Discover the earliest known example of written Welsh
According to the Book of Llandaff (one of Wales’s earliest ecclesiastical manuscripts) a Celtic monastery, or clas, was established here by Cadfan, a missionary from Brittany, around 516. Little is known of Cadfan’s life and nothing now remains of this early site. The oldest part of the present church, the huge double-aisled nave, is thought to date to the 12th century.
The church is notable for the intriguing monuments housed here, including an effigy of an unknown priest and a military figure. The latter is known as ‘The Crying Knight’, owing to a flaw in the stone near his right eye that becomes damp during wet weather. It is said to be a representation of Gruffudd ab Adda, a 14th-century poet, but this interpretation is disputed today.
Most famous is the Tywyn Stone, also known as the Cadfan Stone. Shrouded in mystery, the stone’s four faces are inscribed with what is believed to be the earliest known example of written Welsh. The date of its creation has provoked considerable debate; recent research suggests that it dates from the 9th century, but earlier dates have been proposed. The inscriptions have proved difficult to interpret owing to the stone’s worn surfaces and the archaic form of Welsh used. One is thought to read ‘The body of Cingen lies beneath’, but alternatives have also been suggested. Either way, the stone is hugely significant to the history of the Welsh language.
Itinerary - Dysynni Valley Driving Tour
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