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

Ffyst Samson

Chambered Tomb


Ffyst Samson's intrigued me for a while now. Hard to define the reasons why... I guess it just looks so, well, ancient.. so 'hoary', an iconoclasm to this modern world of ours which demands that everything must be defined, must have its place, must be categorised. Sanitised with bleedin' antibacterial handwash before it can be touched. Ffyst Samson seems to say 'I think not. Come back in another thousand years and we'll talk!' Yeah, sure, we think we know what it was for. A tomb. But what ritual, what rites were carried out here? Ffyst Samson seems, to me, to represent everything we don't understand from the old times before we (apparently) learned to use our reason.

So, low cloud over Y Preselau suggesting it would be unwise to wander once again upon bluestone territory, I decide to pay an overdue visit. As noted by others, even a relatively recent 1:25k OS map is of little use, save directing me to a parking space (opposite a very long farm shed) a little south of St Nicholas. A footpath sign points uphill and.... basically keep going, crossing barbed wire fences when encountered until the 'rocky outcrop' is seen in the field to your left. Cross yet another barbed wire fence to enter this field and there the fabulous cromlech is. Not that my approach was that direct, you understand.... wouldn't be fun otherwise.

The first thing you notice about the monument is that, like a bumble bee, the capstone shouldn't really stay up at all.... that it manages to remain supported upon its two rough orthostats is an undeniable fact that seems to defy the very laws of physics themselves! The second is the rather obvious siting beside the rocky outcrop. Coincidence? Hmm. If I was a betting man.... The wind is absolutely biting cold, but there is no leaving here in a hurry. The Pembrokeshire coastline lies beyond, to the north, the hillfort of Garn Fawr prominent upon the horizon. Yeah, expansive views are there for the taking - sorry, that's the wrong word... for the 'accepting' - but the difficulty of location, let alone access, ensures the vibe here is one of private meditation. No doubt this was not the original intention, but hey.

A further stone lies prostrate a little distance away, in all probability once part of the structure, but now taking it easy. Then there's the rocky outcrop. Needless to say one can't leave without a quick view from the top of the cromlech's natural companion, predecessor, even, although the export strength briars and gorse render the accomplishment of this somewhat uncomfortable, yet nevertheless essential. Structurally speaking, Ffyst Samson is a simple monument of a type the antiquarians of old (not the Modern Antiquarians, oh no!) would have called 'rude' and 'brutish'. Maybe. But I'll tell you something, there is nothing remotely straightforward about the effect it - and others like it - can have on a receptive human mind. The power of suggestion, no less.

Perhaps the farmer is playing 'silly buggers' with regards access... or perhaps not? Whatever the case, in my opinion a visit here is worth the hassle. Not to mention a long drive.
12th March 2011ce
Edited 14th March 2011ce

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