Croes-llechau, Bronllys, Breconshire

Long Barrow (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SO 169 357

Also Known as:

  1. Croesllechau

Archaeology & History

It appears to have been Theophilus Jones who first mentioned this all-but-lost megalithic tomb, more than 200 years ago.  He told that,

“In a field called Croeslechau about two miles eastward of (Talgarth), but in the parish of Bronllys and on a farm called Bryn-y-groes, is a cromlech, not merely interesting on account of its antiquity, but from the circumstance of a white thorn growing close, and indeed under part of it, which has gradually raised the horizontal or covering-stone several inches out of its original position; it is therefore not only venerable as a relic of very ancient days, but as a natural curiosity.”

Croesllechau tomb in 1809
Croesllechau tomb in 1809

Thankfully he gave us the fine old drawing of the tomb, here reproduced.

Although shown on an 1832 map of the region, when Crawford (1925) came to describe this old tomb it had already been destroyed.  He told that,

“the site is unknown and all memory of it is has completely vanished in the neighbourhood. Mr Evan Morgan had visited the site and reports that no traces of the ‘cromlech’ were visible; nor were enquiries of the farmer at Bradwys any more successful in identifying the site.  It is not unlikely that the monument was destroyed when a new road was made…”

References:

  1. Crawford, O.G.S., The Long Barrows of the Cotswolds, John Bellows: Gloucester 1925.
  2. Jones, Theophilus, History of the County of Brecknock, volume 2, George North: London 1809.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Croes-llechau barrow

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Croes-llechau barrow 52.013482, -3.212239 Croes-llechau barrow

Spread Eagle Cursus, Aberllynfi, Breconshire

Cursus Monument:  OS Grid Reference – SO 162 376

Archaeology & History

It seems that very little remains of this site, and there is some doubt over its authenticity.  Described in Alex Gibson’s (1999b) essay on the cursus monuments of Wales, he said this ‘cursus’ consists of,

“A cropmark of two parallel ditches orientated SE-NW, 15m apart and traceable for some 130m. It runs perpendicular to the present course of the River Wye 50m to the NE.  No terminals are visible, but there is a large ring ditch across the river 450m to the NW. A closely-grouped cluster of some 8 ring ditches is visible on a gravel terrace some 150m to the E,” but adds finally that “the identification of this site is suspect and may represent a fossil field system.”

The likelihood of the site being genuine seems to come from the “cluster of eight ring ditches on the gravel terrace some 150m to the east.”  Gibson (1999) also thinks how “the parallel ditches seem to be aligned on a ninth large ring-ditch 450m to the northwest and across the river.”  Ley-hunters have been scorned by archaeo’s for making such confounded comments!   The presence of a long cairn south of the cursus was also thought to add weight to the sites veracity.

Does anyone know what the present position on this site happens to be?

References:

  1. Gibson, Alex, The Walton Basin Project, CBA: York 1999.
  2. Gibson, Alex, ‘Cursus Monuments and Possible Cursus Monuments in Wales,’ in Barclay & Harding’s Pathways and Ceremonies, Oxbow: Oxford 1999b.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Spread Eagle cursus

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Spread Eagle cursus 52.030455, -3.222902 Spread Eagle cursus

Llangynidr Bridge, Llangynidr, Breconshire

Standing Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SO 1562 2039

Also Known as:

  1. Gliffaes Stone
  2. Llywn y Fedwen

Getting Here

Not too difficult – and its size makes it pretty easy to spot!  About 100 yards across the river bridge from Llangynidr, there’s a small path heading into the trees by the riverside. Walk along it, or whichever way you find easiest to walk along the riverbank.  Then as you reach the third field along, look up into the hedgerow-cum-fence above you and you’ll notice the old stone sticking up!  Head for it!

Archaeology & History

A 14 foot tall standing stone with a most peculiar ‘modern’ history to it.  Some of you will like this, others may have palpitations – but… In recent times, since the notion of “energy at megaliths” have been in vogue, this was one of the first monoliths found to possess magnetic anomalies.  Described by the writer Francis Hitching (1976), he asked the Welsh dowser Bill Lewis to dowse at this stone and checked the results. Lewis dowsed a spiral of ‘energy’ rising up the stone as he did at many standing stones, and urged Hitching to see if he could bring his findings to the attention of any scientists.  So Hitching contacted the physicist professor John Taylor — he of Black Holes fame, of Kings College, London — who felt that Lewis’ dowsing finds were probably due to him sensing subtle changes in the magnetic field of the stone.  And so with this in mind, he sent a young Argentinian physicist called Eduardo Balanovski, armed with a gaussmeter, to see what they could find. As Hitching later wrote:

“What Balanovski found surprised him very much. After checking the background levels and setting the meter at zero, he pointed the measuring probe at the stone. The needle on the dial shot up, showing an anomaly far greater than the few thousandths or hundredths of a gauss that would have been normal…

“Balanovski has no doubt that the basic anomaly…is significant: ‘The point is that a water-diviner told us about it, and we went there and found something measurable. It may be the stone contains, geologically, the reason for the anomaly. Or it may be caused by something we don’t yet understand. But I do not personally believe that the stone was accidentally chosen or accidentally placed. The people who put it there knew about its power, even if they didn’t know about electromagnetism.'”

This initial finding brought Taylor himself to the place, where he, Balanovski and Lewis set to work.

“Lewis was filmed marking with chalk the places on the stone where he dowsed ‘energy nodes.’ When the gaussmeter probe was passed down the stone, it did register increases of magnetism at the marked points – there seemed to be ‘a very strong field on and around the stone, which seemed to fall in bands,’ as Hitching put it. It was a very impressive demonstration. Taylor urged caution, pointing out that much more work would need to be done to be sure of such reactions.”

Further work was eventually carried out by the Dragon Project, where no anomalous readings were found. Hmmm….

References:

  1. Devereux, Paul, Places of Power, Blandford: London 1990.
  2. Hitching, Francis, Earth Magic, Cassell: London 1976.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Llangynidr Bridge stones

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Llangynidr Bridge stones 51.875671, -3.227123 Llangynidr Bridge stones