I: The Medieval Hall – historical context: War of the Roses, Henry Tudor
Cwm Weeg is amongst the oldest inhabited dwellings in the Kerry/Dolfor area and stems from the late 15th Century, possibly built between 1460 – 1480. The original dwelling was a cruck framed, late medieval hall house with a two bay hall towards the south west and at least another bay at the north east end of the house. Half the hall had a cellar below which still exists today. Cwm Weeg is mentioned in Peter Smith’s book, “Houses of the Welsh Countryside” and is Grade II listed.
II: Access and geographical context
From the late medieval beginnings right up to the early 19th Century, Cwm Weeg was accessed on a track from Kerry via the Gilfach road and remnants of this earlier entrance track are still visible on the ground today (the “Moss Garden” opposite the house marks the beginning of this track). This orientation towards Kerry was not just physical but would have determined the inhabitant’s sense of belonging and community.
III: Neighbours – historical context: up to Henry VIII
On their way to Sunday Church, the market in Kerry or even their excursions to the Kerry ale house, the locals would soon have entered monastic land along the Mule, as just beyond the boundary of Cwm Weeg and Pant Moel lies the former Township of Gwernesgob, which means the “Bishop’s Meadow” and this part of Kerry belonged for some time to the Monastery of Strata Florida. The monks also owned an ancient Mill at Cefn Perfa, which was originally given by Roger Mortimer as a dower to his mother in 1307.
IV: Freeholder and Tenant
When first built, Cwm Weeg was very likely the home of a prosperous Yeoman farmer but over the following centuries the occupants would become tenants to larger landowners and this was certainly the case from the 18th century onwards until the house again became owner occupied in the 1950s.
V: Occupants and Owners
Research into the past history of Cwm Weeg is still ongoing and it is hoped, that we will gradually be able to go back further in time. The earliest owner we know of at this stage is John Pugh of Maenllwyd in the Parish of Kerry who is mentioned as owner during the Kerry enclosures in the 1790s and appears as owner of Cwm on the enclosures map from 24th November 1807. During this period, John Pugh was allocated a new field lying on the other side of the Dolfor to Kerry road which, until that time, had been part of a large area of common land called “Vastrey Common”. John’s father was Richard Pugh of Pantyrodin, also in Kerry Parish and the house and farm might well have belonged to him before.
Wolfgang Schaefer and Kingsley George.
In 1987 Kingsley and I lived in Eastbourne in East Sussex but were already looking further afield for the house of our dreams. We had a firm idea of the sort of place we wanted to call home and “an old house with a few acres of land with a south facing slope, some woodland and a stream at the bottom” was part of the brief. As the whole should cost less than £50,000, most of England was out of the question so when, per chance, we came to Newtown to stay with a friend who worked for Laura Ashley, we left our address with local estate agents and “the rest is history”
Over nearly three decades of living at the Cwm, major landscaping and gardening projects were undertaken and there has hardly been a period without ongoing building work. These include various terraces, fountain, 4 ponds, Grotto, moss garden with rock face and Stumpery. There have also been 3 major extensions to the old house and the erection of a large barn with gothic windows. Our largest (and most recent) project was to build a new house by the entrance (The Gatehouse at Cwm Weeg) to accommodate a young couple (Tom & Danielle) who lived with us at the time. Since 2017 the Gatehouse is available for short term holiday lets.
This year (2019) has seen the beginning of the construction of a new cafe area for garden visitors, which will be operational in 2020.