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West Tarr Mediaeval House

A Grade I Listed Building in Penally, Pembrokeshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.6734 / 51°40'24"N

Longitude: -4.7652 / 4°45'54"W

OS Eastings: 208896

OS Northings: 200800

OS Grid: SN088008

Mapcode National: GBR GC.SR18

Mapcode Global: VH2PR.C65J

Entry Name: West Tarr Mediaeval House

Listing Date: 26 April 1996

Last Amended: 26 April 1996

Grade: I

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 16920

Building Class: Domestic

Location: At the rear of West Tarr farmhouse, 0.5 km SE of St Florence village.

County: Pembrokeshire

Community: Penally (Penalun)

Community: Penally

Locality: Tarr

Traditional County: Pembrokeshire

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Exterior

History: West Tarr is mentioned in a document of 1324 (representing a tenth of a knight's fee). The date of the house is unclear, but it is one of an important set of surviving Pembrokeshire mediaeval houses of small size. West Tarr alone has an upper vault. It lacks any defensive character. It has undergone alterations at an unknown date and an extended part of its undercroft vault has been destroyed. The house has been taken into the care of Cadw and its roof restored.

Description: A very small house with a vaulted roof and a vaulted undercroft. Limestone rubble with selected larger stones at the corners. The main room is about 4 m long by 3 m wide, with a pointed roof vault about 4 m high. The slate covering of the roof was recently restored. The roof and undercroft vaults both run E/W, parallel to the slope in the ground into which the house is built. There were two original doorways to the main room, both now blocked. One was at the SW corner, and was reached by stairs (of which a fragment survives) from the level of the undercroft. The undercroft vault is of shallow segmental form, and originally extended further W than the limits of the main room above it. The other doorway was an external one at the SE corner, to which there must have been external stairs or a ladder. There was also a slit window in the E wall. There was an original fireplace in the S wall with a slight external projection.

In later alterations the original fireplace was broken through to form a doorway leading directly to the high ground S of the house. The original E door was blocked and a new fireplace formed adjacent. A flue was formed in the wall thickness for it. A large window was inserted in the N wall. The extended part of the undercroft W of the main room was demolished. Wall footings, including a pair of bread ovens, extend to the N and probably represent later structures.

Listed Grade I as an exceptionally well preserved small mediaeval tower-house of S Pembrokeshire type, and the most complete surviving example.

Ancient Monument No. Pe 423

Reference: P Smith, Houses of the Welsh Countryside (1988), p.23, fig 8a, & map 1.;
Information from R Turner.

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