Rhoscolyn has a fascinating history, with its patron saint, Gwenfaen, first making her home and church here in 630 AD. Some say that the druids’ last stand against the Romans, who invaded Mona (Anglesey) in 60 or 61 AD, was at Cymyran, the inland sea between Mona and Holy Island and the open sea, south of Four Mile Bridge. Anglesey itself also has a very interesting history.
THE SACRED WELL OF ST. GWENVAEN
Last month we featured this picture by Louise Littlewood of St Gwenfain’s well, on Rhoscolyn head. Lisa Savijn, who is carrying out research of local history for her degree course has found for us this poem by Sir Lewis Morris. There has been some confusion about which Sir Lewis Morris wrote it – it is in fact the Sir Lewis who was born in 1701, not the later one we all assumed it to be, who was born in 1833.
We hope to have more about the Lewis’s from Lisa as well as some of her research project findings in due course.
Gwenvaen, thou chiefest in ye choir of saints,
Great Benefactress of Rhoscolyn cell;
Thou whilst on earth vast wonders hast performed,
But now thy power no doubt is vastly great,
for wh inanimate things obey thy will,
of which the well which bears thy sacred name
is evidence sufficient.
Full oft have I prepared to drink that spring
waters that cure diseases of ye soul
as well as body, and which always prove
the only remedy for want of sense;
Two white spar stones is all thou dost expect
as a free offering both for sense and health
(What duller creature than thy present priest
Before he’d tasted of thy chrystal fluid,
Which presently to ‘s blood and sleeping sense
gave circulation, great and rare effects!
and now he lords it o’er his duller brethren
like a game cock who’s master of the field,
strutting along and crowing as he struts,
Wondering that other chickens are so dull)
‘Tis thou and thou alone that I invoke
to lead my pen. Then grant me that small boon,
that witt and gentle sense may flow in every line
in such proportion as I’ve drank thy waters.
Then distant nations shall adore thy name
And the Crim Tartar sing thy endless fame.
‘Tis done. She answers by ye bubbling spring,
which smiles as if well pleas’d with my petition,
Rise, goddess rise, and spread thy sparkling beams
of light upon the humblest of thy servants.
Lewis Morris (Llewelyn Ddu o Fôn) 1701-1765
 In the original text, the eight italicised lines in the middle of the poem were written in the margin, almost like an afterthought – Lisa Savijn
Why the Vikings’ favourite tipple is the bee’s knees
(with thanks to Emily Beaument & Rob Hastings of the i newspaper)
According to English Heritage, which is apparently selling a bottle of honey wine (mead) every 10 minutes and is the UK’s largest seller of the ancient drink, sales have grown by an average of 10 per cent a year for the past three years. And it is even more popular in the US.
Mead, which is created by fermenting honey with water and sometimes fruits and spices, dates back thousands of years. It was once thought to be the drink of the gods, falling from the heavens as dew and then gathered by bees.
It was the favoured beverage of the Vikings and couples were often presented with mead after their wedding – hence “honeymoon”. And thee is evidence that mead was being produced and stored in Tintagel Castle in the fifth and sixth centuries.