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

Garn Wen

Burial Chamber


Despite being marked on the OS map as 'Burial Chamber', it is in fact three, in the 'sub-megalithic' design of a chamber half above and half below ground level. They stand in dogshit-ridden semi-municipal paths and gorse and heather with an astonishing view to the sea.

Although clearly sited to look across Bae Abergwaun/ Fishguard Bay to Mynydd Preseli, they are not bluestone. The view is obscured by a development of houses, and all three are only just over the fence from back gardens.

However, from the Penrhiw cromlech 600 metres away there's a clear version of the view. The three outcrops over the bay on Mynydd Dinas constantly draw the eye, with the three peaks on Mynydd Preseli right behind. Could this somehow tally with the decision to build three cromlechs here?

The southernmost (yet another place known as Carreg Samson) is the largest and best-preserved of them. The capstone is a white quartzy rock, 10ftx6ft, with edges so sheer they're surely tooled. It stands on three sidelong uprights, while two more lie beside and another serves as a gatepost. The back-of-the-houses vibe of the site is present here in force. We removed the binliner of domestic rubbish that was in the chamber of this cromlech.

About 50 metres north, the middle one is propped 2ft off the ground, again crumbled but not destroyed. The capstone is the same white stone, slightly smaller than the southern one.

The northern one lies only 6 metres from the middle one. This one's the smallest, a 6ft x 8ft capstone (white stone again), all overgrown with ivy. These two stand at the very foot of a prominent rocky outcrop; all the cromlechs on the Pen Caer/Strumble Head peninsula seem to be - Calanais style – focussed on a rock outcrop that was perhaps the original temple predating the cromlech.

Rhiannon's note that they were covered by a single mound is highly doubtful – they are spread over about 50 metres!

Children & Nash (1997) say they were individually covered by round mounds. They also suggest the remains of a fourth cromlech lies to the north, in line with the other three. The Pembrokeshire Archaeological survey (1897-1906) reported nine! There are many natural slabs that look like capstones, so their confusion is understandable.

The multiple-cromlech is not unique to this site. There are several double cromlechs around West Wales (such as St Elvis Farm), a possible triple one at Eithbed, and a quadruple at Morfa Bycham.

The nearby info board is not particularly good, giving a load of West-Kennet style 'burial of VIPs' guff.

visited 20 Aug 04
Posted by Merrick
7th September 2004ce
Edited 7th September 2004ce

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