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Tre'r Ceiri



Just at the foot of the fort is the village of Llanaelhaearn, and its holy well of St Aelhaiarn. Aelhaiarn is one of those Celtic saints with a bizarre life story. He started off as a servant of St Beuno (see Clynnog Fawr). St B liked to commune with God outdoors. Actually he often liked to pray in the middle of rivers. I can appreciate the trance-like state this might induce - perhaps that's why he liked it. Or perhaps he just thought he could get a bit of peace and quiet in the middle of a river. However, one day his servant followed him. St B was so incensed at being disturbed that he didn't recognise his friend and rashly muttered that God should teach the man a lesson. Upon that, a pack of wild animals rushed up and tore the poor man to pieces. Beuno must have relented at this point and pulling himself out of the river, ran round collecting up all the bits he could find. Rather cleverly he reassembled them, but just couldn't find a missing eyebrow. He may have considered a caterpillar, but eventually plumped for the iron tip of his staff. I wonder if the iron nature of the item has any bearing? He then brought the man back to life, and he was known as Aelhaiarn, or 'iron eyebrow'. Aelhaiarn became a priest and tended the well at the foot of Tre'r Ceiri. The water consequently became renowned for its powers of bodily restoration.

I have based this on the story given by Nigel Pennick in his 'Celtic Saints' (1997) but it would be better to find the original 'Life'.

You can also read a much better (and slightly more complex) version on p228-30 of 'Select Remains of the Learned John Ray, with his Life' by William Derham. Published 1760.
which I have found online at google books, and which is from a journey made in 1661.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
14th March 2006ce
Edited 15th June 2009ce

Comments (2)

There was a saint called Aelhaearn (6th-7th century) Rhiannon he had seven brothers, he founded Llanaelhaiarn, and checking back there is another story to be told, according to Breverton.
Near Llanaelhaearn lies Glasfryn Standing Stone. The story goes that a young woman forgot to replace the well cover at Glasfryn, and of course in good folklore tradition she caused a lake to form and was turned into stone.
Now as I can't find Glasfryn stone on TMA, I don't know whether there is a lake still at the above site?
Book of Welsh Saints - T.D.Breverton

edit; It could be the christianised stone in the church, and there is another in the wall that encloses the grave yard........
moss Posted by moss
2nd October 2009ce
Hello Moss, yes I reckon I've heard of that one. It gets recounted in John Rhys's Celtic Folklore too (on this page)

I've hoped to spot the stone, so I could put it on here, and I'm sure I scoured the maps for it before. But really you've got to send out the search parties for such things. The story is here
SH 402 421 and you can see the lake is still there for you.

oooh I've just looked on a very large scale map, and it seems there are two stones marked in the vicinity, one in the field where it says Ffynnon Brasi, and one in the field to the north west (north of the lake). Do pardon me getting over enthusiastic. Someone should go Immediately and check them out.

Coflein only mentions the 'dilapidated well' though.

Well spotted Moss, nice one.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
2nd October 2009ce
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