One of the last unaltered examples of a classic Pembrokeshire cottage has been left to us by the late Mr Glyn Griffiths with the wish that it is restored and its character is preserved.
Close to the coast near St David’s, the Grade II listed cottage is a small ‘two up two down’ traditional lime-washed cottage which dates back to the late 1700’s. Lived in by Mr Griffiths since childhood and unaltered thanks to his stewardship, its photo adorns the front cover of several publications celebrating the special character of the landscape and places of Pembrokeshire.
Jonathan Hughes, General Manager Pembrokeshire said “We’re delighted that Mr Griffiths has chosen the National Trust to safeguard his cottage and we know it holds a special place in the hearts of many people. The restoration work planned will preserve the layout as far as possible to provide simple accommodation, whilst retaining the spirit and charm of the traditional Pembrokeshire cottage.”
The cottage and range of outbuildings are in a very poor state of repair and in need of substantial consolidation and conservation work. Funding from the National Trust’s Neptune Coastline Campaign – set up almost 50 years ago to raise money to protect our coastal heritage – will be made available to do this.
In order to allow as many people as possible to enjoy this special place, we’re planning to let the dwelling as a National Trust Holiday Cottage, with regular Open Days each year for visitors to see the restoration work.
To prepare for the restoration work, we’ve cleared and stripped the cottage almost down to its bare bones. Sadly a lot of the interior and contents had been damaged beyond salvage by damp and animals of various kinds, but we’ve saved a few items which belong to the cottage including some furniture and photographs. We hope these will give us something to build on when the cottage is furnished and starts its new life in the future – some inkling of its previous life and times.
Our conservator is commissioning some reports on the condition, repair and restoration of items like the settle which will go back to its original home opposite the simne fawr.
Curator and project manager Sarah Green sent some wallpaper samples to the National Trust’s wallpaper specialist – yes, really – who was strangely excited by the pictures of the peeling wallpaper in every room and he is kindly going to unpick the many layers.
Before we go much further with the dismantling of the cottage prior to its resurrection, and bearing in mind its listed status, we have commissioned a full archaeological building survey coupled with historical research into the origins and development of the cottage. Part of a timber beam in the cottage was wrapped in newspaper, which can be identified as a copy of the Daily Mail for a Friday in April 1928.
A planning application for the restoration has been submitted to the National Park Authority and we hope to be able to start this building project by this autumn, taking six months to complete.
So far there are two events arranged at the cottage – the first was on July 15th for the Pembrokeshire National Trust Association and on August 11 the Pembrokeshire Historic Buildings Trust have an evening visit. We’ll be supplying hard hats, given the fragile state of the building.
Follow the blog for more updates on this exciting project!