"The stone at Ysgo"

The stone and its strange markings at Nant Gadwen which we showed to Nina Steele and Kate Gearey of The Gwynedd Archaeological Trust, less than a year ago in September 2003, created a lot of interest amongst regular visitors to these pages, as well as other people that live locally and beyond. (see the blue cross on the map)

Kate thought that it was possible the stone may be a way marker of some description, possibly of an early medieval date, as this was the period during which many early Christian pilgrims would have been travelling to Ynys Enlli. As such it was the view of the Director of the Trust (who has studied Early Christian Monuments in this area.) that although he would instinctively say that the stone was natural, he thought that it was indeed possible that one of the lines could have been made by people, making use of the fault already visible on the stone to make a simple cross.

The arguments against the stone being of early Christian origin are largely related to the form of the (possible) decoration on the stone. The most simple decorated stones often seem to be conventionally horizontal and vertical in design (+ shape), not diagonal like the stone at Nant Gadwen (X shape). It does not however, bear similarities to the cross incised stone at Maen-y-Bardd Rowen, it is in a similar location, i.e. at the side of a thoroughfare; and also the patterns on both stones are only visible when the sun is at a particular angle (although I would assume this could be simply be attributed to the depth of the markings).

It was also suggested that if similar markings were found on another stone in the vicinity, that this would strengthen the theory that they were indeed some sort of sign post from the distant past. I have always believed that Porth Ysgo was, and still is a special place, the fact that Einion born 492AD King of Llyn, left Porth Ysgo when he made his first pilgrimage to Ynys Enlli (Bardsey), instead of the much closer Aberdaron or Porth Meudwy, and the first Abbot of Enlli “Cadfan” was said to have sailed from here also, in 537AD, hence the name Nant Gadwen “Cadfan’s Valley”. Einion had persuaded St. Cadfan to help him build the first monastery on Ynys Enlli. This activity appears to have gained Einion a reputation as a saint. His memorial can be seen at Llanengan Church, which is dedicated to him.

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"A straight shot" "The red cross marks the spot" "Negative image"

Eifion and Vivienne Williams, who live at Rhiw mentioned recently, that there are markings on a rock (see the red cross on map) beside the other path leading down to Porth Ysgo, from Ysgo farm itself, and these are also much more visible when the sun is at a particular angle. On Saturday last 21~8~04, I came up this path from Porth Ysgo, having taken some photos of the ringbolts that are there, which were used to tie up the sailing ships that called there over the years (But that’s another story) the sun was obviously at the right spot (approx 9:30am) because I could quite clearly see the outline of a person on the south side of the 4ft tall stone, and he has what appears to have a helmet on his head, and what looks like a sword or a stick by his right side, and on his chest what looks like an emblem of some sort. Could this be a carving of “Einion” our long lost leader? Or even King Arthur, which according to legend fought his last battle at nearby Cadlan “Battlefield” and his mortally wounded body was taken by boat for burial to Bardsey “Avalon”. And indeed the nearby island of Maen Gwenonwy “Gwenonwy’s Rock” which has a causeway leading from Porth Cadlan, was named after King Arthur’s sister.

Brenin Arthur ac Enlli                King Arthur and Bardsey

"Maen Gwenonwy from Porth Ysgo"

Once again we have called on the services of the Gwynedd Archaeological Trust. And we will let you know when we hear anything. But in the mean time I will let you draw your own conclusion.

The full Nant Gadwen story

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