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THE HOUSES OF RADNORSHIRE
By H. BROOKSBY
Introduction1 Influences
THE type of house found in Radnorshire reflects, as in other parts of
Wales, the geographical environment in which it is situated, Highland
and Lowland influences being clearly distinguishable.
In the mainly mountainous county of Radnorshire (55% over 1000 ft.)
there are large central ranges. These ranges join the northern mountainous
country to form a barrier between the east and west, with the south
divided approximately equally between these two. This barrier leaves
the influences on the type of house found in these eastern and western
areas to stem from surrounding counties. It may be noted, however,
that if the county boundaries were removed, leaving the country as it
was before 1536, these areas of Radnorshire would be geographically
included with similar areas of the surrounding counties.
In each of these areas the main type of house differs. The river areas
in the east and south-east are influenced by the Hereford types of house
and the Lowland zone. Here we have a predominance of timber-framed
houses, along with the three oldest "Hall" houses found so far in the
county. The second area, influenced by Brecknock and the Highland
zone, includes the south-west table on the old red sandstone and the
western area following the Wye Valley. Here the two hall-houses are
later and less ornate than their eastern counterparts. But in this south-
western area the long-house (house and farmbuildings under one roof)
and derivatives, seem to be the dominant type. Many good 17th-century
stone houses with fine timber work are also found in this area.
The only area now to be accounted for is the mountainous barrier.
The highland zone has no direct influences from sources outside the
county. In isolated cases a house influenced by an outside source is
found, as in the north-eastern corner of the area, where some houses are
influenced by Montgomeryshire. The earliest type of house remaining in
this area is the "cruck" built house. These are mainly found on a platform
site down the slope of a hill. No predominance in house types really
shows in this area until the 18th century when the standardisation of
design became popular. It is unfortunate that many houses in the county
are no longer in occupation, the largest number being in these mountain
regions. In the History of Radnorshire, by the Reverend J. Williams,
it is observed that small farms were being compelled by economic
circumstances to sell out to larger units. This tendency seems to have
continued up until the present day, the government grants to farmers in
the mountains helping the process. When these farms are purchased by a
near neighbour for increase of acreage, the houses are often left to decay,
as their use for farm purposes is limited.
Medieval HALL-HOUSES
Few houses of the 14th and 15th century remain in Radnorshire. This
may be due to the troubled times in the 15th century. Owen Glyndwr's
rebellion took a large toll on the Marcher Lordships, certainly burning
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