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The Oldest House In Wales

Hafodygarreg, Powys, the oldest house in Wales.
Hafodygarreg, Powys, the oldest house in Wales.

Hafodygarreg is the earliest precisely-dated house in Wales. Core samples taken from the surviving cruck-truss provided a felling date of Summer 1402 which was during Owain Glyndŵr’s revolt. The tree-ring dating (dendrochronology) was commissioned by the Royal Commission in 2005.

Medieval cruck-truss

The medieval cruck-truss which formed the hall-house had a single-bay hall. The cruck spere-truss partition has elaborate cusped braces to king-stud between cranked collar and tie-beam.

Cruck-framed open-hall house

Hafodygarreg was originally a cruck-framed open-hall house, later developing into a 2-storey later 16th-century stone-walled farmhouse of hearth-passage (‘longhouse’) type with a fireplace inserted against the surviving cruck and a fireplace stair giving access to a new upper storey.

▶️ Glamorgan: Farmhouses, Houses and Mansions
Hafodygarreg's medieval cruck-truss which formed the hall-house.
Hafodygarreg’s medieval cruck-truss which formed the hall-house.
▶️ Survival of Vernacular Building Traditions

Tree-ring dating

Further tree-ring dating showed that the hall ceiling and fireplace were later additions, inserted in the mid-1570s, with a precise felling date of Winter 1574/5.

Dendrochronology (tree-ring dating) is a technique used to precisely date timber through analysing annual growth rings of trees. If complete sapwood survives, timber can be dated to the exact year (and sometimes the season) of felling. If partial sapwood survives, or the heartwood/sapwood boundary, a felling date range can be given. The Royal Commission has dated a range of houses and churches as part of its National Tree-ring Dating Programme.

Site details of Hafodygarreg, Powys, can be found on our online archive Coflein.

▶️ Researching your House History


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Alexandra B. White
Alexandra B. White
3 years ago

Hi- I want to pursue the trade training on how to become a Dendrochronologist. One who extracts the wood core from Medieval wood structures!! Where is the best place in the UK to study this??

Helen Rowe
3 years ago

Thanks for getting in touch, and sorry for the delay in getting back to you on this. The best way forward is to contact the scientific dating team at English Heritage. They coordinate most of the training. If you go onto the EH website you can message the team directly. https://historicengland.org.uk/advice/technical-advice/archaeological-science/scientific-dating/

angela drinkwater -lunn
angela drinkwater -lunn
5 years ago

What is a hall house…Dolarddyn


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