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Research Excavations at Strata Florida, Ceredigion 2020-2021

Strata Florida, Cistercian walls

The Strata Florida Trust is a charity which owns, and aims to preserve, the historic Mynachlog Fawr building complex and to advance the education of the public about its history, surrounding landscape and heritage, through the development of the Strata Florida Centre. The buildings lie on the south side of the abbey ruins which are in the guardianship of Cadw. When the conservation work on Tŷ Pair is complete, the building will be a free-to-enter space telling the story of the farm through the “Mynachlog Fawr in 30 objects” exhibition, featuring a variety of arte-facts and documents from the historic farmstead.

Inglenook fireplace Strata Florida
The large inglenook fireplace within the Tŷ Pair

The Tŷ Pair consists of two elements: a former cart shed; and a bake-house com-plete with large inglenook fireplace. It lies just to the south of the grade II* listed gentry mansion and later farmhouse which, in its present form, dates from 1670-80, although incorporating earlier fabric. The listing description dates the Tŷ Pair to the 19th century. Graphic sources, however, including an antiquarian engraving by the Buck Brothers in 1741 and an estate survey of 1765, together with analysis of its fabric, suggest that the building is probably much earlier, possibly late 17th or 18th century, with later 19th century additions.

The Refectory wall was found to continue beneath the north wall of Tŷ Pair and also appeared in one of the trenches between it and the main house. This northern section of the wall had been cut by the south wall of the main house when part of it was first built, either in the later middle Ages or the mid-16th century. That there was no evidence for an east-west wall for this early Refectory, either to the north or south, suggests that we do not yet have the full extent of this building. North-wards, and cut away by, and now beneath, the later house, must be the junction with the cloister-walk and to the south must be a gable end which probably lies beyond the Tŷ Pair.

Source: CBAW Newsletter 61, Spring 2021

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