PENTRE, LIXWM-A JACOBETHAN HALL-HOUSE Every time a small old house of quality dies unrecorded, part of the social history of the middle classes dies with it. Pentre, between Lixwm and Ysgeifiog (NG SJ 165718), is now in its decline. Hens occupy the bedrooms and the sparse weeds of the limestone rock creep to the front door. The house was probably an active farm always, even if successive occupants took an interest in lead-mining, and one, it is believed, was a schoolmaster. The story of Pentre must be recovered from its successive reconstructions. The addition of a staircase wing is in the Flintshire vernacular tradition of about 1640 or so. Steep spinal staircases, by the side of the chimney in the gable ordinarily, are common in Caernarvonshire. Tŷ-hwnt-i'r-bont by Llanrwst bridge is a house with a spiral staircase open to the public. This type of stair was perhaps influenced by medieval castle-building. When an open hall-house was cut up horizontally by the insertion of an upper floor or loft, a staircase was necessary and a spiral stair in Flintshire is extremely rare. It was the local tradition among the better but still middle classes to add a staircase wing, as at Macs lygan, Trelogan, or Faenol-fach, Bodelwyddan. Faenol-fach has a date for the reconstruction, 1627. The only sur- viving original stone-mullioned window at Pentre is in the staircase wing, and there is an original narrow window above it. These would agree with such a date. Bodel- wyddan was rather a building centre in the rich Vale of Clwyd. Perhaps here 1638-40 would be a sound date for the staircase wing. Fragments of stone-mullioned windows are reused partly as surrounds for the new windows, a result of refenestration at the end of the 17th or in the early 18th century. The central square stone chimney in- serted seemingly when the staircase wing was added is of the period of the Rebuilding in Flintshire, about 1630-40. Before the seventeenth century, Pentre must have been a hall-house of four bays, probably then thatched. The thickness of the stone rubble walls, 2 feet or so, does not imply that the house is earlier than the Tudor period. Brithdir-mawr, Cilcain, was built as an open hall-house in 1589. There is no evidence that the house was ever of timber. No vestige of wallplate survives. The three queen-post trusses-the central truss on the first-floor filled in with wattle-and-daub to make a partition against the chimney-a rest immediately on the stone rubble walls. The present position of the screens passage adjoining the gable wall seems at first to imply an absence of service rooms. The small detached house shown in the photo- graph would do admirably as an outside kitchen and has a chimney. The hall-house could have been one room or a hall-and-parlour type it afterwards became, but two doors, one now blocked-up, at each opposite side of the house level with the inserted chimney breast, imply an older central screens passage. The screen could have been moved to its present position at one of the reconstructions of the house. The stud and wattle-and-daub screen is covered in modem plaster in such a way that it is impossible to see if there were originally two doors. The visible door has traces of a decorated shapely doorhead in the mid-Jacobethan tradition. The plan shows that this gable has been partly rebuilt. The outside stair could lead to a loft in modern times or earlier a servants sleeping-room, as notably at Mertyn Abbot, Whitford. The massive stops on the main beams in the downstairs kitchen or living room could easily be of the late seventeenth or very early eighteenth centuries. Little is known of the history of the house. It is not included in Lhwyd's Parochialia 1699 where the parson merely observes "A Village called Pentre having 5 houses in it". Mrs. Formby and Miss Hazel Formby recovered the few facts we know