3 Plan of a typical late 15OOs Snowdonian house (P Smith, Houses of the Welsh Countryside Fig81)*


OLD HOUSES IN THE CONWY VALLEY

The Conwy valley and the surrounding area contain amazing examples of many Tudor and Elizabethan homes of the farmers and gentry who lived in this then prosperous area. After the famines and wars of the 1400s. the cattle trade with England developed and the drovers brought back cash & new ideas. Many houses were built or modernised, and it is possible to trace these developments as fashions changed. Surviving merchants & gentry houses within the old walled town of Conwy date from the 1420s onwards; Aberconwy House is the earliest dated town-house in Wales.

The earliest surviving dated rural houses are timber-framed cruck-framed hall-houses with a central hearth on the floor and dating to the early to mid 1400s. Following generations replaced timber with stone walls & inserted fireplaces with large chimneys in the gable or  lateral walls, or centrally in the house. Ceilings could now be used to form upper floors providing additional privacy. Richer families also extended their houses by either building additional wings or a second house parallel or at right angles to the first.

Features

Around the 1530s a new design [now called the Snowdonian house] became popular across north Wales. and many can still be seen. This was a storeyed house with a large inglenook fireplace and a gable-end chimney with a spiral stair in the gable end next to the fireplace. Upstairs there was a corbelled chimney in the other gable. Many hall houses were converted into storeyed buildings by inserting a chimney centrally or in a gable end. This style continued to be built into the 1600s. Some houses contain elaborate timber carved roof trusses, inscribed dates and initials. As farming became more prosperous, many farm houses were replaced and distinct designs specific to different estates developed.

During the 1600s many fine houses were built in Conwy town and in the Conwy valley. Several of these contain elaborate plasterwork celebrating the ancestry of their owners.  The felling dates of original timbers in several Conwy houses have been calculated using dendrochronology as part of the "Dating Old Welsh Houses" project run in partnership with the Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Wales. Local volunteers continue to research the histories of these houses, their families & communities.

4. Tŷ Mawr, Wybrant. Snowdonia-type house

2. Hall house [c1500] with later chimney & parlour wing

1.Tŷ Aberconwy - Merchant's House [1420]

PLEASE NOTE ALL THE HOUSES IN THIS PROJECT ARE PRIVATE AND THERE IS NO ADMISSION TO ANY OF THE PROPERTIES

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