Press Releases

Celebrating the Completion of the Cae Adda Cow Byre

Lactation, Lactation, Lactation - Moooooving house...June 9th 12pm

The latest addition to the Museum of Welsh Life's collection of historical buildings is not an ornate or complex building from our rich cultural or industrial past but a small, white, minimalist cow byre from Waunfawr, north Wales called Cae Adda. At a time of great public interest in the restoration and preservation of our architectural heritage, St Fagans goes back to its roots with this beautiful little building moved from its rural home in 2002 and placed alongside the LLainfadyn cottage, originally built in Rhostryfan Gwynedd in 1762.

In its original location at Rhostryfan, Llainfadyn, in common with many other similar cottages in Snowdonia, boasted a cowshed and one or two small outbuildings such as a pigsty and washhouse. When Llainfadyn was offered to the Welsh Folk Museum in 1956 the other buildings were not included and consequently the interpretation of home life for a quarryman's family in north Wales has remained incomplete.

Built in the same building tradition as Llainfadyn, having walls built from substantial mountain boulders with a roof covered with small pegged slates, the cowshed probably dates to the late 18th or early 19th century. Of particular interest are the roof slates fixed by pegging them into a turf base laid on top of the rough roof timbers.

Donated by Geraint Rees Roberts of Waunfawr, the structure was dismantled by the Museum's specialist Historic Buildings Unit. With round mountain boulders weighing up to 4 tonnes each, the byre was moved with all the usual care and attention to detail that the Museum is world renowned. Each stone was numbered and carefully measured, and the information recorded on detailed drawings and photographs to ensure that the byre could be re—erected accurately.

Throughout the project the Museum has worked closely with the local community including Antur Waufawr who have followed the building and its progress from its recording to its re—erection. Knee—high models of the imagined inhabitants of Cae Adda and their owners have been made by Ysgol Waunfawr and artists Luned Rhys Parri and Catrin Williams. The fruition of these exciting projects will be seen at the celebrations on the 9th of June in and around Cae Adda.

John Williams Davies, Director of the Museum of Welsh Life stresses the importance of re—erecting such a small and seemingly insignificant building "Although we have tended to move away from re—erecting rural buildings in the last few years by moving the urban industrial Rhyd—y—car Terrace from Merthyr Tydfil and the Oakdale Workmen's Institute, it is vitally important that we fully interpret Llainfadyn which is one of our most popular exhibits. Cae Adda represents an extremely rare survival of a building tradition that was once common in Snowdonia. The fact that the Museum's specialist Historic Buildings Unit has been able to re—erect it, by learning anew and utilizing long—lost skills, is testimony to their expertise and commitment to their work".

Originally used to house the short—legged 'Gwartheg Duon' North Wales cattle, Cae Adda will now be the new home for the museum's newly—born Welsh Blacks. Integral to the economy of the area, keeping a few sheep, pigs and cattle were all part of the tough life of a quarry family in north Wales. Now complete, this simple yet elegant little cow shed takes its place alongside the iconic buildings at St Fagans and is true testament to the old saying that small is beautiful.

For further details or images of Cae Adda please contact Esyllt Lord, Press & PR Officer, Museum of Welsh Life St Fagans 029 2057 3486/07810 657176.