Llancarfan Historic Landscape

The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd.

Character Areas


012 Ty'n-y-coed

View across HLC012

HLCA 012 Ty'n-y-coed

Medieval/post medieval field system; traditional boundaries; isolated settlement; relict prehistoric archaeology; agri-industrial features. Back to Map

Historic Background

The historic landscape area of Ty'n-y-coed represents a mixed fieldscape at the northern limits of the historic landscape area, located in historic parish of Bonvilston. The northern part consists of predominantly regular landscape of partially amalgamated medieval strip fields, whilst there is a slightly more irregular layout of enclosed fields of varying size to the south, perhaps indicating land won from former woodland or waste, as indicated by the farm names: Tyddyn-yn-y-coed, 'Croft of the wood' and Pen Carreg, 'Top of the Rock'. The northern section of the character area partially abuts the linear settlement of Bonvilston, and is bounded by historic 'Portway', the A48. The 1839 Bonvilston tithe survey records the southern part of the area as belonging to Sir Thomas Aubrey and Thomas John, whilst the northern part of the area remains largely as field strips, divided between numbers of different owners. The Nant Llancarfan divides the area in both a north-to-south and east-to-west direction, as it runs across from the east and then turns south down through the character area. This area could perhaps be viewed as having stronger links to the Anglo-Norman settlement of Bonvilston than to the landscape of Llancarfan, further south.

Whilst occupation of the area is known to date back to the prehistoric period, as evidenced by the St Nicholas Chambered Tomb (PRN 00934s), considered a portal dolmen funerary monument, relatively little is known about the history of the area until the early post-medieval period. The medieval openfield pattern of agriculture at this date is known to have been undergoing alteration through pressures of agricultural change and enclosure. Much evidence of the earlier openfield of the area survives up to the mid-19th century and is even fossilised in the field pattern of the later landscape. By the 19th century the settlement of the area consists of a scatter of isolated farmsteads namely two post-medieval farmsteads in the southwest of the area: Pen Carreg and Ty'n-y-coed. The farmstead at Pen Carreg is in existence from at least the 1st edition OS map and consists of a single rectangular range with a small addition at the east end of its south front, forming the angle of a small enclosed yard. At the north side of the range are two rectangular outshuts, possibly containing a dairy or stair. Detached to the south is a linear north-south agricultural range, and further to the east beyond the Nant Llancarfan (widened here to form a pond or dipping pool with a weir shown at its western end on the 3rd edition OS) is a further rectangular building and slightly to the north a double rectangular pigsty. The layout of the complex remains largely unchanged between the 1st and 4th edition OS, and is shown to be ruinous by the survey of the modern OS map, and on recent aerial photographs. The layout of the farm buildings that make up Ty'n-y-coed however has been substantially altered since the 1st edition OS map of 1879. At that time the buildings appear as a single linear east-west aligned range, probably of a dwelling with attached byre. A detached outbuilding, or possible barn lies to the south at 90 degrees forming an off-set T-shaped layout within a splayed rectangular yard extending to a linear quarry area to the south with an associated limekiln, and beyond a further quarry to the south of the Nant Llancarfan. An additional small outbuilding lies to the north, in the angle of a sub-rectangular yard attached to the northern side of the main linear range. By this date the quarries are noted as being disused. During the early 20th century the main linear range at Ty'n-y-coed had been removed and replaced by a T-shaped dwelling slightly to the north; the original detached building to the south survives, whilst a small group of structures has been erected to the west side of the complex. The modern OS map indicates further alteration to the farm complex; most of the post-medieval buildings have been replaced by an extensive linear layout of modern agricultural sheds and other buildings, though it is possible that the early 20th century farmhouse remains embedded in the later agricultural complex.

Industrial activity, at least relating to post-medieval improvements to agriculture, is attested by the presence of disused quarries in the southwest of this character area, and by two limekilns (PRN 02618s, 02619s) that date to this period. One of these disused quarries to the centre and west of the character area on the east side of the Nant Llancarfan, in an area of woodland known as Coed-y-Lan, is now the location of a sewage works.

Historic Landscape Characteristics

Ty'n-y-coed is a primarily an agricultural area principally characterised by mixed fieldscape with two patterns visible; to the north and east of the Nant Llancarfan the field system is dominated by the fossilised remains of medieval strip fields, relict elements of the former medieval open field, those to the south being on a different alignment and slightly smaller, though largely sub-rectangular. These two areas of slightly differing pattern might indicate the southern area being an extension into former woodland, where a combination of land form, topography, and the nature of the soils has affected the original size of the late medieval/early post-medieval enclosure, now masked by more recent amalgamation.

The field boundaries in the northern area mainly comprise hedgerows with distinctive hedgerow trees. The character of the agricultural landscape in the south of the area by contrast is one of irregular amalgamated fields varying in size, whilst the boundaries are principally earth banks with hedgerows. Additionally, there are some small pockets of broadleaf woodland shown extant by the 1879 1st edition OS map. There is an enclosed feeling to the character of this area that is created by the nature of its boundaries - high hedgerows; the areas of woodland further add to the enclosed feel, in particular the wood recorded as Coed-y-Lan on the 1st edition OS map.

An interesting characteristic of the area is possible evidence of prehistoric funerary and ritual activity, in the form of a recumbent stone known as St Nicholas Chambered Tomb (PRNs 00934s and 03901s), recorded previously as a 'fine example of a portal dolmen funerary monument' being 'situated on a slight mound' though with out a ditch or kerbstones being visible. The exact nature of this site, subsequently questioned, can only be established through further investigation.

Settlement in the area is characterised by isolated post-medieval farmsteads, one of which, Pen Carreg, changed little since the 1st edition OS map, though no longer survives. The other, Ty'n-y-coed, however, has been substantially altered with the original farm buildings largely replaced by a recent linear complex.

The primarily agricultural character of this area is complemented by further post-medieval activity of an agri-industrial nature, demonstrated by two limekilns (02618s and 02619s) and two extant quarries in the southwest of the area.