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Chambered Cairn

<b>Trefignath</b>Posted by ruskusImage © ruskus
Nearest Town:Holyhead (2km NW)
OS Ref (GB):   SH258806 / Sheet: 114
Latitude:53° 17' 35.95" N
Longitude:   4° 36' 50.34" W

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Photographs:<b>Trefignath</b>Posted by postman <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by postman <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by postman <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by postman <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by postman <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by postman <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by postman <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by carol27 <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by carol27 <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by carol27 <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by carol27 <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by postman <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by postman <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by postman <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by postman <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by postman <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by ruskus <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by ShropshireTraveller <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by Meic <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by Meic <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by Meic <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by Jane <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by stubob <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by stubob <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by greywether <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by greywether <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by greywether <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by rangzen <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by Moth <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by Moth <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by Moth <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by stubob <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by pure joy <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by stubob <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by stubob <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by broen <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by pure joy <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by pure joy <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by pure joy <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by broen <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by Holy McGrail <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by IronMan <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by IronMan <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by IronMan <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by IronMan <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by IronMan <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by IronMan <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by IronMan <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by Chris Collyer <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by Chris Collyer Artistic / Interpretive:<b>Trefignath</b>Posted by Rhiannon <b>Trefignath</b>Posted by Rhiannon


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I last came here seven years ago and after reading my fieldnotes from then I see that I was upset at all the building work going on near it. I'd completely forgot all about it by now and yet I was still flummoxed by the disparity between my map and the actual roads, ridiculously I ended up walking to it from the end of the blocked up road by the school, still it was only ten minutes and I had the option of going over to Ty Mawr standing stone, I didn't though, I was on a mission somewhat.
The sun had gone down and left the sky with the deepest blue and the brightest orange clouds, and it was Halloween, if there are any restless spirits at Trefignath and lets face it if there going to be anywhere on Angelsey it might be there, I would be at the ready with my camera.
Clearly I've mellowed out since my last visit, the Aluminium works are still there the other side of the duel carriageway and now there's another new road to Trefignath's south, but they mean next to nothing to me now, partly because darkness hides all the modern sins upon the world, and partly because I can finally accept things for what they are, and they are what they are and can be nothing else. Even those interred within the tomb would be forced to agree that you cant stop progress, on a small island next to a less small island next to an island, room is always going to be sparse, the Aluminium works are over 500 meters away.

Pondering the surroundings aside, this is a brilliant burial chamber, I love the swirling stones of the surviving chamber, I love the fact the whole thing is built on a rock outcrop, how did they get the uprights to go in? I even like the open unroofed chamber, I'm all alone under a fabulous sky and there is no rubbish lying around.
The spirits, if they be here, are not upset or angry, I felt no hand upon my shoulder, but happy and playful and appear in the sky as unidentifiable lights, see fifth picture.
postman Posted by postman
1st November 2015ce

Although I haven't really got much to add (in descriptive terms, at least) to previous posts I still feel as if I should say something about how the ruined magnificence of this majestic monument somehow transcends the godawfulness of its current setting, so much worse now than Julian's description in TMA as noted by my predecessors. As if the proximity of the A55 (new since Julian's notes) and the aluminium plant wasn't bad enough, now in the field next to it you have an apparently abandoned development site loaded with rubble etc; with no signs to guide me, I parked on the stump of a road presumably intended originally to lead into whatever was going to be built there, guessing that I must be somewhere near the monument which I then espied about 60/70 yards away to my right through a gap in the trees. It's impossible to envisage just how prominent it must have been when constructed but now it feels sadly marooned in its wasteland although its power to enthral is amazingly undimmed. ironstone Posted by ironstone
1st October 2015ce

Visited 10.9.12

CADW site.

This site was a lot harder to find than it should have been.
The problem is there is a new road lay out and my map showed the old lay out.
Suffice to say we wasted a lot of time driving up and down looking for a road which doesn’t exist any more!!

However, we did eventually find the Tomb and well worth the persistence it was.
The only thing which let the place down was the amount of litter.
Despite being a reasonable distance out of Holyhead (my least favourite place on Anglesey) it seems this is a popular meeting place judging by the amount of empty beer cans and take away containers strewn about the site.
I picked up the litter directly inside/outside the Tomb but I would have been there a few hours if I tried to bag it all up. Looking at some of the items I think it is possible a homeless person either is or was sleeping inside the Tomb?

Anyway, ignoring the litter (and the difficulty in finding the right road!) the site itself is very good and well worth a visit. There is an info board which helps to explain the development of the site. It reminded me a lot of Dyffryn Ardudwy.
If you happen to be up this way make the effort to visit – just bring a rubbish bag with you!
Posted by CARL
20th September 2012ce

Just visited the site again this Christmas, the old road has now been side stepped by a new one, there is a parking space on the new road, then you cut across grass to the old road and original entrance. No directional signs to the site are present at the time of writing. This is such a shame, as the new road seems to go to nothing, with it's lovely roundabout, very nice and new- leading to nothing, don't know what's going on here. Shame as the new road layout now seems pointless, going to an imaginary industrial estate.
I didn't see the standing stone that used to be in the field opposite.
skins Posted by skins
5th February 2010ce
Edited 5th February 2010ce

