St Mary’s church, Cilcain, Flintshire, is one of a series of North-East Welsh churches with an important, if largely fragmentary, collection of medieval funerary monuments surviving. CPAT have details here. A few are elsewhere in the church, but most are displayed as a group just inside the south door.
I’ve previously discussed one of these: Gresham 166: a fragment of a semi-effigial slab of a lady, dated broadly to the early 14th century.
I want to briefly outline each of the other pieces here.
This is the upper half of a grey sandstone slab, dated by Gresham to the early 14th century. It is one of a series from NE Wales that have open-ended circles (horseshoes) interlaced with large quatrefoil, which together allude to a cross form. An eight-petalled flower forms the centre of the cross motif. It resembles a similar cross-head from close by at Caerwys (Gresham 98).
This is also grey sandstone and early 14th century in date. It is once more a fragment of the upper half of a small slab with a geometrical designed circular cross-head. I’ve inverted this image to render it clearer.
This is a grey sandstone slab comparable to one from Llanfair-dyffryn-Clwyd, bearing a sword and shield. It survives in two fragments that don’t quite join up, both from the upper half of the slab. There is an heraldic shield with a sheathed sword running behind it, held by a hand. Upon the shield is a lion rampant guardant and three eight-petalled flowers. Around it is typical false relief Lombardic capitals with the inscription that can be reconstructed as:
Here lies Iorwerth Ddu, may whose soul rest in peace. Amen.
The sword has lost its hilt.
Oak leaves and acorns sprouting from a twisted stem fill the space beside the sword-hilt.
Below the shield are symmetrical arrangement of pairs of three-lobed leaves emerging from a central stem.
Once more the upper half of a cross-slab of grey stone, this is a floriated cross with a Lombardic capital inscription translated as:
here lies Angharad
Notably, it has no evidence of being tapered, and a low relief floriated cross with four-lobed branches on either side of each cross-stem.
This is another semi-effigy of brown sandstone with the top missing with half of the figure’s head. The figure is rendered in low relief and appears as far as the waist. The clothes are accompanied by a wimple hanging in folds on to the shoulders. There are no facial features and no headdress.
The inscription reads:
Here lies Marred daughter of Ierwerth.
Gresham, however, was not comprehensive, and there are a range of other fragments of slabs to be found in the assemblage which have yet to be systematically described or debated, although brief comments on some appear on the following three in Gittos and Gittos (2012: 381).
The following are not mentioned at all thus far in print.
Clearly the memorials of local nobles, including at least four knightly monuments and those of three highborn females, this assemblage is in dire need of better recording, analysis and interpretation in a regional and national context.
Gittos, B. and Gittos, M. 2012. Gresham revisited: a fresh look at the medieval monuments of north Wales, Archaeologia Cambrensis 161: 357-88
Gresham, C.A. 1968. Medieval Stone Carving in North Wales, Cardiff: University of Wales Press