Eliseg and the Blessing of God


Just to the north of Llangollen lie the ruins of Val Crucis Abbey - the Abbey of the Valley of the Cross. The cross to which the name refers is a hundred yards further north still, a much-weathered pillar standing on a high mound where it was erected 1,200 years ago.

Known as Eliseg's Pillar, it once bore a British inscription that has now completely disappeared. (There is, round the back, a more modern inscription commemorating the re-erection and preservation of the cross.) Fortunately for us, antiquaries in a previous age carefully recorded the inscription, so we know that the cross was erected by Concenn, great-grandson of Eliseg who carved the principality of Powys out of lands occupied by the heathen Saxon invaders.

This is a line-by-line translation of the inscription, which I copied from the display in the Offa's Dyke museum at Knighton.

+Concenn son of catell, Catell
son of Brohcmail, Brohcmail son
of Eliseg, Eliseg son of Guoillauc.
+Concenn therefore being great-grandson of Eliseg
erected this stone to his great-grandfather
Eliseg. +It is Eliseg who annexed
the inheritance of Powys ...
throughout nine years from the power of the English
which he made into sword land by fire.
+Whosoever shall read this hand-inscribed
stone, let him give a blessing on
the soul of Eliseg. +It is Concenn
who ... with his hand
... to his kingdom of Powys
... and which ...
... ...
... the mountain ...
... ...
... the monarchy.
Maximus of Britain ...
Concenna, Pascent, ... Maun, Annan
+Britu, moreover, the son of Guorthirim
whom Germanus blessed and
whom Severa bore to him, the daughter of Maximus
the king who slew the king of the Romans.
+Conmarch painted (inscribed?) this
writing at the command of his king Concenn.
+The blessing of the Lord upon
Concenn and all members of his family
and upon all the land of Powys.

The reference to Germanus is interesting. See the story of Germanus and the Hallelujah Victory in our film about Mold