St Hywyn's Church, Aberdaron

The Inscriptions on the Veracius and Senacus Stones

Arysgrifenni y Meini Feracius a Senagus

 

THESE ARE THE TOMBSTONES of two Christian priests. They were found in the shallow valley of the headwaters of the river Saint, near the farm now called GORS, under MYNYDD ANELOG. The reference to “many brethren” suggests, but does not prove, that the stones came from the cemetery of a religious community, a monastery. They were found in the eighteenth century and it is likely that the old name CAPEL VERACH dates from that discovery. Many years later, the farmer wanted to move them, and to preserve them, they were taken to Cefn Amlwch House and guarded by the Wynne Finch family until, recently, they were brought to St Hywyn’s church, Aberdaron. This is a very appropriate home since it is likely that the religious community at Aberdaron was the successor to the one under Anelog and that both had close links with BARDSEY ISLAND (YNYS ENLLI). The stones are two water-worn boulders in their natural state, but the lettering is careful and sophisticated, the abbreviations normal and correct. Notice the angular crossbars of the ‘A’s and the forked serifs*. The men who inscribed these tombstones probably spoke Latin as well as British (forerunner of modern Welsh), and lived within the world of Christian Classical culture. The inscriptions cannot be dated more closely than "late fifth century or early sixth century". The rectangular foundation trench near the present road, under Mynedd Anelog, possibly represents the small chapel known in the Middle Ages as CAPEL VERACH, which may have looked back, in its turn, to a memory of an old sacred site. Please note that the whole site at Anelog, as described, is today on private land. Mary Chitty

DYMA FEDDFEINI y ddau offeiriad Cristnogol. Fe'i canfuwyd yn nyffryn bâs blaenddyfroedd yr aton Saint, gerllaw'r fferm a elwir heddiw yn GORS, wrth odre MYNYDD ANELOG. Awgryma'r cyfeiriad at ‘llawer o frodyr’, er nad yw'n profi, mai o fynwent cymuned grefyddol, neu fynachdy y daethant. Deuthpwyd o hyd iddynt yn y ddeunawfed ganrif, ac mae'n bur debyg mai o'r cyfnod hwnnw y dyddia'r hen enw CAPEL VERACH. Blynyddoedd yn ddiweddarach, yr oedd y ffermwr am iddynt gael eu symud, ac felly, er mwyn eu diogelu, aethpwyd a hwy i Dy Cefn Amlwch a'u gwarchod gan deulu Wynne Finch, nes iddynt gaei eu cludo i Eglwys Hywyn Sant, Aberdaron. Mae hwn yn gartref addas iawn iddynt, gan mai'r tebygrwydd yw mai'r gymuned grefyddol yn Aberdaron oedd yr un a ddilynodd yr un wrth odre'r Anelog, a bod cysylltiadau agos iawn gan y ddwy gymuned ag Ynys Enlli. Dau glogfaen yn eu cyflwr naturiol, dðr-dreuliedig yw'r cerrig, ond mae'r llythrennu arnynt yn ofalus a soffistigedig, y talfyriadau yn arferol a chywir. Dylid nodi'r croes-barrau onglog ar y llythrennau 'A' a'r seriffiaid * fforchog. Yn ôl pob tebyg, siaradai'r gwyr a naddodd y cerrig hyn, Ladin yn ogystal a'r Frythoneg (rhagflaenydd y Gymraeg gyfoes), a thrigo oddi mewn i fyd diwylliant Cristnogol clasurol. Ni ellir dyddio'r arysgrifau yn agosach na 'diwedd y bumed ganrif neu ddechrau'r chweched'. Mae'n bosib bod y cafn hirsgwar wrth ymyl y ffordd bresennol, dan Fynydd Anelog, yn dynodi'r man lle safai capel bychan a adnabuwyd yn y Canol Oesoedd fel CAPEL VERACH, a hwnnw, yn ei dro, wedi dwyn i gof hen fan gysegredig. Dylid nodi bod y cyfan o dir Anelog, fel y'i disgrifwyd, heddiw yn eiddo prelfat. Mary Chitty

 *Serif - ‘cross-line finishing off a stroke of a letter’.

* seriff - llinell-groes a ddefnyddid i 'orffen' llythyren.

Maen Aswy - Left-Hand Stone

VERACIUS
PBR
HIC
IACIT

VERACIUS
PRIEST
LIES
HERE

GOSWEDD
YMA
VERACIUS
OFFEIRIAD

Maen Deau - Right-Hand Stone

SENACUS
PRSB
HIC IACIT
CUM MULTITU
DNEM
FRATRUM PRESBYTER

SENACUS
PRIEST
LIES HERE
WITH MANY
BRETHREN
PRIEST
(added later as a bottom line)

GORWEDD YMA
SENACUS
OFFEIRIAD
GYDA LLAWER
O FRODYR
OFFEIRIAD
(ychwanegwyd yn ddiweddarach fel Ilinell waelod)