ABERGLASNEY, White Door, Llangathen, Carmarthenshire 1995

ABERGLASNEY, White Door, Llangathen, Carmarthenshire 1995 - CARMARTHENSHIRE
Notes on ABERGLASNEY, Llangathen, Carmarthenshire 1995

Aberglasney was the first house I visited. A friend told me of this old house some 8 miles out of Carmarthen. One Saturday morning my friend took me with about five others, in two cars, on a short expedition.

We followed the path that led to the mansion, under the yew tree tunnel, up to the mansion façade and into the great hall. Decorative blocks of plasterwork hung perilously around the high walls and other blocks lay redundant on the heavily littered floor. As we explored the house, its many rooms, its crumbling masonry and expansive and hidden gardens, I became overwhelmed with the romanticism of the place.

I knew I had stumbled upon something special and I returned, without my friends, the very next morning with my camera. I spent a fair few hours at Aberglasney. I was unnerved. Was I trespassing? Will one of those rotten beams crash down on me? Or will the floor give way and the dark murky waters of the cellar pull me under? I controlled my fear. After a few hours the house turned from foe to friend. The exposures, some of which I am still very proud of, showed the house, peering out from the undergrowth, proud with resolve. Raindrops clung to every leaf, to every soggy floorboard, every searching ivy coil. There appeared to be an endless number of rooms offering an endless supply of possible photographic compositions.

Outside, at the rear of the building, a white door leaned against the corner of the house. Overcast and grey, the undergrowth overlaying, this white door stood out quite brilliant against its gloomy surroundings. For me this image, above any other, typifies this project. After all, it is not particularly the size of the house that I am interested in, nor its social or economic history but rather the juxtaposition of man and nature. It is often the unwritten history of the previous tenants; those who loved, neglected, restored, became bankrupt, their heirs and children, through to the most recent tenants; the squatters, vandals, uninterested heirs and those with no interest other than demolition worth. It is this which fascinates me: when the first slate falls from a roof and thereby releases the inevitability of nature quickly engaging the house and filling the rooms and walls not with furniture, conversation and fine art works but with damp and mould and patches of fungi.

Recently the gardens have been restored with much success and opened to the public. The house, to begin with just its façade, is also being restored to its former glory. I have not returned since its restoration. The house was extended on the former site by Bishop Rudd in the 1600’s. Rudd lost all his maidservants, who as they slept in their quarters, were poisoned due to drying lime plaster. Other owners include poet John Dyer who wrote ‘Grongar Hill’ in admiration for the estate and local countryside.

ABERGLASNEY. Llanqathen. Sir Gaerfvrddin 1995
Wrth astudio ffotograffiaeth yng Ngholeg Caerfyrddin dywedodd fy ffrind wrthof fod yr hen dy hwn oddeutu 8 milltir y tu allan i Gaerfyrddin. Un bore Sadwm aeth fy ffrind a mi gydag oddeutu pump arall, mewn dau gar, ar daith fer.

Dilynom y llwybr sydd yn arwain at y plas, o dan dwnnel o goed yw, i fyny at ffrynt y plas ac i mewn i’r neuadd fawr. Roedd blociau addumiadol o waith plaster yn hongian yn beryglus o gwmpas waliau uchel ac roedd blociau eraill yn segur ar y llawr llond sbwriel. Wrth i ni archwilio’r ty, y nifer o ystafelloedd, y gwaith cerrig bregus a gerddi cudd ac eang, teimlais wrth fy modd gyda rhamant y lie.

Yr oeddwn yn gwybod fy mod wedi dod ar draws rhywbeth arbennig a dychwelais y bore wedyn gyda chamera ond heb fy ffrindiau.

Yn ddiweddar cafodd y gerddi eu hadfer heb lawer o Iwyddiant ac agorwyd hwy i’r cyhoedd. Mae’r ty hefyd wedi ei adfer i’w ogoniant blaenorol. Cafodd y ty ei ymestyn ar y safle blaenorol gan yr Esgob Rudd yn y 1600au. Mae perchnogion eraill yn cynnwys y bardd John Dyer a ysgrifennodd ‘Grongar Hill’ yn canu clodydd yr ystad a chefn gwlad.
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ABERGLASNEY, Llangathen, Carmarthenshire 1995

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