NOTES OF AN EPIGRAPHIC PILGRIMAGE IN SOUTH-WEST WALES
By R. A.
S. MACALISTER, M.A., Litt.D., F.R.S., M.R.I.A.
During some weeks in July and August 1921, I carried out a long-cherished design of visiting certain of the ancient monuments in South Western Wales, displaying inscriptions in 0gham or Roman characters. There is always a satisfaction in seeing an inscribed stone for oneself, even although it is found impossible to improve on the reading arrived at by previous copyists. Indeed to confirm an already existing reading is almost as satisfactory as to determine some necessary emendation.
With regard to the Welsh Stones, I found in the great majority of cases that our lamented master of Celtic epigraphy, Principal Sir John Rhys, had been so thorough and accurate in his study of them that he left very few gleanings for his successors. In most cases I have nothing to do but to record my complete agreement with his decipherment.
I began operations with Carmarthen as my headquarters. My first excursion was to
where there are two stones built into the outside face of the church wall. The first of these inscribed VENNISETLFILIVS ERCAGN has been known for at least eighty years; the second, inscribed CIMESETLAVICATI was discovered comparatively recently by Mr. Eyre Evans.
I found (what I do not think has been previously observed, at least in print) that the VENNISETL stone has certainly at one time had an Ogham inscription upon it, running up the left hand angle over the top and down the right-hand angle of the inscribed face. It was trimmed away by the masons who built the stone into the church wall possibly intentionally for there seems to be reason to believe that an ecclesiastical prejudice against Ogham as savouring of paganism, came into existence at some time probably comparatively early. The destroyers have done their work well, leaving nothing but the two lower tips of the scores of the G of ERCAGNI showing that the Ogham was, as usual, a replica of the Latin.
As for the CIMESETLI fragment I could not determine with certainty whether the inscription is complete or not; whether we are to read CIMESETLAVICATI, CIMESETLI AVI CATI or perhaps CIMESETL[FILI] AVICAVI. All three are possible.
NOTE: The dash in the inscriptions stands for a horizontal I
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