I recently explored some of Anglesey’s megalithic tombs with Frances Lynch’s wonderful 1995 Cadw guide to Gwynedd in hand (which I incidentally see now goes for £177 on Amazon.co.uk; surely time for a reprint Cadw!!!!). I have left far-less-useful-in-the-field Cadw guide to Anglesey at home, also authored by Lynch.
For context, previously I have blogged about other Anglesey megaliths Bryn Celli Ddu here, here and here as well as the megalithic tomb at Bodowyr here and here. This time I struck out in search of more megaliths: ones that I haven’t visited in well over a decade.
Ty Newydd near Llanfaelog is a great little monument if you like navigating stiles leading to muddy puddles and sheep poo and lots and lots of turnips. It is even better if you have a 3-year-old lobbing said turnips at you while you try to photograph the monument. The heritage experience is thus utterly stinted.
The complete absence of interpretation beyond the stark Ministry of Works signboards and the horror of its agricultural context combine to foreground the absence of any real sense of place or sense of context. The twin stone pillars are indeed anachronistic but at least honest in showing the tomb is consolidated from further collapse.
Those commenting on the Modern Antiquarian dislike the situation and the ‘restoration’ of the monument, while a more understanding account is published on the Megalithic Portal. Incidentally, there are a great series of images on both these websites, including antiquarian drawings.
All this aside, I like it!
Lynch regards it as a badly damaged monument supported by a concrete plinth and stone column. Excavations in 1935 are sufficient to suggest that it was a typical early Neolithic dolmen originally covered by a round cairn. The capstone is impressive and large and should not be dismissed in any regard. Furthermore, there is a great piece of folklore that the capstone split when a local lit a fire on top of it to celebrate a birthday on a neighbouring farm.
“Happy birthday Gwen!
“A split megalith? You really shouldn’t have! I’ve always wanted one on the farm but didn’t want to ask!”
I must also comment on the c. 6 fabulous miniature pillars, made of concrete with stone caps, which demarcate the original protected ancient monument from the rest of the field. These each bear the initials ‘AM’ which immediately made me think of my friend and good colleague Dr Adrian Maldonado but I presume denote ‘Ancient Monument’. Still, if Adrian is looking for six ready-made funerary monuments saturated with an aura of prehistory to furnish his own tomb in the distant future, here’s where to acquire them! Incidentally, they proved useful for perching a child’s deerstalker on.
Also, we found this was a superb spot to observe RAF Hawker Siddeley Hawk training aircraft landing at RAF Valley: we waved and a pilot waved back!