The first time I came here my now almost seven year old son was just a few months
old, so seeing as the winter solstice sun wasnt going to show up anywhere near me today
this was as good as ever a time to reaquaint ourselves. Its dead easy to find so no directions
I didnt remember it being this big, its really huge. The chamber is nearly half dug into the ground
and the whopping great capstone rests on about half a dozen stones but another half a dozen are just for
show it seems.
Inside are two stones that particularly stick out, one is the long flat bed like stone or outcrop and the
left entrance stone, they both have vertical runnels from when they were exposed to the weather and
both are attractively rubbed smooth. A really cool place to be after a long bout of sunshine but an
otherwise damp place elsetime.
Great place to visit, well maintained, the capstone is an incredible size and tonnage - new info boards here guessing how they did it. Just down the lane from llugwy is the ancient iron age village (4th century settlement), follow the road up and it's on the left, follow the field across past the ruin of a 13c church.
Did I say Pant y Saer was a stunna? Well, this is a stunna with knobs on! Lligwy has the most incredible capstone, a huge rectangle of rock, easily a yard thick all the way round. Interestingly, deep grooves are to be found on all sides of this cumbersome capstone, and I read on the information board a suggestion that they were caused by ropes rubbing into the stone as it was transported to the site. Can't see it myself; why don't other structures have such obvious grooves? It looked more like eroded drilling lines to me, if it were anything manmade.
This really is awesome. A large dug out chamber under the capstone held the remains of 30 people, and even has a reasonable shelf on which to lay a body. Only after squeezing through the constricting entrance way, grubbing around in the chamber for a while, and sitting on the (not uncomfortable) shelf chatting to a lady on the outside, did I later discover the 25 tonne capstone is only held up on three of the eight uprights. Gulp.
Once again, the prehistoric understanding of rock and engineering never ceases to amaze. . . .
Jane's Law of Dolmen Visiting states: "Thou shalt make every effort to enter the chamber and grub about in it". Lligwy is especially good for this although at first glance you wonder how the hell you're going to get in. The entrance is small and requires a hands and knees approach. But once beneath the gigantic capstone weighing 25 tons it feels light and spacious as if it's hovering above. It's not. It's held aloft by lots of uprights and once you're in, the ground sinks down below you. There's even a comfy megalithic bunk to lie down on to avoid the mud. We loved it despite being caged in by yet another set of ugly, pointy railings.
Straight forward to find, cast iron Ancient Monument sign on road next to kissing gate. The capstone is visible from the road beyond a gap in the hedge.
We visited this summer and the gate to those spiked railings was open, so thankfully no vaulting was required.
A cumbersome, partly subterranean site. From the outside the huge bulky capstone appears to have pushed it's low kerbstones down into the ground - this isn't the case as the interior is hollowed out. To gain entrance to the sites chamber requires a vault over the fence - be warned it has large, sharp spikes and the glossy green paint can be quite slippery!
I visited this site in August with my daughter who is 7, and my niece and nephew ( 6 year old twins ). Din Lligwy is the remains of a village, and consists of several round huts, and a border wall which is over a metre thick. The site inspires imagination, and the children asked what the people were trying to keep out with such large walls. The "Chieftan's" hut is clearly identifiable. Further along is the remains od a burial chamber - we sheltered under the huge cap-stone as the rain drove down outside. The silence was total and evocative. I have visited many of the sites in Anglesey and North Wales as a child, but unfortunately I have forgotten the name of most of them.
Arthur's Quoit, at Lligwy, near Moelfre, in Anglesea, is one of the stones of a cromlech once very important, and to it curious stories were formerly attached. A fisherman going down to the sea was overtaken by a storm, and halted to shelter beside Arthur's Quoit. When the rain was over, he looked towards the sea, and felt sure that somebody was struggling in the water. He hastened to the shore, and then discovered that a woman with very long dark hair was endeavouring to swim to land; but the ground swell was very strong, and each attempt proved unavailing.
The fisherman, fearless of the sea*, sprang in, and bore the swimmer to the shore, only just to escape a dangerous roller. The man observed that the woman was beautifully robed in white, and had jewelled bracelets on her arms. After squeezing the water out of her garments, she asked him to assist her to the "huge stone", meaning Arthur's Quoit. He did so, and while she sat to rest against the stone he noticed she was very beautiful and youthful. The man was about to ask her how she came to be in such peril, but she anticipated his question with a harsh voice, by no means in keeping with her beauty.
"Ha ha!" she cried. "If I had been swimming in my usual raiment, you would have allowed me to sink. I am a witch, and was thrown off a ship in Lligwy Bay; but I disguised myself, and was rescued."
The man shrank back in terror, fearing the woman would bewitch him. "Don't be frightened," said the witch; "one good turn deserves another. Here, take this." In the palm of her hand she held a small ball. "It is for you," she said, "and as long as you keep it concealed in a secret place where nobody can find it, good luck will be yours. Once a year you must take it out of hiding and dip it in the sea, then safely return it to its place of concealment. But remember, if it is lost, misfortune will follow."
The fisherman took the ball and thanked the witch, who gravely said: "That ball contains a snake-skin." Then she vanished mysteriously. But an hour later he saw her leaping from rock to rock in Lligwy Bay, where a boat was waiting for her, and in it she sailed away. Returning to Arthur's Quoit, the fisherman thought he could do no better than conceal the ball in a deep hole which he dug close beside the great stone which was reputed to be haunted, and accordingly avoided. He did this, and once a year he took it from concealment and dipped it in the sea. The ball was carefully preserved, and the family had remarkable runs of luck. But one evening when the fisherman went to look for the ball, it was nowhere to be found. He searched for many days, but without avail, and at last gave up his search as hopeless. Somebody evidently discovered his secret, and had stolen the precious ball.
Several years passed, during which time misfortune pursued the fisherman. At the end of that period a dying neighbour confessed to the theft of the ball, and restored it to its lawful owner. Good luck was at once restored to the family. When the fisherman died, he bequeathed it to his eldest son, who carefully preserved it. In the first half of the nineteenth century the fisherman's eldest son, accompanied by his only brother, started for Australia, where they eventually made large fortunes. A descendant in the female line of the old fisherman considered the ball one of her most precious treasures, and carefully preserved it in her far-away home in India. It was last heard of about forty years ago.
From Marie Trevelyan's "Folk lore and Folk Stories of Wales" (1909).
*surely not something a fisherman would be. In fact, many could not swim??
Apparently Lligwy is actually built over a natural fissure in the limestone, rather than being dug out. Aubrey Burl (in 'Rites of the Gods') lists the layers (from top to bottom) that were excavated inside:
> red clay and limpet shells
>black earth containing pottery sherds and human, ox, sheep, pig, deer, fox, fowl, dog, and otter bones
>paving of flat stones
>black earth and human bones
>scattered mussel shells