BrynGwyn - Sacred places?


A historical muse on the site and stones remaining at Bryngwyn on Ynys Mon.


BrynGwyn (white hill) are two irregular standing stones within the parish of Llanidan. Today they act as markers within a field boundary wall, where a gate is located between two fields. The stones are surrounded in controversy as there historic reporting in the literature is far from clear. This is further hindered by the fact no archaeology investigation has transpired here (Holder 1994, 45). This situation remains in the position today.

Recent investigations refer from Rev Roland Williams work in the 18th century and his observation indicating there was a 'ring or coronet' of large erect columns here. Only three are reported to have been standing along with a forth being a broken in the middle to form a stump. Rowland further estimates and calculates there were originally either eight or nine standing stones positioned within a circle, assumed to be 12 -14 yds dia (Roland 1766, 84).

A later letter from Rev. J Davis is recorded in the Camden Britannia dated 1772 (ii p. 61). Record the same site with 12 stones, the thin-notched stone is referred to as the largest among them being 12ft high and 8ft broad and an oblong in shape. The site is further identified and named as "Kerig y Bryn gwyn" (The white hill stones).

Pennant observations of 1781 states that 'relics of a stone circle with a cromlech in its midst. Two stones very large, one, which serves at present as part of the end of a house 12' 7" high 8' width, some lesser stones remains. This circle when complete was one of the temples of the druids in which religious rites were performed (Pennant 1781, 320). Of course one must be aware of the various interest and fabrication during the 18th and into the 19th century; connecting of Neolithic sites with Druids!

The second edition of the Camden Britannia produced by Gough in 1789 (Vol 2, 567). Highlights a report from a person named Owen. Although later commentators considers this individual had a lively imagination. The number of stones is again reported as twelve; The way in which the stones are set out is noted to 'resemble a horse shoe shape.' However Gough indicated the notched stone-formed part of a cottage gable wall 12ft x 8ft. It becomes clear the cottage is there prior to this publication in 1789. Indeed it could be very problematical. Nonetheless interesting there is a reference to a broken cromlech behind the cottage.

J Skinner reported that he could not locate the stones that Rowland's mentions in 1776. He reports in 1908 from Bryn Gwyn Castle, was a lozenge form, near a cottage a distance of 3/4 mile. It measured 3yds high and 2yds wide. While in the rear field behind the cottage were 'six stones each a yrd high placed three and three at equal distance' (Skinner 1908, 13).

Interestingly N. Barnes article highligts the stone lozenge stone as a chloritic Quarterzose schist. This type of stone is not native to Anglsey and its been indecated to have originated from Penmeanmawr (Baynes 1910-11,. 6). Indeed it is quite different from what could be described as the associated granite boulder which accopanies it. The notched stone lozenge appears to have been deliberately selected and transported. An attraction could have been the high orientation of its fiberous make up, being predominately high in quartz and blue amphibole which could have been the attraction.

Nonetheless recent assessment of the stone suggests that the notches were cut to support roof purlin for the cottage (Llynch 1995). It further adds that arial photographs do not show any other evidence which will support past observations. Yet the question is still unresolved where archaeology investigation could resove the debates, one way or the other.

Last updated 2004

History of Bryngwyn Stones at a Glance

1723-Rowlands describes 3 stones and a stump in a circle 12-14 yards dia. that had 8-9 stones. Noted 2 smaller circles

1772 Camden noted 12 stones

1773 Pennant noted 2 large stones and some smaller ones

1797 Hutton noted dia. Of 52 yrds or 47.5m site recently destroyed

1810 Cottage against western stone, removed by 1841

1989 Authenticity question by John Barnett


Baynes, N., 1910-11 'The Megalithic Remains of Anglesey' in Transactions Cymmrodorion
Lynch, F., 1995, A Guide to Ancient and Historical Monuments: Gwynedd, HMSO
Lynch, F., 1991, Prehistoric Anglesey, The Anglesey Antiquarian Society, 2nd edition
Owen, N., 1775, A History of the Island of Anglesey, London 1775
Pennant, T., 1781, A Tour of Wales, vol 1 & 2
Houlder, C., 1974, Wales: An archaeological Guide, the Prehistoric, Roman and Early Medieval Monuments, London, Faber
Roland, H., 1766, Mona Antiquities, Dublin
Skinner, J., 1908, Ten days' Tour through the Island of Anglesey, Cambernsis Archaeolgia supplement.

Anglesey, Byrn Gwyn, Standing Stones, Ynys Mon,
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