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.