We all know that the Bluestones found at Stonehenge came from Pembrokeshire. How many people know that one of the most striking First World War memorials inspired by prehistoric megalithic monuments is from Carmarthenshire? Here I present the megalithic memorial from Marros.
By mason Thomas Harries and unveiled in around 1920, this memorial commemorates the small community on Carmarthenshire’s south-west coast between Pendine and Amroth: Marros. It commemorates 16 from the parish that served, 2 of whom died in the 1914-18 conflict.
The memorial has a classic location, placed at a T-junction beside the medieval church and churchyard, between the road south into the settlement and the W-E coast road between Pendine and Amroth.
The monument’s focus is a trilithon, set high up on a four-post megalithic platform, approached up four steps from the north. On this northern (road-side) are three plaques. On the lintel stone, a bronze plaque states:
THE GREAT WAR/ 1914-18
On the uprights, two same-sized ‘portrait’ bronze plaques contain the names of those who served (left) preceded by
and died (right) with
DIED FOR/THEIR COUNTRY
Wreaths are lain at the right-hand (western) upright and a planter on the left. Two further planters to the south. Across the road to the north is a common space with a bench. Together, this roadside community possesses a distinct, prehistory-inspired memorial focus.
It is certainly the most striking megalithic war memorial I have encountered and it is not only the form of the memorial that derives from prehistory. It is said that distinctive memorial’s stone was taken from Marros Mountain to the north, from an ‘ancient earthwork’. It might be the case that a prehistoric or medieval monument of some form was mobilised to create this 20th-century trilithon. Rather than a generic allusion to ‘the past’, the materiality and form of the cenotaph work together to make a distinctive statement linking memory and place.