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

Ysgyryd Fawr



Description and folklore, from vol 11 of 'The Beauties of England and Wales, Or, Delineations, Topographical, Historical, and Descriptive' by John Britton and others (1810).
[The Skirrid] is isolated, arising abruptly from the plain: the north-eastern side is a ridge, of a barren russet hue; towards the south the declivity is less; and towards the botom terminates in a gentle cultivated slope. The base is ornamented with wood, and enriched with luxuriant corn-fields and pasture; which form a gratifying contrast to the brown and dark aspect of its summit, covered with heath and ling.

Seen in different directions, it assumes a variety of forms: from one point it seems like a large long barrow; from another it appears globular; from others like a truncated cone..

..[on the NE summit] formerly stood a small chapel, the site of which is traceable in a circular hollow; but no vestiges of the building remains. The chapel was dedicated to St. Michael, whence the hill is denominated St. Michael's Mount. It is at times the scene of superstitious folly. The catholic, and ignorant persons among the lower classes, annually repair, on Michaelmas Eve, to pay their devoirs to the saint, and still consider the soil as sacred; quantities of which they carry away to strew over the coffins and graves of their deceased friends. Formerly it was considered as endued with miraculous efficacy for the curing of certain diseases; but the age of such gross blindness, it is hoped, for ever is past...

.. [on the rent in the mountain] Various have been the conjectures respecting the cause of this horrid yawning chasm. Ignorance, ever ready to cut the knot it is unable to untie; and credulity, as ready to credit the surmises of superstition, have trumped up the legendary story, that the mountain was rent asunder by the earthquake which happened at the crucifixion of the Saviour: hence it has obtained the appellation of Holy Mount, a name under which it is best known among the inhabitants of the county.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
26th June 2007ce

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