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

St Elmo's Summer House

Round Barrow(s)


I noticed this barrow mentioned in Robert Harris's 'Walks in Ancient Wales' today. Curiously, today is St Elmo's day. He was the patron saint of sailors (and others) and met a rather unfortunate end when his guts were wound onto a windlass. Why should this barrow be named after him? Perhaps someone knows. In the meantime I could spread a completely unfounded suggestion that people have seen weird lights up here - rather like St Elmo's fire, which is seen around the top of ships' masts.

There is another barrow lower down the hill near the road, but this is very low and indistinct - the 'summerhouse' itself is a large barrow right on the summit of the hill. Dully its RCAMHW record describes that there was a summerhouse plonked on top of it at some point - so that would explain that part of the name - it was part of the Golden Grove landscaped grounds.

Harris describes the spot as follows: "The bank is constructed of loose stone, largely grassed over but with several larger stones still visible... the top of the barrow has been levelled off and has had a building erected on it [now] largely removed but still visible. [However] the barrow's position and size indicate a site that must have been of great importance in its time."

(Not far away is the village of Gwaenysgor: some may like to visit the churchyard here which has a roughly circular shape - perhaps suggesting the antiquity of its status as a sacred site? The Domesday Book records a delapidated church at the site. In the 19th century a small bronze figure of a saddled horse was found here, which was probably from the Romano-British period.)
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
2nd June 2004ce
Edited 11th June 2004ce

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