You have no advanced search rows. Add one by clicking the '+ Add Row' button

Pillar of Eliseg;Eliseg's Pillar, Cross and Burial Mound, near Llangollen

Loading Map
Map ReferenceSJ24SW
Grid ReferenceSJ2026044520
Unitary (Local) AuthorityDenbighshire
Old CountyDenbighshire
Type Of SiteCROSS
PeriodEarly Medieval
A damaged ninth century cross, surviving as a shaft 2.4m high set on a square base atop an oval burial mound. The now-faded inscription reveals it to be a tribute by Cyngen, of the princely house of Powys, to his great-grandfather Elise, chief opponent of Offa of Mercia.
RCAHMW, 30 April 2008.

Erected in the ninth century by Cyngen to commemorate his great-grandfather, Eliseg (or Elisedd), the pillar was toppled in the 1640s, probably by the Puritan iconoclasts of the Civil War. Its inscription was recorded by the antiquary Edward Lhuyd in 1696. It was re-erected by a local landowner, Trevor Lloyd, in 1779 as a picturesque feature visible from his summer-house at Valle Crucis Abbey. The Latin inscription records the restoration and re-erection of the cross in the eighteenth century. By this time the cross head that probably surmounted the pillar had been lost but a moulded collar and swags appear to mark the transition to a quadrangular shaft. Lloyd's mason reset the remaining pillar in its square socket stone, placing it on a new dry-stone plinth on top of the mound to enhance its visibility.
The mound with its stone kerb is the earliest part, probably for the burial of an important Bronze Age leader. However, a skeleton found lying in a box of blue stones during Lloyd's eighteenth-century excavations was later in date, set within a stony capping added to house a new interment in the Early Medieval period. Excavations elsewhere suggest that prehistoric monuments were often selected as fitting burial places for early medieval heroes. Eliseg's great-grandson and the last of his family's line, Cyngen (died 854), commemorated the achievements of his illustrious ancestor by raising the inscribed cross (though its original position cannot now be proved). The inscription, written in Latin in thirty-one horizontal lines, was broken into paragraphs separated by small crosses. It glorified Eliseg and Cyngen, proclaiming their lineage from Emperor Magnus Maximus and his son Vortigern (Gwrtheyrn), both celebrated figures from the end of Roman Britain. Eliseg, the inscription asserted, drove the English from the area after they had laid this borderland waste for nine years. The mason that carved the inscription was also named: Cynfarch.

The inscription is now eroded to the point where no text is visible, photography by oblique light in May 2008 showed possible lines of text, but none are decipherable.

INW 2008

application/pdfCPATP - Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust Project ArchivesReport no. 1746 relating to CPAT Project 2477: Heritage Impact Assessment of the development of Abbey Grange Hotel Camping Site, Llangollen.