Ancient Monuments

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Carswell Old House

A Scheduled Monument in Penally (Penalun), Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro)

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Latitude: 51.676 / 51°40'33"N

Longitude: -4.7523 / 4°45'8"W

OS Eastings: 209799

OS Northings: 201058

OS Grid: SN097010

Mapcode National: GBR GD.8GFJ

Mapcode Global: VH2PR.L40H

Entry Name: Carswell Old House

Scheduled Date: 16 November 1964

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3059

Cadw Legacy ID: PE373

Schedule Class: Domestic

Category: House (domestic)

Period: Medieval

County: Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro)

Community: Penally (Penalun)

Traditional County: Pembrokeshire


The monument consists of a hall house, which dates from the medieval period. It is the earlier of two such buildings of a farm group, the other surviving just to the east is not scheduled. The holding named Carswell can be traced back to the early 14th century when in 1326 it was held as part of the estate of the earls of Pembroke for one tenth of a knight's fee. The date of construction of the house is unknown though it thought to be about 1500. The house passed to the care of the State in 1982 and it is now maintained by Cadw.

The house is built of coursed rubble limestone, it has gables to the east and west and comprises a vaulted undercroft and an upper room that served as a solar; a style common to medieval buildings in Pembrokeshire. There is a separate entry to each floor but no internal access between them; a lost extension of the building at the east side contained stairs to the upper floor. The undercroft has a deep semi-elliptical vault running east to west. Side vaults that intersect it north and south do not appear to be original. There is an original doorway at the east of the north wall, with its headway cut into the vault. A great hearth is located on the west wall and measures approx. 1.4 m wide by 1.2 m deep. It has a segmental arch, almost flat, with deep voussoirs. Part of a bread oven from a later date remains at the left and another later addition is the stone bench beside the hearth. The upper room measures 4.2m by 3.9m and is entered by a door at the north east corner set two steps below floor level. There is a small hearth on the west wall with a curved lintel on corbels and jambs. The stone hood above the fire slopes back into the wall and the flue branches into the main flue from below. Projecting stones at the rear of the fireplace suggests hobs. The lintel and hood project about 0.3 m. There are slit windows in the north, west and south walls, and a later window, wider and lower, in the south wall. The roof is missing but is mentioned as possibly surviving as late as 1867.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of medieval and later construction techniques, settlement and domestic activity. It is well preserved with fine architectural features surviving and retains considerable archaeological potential. There is a strong probability of the presence of evidence relating to chronology, layout, building techniques and functional detail.

The scheduled area comprises the remains described and areas around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

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