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Pengwern Old Hall

A Grade II* Listed Building in Ffestiniog, Gwynedd

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.9689 / 52°58'8"N

Longitude: -3.9384 / 3°56'18"W

OS Eastings: 269919

OS Northings: 343045

OS Grid: SH699430

Mapcode National: GBR 5Y.JXG4

Mapcode Global: WH55H.GMSS

Entry Name: Pengwern Old Hall

Listing Date: 24 April 1951

Last Amended: 8 June 2006

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 4699

Building Class: Domestic

Location: Located on a rise overlooking the Ceunant Sych approximately 2km N of Ffestiniog; accessed via a farm track leading W off an unclassified lane connecting the A 470 with the A 496.

County: Gwynedd

Community: Ffestiniog

Community: Ffestiniog

Locality: Pengwern Old Hall

Traditional County: Merionethshire

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History

Large house with late medieval core. The house is stone built and roughly H plan, and repairs to the roof of the upper wing revealed a largely complete and partly smoke blackened late medieval roof of 4 bays. Dendrochronological investigation has provided felling dates of 1478-9 for the timbers of this roof, and it has been suggested by RCAHMW that the range formed an elaborate timber-framed cross-wing to the hall which was subsequently rebuilt. The site was the home of Dafydd ab Ieuan ab Einion, Constable of Harlech Castle during the Wars of the Roses; he is said to have given shelter here to Henry VI and his queen in 1463. The family adopted the surname of Lewis in the mid C16 and were to become a premier county family, several members of which became High Sheriffs of Merioneth. A John Lewis is recorded at Pengwern in 1588 and his son, Maurice, was Sheriff in 1596; either of these might have been responsible for the late C16 rebuilding. In 1689, Owen Wynne of Llwyn, (a junior branch of the Wynns of Gwydir) married the Pengwern heiress, Anne Lewis. He was High Sheriff in 1692/3 and died in 1717. The extensions, dated 1693, are therefore most likely to have been by him. Alterations earlier this century included replacing all windows with leaded glazing.

Exterior

Large 2-storey house of rubble on a rubble plinth and with old slate roofs. The main range is C-shaped and incorporates a probable late Medieval timber-framed nucleus in its R (SE) wing.; to the rear an L-shaped extension dated 1693. Near-symmetrical main front with central entrance block flanked by advanced gabled wings. Glazed French windows to entrance flanked by flush 2-pane leaded casements on both floors, those to the first floor contained within plain gabled dormers. To the L a small light to each floor. The flanking wings have slightly-projecting chimneys corbelled-out at first-floor level and terminating in fine, tall stacks with original moulded capping and weather-coursing. These are echoed on the main block by further, similar stacks to L and R giving a balance and symmetry unusual for this date and context. Small 2-pane cellar light to L wing. Further, asymmetrically-arranged casements to the long side of the SE wing, 4 to ground- and 3 to first-floors. To the rear (NE) an added L-shaped range with fenestration as before and an inset sandstone armorial plaque to the SE face with the arms and name of John Lewis, dated 1693. End chimney to NE gable with weather-coursing and capping, raised probably at the turn of the century to unify it with the taller, primary chimneys. The E arm of this extension is single-storey and was originally conceived as a service block. Its E gable end with balancing end chimney were removed some twenty-five years ago and the former rebuilt; out-of-character boarded garage doors with rendered gable apex. The corresponding W end terminates in a hipped-roofed bay, stepped-down slightly beyond the gable end; this with squat chimney. To the rear of this a small c1900 walled court with arched entrance and ty bach at the N corner. In the extruded angle between the primary and later wings to the N, a modern extension, partly of corrugated iron.

Interior

Main ground floor room (former hall) with late C17 large-field soft wood panelling with bolection moulded fireplace to L and moulded cornice; c1900 quarry-tiled floor. Leading off to L from hall via a contemporary 2-panel door, a dado-panelled rear passage leading to a subsidiary late C17 dog-leg stair with moulded rail, plain newels and barley-twist balusters; panelled sides. Leading off from the Hall to centre R the main stair. This is reached via an open, depressed arch with moulded pilasters and projecting key; staircase as before, though grander. Large late C19 cross-window stairlight with heraldic glass panels showing the arms of the Lewis family and the county of Merioneth. Stepped-up from the hall to the R, a later boarded lobby leads to the parlour; long, irregular room with c1900 painted panelling and plain inglenook fireplace with chamfered bressummer. Evidence of former partitioning and more than one phase of structural timbering are apparent in this, the probable Medieval wing. First-floor great chamber with bolection-moulded fireplace and one panelled wall, as before; this room has been reduced and a later passage now connects the main and subsidiary stairs. To the L of the fireplace, a small passage with blocked opening to chimney breast and a primary pegged oak doorcase.

Reasons for Listing

Listed Grade II* as an important Medieval large-scale vernacular house incorporating significant elements of a late medieval timber-framed building. Good late C17 interior detailing.

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