Cilewent Farmhouse


What type of building is it?

A cruck and timber-framed house built about 1470 as an open hall. The original timber walls were rebuilt in stone in 1734 - the date being carved on the head of the entrance door frame - and all that remains of the original house are the two cruck trusses in the cowhouse and the timber-framed partition between the cowhouse and the dwelling. It is also known as a Welsh longhouse.

What is a ty hir, or Welsh longhouse?

It's where people and their livestock lived under the same roof. The cattle and horses were kept in the stalls on the left of the house, and the family lived on the right. Both animals and people entered through the same door into the central passageway. A male servant slept in the hay loft above the animals, benefiting from their warmth.

What was it like to live here?

The house was originally in an isolated, exposed area. You can see by the size of the fireplace how important the fire was for cooking and heating. It was a struggle to keep warm. The last inhabitants, in the 1950s, sometimes didn’t take their coats off inside the house in winter.

There wasn’t much privacy. The living room was also kitchen and work-room. And it was dark, as the main light came from rushlights, made of reeds dipped in fat. The family’s diet was based on Oats and milk. They turned the milk into cheese and butter in the large dairy at the back.

When was it moved to St Fagans?

Cilewent Farmhouse was offered to the Museum in 1955 as it was on the site of a proposed dam in the Claerwen Valley. The dam was never actually built, and a bungalow replaced the original farmhouse.

Cilewent map plot

Building facts:

  • Original Location: Dyffryn Claerwen, Powys (Radnorshire)
  • Date originally built: 1470 & 1734
  • Furnished: 1750
  • Moved to St Fagans: 1959
  • Listing status: Grade 2
  • Visiting information