The Full History
Ysgubor Degwm is a Grade II listed long barn located in the heart of the Llyn Peninsula.
The exact date the barn was built is unknown. Timbers in the sitting room are dated 1773 and initialled 'LP', however, the barn is likely built in the mid-15th Century as part of the Penarth Fawr estate. The barn may have served as an out-barn at Penarth Fawr or a Tithe Barn for the local church.
Ysgubor Degwm is a large rubble agricultural building with a slate roof. Originally the Ysgubor Degwm comprised a barn to the right and cowshed to the left. The barn has medieval window slits (originally for ventilation and now internally glazed) and a central camber-headed entrance with beams inscribed '1773 LP'. The lofted cowhouse (now the snug) has cambered brick relieving arches, suggesting an altered former cartshed. The rear of the barn had lean-tos added once, as evidenced by joist holes below the eaves. It now has a lean-to at the E end, roof lights, two raised dormers and a further one with a cat-slide roof.
Ysgubor Degwm was once an eight-bay barn with collar trusses with added bolted ties. A full-height rubble wall exists between the barn (sitting room and kitchen) and the formerly lofted cowshed (snug).
The Barn in Historical context
Ysgubor Degwm Built
Timbers added and barn extended
Barn converted into a home
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The last native Prince of Wales instigated the 15 year Welsh revolt against Henry IV of England.
Henry VIII becomes
King of England
Elizabeth I becomes
Queen of England
Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Louis XIV, the Sun King, rules France
A tithe barn was a type of barn used in much of northern Europe in the Middle Ages for storing rents and tithes. Farmers were required to give one-tenth of their produce to the established Church. Tithe barns were usually associated with the village church or rectory, and independent farmers took their tithes there. The village priests did not have to pay tithes—the purpose of the tithe being their support.
Many were monastic barns, originally used by the monastery itself or by a monastic grange. The word 'grange' is (indirectly) derived from Latin granarium ('granary'). Identical barns were found on royal domains and country estates.
According to English Heritage, "exactly how barns in general were used in the Middle Ages is less well understood than might be expected, and the subject abounds with myths (for example, not one of England's surviving architecturally impressive barns was a tithe barn, although such barns existed)".
Penarth Fawr Estate
Rare stone-built dwelling with impressive timbered supports
We’re not short of medieval castles in Wales, but buildings like Penarth Fawr are thin on the ground. This extremely well-preserved house gives a rare glimpse into how the Welsh gentry lived during the 15th century. While most of the commonly wood-built houses of the era are long gone, Penarth Fawr’s sturdy stone construction has seen it survive almost unchanged for centuries.
The house’s heart is its large hall, originally heated by the central hearth, with smoke escaping from a vent in the roof. Penarth Fawr’s most striking feature is the elaborate internal truss system that supports it, an impressive network of carved timber beams rising from floor to ceiling that’s in excellent condition despite its advanced age.
In the early 1990s, the ruined barn was purchased by a property developer and renovated with impeccable attention to detail, preserving much of the original character. Ysgubor Degwm was converted into what you see today as the developer's family home. You can see his genuine love for the building in the conversion. Following a bereavement, the barn came onto the market in 2020, just as the country was gripped in the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Davies family viewed the barn on the first day out of lockdown and immediately fell deeply in love. After several years as a managed holiday, the house had become tired, and the fun began as the gardens and interior were returned to their former glory. Today Ysgubor Degwm is home to the Davies Family. It is let out as a luxury holiday home through the tourist season.