Gronant is a house comprised of three units - the first is a sub-medieval house of around 1600, the second is a south-facing end chimney house of possibly seventeenth century date, whilst the final building is a nineteenth century unit linking these early structures to form a single house.
There is a wallpainting fragment on the eastern face of the chimney above landing level, formaly concealed by an attic stair. It seems to consist of alternate wide vertical stripes in yellow and red, with a pattern of foliage above in washed-out grey-black on white. More remains under plaster and they may be around 1600 in date.
Source: site file AN/Domestic/SH38 entry by P Smith
J Hill 11.11.2003
LLANFACHRAETH, Gronant (SH 327 851)
A complex of unit-system type with the principal house in its present form of ‘Snowdonian’ type and the secondary
house of hearth-passage type. The secondary house has retained period features including a post-and-
panel partition, wall paintings, and a diagonally set chimney. The more modernised principal house (which
requires further investigation) was shown to be the earlier, apparently belonging to the first generation of storeyed
houses of Snowdonian type.
Tree-ring dating commissioned by North-west Wales Dendrochronological Project in association with RCAHMW:
(a) South-east wing (Snowdonian house) felling date range: c. 1540
(b) Main range (hearth-passage house) felling date: 1618/19.
Tree-ring dating reported in Vernacular Architecture 41 (2010), p. 113. R.F. Suggett/RCAHMW/October 2010.
Summary of phases.
Phase I. Storeyed house of c. 1540: House I. This substantial stone-built storeyed house with a large end chimney was much modified in the C19th as a conventional farmhouse giving a working kitchen separated from a best kitchen/parlour by a stone partition. However, the essential two-unit plan form with the large end chimney remained unchanged. Tree-ring dating of the fireplace beam established that the house was built c. 1540. It preserves the substantial end chimney characteristic of the Snowdonian house; indeed this is the only regional plan-type that has the principal chimney in this position. Ragged joints show that substantial sections of the S wall have been rebuilt and that the present entrance is relatively modern. However, the N wall preserves an original doorway (now made into a window opening) to the right of the present doorway. This would have opened into a cross-passage with a partition to the right dividing passage from parlour. To the left was the hall/kitchen with the substantial end fireplace. The fireplace beam has a date range of 1524-54. This is consistent with the date of c. 1540 obtained from the axial beam. The parlour end has been largely reconstructed.
Phase 2. Hearth-passage house of c. 1618/19: House 2. House 2 is a fine example of a seventeenth-century dwelling of hearth-passage plan, i.e. with the entrance passage behind the main fireplace. The sequence of rooms is: outer parlour – cross-passage – hall. House of this plan-type are rare in North Wales and, indeed, this is the only example on Anglesey. The house was tree-ring dated c. 1618/19 from the principal rafters. The house escaped C19th refurbishment and preserves much vernacular detail, including a post and panel partition between passage and parlour, roll-moulded beams, and wall-paintings in a principal chamber over the hall. Dendro provenancing showed that much Irish oak was used.
Some peculiarities of the plan of House 2 must be noted. The house is of two-unit type and it seems likey that House 1 served as an outside kitchen for House 2 as well as having a subsidiary domestic function. It is unclear if there were service-rooms originally but the outer parlour has a projecting closet. The original function of this closet is uncertain but it has been enlarged as a service-room.
Phase 3. C19th additions and alterations (several phases). In the early/mid-C19th Houses 1 & 2 were connected creating an L-plan complex. The link incorporates a bell turret, characteristic of the more substantial farmsteads, and used to call servants for meals. Additions were made to both houses: a storeyed annexe against the N gable, and a stable added to the E gable with a gig-house. Traces of a painted (?stencilled) wall decoration were found in the servants loft above the gig-house.
R.F. Suggett/RCAHMW/November 2012