Tuesday, July 02, 2013

A Local Treasure!

Walking through Bridgend, 
this looks like a very ordinary street on a drizzly day. 
Nothing remarkable.

A quick peek up shows some quite pretty cottages on a hill.

If you actually walk part way up the hill, you get to see this absolute gem
 - a mediaeval  house, known as St John's House. 
It dates back to the fifteenth century  - for which there is documentary evidence - 
but very possibly much earlier, judging by some of the architectural features. 
It is a listed building, and has only barely escaped 
being converted into two modern flats.

This is to the left of the entrance porch.

The main door. 
It was previously owned by the St John Ambulance Brigade, 
hence their insignia on the door; 
there is also reason to believe a possible connection with the Knights Templar 
as you will see somewhat later.

I had to angle the shot to avoid the cars 
parked on the narrow road of the hill......

The entrance step is quite high up now.

There were historical re-enactors present, which added to the fun!

Around the side of the house is a blocked up door....

And the current ground level is lower than it used to be!

Some of the windows at the side.

It is believed this was the house of a person or organisation of some standing, 
as the window surround, albeit tiny, 
is carved out of one solid block of stone......

And a back door!

The walls are incredibly deep as you can see by the window surrounds!

Information about the building and the floor plan.

Arch, stonework and roof beams.

One room was fitted out as a chapel, 
as it is possible at one time this may have been a hospice 
and would certainly have had a chapel in that case.....

There are no working utilities in the building 
so candlelight was essential 
as well as wonderfully atmospheric :-)

In a recess behind the "altar" was an icon 
which I could not identify without risking getting burnt....

The stone carvings above and below were originally outside the house
 but have been placed inside for safekeeping. 
The motifs are apparently in keeping with the Templars' motifs.

The stairway to the main chamber upstairs were stone, 
narrow and lit by candle lanterns.....

As well as by one tiny window.

This was a toilet facility, with its own window
 in a small chamber off the main room.

A window upstairs. 
The distance light penetrated is quite remarkable.

This is the main chamber, with a huge fireplace, 
decorated wood carvings and exposed timbers.

And a close-up of the carvings.

Another room beyond....

These were the roof trusses and beams in the attic room.

Getting up and down was via a perilous, steep stone staircase 
with no handholds and precious little 
room for foot placements - I would have 
hated to use it on a daily basis........
this was the view looking down, by the way.

If you looked up when you reached the foot of the stairs,
 you could see an old colourwash
 on the ceiling which was exposed by peeling lime-wash.....

Downstairs, the re-enactors had laid out weapons 
and replica mediaeval artifacts 
which they were delighted to show and discuss with visitors.

It was possible to try them on for size!

And some of the medicinal and kitchen pot-herbs of the time. 
By this stage I had to leave, sadly.

Once across the busy road, I traversed the mediaeval stone bridge 

- Yr Hen Bont, The Old Bridge.....

The bridge leading to the main part of the modern town. 
A total contrast!

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elizabeth said...

wow... how very special... I really felt like I was touching onto something of another era...!

Michelle M. said...

Wow- that would be such fun to explore!

Sara said...

The light coming in those windows is amazing! I've never seen such thick walls before. Thanks for taking us along on your exploration.