This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.
We don't have any photos of this building yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?
Latitude: 53.0133 / 53°0'47"N
Longitude: -4.3397 / 4°20'22"W
OS Eastings: 243134
OS Northings: 348780
OS Grid: SH431487
Mapcode National: GBR 5F.G88S
Mapcode Global: WH43Z.9JQ9
Entry Name: Hovel at Tan-y-bwlch
Listing Date: 18 May 1989
Last Amended: 15 September 1999
Source ID: 4618
Building Class: Domestic
Location: The structure stands in the garden of Tan-y-bwlch, a farm on the N side of the road skirting the north side of Bwlch Mawr and running towards Pencaenewydd.
Traditional County: Caernarfonshire
The structure was possibly erected in the C18 or early C19, though there is no direct dating evidence. Its original purpose remains obscure, but its location on the edge of the frydd, its clear domestic purpose, and provision for livestock, suggest that it may have been built as a seasonal dwelling (a hafod or lluest) associated with the tradition of transhumance in the pastoral economy. This tradition of the summer dwelling was dying out by the end of the C18, though examples could still be found well into the C19. Contemporary descriptions indicate that such dwellings were small and primitive, as indeed is this example. The local presence of several 'hafod' place names may also be cited as evidence of this tradition in this area.
The structure consists of a sub-rectangular chamber 1.92m x 2.8m built of boulders and packed with smaller stones, probably originally also including moss, with a roof of 4 corbelled slabs. At one corner, a narrow rectangular doorway with a monolithic lintel, 72cm wide, with a later doorframe, and at the opposite corner a raised hearth framed in stone. A blocked window overlooking the small pig sty, not now discernible internally, indicates alteration during the period of its life.
Adjoining the long side on the SW, is a square pen presumably for a pig, 1.7m square, similarly constructed and integrated with the building, and having a shelter at the back end, 1.2 wide, entered by a low opening. Lean-to roof of large stone slabs. The interior is similarly paved. The assocated run has slightly convex paving, with boulder gateposts. No surviving fittings.
The chamber walls are slightly corbelled out rising towards the capstone slab roof, 1.8m high at the centre, and with a level floor of stone. The 75 x 70 cm slightly raised hearth has at one side, a vertical orthostat carrying a lintel stone, and a small flue rises through the roof. Two pairs of small rectangular niches in the side wall.
Listed at grade II* as an extremely rare survival of a 'primitive' dwelling type which occupies a significant place in the traditional organisation of land and its usage in upland areas. Possibly associated with the early practice of transhumance which has otherwise left few physical traces as well-preserved as this example.
Other nearby listed buildings