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From a photographic point of view, going to St Fagans: National History Museum of Wales (Sain Ffagan: Amgueddfa Werin Cymru) on the day of their Food Festival was less than ideal; enjoyable though it was in every other way.

The crowds and the stalls severely limited my chances of getting exterior shots.

Most frustrating was the Rhyd-y-car Ironworkers' Houses. A terrace of small houses each restored to different dates, ranging from 1805 to 1985. An excellent exhibit that I could barely take in, let alone photograph, because of the crowds.

Still with a bit of keyhole surgery, and a hefty dose of Photoshop, I managed to get a few decent shots of some of the other exhibits.

For details of opening times, admission prices, etc. please see the official site detailed below.

St Teilo's Church

Many old churches have traces of the old wall paintings (for instance St Mary's, Tarrant Crawford), but I often find it difficult to imagine what they must have looked like in their prime. Here St Teilo's Church has been restored as it may have appeared in 1530, and the effect is stunning.

The church came from Llandeilo Tal-y-bont (map), which is outside Pontarddulais. In 1851 it was reported that:

The old parish Church of Llandilotalybont is most awkwardly situated on the verge of the river Loughor, surrounded by vast Marches, which are often overflown by Tides and floods 3 or 4 feet deep over the paths leading thereto so as to render it impossible for the people to attend at such times.

No wonder they moved it.

External Links and References

Castle Gardens

For various reasons, I did not get any photos of St Fagans Castle, the very fine Elizabethan stately home that was once the home of the Earl of Plymouth and his family.

Photograph is not allowed inside the house anyway, and the combination of the crowds and accidentally switching my camera to manual focus put paid to any exterior shots.

Surrounding the castle, however are the Castle Gardens

The fishponds, shown here, date from before 1766 and the terraces were built in 1850.

Kennixton Farmhouse

The Kennixton Farmhouse was originally in Llangynydd in the Gower and was built in stages between 1610 and about 1750. It was moved here in 1955 and was the forth building to be opened to the public.

It has settled into its new site very well and, having acquired some local 18th century furniture feels like a home. In 2010 it was reunited with the barn and calves cotts from its original site.

The red colour, by the way, was supposed to protect the house against evil spirits.

In the garden is a bee shelter from Devauden, Monmouthshire, and close by is a circular pigsty from Hendre Ifan Prosser near Pontypridd

Llwyn-yr-eos Farmstead

The Llwyn-yr-eos Farmstead dates from the nineteenth century and is original to its site. It is presented as it might have looked in the early 1930s.

Outside in the yard are pigsties, a duck pond, hen houses, and a collection of farm machinery typical of the period.

Melin Bompren

Melin Bompren was built in 1852-53 at Cross Inn near New Quay in Ceredigion, and is typical of many a small corn mill servicing the local community using an overshot wheel on a small stream.

In this case, however, due to the damp climate, attached to the mill is a two-storeyed kiln which was used to dry the corn prior to milling.

The mill ceased operating in 1957. It was dismantled and re-erected at St Fagans in 1977.

It is still water driven, but these days relies on an electric pump to supply the water rather than a natural stream.

External Links and References

  • External Links

    • Melin Bompren
      Detailed drawings of the mill machinery by John Brandrick


The Tollhouse is typical of the many that were built in the late eighteenth century by rich local land owners largely for themselves and others of their class.

According to the Toll Board, the waggons and carts of the poor were to be charged 4d, whereas the carriages and landaus of the rich only half as much again at 6d. The Queen could use the road for free. In Wales this, in part, lead to the Rebecca Riots between 1839 and 1843.

These were a series of riots where toll-gates were destroyed as a protest against unfair taxation. The men involved often men dressed as women, hence the name.

They died down during 1843 due to increased troop levels, and the appearance of criminal groups using the the riots for their own purposes.

Eventually in 1864 most of the Turnpike Trusts were abolished, and county councils took over responsibility for the roads.

Woollen Mill

Originally in Esgair Moel, Llanwrtyd, Powys, the Woollen Mill was built in 1760, and was extended in the 19th century to accommodate new machinery.

It ceased production in 1947, was moved to St Fagans and opened to the public as a working exhibit in 1952 making it the second building to open.

It is particularly interesting as all the processes of wool production, from dyeing the fleece to finishing the fabric, are undertaken under one roof.

External Links and References

  • External Links

    • Woollen Mill
      Detailed drawings of the mill machinery by John Brandrick