The Bell Ringer's Stone, Maen y Clochydd,
This sculpture was created during the summer of 2014 as a live carving project. The Welsh Assembly/Ceredigion County Council project highlights the history of the submerged forest at Borth as well as the tale of the sunken cities which are said to be just below the waves here. Carving on site in all weathers let me get a good feel for the location and its people, as well as allowing me time for the odd surf too!
The below images show the dual aspect of this work with poetry by local renowned poet J.J. Williams (1869-1954),and his famous poem Clychau Cantre'r Gwaelod: " O dan y mor a'i donnau Mae llawer dinas dlos...translated as, Under the sea and waves lie many a fair city. On the side facing the waves and sea is the translation into English and here are relief carvings of waves crashing onto towns and cities, at the lower right we can see the watchman Seithennyn asleep and oblivious of his failure to close the sluice gates. Each small town has a bell tower but the warning signal has not been given and the waves come rushing in.
A small bronze ships bell is set in the hole at the top of this work. It is there to be rung by visitors as a way of honoring all those lost to the sea and also as a reminder to be ever watchful of our present environment. The alignment of the sculpture is set so as capture the setting sun through the hole with the bell: throughout the summer months and particularly on the summer solstice on the 21st June where it sets just beyond Bardsey island.
The side facing the town has J.J. Williams poem in the original Welsh and here the depiction is of the ancient forest complete with the wild cattle of that time. An almost complete aurochs skeleton was found in 1968 (just opposite the Grand Hotel) by Mr. Aran Morris. This being just 200 yards from the site of the sculpture, I felt that he had to make an appearance once more. For back then, the beast had become stuck in the boggy ground and been entombed for the next 10,000 years. The sculpture shows the different tree species found in the fossilized forest, Oak, Pine, Alder and Birch, and has a small reference on the lower left for children to find the sacred all-seeing tree of the ancient forest.
This sculpture has been designed to help raise awareness of the local history and folklore which surrounds Borth, which is both a beautiful part of our country and a fantastically rich site of historical importance.
My special thanks go to my team who helped put this project together, Dr Lynn Parr, Gareth Ioan, and digital master, Matt Luxton.