by Sandy Gerrard

Standing next to enclosed land on Mynydd Illtyd at NGR SN 97599 26513 is a small standing stone which Cadw added to the Schedule of Ancient Monuments in 1996. Both the Royal Commission and Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust consider that it is more likely to be an historic boundary stone and interestingly there is absolutely no evidence to support the purported prehistoric date.  Despite this, the stone has been scheduled as a prehistoric standing stone.  At Bancbryn the lack of consensus was seen as a reason for not scheduling the stone alignment, but here such a lack of agreement was not seen as an obstacle. The haphazard way in which monuments are added to the schedule should be a cause for concern.

One would have thought that evidence of some sort to support the identification of a monument would be needed before it was added to the Schedule. Cadw have publicly stated that sites with insufficient evidence cannot be added to the schedule, but it would appear that those with no evidence do not present such a problem. The standing stone on Mynydd Illtyd clearly stands at the intersection of four historic routeways and is situated on the edge of a holloway which appears to have been formed after the adjacent field boundary was erected.  The position of this stone relative to the hollow, the trackways and indeed nearby field boundary provides it with a clear historic context and explanation – a waymarker. Without any prehistoric evidence to contradict this obvious interpretation it is difficult to understand why Cadw felt that there was sufficient evidence to schedule this stone.

By contrast at Bancbryn Cadw were initially happy to endorse the idea that the stones were waymarkers despite the demonstrated absence of any track or road. Why was the waymarker explanation happily endorsed when no track was present but dismissed when there are four and they all lead straight to the stone? Very odd indeed.

The stone stands on the edge of an historic holloway. This relationship strongly supports an historic date. Elsewhere stones placed beside holloways or other routes are seen as historic – so why is this one seen by Cadw as prehistoric?

The stone stands on the edge of an historic holloway. This relationship strongly supports an historic date. Elsewhere stones placed beside holloways or other routes are seen as historic – so why is this one seen by Cadw as prehistoric?

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wo historic trackways converge on the stone from the south.  The stone clearly marks the intersection of four separate routes and on the basis of available evidence it is most likely to be a waymarker.

Two historic trackways converge on the stone from the south. The stone clearly marks the intersection of four separate routes and on the basis of available evidence it is most likely to be a waymarker.

The schedule is supposed to include only nationally important archaeology and clearly if dubious sites are being included this must surely undermine the value of the Schedule as a whole. An inconsistent and inaccurate schedule will clearly undermine its integrity and as a consequence render it worse than inadequate. My experiences at Bancbryn first alerted me to serious issues with the way in which nationally important heritage is safeguarded in Wales. I had hoped that perhaps this was an isolated instance, but sadly this would seem not to be so. The Schedule is so crammed full of mistakes, contradictions and inconsistencies it is a wonder that Cadw can fulfil their statutory duties at all.