|I noticed that elsewhere on the internet people say the stone was in a different church, St Nidan's in Llanidan. So I started wondering why I'd thought the church at Llanedwen. But there's definitely books that mention it. This is from 'The history of Wales' by John Jones (1824). Mr Rowland died in 1723 - he was the vicar at both Llanidan and Llanedwen, which makes for more confusion.
Llanedwen.A History of the Island of Mona, or Anglesey, by Angharad Llwyd (1833), suggests the Llanedwen church, since it mentions nearby Porthamel. And why would you say that if you meant Llanidan - I'd just say Llanidan?
Near this place, on the banks of the Menai, is the greatest Cromlech in Anglesey, and supposed to be an altar on which the Druids offered to the Sun the sacrifice of human victims. The church of Llanedwen is said to have been erected in A.D. 640 - about A.D. 1440 would be nearer the truth. The Rev. Mr. Rowland, author of the Mona Antiqua, lies buried here, under a tomb-stone of Anglesey black slab, bearing a Latin inscription, written by himself.
The wandering stone, Maen Morddwyd, is secured in the wall of this church, and deprived of its locomotive impositions.
Thus "Maen Morddwyd" (concerning which there has been so many marvellous stories related) "is now well secured in the wall of the church," at Porthamel, not far from Llanidan, famed for being the place where Suetonius landed, in 61.The Latin of this note has been translated as follows:
Here also, in the church-yard wall, the thigh stone, commonly called Maen Morddwydd, which has been so curiously and largely described by Giraldus Cambrensis, obtained a place for itself a long time ago; but of late years it was pulled off and carried away, either by some papist or other, or by some ignorant person, (its miraculous virtue not displaying itself as formerly, having entirely languished or exhausted itself by age,) with no loss indeed to the place, nor any gain to him who took it away.The thing is, just before this excerpt, the church of St Aidan is specifically mentioned - that's the other church! But I can't work out what this document is or who wrote it? Everything is so contradictory. Pennant's Tour In Wales is from 1770 and also says the stone is at Llanidan. But did he really go there, or is he just reporting the legend? I sense the parish name vs the specific church confusion arising again.
But at least here's some straightforward folklore. Here (on page 136) in the National Library of Wales journal, there is an extra bit of the Itinerary translated. It's not included in the other translations I've seen, possibly for reasons of rudeness this time. The original latin can be seen here. It says:
If a lustful act be committed near the stone it immediately breaks into sweat. So, too, if a man and woman commit adultery there. If intercourse be had nearby no conception follows, and so the cottage that once stood there has fallen into ruin and the fateful stone alone remains.Geraldus's 13th century Itinerary reads somewhat like the Fortean Times, it's full of bizarre stuff and you wonder if any of it was true. But the idea that an actual stone existed seems to stick. I can't see any reports of people who've actually looked for it on the church or churchyard walls. But judging by the pages on the 21st century internet, people still want it to be there.
Posted by Rhiannon
17th March 2014ce
Edited 18th March 2014ce