I was looking for a way to get to the Yr Allor stones when I came across this site, I parked up outside it's field and inspected the map. Hmmm there are so many stones around here that your just falling over them, I get out and walk over, look at the information board and ohhhh it's Meini Gwyr, it wasn't high on the list due to it's ruination but it was there nonetheless .
There is still a slight circular bump to be seen, just, and the stones are still quite big, well one of them is, and they still have that inward lean that Merrick mentions in his notes. I can't quite make out Yr Allor from here, and that is where the attraction to the place comes in, not not making things out, but, in it's heyday this would have been a phenomenal place, so many closely fitting sites all seemingly linked together, like a mini Carnac, but it's all over now the crowd are on the pitch it is well and truly over.
Access is very easy. There is a layby to park in right next to the field in which the stones stand. A weathered but informative board gives details of the site. The two stones are a short walk into the field which had a lot of cows in it. If you don't like cows, the stones are easily seen from the layby. There appeared to be a raised platform still visible around the stones. Are cows the dullest animals? I am sure they are worse than sheep? At least sheep leave you alone, cows tend to follow you around!!
Having done a minimum of research beforehand (always like to do a first visit to an area 'blind' with just an OS map, it encourages more wandering and pondering), I'd no idea what to expect. The OS map marks it with that little crown logo used for tumuli, but this site is the remains of a stone circle unlike any other I know of.
The stones were of varying height, with an entrance avenue of four stones a side, side on and touching as a wall. The circle was surrounded by a bank 3ft high and 120ft in diameter, but with no ditch. There was a stone curb leading away from the entrance round the bank for about 30 foot each side.
According to the 1938 excavations, the stones were all placed not vertically but leaning inwards. The field boundaries are full of massive bluestones, surely including some of the fifteen missing circle stones.
This is a major complex built and used over a very long period – there are a dozen round barrows, another stone circle, several standing stones, a henge and a cromlech all originally within a few hundred metres.
We're only a mile or two from the Gors Fawr megalithic landscape and just beyond that the source of the Stonehenge bluestones.
The richness of the Glandy Cross megalithic landscape, the scale, effort and sustained time period of focus here, and the arresting unique design, make it an essential visit. It seems utterly ludicrous it wasn't included in the TMA book.
Props to Dyfed Archaeological Trust Ltd for the fine info board at the entrance, detailing a lot of the monuments now destroyed and/or not listed on the OS map.
Visited 2nd March 2003: Meini Gwyr is the only site in the Glandy Cross Complex that's set up for visitors. There's enough space for parking, and a slightly mouldy notice board by the gate.
Out of an original seventeen stones, there are only two remaining at Meini Gwyr. The site is thought to be an embanked stone circle, originally about 18 meters in diameter. In the 17th Century Edward Lhuyd recorded that there were still fifteen stones in the circle, and he was aware that some stones had already been 'carried away'. This suggests to me that these stones weren't long gone at the time.
The site was excavated in 1938 by Prof W.F. Grimes, but most of the paperwork relating to his findings was destroyed in a bombing raid on Bristol in 1940 (this site has had some bad luck). Grimes found out that the circle had an entrance on its north west side, cutting through the earthen bank and flanked by upright stones. He also found fragments of Bronze Age pottery in a hearth set in to the south east bank.
Incidentally, in the garden of the house next door to Meini Gwyr is a modern stone circle with a central stone. Don't be fooled! Meini Gwyr may be a shadow of its former self, but it still has a bit of that zing that modern stone circles completely lack.
Children & Nash (1997) say there were three pairs of stones between the circle and the 'cove' of Yr Allor. Stukeley's diagram of the circle circa 1720 says 'Two more stones standing 100 paces distant this way' – this must refer to some of these standing stones, as his drawing of Yr Allor shows three stones standing.
There is a suggestion on the info board at the site that the cove may have been a cromlech.
The name Meini Gwyr should have a to-bach (or circumflex) over the 'y' for it to be read corectly in the Welsh. The word maeni means stones, and the word gwyr means either men or husbands.
If the to-bach was over the 'w' then the word would becomes crooked, which makes a bit more sense to me. Having said that, I've never seen this spelling, but on Stukley's illustration there is no to-bach at all. This suggests that the name may originate from either 'men/husbands' or 'crooked'.