The crosses of Ynys Llanddwyn

A Celtic and a plain cross dominate the skyline of Llanddwyn from many directions. One cross was erected at the end of the 19th Century, the other at the start of the 20th.  Both were erected by the island’s then owner, F G Wynn.

Ynys Llanddwyn crosses - long view

Ynys Llanddwyn crosses – long view

The poignant inscriptions on the Celtic cross read: “they lie around did living tread, this sacred ground now silent – dead“. In English on one side, and Welsh on another. Apparently F G Wynn erected this cross to commemorate Llanddwyn Church, which at that time was largely ruined and overgrown.

Llanddwyn Celtic cross

Llanddwyn Celtic cross

Celtic cross inscriptions - "they lie around did living tread..."

Celtic cross inscriptions – “they lie around did living tread…”

The inscriptions on the plain cross, one on each side, read: “Dwynwen“; “in the sixtieth year of Queen Victoria 1897“; “in memory of St Dwynwen Jan 25th 1465“; and, “erected by the Hon F G Wynn owner of the isle“.

The plain cross on Llanddwyn with Dwynwen inscribed

The plain cross on Llanddwyn with Dwynwen inscribed

Inscriptions on the plain cross

Inscriptions on the plain cross

Dwynwen (or some say Dwyn Wen – Blessed Dwyn) is the patron saint of lovers for Wales. Her Saint’s Day is celebrated on 25th January: a very popular day for couples to visit the island!

As with everything historical, there are lots of conflicting stories surrounding the story of Dwynwen. The manuscript of Iolo (available in full at archive.org) gives the following version:

Maelon Dafodrill, and Dwynwen, the daughter of Saint Bry-
chan, mutually loved each other : Maelon sought her in unappro-
priated union, but was rejected; for which he left her in animosity,
and aspersed her, which caused extreme sorrow and anguish to
her. Being one night alone in a wood, she prayed that God would
cure her of her love ; and the Almighty appearing to her, while
she was asleep, gave her a delicious liquor, which quite fulfilled
her desire; and she saw the same draught administered to Maelon,
who, thereupon, became frozen to a lump of ice.

The Almighty, also, deigned to give her three choices ; and she
first desired that Maelon should be unfrozen ; — ^next, that her sup-
plications should be granted in favour of all true-hearted lovers ;
so that they should either obtain the objects of their affection, or
be cured of their passion ; — and, thirdly, that, thenceforth, she
should never wish to be married: and the three requests were con-
ceded to her ; whereupon she took the veil, and became a saint.
Every faithful lover, who, subsequently, invoked her, was either
relieved from his passion, or obtained the object of his affection.”

While the Museum of Wales’ version of the story has a bit of a different slant to it. But the essence of the blessing that Dwynwen can bring (lasting love or release from unrequited love) remains the same.

 

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