Skip to main content

Maes-mawr can be traced back through its family associations as far as a family 'who assumed the surname of Powel about the year 1600'.79 Their most famous descendant, Jenkin Jones, who was born in 1623, became a captain in the Parliamentary army and played a considerable part in the religious life of South Wales during the Interregnum,80 belonged to a collateral branch of the Maes-mawr family. A Thomas Powel who died in 1693,81 and is no more than a name, may have added or rebuilt the hall with its side fireplace. That his lifetime was a prosperous period for Maes-mawr is clear from the building of a large granary block then, which was subsequently connected to the house by a low kitchen wing. We conclude an account of side-fireplace halls with a note on their distribution. In the Hay and Talgarth district it was possible to show that halls with side fireplaces and the homes of members of the feudal ruling class have concordant distributions.82 The corresponding evidence has been plotted for the Brecon district (below, Maps II and V) with comparable results. This first pair of distributions may be contrasted with a second concordant pair, those of Welsh settlements and long-houses in their various forms. The two pairs, though not completely exclusive by any means, nevertheless provide a sufficiently sharp contrast to suggest that the English and Welsh com- munities each had, as might be expected, it own architectural tradition. IV. TWO VESTIGIAL HALL-HOUSES Two houses in the district have plans quite unlike others of comparable date. Both are fairly big and of two storeys with attics, one being ABER- CYNRIG, LLANFRYNACH, well-known in the county as the residence of the late Sir John Conway Lloyd ;83 the other, YSGIRFECHAN, though not associated with any person of comparable note, is still one of the bigger farms in the neighbourhood of Merthyr Cynog and was no doubt formerly a house of importance. Abercynrig is to all appearances a house of the end of the 17th century while Ysgirfechan, though possessing far fewer dateable features, appears to be somewhat earlier. They have this in common, that their plans do not conform at all closely to the types customary at their respective dates. The external appearance of Aber- cynrig, however, is far more characteristic of the late 17th, than that of Ysgirfechan is of the early 17th century, because the latter has very 79 Jones, III, 193. 80 Diet. Welsh Biog., Jones, III, 193-5. 81 Jones, III, 193. 88 Brecon Houses, II, Maps II and IV. 88 J. Jones-Davies, 'Lt-Col. Sir John Conway Lloyd,' Brycheiniog, IV (1958), 1-52.