Ancient Monuments

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Hafod: Chain Bridge and Gothick Arcade

A Scheduled Monument in Pontarfynach, Ceredigion

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Latitude: 52.3464 / 52°20'47"N

Longitude: -3.8005 / 3°48'1"W

OS Eastings: 277451

OS Northings: 273562

OS Grid: SN774735

Mapcode National: GBR 94.T8Y2

Mapcode Global: VH5CC.29P2

Entry Name: Hafod: Chain Bridge and Gothick Arcade

Scheduled Date: 7 September 1998

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3785

Cadw Legacy ID: CD172

Schedule Class: Transport

Category: Bridge

Period: Post Medieval/Modern

County: Ceredigion

Community: Pontarfynach

Traditional County: Cardiganshire


The monument consists of the remains of a bridge, dating to the post-medieval period. The Chain Bridge and Gothick Arcade formed the turning point of the New Walk laid out in 1805 and they were certainly in existence by 1813. The Chain Bridge crosses the spectacular rock-cut gorge of the Afon Ystwyth. It was an early suspension bridge and the two pairs of cast iron columns and the pairs of three eyelets to secure the chains survive - subsidiary iron posts on each side supported handrails leading to the bridge. On the south side of the river the pathway is rock cut with a revetment wall supporting the corner that leads to the Gothick Arcade, an eye-catcher of three stone archways. The outer piers survive up to the springing point and the remainder has collapsed. In recent years the Chain Bridge has been restored as part of the refurbishment of the walks on the estate.

From 1780 until his death in 1816 Thomas Johnes transformed the landscape around his mansion of Hafod, high in the Ystwyth valley, into an outstandingly picturesque domain, threaded with walks and rides from which to view picturesque scenes. A number of built features were an integral part of the landscaping, heightening, in their design and location, the picturesque experience. The large scale of the undertaking, combined with the ruggedness of the scenery, has led this type of landscaping to be dubbed the 'wilderness picturesque'. Hafod rapidly became nationally famous and visitors flocked to admire the Hafod scenery, which was much described and depicted. From many contemporary accounts, drawings and paintings, and in particular from George Cumberland's 'An attempt to describe Hafod' (1796) it is possible to gain some idea of the late eighteenth/early nineteenth-century appearance of the landscape and the structures within it. There can be no doubt of the exceptional historic interest of the remains at Hafod associated with its picturesque landscaping.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of post-medieval construction techniques and transportation systems. It retains significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of associated archaeological features and deposits. The structure itself may be expected to contain archaeological information concerning chronology and building techniques. Hafod is registered as a Grade 1 on the Cadw/ICOMOS Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in Wales.

Source: Cadw

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