The History of the Tower
"It's always been a wreck."
"We used to play in it as kids."
"It looks like a giraffe house!"
Whatever it was for,
we fell in love with the tower before the house.
We had to have it!
Finding out about the history of our beloved tower proved more difficult than we thought.
That is until I visited my sister in South Wales and took a trip to St Fagans.
There, at the end of a row of 'houses through history' was an identical oven like the one we had discovered in our own tower.
From there, we were able to find out a little more about our quirky building.
The farm itself was working up until around the 1950s and had a range of cattle and other produce.
We are delighted to be introducing some of our own products back to the farm and will be selling them in the near future.
Dating back at least 150 years, the beautiful ruin was actually used as a bakehouse that was utilised by both the farm, and the village of Hendre.
The huge oven inside was capable of coping with large capacities of bread, puddings and any other delights the villagers wished to prepare. Each family would usually be allocated a day when they could use the oven, though sometimes a person was appointed to run the oven and paid a set fee such as a penny per loaf per baking session.
The bakehouses were also designed to specifically protect the main house from the risk of burning down. Sadly, bakehouse fires were a frequent occurence meaning these beautiful welsh buildings are now very rarely in tact.
We feel very blessed to have ours!
The upper floor we assumed was for preparing food for cooking, but actually we have since discovered that it was also a handy 'nook' for the workers in the farm to spend the night. The warmth from the oven below was a welcome comfort on those welsh Winter nights!
The rear of the tower had a very high ledge which proved quite the climb to get to the top floor. We recently found out that this ledge was extremely useful for the loading and unloading of heavy milk churns and sacks of flour from, and to the horse and carts that would make their way up the farm track delivering and collecting their wares.
Our whole site was previously owned by a local quarry, meaning tenants were not able to convert the tower. Over the years, it was used as a play den, a workshop and even a very pretty kennel.
The whole building was understandably in very poor condition when we purchased it, and the oven was in a dangerous state of near-collapse.
We are looking forward to using the removed oven bricks and stone to create a new outdoor oven to enjoy with our community once again as they did all those years ago!