Site: Locoal

Name:Locoal (Lokoal) CISP No:LCOAL
Place:Pen Pont Grid Ref:190.01 2314.85 (FR)   Map
Parish:Locoal-Mendon (Lokoal) Stones:1
County:Morbihan (Mor-Bihan) , France Saint(s):Gutual
Site Type:landscape setting

Site Notes

Davies et al/2000, 226--229: `The stone stands in the southern Morbihan to the east of the estuary of the Etel, in an area which is criss-crossed with tidal waterways. It is 3m above sea-level, just over 2km from the main course of the estuary and 9km from the sea, and the bedrock is granite. The surrounding landscape is flat and dominated by water, making land communications difficult. This may be a factor which has favoured the survival of early inscribed stones in the area: the stone at Le Plec is just over 2km to the west [LPLEC/1] and that at Langombrac'h just over 3km to the north (LDAUL/1].

The particular location of the stone is significant, for it stands on the mainland close to the water's edge and 170m from the passage across to what is in effect an island. This island (Locoal) lies within the estuary of the Etel and was in earlier times approached by a ford. Nowadays the ford has been replaced by a bridge which carries the modern road to the island and to the village of Locoal, although the bridge itself is largely obscured and therefore not immediately apparent.

The cadastral map of 1845 shows a path leading from the north east to the calvary which stands beside the stone (ADM 3P439 Locoal section O1). Although dominated by water meadow and pasture in the 1990s, much of the land in the vicinity of the stone was cultivated in earlier times, as demonstrated by the surprising proportion of arable on the 1845 cadastral map. Although there are now a few houses on each side of the bridge, there is not much settlement in the immediate neighbourhood, for settlement clusters in the village of Locoal on the island and in that of Mendon on the mainland, 2km to the north east. ... there is an early reference to the island of Locoal. A charter of 1037 records that one Gurki, with another man Rivodus, had made a building on the island (insula) of St Gutual after the destruction caused by the Vikings, that is presumably after the frequently noticed dislocation of the 920s (CR no. 373). Further detail of the text is ambiguous but it could be read to imply that the Vikings destroyed the foundation on the island, which was in effect rebuilt by Gurki; it certainly implies that what he built was for religious use and that Gurki and Rivodus were religious persons (quam edificaverat...aecclesiam fecit). The main thrust of the record in CR no. 373 is to secure the island, and its substantial appurtenant lands in the neighbourhood, to the monastery of Redon. The text of this very long charter refers to other places in the neighbourhood of Locoal -- including Le Plec and Ménihi -- and thereby makes uncontroversially clear its location in this area. ... The suggestion that the stone marked the boundary of the monastery's lands is not very credible, given that we know that there were many properties beyond. However, it could have marked the limit of the monastery's own protected space, like the noddfa round Welsh churches and the termonn lands round Irish churches, given that the decoration was clearly intended to be visible from both sides; or it could simply have been a pointer to the best way across the water to the monastery'.