in the vale of the Teivy, below Trêgaron, is an artificial mount called Tommen Llanio, perhaps the site of a Roman watch-tower. From the last-mentioned station the main line of the Via Occidentalis proceeded direct to Menapia, at the western extremity of Pembrokeshire, and has been traced below Lampeter, running parallel with the course of the river Teivy. It crossed that stream in the vicinity of Pencarreg, and is again visible on the Carmarthenshire side of the valley, along which it proceeded through the parishes of Llanllwny and Penboyr, in the latter of which some parts of it still remain entire. A branch of this road may yet be traced in many places, crossing the Teivy at the village of Llanvair, above Lampeter, and ascending, immediately beyond it, the mountains in the parish of Kellan, which bound this county on the south, in its course to the station at Llanvair-ary-bryn, in Carmarthenshire. Another branch extended from the vicinity of Lampeter to the station at Carmarthen.