The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian




<b>Moelfre</b>Posted by postmanImage © Chris Bickerton
Nearest Town:Penmaenmawr (2km N)
OS Ref (GB):   SH71727441 / Sheet: 115
Latitude:53° 15' 2.93" N
Longitude:   3° 55' 22.54" W

Added by postman

Discussion Topics0 discussions
Start a topic

Show map   (inline Google Map)

Images (click to view fullsize)

Add an image Add an image
Photographs:<b>Moelfre</b>Posted by postman <b>Moelfre</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Moelfre</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Moelfre</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Moelfre</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Moelfre</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Moelfre</b>Posted by postman <b>Moelfre</b>Posted by postman <b>Moelfre</b>Posted by postman <b>Moelfre</b>Posted by postman <b>Moelfre</b>Posted by postman Artistic / Interpretive:<b>Moelfre</b>Posted by GLADMAN


Add fieldnotes Add fieldnotes
There are a number of 'Moelfre's to be found in Wales... which, considering this descriptive name translates to the English as 'bald / barren hill', I guess is not that surprising. This example, rising at the northern extremity of Y Carneddau is - at c1,427ft - not the highest 'baldy' this baldy could climb... however, when located amongst a wonderland of prehistoric delights it would be rude not to check out the summit following ejection from Y Meini Hirion by the unsolicited attentions of noisy numbskulls. What's more, the summit possesses the grassy remains of a Bronze Age cairn. Not to mention peace and quiet. Ah, that's better.

OK, as upland Welsh cairns go (as they tend to do unfortunately rather literally, or so it seems) it is not overly substantial, although to be fair the grassy mantle does camouflage form somewhat. According to Coflein:

"The cairn at Moelfre is an oval mound, 26' x 2' and 1' high with its longer axis E-W. In the centre of the cairn is a slight hollow. 2003.11.26/OAN/PJS"

Nevertheless it does the job, not least by inspiring local legend. It would seem that some time in the not too distant past Moelfre was crowned by a triumvirate (the number perhaps symbolic?) of red, white and blue stones traditionally representing three girls petrified - hey, exterminated - by a vengeful Christian god for the unspeakably heinous crime of winnowing corn on the Sabbath. Roland Friesler would've no doubt approved, in lieu of the guillotine. Sadly I could find no trace of the stones today, although several of the 'un-painted' variety lie around.... as you might expect upon a cairn, come to think of it. However isn't it great to muse upon the possibily that the girls' - presumably (hopefully!) apocryphal - sacrifice helped keep the tinder of resistance to religious repression dry. Not to mention every other sort.

The great prehistoric 'axe factory' of Graig Lwyd obscures the sea view to the north somewhat - there are worse things to behold - the bulk of Moelfre itself that to the east. However the vista of Y Carneddau to the south and, in particular south-west, is pretty special. Ditto that looking westward along the coast. Less dramatic, but poignant nonetheless is the crash site of a Consolidated B-24 J Liberator “Bachelors’ Baby” which came to a violent end below the mountain in 1942. I did not visit, but understand there is a memorial to the five brave crewmen tragically lost that day. And their dog.

Altogether the summit of Moelfre would be a great place to hang out for, oh, ages... if there wasn't a great cairn sitting there in the bwlch below to the north. Such is life. As it is, a relatively short time must suffice.
23rd January 2014ce
Edited 26th January 2014ce

From the Druids circle head west to monument 280 then head up the hill to your south, not the one with crap walkers cairn, the bigger one to the right, that is Moelfre (435m)
It isnt a big hill but the view from the top is a big hill kind of view, to the south are the tall mountains, west is Anglesey and the Straits, east is the north wales coast and north is The Great Orme and open Irish sea.
The cairn isnt well presreved, reduced to a broken donut shape, but further along the hill top you can look down on Cors y Carneddau and other sites, the walk up is worth it just for the views it affords.
postman Posted by postman
16th July 2010ce
Edited 16th July 2010ce


Add folklore Add folklore
That's right, of all the many prehistoric remains up here, why not destroy the very one that has some decent folklore.
A short distance from [Meini Hirion] is a smooth round hill called Moelfre, upon which is a carnedd, covered with turf, about seventeen feet in diameter. I allude to it chiefly for the sake of introducing the following very curious unpublished notice of it which occurs in the [17th C] manuscript of Sir John Wynn..

.."and in the top very plain and pleasant upon this hill there is a circle marked, whereupon stood three stones about a yard and a quarter above ground, the one red as blood, the other white, and the third a little bluer than the white stone, standing in a triangle.

What should be the reason of placing such three stones in such a place upon so high and so pleasant a mount, and to place there stones of such colours, I cannot express otherwise that we have it by tradition.

The tradition is this, that God Almighty hath wrought in this place a miracle for increasing of our faith. And that was thus. Three women, about such time as Christianity began to creep in amongst us, upon a Sabbath day in the morning went to the top of this hill to winnow their corn, and having spread there winnowing sheet upon the ground and begun their work, some of their neighbours came unto them and did reprehend them for violating and breaking the Lordes commandment by working upon the Sabbath day.

These faithless women, regarding their profit more than the observing of God's commandments, made slight of their neighbours' admonition, and held on in their work; whereupon it pleased God instantly to transform them into three pillars of stones, and to frame these stones of the same colour as the women's clothes were, one red, the other white, and the third bluish, and to transform their winnowing sheet and corn into earth, and so to leave them there in example to others.

This is a tradition we have and believed by the old people in that neighbourhood, and however, whether it was so or no, the tradition is wholesome, and will deter others from working upon the Sabbath day.

These stones, being worth the seeing as they were placed, have been digged up by some idle headed youths within these six years, and were rolled down the hill, and do now lie together at the foot of the hill.
p162 of 'Notes of Family Excursions in North Wales', by J. O. Halliwell, 1860.

With old-fashioned, and possibly slightly hammed-up spelling turned into 21st century English.

John Wynn lived from 1553-1626.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
26th July 2007ce
Edited 25th January 2014ce