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Bryn Gwyn (Stone Circle)

An intersesting encounter with the Arch Druid of Anglesey reveled something of the folklaw of these stones. Until quite recent times these stones formed the only stone circle on Anglesey (his words), then the stone masons set to work! These two large stones which frame Snowdon, were reputedly cursed and they were left untouched! Well I'm not sure how he came across this piece of unrecorded history, but Francis Lynch (Prehistoric Anglesey) notes that in the Mid 1700's there were indeed 3 standing stones and the broken remains of a fourth. I also noticed the large stone set into the wall perhaps 30m from the site back towards the road. Posted by MikePlant
7th September 2006ce

Plumstone Mountain (Round Barrow(s))

There are a number of round barrows and cairns on this hilltop. A contributor to Notes and Queries (March 5th 1870) found some folklore referring to them in Fenton's 'Tour through Pembrokeshire' (1811). "In the midst of this convulsed chaos (Plumstone Mountain) are three rocking-stones, and a cromlech ; and on the top of one of the highest fragments, in an excavation on the surface, I found water, said to be always there, and probably, as this was the 22nd of July, after a long run of dry weather." Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th September 2006ce
Edited 5th September 2006ce

Hoyle's Mouth Cave (Cave / Rock Shelter)

Mr. P. H. Gosse, in his interesting work, Tenby: a Sea-side Holiday, 1856, p. 80, informs us that" the people talk a good deal of a curious cavern called Hoyle's Mouth, about which they have some strange notions. It opens at the end of a long lime-stone hill, or range of hills, about a mile inland; and the popular legend is, that it is the termination of a natural subterranean chasm which communicates with the great cave called, the Hogan, under Pembroke Castle, some eight miles distant.

It was once traversed, they say, by a dog, which, entering at one end, emerged from the other, with all his hair rubbed off! A gentleman is said to have penetrated to a considerable distance, and found ' fine rooms.' But the vulgar are very averse to exploring even its mouth, on the ostensible ground that a boar,' a wild pig,' dwells there; I fear, however, that there are more unsubstantial terrors in the case. I walked out to look at it; and if I found no dragons, nor giants, nor pigs, I enjoyed a most delightful rural walk."
From Notes and Queries, October 12, 1861.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
26th August 2006ce

Gaer Llwyd (Burial Chamber)

At Gaer Llwyd, about half way between Chepstow and Usk, is a cromlech—I believe the only one in Monmouthshire—the origin of which is thus accounted for by popular tradition.

"Once upon a time," which may be token to mean in the heroic ages of Gwent, there lived one Twm Sion Catti, who was on more familiar terms than a Christian gentleman (if he was one) ought to have been with his Satanic Majesty, with whom he one day engaged in a friendly game of quoits. It seems to have been a trial as much of strength as accuracy of aim, for the quoits consisted of the stones which now form the cromlech. A believing imagination points out the steps by which each cast was matched by another as good, until on Twm Sion Catti throwing a stone which literally capped them all, and now measures upwards of twelve feet by four, his adversary gave in.

Now, as there was a Tim Sion Catti who flourished in historic times—a kind of Welsh Robin Hood of the period of Queen Elizabeth—we must suppose that tradition, with its usual readiness to group all marvellous actions around one popular hero, has confounded his name with an earlier one associated with the cromlech.
From Notes and Queries, July 27th, 1878, our correspondent being J F Marsh.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
19th August 2006ce

Mynydd Melyn (Enclosure)

There's all sorts on the 'yellow mountain' - enclosures, cairns, possible standing stones.. and some of the stones round here had a strange reputation for curing people who had been bitten by mad dogs..

"[A] remedy consisted in a visit to the wonderful stone at Mynyddmelyn [William Howell, "Cambrian Superstitions," pp. 23, 25.]. A bit of this stone reduced to a fine powder and mixed with milk was given to the sufferer and the cure "never failed." Friends of the person bitten made a pilgrimage to the stone for the purpose of obtaining a small portion of it, or else the patient was conveyed to the stone, where, with bound hands and feet, he was forced to lick it."

