You know when you have visited a site and you think to yourself ‘I must come back here again one day’ – well, this was such a site for me.
As I have said before – I like an old church site – and I was disappointed on my last visit that I didn’t have time for a proper look around to see if I could see any evidence of the stones previously reported.
I started at the church but (again) it was locked. I wandered around the graveyard and took a particular interest in the clearly very old yew trees which form a semi-circle around the church.
To my delight next to the last but one tree (furthest away from the gate) I spotted a fallen stone. One side of the trunk of the yew had rotted away and lying on the ground where the trunk would have been was a pointy stone approximately 1m long.
Was this the stone said to be embedded in the hollow of a yew tree? I don’t know for certain but it’s a nice thought. I couldn’t see any other stones lying around and it is certainly possible that this stone fell out of the tree when the trunk rotted.
From Builth Wells take the A481 north-east. When you come to the junction with the A44 turn right towards Radnor. You will shortly come to the hamlet of Llanfihangel Nant Melan.
The church is on your left, next to a pub with a large car park.
I saw this entry for the Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust:
The 20th-century Radnorshire historian, WH Howse, claimed a round barrow in the churchyard and commented on the tradition that a stone circle surrounded the latter. If correct this would be a remarkable and exciting coincidence. These identifications have, however, not been confirmed by later writers, and some consider them to me no more than mis-sitings! Nevertheless, the church surmounts a prominent platform which may have coloured Howse’s view, while the stone circle tradition has been confirmed by a householder in New Radnor who mentioned two stones in the churchyard and a third in the adjacent inn car park. The tradition remains to be verified.
I also found another reference to ‘an ancient stone embedded in the hollow trunk of one of the yews’.
I am very fond of ‘church sites’ so just had to visit this one.
You can park in the pub car park and you are soon in the churchyard.
It had been a long day and Sophie was playing up. Karen was tired and the light was starting to fade. In all honesty I didn’t have as long as I would have liked to have had a good rummage around.
The church was locked (not surprising given the time of day) so myself, Dafydd and Sophie walked around the outside of the church.
The churchyard is quite small.
The tall, old yew trees were unmissible although I didn’t spot any stones sticking out of any of them! Neither could I spot any obvious standing stones amongst the headstones or a stone in the car park. There didn’t appear to be any suspicious stones used in either the construction of the church of the boundary wall.
The church has been clearly built upon a raised and levelled platform.
In saying all that I was rushing and it is entirely possible I missed something.
This is a place I will definitely re-visit for a proper look when I am in the area.
One for the ‘disputed category’ section me thinks.