Saturday, 07 August 2010 21:01

Tinkinswood Burial Chamber

Written by Peter Nash
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About five miles North of Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan, lies Tinkinswood Burial Chamber - a spectacular tomb boasting one of the largest known capstones in Western Europe.

Tinkinswood has a low chamber, walled on three sides and two flanking walls either side of the mighty capstone that creates a forecourt effect in front of the monument. In 1914 the tomb was excavated and the remains of about 50 people were unearthed from beneath the capstone. (Sadly their remains are now believed to be in storage in Cardiff Museum. I disagree very strongly with this; in my view these bones should be reburied in the tomb.)

Tinkinswood is believed to have been constructed around 2000-1800 BCE in the Megalithic period, and there are many strange legends attached to it. For instance, if you sleep overnight there on Beltane (or some way the Summer Solstice), you are supposed to either become a poet or go insane. Having camped there myself on the Summer Solstice about ten years ago, I certainly haven't written much poetry in the meantime, although I can't really comment on how my sanity has been affected. The only odd thing that did occur on my vigil was at one point I heard footsteps and the sound of breathing behind me, but when I went to investigate (I thought a fellow Pagan had come to join me) there was not a soul in sight.

On one night of the year the huge capstone is supposed to rise in to the air, rotate three times and then return to its usual place over the chamber. (Nobody seems to know the significance of this tale of why this should occur.) Furthermore on another night, the stones are supposed to uproot themselves from the ground and march in single file down to a nearby stream and take a drink. (Similar stories to this are found concerning other stone circles elsewhere.)

It is said that a wish made at Tinkinswood on the night of Samhain will be granted within the year. Having visited the site on Samhain I was interested to note that inside the actual chamber somebody had left apple halves in grooves in the stones. The apple flesh was only just turning brown, so the apples had not long been put in place. I like to think that another Pagan had been there and left the fruit as an offering to the Goddess and all those who have gone before.
There is certainly a strong energy present at Tinkinswood although I cannot help feeling that the site has been desecrated by the excavations and this to some extent spoils the atmosphere there for me. Nevertheless I would always recommend a visit to any Pagan who is in the area. (My wish incidentally is showing signs of being granted already.)

Last Summer a friend and I did some dowsing near the chamber. At certain points our dowsing rods went berserk, crossing, uncrossing, and swerving in all directions; in fact I had never before seen rods behave in this manner. At a meditation shortly afterwards all sorts of symbols came in to our minds and we were surprised to compare notes and find that we had both perceived the same colours, with gold being particularly prominent.

There is something odd about the atmosphere at Tinkinswood, nevertheless it cannot be denied that the site has a unique energy of its own. Perhaps these slightly unbalanced energies will settle down and become balanced again if the remains of the people removed from the tomb are one day returned to their rightful place of burial.

Peter Nash

Read 2434 times Last modified on Friday, 20 September 2013 22:43

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