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At the Edge / Bob Trubshaw /

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In search of Boudica at The Gop

Paul Parry

I live roughly three miles from The Gop at Trelawnyd and was brought up with the myth of Boudica's last battle and alter started looking for the facts. With a friend, Michael Griffiths, I began researching the tales. The intriguing story begins in 1851 with The book of north Wales by Charles Frederick Cliffe, who writes about the vicinity of Newmarket and Coparleni [Gop Hill], reporting:

'It is conjectured that the great battle between the Britons and the Romans, under Agricola, at which 60,000 of the former fell, took place hereabouts.' Similar information is given in Thomas Edward's book An historical guide to Prestatyn. Of the same era is Edward Parry's Royal visits and progresses to Wales, which refers to an unhewn stone called Carreg Bedd Buddig, which was pointed out to travellers as the gravestone of Boadicea.

Morien's History of Wales (published 1911) is a most interesting book on mnay interesting topics, including hitherto-unrecorded antiquarian lore (although for the purist perhaps a book to left on the shelf). I also followed up the reference to Rev R.W. Morgan's The Britains of Cambria. The early archaeologist's attempts to understand The Gop are given in Canon Ellis Davies' Prehistoric and Roman remains of Flintshire.

Different people I have met find The Gop fascinating, with its cairn on top and a caves below. I think it has been likened to a pyramid as one of the caves below The Gop, now blocked, was thought by some to perhaps gain access into the middle of the mound. Over the years I have listened to all of these comments, The Gop is many things to many people and, for the locals, it will always be a place for imagination to flow.

Incidentally, near The Gop there is a place called Golden Grove. It is a small, narrow valley. Tumuli can be seen on both sides of the valley along the ridge. Outside one of the tumuli there once stood a stone with a hole through it. A local historian, Don bell, said that from the hole of this stone could be seen incised lines. On the opposite side of the valley there was a tumulus with a stone on top of it, also having a hole. Both of these stones are lost but are mentioned in the Royal Commission for Ancient Monuments of Flintshire in 1912. There was once a giant's grave on the Glol, two miles away, and not far from that there was another stone; I think it was called the Yellow Stone.

Boudica's last battle - introduction | Did Boudica die in Flintshire? | Boudica and The Gop | Buddug in Flintshire | Boudica - the case for Atherstone and Kings Cross

Originally published in Mercian Mysteries No.25 November 1995.

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At the Edge / Bob Trubshaw /

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Created April 1996; updated November 2008