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


Twmpath Diwlith and Bodvoc Stone

Round Barrow(s)

Nearest Town:Maesteg (3km NNE)
OS Ref (GB):   SS832888 / Sheet: 170
Latitude:51° 35' 7.57" N
Longitude:   3° 41' 9.82" W

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One of the seven wonders of Glamorgan is the tumulus near the Bodvoc Stone on Margam Mountain. It is called the "Twmpath Diwlith" - the dewless mound. Tradition tells us that no dew ever falls on this mound.
In the 'Glamorgan Gazette', 5th September 1924.

also (warning, does get a bit bitchy):
Folklore of the District. (By Martin Phillips.)

Camden, in his "Britannia" (1610) remarks: 'In the very top of an hill called Mynyd Margan, there is erected of exceeding hard grit, a monument or gravestone, four foot long, and one foot broad with an inscription, which whosoever shall happen to read, the ignorant common people dwelling there about, give it out upon a credulous error, that he shall be sure to die within a little while after. Let the reader therefore look to himself, if any dare read it, for, let him assure himself that he shall for certain die after it.'

Writing in 1722, Daniel Defoe ('Tour through England and Wales') makes the following comment: 'In this neighbourhood, near Mynydd Margam, we saw the famous monument mentioned by Mr Camden, on a hill, with the inscription which the people are so terrified at, that nobody will care to read it; for they have a tradition from father to son, that whoever ventures to read it, will die within a month. We did not scruple the adventure at all, but when we came to try, the letters were so defaced by time, that we were effectually secured from the danger, the inscription not being anything near so legible as it seems it was in Camden's time.'

The inscription is still perfectly legible, and presumably the mountain climb did not appeal to Defoe who frequently expressed his abhorrence of Welsh antiquities and Welsh mountains, and apparently, he had no desire to risk the deciphering of the 'terrifying' inscription. Incidentally he has been described by a recent writer as 'one of the world's greatest liars, with a peculiar art for making fictitious narrative sound like the truth'. Defoe's description of other Welsh antiquities confirms the statement.

The Bodvoc stone was believed to cover buried treasure, and about sixty years ago a wide hole about five feet deep was dug around it at night. The stone was overthrown, and for a long period was covered with water. It was subsequently set up in an upright position, and the erection of an iron railing protected it from further harm. Guarding the alleged treasure was the inevitable ghost, which was said to be that of the departed Bodvoc.

Near the stone is the huge mound known as 'Y Twmpath Diwllith' (the Dewless Mound), which was erroneously considered to be always immune from dew. The word 'Diwllith' became translated to 'Dewless', but apparently it is a corruption of "Duw-lith" (God's Lesson). The mound is situated on the boundary line between Llangynvyd and Margam parishes, and in former times, during the yearly perambulation of the boundary, the customary lesson was read by the priest when the mound was reached.
In the 'Neath Guardian', 28th April 1933.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
29th May 2023ce


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Round barrow and associated inscribed stone (original now moved). Coflein description:

Twmpath Diwlith (SS83218879)

A round barrow, 22.9m in diameter and 1.5m high, when rifled in 1921, on behalf of the NMW, the mound proved to have been raised in two stages, there being a primary, previously rifled, cist.

Bodvoc Stone (SS83078878)

The Bodvoc Stone now forms part of the Margam Stone Collection (NPRN 94512), housed in the old school house, Margam, but originally stood as a monument stone on one of a line of Bronze Age cairns on Margam Mountain. Its inscription reads; 'BODVOCI HIC IACIT FILIUS CATOTIGIRNI PROENPUS ETERNALI VEDOMAVI' – '[The Stone] of Bodvoc. Here he lies, son of Cattegern [or Cattegirn], and great-grandson of Eternalis Vedomavus'.
The sixth-seventh century stone was defaced with modern graffiti and an OS mark before being moved to the Museum, and now a replica stands in its place.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
26th December 2011ce