Gwynedd Archaeological Trust
Regional Historic Environment Record

Presaddfed Burial Chamber

Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 2049
Trust : Gwynedd
Period : Neolithic
Community : Bodedern
NGR : SH34768089
Legal Protection : Scheduled Ancient Monument

Summary :
The Neolithic burial chamber remains at Presaddfed near Bodedern consist of two groups of stones roughly 2 metres apart. The southern structure is a standing chamber with its capstone still in place. The northern structure has mostly collapsed, with what appears to be the capstone resting on two of the supporting stones.

There have been a number of interpretations of the original site. It may be, like Trefignath burial chamber near Holyhead, a pair of closed chambers that were built in succession and covered with one large mound (cairn), but there is no evidence to confirm that the two structures formed part of the same monument and they may represent the remains of two small passage graves. It is thought unlikely that they formed one larger passage grave. The siting of the monument - in a valley bottom - is unusual and further rejects the possibility that the structures form the remains of a passage grave such as Barclodiad y Gawres near Aberffraw.

There is a local tradition that the southern chamber was home to a family evicted from a nearby cottage in 1801.

Description :
Burial chambers (LB). <1>

In Bodedern parish, in the second field opposite the 9th milestone from Holyhead is a very large double cromlech, almost equal to that at Plas Newydd; the larger is 10ft by 8ft, and 2½ft thick, resting on four stones, the highest being 5ft. The smaller is thrown down from its three stones and was 9ft square. The dimensions of the uppermost stones have exceeded those at Plas Newydd, but like that, their longest diameter points north and south. I find no mention of this noble monument in any other writer. <2>

The most finished cromlechs we have yet seen in the island, the capstone measuring 4½ yards long, 4 yards wide and 2 yards [SIC] thick, its three supporters each about 1½ yards high. Indeed, there is a fourth nearly of the same height but it does not touch the stone above. Under this cromlech, we were informed a whole family who had been ejected from their habitation sought shelter during the last winter. There was another cromlech close at hand but the capstone had been forced down and rests in a slanting direction against the supporters, the top stone of this measured 3 yards long and 2½ yards wide, and its supporters nearly 2 yards high. <11>

'Cromlechau' <3>

Cromlech surrounded by a great number of small stones affording a strong presumption that here was once a cairn. Many cromlechs in Anglesey are composed of stones found in their immediate neighbourhood. That as Presaddfed is of the peculiar porphyritic breccia that accompanies the schistose formation of the district. <4>

Two large cromlechs at the south end of Llyn Llywean in the grounds of Presaddfed House. One has partially fallen down and under the other; the cattle still shelter in bad whether. They have been described and engraved in the Archaeological Journal. <5>

The cromlech at Presaddfed is an example of what is called 'double cromlechs', or in other words, cromlechs with remains of covered passages. <6>

Originally consisted of two chambers with openings facing the east. The larger and more perfect chamber consists of six supports so arranged as to give almost an hexagonal chamber. The capstone is at present supported at one end entirely on the narrow end of one of the uprights, and in this case this support should, from the effect of the whether, give way, this very perfect chamber should be destroyed. <7>

Correspondence concerning preservation of cromlech in the face of potential whether damage. <8>

A remarkable double cromlech at the south end of the Llyn Llywean in the grounds of the Marquis of Anglesey's house at Presaddfed. <9>

Capstone 12ft 6ins long, at one end 8ft wide, at the other 7ft, thickness from 20 to 28ins. The supports are from 4ft 4ins to 4ft 6ins in height. <10>

Not far from Llyn Llywenan at Presaddfed in the parish of Bodedern, and over 3¾ mile ENE of the church there stands a fine dolmen, and a little further to the north, at the distance of a few feet, is to be seen a second one, in the latter case, however, the capstone has been dislodged and remains with one end resting on the ground.

It is thought that the position of the southeast stone was the key to the alignment of the creepway. If the plan of the upright stone (Viz., 650 Mag [AZ.N.470E]) is correct, it means the chambers plan is approximately the same as Bryn Celli, the creepway following the direction of the southeast stone towards the summer solstice and not at right angles to it towards the sunset.

Geological particulars are: number 1 capstone and two supports of Ordovician pebbly grit, two remaining supports of chlorite mica schist, number 2 capstone and one support of local chlorite mica schist. One support of chlorite epidote schist and the remaining two supports of Ordovician pebbly grit. Thus, there is much the same assemblage of materials in both cromlechs. The cromlechs stand on the schists but the Ordovician rocks are close by, the boundary runs just along the east side of Presaddfed woods. Only shales however occur there, but the pebbly grits come on about Bodynolwyn, two and a half miles to the NNE and have sent so many boulders out with ice that there are plenty at Presaddfed. <12>

Presaddfed burial chamber. Two megalithic burial chambers lying 7ft apart in a grass field. The southern chamber has a coverstone 12½ft by 8ft supported on three uprights, the cover of the northern is slightly smaller and has collapsed towards the south and two uprights only remain. No trace of mound. <13>

The southern chamber consists of four uprights, three at the southern end and one at the northern end. They average 1.1m in height. The capstone measures 4.2m by 3.3m and is 0.7m thick. The smaller northern chamber has only one upright standing this is 1.8m high, the rest have collapsed and the south end of the capstone now rests on the ground. <14>

As previously described except that it is situated on a low rocky ridge or terrace slightly above the marshy valley floor. <16>

Sources :
Ordnance Survey , 1963 , SH38SW , <1>
Gough, R. , 1789 , Camdens Brittania , <2>
Ordnance Survey , 1841 , Anglesey North West , <3>
Longueville Jones, H. , 1846 , Archaeological Journal , <4>
Ovenden, S. , 1990 , Report on Geophysical Survey of Presaddfed Cromlechs, Anglesey , <17>
, 1855 , Archaeologia Cambrensis , <5>
, 1862 , Archaeologia Cambrensis , <6>
, 1870 , Archaeologia Cambrensis , <7>
, 1871 , Archaeologia Cambrensis , <8>
Way, A. , 1871 , Archaeological Journal , <9>
Smith, G. , 2003 , Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Monument Survey: West Gwynedd & Anglesey , <16>
Griffith, J. E. , 1900 , A Portfolio of Photographs of the Cromlechs of Anglesey and Caernarvonshire , <10>
Neil Baynes, E. , 1910 , Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion , <12>
Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments , 1937 , Anglesey , <13>
Skinner, J. , 1808 , Ten Days Tour Through the Island of Anglesey , <11>
Ordnance Survey , 1969 , SH38SW , <14>
Davidson, A. , 1986 , A10 , <15>
Longley, D. & Yates, M. , 2001 , Anglesey: A Guide to Ancient Monuments on the Isle of Anglesey , <18>

Events :
42223 : Report on Geophysical Survey of Presaddfed Cromlechs, Anglesey (year : 1990)
40526 : Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Monument Survey: West Gwynedd/Anglesey (year : 2003)

Related PRNs :

The above data are supplied by GAT in partnership with its Local Authorities (Anglesey, Conwy and Gwynedd County Councils, and Snowdonia National Park Authority), © GAT 2014 (and in part © Crown, 2014 - as indicated)
This information is supplied for the purposes of personal interest only and may not be used as part of a commercial project.

July 31, 2014, 11:39 pm - HTML file produced from Gwynedd Archaeological Trust Regional HER
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