Llwyn Celyn

Cwmyoy, Monmouthshire

Overview

At the southern end of the beautiful Llanthony Valley in the Black Mountains stands Llwyn Celyn, an exceptionally important house. It was built in 1420 on the lands of the Llanthony Priory and is a very rare survival from so soon after the destruction caused by Owain Glyn Dŵr’s Rising against the English Crown. Possibly a prior’s house, Llwyn Celyn is rich in rare medieval features and has barely changed since around 1600.

Our team are still hard at work restoring Llwyn Celyn in time for its opening later this summer. Bookings for Llwyn Celyn will be released to the below groups on the following dates:

Patrons - 26 June
Friends - 30 June
General public - 7 July

  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • BathBath
  • Bath with ShowerBath with Shower
  • DishwasherDishwasher
  • MicrowaveMicrowave
  • ShowerShower

Beds 2 Twin, 2 Doubles

Sleeps
8
4 nights from
£854 equivalent to £26.69 per person, per night

A very rare survival

Landmark found Llwyn Celyn in a perilous state, and it is one of the most complex restorations we’ve ever undertaken. Over a decade later it is a fascinating and comfortable place to stay, with glorious views of the Skirrid and Sugar Loaf mountains. This borderland has hardly changed since priors, knights and Marcher Lords roamed; and since 1420, when Llwyn Celyn was built for a man of sophistication and status. 

It has three beautifully carved ogee-headed doorheads, the like of which in a domestic context are unknown anywhere else in Wales; the master’s fixed bench survives, as does a remnant of the canopy that once rose above his head. In Wales, any vernacular house dating from before 1450 is a rarity; one with features such as these is to be doubly prized.

'Enduring like a tree under the curious stars'

Sometime after the Dissolution of the Priory, perhaps around 1600 by when Llwyn Celyn had become the home of wealthy tenant farmers, a ceiling was inserted into the open hall to create a fine upper chamber. At the same time, a new-fangled chimney stack was built to replace the original smoky open hearth, and a wooden staircase put in alongside. And this is broadly how you will find the house, its layout little changed since the 16th century, guarding the mouth of the Llanthony Valley. Geological aeons can be read as you roam these valleys, along with the ebb and flow of our own centuries: ruined castles, ancient trackways and precious, tiny churches, and at their heart Llwyn Celyn, ‘enduring like a tree under the curious stars.’

Map & local info

Sitting in the Lanthony Valley, Llwyn Celyn is perfectly positioned to explore the Brecon Beacons National Park.

10 minutes from Llwyn Celyn is Llanthony Priory, the remains of a 13th-century priory. The site is open all year round, with free entry and nearby parking.

The Brecon Beacons is a walkers paradise, with routes to suit all abilities. Walking routes can be found on the official National Park website. The website also contains information about rock climbing, mountain biking and watersports. Budding astronomers may also want to bring their telescope - the Milky Way (and beyond) can be seen in the Brecon Beacons on a clear night. 

Hay-on-Wye - "the town of books" - is around a 45 minute journey by car. With nearly two dozen bookshops, it is home to the Hay Festival, one of the UK's most renowned literary festivals, which takes place over 10 days between May and June every year. The pretty market town of Abergavenny - "Gateway to Wales" is around a 20 minute car journey from Llwyn Celyn.

 

Llwyn Celyn
Cwmyoy, Monmouthshire
Clear directions
FAQs

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    No.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Via a track from the main road.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Abergavenny - 10 miles.
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    There is parking a short walk from the property for 4 cars.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There is a biomass boiler and underfloor heating, as well as an open fire in the dining room and a stove in the sitting room.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    We are currently assessing the best way for guests to get fuel for the fire.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with a fridge, freezer, dishwasher, microwave and electric cooker.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There are four bathrooms - one with a walk-in shower and bath, one with a bath and two with a shower over the bath.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    The stairs in Llwyn Celyn are steep.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    Ther is an enclosed garden.

    Booking and Payment

  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I create an account?

    If you have not used the Landmark online booking facility before and you wish to register in advance, you can set up an on-line account by following the instructions below:

    Go to the Landmark home page and click on Gift shop (located at the top of the home page in red).

    Select a gift (e.g. Landmark Handbook or Anniversary Mug) and complete the ‘Amount required’ box. There is no need to complete the purchase but this step is necessary in order to bring up the registration page.

    Click ‘Next Step’ at the bottom of the page.

    This will bring you to the ‘Your details’ page.

    Please complete all the fields (name, address, contact details and create an account). Click on the green ‘Create Account’ button once you have finished.

    At the top of the page headed ‘Your details’ there will be a grey box saying ‘Signed in’ and underneath this it will say ‘you are currently signed in as ….

    Here you will also have the option to ‘Sign out’. Please do so and that is your registration completed.

    Please return to the Landmark home page.

    To check your registration or update your account details at any time please ‘Sign in’ using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.

    If you experience any problems in registering or setting up your on-line account please contact webmaster@landmarktrust.org.uk.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • What time can I arrive and what time do I have to depart from the Landmark?

    Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there toilet rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.
History

An exceptionally rare find

We knew as soon as we were called in to look at Llwyn Celyn that it was an exceptionally rare find, and in a desperately perilous plight. It had had an emergency roof put in some fifteen years earlier, water from the hillside was running across bare earth in some of its rooms, the upstairs floorboards were rotting and its farming inhabitants had retreated to just two rooms.

Yet through all of this, its ancient character and features shone through.  We still don’t know for sure who built Llwyn Celyn or why; the only sure fact for much of our restoration project was that it stood on Llanthony Priory lands. 

As built, Llwyn Celyn followed the classic medieval floor plan for a hall house: a central hall of 3 bays open to its fine wind braces, with a service or ‘low’ end beyond a cross passage that leads from the front door. However, Llwyn Celyn is unusual in also having a two-storey service end, and even more so for its two-storey solar cross range, reached from the high end of the hall and providing fine and private rooms for the master of the house. 

From the character of its timber framing, for a long time we assumed its construction related to the merger of Llanthony Priory with its daughter house, Llanthony-by-Gloucester in 1480. Conventional dendrochronology failed to provide a date (the timber rings were too evenly spaced – ‘complacent’ as dendrochronologists put it). Then the Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory put us in touch with a ground-breaking research programme at Swansea University, using oxygen isotope readings to date timber. To our amazement, the results came back that the solar range was built of timber felled in 1419/20, and the service end in 1420/21, confirming that the core house was built as single phase. In most parts of Wales, it took much longer to recover from Glyn Dŵr’s and the Marcher lords’ armies, making Llwyn Celyn even more intriguing.

Further discoveries followed: a primary window in the south gable and a blocked arched doorway off the hall, once most probably a winding staircase up to the first floor solar. Other extensions and buildings were added over the centuries: a kitchen opposite the main entrance; a cider house (now a bedroom and bathroom) and malt kiln in the yard; lean-to’s and outbuildings, and a threshing barn and beast house. Set apart from the house, these last two are now respectively a centre for low-key community activities, and an interpretation room, created thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £2.4m that enabled the entire restoration project.

Restoration

Intense structural work

Llwyn Celyn’s restoration took almost three years on site, and required the full range of professional and traditional craft skills. A structural engineer played an essential role: dropped roof trusses were winched back into place and foundations underpinned.

Walls were consolidated not just by stone repairs and repointing in lime mortar, but also by drilling to insert countless invisible Cintec ties. Extensive drainage works were carried out, to allow water runoff to flow more easily and harmlessly down this steep site. 

The re-roofing also proved a project in its own right and a fantastic training opportunity to capture the roofers’ skill in the formation of, for example, the distinctive ‘Welsh valleys’ between roof slopes. The stone tiles were salvaged where possible, but most were too far eroded to re-use. New ones were quarried in the adjacent Olchon Valley and beautifully laid in diminishing courses. Meanwhile, skilful joiners patiently scarfed in repairs to rafters, doors and window frames.

The interest and engagement of the local community and volunteers in the Llwyn Celyn project was also a distinctive feature, thanks again to the HLF funding. Heritage at Work weeks were held, when volunteers contributed to many aspects of work on site, and an active local history group has been formed. Artists-in-residence captured their own lasting interpretations in various media. Not only has Llwyn Celyn been saved for anyone to experience living in for a while, we also hope its restoration will generate lasting to benefit to the valley where it sits.

You can find more information about the project's restoration here or by watching the videos below. 

Supporters of Llwyn Celyn

We are hugely grateful to those who have already supported Llwyn Celyn, including:

Guardians: 
Sir Hugo and Lady Brunner, Dr and Mrs J Bull, The Hon Elizabeth Cayzer, Mr R Eaton, Mrs F Fairbairn, Dr and Mrs J Gibbs, Mr C P Giles, Ms J Graham, Dr C Guettler, Miss J Hodgkinson, Mr and Mrs S Jordan, Professor R Mayou, Mr M Power, Mr G Ruthen and Mrs S Andrew, Mr B Sealey CBE

Patrons and other generous individuals: 
Mr R Burns, Mrs M Haddow, Mr D Giles, Mr and Mrs M Gwinnell, Mr and Mrs C Hutt, Mr and Mrs G Kingston, Dr C Mitchell, Mr A Murray-Jones, Mr C Nugent, Mrs P Parker, Mr D Purcell, Mrs H Quarmby, Mr and Mrs D Quartermaine, Mr T Reid and Ms L Ambrose, Mrs P Spens, Mr Oliver Thomas, In Memory of Andrew Murray 

Charitable Trusts and Statutory Grants: 
The Architectural Heritage Fund, Aurelius Charitable Trust, The Viscountess Boyd Charitable Trust, Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, Brecon Beacons Trust, Cadw, Country Houses Foundation, The Gunter Charitable Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund, John R Murray Charitable Trust, Scouloudi Foundation, ShareGift

Heritage Lottery Fundy Logo                                      National Heritage Memorial Fund logo                                      CADW logo

We are also grateful to the generous Guardians, Patrons and other supporters who have chosen to remain anonymous and to everybody else who supported the appeal.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...


What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?
Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.