Maen Dylan


Sharing some thoughts on Maen Dylan with the Druidic Dawn Community.


Maen Dylan or the Dylan stone is situated along the shoreline at Aberdesach. It is approx. east of the reef known as Caer Arainrhod, within Caernarfon bay. To the north the earth works of Dinas Dinlle, and south is the village of Clynnog Fawr and the Llan (enclosure or church) dedicated to St. Beuno, near the foot of Mynydd Elifi. Within the vicinity are two burial monuments. The first is Bachwen with cup marks" on its capstone. The other is a monument near Aberdersach where the capstone has fallen.




Maen Dylan is the reputed location associated to the tales of Dylan ap Don and Govannon. Together they forged the three-pointed spear which when tested in battle took the life of Dylan ap Don. On the other hand the tale within the Mabinogion informs Dylan is the son of Arainrhod and it's here that Dylan plunges into the sea and become "one" within the aquatic world. Further legends informs his dying prangs of his last breath was heard and transferred around the island of Britain. Yet, the sound was heard at Aberconwy where the sea groaned, as it does today with the changing of the tides. Nonetheless the noise enabled his uncle Math at Caer Dythral to hear it. The details of this tale have been recorded in several sources with as many variations, which transcends time, in the literature. Indeed the photographic image of Maen Dylan is very suggestive to the atlantic grey seals whose heads often surface within the bay.


The Black Book of Carmarthen records the poem or englym titled 'Stanzas of the Grave'. Scholars have studied the verses and additional sources, of the Red book of Hergest, Peniarth Ms 988. These all have compilations, in some cases they reveal additional verses which became added to the earliest recording in the Black Book c. 1250. There is a single verse within the Peniarth Ms 988 that refers to the burial place of Dylan ap Don. The story is covered in the Mabinogi of how Dylan became one with the waves of the sea. However the following verse is credited to William Salesbury dated to the 16th century. It therefore could indicate the tradition became associated at this time, similarly the same could apply to Caer Arainrhod. Irrespectively the last two lines are of interest, which record: -

"where the wave makes a noise; The grave of Dylan is at Llanfeuno"

(Trans. Thomas Jones 1967)

Last update 22/06/2004

Original 2001

Maen Dylan, Literature, Tradition, Wales,
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