Stalling Down (Bryn Owen)
Stalling Down (Bryn Owen) was the location of Gorsedd meetings which Iolo organized in the late 1790s. Its alleged druidical associations appealed to him and he sometimes referred to it as Bryn Gwyddon (Druid Hill). (The Gwyddoniaid (wise men), according to Iolo, were the predecessors of the Druids and the bards of the Island of Britain.) This is how he described nearby Ystrad Owen: 'the place where in Glamorgan, from time immemorial, the Bards met. There is a large Tumulus, and in an adjoining field the remains of an ancient Gorsedd' (NLW 13144A, p. 429).
In 1795 Iolo announced the first Gorsedd meeting of 'Cadair Morganwg, Gwent, Euas, Ergyng ac Ystrad Yw' (the Chair of Glamorgan, Gwent, Euas, Ergyng and Ystrad Yw) and invited those who wished to be inaugurated as bards according to the rights and privileges of the bards of the Island of Britain to assemble on Bryn Owen:
Yn Enw Duw a Phob Daioni(NLW 13103B, p. 293)
Bydded hysbys – mae amseroedd defodol cynnal Cadair a Gorsedd wrth Gerdd, yn ol arfer a defod yr hen Gymru ydynt yn gyntaf Gwyl Alban Arthan ... Gwyl Alban Eilir ... Gwyl Alban Hefin ... a Gwyl Alban Elfed ... ac ar bob un or dyddiau hynn yr ydys yn bwriadu cynnal Cadair a Gorsedd wrth Fraint a Defod Beirdd Ynys Prydain o hyn allan bob blwyddyn ar Ben Bryn Owain ym Morganwg, lle bydd llawen gan bawb Gweled Bardd a charwr Barddoniaeth.
(In the Name of God and All Goodness
May it be known that the customary times to hold a Chair and Gorsedd of Poetry, according to the custom and ritual of the ancient Welsh are, firstly the feast of Alban Arthan ... the feast of Alban Eilir ... the feast of Alban Hefin ... and the feast of Alban Elfed ... and on every one of these days it is, from now on, intended to hold a Chair and Gorsedd according to the Privilege and Rite of the Bards annually on top of Stalling Down in Glamorgan, where everyone will be pleased to see a Bard and lover of Poetry).
A draft of this proclamation may be found in a letter to David Williams, dated 1 January 1803. In the Gorsedd meeting held in 1795 Iolo produced a document which has been accurately described by Geraint and Zonia Bowen in their volume on the history of the Gorsedd, entitled Hanes Gorsedd y Beirdd, as a manifesto of the Gorsedd.
Between 1795 and 1798 Gorsedd meetings were held on several mountains in Glamorgan: Stalling Down, near Cowbridge (1795 and 1796), Garth Mountain, Llantwit Fardre (1797 and 1798), Fforest Mountain (Mynydd y Fforest), Cowbridge (1797) and Ogmore Vale (1798).