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St Garmon in North East Wales

You'll be hard pressed to spend any time in North East Wales and not come across something which remembers St Garmon in stone or water. He's everywhere. There he is on Eliseg's Pillar, blessing Vortigern of all people. He's remembered in Llanarmon yn Ial, of course, and the church there dedicated to him. There are numerous wells and springs, most now long lost, that are dedicated to him. And what of Capel Garmon in Conwy County, a passage tomb named after him? Have a look at Plate 26 of Rees' Historical Atlas of Wales to get an idea as just how influential Garmon was here - pushing poor Daniel onto the coast.


Recently, I ventured over to Mold to find the Alleluia Obelisk, remembering the famous Alleluia Battle, in which Garmon led the forces of the native British against a horde of pagan Picts and Saxons and routed them with the sudden cry of 'Alleluia', which quite terrified the enemy to such an extent they threw down their weapons, fled in panic and drowned themselves in the River Alyn. Well, quite. The tale as told is in the Vita Sancti Germani written by Constantus of Lyon in about 480, and must have made something of an impression, since Bede repeats the story in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People of about 731




Unfortunately, there is virtually nothing in either text to assign the battle to this field opposite Rhual Mansion, and finding Saxons this far west in around 429 would be quite something. On the face of it then, the raising of the obelisk by the landowner, Nehemiah Griffiths in 1736 seems to be something of a whim. But...given the ubiquity of Garmon in the area, it would be daft to rule it out completely. Perhaps Nehemiah was onto something...perhaps a distant echo.


I wouldn't bet against it...

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