Gwynedd Archaeological Trust
Regional Historic Environment Record

Inscribed Stone, Trecastell, Aberffraw

Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 3033
Trust : Gwynedd
Community : Aberffraw
Unitary authority : Ynys Mon
NGR : SH33467066
Site Type (preferred type first) : Early Medieval INSCRIBED STONE
Status : Scheduled Ancient Monument

Description :
An early Christian memorial stone inscribed "MALLIS" in Roman capitals, was seen by Skinner in 1802 serving as a lintern of a window in a barn at Llanfaelog and said to have been taken from a nearby field. Similar to a stone found in Trescawliw and of late Roman inscription. Dated C5th or C6th. (RCAHMW, 1937)

Rough pillar stone. Inscription 'MALLIS' (the stone) of Mail, reading vertically downwards. <3>

Found by Mr. Hugh Owen in the wall of a barn at Pen Seri Bach. <2>

In use as a lintel stone in the west wall of barn, length 1.5m. <4>

Moved to Trecastell farm. <11>

The stone is a golden brown quartzite, irregularly trapezoidal and nearly triangular in cross-section. There is one smooth face and this was chosen for the inscription. This inscribed face is of generally regular width (300-350mm) although slightly narrower and damaged at the top end and slightly broader at the lower end. The total length of the stone is 1.75m; the maximum width of the stone, in the same plane as the face on which the inscription lies, is 430mm; the maximum depth of the stone is 420mm. There is some relatively recent damage to the rear of the stone at the lower end, possible caused when the stone was set into the barn sometime before 1802. The stone would originally have stood upright as a monolith with the broader, basal end, bedded in the ground up to as much as one-quarter to one-third of its length (fig. 9). The inscription is disposed vertically on the smooth face of the stone at a point approximately central to what we take to represent the above-ground portion. The inscription reads MAILISI in Roman capitals. The letters are neatly formed by incision, rather than packing, exhibiting a V profile. The letter M and A are ligatured; the A has a straight bar, the third and fifth letters, I, are shorter strokes than the other capitals; the L has an inclined basal stem which overlaps the base of the second I; the S is a tall letter with a first curve which extends beyond the line of the other capitals as if to balance the dropping stem of the L; the last letter, I, is disposed, at right angles to the alignment of the other letters.
The name on the stone is the genitive or possessive form of what may have been a Latinised name such as Mailisus. The identifiable root of this name is Mail, which Williams hinted might be related to, or derived from Irish names such as Maillsu ('servant of Jesus') or Mail Brigit (Williams, 1937, cxvii). The element Mail in these names is cognate with the Welsh moe/ (bald). A bald or shaven head indicated a slave. In a religious context, taken literally, such a name would carry the meaning 'the tonsured servant of- so and so (usually a saint). If this derivation is correct, while it is possible that the individual commemorated on the Mailisi stone may have been a cleric there is, however, no requirement that this should be so. Other factors such as local fash ion or family preferences are as likely to have applied.
Williams further points to the currency of Mail in Welsh personal names of the 8th- to 1Oth-centuries (Williams, 1937, cxvii). In later Welsh this element would be spelt Mael. lt seems reasonable to allow the possibility of an association between the 5th- or 6th century memorial bearing the name Mailisi and the dedication of the church (Maelog), which later came to serve the parish (Lianfaelog) within which the stone may originally have stood. A similar association has been proposed for Llansadwrn church, in the eastern part of the Island, and its 6th-century memorial to Saturn in us, and for the Cunogusi stone at Bodfeddan and the medieval community of Conysiog (which, incidentally, was the medieval trefwithin which lay Llanfaelog church) (Williams, 1937, cxv-cxvii). (Longley, 2001).


Sources :
Longley, D. , 2001 , The Removal of the MAILISI Stone from Pen Sieri, Llanfaelog, to Trecastell ( © GAT)
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales , 1937 , An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Anglesey
Waddington, K. , 2010 , Early Celtic Societies in North Wales
Waddington, K. , 2013 , The Settlements of Northwest Wales: From the Late Bronze Age to the Early Medieval Period
Longley, D. , 2001 , The Removal of the Mailisi Stone from Pen Sieri - Trecastell , <11>
Nash Williams, V. E. , 1950 , Early Christian Monuments of Wales , <3>
Ordnance Survey , 1970 , SH37SW 6 , <4>
Skinner, J. , 1908 , Archaeologia Cambrensis , <6>
, PRN 3033 , <7>
Williams, I. , 1945 , Transactions of the Anglesey Antiquarian Society , <2>

Events :
44557 : Early Celtic Societies in North Wales (year : 2010)
40562 : The Removal of the Mailisi Stone (year : 2001)

Related PRNs : 407619

Compiled date : 27-10-1986


The above data are supplied by GAT in partnership with its Local Authorities (Anglesey, Conwy and Gwynedd County Councils, and Snowdonia National Park Authority), © GAT 2018 (and in part © Crown, 2018 - as indicated)
This information is supplied for the purposes of personal interest only and may not be used as part of a commercial project.

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