Notes on the Restoration of FFYNNONAU- Y- PENTRE PENLLINE

In June 1997 some newer residents of the parish interested in its evident history became concerned that the unique and historic water source for the village had virtually disappeared beneath saplings and undergrowth. Whilst the old Glamorgan County Council had considered the wells a `County Treasure' they were not listed by Cadw. A little investigation showed to Cadw their unique form and early origin and they were finally listed in April 1998. This justified an appeal to the villagers to `restore' the Wells as the central feature of the village and at the same time to investigate the probable truth of their origin

Clearance of the site, preparation of the detail survey and estimates proceeded through June / August 1998. This was facilitated with aid from the Penarth and District Scout Association and their friends.

Whilst application was made for Listed Building Approval archaeological clearance of the site was undertaken with help from a few volunteers from Cardiff Archaeological Society. On 20 September 1998 the first lecture on the site to the villagers was given

Meanwhile the estimates for restoration had been submitted to such funding sources as could be discovered who might encourage this form of preservation

Whilst considered a `common right' for hundreds of years access to the land was, in law, still held by the Homfray family as part of the Penllyn Estate. They agreed to the work proceeding and to lease the land for a peppercorn rent to the Penllyn Community Council.

Winter 1998/1999showed how urgently the repairs were needed for movement could be seen in the masonry of Well No. 2 and the roof of the wellhead appeared in danger (glass tell-tails fractured)

By February 1999, with the site sufficiently cleared for the full extent of the repairs which necessary to be drawn and photographed, the final drawings were added to the L.B.A. application

May 1999 Modification of the L.B.A. application to meet requirements of the funding societies (addition of wheelchair access and seats)

June 1999 Approval of L.B.A. application

July 1999 to May 2000

October 1999 Partial grant of funding to allow emergency repairs to commence

November 1999 to April 2000

Repairs and conservation of stonework as grants from:

Local Authority


And finally Heritage Lottery Fund

May to June 2000

July 2000 Official opening by John Smith MP

The Wells are now accepted as a series of wellheads developed individually between the 14th century, or earlier, and 1911 as principal and occasionally source of fresh water for the parish from its inception to 1937when mains water eventually arrived. The site is permanently on display, with an explanatory panel, for historic interest - no similar site has yet been noted despite wide enquiry. It forms an element in a model case study of linear village development (see W. G. Hoskins). It is part of a programme to restore the character of the parish of Penlline where elements of development from the 12th century to the present can still be visibly traced.

The small finds from the clearance are, with freeholder's approval, to pass to the museum. The bulk pottery found- some 100 Kgs. - has been reburied on site. The full archived report and drawings are to be deposited with the Borough Conservation Officer or Cadw

Ray Caple BA AIFA

3 October 2000

Val Caple