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

Ysgyryd Fawr



Hmm...I must admit I was initially a little confused to find Ysgyryd Fawr defined as a 'Sacred Hill' within TMA since the long, elongated summit ridge is enclosed by what appear to be defensive earthworks - a hillfort, no less. OK, these aren't exactly powerful, but then again they don't need to be since the only feasible direction of attack is from the south. Case closed, m'lud.

However the presence of the (very) scant remains of St Michael's Chapel at the summit got me thinking (Uh oh, not that again!) and doing a bit of reading .... why build it here? I can't escape the tentative conclusion that it may well have been for the same reason the earlier enclosure was laid out - to absorb or appropriate some of the otherwordly 'sacred power' this hill was clearly thought to possess, if the local folklore is anything to go by, that is. Handy to utilise for your Christian congregation's spiritual needs (if somewhat hypocritical, it has to be said) and handy to call upon a bit of divine assistance when your Iron Age neighbours want to do your knapper in as well.

Let's face it, there are numerous precedents for Christian sites trying this scam (Knowlton Henges, Ysbyty Cynfyn etc). The Iron Age thing is less clear cut, but many a hillfort incorporates seemingly revered Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments within their ramparts. Was a touch of supernatural help the finishing touch to assuring your safety? Not that it always worked, of course.

On a more prosaic level a visit to this wonderful 'mini mountain' is, well, wonderful, either by the easy 'tourist' route from the south, or the steeper approach from Pen-y-parc to the NE, right on the English Border. The views are superb, particularly across to the Sugar Loaf and The Black Mountains. And then there's the legends............
24th August 2009ce
Edited 25th August 2009ce

Comments (1)

Yeh :) That thing about IA hillforts and earlier monuments/remains. It's a whole can of highly interesting worms. Hob Posted by Hob
24th August 2009ce
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