Corpus Refs:Huebner/1876:81
Discovery:first mentioned, 1857 Jones, H.L.
History:Rhys/1873, 7--8: `Aug. 26. -- We found ourselves this morning at Loughor inspecting a stone supposed to have been a Roman or British altar. After it had been cut for an altar, an inscription in Celtic was made on it...The stone stands on the rector's lawn, less than half a mile from the station'.

Westwood/1876, 39: `We are indebted to the late Rev. H. L. Jones for the first notice of this Ogham inscribed altar (Arch. Camb., 1869, pp. 258, 344)...Mr. H. L. Jones continues: `It is stated in Lewis's `Topographical Dictionary' that a Roman miliary stone was found at Loughor, where it formed one of the steps leading up to the rectory house. It was not a miliary stone but an altar, and it now stands on the lawn in front of the rectory, in the upper part of Loughor, on the slope of the hill...It is entirely devoid of any sculptured ornaments or inscription, but on examining it closely and under a favourable light in 1857, the author found on the south-west angle of the lower portion certain Oghams'.

Macalister/1945, 381: `On a rockery in front of the rectory house'.

Nash-Williams/1950, 144: `In the Rectory grounds'.

RCAHMW/1976, 37: `A Roman altar (Plate 2), found at Loughor.[1]

[1] Carlisle, Top. Dict., s. v. Lloughor'.

Geology:Westwood/1879, 39: `The material is a fine-grained, white sandstone of the carboniferous series, so close in texture and so light in colour that at first sight it appears to be marble'.

Macalister/1945, 381: `The material is a gritty, friable sandstone'.

Nash-Williams/1950, 146: `Local sandstone'.

RCAHMW/1976, 37: `local sandstone'.

Dimensions:1.1 x 0.53 x 0.53 (RCAHMW/1976)
Setting:in display
Location:Mus. Royal Inst. Swansea (Cat: inc.)
RCAHMW/1976, 37: `The stone is preserved in the Museum of the Royal Institution, Swansea'.
Jones/1869, 261: `It is rather plain; but its shape, as will be percieved by the accompanying engraving, plainly betokens its origin and purpose [as an altar]...The stone is about 4 ft. 6 ins. high, and the width of its flat sides about 1 ft. 7 ins.'.

Macalister/1945, 381: `A Roman altar of very rough workmanship, subsequently adapted for the purpose of a memorial'.

Nash-Williams/1950, 146: `Large quadrangular Roman altar (fragmentary), with plain die or shaft and the remains of a square moulded capital, with hollow focus and flanking rolls (?) above. 44+" h. x 20 1/2" w. x 15--18" t...The altar of 2nd- or 3rd-century A.D. date, probably comes from the neighbouring Roman station (? auxiliary fort) of Leucarum.[1] On one of the angles of the die immediately below the capital are vestiges of an Ogam inscription.

[1] HSCT, 1908--9, p. 108 (F. Haverfield)'.

RCAHMW/1976, 37: `A Roman altar...has a damaged inscription in Ogams on one angle below the capital. The stone itself, 1.1m tall and 53cm square but tapering slightly below the moulded edges of the capital'.

Condition:complete , some
Macalister/1945, 381: `The surface is much scaled'.

RCAHMW/1976, 37: `much weathered'.

Decorations:no other decoration



LOUGH/1/1     Pictures


Jones, H.L. (1869):[L--]ASIC
Jones/1869 261 reading only
Brash, R.R. (1873):[--]IC
Brash/1873 287 reading only
Rhys, J. (1873):[LE]VIC
Rhys/1873a 198 reading only
Rhys, J. (1895):L[--][!A]LICA
Rhys/1895 182 reading only
Macalister, R.A.S. (1928):[G^L][.]AVICA
Macalister/1928 298 reading only
Macalister/1945 382 reading only
Nash-Williams, V.E. (1950):[--L--]LICA
The stone (?) of ...lica (PN).
Nash-Williams/1950 146 reading only
RCAHMW (1976):--]L[--][V^L]ICA
RCAHMW/1976 37 reading only


Orientation:vertical up
Position:ind ; arris ; n/a ; undecorated
Macalister/1945, 381: `The Ogham begins on the ground line, and runs up to the cornice at the top of the body of the altar'.

Nash-Williams/1950, 146: `On one of the angles of the die immediately below the capital are vestiges of an Ogam inscription (damaged) reading upwards'.

Date:400 - 533 (Nash-Williams/1950)

400 - 533 (RCAHMW/1976)
Language:Incomplete Information (ogham)
Ling. Notes:Rhys/1895, 183: `Now lica is a Goidelic word for stone, in Irish lecc, lec, leg, ``a stone,'' Welsh llech, ``a flag stone''; both the Irish and the Welsh are feminines, deriving themselves, according to rule, from an earlier licca. This last, however, must in Ogham be written lica, as Ogamic cc had the sound of the spirant ch. The philological interest of this word is second only to that of inigena on the Eglwys Cymmun stone... What the name before lica was I cannot say, but it was probably the genitive of a man or woman's name. Compare names like Lec-Bébhionn, now Lickbevune Castle, in county Kerry, and Llech-Gynfarwy in Angelsey. In Irish, however, the word lecc is a good deal confused with a masculine lia, genitive liacc, which also means ``a stone'', but is according to Dr. Whitley Stokes, derived from an early form lêvink, which is not the word on the Loughor Altar'.

Macalister/1945, 382, reads the text as GRAVICA, not `LICA'.

Palaeography:Jones/1869 is quoted at length by Westwood and reproduced below.

