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Latitude: 51.8454 / 51°50'43"N
Longitude: -3.9422 / 3°56'31"W
OS Eastings: 266307
OS Northings: 218093
OS Grid: SN663180
Mapcode National: GBR DY.TW8L
Mapcode Global: VH4J4.MW86
Entry Name: Cwrt Bryn y Beirdd
Listing Date: 8 July 1966
Last Amended: 24 November 1998
Source ID: 10909
Building Class: Domestic
Location: Situated to SE of Trap, reached by drive running E from crossroads about 1 km S of Trap.
Community: Dyffryn Cennen
Traditional County: Carmarthenshire
Medieval house, possibly late C14 in origin, more probably C15, altered since. Owned by younger branch of Dynefor family, the Bowens also of Upton castle Pembs from C15 to c1600. By 1613 it was owned by the Vaughans of Golden Grove and remained part of the Cawdor estate as a tenanted farm. A lease of 1613 describes the rooms as a first floor great parlour, the room under having the entry; a great hall to the N; a room called the little parlour with room under; a room called the gatehouse chamber with little room under; cowhouse and stable to S. The courtyard side of the house was illustrated in 1858, showing features that have gone now including a storeyed porch. It was suggested that this was a C14 courtyard house, highly unusual for the date in the total lack of defensive features. But the RCAHM 1913 thought the house late medieval. It would appear that the W range was altered in the C16 to early C17 with the addition of corbelled porches and end chimney. The 1858 report suggests that the W windows were originally very few and loops, the main elevations being to the courtyard. The S range of the courtyard (listed separately) was possibly a former kitchen range, but has since been much reconstructed. The N wing is probably a medieval first floor hall, very rare in Carmarthenshire. The W range is more reconstructed, presumably in C16 and then in the early C20, but must also have been part of the medieval house. The 1841 Tithe Map shows the farm as owned by Lord Cawdor and occupied by John and Daniel Jones, with 145 hectares.
House, colourwashed rubble stone with slate roofs, hipped at N end, close eaved, and with later C19 brick stacks, two on ridge and one at S end. Two-storey, four-window, long W front, the openings with brick heads mostly later C19. From left: first bay has a ground floor square boarded window and first floor C20 plastic window (formerly 4-pane) set further right. In second bay projects what seems to have been a C16 storeyed porch, though no sign remains of door. Corbelled upper floor and slates carried down over. C20 9-pane under eaves and 16-pane ground floor window. Third bay has C19 4-pane sash each floor, larger to ground floor. One of ridge stacks is to right of this. Then later C19 gabled porch in squared grey stone and yellow brick, with bargeboards. Pointed door on N side, C20 12-pane window to front. Final section to right has first floor 4-pane sash above roof-slope of porch, larger ground floor 4-pane sash further right with fine medieval blocked cusped lancet above. S gable end has external chimneybreast corbelled out above low ground floor, possibly C16. Blocked cusped medieval lancet under corbels. C20 first floor window each side, ground floor 4-pane window right. Wall runs S from SW corner to join outbuilding corner. N end is hipped, with first floor square loft opening and casement pair to ground floor left. Both boarded with timber lintels.
NE rear wing contains medieval upper hall. Whitewashed rubble stone with metal-sheet roof cladding and one stone small ridge stack. N side has straight joint to house, sloping buttress at left end and 3 narrow cusped lancets to first floor, the centre one larger, and small square window to ground floor centre, larger window to ground floor left, both boarded. E gable is windowless with signs of blocked opening to first floor left (shown square headed in 1858 view). S side, to courtyard has late C19 openings, first floor large cambered-headed window, fixed 12-pane, small boarded window to right, ground floor coach-entry right with cambered brick arch and double doors, plank door to centre and within open lean-to at left, a segmental arched entry, possibly late medieval. 1858 view shows small square openings each floor right, narrow square-headed door left and pointed window to first floor, but opening into stairs was from within a gabled storeyed porch on the back of the main range, since removed.
Rear of house has lean-to additions, open porch to right (on site of lost storeyed porch) with boarded door and 4-pane window over. Some corbelling in upper wall may be remains of porch. To left, a stone lean-to with ground floor small 4-pane window, C20 door and C20 enlarged window. One small square upper window to left of door. Rubble stone N end wall with stone stack, raised in yellow brick. In 1858 view chimney is shown but lean-to is single-storey, present front wall stonework looks C19. To right is further lean-to partly against house left end (and possibly obscuring a door with large pointed window over shown in 1858 view), partly against wall between house and outbuilding. Cart-entry with double doors to right, door to centre, window right.
NE rear wing entered from within lean-to has flight of ten stone steps up to first floor, but signs of a lost stone spiral stair with blocked pointed door W into main house first floor, and slit window E over entry . First floor has three-bay section with two axial beams then stone wall with one bay beyond. Three fine medieval roof trusses, each chamfered with cambered collar and trefoil cusping in apex, late C14 or early C15. Some smoke blackening on chimney-wall truss, but probably not originally an open-hearth structure. No windbracing. End room has jamb of pointed window or door in gable wall right. Ground floor has fireplace with timber lintel. 1858 plan shows ground floor fireplace with bread oven. Main house N end rooms used for storage. First floor room (perhaps the great parlour named in 1613) has fine C16 blocked fireplace, whitewashed ashlar, chamfered jambs, head cambered arched projecting on shaped corbels. similar shaped corbels project each side. Traces of wall paintings (vertical blue-grey stripes) visible up to dado height. Room below has blocked fireplace with stone voussoirs to cambered head. 1858 plan shows fireplace and narrow access into SE corner from E porch.
Interior of rest of house not available for inspection, but said to be all altered in the later C19, with C19 roof trusses. 1858 plan shows two rooms, one including the W front projection (not then a porch) partitioned, with stairs on back wall, fireplace on S wall and lost small window in angle to projection. S end room had narrow (?medieval) window on W and S wall, a window into lean-to and door to the outside on E wall.
Graded II* as one of the very few surviving medieval houses in the region, surviving features suggest a house of unusual extent and complexity.
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