databas cerddi guto'r glyn

Houses and buildings

Raglan castle
Raglan castle
Click for a larger image

 Cerfiwyd a grafiwyd yn grych
 Cyrff y derw fal crefft eurych,
 Llys goed a main oll ysgwâr,
 Llawn gwydr, meillion ac adar.
(poem 22.41-44)

Rebuilding the old family home became very popular in fifteenth-century Wales. Following the damage caused during the Owain Glyndŵr Rebellion at the beginning of the century, much work was needed on many houses. Evidence for such rebuilding is provided by a technique called 'dendrochronology', a method of determining when the trees used to provide the timber for building were cut down. The rebuilt houses were highly visible symbols of the high status of the family, in terms of their architecture and construction, and the owners' wealth and tastes were also reflected in their choice of furniture, fireplaces and carpentry work. These features inspired the poets of the period as well.

Guto'r Glyn visited homes across Wales and over the border in England (see Map of houses). He composed poems to celebrate the rebuilding of some houses, namely Coldbrook, Abergavenny (poem 22), Vaynor, Berriew (poem 38), Moeliwrch, Llansilin (poem 90) and the home of the parson of Llandrinio parish (poem 85), and also describes some architectural details of abbeys.

The location of about twenty houses remains unknown to us today. Other houses were destroyed and rebuilt in later periods as farmhouses or manor houses, presumably on the same site as the ancient house. Therefore, since only a few of these medieval houses have survived, the descriptions in the work of Guto’r Glyn and his fellow poets are extremely important records of how they looked in their prime.

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