The Natural Building Centre

Y Ganolfan Adeiladu Naturiol.

July and August events – a festival and an exciting new course….

Over a long weekend in July, from 1st – 4th we will be visiting the Ymuno Festival in North Wales for a weekend of music, art and poetry.  We will be taking along our child-sized timber frame building with us, for willing little hands to put together and learn all about traditional buildings.  Tickets and line-up information can be found here – Ymuno.com

And we are very excited to announce a new workshop that we are holding on 20th August.  Justine Aldersey-Willimas from The Wild Dyery will be joining us, to teach us how to dye natural fibre cloth using historic dye plants.  We will be producing a spectrum of vibrant, beautiful, natural colours using Madder, Woad and Weld, and learning how to pattern the dyed cloth with an ancient Japanese resist method called Shibori.  Please see the training section of our website for further details.

The 1498 hall house.

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We have here at Plas Tirion an even older house than the main Elizabethan hall.  It’s an oak cruck framed hall house dendro dated three years ago by the Discovering Old Welsh Houses group to 1498.  It may have fallen out of residential use when the main house was built, possibly acting as a domestic service building.  It has been adapted and altered over the years, with a cow Byrne and pigsty built alongside it in the C19th, but the main body of the house although now stone clad and truncated still has many early features, including the original oak cruck frame.  A local archaeological group has been excavating the floor and have made some interesting discoveries including a William and Mary coin from 1695 and the remains of an C18th grain drying kiln.  This fits in with a reference in an old letter from the 1920’s which mentions the Old Brewhouse.  The archaeological work has been rained off this winter but we hope to get back out there this month. Plans for the full restoration for the building are being drawn up, and in future it will become accommodation for our courses. When work gets underway later this year, we will be using the building as a training aid for this year’s courses, providing hands on experience of traditional building methods.

 

 

European visitors

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It was Wales turn to host the member countries of the Future Heritage Project, where six groups from Portugal, Germany, Estonia, France, Germany and Wales have worked together to create and establish formal training in sustainable construction.   Along with Grwp Llandrillo Menai we organised a great day here, showing the training that we currently offer and making the work that we have carried out at Plas Tirion available for analysis.

The Europeans were enchanted by the beauty of North Wales and our historic buildings. They enjoyed visiting Plas Tirion and seeing the work that we have carried out, were amused at the existence of our wig chamber and slightly horrified by our crooked ancient creaking floors.

One of Conwys iconic buildings, 11 Castle Street.

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One of Conwys most important historic houses is in the very early stages of a complete restoration beginning with the outside, now looking greatly improved with a sympathetic combination of Ynys Mon tint lime-wash, painted woodwork in a similar shade and new lead-work.  We have worked continually to keep the site tidy and as dust free as possible for the shops and houses nearby – not easy when hacking off old render –  so we were very cheered to receive a phone call from a lady living near by thanking us on our care.  I have added a photo of the date stone – 1585, and images of sixteenth century oak posts from the interior. One showing the post with traces of lime-wash and next to it the wattle and daub in-fill, woven hazel with a rough straw/clay/mud plaster scratched up ready for a top coat.  The other post has been ‘improved’ at some point with some wood effect wallpaper!