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Gilfach y Berthog

A Grade II* Listed Building in Abergwili, Carmarthenshire

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Latitude: 51.8844 / 51°53'4"N

Longitude: -4.208 / 4°12'28"W

OS Eastings: 248132

OS Northings: 222958

OS Grid: SN481229

Mapcode National: GBR DL.RGWT

Mapcode Global: VH3LC.0WRR

Entry Name: Gilfach y Berthog

Listing Date: 24 September 1991

Last Amended: 22 October 2003

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 9738

Building Class: Domestic

Location: Approximately 2.5km NE of Whitemill, reached by farm road on the N side of a minor road 0.75km W of Llanfihangel-uwch-gwili.

County: Carmarthenshire

Community: Abergwili

Community: Abergwili

Locality: Llanfihangel-uwch-gwili

Traditional County: Carmarthenshire

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A house with early origins, said to date from 1327. It was rebuilt in 1692 (date above fireplace), creating much of the present character, although it underwent some late-Georgian and late C19 alterations.


A large house comprising a main range with rear wing, of rubble stone and slate roof, partly behind coped gables on moulded kneelers, with rubble end chimney stacks that have rebated angles. The front range is 2½ storeys, the rear wing 3 storeys. The symmetrical main, SE, front has central double half-glazed doors, and a doorcase of wooden columns and deep entablature. There are 2 windows to either side, which in the lower storey are 2-pane sashes with marginal glazing, and in the upper storey C17 high-transomed windows incorporating casements. A single C20 gabled roof dormer is to the centre. The elevation is especially striking for its decorative plaster panels, which are wholly uncharacteristic of SW Wales - the decorative motifs used (eg concave-sided diamond) are reminiscent of the timber-framing tradition of Montgomeryshire and the border areas. It has another, more elaborate diamond panel over the doorway. The front also has implied quoins to either end and moulded eaves.

The R gable end has a gable stack. The 2-window rear wing is entered on the L side of the house. Its main central entrance is a massive 6-panel door within an open-fronted canopy supported on posts. Windows are not equally placed. In the lower storey is a 4-pane sash window to the L, and a small window to the R. Horned sashes are 12-pane in the middle storey, 9-pane in the upper storey. The rear gable end has a massive chimney breast with rounded bread oven projecting to the NE. A similar bread oven to the SW side is contained within the thickened corner, which has the narrow windows to mezzanine rooms, the lower of which is slit-like and the upper one has a stone mullion. A modern brick lean-to is on the R side of the rear wing.


The entrance was formerly in main front and originally opened to a passage between the 2 principal rooms, but the L-hand wall has been removed. The drawing room, to the L, has good Gothic chimney piece with inscribed ornament, foliage capitals to stout columns and foliated bracket cornice. It also has a blocked chimney to the rear wall. The doorway from this into the dining room has an exceptional deeply moulded cornice over a simple bolection moulded architrave, and panelled double doors. The doorway into the hall has similar treatment. The dining room has deeply panelled ceiling, each compartment of which has its own moulded cornice, on stone corbels to the rear wall. A fine overmantel with Ionic pilasters and blind cartouche is dated ‘1692’ to either side.

The main modern entrance opens to a former parlour in the cross range. Its ceiling, with broadly chamfered cross beams, simply stopped at one end, and closely spaced joists, is probably early C17. A deep fireplace with domed bread ovens to either side has a timber lintel. A partition wall, between the parlour and the steps up to the stairwell, is formed of stop-chamfered studs over high rubble base.

The overall character of the main part of the house relates to the 1692 remodelling. The fine openwell staircase, rising to the attic storey, has barley-twist balusters, square newels and shaped handrail. The stair ceiling has lightly ribbed panels, and window seats. The stair rises to broad landings. The 1st floor landing has a blocked cross-frame timber window. Some panelled doors are retained, one of which is 2-panel with early fielding. One first floor bedroom to rear has an exceptional full-height chimney piece with irregular Ionic columns, a moulded surround to the overmantel and panelled ornament to the fireplace lintel. Another first floor bedroom to front has one part-wainscotted wall. The stairs lead into the mezzanine levels on the S side of the cross range, which has low ceilings and one room with a slit window. A-frame pegged roof trusses are exposed, with overlapping purlins. The cross range roof structure is similar, suggesting that the whole house may have been reroofed at the time of the 1692 remodelling. Small, flat-roofed cellar.

Reasons for Listing

Listed grade II*, Gilfach y Berthog is a substantial and well preserved C17 house with an especially fine interior and a highly unusual design to the main front.

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