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"The Stones of the Sons of Arthur"

Clas Merdin: Tales from the Enchanted Island, where he shares his interests in Early tales of Arthur the Warrior, Arthur in the Landscape, Anglo-Saxons, Dark Ages, Post-Roman Britain, and Glastonbury Legends. (All rights reserved by the author, and reposted under his kind permission - "Copyright © Edward Watson, 2012" ).




The Stones of the Sons of Arthur

According to local lore the site of the battle of Cwmcerwyn is marked by a series of ancient monuments. Legend recalls that Arthur sat and watched his men fighting the Twrch Trwyth from a  spot marked by a standing stone known as Eisteddfa Arthur (Arthur's Seat), slightly north of Brynberian, on the northern side of the main ridge of the Preseli Hills.

The Stones of the Sons of Arthur are located on the lower flank of Foel Cwmcerwyn, the highest top in the Preselis at 1760ft (537m) and the source of the Afon Clydach. On the ridge above are said to be The Stones of the Knights, (Cerrig Marchogion - SN102322). [3]

The Stones of the Knights are difficult to locate, if they survive at all today, and I suspect the four ancient cairns, the highest at 5ft tall, seen prominently along the skyline of Foel Cwmcerwyn, were probably the original draw to the legend of Arthur's battle with the Twrch Trwyth, as often they are called by the alternative name of The Stones of Arthur's Knights, no doubt commemorating Arthur's four champions, Gwarthegydd, Tarawg, Rheiddwn and Isgofan that the giant boar killed here. The western most cairn was excavated in the early nineteenth century, uncovering a typical Early Bronze Age cremation in an inverted urn. However, the other cairns appear to be empty.

The next site marking the continuing battle with Twrch Trwyth is marked by The Stones of the Sons of Arthur (Cerrig Meibion Arthur – SN118310), where two erect stones stand about 8m apart,  some140m south-east of Ty Newydd farm in Cwm Cerwyn, Mynachlog-ddu, on the southern side of the Preseli Hills. The stones are said to be a monument to Arthur's sons killed here by the Twrch Trwyth which had swum over from Ireland.

The Stones of the Sons of Arthur are part of the Glynsaithmaen group of standing stones located in the moorland around Ty Newydd farm in the hollow beneath Foel Cwmcerwyn in the boggy ground near the headwaters of Afon Wern. The name 'Glynsaithmaen', (valley of the seven stones), suggests the group originally consisted of seven monoliths or seven arrangements of stones, only six are obvious today, although other large stones in and around the farm and track behind the The Stones of the Sons of Arthur possibly account for the seventh. Alternatively, it has been suggested that the name may refer to certain stones considered particularly potent for arrow sharpening.

Copyright Ordnance Survey
If the four cairns atop Foel  Cwmcerwyn commemorate Arthur's four champions lost here in the battle with the Twrch Trwyth, the site of The Stones of the Sons of Arthur must mark the traditional spot where Gwydre son of Arthur, Garselit the Irishman, Glew son of Ysgawd, and Isgawyn son of Banon were all killed by the beast, although only one of these boar hunters is named as Arthur's son.

Feel free to read the rest of this interesting blog on 

Notes & References:


3. Chris Barber & John Godfrey Williams, The Ancient Stones of Wales, Blorenge, 1989.

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