Well, this is another that I must have walked past several times without realising what it was. These foundations under the brambles and bracken
must be all that’s left of Parc y Fan (OK, Park y Van in Wenglish), a substantial farm part of the Plymouth estate. The ruins are at ST 17282 86667, just to the east of the Van house and near the bottom of the footpath down from the Gwernydomen lane to the Nant Gwaunybara.
John Owen remembers ‘substantial remains’ here (see his comments under Treboeth on this blog) but there is little left now.
It was a sizeable farm – 83½ acres according to the tithe apportionment, between the Van and the Nant Gwaunybara. The same tenant also held the area to the east called Van Park, 115 acres of pasture and woodland. By the time of the first edition 6” OS map (surveyed 1875), all the land on the east side of the brook was wooded but this still left a substantial farm of over 80 acres. The buildings are still marked on the modern 1:25,000 map but there is really very little on the ground.
Then there’s this,
a little to the east and just above the Nant Gwaunybara – but this is clearly a field wall,
above the steep bank of the stream, and this
is probably the field angle marked on the early OS. The layout of the buildings at Parc y Fan changes from map to map, and it isn’t clear which was the farmhouse and which the outbuildings. Also there’s a well somewhere above the farmhouse. We need another look when the vegetation has died down.
The name of the farm might lead us to speculate that this was where the park keeper for the Van park lived. The Lewis family emparked a huge area east of the house, probably in the sixteenth century (Rice Merrick described a park there in 1578). The present house of the Van was built in the 1580s. The family then moved to St Fagans and leased the Van to tenants. The park went out of use, and by the time of the tithe plan it was mostly farm land, part of the Van, Gwern y Domen, Maerdy (Mardy Du on the tithe plan) and Park y Van. The park straddled the parish boundary. West of the Nant Gwernydomen was in the Van hamlet of Bedwas (a Monmouthshire parish but with hamlets in Glamorgan – the parish boundaries in this area a very idiosyncratic). East of the stream was in the parish of Rudry. (You get some idea of the problems of surveying these farms by the fact that the road from Caerphilly to Rudry, which is the southern boundary of the farm, doesn’t line up between the two maps.) John Owen has looked at the C18 estate maps in the Plymouth collection in the Glamorgan Archives. They show the park extending south of the present Caerphilly-Rudry road, including the Warren and Ty’n-y-parc (see https://www.heritagetortoise.co.uk/2020/08/the-warren/ and https://www.heritagetortoise.co.uk/2020/05/more-deserted-farmsteads/). So did the road run through the park – or does the road post-date the park? We need to get back to the estate surveys when the record office is open.
Maerdy might be the next one to explore – it was being farmed with Gwernydomen on the tithe apportionment. It’s marked as Maerdy Cottages on the old OS maps but there doesn’t seem to be a house there now. Alas, Caerphilly is currently in lockdown because the number of Covid-19 cases there is on the increase, so Nell and I will have to take to walking somewhere else. Time for a look at the Llandaff-Penrhys pilgrimage route, maybe?