The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Foel Fenlli



Foel Fenlli is a high conical hill topped by a hill fort - it's the highest in a chain of hillforts that run along the Clwydian range. The summit has a cairn, and nearby is "a never failing crystal spring". The fort is named after Benlli Gawr. Nennius describes him as the 'wicked and tyrannical king' of Powys. Perhaps he was, perhaps he wasn't. Whichever, Saint Germanus was in the neighbourhood, and he and his friends turned up at the front door of the fort demanding to see the man. They just wanted to convert him to Christianity. For his own good, you know. It wasn't an evangelical competition to convert the naughtiest pagan they could find or anything. A message was sent to Benlli. He sent back his response: Not Today Thankyou - they could stand on his doorstep for a whole year if they liked, but they weren't coming in.

Well. That night, 'fire fell from heaven and consumed the citadel and all the men that were with the tyrant; they were never seen more'. Sounds very like arson to me. And to add to the suspicious circumstances, Germanus then took it upon himself to make Benlli's swineherd the new king of Powys. Just because he'd been nice to Germanus, made him a cup of tea and agreed to become a Christian. What a set-up.

(Nennius's tale described in vol 2 of 'Lives of the British Saints' by Baring-Gould (1913), p255.)
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
7th July 2006ce

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