Maes Araul and the Little House

Looking again at my photos of the ruined cottages in Coed Rhiw’r Ceiliog, I wondered whether they were originally platform houses, built on land dug into the hllside. That would have suggested an early date – but were they really? We got back there in a rare gap in the rain and splashed across the ‘improved grassland’ and the many streams in the woods.

This, the larger of the cottages

does look to have been dug into the bottom of the slope, but the house is roughly square. Rebuild on an earlier site? Possibly …

But the smaller of the cottages, which I thought at first was at right angles to the slope and this was the south gable wall

turned out to be a similarly square structure and the bit to the south was this

the traditional little house at the bottom of the garden. (In Welsh we actually call it the tŷ bach)

Back to the tithe plan – and again more confusion. The tithe map overlay at has an awkwardly-placed blot over where the second cottage ought to be, but there really doesn’t seem to be anything there. The larger cottage is described as ‘2 Cottages and Gardens’ but the two buildings are close together.

Curiouser and curiouser.


And another strange thing. My sharp-eyed French cousin spotted this

on one of the old broad-leaved trees below the first cottage. The number on the tag is 1681. We didn’t see any tags on other trees. Has someone been doing a bit of surveying of the old broad-leaved trees in the wood, or is this just something that someone found and randomly stuck on the tree?

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