Monday, March 7, 2011

Pillar of Eliseg

Claim through lineal descent was a major requirement for those who sought to occupy the land in the mountains and hills of Wales. As early as 850 A.D., Concenn (Cyngen) claimed leadership of his family's lands through direct descent of his great-grandfather Eliseg (Elisedd). [Welsh law allowed heirs to claim "pencenedl" (head of family)to the fourth generation.] Eliseg is believed to have recovered his family's lands, the "kingdom of Provosia" (Powys), from the Anglo-Saxons. Concenn then erected a stone monument, crowned by a cross, apparently over the grave of Eliseg. This monument has come to be called "The Pillar of Eliseg".

During the English Civil War, the cross was broken and thrown down by Puritan fury who seemed to believe it was some sort of Popish idolatry. Re-erected, the "cross" now stands seven to eight feet tall. It is believed to have been originally at least 12-25 feet tall. The inscriptions upon the monument have long been illegible. At least some partial translations have been recorded before its destruction. Written in Latin [Church folks would have written it.] it is recorded by Edward Llwyd:

"Concenn filius Cateli, Cateli filius Brochmail, Brochmail filus Eliseg, Eliseg filuse Cnoillaine, Concenn itaque pronepos Eliseg edificavit hunc lapidem proavo suo Eliseg..."

Translated, this would roughly read: "Concenn was the son of Cattell, Cattell the son of Brohemail, Brohemail the son of Eliseg, Eliseg the son of Guoillaue. Concenn therefor the great-grandson of Eliseg built this stone to his great-grandfather Eliseg..."

Ashley in his book, British Kings & Queens, lists this lineage through Vortigen, who is credited with inviting the Saxons to the island in the first place! [found on p. 151 under "Powys and The Marches".]

Family, family, family; lineage, lineage, lineage; genealogy, genealogy, genealogy; this is the Welsh way.

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