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Bachwen Burial Chamber

Chambered Tomb

<b>Bachwen Burial Chamber</b>Posted by thesweetcheatImage © A. Brookes (9.5.2016)
Also known as:
  • Clynnog Dolmen
  • Clynnog Fawr
  • Bach Wen

Nearest Town:Criccieth (15km SE)
OS Ref (GB):   SH407494 / Sheets: 115, 123
Latitude:53° 1' 3.97" N
Longitude:   4° 22' 30.34" W



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Fieldnotes

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Once again I forgot to check out the church and yard, but then I was only here on default, waiting for cloud to lift off Tre'r Ceiri hillfort. But what a place to simply pass time, though the railings do nark me off a bit, but sitting under the capstone with eyes closed I could have been surrounded by marauding aliens for all I cared, the peace was super-calming, birds singing, the waves on the shore, wonderful.
I tried to count the cupmarks but stopped at about 30, how many are there? I don't think I could see more than a hundred.
postman Posted by postman
7th July 2007ce

I have added these four pictures as they are seen from the four sides of the dolmen, I made no effort to show the land scape setting, others have provided those better than I can.
The pub is great after you return from the walk, and the church of St Bueno is worth a look, if your muscles ache after the walk visit St Bueno's well just down the road for relief, so they say.
hamish Posted by hamish
3rd October 2004ce
Edited 7th March 2006ce

Visited September 2001: On the way to Clynogg Fawr William fell asleep in the car, so we started this excursion at the pub, sitting outside with our drinks as he dozed. When he woke up we left the car in the pub car park and headed off to find the chamber. We walked through the churchyard, stopping off to look inside (quite an interesting little place) then and down the lane, eventually following an overgrown path to get to the chamber.

This is a beautiful little site, overlooked by the an array of mountains including the amazing breast shaped peak of Gyrn Goch (see IronMan's photo) and cairn topped Gyrn Ddu. The chamber itself is charming despite the iron fence. We clambered underneath it and explored, but I only found out relatively recently that we failed to spot numerous cupmarks in the capstone. Well worth the walk, especially if you take into the account the added bonuses of the church and the pub!
Kammer Posted by Kammer
25th June 2003ce
Edited 4th August 2003ce

In terms of location they don't get much better than this. The walk down past the church is great and the views from the site are fantastic. Definitely a good place to hang out. On the way back from the monument it is worth checking the church grounds out - the sundial, as mentioned by Cope in TMA, and a couple of large boulders are of particular interest as is the church itself. IronMan Posted by IronMan
25th June 2002ce

Folklore

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Stoney connections and more on the well. The 'great flat stones' call to mind Moss's post below.
Adjoining the church is the chapel of St. Beuno. The passage to it is a narrow vault covered with great flat stones, and of far greater antiquity than either church or chapel; which seem nearly coeval. [...] In the midst is the tomb of the saint, plain, and altar-shaped. Votaries were wont to have great faith in him, and did not doubt but that by means of a night's lodging on his tomb, a cure would be found for all diseases. It was customary to cover it with rushes, and leave on it till morning sick children, after making them first undergo ablution in the neighbouring holy well; and I myself once saw on it a feather bed, on which a poor paralytic from Meirioneddshire had lain the whole night, after undergoing the same ceremony.
From Tours in Wales by Thomas Pennant, written in the late 18th century. By the time the edition in the link was published in the 1880s, the tomb had gone.

There are some recent photos of Ffynnon Beuno at the super Well Hopper website.

Also, a link where you can read about the offerings of special bullocks with slits in their ears in depth: in Baring Gould's 'Lives of the British Saints' here.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
17th April 2013ce
Edited 17th April 2013ce

Clynnog Fawr and the church with its presumed stone circle underneath;

Reading around the history of Beuno in T.D. Breverton (The Book of Welsh Saints) there comes up the story of bull sacrifice that carried on until the late 19th century.
Half of the bull going to god the other half to St.Beuno. This story was told by John Ansters in 1589 'as the people are of the opinion that Beuno his cattell will prosper marvellous well'
Breverton says that the cattle cult came down through the Northern celtic tradition, here the animal changes sex and becomes a cow, 'Audhumula' the primeval cow who suckled the great giant Ymir. So 'sacred beasts' with the mark of St.Beuno (a slit in the ear) were given to the churchwardens and the sale proceeds put in the ancient oak chest in the church.

