St Lythans

Chambered tomb
South Glamorgan
Nearest town: Cardiff
Nearest village: St Nicholas
Map reference: ST 100722

St Lythans Image The chamber of this tomb is 1.8m (6ft) high

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This beautiful chambered tomb stands in splendid isolation in the middle of a field. Its massive capstone is 4m (14ft) long, 3m (10ft) wide, and 0.7m (2.5ft) thick. The insides of the two portal stones have been smoothed and the back stone has a port-hole on its top; a similar feature is found on the Trethevy Quoit, in Cornwall.
    This Neolithic burial chamber is oriented East-West, and a mound of earth or stones probably once covered it. This site could have been similar to the surviving cairn at Tinkinswood, not far away. Still unexcavated, St Lythans is unusually high and therefore it may never have been completely covered.
    In the early 19th century it was called The Greyhound-bitch kennel and was used as an animal shelter. There is a tradition that the field in which the stones stand is cursed, and that nothing will grow there. The stones themselves were believed to grant any wish whispered to them on Hallowe'en. Another legend says that the wedge-shaped capstone spins three times each Midsummer's Eve; this story fits with one of the chambered tomb's Welsh names (Maes-y-Felin), which translates as 'The Mill in the Meadow'. The same night all the stones are said to go bathing in the river.

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