Quote from Marie Trevelyan's "Folk-lore and folk-stories of Wales". Published in 1909. Online at V Wales:
http://www.red4.co.uk/Folklore/trevelyan/welshfolklore/chapt22.htm
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
18th August 2006ce

Craig Rhiwarth (Hillfort)

Some folklore about a cave under Craig Rhiwarth, recorded in 'Celtic Folklore - Welsh and Manx, by Rhys (1901). Cwm Glanhafan is on the mountain's eastern side.
Take for instance a cave in the part of Rhiwarth rock nearest to Cwm Llanhafan, in the neighbourhood of Llangynog in Montgomeryshire. Into that, according to Cyndelw in the Brython for [date missing on STA], p. 57, some men penetrated as far as the pound of candles lasted, with which they had provided themselves; but it appears to be tenanted by a hag who is always busily washing clothes in a brass pan.

Online at the Sacred Texts Archive
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/cfwm/cf202.htm
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
18th August 2006ce
Edited 18th July 2009ce

Lodge Wood Camp (Hillfort)

It's been suggested over the years that it's the Roman settlement in Caerleon that's being referred to as King Arthur's court (see for example, http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/archaeology/caerleon.html ).

But frankly, I think the following story rather hints that King Arthur's men are under a hillside. And near a wood. And that sounds more like the vicinity of Lodge Wood Camp to me than the flat land down by the river. Of course there's only one way to find out - you'll have to go and look for the secret entrance yourself.
[This story] relates how a Monmouthshire farmer, whose house was grievously troubled by [a] bogie, set out one morning to call on a wizard who lived near Caerleon, and how he on his way came up with a very strange and odd man who wore a three-cornered hat. They fell into conversation, and the strange man asked the farmer if he should like to see something of a wonder. He answered he would. 'Come with me then,' said the wearer of the cocked hat, 'and you shall see what nobody else alive to-day has seen.'

When they had reached the middle of a wood this spiritual guide sprang from horseback and kicked a big stone near the road. It instantly moved aside to disclose the mouth of a large cave; and now said he to the farmer, 'Dismount and bring your horse in here: tie him up alongside of mine, and follow me so that you may see something which the eyes of man have not beheld for centuries!'

The farmer, having done as he was ordered, followed his guide for a long distance: they came at length to the top of a flight of stairs, where two huge bells were hanging. 'Now mind,' said the warning voice of the strange guide, 'not to touch either of those bells!'

At the bottom of the stairs there was a vast chamber with hundreds of men lying at full length on the floor, each with his head reposing on the stock of his gun.

'Have you any notion who these men are?'
'No,' replied the farmer, 'I have not, nor have I any idea what they want in such a place as this!
' Well,' said the guide, 'these are Arthur's thousand soldiers reposing and sleeping till the Kymry have need of them. Now let us get out as fast as our feet can carry us!'

When they reached the top of the stairs, the farmer somehow struck his elbow against one of the bells so that it rang, and in the twinkling of an eye all the sleeping host rose to their feet shouting together, 'Are the Kymry in straits?'
'Not yet: sleep you on,' replied the wearer of the cocked hat, whereupon they all dropped down on their guns to resume their slumbers at once.

'These are the valiant men,' he went on to say, 'who are to turn the scale in favour of the Kymry when the time comes for them to cast the Saxon yoke off their necks and to recover possession of their country!'

When the two had returned to their horses at the mouth of the cave, his guide said to the farmer, 'Now go in peace, and let me warn you on the pain of death not to utter a syllable about what you have seen for the space of a year and a day: if you do, woe awaits you.' After he had moved the stone back to its place the farmer lost sight of him.

