It was a bright and warm late summer’s evening, with white fluffy clouds – ideal weather for a spot of ‘old stoning’.
We parked in a passing place on the minor road off the B5112 – a very quiet road.
You can’t see the stone from the road and I had to find a suitable gap in the hedge.
This I did and then needed to navigate my way over a barbed wire fence.
The field was full of sheep and cows and it didn’t take long to spot the stone.
The stone is approximately 5ft tall x 2ft wide.
It is quite colourful with white, green and yellow lichen on its surface.
The stone has clearly been used as a rubbing post for many years and has been worn smooth.
It is a gnarled old thing and reminded me a lot of the Rollright stones.
Good views of Snowdonia in the distance.
Well worth seeking out.
Not the first time iv'e been here, but I did have more time to inspect the stone and its surroundings.
We parked on the top of the hill a couple of hundred yards north of the stone and got the bikes out of the car, I knew there was nowhere to park near the stone so we didnt even try and hence the bikes.
But first we went to Maenaddwyn standing stone, which was further than we'd (i'd) anticipated but did afford a good downhill sprint by bike which is always fun, and Carreg Leidr can be seen from a considerable distance to the east.
The stone is just over five feet tall and has so much lichen growing on it, that i stood for quite a while inspecting it up close, my daughter said I looked as if the stone was brainwashing me.
The menhir is a really good shape, not much a bloke carrying a swag bag, more a grotesque witches warty nose (11 year olds have a good imagination)
There is a low rocky outcrop fifty yards northwestish and from the stone, like two other stones a good view of Mynydd Bodafon a small mountain 178 metres high can be had.
On the 1:25,000 map, very close by, you will see 'Ffynnon Gybi' marked.
The Revd. Mr. Owen says, "Upon Clorack farm there is an upright stone with a large protuberance on one side of it, called Lleidr Ty Dyvridog, i.e. the Tyvrydog Thief, concerning which there is a tradition, that a man who had sacrilegiously stolen a church bible, and was carrying it away on his shoulders, was for his transgression converted into this stone.
There are also two wells on this farm, one on each side of the road leading to Llanerchymedd, and exactly opposite to each other, remarkable not for their medicinal virtues, but as having been, according to tradition, where St. Seiriol and St. Gybi (the former the patron of Ynys Seiriol, and the latter of Caer Gybi or Holyhead,) used to meet near midway between both places, to talk over the religious affairs of the Country. The wells are called Ffynnon Seiriol and Ffynnon Gybi, i.e. Seiriol's Well and Gybi's Well, to this day."
From 'The History of North Wales' v2, by William Cathrall (1828).
So much folklore attached to one small stone. This version of events comes from Baring-Gould's source and is in 'Lives of the British Saints' v4 p 293 (1913).
About a mile from the church, in the corner of a field near the Holy Wells of SS Cybi and Seiriol, on Clorach farm, is a celebrated maen hir, a little over four feet high, called Lleidr Tyfrydog, Tyfrydog's Thief, which has the appearance of a humpbacked man.
The local tradition is that a man who sacrilegiously stole the church books, whilst carrying them away, was suddenly converted by the saint [Saint Tyrnog that is, the patron saint of the church] into this red sandstone pillar. The lump to be seen on one side of the stone represents the sack which contains his theft, lying over his shoulder.
His soul, at stated intervals, is compelled to go three times madly round the field and back to the stone, in the dead of night, being pursued by demons with red hot pitchforks.
Baring-Gould also relates this tale: In 1098, Hugh, Earl of Shrewsbury (for some reason) put some dogs into the church overnight. When they were let out the next day they'd gone mad. And it didn't do Hugh much good either - he was killed by a Norse pirate within the month. Giraldus Cambrensis ascribed it to 'the vindictive nature' of the Welsh saints. Well maybe they just don't want dog hair (and worse) all over their churches, eh? And they don't want their books nicked. Is that so unreasonable?
It's not just the stone but the field it stands in - Cae Lleidr Dyfrydog (the field of the Dyfrydog thief).
Mr. Hugh Francis 1 of Holyhead House, Ruthin [heard this story] from Robert Roberts, of Amlwch, who has now been dead about thirty years:
--About 105 years ago there lived in the parish of Llandyfrydog, near Llannerch y Med, in Anglesey, a man named Ifan Gruffyd, whose cow happened to disappear one day. Ifan Gruffydd was greatly distressed, and he and his daughter walked up and down the whole neighbourhood in search of her. As they were coming back in the evening from their unsuccessful quest, they crossed the field called after the Dyfrydog thief, Cae Lleidr Dyfrydog, where they saw a great number of little men on ponies quickly galloping in a ring. They both drew nigh to look on; but Ifan Gruffyd's daughter, in her eagerness to behold the little knights more closely, got unawares within the circle in which their ponies galloped, and did not return to her father.
The latter now forgot all about the loss of the cow, and spent some hours in searching for his daughter; but at last he had to go home without her, in the deepest sadness. A few days afterwards he went to Mynadwyn to consult John Roberts, who was a magician of no mean reputation. That 'wise man' told Ifan Gruffyd to be no longer sad, since he could get his daughter back at the very hour of the night of the anniversary of the time when he lost her. He would, in fact, then see her riding round in the company of the Tylwyth Teg whom he had seen on that memorable night. The father was to go there accompanied by four stalwart men, who were to aid him in the rescue of his daughter. He was to tie a strong rope round his waist, and by means of this his friends were to pull him out of the circle when he entered to seize his daughter.
He went to the spot,and in due time he beheld his daughter riding round in great state. In he rushed and snatched her, and, thanks to his friends, he got her out of the fairy ring before the little men had time to think of it. The first thing Ifan's daughter asked him was, if he had found the cow, for she had not the slightest reckoning of the time she had spent with the fairies.
The stone is embedded in the ground close to a hedge abutting on the road, and stands on end with the upper part bent. The legend runs that one night a man entered Llandyfrydog church and stole the Bible or church books. On coming out he went along the road with the books on his back, when he saw a person coming towards him, and he turned into the field to avoid him, where for his sacrilege he was transformed into a stone.
Every Christmas Eve when the stone hears the clock strike twelve it moves round the field three times. It is called Lleidr Llandyfrydog, i.e. the Llandyfrydog Thief, and the field name given above, when translated, means the Thiefs Field. The stone bears a very rude resemblance to a man with his back bent under the weight of some load.
R. P. HAMPTON ROBERTS.
From Notes and Queries, December 27th, 1879.
Wirt Sikes ('British Goblins' 1880) says the thief must stand here until the last trump sets him free on Judgement Day.
Carreg Leidr, the "thief stone", is said to be a thief who, having stolen a bible from the local parish church, turned to stone as he carried it away on his shoulders.
"At Llandyfrydog, in Anglesea, there is a curious stone, resembling a humpbacked man. It is said that a man who had stolen several valuable articles from the parish church at last desired to obtain the Bible from a cupboard under the altar, where it was kept locked up when not in use. The sacred volume was contained in a special cover made of carved wood, inset with precious stones and gold. It took the man several hours in the night to secure the Bible, and, under cover of the darkness, he ran away with it on his back. For this shameful theft he was turned into stone. [Rev. Elias Owen, "Welsh Folk-lore," p. 260]"