the right, is an early photograph of a typical primitive Cardiganshire
cottage near Aberystwyth
A number of notable historic stone houses remain in
the New Quay / Llanarth area, some dating back to the fifteenth
century. More humble homes have not survived so well, in fact very few
survive at all.
is often difficult to be precise about the age of many of the remaining
old cottages as their methods of construction - some used into the
early nineteenth century, often date back to medieval times. The
earliest reliable map of the area is the Tithe map of 1840. This at
least tells us which dwellings were present at that time.
earliest Cottages or 'Bwthyn' were largely constructed of clom - a
mixture of clay, horse hair, and cow dung and roofed with thatch. Often
they had just one room and were quite basic, having earth floors, a
fire on the floor and a hole in the thatch to let the smoke escape. A
17th century traveller described one such house as: "...a
dunghill modell'd into the shape of a cottage, whose outward surface
was all to-be-negro'd in such swairthy plaister that it appear'd not
unlike a great blot of cow turd".
Some thatched cottages were
larger - as seen in the photo below on the right of a cottage in
Abaeraeron. These photos were taken about a hundred years ago - sadly
none of these cottages has survived.
two old postcards show thatched cottages in Aberaeron
Bwthyn construction was
reinforced by having a stone wall built with lime mortar sometimes only
up to chest height, with clom above to the roof. While the thatch
remained intact, such houses were long lasting, but as soon as the
thatch failed, the rain would start to wash away the clom leaving just
the remains of the low stone wall.