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Esgair Moel Woollen Factory

A Grade II Listed Building in St Fagans, Cardiff

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.4887 / 51°29'19"N

Longitude: -3.2708 / 3°16'14"W

OS Eastings: 311862

OS Northings: 177406

OS Grid: ST118774

Mapcode National: GBR HT.KFYX

Mapcode Global: VH6F5.8V64

Entry Name: Esgair Moel Woollen Factory

Listing Date: 6 October 1977

Last Amended: 28 November 2003

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 13897

Building Class: Industrial

Location: One of the re-erected buildings in the open-air collection of the Museum of Welsh Life; within the gardens of St Fagans Castle.

County: Cardiff

Town: Cardiff

Community: St. Fagans (Sain Ffagan)

Community: St. Fagans

Locality: Museum of Welsh Life, St Fagans

Built-Up Area: St Fagans

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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Saint Fagans

History

Brought from Esgair Moel near Llanwrtyd in Brecknockshire. Built about 1760, probably enlarged c1830 and interior also altered during C19. An example of a Welsh rural mill in which all the processes of woollen manufacturing were included with the purpose of supplying a local market, unlike specialist mills in some of the principal woollen manufacturing districts of Wales which produced a single product which was then passed on. Probably extended in 1830s or 40s when water-driven spinning and carding machines became widespread. Probably late C19 lean-to comprising dyeing rooms against south gable end. It was re-erected at the Museum of Welsh Life in 1952.

The Museum Council had recommended in October 1943 that 'an open-air museum was an essential auxiliary to the National Museum of Wales.' ; 'a Wales in miniature where in the confined area of one hundred acres the visitor will be able to wander through time and space.' This vision was made reality by Lord Plymouth's gift of St. Fagans Castle and Park to the National Museum of Wales in 1946. The gardens were opened to the public in 1947 and the house in 1948 but it was recognised that 'some time must elapse before any ancient houses can be re-erected in the Park'. The purpose of the Museum was that 'from different parts of Wales, farm-houses and buildings which would otherwise fall into ruin or be destroyed will be secured for re-erection, the chosen houses will of course be architecturally, historically and socially significant of Welsh culture'. The first building thus re-erected was the Stryd Lydan barn in 1951 and the ones which are included in the list are those re-erected between that date and 1972 and are thus all more than thirty years on their present site.

Exterior

Long rectangular building worked by water-power with whitewashed stone rubble walls with dressed stone door and window openings. Welsh slate roof with three rubblestone stacks. The building was extended several times to include all the processes of woollen manufacture, thus, carding, dyeing, spinning, twisting, warping, weaving, willying, fulling.
Original portion possibly the southern end, comprising office and store with cobbled floors and with weaving room above. Fulling mill and willying rooms to north with flagged floors. Probably extended in 1830s or 40s when water-driven spinning and carding machines became widespread. Probably late C19 small lean-to with chimney, comprising dyeing rooms against south gable end.
The east elevation faces the pond. The ground floor has four windows, four doors and the wheel-arch, thus from the left : W : D : D : W : D : W : A : W : D; eight irregularly spaced windows above. The windows are 1, 2 and 3-light ones with 2-light ones in the weaving room, the doors are plain boarded. The west elevation is set into the bank and has five small windows below, the largest being 4-light, and six windows and a doorway above.

Interior

Internal wheel in centre of building. Original portion possibly the southern end, comprising office and store with cobbled floors and with weaving room above. Fulling mill and willying rooms to north with flagged floors. Northern first floor room for carding, spinning, twisting and warping and lit by five windows in east wall and four in west. Two steps up to weaving room at south end, lit by large windows. On ground floor, willying room at north end, fulling mill, section with earth floor for finishing processes.
The machinery is of varying date and origin. Of particular note are the carding-jack, the spinning engines, the water wheel and the fulling stocks.

Reasons for Listing

Included as one of the first complete buildings re-erected at the Museum of Welsh Life, then the Welsh Folk Museum. This building is of considerable historic interest as one of the early exhibits, both for itself and for the way it has been displayed.

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