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Unsung treasure

03 August 2012

A new Cardiff University project aiming to discover more of the history of one of Gwynedd’s unsung treasures is underway.

Led by the School of History, Archaeology and Religion, the four-week project at Plas Brynkir in North Wales aims to reveal more about the site, which was once a large mansion house.

A non-invasive survey will focus on the upper and lower houses at Brynkir which date from the 17th Century, recording the ground plan, elevations and chronology of the lower house, and contrasting and comparing it with that of the upper house. ‘Brynkir appears to be a ‘Unit System’ house, composed of at least four separate buildings, which are awkwardly connected at corners or are entirely separate from adjacent structures,’ said PhD student and lead on the project, Mark Baker.

A geophysical survey of the immediate area around both houses will also help establish whether any structures survive beneath current ground surface level. The site also offers unique opportunities for investigating aspects of traditional architecture, in particular, the association between the two mansion houses. The detailed study of these will potentially shed important light on building design and construction, as well as on the provision made for partible inheritance and the spatial aspects of social organisation.

The project supported by the Council for British Archaeology and involves nine students from the School, who will be led by PhD student Mark Baker. The team aims to discover if Plas Brynkir is of more national significant interest.

Explaining the project, Mark Baker said: "Brynkir has both local and national significance. From a local perspective it is a large, mansion set at the heart of one of North West Wales’s former great estates. Nationally, the buildings themselves, in terms of planning and family provision, are identifiably Welsh in character, and unique to the region."

The project runs from 19 July – 15 August 2012. Members of the public are welcome to discover more at an Open day at Cwm Pennant Youth Hostel (Plas Brynkir’s former Stables) on 14 August [11am to 4pm] at Golan, Gardolbenmaen, LL51 9AQ.

Visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic and join a tour of the site by Cardiff University students.

The project is supported by Gwynedd Council, the Llŷn Area of Outstanding National Beauty, the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Dating Old Welsh Houses scheme, Bangor University, the Council for British Archaeology, Gwynedd Archives, the National Museums and Galleries of Wales and the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.


Notes to editors

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, University President Professor Sir Martin Evans.

Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Three major new Research Institutes, offering radical new approaches to neurosciences and mental health, cancer stem cells and sustainable places were announced by the University in 2010.

For further information contact

Jill Wilmott-Doran, Public Relations, Cardiff University, Tel: 02920 870298; email: