The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Ty Illtyd

Chambered Tomb


OS Explorer OL 12 gives the name as Ty Elltud

Part of the Black Mountains group of chambered tombs(Severn-Cotswold type).

Heading out from Brecon on the A40 to Abergavenny.
Just after the end of the dual carriageway is the village of Llanhamlach.
Beyond this (before reaching the pub ‘the Old Ford’) is a turning on the left for Pennorth.
Take the turning, go past the first property on the left and continue until you reach a large farm on your right (all buildings plain grey stone, approx 700m from main road turn off).
This is Manest Court, and you should ask here for permission before visiting Ty Illtyd.

Opposite the entrance to the farm on the other side of the single track road is a field gate. Beyond this, pasture rising up the hill to another field gate. Beyond is the brow of the hill with a few trees on it. Head for the trees, because infront of them is the burial mound (it can be seen from the A40 at the Pennorth turning once you know where to look).

Illtyd was a local saint, and ty translates as house.

Great view of the Usk flood plain, with views of nearby Iron Age settlements (Slwch, Pen-y-Crug and Coed Fenni-fach, all to the west).

The mound is orientated north-south, with the chamber at the northern end. It has the shape of a long oval, the west side is badly plowed but does appear to give the impression of the remains of kerbing (thin flat stones) in places. It rises to around 2m and its length is given as 23m by 15.7m across at its widest point.

There is a large stone lying half buried halfway along the east side as well as a smaller one towards the back. I am aware of the large chamber being excavated, but I do not know if all of the mound has been. I am sure that if side chambers were present someone else would have mentioned it in print, whereas all the sources I have read just refer to a single main chamber.

The rectangular chamber consists of three uprights (sides and back) surmounted by a single large capstone (2m long by 1.75m width). In front of the chamber one on either side are low standing stones and in front of them is a large long stone, suggesting the remains of a forecourt of some sort (I couldn’t make out the remains of any horns).

The chamber is cramped, CADW gives the internal dimensions as 1.6m long by 0.9m wide and 0.6m high, so be prepared to crawl in and out through the mud and sheep excrement.

Of additional interest are the carvings (if you can find them, I just about made out 3 crosses and nothing else) inside the chamber: 60+ crosses and lozenges, two sets of dates in roman numerals and a lyre.

John Aubrey perhaps visited the tomb in the 17th century, making it the earliest known reference to a megalithic tomb in Brecknockshire: ‘…The Doctor caused it to be digged; and there rose such a horrid tempest of thunder & lightening, that the workmen would work no longer; and they sayd they sawe strange apparitions; but they found a cake of gold, which was of a considerable value. This was about 1612. From Sr Tho: Williams Baronet, Chymist to K. Charles II.’
Posted by elderford
6th August 2003ce

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