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Hafodygarreg, Powys, the oldest house in Wales.

Hafodygarreg, Powys, the oldest house in Wales.

Hafodygarreg is the earliest precisely-dated house in Wales. Core samples taken from the surviving cruck-truss provided a felling date of Summer 1402 which was during Owain Glyndŵr’s revolt. The tree-ring dating (dendrochronology) was commissioned by the Royal Commission in 2005.

The medieval cruck-truss which formed the hall-house had a single-bay hall. The cruck spere-truss partition has elaborate cusped braces to king-stud between cranked collar and tie-beam.

Hafodygarreg was originally a cruck-framed open-hall house, later developing into a 2-storey later 16th-century stone-walled farmhouse of hearth-passage (‘longhouse’) type with a fireplace inserted against the surviving cruck and a fireplace stair giving access to a new upper storey.

Hafodygarreg's medieval cruck-truss which formed the hall-house.

Hafodygarreg’s medieval cruck-truss which formed the hall-house.

Further tree-ring dating showed that the hall ceiling and fireplace were later additions, inserted in the mid-1570s, with a precise felling date of Winter 1574/5.

Dendrochronology (tree-ring dating) is a technique used to precisely date timber through analysing annual growth rings of trees. If complete sapwood survives, timber can be dated to the exact year (and sometimes the season) of felling. If partial sapwood survives, or the heartwood/sapwood boundary, a felling date range can be given. The Royal Commission has dated a range of houses and churches as part of its National Tree-ring Dating Programme.