Rediscovered medieval carved stone
Thursday, 13th June, 2013
A LONG-LOST medieval stone has been rediscovered in a stream north west of Lampeter.
The stone which dates back to the ninth or 10th century, was found just south-west of St Sulien’s Church, in the village of Silian.
The church site is home to two further medieval inscribed stones [Edwards 2007: 188-91] and thought to have been of high-status having been in use for at least 1,500 years.
Archaeologists Nikki Vousden, who works for the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, and Dr Roderick Bale of University of Wales Trinity Saint David University Lampeter, came across the stone while walking.
The stone named ‘Silian 3’ [in Professor Nancy Edwards’ Corpus of Early Medieval Inscribed Stones and Stone Sculpture in Wales: Volume II: South-West Wales (2007) – p. 192] consists of a linear Latin cross with a lozenge shaped ring at its upper end.
It measures some 70cm x 38cm and the pattern is rare, with only two other definite examples of crosses in lozenge shaped rings in Wales [Llanllawer 3, St David’s Church – Edwards 2007: 346-7 and Llandecwyn 1, St Tecwyn’s Church].
Ms Vousden said: “How the Silian 3 stone ended up in the steam is a mystery, especially as someone obviously once knew of its significance and took a cast.
“We are currently awaiting information as to the provenance of the cast and photograph, and will provide an update when this becomes available. Amazingly, the stone lay hidden in the stream until one day the water on its wet surface helped highlight the inscribed pattern and it was spotted.”
The rare stone was first noted by Nash-Williams in The Early Christian Monuments of Wales. A cast of its incised face was kept at the National Museum of Wales.
It was ascribed to Silian because of the label on a photograph, also at the National Museum of Wales.
The stone is now being kept in St Sulien’s Church.