Rhys/1873, 7--8: `it may be Lehoric or even Vehomagic. Were the former correct, it might stand for Lehori C., i.e. Lehori Castra, meaning Cas Llychwr, which is the name by which Loughor is known in modern Welsh'.

The relevant portions of Rhys/1873a, 198 and Brash/1873, 286--287 were quoted at length by Westwood, and are reproduced below. This acrimonious debate is described by Macalister as `obsolete controversial matter' (Macalister/1945, 381).

Westwood/1879, 40: `considerable time was spent over the monument, and the accuracy of the delineation may be fully depended upon. The Oghams begin from the bottom, and read upwards from left to right, as is usual in similar cases.

These letters are represented in Mr. H. L. Jones's figure here copied:-- two oblique lines between the chippings of the edge of the stone, a dot above the upper chipping, followed by three oblique strokes to the right, then five dots, and at the top, in the curved space below the square cornice or abacus of the top of the altar, four oblique lines to the left of the middle line. These marks Mr. Jones considers to represent L(?)...ASIC, and he is further induced to consider that they were cut on the edge of the stone after it had ceased to be used as an altar, and when it served for a commemorative purpose; and hence that it is to be considered, not as of pre-Christian times, but of a date later than the departure of the Roman garrison from the adjoining station... Prof. Rhys (Arch. Camb., 1873, p. 198) maintains that `the reading is L(?)VIC, which, if the drawing be correct, should be completed by inserting E, which makes it LEVIC, that is, according to the Irish method of reading, Lefic. The former reminds one strongly of Leucarum, the name of the Roman station in the neighbourhood. But which are we to trust, Mr. H. L. Jones's reading or his drawing?'. In his notes (p. 7) he, however, gives a different reading, observing, `After it (the stone) had been cut for an altar, an inscription in Celtic was made on it, which is now very hard to read -- it may be Lehoric or even Vehomagic. Were the former correct, it might stand for Lehori C., i. e. Lehori Castra, meaning Cas Llychwr, which is the name by which Loughor is known in modern Welsh'. On which I may observe that it is not at all usual on these Celtic or Romano-British stones to use initials alone, and that it is also not common to inscribe localities on them.

Mr. Brash, whose experience of the Ogham inscriptions in Ireland was very considerable, states (Arch. Camb., 1873, p. 286) that he had examined and copied the Loughor stone. He says, `The inscription is much damaged. Only two letters are determinable, IC. Before the I are two scores across the angle, which, if a letter, would be G, but as there is a flake off the angle before it, it may have formed portion of an R. There is neither an L nor an F on the stone. Farther down is one score, but as the angle before and after it is damaged, it cannot be determined whether it is an M or a portion of another letter'.

Rhys/1895, 182--183: `This stone was visited by me in 1874, when I was quite inexperienced in reading Ogams, and as the inscription was very imperfect, I did not feel much the wiser on seeing it; the only characters which I then thought certain were the Ogams for ic, and these I found there again...I read it now as follows:--


Here we have the Goidelic word lica, as to which I feel no doubt, except that it might possibly be leca, for the notches for the first vowel are in a somewhat bad state of preservation. Add to this, that after the a comes a small fracture which is, I think, no part of the writing; otherwise one would have to read o instead of a. Before the lica we have traces of the final vowel of a previous word, and some distance lower the scores for l; but the edge is too much damaged to allow of anything more being made out. Even this far exceeded my expectation, and I consider that one reason for my being able to read more this time was, that ivy had overgrown the stone, so that when it was torn off it left the surface clean, at any rate clear of lichen, which is the great obstructor to reading what is written on stones in the open air...it has further interest, that it is so placed that its a is written underneath the moulding in a position where no man in his senses would have ever begun his writing of the Ogams. So one may be practically certain that the Ogams read upwards on the edge of the altar, as one in any case would expect them to do'.

Macalister/1945, 382: `The traceable letters are:

(1) Two scores on the B-side, very faint; either L, or the B-half of a G.

(2) A space 5 1/2" long, void of definite lettering, though there are traces sufficient to shew that it once contained a letter of the M group. The width of the space indicates an R; as LR is an impossible beginning, the preceding letter must therefore have been G.

(3) AVIC, quite plain, the C being just under the angle of the abacus.

(4) A, on the underside of the abacus. The whole name is


-- a name found also at Ballinrannig, Co. Kerry (150)'.

RCAHMW/1976, 39: `The surviving Ogams were first noted in 1857[2] and may be read upwards as ]L[ ]V (or L) ICA. A single vowel notch remains immediately before the strokes for V (or L) but does not necessarily represent A; the final vowel notch is on the chamfered under-edge of the capital. The inscription, presumably giving a personal name,[3] indicates a re-using of the stone as a memorial in the 5th or early 6th century.

[2] Arch. Camb., 1869, p. 261 (with Plate).

[3] Rhys, reading `. . L . . LICA' (Arch. Camb., 1895, pp. 182-3), refers to the Goidelic lica (`stone'), but there is no common formula with that word which occurs only once in Irish Ogam inscriptions (C.I.I.C. I0). Cf R. A. S. Macalister's reading GRAVICA (C.I.I.C. 405)'.

Rhys/1873, 7: `now very hard to read'.

Westwood/1879, 39--40: `the edge which serves for the...basal line on which they are cut being chipped in two places, and the oghamic inscription is so far imperfect. Owing to the very light colour of the stone, and the total absence of shadow cast by these cuttings, the Oghams were extremely difficult to be made out'.

Carving errors:0