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Caer Gai, including adjoining forecourt walls to the NE

A Grade II* Listed Building in Llanuwchllyn, Gwynedd

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Latitude: 52.8692 / 52°52'9"N

Longitude: -3.6692 / 3°40'9"W

OS Eastings: 287739

OS Northings: 331494

OS Grid: SH877314

Mapcode National: GBR 69.R961

Mapcode Global: WH67B.L4ZR

Plus Code: 9C4RV89J+M8

Entry Name: Caer Gai, including adjoining forecourt walls to the NE

Listing Date: 20 October 1966

Last Amended: 31 January 2001

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 4683

Building Class: Domestic

Location: Located approximately 2km N of Llanuwchllyn village within the site of the Roman fort; accessed via a track running N from the main road.

County: Gwynedd

Town: Bala

Community: Llanuwchllyn

Community: Llanuwchllyn

Locality: Caer Gai

Traditional County: Merionethshire

Tagged with: Castrum Ancient Roman structure

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Sub-medieval gentry house of considerable significance for the early modern history of Meirionnydd; the former seat of the Vaughan family of Caer Gai, one of the principal gentry families of the county. Members of the family served as High Sheriffs of Meirionnydd in 1613, 1620, 1642, 1669, 1680 and 1708. The present house appears to have been built originally in the late C16 by Rowland Vaughan, though in its present form represents largely a post-Civil War rebuilding. The most famous member of the family was Captain Rowland Vaughan, MP (c1590-1667), who was a notable poet and translator, as well as a staunch Royalist during the Civil War. In 1645 Vaughan and his company fought at the battle of Naseby and in August of the same year Caer Gai was sacked and burned by General Myddleton's roundhead troops. In march 1650 Vaughan was captured and imprisoned in Chester Castle; eventually he returned to Caer Gai which he rebuilt in its present form; a recorded exterior date of 1650 clearly relates to this rebuilding. In 1662 Caergai was registered as having ten hearths in the eponymous tax.

The house sits within a large Roman camp of rectangular plan, the ramparts and ditches of which remain well-defined. This, according to legend, subsequently became the seat of Cai Hir ap Cymyr, the Roman-British chieftain named Timon by Edmund Spenser, the foster-father of King Arthur, who is said to have been educated here.


Medium-sized vernacular gentry house set behind a walled forecourt. The house is of two-and-a-half storeys and of H plan. Asymmetrical facade with a central entrance section recessed between flanking gabled wings, that to the R broader than that to the L. Of local slatestone rubble construction with renewed slate roof; slated verges. The window arrangement is symmetrical with 2-light modern leaded casement windows (in wooden frames) set in pairs across the 6-window facade. The attic floor has single windows to the gable apexes of the outer wings, and a pair of windows within a large central gabled dormer; slatestone lintels and projecting slate sills throughout. Segmentally-arched entrance to the central section with rough-dressed slatestone voussoirs and a slatestone label supported on end brackets; modern boarded and studded door. Above the entrance is an inset plaque with Welsh inscription. This is of brown sandstone, probably reused Roman material. Further inscribed stones, of similar material, are placed to the L and R of the entrance, at eaves height flanking the dormer windows, and between the floors of the left-hand wing; these have inscriptions in Latin and Welsh.

The right-hand wing has a flush lateral chimney with a boarded door to the R and a large C19 tripartite window of 9 panes; 2 leaded windows above, as before. The L side has an entrance with modern boarded and studded door and 2-and 3-light leaded windows. Rendered rear elevation with squat C19 end chimney to the L wing and a large 2-stage chimney to the R wing; this latter with catslide roof from the main rear roof pitch. Large unrendered lean-to to the L gable end; slated roof.

The entrance facade is fronted by a square contemporary forecourt, the uncoped rubble walls of which stand to their presumed original height of approximately 1.8m on the NW side (R). The NE and SE sides have been reduced to an approximate height of 1m; there is a modern iron gate in the NE corner. The NW stretch adjoins the house flush on the NW side, whilst the SE stretch turns a right-angle immediately beyond the end of the left-hand cross-wing of the house, and returns to enclose a smaller yard on that wing's SE side.

Stone with slated roof and stone stacks; one large lateral chimney and breast. Two slightly projecting wings in front and central gable. 2 storeys and attic. Casements with leaded lights. Doorway has flat segmental head with raked stone.


An internal inspection was not possible.

Reasons for Listing

Listed Grade II* as an important mid C17 gentry house with earlier origins within the site of a Roman fort; the former seat of the Vaughan family, most notably the Royalist, poet and translator Captain Rowland Vaughan.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

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