Tug of war over iconic monument dedicated to North Wales hero and coveted by others

A controversial call has been made to move one of the most important monuments in North Wales. A petition from Senedd has demanded that the Eliseg Pillar in Denbighshire be placed in a museum so it can be saved from further decay in the open air.

People in the area have angrily rejected what many see as a cultural coup by South Wales. The idea has been labeled “ridiculous” and compared to “moving Hadrian’s Wall to the British Museum”.

Eliseg’s Pillar is located near Valle Crucis Abbey, Llangollen. It is a truncated version of a large stone cross, built in the first half of the 9th century. According to Cadw, the Welsh heritage organization that looks after it, the inscribed column tells “an epic story of Wales’s former rulers”.

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There are more than 500 early medieval carved stones in Wales, of which the Eliseg Pillar is considered one of the most valuable. It was founded by Cyngen ap Cadell, King of Powys, in honor of his great-grandfather Elisedd ap Gwylog who drove the Anglo-Saxons out of North-East Wales “with sword and with fire”. King Offa of Mercia may have built his spectacular 280 kilometer long dike as a direct result.

Moves to house the pillar in a museum are being led by Karl-James Langford, an actor from Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan. His Senedd petition is supported by YouTube and TikTok videos in which he decries: “Local people are letting vital history decay in a field so they can walk their dogs over to it and pee on it.”

Mr Langford’s views on the issue have been collected in a live show he is staging at the Welfare Arts Center in Ystradgynlais, Swansea, next year. His exhibition Exposed History aims to show how the people of Llangollen allowed 1,150 years of history to be ‘destroyed’.