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Tithe Barn, Dovecot & Remains of Other Buildings

A Scheduled Monument in St. Donats (Sain Dunwyd), Vale of Glamorgan (Bro Morgannwg)

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.4247 / 51°25'28"N

Longitude: -3.5573 / 3°33'26"W

OS Eastings: 291823

OS Northings: 170667

OS Grid: SS918706

Mapcode National: GBR HF.PFY2

Mapcode Global: VH5HY.9G86

Entry Name: Tithe Barn, Dovecot & Remains of Other Buildings

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 2251

Cadw Legacy ID: GM143

Schedule Class: Agriculture and Subsistence

Category: Barn

Period: Medieval

County: Vale of Glamorgan (Bro Morgannwg)

Community: St. Donats (Sain Dunwyd)

Traditional County: Glamorgan

Description

The monument consists of the remains of a grange, dating to the medieval period. A grange is an outlying farm or estate, usually belonging to a religious order or feudal lord. The term is specifically related to core buildings and structures associated with monastic land holding.

Lands around Monknash were given to Neath Abbey in the 12th century, early on in its life. They were formed into one of the largest monastic farms in Glamorgan, and Monknash Grange was established to run it. Its present day remains, dating to the 12th and 13th centuries, are the most impressive of their kind in south-east Wales.

The grange occupies an area of about 8ha in several pasture fields on the west side of Monknash. Within this area banks, ditches, levelled areas and ruined stone buildings bear witness to the farming activities of the lay brothers of Neath Abbey. The main entrance is thought to have been in the middle of the north-east side where the Old Smithy is now. From here a hollow way runs into the site. In the middle, on the south side of the Nash Brook which crosses the grange, are various ruined buildings, some reduced to turf-covered humps, some with walls standing. Their exact original purposes are obscure, but they were all farm buildings. The best preserved, and one whose purpose is not obscure, is the dovecote. It is circular, built of mortared rubble, and stands almost to its full height; only the corbelled roof is missing. The doorway is on the north-west side, and inside there are a few remaining nesting boxes. All over the enclosure there are low banks, scarps, ditches and levelled areas, which probably delineate small fields, tracks and, near the brook, fishponds.

The most impressive building of the grange, and the one which most clearly demonstrates the large scale of the monks' agricultural operation here, is the great barn, which stands on the south-east side parallel to the lane. It is 64m long, rivalling some of the largest English monastic barns. Its south-east wall stands almost to its full height, and the north-east gable end is more or less complete. The other gable end is much ruined, and the long north-west wall is almost completely gone, partly reduced to a turf-covered mound. On the south-east side are two large entrances with porches, the more northerly one ruined, and the southerly one built into a house.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of medival ecclesiastical and settlement organisation. It retains significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of associated archaeological features and deposits. A grange may be part of a larger cluster of monuments and their importance can further enhanced by their group value.

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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