Guides to chambered tombs in Wales

Pentre-ifan © David Gill

Pentre-Ifan in Pembrokeshire was the first prehistoric burial chamber to be placed under state guardianship in 1880.

The earliest guide to a chambered tomb in Wales was the one on Bryn Celli Ddu on Anglesey by Wilfrid James Hemp (1935).

1971 (repr. 1973)

This was followed by H.N. Savory’s Tinkinswood and St Lythan Long Cairns in the Vale of Glamorgan (1950), and William F. Grimes’ two guides for Pentre Ifan in Pembrokreshire (1953) and Capel Garmon in Gwynedd (1958).

(1960 [1971])
Savory, Keeper of Archaeology at the National Museum of Wales, also contributed the essay on ‘Prehistory’ for the Illustrated Guide to the Ancient Monuments of Wales.

Wales (1973)

O.E. Craster’s ‘blue guide’ to Anglesey (1953) includes several burial chambers:

  • no. 1: Bodowyr
  • no. 2: Trefignath
  • no. 3: Din Dryfol
  • no. 4: Presaddfed
  • no. 5: Ty Newydd
  • no. 6: Lligwy
  • no. 7: Bryn-celli-ddu
  • no. 8: Barclodiad-y-gawres

These were placed in state guardianship in 1910 (no. 4), 1911 (nos. 1, 2, 3, 6), 1920 (no. 5), 1923 (no. 7), and 1958 (no. 8).


Lesley MacInnes’ guide to Anglesey (1980) is divided into tours:

  • no. 5 [6]: Lligwy
  • no. 8 [7]: Bryn Celli Ddu
  • no. 11 [1]: Bodowyr
  • no. 12 [3]: Din Dryfol
  • no. 13 [8]: Barclodiad y Gawres
  • no. 14 [5]: Ty Newydd
  • no. 15 [4]: Presaddfed
  • no. 22 [2]: Trefignath

Parc Le Breos on Gower in south Wales has an extended entry in Diane M. Williams, Gower: A Guide to Ancient and Historic Monuments on the Gower Peninsula (1998). This is one of the Cotswold-Severn tombs (e.g. Hetty Pegler’s Tump).


The most recent guide is for Capel Garmon by M.J. Yates (1996). This consists of a foldout card with images and plan.

Author: David Gill

David Gill is Honorary Professor in the Centre for Heritage at the University of Kent, and Honorary Research Fellow in the School of History and an Academic Associate in SISJAC at UEA; Professor of Archaeological Heritage.

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