BRECONSHIRE



Crucadarn, Erwood, Hafodygarreg (SO 1077 4151)   

Felling date: Summer 1402

Crucks (1/2) 1401(9½C); King strut (0/1); Braces (0/3); Tiebeam (0/1). Site Master 1329-1401 hge1 (t= 7.4 LNYWATHN; 7 WVT9; 6.2 MWNLOCK3)

A large and boldly cusped cruck truss survives at the back of the inserted chimney of this upland dwelling of longhouse type, otherwise of early seventeenth-century date. The truss has two impressive cusped openings (best described as stilted or asymmetrical trefoils) defined by a braced king stud rising from the tiebeam to an arch-braced collar. It was set between the passage and hall: the tiebeam has a stop-chamfer and mortices for a centrally-placed doorway into the hall. The hall was probably of one bay, and the house is evidently the precursor of the less elaborate cruck-framed peasant halls encountered in the mid sixteenth century. Status is uncertain but the hall may be compared with Brookgates Farm, Plealy, Shropshire, a single-bay hall with an aisle truss of 1490 (VA 24 (1993), 58-9). At present, Hafodygarreg has the earliest cruck truss identified in Wales and belongs to the period immediately before Owain Glyndwr’s revolt, falling between Henry IV’s expedition into Wales (October 1401) and Owain Glyndwr’s victory at Pilleth (July 1402). The truss is not likely to have been stockpiled until after the calamitous years 1402-5, as it shows no signs of weathering. Survey by Geoff Ward in NMRW. Dating commissioned by RCAHMW. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 157)


ELAN VALLEY, Llannerch-y-cawr (SN 902 614): Inserted first-floor fireplace

Felling date: Winter 1588/9

Mantel beam 1588 (30C). Site Master 1471-1588 eln7 (t=5.2 WALES97; 5.1 nan8; 5.1 TYDDYN)

A large stone walled cruck-trussed ‘classic’ longhouse with inserted fireplace and ceiling.  The plan and detail, including timber ‘diamond’ mullioned windows are comparable with the mid-sixteenth-century Nannerth-ganol (VA 27 (1996), 33, 108).  The crucks failed to date but a precise felling date was obtained for the mantel-beam of the inserted fireplace.  Plans and description: Iorwerth Peate, The Welsh House (1946 edn: 75-6); Peter Smith, ‘The Longhouse and the Laithe House’ in Culture and Environment, ed by L. Alcock and I. Ll. Foster (1963), pp. 419-20; S. R. Jones and J. T. Smith, ‘Houses of Breconshire part 1’, Brycheiniog, vol. ix (1963), pp. 6-10. (Miles and Worthington 1999, VA 30, list 103)



HAY-ON-WYE, Hay Castle (SO 299 423)

(a) Castle House roof                                 Felling date range: 1616-1646

(b) Castle Keep, fireplace lintel                  Felling date range: 1576-1596

(c) West Gate, north leaf (replacement)      Felling date range: 1610-1640

(a) Ex situ timbers 1497, 1587, 1610(5); Site Masters 1321-1497 hay8 (t = 9.3 LYDBURY; 8.2 WALES97; 7.7 SALOP95); 1405-1587 hay5 (t = 5.6 BRECON1; 5.4 CRADLEY; 5.2 TYNCELYN); 1467-1610 hay1 (t = 6.8 ELSTEAD; 6.1 BOWDLER2; 5.9 DITTON4). (b) Fireplace lintel 1536 (h/s + 40-60C NM); Site Master 1473-1536 hayL (t = 7.3 CALLGHTN; 7.0 BUILDWAS2; 6.6 RHOSFAWR); c) Planks 1517, 1550, 15702, 1583, 1591, 1593, 1599(h/s), 1599(1), 1603(4); Site Master 1445-1603 HAYGATE1 (t = 8.8 VOWCHURCH; 8.7 CHAWTON6; 8.7 WALES97).

Hay Castle is unusual in that it has been continuously occupied for the last 800 years. It has a residential keep of c.1200 with a thirteenth/fourteenth-century gateway. The gate has two phases with different styles of carpentry. The north leaf (with wicket) was thought to be fourteenth century but this work shows that it is a seventeenth-century replacement; the possibly original south leaf failed to date. The keep is a four-storey residential tower, now unroofed, in which the upper floors were annexed to the adjoining Castle House. Sampling of a first-floor timber fireplace beam showed that the keep had been refitted in the sixteenth century. Hay Castle House is a large sixteenth/seventeeth-century house built within the medieval castle site and serving as the post-medieval manor house. The house has a double-pile plan, two storeyed with shaped attic dormers on the seven-bay south front, and impressive clusters of brick chimneys. The timber spine-wall separating principal rooms from stair and service rooms was revealed by the disastrous fire of 1977 which destroyed the roof. Reanalysis of samples taken by Martin Bridge from the fire-damaged roof timbers show that the house achieved its mature form in the early seventeenth century. See R. Haslam, The Buildings of Wales: Powys (1979).(Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2008, VA 39, list 206)
 

HAY RURAL, Llangwathen (SO 2447 4032)

Felling dates: Winter 1416/17; Summer 1417; Spring 1418

Crucks 1416(25C, 24½C); Collar 1417(17¼C); Tiebeam (0/1). Site Master 1319-1417 LNYWATHN (t= 9.4 OLDBRFA1; 7.9 HIGHTOWN; 7.7 SALOP95)

A platform-sited cruck-framed hall house with a box-framed solar cross wing later encased in stone. The chimney of the present hearth-passage house has been inserted against an arch-braced open truss, preserving the cambered collar but truncating the tiebeam. It is not clear if this truss was in the centre of the hall (of low mantel-beam type) or at the entrance (cf. Hafodygarreg above). The lower bay, latterly at least, was a cowhouse and incorporates a tethering beam. The solar wing is integrated with the cruck frame and presumably contemporary with it, but failed to date. This is the second oldest cruck-framed house identified in Wales and is virtually complete. Llangwathen was a detached portion of the lordship of Welsh Hay and its owners in the sixteenth century were gentry. Survey by S. R. Jones and J. T. Smith, ‘The Houses of Breconshire, part II’, Brycheiniog 10 (1964), 122-4, figs 22, 24; P. Smith, Houses of the Welsh Countryside (1975), fig. 110a, with additional information in NMRW. Dating commissioned by RCAHMW. (Miles, Worthington, and Bridge 2004, VA 35, list 157)