NEUADD FAWR, Cil-y-Cwm, Carmarthenshire 2010

NEUADD FAWR, Cil-y-Cwm, Carmarthenshire 2010 - CARMARTHENSHIRE
Notes on NEUADD FAWR, Cil-y-Cwm, Carmarthenshire 2010

Sometimes I wonder why I do it to myself. After visiting the lamentable walls of Blaen Baglan I then drove towards home but stopped off at Neuadd Fawr. My first and only visit to Neuadd Fawr was on a still but very foggy November day in 1996. The countryside around the village of Cil-y-Cwm is quite beautiful and the road up the farm and mansion happily revealed that the lodge house, very derelict in 1996, had recently and considerately been restored. The same can not be said of the mansion.

I was met by the owner / farmer and again, as I recall from my first visit some 14 years ago, was welcomed; amicable and friendly. He explained how his family had purchased the land around the farm and mansion at the turn of century. The house had come with the land and they did not have the 3 million perhaps required to restore the mansion and even if they did have the money, wouldn’t spend it restoring it. And who could blame their or anybodies reluctance, for the job at hand would be heading towards the immeasurable!

Although the roof wavers it is intact and the outer walls all look structurally sound. Within, as so often the case, is a jumbled, chaotic mess as one would expect from a any house that has been left abandoned for 60 years.

All the above floors have either collapsed or on the precipice. I was warned not enter.
I was warned not to enter in 1996 too. I took heed. The photographs showing interior views were taken on the outside looking in. Although in such ramshackle details could be noted; fireplaces and ranges, panelling and plasterwork, built-in-cupboards and ornate grills.

I purposely visited Neuadd Fawr before the spring and summer foliage all but obscured the classic Ionic cast iron pillars. Of course all rusting but up close they’re solid and feel indestructible. The façade and east side with lovely narrow balcony are beautifully proportioned with large lower floor windows. It become easy to imagine especially on such a beautiful early spring morning, that sitting in these rooms was lovely with light falling and filling even the dimmest and most sheltered of corners.

To the north and rear of the house is a messy jumble of extensions, ruinous with some outer walls caved in. The rear is quite unkempt and messy but by this time, once again, I was totally captivated by the house ad estate. The marvellous twin door stable block was however a horrid shock. It had perhaps suffered more than the house, almost completely roofless, windows all broke and where had those lovely large twin doors gone? The weather was perfect but what I had chosen to photograph was devastating.

The vast walled kitchen garden contained a few branchless fruit trees. I have seen pictures of the walled garden at Ruperra Castle – it was a beautiful sight – rows of vegetables carefully planted and monitored by the head gardener and his army of workers. Was Neuadd Fawr the same? Also, to the rear of the house, another walled garden, was this the formal garden? It is now just a field kept neat by grazing and curious sheep. A small summer dwelling is built within this garden (as well as a ‘ty bach’ / toilet).

The farmer had spoken about CADW rejecting plans to converting the house into flats and only keeping the façade of house. Neuadd Fawr, listed grade II, can not be demolished but if no consolidation work is carried out it will eventually fall. Should CADW be more willing to compromise such examples?

After two hours and using all the film I had with me, I stood staring at Neuadd Fawr. I stood still for about 10 minutes soaking up the warmth of the morning sun. It did not feel like this great house had reached its almost inevitable conclusion of total dereliction. It may have been the optimistic warmth from the sun and thawing me and the frozen ground or it could have been the un-afraid and watchful sheep whilst grazing, close by. It could have been the friendly welcome the owner gave me upon my approach or the peace I felt, the peace of that particular morning whilst walking around these particularly magnificent ruins. In those 10 slow minutes it felt like Neuadd Fawr could be, and would be, eventually saved from the brink of dereliction by the restorer of wealth and good taste. I hope I will be proved right.

NEUADD FAWR. Cilycwm. Sir Gaerfvrddin 1996 & 2010

Cyfarthai cnud o gwn o gwmpas fy nghar wrth i mi gyrraedd y buarth a saif wrth ymyl muriau musgrell Neuadd Fawr a adeiladwyd ar y safle presennol ar ddiwedd y ddeunawfed ganrif gan William Davys.

Parhaodd y cwn i gyfarth o gwmpas fy sodlau wrth i mi guro ar ddrws y ffermdy a bu bron i mi redeg yn ol i'm car. Roeddwn i'n falch na wnes i adael a gyrru adref oherwydd rwyf o'r farn fy mod i wedi bod yn ffodus iawn y diwrnod hwnnw. Tawelodd y cwn, a oedd yn gyfeillgar ac er ei bod hi'n fore iawn, caniataodd y perchennog i mi dreulio rhai oriau yn archwilio'r ty a'r gerddi.

Gwlychwyd fy nhraed gan Iwydrew trwm y bore ac hongianai tarth diflas o gwmpas y gerddi gan weithiau amlygu coed, muriau'r tai allan a gardd furiog oedd a iorwg yn gorchuddio pob modfedd o'r cenrig.

Mae'r ystad yn cynnwys porthordai (sy'n adfeilion), gardd furiog a bloc o stablau sydd a drysau dwbl arbennig.
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NEUADD FAWR, Cilycwm, Carmarthenshire 2011

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