Sunday, July 10, 2011

Penarth Fawr

Just off the coast road between Pwllheli  and Criccieth is a hidden gem.  We'd been here before a couple of years ago and loved it so much that we decided to go back and visit again.

This is Penarth Fawr a medieval house set in beautiful, peaceful farmland.  In the little guide book I purchased from the cafe and craft shop the house is described as  'a stone-built aisle truss hall-house'

It also says that the present structure was  'most probably built by Hywel ap Madog about 1460 on the boulder foundations of an ancestor's earlier house.'   In another note the booklet tells the story of Hywel ap Madog dying of 'wounds inflicted during the Battle of Mortimer's Cross during the Wars of the Roses.'

The fireplace in the great hall above was added during improvements made to the house  in the late 16th century.  When first built the hall would have had a central open hearth. 

Above is what the booklet calls 'The Magnificent 15th Century Spere Truss'   The upper story is to the right of the cross-passage between the great hall and service quarters and was, according to the booklet, used for storage or servant's sleeping quarters.
The upper floor has many warnings about falling and I was very wary of the height, especially after my experiences a couple of days before at the aqueduct!!  I did struggle up the steps though to get the feel of the place and it was wonderful whilst I wasn't thinking about how to get back down to ground level with a little dignity still intact - I'm sure I didn't struggle so much on our last visit.

The 'solar' end of the hall and the private family rooms which had been added in the 17th century were demolished about 1840.  In the 17th century another wing was added which is now a private  farmhouse running at angles to the great hall.

We had the place to ourselves for quite a while before some more visitors arrived.  

The stable block is now a cafe and craft shop and we sat outside in the courtyard under the trees sipping tea.  It really is a most tranquil and relaxing place to visit.

I forgot to mention the little herb garden at the back of the house.  There were many interesting plants and also the lovely Dovecote.

The House is in the care of CADW - Welsh Historic Monuments -  and it is free to look around.  It was time to head back to Criccieth for a walk by the sea.....

.......and some  fish and chips.


  1. You need that poster for your kitchen!! What an amazing place Rosie - I'll have to check ouy where that beach is and pop it on my list. xxx

  2. Love the shot of the beach!
    Mmh fish & chips, you do mame hungry!

  3. It looks just my kind of place - what a wonderful building. You were lucky to have it to yoyrselves too.

  4. 1656???
    Is there a place that old for us to visit here, I don't think so! Can you imagine building a home that would stand for 350 years and more? That is incredible. I wonder if there is snow or hurricanes or tornadoes there, I cannot think of any place in the US that could stand that long, without suffering from some weather catastrophe!

  5. Looks like an interesting place! We collected some of the pebbles for our pebble people at Criccith (you may remember them from my scavenger post two or three months ago!

  6. Hellooooooo and thank you for your help on our trip last week. We had a fab day and had a lovely cup of tea in a little tea place down by the river before our lovely journey home. We found the Bear Steps Gallery and saw a lovely display of contemporary fabrics in such a tiny but lovely venue.

  7. Pretty incredible, the history you are able to experience. LOVE the dine photo!

  8. That place is so...amazing. I wish there was a more descriptive word! It's the kind of place that stirs my imagination.

  9. Ooooo. That's about eight miles from where we'll be staying later this year.

    How were the fish and chips?

  10. It's exactly a month today until my lads go off to Criccieth for 10 nights! They're looking forward to going back :)

  11. In the 15th century this must have been a great house! Beautiful Now I've been close friends for a while with people from the UK, I know how important fish and chips is!!
    Haven't visited for a while -sorry, too busy:) Have a great weekend, Rosie.

  12. My grandson was married in Penarth Fawr yesterday. The owner is a friend of his and he obtained a special 1 day licence. There was a harpist playing and that set the scene for a really lovely day. The only downside was that it was very cold but the sun did make a brief appearance for the photographs.


  13. Lesley that sounds delightful. What a lovely venue for a wedding even if a little cold. We were there later in the year and sat outside the cafe in the sunshine, I thought it was such an idyllic spot:)