For the first time, I located and visited Llety’r Filiast: ‘the Lair of the Greyhound Bitch’, a badly damaged Neolithic chambered tomb on the Great Orme peninsula.
Despite damage, the chamber, and the surviving cairn c. 12m wide and 30m long, make this monument well worth visiting. It is described by Chris Houlder (1974) as
a polygonal chamber [which] has four supporters remaining, but par to the capstone has been broken away. The mound has been greatly robbed, leaving what is basically a rock outcrop, which gives little idea of the original shape of this neolithic chambered cairn (Houlder 1974: 60).
Frances Lynch (1995) gives a fuller descripton:
This is one of the few north Welsh tombs to have a folk name. Llety’r Filiast means ‘The Lair of the Greyhound Bitch’, a name which, with variation, has been applied to several other tombs elsewhere in Wales. Unfortunately no story survives to explain it (Lynch 1995: 19).
About the surviving chamber, she states:
The chamber has been damaged but it seems to have been rectangular, 2m by 1.6m by 1.25m high. What remains is not very distinctive, but it probably belongs to the portal dolmen class, a type of monument which is normally rather more impressive! Dyffryn Ardudwy … is a classic example (Lynch 1995: 19).
Regarding the cairn, she describes it as follows:
The chamber stands at the east end of an oval mound which incorporates both a natural outrcrop of rock and the remains of the cairn which would have originally covered it (Lynch 1995: 19).
Further info and images online are available on the following sites:
What you cannot tell from the online information is that this is the tomb that has EVERYTHING!
Not only does it have evidence of extensive damage and no modern archaeological investigation, it also has a signboard with an image of Neolithic characters looking like members of ELO serenading a rather bored groupie.
If that isn’t enough, it has its very own rusty bath. Every Neolithic tomb needs a bath turned water trough, but a bath yet-to-become water trough is something special!
But that’s not all: not only does the tomb have a heritage board and a bath, it has donkeys: three memorable placid beasts!
So a field with a partly intact burial chamber, the vestiges of a cairn, a heritage board, a bath, and donkeys! Surely visitors couldn’t expect more from any archaeological visit!? Well, Llety’r Filiast has one additional feature than will make many other Neolithic monuments in Wales and elsewhere green with envy: it is accessed via a road named after it!
The Lair of the Greyhound Bitch really is the tomb with everything!
Houlder, C. 1974. Wales: An Archaeological Guide. London: Faber.
Lynch, F. 1995. Gwynedd: A Guide to Ancient and Historic Wales. Cardiff: Cadw.