Llan-gors portable shrine fittings

Contributed by National Museum Wales Cardiff

Fittings from a portable shrine. Copyright: National Museum of Wales

When the object was made, Christians believed that the powers of saints were present in relics of various sorts.Portable reliquaries were made to house relics, and were venerated and used for a variety of purposes.

In 1991 elements from a small portable house-shaped reliquary shrine were found during underwater excavations at Llan-gors crannog near Brecon. These provided important evidence for the wider circulation of Irish ecclesiastical metalwork in Wales. The body of the carrying hinge (for a leather strap) is decorated with opaque red and yellow enamel. Two cruciform panels are inlaid with fine blue and white millefiori (flower-like) glass inlay. The damaged circular frame holding a translucent blue glass stud may originally have ended in a beast head.

Llan-gors crannog, built by the rulers of the early medieval Welsh kingdom of Brycheiniog between 889 and 893, has been identified as the place known to Anglo-Saxons as 'Brecenanmere', destroyed by a Mercian (Anglo-Saxon) army in 916.

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AD 916


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