The Trenacatus stone

Contributed by National Museum Wales Cardiff

Latin- and ogam-inscribed stone commemorating Trenacatus. Copyright: National Museum of Wales

When this inscription was cut, kinship was important in Welsh society. It follows the formula 'X son of Y'This bilingual stone, about 1,500 years old, provides evidence for the strength of Irish settlement in Wales at this time. It's inscribed in both Latin and ogam - an Irish script made from notches and lines carved along a stem line - in this case the edge of the stone. Roughly 400 stones survive with ogam script, the vast majority in the south of Ireland. However, 31 are known in Wales of which 23 have inscriptions in both Latin and ogam. The medieval Welsh tales known as The Mabinogion include legendary characters from both sides of the Irish Sea: further evidence of ancient links across the Irish Sea.

The Latin part of the inscription follows the formula 'X son of Y', with Irish personal names. The Latin reads: 'Trenacatvs / (h)ic iacit filius / Maglagni' (Trenacatus, here he lies, the son of Maglagnus). 'Maglagni' may be an Irish name derived from Maglas , 'prince'. The ogam, running vertically up the left angle and across the top, reads: TRENACCATLO.

The stone was acquired by the National Museum in 1950. First recorded by Samuel Rush Meyrick in 1808 in the ruins of Cappel Whyl, Llanwenog (near Lampeter)suggesting the chapel may originate in a 5th or 6th C burial place.

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