Access from the north, passed Ty Mawr standing stone is still blocked but is ok from the south. What is happening here is very sad as if the duel carriage way and steel work wasn't bad enough, the work site on the other side is a godawful mess, a much more busy road has been built and the tall menhir Ty Mawr has dissapeared from view completely and is almost unvisitable . postman Posted by postman
22nd March 2008ce

I tried to get there in December 2007 but the road is now shut (access only). I spoke to Cadw about the work in the area immediately around the site, and they inform me in is totally within the law but does worry them. Me too. Shame. skins Posted by skins
23rd January 2008ce
Edited 24th January 2008ce

For once, ignore the surrounding landscape when visiting this place, otherwise you will be entirely distracted by the gigantic aluminium smelting plant just the other side of the A55, which runs below Trefignath. Focus instead on the monument itself, think to yourself how much it is reminiscent of Dyffryn Ardudwy. (This was the first thing to strike me about the site – further reading revealed that the esteemed Frances Lynch had indeed proved it had a complexity the same as Dyffryn Ardudwy). Pay especial attention to the two tall pillars at the chamber entrance, and the chamber itself, which is quite something. The huge capstone appears to have broken in half at some point in time. The second chamber is minus its capstone. Jane's immediate reaction was that the whole thing looked like French allee couverte. Haven't seen one, so don't know. Sounds fun, though. I liked Trefignath, despite the drizzly rain, and particularly liked the nobility of the main chamber and the hairy, frondy, fluffy grey-green lichens that grew all over the stones. treaclechops Posted by treaclechops
3rd September 2006ce
Edited 3rd September 2006ce

Just across the new, fast main road from the aluminium smelting plant is this nicely restored chambered cairn. Lots to see here: from a distance and due to the slatey material it's made of, it reminded me very strongly of a French allee couverte. I liked the juxtaposition of the industrial plant so close and the new road. Despite the continual urban and industrial growth, this thing survives - and rather well.

While you're here, look out for Ty Mawr just up the lane. It's a biggun!
Jane Posted by Jane
31st August 2006ce

Just returned to see this site and couldn't believe it, they're building right next to it, I'm presuming they are building some kind of industrial site and widening the old lane to link it too Holyhead.
The fields are already bulldozed, the road must be to connect Trearddur to the Holyhead expressway. It's disgusting that such an important site is treated this way.
So the site will now have a more traffic in front of it and the expressway to Holyhead behind it, with a lovely view of the Aluminium works in the distance. Such a great shame as the actual site is still very interesting, and well worth a visit, but it's doesn't look good for the immediate area around it.
skins Posted by skins
9th July 2004ce
Edited 14th December 2007ce

Strange timing - I was wondering what to do / say about a stone I visited near Trefignath almost 10 years ago - it's the stone that stubob has just posted a photo of (I think). I visited Anglesey around August 1993. In those days I didn’t buy maps, but even from a road atlas I could work out the way to Trefignath and Penrhos Feilw. Whilst walking from Holyhead train station to Trefignath, on the minor road to Trefignath, I was surprised to see a stone standing in the field to the right (i.e. west of the road – I was coming south from the town). All I can remember was that it was close to Trefignath and there was very little else around. It was only about 30/40 metres into the field I think. It seems like the same stone in stubob's photo - my photo is almost the same but I angled mine to have the Holyhead hills in the background. pure joy Posted by pure joy
23rd April 2003ce
Edited 23rd April 2003ce

A great site, although I'm a bit unsure of the restoration techniques on Anglesey, an overuse of bricks me thinks. But it's one of the sites that they can be easily ignored.

There is a small stone further up the road from the chambers in the opposite direction to Ty Mawr approx.SH259801, it stands on a small mound with a few smaller loose stones around it. Not O.S marked, so it may be nothing.
stubob Posted by stubob
22nd April 2003ce
Edited 22nd April 2003ce

Trefignath is a great site, spoilt by the view to the aluminium works. The site was built in three stages, and these are still clearly discernible, the latest stage being the large chamber, which it is possible to crawl inside. One of the two stones marking this entrance shows signs of quite a large fire being lit there recently, causing some damage to the stone - blackening from the fire and worse a chip out of it's surface. IronMan Posted by IronMan
29th April 2002ce

Passing this site last week on the train, there is a new by-pass at the foot of the slope, between Trefignath and the aluminium works.
The standing stone Maen Hir is literally within metres of this by-pass. This new road has been built across the whole of Anglesey. Another scar.
Posted by davina
25th August 2000ce


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The cromlech, or rather cistvaen, of Trefigneth stands upon a rocky knoll close to the farmhouse of Trefigneth, about a mile and a half from Holyhead. There is a commanding view from it over the port and bay of Holyhead, with the Skerries island and lighthouse, and the opposite coast of Anglesey, in the distance.

About seventy or eighty years ago many of the stones, which formed the covered chamber, were wantonly taken for gate-posts and lintels; but the late Lady Stanley of Penrhos preserved it from further destruction at that time, and it remains now as it then was.

It presents the appearance of having been a covered chamber, of about 20 feet in length, 4 feet in height inside, and 4 feet wide, composed of a row of upright stones on each side, covered with large flat stones. There is a tradition that, when first exposed, on the removal of the superincumbent mound of earth or stones, that urns and human bones were found inside.
W. O. Stanley's note in Archaeologia Cambrensis v13 (s3), 1867.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
23rd April 2013ce


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George Eastman House Archive

A number of photos taken in the first half of the 20th century by Alvin Langdon Coburn (they are about half-way down the list).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
20th January 2007ce