A CADW prehistoric site – one of many on Anglesey.
Although this site is signposted it is not easy to park but this is a quiet road and we squeezed in on the grass verge.
The Dolmen itself is visible from the road but a short walk (via a stone stile) will bring you up close and personal.
(There is a large stone next to the stile – I wonder if this has anything to do with the Dolmen?)
I noticed around the tomb a series of small concrete stumps.
Are the stumps there to protect the site from farming or to show the original outline of the Dolmen?
The capstone is very large with lichen growing on one side.
As reported it is held up by 3 original standing stones and 2 brick pillars.
The capstone seemed to me to be pointing towards Snowdonia.
There are good views to be had.
This is a good place to visit.
Of all my many previous visits to Anglesey I'd never been here before. Despite being only a stones throw from Barclodiad-y-Gawres I'd always found the maze of lanes around Llanfaelog confusing, or maybe I'd been subconsciously avoiding seeing the appalling restoration of the dolmen, now with an OS map in hand there were no excuses so we set off to view the site.
Initial impressions were hopeful, as we parked up in the tiny layby outside Ty Newydd's field, the shape of the huge capsone hove into view and I thought well that doesn't look too bad. Indeed from one angle it doesn't, but as you approach the true horror of the restoration becomes apparent.
Looking more like a dodgy garage extension than a serious attempt at archaeological restoration the brick pillar 'supports' are so inappropriate as to totally ruin the form of the monument, and I desperately try to angle my photos to hide the ugly brickwork.
Well done to the 19th century gaping rustic who lit a bonfire on the capstone cracking it and necessitating this later awful reconstruction. I'm generally in favour of restoring megalithic sites but to be honest this one would have looked better if it had been left in a tumbledown 'dolmen on a blasted heath' type state rather than having been used as bricklaying practice for the Ministry of Works. Surely it would now be possible to restore the monument in a more sympathetic way?
If you can overlook the bricks the dolmen is of a good size, the capstone being impressively huge. I was initially perplexed by the small concrete posts which surrounded the structure, before figuring out that they indicated the circumference of the mound which would have once covered the dolmen (at least I think that's what they're for, please someone correct me if I'm wrong!) At least from one angle it looks great, like a perfect stone table, perhaps I can dream that one day someone will come along and restore it properly!
Visited it in 2005, went across the muddy field too find it hunched in the corner, a strange sorry spectacle, with its huge concrete/brick crutch helping it to basically stay up. Be amazed at its resilience to time and man's indignity to it. Be astounded at the fact this structure has survived all this. It is for this reason it is always worth a visit.
Rain was swirling in the gloaming as we reached Ty Newydd, and I was also disappointed to note the utterly insensitive and ugly restoration work on this previously stunning cromlech. However, I suppose we shouldn't be ungrateful, as brickwork aside, we still see the structure erect. Best of all, the capstone offers a decidedly nautical feel; seen from below, it looks like the prow of a large ship. I remembered trips to HMS Victory.
Argh! Another example of hideous restoration! Whichever pricks decided to use pillars of bricks to hold up capstones need their brains concreted. I suppose I should be thankful that the capstone is still up but this beautiful chamber has been very badly damaged by it's repairs. You can get a view of it where the brick pillars are not visible and that is certainly worth enjoying.
The broken capstone of Ty Newydd is held up by two wide stone built supports which ruin the site - however from one angle, they are obscured so it is possible to see the site as it would have been. A series of large stones in the wall next to the monument look quite suspicious.
In 1844 I visited [Anglesey] and took a drawing of the double cromlech at Llanvaelog, one of the best in the island. One cromlech was erect; the other by its side, thrown down: or rather, I should say that the two constitued the remains of a large chambered mound - perhaps of a cromlech with a passage, as at Bryn Celli in the same island.
The cap-stone of that which was erect measured thirteen feet and a half in length by about five feet in depth and width at the thickest part. The cap of the fallen one was broken in two, but when entire it was not less than fifteen feet long. Fortunately this drawing remains in my portfolio; and it shews the importance of preserving memorials of these early monuments, whenever opportunity offers, made with all possible care; for since then the fallen cromlech has utterly disappeard; and the upright one has been so seriously damaged, that its destruction will now be the work of only a few winters - all through the sheer stupidity of men!
I had occasion to pass by the spot last summer, and on going to renew my acquaintance with this venerable monument, found nothing more remaining than what is represented in the accompanying engraving. An "improving tenant" had come upon the farm. He wanted to repair his walls; and though the native rock cropped out all around, he found it more convenient to blast the fallen stone, the very existence of which was probably unknown to either the landlord or his agent. Hence the fallen one disappeared. The tenant, however, seems to have been in some degree aware of the importance of the erect cromlech; for he cut a kind of trench all round it, and by subsequent ploughings has left it standing on a kind of low mound. Formerly it stood in a grass field, among gorse bushes, with no wall near it, and only some broken embankments with Anglesey hedges on the top.
A few years ago the land came by inheritance, on the death of Lord Dinorben, to the present possessor of Kinmel; and the tenant, desirous of shewing respect to his new landlord, determined to celebrate the occasion with a bonfire. This fire he lighted on the top of the cromlech; and though the stone was five feet thick, the action of the fire and the air split the ponderous mass right through the middle, crossways! Of course this injury was not intended; but it was well known and lamented in the neighbourhood, - for several labouring people mentioned the circumstance to me, and regretted it. As it now stands, the combined action of autumn rains and winter frosts will infallibly enlarge the crack, and will complete the disintegration of the stone. The cap, too, stands now on only three stones, and is in the most imminent danger of coming down altogether, for one of them supports it by an extremely small point, very near one of the sides of the triangle of gravity; and so fine is this point, that it is a wonder how it can withstand the great pressure bearing upon it.
The stones are all of a metamorphic character, containing crystals of quartz, chlorite, and feldspar; almost granitic in texture.
Ten men, with three or four horses and some powerful levers, would repair this cromlech in a single day, and guarantee its preservation for ages. But will they do so?
Oct. 25, 1863.
An impassioned article called 'Cromlech at Llanvaelog, Anglesey' in Archaeologia Cambrensis Jan 1864. Both of HLJ's sketches are in the Images section above.
Ty Newydd without its preposterous brick additions, taken by Alvin Langdon Coburn.
The stones look in pretty much the same places. It makes you feel (from afar at least) that the bricks are sheer paranoia. But the capstone is broken?