Location

Trellech, 5 miles South of Monmouth, Monmouthshire, Wales.

 

Overview

Driving along the picturesque B4293, between Chepstow and Monmouth, will eventually bring you to the village of Trellech. Its name is derived from the three stones that stand just off the road; in Welsh, "Tri" means three, and "Llech" a flat stone. Upon entering the site there is a notice board, which, complete with Welsh translations and the very worthwhile addition of several drawings by primary school children of what life in the Bronze Age was really like, explains this fact and not very much besides. There are two local legends as to the origins of Harold's Stones, the foremost of which is that they mark the spot where three Welsh chieftains fell in battle against King Harold of England. The other declares that a certain Jack of Kent, presumably a chap of some considerable strength, threw them here from Sugar Loaf mountain, 13 miles away near Avergavenny, having lost his temper during a contest with the Devil.

 

Leaving this drivel aside, what can be stated as fact is that the stones are a quartz conglomerate, known as pudding stone, and that they were most likely sourced locally as it is a common material to the area. The romantic story that they mark the site of a lost battle against the English is easily disproved; they predate the event by two millennia, circa 1500 BC. In lieu of plausible legends, the notices on site give several possible explanations of their true purpose; as marker stones, some form of seasonal calendar, or that they were used as part of a religious ritual. Thus the full spectrum of vague explanations for any standing stone is covered, and so we must draw the inescapable conclusion; no one has the slightest idea.

 

Photographs

Harold's Stones Harold's Stones Harold's Stones Harold's Stones Harold's Stones

Harold's Stones