MAENAN HALL

Site Details



NPRN
16489
Map Reference
SH76NE
Grid Reference
SH79436505
Unitary (Local) Authority
Conwy
Old County
Caernarfonshire
Community
Llanddoged and Maenan
Type of Site
HOUSE
Broad Class
Domestic
Period
Medieval

Site Description

Maenan Hall is a late fifteenth century timber framed structure of seven bays with a central entrance and wooden ionic portico. It's chief feature is the hall with a soaring gothic arch and two tiers of purlins that have deep cusped wind-braces, an indication that this hall roof is as early as any in North West Wales.

The hall is covered by elaborate Elizabethan plasterwork dated 1582. This has two surprisingly different components, a profession of loyalty to Elizabeth I at the upper end and a mysterious tapestry of tendrils everywhere else. At the dais end is a post-and-panel partition with two doorways. Above, a pair of rusticated pilasters frame a field of foliage. In the centre the royal arms and monogram, with royal badges beside it. Higher again, there are acorns and Tudor heads; below, heraldic beasts, lions’ heads etc., all in a fairly sophisticated Renaissance manner. On the south wall the Kyffin arms appear, self-effacingly small, near a peep window from the ‘chamber over the hall’. All around, and over the blades of the crucks, loop intertwining tendrils in raised ­plasterwork; not quite the spiral forms of thirteenth to fourteenth century vine decoration in churches, not quite the formal intricacy of Elizabethan ceilings (despite the fleur-de-lys and pomegranate finials), but a sort of labyrinth without straight lines. This must date to Maurice Kyffin, High Sheriff of Caernarvonshire in 1579 and of Anglesey in 1585. On the upper floor at the ‘lower’ end, the exposed timber structure has queenposts with curved braces below. The solar, to the south again, has its ceiling plastered like a vault, also dated 1582 and with the Kyffin arms in a panel. Its more conventional motifs include vines, sunflowers and leaping heraldic beasts.At the ‘upper’ end the original plan has been replaced by the ingeniously designed staircase of c. 1820. The geometric floor paving is said to have come from Maenan Abbey; the C16 stone fireplace is from Parlwr Mawr in Conwy.

Source: Haslam, Orbach and Voelcker (2009), The Buildings of Wales: Gwynedd. Pevsner Architectural Guide, page 468.

RCAHMW, October 2009.


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