Jan 23 2012 By Tim Prevett
FOR the megalithic enthusiast (also known as megalithomaniacs, or megaraks), Anglesey is a veritable paradise. Indeed, it’s where much of my interest in history was nurtured and grew.
Weeks of seeking out chambered tombs, passage graves, a henge, dolmens, a couple Romano-British settlements, intriguing ancient Churches, and lots more, makes Ynys Mon (to
use its Welsh name) almost a second home.
As a centre for Druids reinforcing and educating the native culture, for the Romans it was an imperative to suppress those who would source and maintain intellectual resistance, and then keep others fighting the Romans. Using forces to swim the Menai Strait, which splits Mon Mam Cymru from the Welsh mainland, the Romans brutally put down the native resistance. The cultural backbone supporting the indigenous way of life and resentment of the incomers was broken.
The Romans were not the first to bring a new way of life to Anglesey. Four thousand years before them, settlers from the Boyne Valley area of Ireland began constructing Passage Graves in what we call the Neolithic period. These were sited on the Isle, as well as along the North Wales coast, even as what is now Liverpool. More on those another time.
As time moved on, and with that influxes of new ideas and new types of construction, the Bronze Age sees erection of individual standing stones. Instead of just stone circles, or
megalithic tombs, these solitary monuments protruded from the earth in different places.
Briefly scanning a 1:25000 Ordnance Survey map of Anglesey will show how many survive today. It is reasonable to assume many more of these have perished over the millennia.
One standing stone which is very easy to visit, is one called Maen Addwyn. If you don’t know, Welsh place names are usually descriptive. Here, ‘Maen’ is ‘stone’, and ‘Addwyn’ is ‘fine’. A fine stone it is too. Right next to the road on the east side, it is between Capel Coch and a hamlet bearing the same name as the stone.
You just can’t help wondering what the purpose of these stones must have been. Meeting places? Ritual monuments? Calendar devices? Well, in the context of a relatively open
landscape, a track marker seems a likely possibility. Good visibility offering a confirmation to a traveller that they are headed in the correct direction. Given that this stone also survives next to a road, it is fair to deduce the it has been marking a route here for four thousand years or more.
Another solitary megalith, Llech Golman, stands proud in a field a kilometre west, and again seven hundred metres further on, Carreg Leidr - a stone near Hebron. This sits in a field high
above a lane. Prior to the hedgerow growing somewhat monstrous, the stone would have been prominent situated.
As for Maen Addwyn, ivy growth ebbs and flows over it, as seen on the Google Street View.It can be mistaken for an overgrown tree trunk. If you find yourself in the central lanes of Anglesey go pay this fine standing stone a visit, and ponder its story, and the stories it could tell.