Early Medieval Inscription

Early Medieval Inscription

The Latin inscription on the Pillar of Eliseg was recorded by the Welsh antiquarian Edward Lhuyd in 1696 when it was already fragmentary. It is no longer legible, though the area where it was carved on the Pillar can still be made out in oblique sunlight.

The inscription was written in several sections, each beginning with a cross. The Latin for each section is given first followed by the English translation and an explanation of the text.


+ Concenn filius Cattell Cattell / filius Brohcmail Brohcmal filius / Eliseg Eliseg filius Guoillauc
+ Concenn son of Cattell, Cattell son of Brohcmail, Brohcmal son of Eliseg, Eliseg son of Guoillauc.

This section is the genealogy of the rulers of Powys in the later eighth and first half of the ninth centuries. This section draws attention to the link between Eliseg and his great grandson Concenn (d. 854) who set up the Pillar.


+ Concenn itaque pronepos Eliseg / edificauit hunc lapidem proauo / suo Eliseg
+ Concenn therefore, great-grandson of Eliseg, erected this stone for his great-grandfather Eliseg.

This section draws attention to the link between Eliseg and his great grandson Concenn who set up the Pillar.


+ Ipse est Eliseg qui nec/xit(?) hereditatem Pouos mort / c autem(?) per uim …e potestate Anglo/[rum]…in gladio suo parta in igne /
+ It was Eliseg who united the inheritance of Powys … however through force … from the power of the English … land with his sword by fire(?).

This section records the success of Eliseg against the Anglo-Saxons.


[+ Quicu]mque recit(a)uerit manescr[i]p/[tum] … m det benedictionem supe/[r animam]Eliseg
[+] Whosoever shall read out loud this hand-inscribed … let him give a blessing [on the soul of] Eliseg

This section asks all who read the inscription on the Pillar to pray for the soul of Eliseg.


+ Ipse est Concenn /……… … manu / ……… e ad regnum suum Pouos / …… …… et quod / …… … …… / …… ……  montem /
+ It is Concenn … with his hand … his own kingdom of Powys … and which … the mountain.

This fragmentary section mirrors section c and is probably intended to record the successes of Concenn as ruler of Powys.


… ………… /……… … monarchiam / … … ail Maximus Brittanniae / … nn Pascen[t] … Mau[n] Annan / … Britu a[u]t[e]m filius Guarthi/[girn] que(m) bened[ixit] Germanus que(m) / … peperit ei Se[v]ira filia Maximi / [re]gis qui occidit regem Romano/rum
… monarchy … Maximus of Britain … Pascent … Maun Annan … Britu moreover [was] the son of Guarthigirn whom Germanus blessed [and whom] Sevira bore to him, the daughter of Maximus the king, who killed the king of the Romans.

This section records the origins of the kingdom of Powys which are said to go back to the late fourth century and the Roman Emperor Magnus Maximus and the post-Roman leader Vortigern. The local saint Germanus is also mentioned to show the importance of links between church and state in the kingdom of Powys.


Conmarch pinxit hoc / chirografu(m) rege suo poscente / Concenn
+ Conmarch represented pictorially this writing at the demand of his king, Concenn.

This section names Conmarch who carved the inscription on the Pillar.


Benedictio d(omi)ni in Con/cenn et s(imilite)r(?) i(n) tota familia eius / et in(?) tota ragione(m?) Pouois / usque in …
+ The blessing of the Lord upon Concenn and likewise(?) on all of his household and upon all the province of Powys until… .’

This section is a common way of ending documents transfering land in this period and shows that the inscription should be seen as a legal document concerning the origins and rulership of the kingdom Powys in the face of Anglo-Saxon aggression.