When the year had lapsed the farmer happened to pass again that way, but, though he made a long and careful search, he failed completely to find the stone at the mouth of the cave.
From John Rhys's informant, retold in 'Celtic Folklore - Welsh And Manx' [1901], online at
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/cfwm/cf202.htm
It's a story that is told about various locations in Britain. I like the way they've got guns in this version and kept up with Progress.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
18th August 2006ce
Edited 19th August 2006ce

Lodge Wood Camp is above Caerllion / Caerleon, and arguably the setting for the start of the Mabinogion story 'The Lady of the Fountain' - effectively King Arthur's Camelot:
King Arthur was at Caerlleon upon Usk; and one day he sat in his chamber; and with him were Owain the son of Urien, and Kynon the son of Clydno, and Kai the son of Kyner; and Gwenhwyvar and her handmaidens at needlework by the window.
[..]
In the centre of the chamber King Arthur sat upon a seat of green rushes, over which was spread a covering of flame-coloured satin, and a cushion of red satin was under his elbow.
Online at the Sacred Texts Archive.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/mab/mab05.htm

Caerlleon is also described as the location of Arthur's court in 'Geraint the son of Erbin':
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/mab/mab13.htm
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
18th August 2006ce

Adam and Eve (Natural Rock Feature)

It might be related to the stones, it might not. It doesn't seem unreasonable to think it would be, as many similar places have grave-related folklore. This is a line from 'Stanzas of the Grave', a 10th-century Welsh poem:

"the grave of Bedwyr is on Tryfan hill."

Bedwyr is one of King Arthur's mates and one of several Arthurian characters mentioned in the early poem. You can read the rest of the poem at this page at the University of British Columbia:
http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/sechard/344art.htm

* * *

Tryfan is a conical hill on the south side of Ogwen Lake. Its sides are precipitous and covered with huge stones resting one upon the other. The summit can be reached in one direction. On the top are two erect stones which from the road appear like two men. There is a small patch of level ground on the top. The triplet runs thus:

Bedd mab Osvran yn Camlan,
Wedi llawer cyflafan,
Bedd Bedwyr yn allt Tryfan.

Which may be thus translated:

In Camlan lies brave Osvran's son,
Who many bloody conflicts won.
In Tryfan's steep and craggy womb,
Uprais'd with stones is Bedwyr's tomb.

Or literally, "The grave of the son of Osvran, after many conflicts, is in Camlan. The grave of Bedwyr, in the ascent of Tryfan." I quote from Williams' Observations on the Snowdon Mountains. If Bedwyr is buried in the steep of Tryfan, it is difficult to ascertain the spot, for the whole hill-side is one mass of large stones. Perhaps, though, this Tryfan is not the one honoured with Bedwyr's grave.
in Archaeologia Cambrensis vol 5, series 4 (1874).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
16th August 2006ce

Bedd Gwyl Illtyd (Ring Cairn)

Coflein says that Bedd Gwyl Illtyd was originally described as a pair of stones with a mound between, but now it's thought to be the remains of a ring cairn 13m in diameter.
On the motif of petrifaction as punishment for wrongdoing, a life of St Cadog (c. AD 1100) relates that he turned two wolves into stones for biting sheep; and a life of St Illtud (c.AD 1140) narrates how he turned two robbers into stone for stealing his herd of swine. 'Till now.. are seen the immovable stones called by the name 'Two Robbers'*. These stones cannot certainly now be identified, but two rather widely separated standing stones were located a few years ago on Mynydd Illtud by D J James.

*A W Wade-Evans: Vita Sanctorum Britanniae et Genealogiae (1944
From 'Notes on the Folklore of Prehistoric Sites,' by L V Grinsell, in Folklore vol 90, no1, p66 (1979).

But we know it's St Illtyd's grave. Tradition has it that he lived, died and was buried here. It's known as the Grave of St Illtyd's Feast Day, because it was the custom to 'watch their on the Vigil of the saint's day', which is either the 6 or 7 November.
The chapel is dedicated to St. Illtyd, and sometimes gives the name of Llan Illtyd to this division of the parish. On an adjoining eminence, near a pool, are two large stones, placed six feet asunder, at each end of a small tumulus, which is called Bedd Gwyl Illtyd, or "The Grave of St. Illtyd's Eve," from the ancient custom of watching there on the eve of the festival of that saint, who was supposed to have been buried here.
(Lewis's 'Topographical Dictionary of Wales', 1833).

St Illtyd himself was useful to have about, as he introduced to the Welsh a new and improved method of ploughing. He was described in another Triad as one of the three knights in the court of King Arthur 'who kept the Greal' (the other two were Cadoc and Peredur).

(from volume 3 of Baring-Gould's 'Lives of the British Saints' 1913).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
20th July 2006ce
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