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Bedd Gwyl Illtyd

Ring Cairn


Coflein says that Bedd Gwyl Illtyd was originally described as a pair of stones with a mound between, but now it's thought to be the remains of a ring cairn 13m in diameter.
On the motif of petrifaction as punishment for wrongdoing, a life of St Cadog (c. AD 1100) relates that he turned two wolves into stones for biting sheep; and a life of St Illtud (c.AD 1140) narrates how he turned two robbers into stone for stealing his herd of swine. 'Till now.. are seen the immovable stones called by the name 'Two Robbers'*. These stones cannot certainly now be identified, but two rather widely separated standing stones were located a few years ago on Mynydd Illtud by D J James.

*A W Wade-Evans: Vita Sanctorum Britanniae et Genealogiae (1944
From 'Notes on the Folklore of Prehistoric Sites,' by L V Grinsell, in Folklore vol 90, no1, p66 (1979).

But we know it's St Illtyd's grave. Tradition has it that he lived, died and was buried here. It's known as the Grave of St Illtyd's Feast Day, because it was the custom to 'watch their on the Vigil of the saint's day', which is either the 6 or 7 November.
The chapel is dedicated to St. Illtyd, and sometimes gives the name of Llan Illtyd to this division of the parish. On an adjoining eminence, near a pool, are two large stones, placed six feet asunder, at each end of a small tumulus, which is called Bedd Gwyl Illtyd, or "The Grave of St. Illtyd's Eve," from the ancient custom of watching there on the eve of the festival of that saint, who was supposed to have been buried here.
(Lewis's 'Topographical Dictionary of Wales', 1833).

St Illtyd himself was useful to have about, as he introduced to the Welsh a new and improved method of ploughing. He was described in another Triad as one of the three knights in the court of King Arthur 'who kept the Greal' (the other two were Cadoc and Peredur).

(from volume 3 of Baring-Gould's 'Lives of the British Saints' 1913).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
20th July 2006ce
Edited 16th October 2011ce

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