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Latitude: 51.8564 / 51°51'23"N
Longitude: -2.9542 / 2°57'15"W
OS Eastings: 334379
OS Northings: 217965
OS Grid: SO343179
Mapcode National: GBR F8.T7TF
Mapcode Global: VH791.RL3R
Entry Name: Wern-y-cwm Farmhouse
Listing Date: 30 June 1993
Last Amended: 19 October 2000
Source ID: 2890
Building Class: Domestic
Location: On the lower slopes of the Skirrid, some 2 km NW of Llanvetherine village, at the end of a single track road which runs N off the B 4521.
Community: Grosmont (Y Grysmwnt)
Locality: Llanddewi Skirrid
Traditional County: Monmouthshire
A medieval timber-framed house may have existed on the site, and some timbers may have been re-used to build the barn at Wern-y-cwm. The present farmhouse dates from mid-C17 and began as a two unit dwelling, to which a two storey rear lean-to was added, probably in the early C18, to create a double depth house. The original C17 staircase may have been located beside one of the gable fireplaces or possibly housed in a separate stair wing at the back. The house was refenestrated in the early C19 and there have been some modern alterations.
Wern-y-cwm was the birthplace of Captain Thomas James, the famous mariner, who in 1631 set out on an epic voyage in search of the north-west passage to the Pacific, eventually discovering 'The New Principality of South Wales' (later New South Wales). The account of his adventure 'The Strange and Dangerous Voyage' (1633) is said to have inspired Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem 'The Ancient Mariner' (1798).
Substantial three storey farmhouse. Rubble stone; C20 composition slates with brick end-stacks. Windows are 3 3 3 pane casements with segmental brick arches, and thin stone sills. Three windows on the second floor, corresponding windows on first floor are taller. Ground floor has centre C20 stone gabled porch with glazed double doors; inner entrance doorway has fanlight with radial glazing bars and early C19 6-panel door. Flanking entrance on each side are similar 3 3 3 pane windows on ground floor, with basement window to right. E gable has 2-light ovolo moulded mullions on second floors and first floors; on ground-floor is relieving arch to former cellar doorway (window inserted in blocked opening). To right is two storey lean-to: on ground and first floors are C18 3-light windows with centre casements.
Stone flagged entrance passage leads to C19 stair with winders and ramped handrail. On each side of entrance passage, principal ground-floor rooms have 6 panel doors. Parlour (to right) has ornate mid C17 ceiling beams with double roll moulding and hollow with fillet and flat stops. Soffit of C17 fireplace lintel has been cut-away; herringbone stonework to hearth back wall. First floor rooms have similar ornate moulded ceiling beams.
Listed for its special interest as a substantial mid C17 farmhouse and for its historical importance as the birthplace of the C17 mariner, Captain Thomas James, discoverer of New South Wales.
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