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Thursday, 20 November 2014

Discovering the Historic Houses of Snowdonia

The cover of the book showing Cae-glas, Llanfrothen, dated 1547/8, looking towards Cnicht. © Crown copyright: RCAHMW

One of the most frequently asked questions about historic houses is: ‘When exactly was it built?’ We can now answer that question in Snowdonia.

Discovering the Historic Houses of Snowdonia, published in December 2014, is the result of a recently completed project to date scientifically about 100 of the earliest houses in Snowdonia built before date inscriptions became fashionable.

The partnership project between the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales and the Dating Old Welsh Houses Group involved many householders and about 200 local people in an ambitious exercise in community archaeology. It has taken advantage of the new technique of tree-ring dating that allows the scientific dating of timber, which can be accurate to the year and even the season of felling.

The book presents the revealing and often surprising results of the project along with many previously unpublished photographs and plans. Detailed house histories cover medieval hall-houses and storeyed houses of all types. The case studies include Tŷ-mawr, Wybrnant ─ the home of Bishop Morgan, translator of the whole Bible into Welsh ─ which is now shown to have been built in 1565, just as the young William Morgan was leaving Penmachno for Cambridge.

Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, who is launching the book on 4 December 2014 at Plas Tan-y-Bwlch, said: “As someone who has lived almost all his life in Snowdonia, I can but feel affection and respect for these buildings, tinged with a little envy and a twinge of respectful awe!”

The book launch will be followed by the Royal Commission’s Christmas lecture at the Royal Commission in Aberystwyth on Friday 5 December, when Richard Suggett (co-author) will be speaking on “Discovering the Historic Houses of Snowdonia” at 1.30pm and 5.30pm. These are public lectures but booking is essential. For further details, please contact the Royal Commission on 01970 621200,

Discovering the Historic Houses of Snowdonia is a large format book of 295 pages with 225 high-quality illustrations, and costs just £29.95. It is the ideal Christmas gift!

Tŷ-mawr, Wybrnant, home of the translator of the Bible into Welsh, Bishop William Morgan. © Crown copyright: RCAHMW

Oerddwr-isaf, Beddgelert, an ancient farm-house in its landscape setting, dated 1494/5.  © Crown copyright: RCAHMW

Eighteenth-century stencilled decoration at Bodllosged, Ffestiniog. © Crown copyright: RCAHMW

For further information and images, please contact:
Patricia Moore,
Tel: 01970 621200

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