12 March 2014

Tŷ-uchaf: a post-medieval farm complex near Llangynog

I posted about this project last month when it was very much in the early stages. Last week the team finished fieldwork there, and are now busy dealing with post-excavation tasks (when other projects permit!). This very interesting project has revealed a great deal about the evolution of the post-medieval farmhouse and associated complex.

The floor of the byre. Photograph copyright CPAT.
The earliest of the more-or-less extant buildings were known to date from the mid-seventeenth century; the date 1665 had been carved on the stone lintel of one of the upstairs windows. The form of this phase suggested the possibility that this was the remodelling of an earlier house. However we found no evidence for any earlier buildings on the site, despite vigorous investigation beneath the post-medieval floor levels. Instead it appears to have been built new on fairly conservative lines.
The associated complex had its origins in the seventeenth century, but was enlarged and modified in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The byre (shown above) was subdivided and partly repaved at least once. In addition, the surrounding landscape shows evidence of partible inheritance; Tŷ-uchaf was one of three holdings in Cwm Llech whose small fields were divided between several descendants during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The extent of clearance done by the CPAT team over the last four weeks is impressive, and this has of course gone alongside the conservation of the structure itself. Last year the lintel of the main chimney collapsed, and this needed to be at least temporarily repaired before we could begin work. These two photographs show 'before' and 'after', albeit from different angles.
The fireplace in 2013, before consolidation of the structure and rubble clearance.
View looking east. Photograph copyright CPAT.

The cobbled floor in the main house; note the bread oven in the fireplace. View looking south-west.
For another view of the same floor before cleaning, please see the earlier post. Photograph copyright CPAT.
The house is interesting for its association with a local poet, Cadwaladr Roberts, for whom Tŷ-uchaf is said to have been built in the 1660s. Roberts died in 1708/9; the photograph below shows his grave marker in the churchyard at Pennant.

Photograph copyright CPAT.

A full report will be posted on the CPAT website shortly, and we hope to be back at this site later in 2014 as the conservation and restoration project continues.

Meanwhile we have just begun another project where below-ground 'archaeology' and above-ground 'buildings' are being dealt with together as part of an ambitious conservation scheme. More about this next week...

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