The Christian message spread into rural Wales once the Roman Empire fell – and a new wave of local chieftains began to rule the roost.
Such men demonstrated their own importance with memorial stones inscribed in Latin, often using the Christian formula Hic lacet (Here He Lies). Those descended from Irish immigrants added an inscription in ogham, or Old Irish, script. The museum’s bilingual memorial stone to Pumpeius is one fine example.
In the sixth century most people were already Christian but the Church didn’t have the resources to build a network of rural churches. These once-powerful chieftains were remembered by the roadside instead.