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Gwernfyda (also known as Gwern-y-Fedw) including attached barns

A Grade II* Listed Building in Welshpool, Powys

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Latitude: 52.6052 / 52°36'18"N

Longitude: -3.4117 / 3°24'42"W

OS Eastings: 304496

OS Northings: 301754

OS Grid: SJ044017

Mapcode National: GBR 9N.8W4X

Mapcode Global: WH79R.KSM6

Plus Code: 9C4RJH4Q+38

Entry Name: Gwernfyda (also known as Gwern-y-Fedw) including attached barns

Listing Date: 9 May 1985

Last Amended: 4 February 1997

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 8679

Building Class: Domestic

Location: Located approximately 1.5km SW of Llanllugan, on a lane which links Cefn Coch with Adfa. The house is situated on a probable platform site at the bottom of a hillside, and faces SE.

County: Powys

Community: Dwyriw

Community: Dwyriw

Locality: Llanllugan

Traditional County: Montgomeryshire

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Mid-C16 box-framed Medieval hall house. Dendrochronological samples have revealed a date of 1552. Originally 3 bays with hall, inner rooms and outer rooms. The hall contained a post-and-panel dais partition with canopy, a smoke bay and possibly a cross passage. The intricate hall ceiling was inserted later, perhaps in the later C16. At the same time or soon after, a large chimney was built at the lower end of the hall to create the present lobby entry plan. The hall fireplace has an unusual lintel which has been the subject of much discussion. Some maintain that it was removed from the Nunnery of Llanllugan during the Dissolution; the house is said to have belonged to the Nunnery in the early C16 and was then granted to Sir Henry D'Arcy after the Dissolution. It is more likely that the lintel is later as two similar lintels in the area have early C17 dates. At some stage, a fourth bay was added beyond the inner rooms, always open to the roof and perhaps a byre. In the late C17, a ceiling was inserted in the outer room (kitchen) with well formed ogee stops typical of this period. The exterior of the house was probably first weather boarded in the C19.


Lobby entry plan, 4 bays with 3 adjoining barns to the SW. 1 storey and attic. The house is weather boarded under a slate roof, but the timber framing is well preserved behind the boarding and a masonry plinth is visible at the NE end. Large masonry stack opposite the front entrance, which contains a modern door. 4-window front range, with 2 attic dormers which previously had catslide roofs. The windows fit the original openings and are modern wooden 8-pane casements with fine glazing bars. To the rear is a stairlight, 2 further windows as on the front, and a rear planked door to the SW. The NE gable end has an attic window and a small light to the ground floor.


The 4 bay interior contains a hall; outer rooms (now kitchen and bathroom) to the right of the entrance; inner rooms to the left of the hall, and a further open bay beyond the inner rooms. The smoke bay and entrance passage would have occupied the right hand side of the hall, but have now been replaced by the large chimney stack. The box framing is well preserved throughout. The hall contains some noteworthy features: At the left (SW) end is an oak post and panel partition standing on a masonry plinth with scratch and circle assembly marks. This was the dais partition. Approximately 0.8m in front is a truss that supported the front of the dais canopy. The undecorated cross beam is supported on two posts incorporated in the front and rear wall framing. There is a deeply chamfered V-section cross beam between the dais canopy and the fireplace lintel, supported on carved jowled posts which stand against, and are pegged to, the external walls. The ceiling spine beam runs NE from this truss and has deep, moulded chamfers and cut stops. Where it meets the central cross beam is a boss engraved with an owl which has a human face. The position of the 2nd cross beam relates to the entrance passage truss, rather than to the front of the chimney, suggesting that the ceiling might be earlier than the chimney, though it is certainly later than the dais partition and canopy. The subsidiary joists have moulded chamfers and those to the SW have arrow stops. The oak fireplace lintel has figures carved in relief: A crucifixion; a 2-headed serpent; a hound chasing a stag; a phoenix; and 2 quatrefoils inside circles which are said to represent the four gospels. It is the only known lintel of this type to depict a crucifix. The simple wooden staircase is located to the rear of the chimney and has a low landing from which 2 flights rise to the rooms on each side of the stack. The hall floor is laid with flagstones. The inner room is divided by a box-framed partition, probably inserted to provide two service rooms, and with a jowled post at the SW end. There is Victorian panelling in the SE room. The NW side now forms the access to the additional room beyond. The framing in the additional room was built to match the rest of the house, but appears to be later: Carpenters marks on the upper side of the wind braces run in a numerical sequence from 1 to 8 (some braces missing in the smoke bay), indicating the original extent of the house as 4 bays (including a narrow smoke bay). The gable end of the original building is well preserved within the fourth bay. It is 5 panels wide and 3 panels high to tie beam level, with a collar beam above and vertical struts. It has wattle and daub panel infill, some of which is painted. In the outer rooms (kitchen and bathroom), the spine and cross beams of the inserted ceiling are chamfered with particularly well executed ogee stops. It is also divided by a box framed partition, which contained 2 doorways, the NE one now blocked.

The attic is open to the roof, constructed with 2 tiers of purlins with windbraces. The truss to the SW of the chimney, possibly the original smoke bay truss, has a round-headed doorway cut into the tie beam, its side supported by a jowled post. Of great interest are the remains of wall paintings on the beams and panels of this truss. They take the form of zig-zags, triangles, circles and feathering. The paint was red, but some of the patterns may have been applied to the panels in relief while they were still wet. Curvilinear painting has also been discovered on one of the hall wind braces.

There are 3 attached barns to the SW of the house, weather boarded to the front and masonry to the rear under corrugated tin roofs. They are all one storey with hay loft above, but appear to vary in date. The central barn is probably the oldest. It has 3 bays, substantial queen post trusses supported by jowled posts similar to those in the house, and a steeply pitched roof. To the NE was a stables of 2 bays with hay loft above. It is lightly constructed of larch poles. The SW barn is of one bay with pig sties beyond.

Reasons for Listing

Listed because of the exceptional survival of its original form as a late Medieval open-hall, retaining evidence for smoke bay and dais partition. The later alterations of the C16 and C17 including the insertions of ceilings and a fireplace lintel are also of exceptional quality

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Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Pen-y-bont Cottage
    Situated on a narrow lane leading to Carmel, approximately 1.5km SW of Llanllugan and close to a bend in the River Rhiw. Close to the mill group at Felin Uchaf.
  • II* Church of St Mary
    Located in a prominent position in the small village of Llanllugan within a roughly circular churchyard.
  • II Capel Adfa with forecourt railings
    The chapel is prominently sited in the centre of Adfa village.
  • II Memorial to Lewis Evan
    Located in the southern forecourt of Capel Adfa and bounded by iron railings which front the road.
  • II Capel Carmel
    Located in the hamlet of Carmel, to the SW of Llanllugan and Adfa.

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