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Ty Coch house, sawmill, carpenters’ workshop, waterwheel and attached machinery

A Grade II* Listed Building in Caersws, Powys

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.5335 / 52°32'0"N

Longitude: -3.464 / 3°27'50"W

OS Eastings: 300794

OS Northings: 293852

OS Grid: SO007938

Mapcode National: GBR 9L.FFSP

Mapcode Global: VH5BK.XL36

Plus Code: 9C4RGGMP+9C

Entry Name: Ty Coch house, sawmill, carpenters’ workshop, waterwheel and attached machinery

Listing Date: 14 December 2020

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 87804

Building Class: Industrial

Location: Set down on the N side of the A470, and just above the River Carno to the N, and reached by tracks to the front and rear of the property.

County: Powys

Town: Caersws

Community: Caersws (Caersŵs)

Community: Caersws

Locality: Pontdolgoch

Traditional County: Montgomeryshire

History

The house is probably of C17 origin and consisted originally of a house and farm range in line under a single roof. The house was re-fronted in brick in the C18 and raised from 1½ to 2 full storeys on a separate occasion. It is marked as a ‘house, garden and plantation’ on the 1836 Llanwnog Tithe survey, occupied by David Tudor, a local wheelwright, and by the time of the 1885 Ordnance Survey Map was known as Red House. Water power was probably introduced when a new sawmill and workshop was built at right angles to the house, which is first marked on the 1902 Ordnance Survey, but the present building was built c1905 and the present waterwheel installed in 1911. It worked as a water-powered sawmill and carpenters’ workshop from c1905 until 2005, under the ownership of the Owen family, manufacturing a variety of items including cartwheels, wheelbarrows and coffins.

Exterior

The house is built across a sloping site and is double-fronted of 2 storeys, built of rubble stone and brick walls, under a slate roof with brick external stack to the L, end stack to the R. The front is brick on a rubble stone sill, painted black and white in the C20 but with a plat band between storeys, and heightening in timber framing. The central replacement half-lit panel door is within a gabled portico, which has wooden Tuscan posts. The posts are said to have been made at Ty Coch for the first Caersws Baptist chapel – and salvaged when the chapel was rebuilt in 1887. Windows are early C20 wood-framed casements replaced in mainly original openings. In the lower storey they have segmental heads but lower L the window it is a 3-light C20 insertion. Upper storey windows are 2-light, beneath the eaves, and there is a small window inserted centrally in the later C20. In the L gable end is a lean-to brick bakehouse. The wall is rubble stone in the lower storey but brick above. The rear is also built of rubble stone, painted white. It has replacement windows which are under segmental heads R and L in the lower storey, but under wooden lintels to the central stair window and inserted window upper L, which is at the level of the original eaves.

In line on the R side of the house is a 2-bay lofted farm range, although only the L-hand bay is integral with the house. This range has a weatherboarded front, weatherboarded and corrugated-iron gable end, and rendered brick rear wall, all under a steep slate roof. In the front wall are two former iron-frame lunette windows combined to create a circular window, said to have been salvaged from Caersws Baptist Chapel. Above it is a boarded loading door. In the gable end is a weatherboarded lean-to, boarded door and small-pane window. The rear is of less interest, with 2 doors and 2 windows, of which the L-hand opened to a feed passage, and loft opening.

The sawmill is built on a sloping site and is founded on a rubble-stone sill. It is mainly of corrugated-iron over a light timber frame, but the east wall facing the house is rendered brickwork, under a corrugated-iron roof. In the east wall are 3 large windows lighting work benches inside, with 4- and 5-light small-pane glazing, and double boarded doors on the L side. At the R end is a small-pane window lighting the stock room and boarded door to a room below it. In the gable end is a small-pane window to the stock room and, on the R, an opening with sliding shutters through which timber passed directly on to the interior rack bench. The W wall has 3 small-pane windows similar to the E wall. Projecting in the centre is a drive wheel for tractor-power take off.

The overshot waterwheel is mounted above a stone wheelpit that is open at one end. The wheel is of cast-iron with replacement pressed-steel buckets, and was cast for J. Davies of Dolgoch, Llanbrynmair, by the Eagle Foundry in Aberystwyth, whose heart-shaped symbol is on the main axle. Power is transmitted by means of a ring gear to a drive shaft that passes over the yard and into the building. The timber water launder was rebuilt c1980s, and there is a short cobbled tail race.

Interior

The house is 2 units, both of which retain spine beams with run-out stops, and joists. In the hall is a large fireplace with C19 surround. Boarded doors retain original strap hinges. Opposite the entrance is a wooden winding stair, with plain balusters and newel on the landing. In the first floor square panelled wattle and daub timber-framed partitions are partly exposed which show the original pitch of the roof. Modern brick steps lead down to a cellar, which has a tiled floor, slate bench and a well. In the bakehouse is a bread oven with cast-iron door.

Part of the farm range has been converted into a ground-floor kitchen, while the remainder was formerly a small byre. In the byre are wooden cattle stalls and a feed trough lined with tiles. The feed passage retains a rammed-earth floor. The farm range is 2 bays and from the interior it is clear that only the bay next to the house is original. The bays are divided by a timber-framed partition, retaining one of its diagonal struts beneath the apex, which is open, and 2 trenched purlins on either side, which appear to have been either cut off or terminate, showing that the outer bay, contemporary with the sawmill, was either a rebuilding or an addition to the original building. The square-panelled timber-framed partition between house and farm range is visible in the upper storey, where there is an added brick external flue.

The sawmill retains its original machinery and rammed-earth floor. Power is delivered by means of belt drives. On the west side is a rack bench running most of the length of the building, for which there are a variety of circular saw blades of varying dimensions. A grinding wheel, band saw and lathe are also driven from belt drives. On the east side of the building are benches with vices. Steps lead up into a stock room, which retains its original cupboards with pigeon holes.

Reasons for Listing

Ty Coch house, sawmill, carpenters’ workshop, waterwheel and attached machinery are listed for their special architectural and historic interest at grade II* for their exceptional survival as a complete rural water-powered sawmill and carpenter’s workshop, still in working order, with the house of probable C17 origin which retains significant interior and exterior detail from the C17-C19.

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