In Old English, a “hall” (German: Halle) is simply a large room enclosed by a roof and walls, and in Anglo-Saxon England simple one-room buildings, with a single hearth in the middle of the floor for cooking and warmth, were the usual residence of a lord of the manor and his retainers. In these early dwellings, the whole community was used to eating and sleeping in the hall.
By the time Cwm Weeg was built in the 15th Century, the hall house had become the standard dwelling not only of the gentry but also of the freeholder Yeoman farmer and even the more wealthy tenant farmers. In Mid Wales and the Welsh Borders in particular, plentiful supplies of oak enabled carpenters to erect houses of good quality. The name Cwm Weeg or Cwm Wig refers to the local Township (Dolfor Weeg) and “Wig” in English translation means “wood”, indicating that in earlier times the extent of woodland in the local area was much greater than it is now. The poorer farmers and cottagers lived in humbler dwellings which have long since disappeared.
The tell tale sign of these early origins of Cwm Weeg as a Hall house are the blackened and tar incrusted inner beams which were once part of the open hall and for generations were bathed in the wood smoke rising from the open hearth on the floor. At the north east gable of the house would have been a vent formed by vertical oak slats and a similar grill is still visible in the present day winter dining room of the house at the inner gable which once divided the open hall from the solar. All these features bear witness that, when first built with the central Hall still open to the roof, Cwm Weeg would have been surprisingly spacious and impressive, a generous living space not just for the farmer’s immediate family but also for servants, maids and labourers.
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