|Trawscoed History Pictures|
Site plan Gaer Fawr Trawscoed
Site plan of Camp in
Coed Allt Fedw Trawscoed
Since 1909 the Ceredigion Historical Society has published articles written about the archaeology, antiquities and history of Ceredigion, many of these articles printed within the Ceredigion Journal, are about the history of Trawsgoed.
The society has also produced three county volumes, under the name of the Cardiganshire County History series, these knowledgeable, learned, comprehensive and scholary publications record the history of prehistoric, early and modern Cardiganshire.
This area includes Crosswood (Trawscoed) mansion and most of what was Crosswood demesne. The story of the Vaughans of Crosswood begins in the 14th century when the daughter of Ieuan Coch married Adda Fychan, the direct ancestor of the present Lord Lisburne (Morgan 1997, 21).
Throughout the latter Middle Ages the Vaughans served as minor officials and Crown agents, accumulating land and wealth. During the 16th and early 17th century judicious marriage and careful exchange and purchase resulted in the formation of a respectable-sized estate.
This estate was dramatically expanded in 1630 with the purchase of many of the former granges of Strata Florida Abbey from the Earl of Essex. A fine mansion and gardens had been established at Crosswood by at least 1684 (Morgan 1997, 162). The house seems to have been entirely rebuilt by 1756.
Remains of formal gardens depicted on estate maps (NLW Crosswood Vol 1, 4; NLW Map 7188, NLW Map 10127) have been examined and delineated from aerial photographs and described by Morgan (1997). The gardens are included on the Register of Landscapes, Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in Wales. Part 1: Parks and Gardens; which contains a full description.
In addition to the formal gardens, parkland was laid out and a deer park or paled park established. As with all parks of this scale considerable transformation occurred over the centuries. Former farms, such as Maesdwyffrwdd (NLW Crosswood Vol 1, 40), were demolished to make way for the park and land was subject to landscaping.
A photograph of 1888 published by Morgan (1987, 21) shows the typical rolling grassland and scattered trees of a park created during the 18th century. Included in this area to the west of the park are dispersed farms. Estate maps show these in a landscape not dissimilar to that of today.
In 1947, Crosswood was sold to the government, and the mansion converted to offices for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and until 1995 was the Welsh headquarters of the Agricultural Advisory Service, and also part of the Institute for Grassland and Environmental Research (Morgan 1997, 172). Laboratory blocks and farm buildings of these institutions have been constructed in the former park, and a small housing estate built at Abermagwr.
Description and essential historic landscape components
This area lies on a terrace of the Afon Ystwyth at between 50 and 80m, and includes a rounded hill at its northeast limit, which achieves a height of 150m.
The core of the area consists of Crosswood mansion and its associated gardens. The gardens are now much smaller than they once were, and a very large proportion of the parkland has been converted to improved pasture. All farmland is improved pasture.
Several stands of trees, both broadleaf woodland and coniferous plantation, lend a wooded aspect to the landscape. Mature trees of the park and garden are also present.
Government research institutions have transformed the area from that of parkland to one of intensive agricultural use. Older boundaries of earth banks with hedges – hedges are generally in good condition, but many require management – are now supplemented by wire fences, and these divide the area into large fields.
Settlement consists of estate buildings – the mansion, lodges etc – a loose cluster of dwellings at Abermagwr, and dispersed farms. Listed buildings – Trawscoed Mansion, model farm buildings, an Arts and Crafts lodge, gate pillars, a saw mill etc – reflect the strong estate influence across this landscape.
Stone is the traditional building material, which is often left bare, with slate for roofs. Apart from the listed structures, buildings are either mid-to-late 19th century houses, including farmhouses, in the typical regional Georgian vernacular tradition, or modern. Farms have several ranges of stone outbuildings and modern agricultural buildings. Some modern outbuildings are, unusually for the region, in timber. Modern buildings are a prominent component of the landscape, and include mid to late 20th century houses, government offices and very large government agricultural buildings.
The major archaeological sites in this area consist of Trawscoed Roman fort and associated vicus, and the listed buildings and gardens of Crosswood mansion. The fort close to the mansion has been heavily ploughed and only below ground archaeological remains survives. Small areas have been investigated by archaeological excavation (Davies 1994, 300-302). Other archaeological sites include three cropmarks of unknown date and finds of Roman and Medieval date.
This historic landscape area is not particularly well defined. The overall character of areas to the north, south and east are not dissimilar, but they do not possess the estate components of this area. To the southeast definition is rather better as here land rises sharply up to unenclosed land.
By Dyfed Archaeological Trust – Historic Landscape Characterisation of Trawsgoed
3. External links
- Coflein, discover the archaeology, historic buildings, monuments and history of Trawsgoed, Ceredigion
- Historic Place Names, learn about the field names and house names in the community of Trawsgoed
- A Pint of History, read about the history of Ceredigion pub’s, inn’s and local taverns of Trawsgoed
- People’s Collection Wales, share your stories, memories and photographs of Trawsgoed
Some ideas to share your Stories below!
Have a memory and your not sure what to write? We have made it easy with some prompts and ideas, just think about this place and the importance its had in your life and ask yourself:
- What are my personal memories of living here?
- How has it developed and shops changed over the years?
- Do you have a story about the beach, community, its people and history?
- Tell us how it feels, seeing photographs and images of this place again?
- Tell us your favourite memories about this place?
The aim of the Ceredigion Historical Society is to preserve, record and promote the study of the archaeology, antiquities and history of Ceredigion. That objective has remained the same since the foundation of the Society in 1909, though its name was changed from Ceredigion Antiquarian Society to the Ceredigion Historical Society in 2002.