In the centre of Ruthin in St peter’s Square – outside Barclay’s Bank.
I was very impressed by this historic part of Ruthin and St Peter’s Square is surrounded by ancient black and white timber framed buildings. Most of which had information plaques attached to them. There is also a plaque giving the folklore attached to the Huail Stone. The stone is approximately 1m high x 1.5m wide.
As well as a fine church and a decent medieval castle converted into a hotel, Rhuthun has a piece of enigmatic rock parked in its centre. Maen Huail now resides next to a bank, after it was moved to make room for a car park. It is a rough, unworked block of limestone, its age impossible to determine and its purpose less so. Arthurian enthusiasts will be impressed to know that Arthur was reputed to have used it as an executioner’s block to behead Huail (see Folklore). The setting is not the most atmospheric or inspiring, but certainly worthy of our attention. No bankers have yet been publicly executed on it, as far as I know.
Cdw o Frydain, (or Caw of North Britain,) and Lord of Cwm Cawlwyd, who then lived in Edeyrnion, or its neighbourhood, and had two sons; the eldest was the famous Gildas, the querulous historian, an excellent scholar; the second was Huail, a perfect libertine. Arthur becomes jealous of the latter's having an intrigue with one of his mistresses; -- resolves to go privately armed, to watch his going to her house: he soon appeared; and after a short conversation, they drew, and fought. After a long conflict, Huail had the good fortune to wound Arthur terribly in the thigh: upon this, the contest ceased, and a reconciliation took place, upon condition that Huail, under the penalty of losing his head, should never upbraid the king with this advantage he had over him, &c.
Arthur retires to his palace, which was then at Caerwys, in Flintshire, to be cured of his wound: he recovered; but it occasioned his limping a little ever after. As soon as he got well, he fell in love with a lady at Rhuthin, in Denbighshire; and, in order to carry on his intrigue more privately, he dressed himself in female attirement; and, as he was dancing with her and her companions, Huail happened to see him, and knew him on account of his lameness; and said, "this dancing might do very well but for the thigh." The king overheard him, and withdrew, and sent for Huail; and after upbraiding him with the breach of his promise and oath, ordered him to be beheaded upon a stone, which lay in the street of the town, which was, from this event, denominated Maen Huail, and which it retained in the author's time. (It is still to be seen at Ruthin.)
Copied from Edward Lhuyd's manuscripts, which was transcribed by him from a Welsh MS. of the hand-writing of John Jones of Gelli Lyfdy, in Flintshire, dated June 27, 1611.
Arthur sounds rather like a humourless double-standarded philanderer with no sense of proportion? And you thought he was noble and fair.
A stone of unknown date, in Ruthin town centre. Coflein has the following:
A rough limestone block, 1.2m by 0.6m by 0.6m, (formerly) set behind railings outside Barclays Bank (nprn 26779) on the west side of St Peter's Square, recorded as being set in the middle of the street in 1699. A tablet reads "Maen Huail. On which tradition states, King Arthur beheaded Huail, brother of Gildas the historian." (Source OS 495 card; SJ15NW8). Possibly a market or civic stone, or a preaching stone.
Added here as age is impossible to determine and it has a nice folkloric association.
Listed in "The Ancient Stones of Wales" by Chris Barber and John Godfrey Williams (1989 Blorenge Books), which has a picture and adds that it was "removed from its original site to make room for a car park (SJ125584)".