Based on an article for Gwynedd Family History Society Journal.  16 February 2012  

Authors. M Dunn & H Llew Williams

DATING OLD WELSH HOUSES: The SNOWDONIA PROJECT 2004-07.


Some of you will recall that before the 2009-12 North West Wales Dendrochronology Project started, the Cymdeithas Hanes Beddgelert Historical Society Dendrochronology Project ran from 2004-07. This earlier project aimed to date a representative range of houses in six communities in Snowdonia in an area centred on Beddgelert. The Society began compiling house narratives which contextualise the tree-ring dates, and a bilingual leaflet reporting some of the findings of the project has already been produced. The results have considerably extended the range of securely-dated houses in north-west Wales, and the project findings may briefly be summarised:

1) The cruck-framed houses fall within the 1400-1550 range already established in Wales through dendrochronology;

2) The earliest storeyed houses of Snowdonia type date from c 1550 (cf the 1547/8 date obtained for Cae-glas;

3) The classic fully-storeyed two-unit Snowdonian house with end chimneys and (usually) fire-place stair becomes widespread from the 1570s, a period of rebuilding which overlaps with new building and hall-house conversion elsewhere in Wales and England.

4) The fully-storeyed houses of Snowdonia type coexisted with houses of half-loft (croglofft) type having an open hall with end chimney and lofted outer room. In their earliest form, cruck-framed croglofft houses seem to have been an intermediate type between hall-houses and the storeyed Snowdonia type; Gorllwyn-uchaf, dated 1533, may be the earliest example. This plan type is often disguised with flooring-over of the hall but was probably once widespread. The croglofft type may have survived quite late in the smaller cottage-farmhouses.



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