The church is very easy to find, places for up to half a dozen cars, if nothing is going on at the church. I left the kids in the car and went to see this one on my own. The big heavy door was unlocked and the inside was dark, I put on the light but it didn't make much light, the flash was needed throughout.
The stone is only maybe three feet tall, the spiral carving is at the top. Boy it was quiet in the church, the kind of quiet you only get when the nearest hundred people to you are all dead. I like churches, not in any christian type way, the peace and quiet are absolute, and the feeling that nothing bad ever happens in a church is a good one, why wouldn't any one like a quiet old church ?
Visited 7th December 2003: We had no problem gaining access to the church, because it was a Sunday. Luckily there wasn't a service going on.
The stone is almost opposite the church door behind the font (which is a bit of an obstruction). Its was exciting to see Welsh rock art of this quality so close up. I'm no expert, but the spiral seemed pretty well defined. It's a shame that we don't have more understanding of where it came from.
The stone lies just inside the church entrance (St Peter's Church). It is a beautiful little church, normally open (if not, ask the key holder who is most helpful). I'm sure they must be fed up of people going in their church just to look at the stone, so please make sure you leave something in the collection box on the table (we put in a fiver between us).
The stone was brought down from a hut circle above Llanbedr (an explanation lies on a piece of paper pinned to the notice board next to the main entrance).
A hand written note about the stone is pinned to the notice board by the church door. It reads,
The Llanbedr Spiral Stone
This stone was found in the hut Circles above Llanbedr, which were probably built during the period when the Goidelo occupied the district from Mawddach to the Glaslyn. The ultimate origin of the spiral decoration can be traced back to Egypt – and thence to Scandinavia Britain & Ireland where it arrived several centuries before Christ.
In Britain spirals were at first only found on stones and rock surfaces, but later on they were made use of for decorating various things.
This stone is one of the best examples of Early spiral ornament on stones.
The quirky capitalization is original. As for the accuracy of the account, I'm not convinced that the association with ancient Egypt or the dating of carved spirals in Britain lend it much credibility. However, there does seem to be a definite tradition connecting the stone with these (possibly Iron Age) hut circles.
Behind the font is a slab of stone with a 7-turn spiral pecked into it. The spiral is about 30cm across. Perhaps the stone was brought from a tomb on the hillside above the village? though this seems slightly strange.