Hafod Tudur - A Recent History
We understand from local knowledge that this is one of the earliest properties in the area at about 300 years old.
We bought Hafod Tudur, which included Tudor Cottage, The Granary and a range of outbuildings in the winter of 1989. Hafod Tudur translates into the summer house of Tudur (Tudur being the original family's name). The family would bring their animals up here in the summer months and in the winter they would move down to their winter house - Tyddyn Tudur (this is all a very long time ago!)
As you can see from the pictures, all the buildings needed a lot of work, there were no drains and no water supply (although there was a stream running through the kitchen), but we did have the luxury of a telephone and electricity.
My husband (Lawrence) and I lived in a caravan for two years with six kittens and an alsation dog. Throughout the year, we could get water from our spring, which we eventually piped into the caravan. In the winter this pipe would freeze, and we would have to light the stove to melt the snow before we could get washed in the mornings (Our children don’t believe a word of this).
After a lot of work, we moved into the house (Hafod Tudur) in the summer of 1991. From then on we worked on the land and the outbuildings. We also bought the right to tap into a new spring, to supplement our existing water supply.
Oh I nearly forgot! We also had three children (3 boys- Sam, Gareth and Callum).
In 1997 we obtained planning permission to rebuild Tudor Cottage and use it as a holiday let.
Originally the building would have been used for people as well as animals- the family would have shared the ground floor with them, keeping the kitchen and the fire to themselves, while the animals had the rest! The family would then have had the first floor as living accommodation with the animals below!
As you can see from the photographs the place was quite derelict. There was no roof, no windows, no internal floors, drains, electricity or water and the back wall had to be demolished, as it was so unsafe - we didn’t have a lot to work with!
My father, Eddie, a retired music teacher and self taught stonemason, set about rebuilding the stone walls for us and our then neighbour, George, a joiner constructed the new roof.
New hardwood windows with double-glazing were made locally and that was the exterior shell complete, just in time for winter!
One of the biggest problems we had was building the character back into the cottage, where possible, we always sourced appropriate reclaimed materials:
- One-inch (25mm) thick Quarry tiles from Wrexham.
- Roofing slate, stone and oak timber from a barn demolished locally.
- The staircase, floorboards and architrave, all came from a hotel in Colwyn Bay.
- We bought slate slabs from a barn floor near Corwen, some up to 4 inches thick, and cut them up to replace lintels and windowsills.
One feature we were able to retain was the beautiful stone lintel over what was the only fireplace in the cottage. We also managed to keep the exterior stone steps, which would have led to the hayloft.
These reclaimed items, were used in conjunction with efficient, modern building materials. We realised the need for a high standard of insulation from the start.
- The floor is insulated with 4 inches (100mm) of Polystyrene under the concrete.
- All the windows, including the conservatory are double- glazed.
- The roof is covered with a breatheable membrane under the slates and insulated with rigid (foil backed) dense foam sheets.
All this makes the cottage warm and comfortable, without detracting from its character.
As I said at the beginning, we will be doing some in-depth research into Tudor Cottage in the future, so watch this space!
These really are very special cottages, in a very special place. We hope to see you soon.