He also goes on to say, 'that the church and shrine stand on ancient megaliths, one of which can be seen in the nave floor, and others of which are in the foundations'
moss Posted by moss
14th July 2009ce
Edited 14th July 2009ce

This is a bit naughty because there's no clear connection with the stones. I don't really understand how St Beuno seems to avoid being linked with them, when they are so close. His well, 'Ffynnon Beuno' is about half way between the church and the burial chamber (though not on a straight line) - it's at about SH412494. Here are three bits of folklore:
One hundred yards from the church, adjoining the turnpike road, is St. Beuno's well, eight feet square, inclosed with a wall, no doubt, erected by himself, eight feet high, uncovered, and each side about the same dimension, with an entrance from the road.

The well itself is six feet square, the residue of the space is taken up with seats and conveniences for dipping.

The place is now exposed to ruin, and the vilest filth. The spring is suffered to grow up, and the water is not more than a foot deep. I could not perceive it spring up within, and the discharge without would not fill a tube half an inch diameter.

The process observed in the cure was dipping the patient in the well at evening, wrapping him in blankets, and letting him remain all night upon the Saint's tomb [..]

"If a person looks upon this well, and can see the water spring, good luck will attend him; but if he cannot, bad?" What then must become of the half blind! or even of me, whose eyes have been in wear seventy-seven years? [..]

Some ladies have drank at a favorite spring to procure conception; but the slippery damsels of the ten last centuries, have privately drank at St. Beuno's to prevent it.
St Beuno's ruined tomb is in his chapel next to the church; the latter is (according to this book) also supposed to house St Winefred's remains.

From Remarks Upon North Wales, by William Hutton (1804) - p120-122. It's online at Google Books.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
22nd July 2007ce
Edited 23rd July 2007ce

In Nigel Pennick's 'Celtic Saints' (1997) he says that "megaliths are plentiful around the church, in its foundations, and the adjoining chapel of St Bueno" (including one in the floor of the nave, apparently). Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
14th March 2006ce
Edited 17th April 2013ce

Near Clynog, in Carnarvonshire, there is a place called Llwyn y Nef, (the Bush of Heaven,) which thus received its name: In Clynog lived a monk of most devout life, who longed to be taken to heaven. One evening, whilst walking without the monastery by the riverside, he sat down under a green tree and fell into a deep reverie, which ended in sleep and he slept for thousands of years. At last he heard a voice calling unto him, 'Sleeper, awake and be up.' He awoke. All was strange to him except the old monastery, which still looked down upon the river. He went to the monastery, and was made much of. He asked for a bed to rest himself on and got it. Next morning when the brethren sought him, they found nothing in the bed but a handful of ashes.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/wfl/wfl06.htm
'British Goblins' by Wirt Sikes (1880), online at the Sacred Texts Archive. It's a story usually connected with fairy goings-on, but this time has been polished up with the inclusion of a monk.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
14th March 2006ce
Edited 14th March 2006ce

Miscellaneous

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"About a mile from the church, on a farm called Bachwen, is a cromlech, remarkable for its large superincumbent stone, which has numerous small holes on its surface and two large ones, and for having four instead of three supporters."
The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)

I suppose these holes must be the cupmarks to which Kammer refers in his post. Coflein says there are about 110 cupmarks on the upper surface of the capstone, and a further eight on its East face.


But as no-one's mentioned the stone below, I suppose it must have met its fate at some point.

"In a field at Bachwen is a very large cromlech, and near it an upright stone, about nine feet high. "
A Topographical Dictionary of Wales
Samuel Lewis, 1833

(I found these on the Genuki website here:
http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/wal/CAE/ClynnogVawr/Gaz1868.html )
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
25th October 2006ce
Edited 26th April 2007ce

Links

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Welsh Rock Art Organisation


Brilliant site with lots of information and great photographs showing all the cup marks
blossom Posted by blossom
18th July 2011ce

Megalithic Walks: Bachwen


A page about this excellent little site, along with good directions and photos.
Kammer Posted by Kammer
25th June 2003ce